This post provides some ideas of what to do in Ubud, Bali in less than a week.
Coffee Stops in Bali!
Our our 3rd day in Bali, we packed up our bags and headed to Ubud for a change of scenery. Seminayak is near the beach and Ubud is in the forest. On our way to our Ubud villa, our driver made a stop for us at the coffee plantation. This seemed to be a part of his usual route, as he knew a lot about the coffee plantation. We purchased some coffee to take home, and we enjoyed some organic rolled tobacco. I’m sure that most of these drivers have deals with the coffee plantations. It is probably a regular stop for them on their route. Our driver told us that this coffee plantation is subsidized by the government in order to encourage Indonesian domestic purchases.
There are several of these coffee store stops in Ubud, and they are all set up similarly. Usually, a server will provide you a sample of 9 different types of coffees to sample. Then, they will take you to their gift shop to purchase the coffee. I really enjoyed the experience even though we might have gotten ripped off.
Bali’s most infamous coffee is the “Luwak coffee”–Warning: this is the part that gets weird. They make Luwak coffee by feeding coffee cherries to Asian palm civet (cute photo here). Then, roasting the cherries that are digested after. Yes, the coffee beans gets excreted by this adorable little creature. There’s a lot of discussion on the internet about how humane this practice is (see BBC article here). Both of the coffee places I visited that had their own Luwaks mentioned that they either treat their captive Luwak humanely by either releasing them regularly back into the wild or by treating them well. One of the servers was telling me that the Luwak are sensitive animals and can die easily when they are stressed.
Ethnic Food in Ubud
Another memorable part of our trip was when we stopped by Babi Gulink Pak Malen. I loved this restaurant and the food here even though the menu only had a few options and the restaurant didn’t look very clean. The food here was the spiciest. The soup here was so good that I looked up the recipe when I got back to the US.
Our villa was adjacent to a rice paddy. Of course–it would be difficult to find anything that wasn’t adjacent to a rice paddy outside of central Ubud. One of the key differences between Ubud and Seminayak was that rideshare apps were not as commonly used here. Jesse and I rented a moped for the evening and decided to go to a Warung nearby. I really enjoyed how this Warung was in someone’s backyard and off the beaten path. If you go travel outside of the city along the roads that lead out of central Ubud, there are a bunch of little stores, temples, and villas that are interesting.
Titra Emprul & Teglalang Rice Paddies
You will travel on these roads to get to Tirtra Emprul and the famous Tegelalang rice paddies. The next morning, we rode our moped to the rice paddies . There are a lot of great photo opportunities there, but that was about it.
We then headed to Tirtra Emrpul. This part of our trip was probably the most memorable for me. Warning: most of the signs are not in English and its respectful and important to adhere to the rules of the temple. It is proper and respectful to cover up your top and to not wear see through clothing. At the bottom there will be a booth that provides rental sarongs for free. You will still have to pay for a different sarong when you get to the fountain where everyone makes their prayers. There is a specific sarong made of satin that you will be able to wear into the pool for praying. This rental will cost around $30,000 Rupiah or $2.50 USD.
I don’t have any photos of my husband and I praying as we both wanted to be as present as possible for this experience, but you can ask people to take photos for you there. There are several tour guides that are around the fountain that will provide instructions and the steps on how to properly use the fountains for prayer. I will provide a brief explanation that Wayan the guide provided my husband and I. The Balinese name Wayan means: the first. Which is why you will probably meet many Wayans if you speak to the locals.
Before you enter the fountain, you are to make an offering to the temple. One of the ladies outside of the fountain was kind enough to provide one to the me. The offerings are the small square banana leaf boat looking contraptions. They also have some flowers and incense on them. According to our GoJek drivers, flowers are one of the things they import a ton of from the island of Java for the purpose of ceremonies and offerings. Many of the people in Bali are hindu and you will see offerings in the morning outside of several homes and businesses when you are walking around the island.
Once you make your offering, you are to meditate and then enter the pool. Your guide should explain to you which fountains to skip while making your prayers. For example the first fountain has dedicated usage for the temple. Each fountain has its own meaning. The first set in the left section are for forgiveness of our negative traits like our ego and evil. The fountain farthest right on the left room is for better sleep and less nightmares. Once you move into the “room” or section on the right of the wall you can make prayers for your karma and for blessings. Be sure to skip the very last one on the right. When you finish, you will exit the fountain, make a final prayer, and thank the temple.
After our eventful morning we headed into central Ubud to eat at Warung Ibu Oka and then we headed to the monkey forrest. Monkey forrest was pretty incredible in my opinion. The park has tons of shade with large trees and small and large monkey friends running around. None of the monkeys are confined, and they are not aggressive–unless messed with.
Mopeds in Bali
On our trip back to our villa from the monkey forest we came across a dog in the road and unfortunately took a pretty bad fall from avoiding the guy. I think there is a lesson to be learned here. It is best to slow down whenever approaching dogs (or any other wild animal) with a moped. The dogs are fearless in south east Asia, and the dog who we came across, walked directly towards our moped as we approached him. Jesse ended up with a few bruises on his face and his shoulder while I just had a scrape on my hand.
This event definitely wounded our egos a bit so we ended up staying in and using GoJek to order food from a near by Warung, the same way you’d use Uber eats! Our trip in Bali came to an end shortly after that day and we headed to Taipei after. Click here to read about our trip in Taiwan!
Some General Tips:
- *Travel Tip: If you are traveling to Bali, consider making time in your schedule to travel to Australia, Taiwan, or surrounding countries. There are several places you can travel to from Denpasar international airport in under 6 hours. Forum here.
- You would fly into DPS (Denpasar Airport) and take car transit to get to wherever you are staying. There are very few direct flights from the US to Bali.
- Current conversion rate from USD to Indonesian Rupiah: Here
- Rideshare apps can be used in certain areas in Bali. Make sure that you are not breaking any rules by being picked up in a “red zone”. Gojek & Grab Car are the most common apps.
- Book a Klook wifi egg at the airport for pretty cheap so that you can use multiple devices while you are moving around.
- Download Whatsapp to communicate with people in Bali.
- Scooters are probably the most economic choice for transportation but can be the most dangerous (we fell and suffered minor scrapes and injuries). Be very wary of the dogs that are in the street when riding a moped/scooter. Read below for our experience.
- Bali experiences Island weather, which can be fickle and unpredictable. Prepare for wet and humid weather.
- Warungs are local Indonesian restaurants and typically not as fancy as the westernized restaurants.