Seminyak may be bloated with waddling tourists, and Kuta a circus of boozers beyond redemption – but you’ll still find Bali’s island-life allure in the charming town of Ubud. Here are just some of the reasons why hippies and hipsters alike are calling it a haven.
It’s Easy To Escape Civilisation
One of the benefits of renting a villa in Ubud is that when you step out of it, you’re still in nature’s embrace – not in a congested street with (potential narc) street urchins trying to sell you weed. Thanks to its moderate remoteness from the rest of Bali’s bustling tourist spots, there’re a number of places in which you can be at one with Mother Nature – from appreciating a treetop view in an upmarket rainforest abode, to being merely feet away from glistening paddy fields amidst modest local communities. You may even wake up to friendly farmers stopping in for a chat while taking a break from toiling the fields – what more could you want in a ‘local’ experience?
Getting Lost Is Good
While Ubud’s streets aren’t short of activity (at least, before midnight – you won’t find nightclubs here), there are bounties of beauty in getting lost in its winding side streets. After exploring Monkey Forest and the town’s sacred temples, let out your inner nomad and follow the narrow dirt paths and crumbling steps. You’ll find sunset-soaked rice paddies and restaurants perched above chasms of forestation; plenty of Insta-worthy opportunities for friends and followers to swoon over your #wanderlust. Just be mindful of poking around in other peoples’ backyards!
Eating Green Is Painless
You know you’re guaranteed good, affordable grub when you’re in Bali, and Ubud delivers on that promise. But aside from mouth-watering local delights like babi guling and crispy duck, the town has plenty of love for vegetarians and vegans looking for more than just green scenery. With a vast number of veg-friendly and gluten-free cafes serving up fresh organic greens and meatless takes on local and Western classics, you don’t have to look too hard to get your next spirulina shot or meatless nasi campur. There’re even dairy-free ice-creameries to satiate that soft spot for sweets. HappyCow is happy.
Become A Coffee Connoisseur
The caffeine-craved are like kids in a candy store in Ubud, with door-to-door coffee spots to get that morning buzz on. The island’s signature, Bali Coffee, offers an aromatic exploration into the land’s volcanic composition that offers bright, fruity notes with earthy undertones. Head out to the countryside and you’ll find even more black gold to savour, like the island’s famed kopi luwak, or civet coffee. While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee) to have his or her cuppa digested and pooped out by a jungle-dwelling tree cat, it’s certainly something you can cross off the bucket list.
Ubud may be quiet in comparison to its beachfront counterparts, but its no less adventurous. Scenic cycling tours will give you the chance to marvel at beautiful landscapes and witness village life – but if it’s adrenaline-pumping thrills you’re chasing, then a white water rafting trip will ‘wet’ your appetite. Navigate your way through rocky waters and splash your way into sudden drops while appreciating the serenity of the surrounding fauna. Those that enjoy a little more white around their knuckles will want to surge down the Telaga Waja River, where cascading waterfalls will have you feeling like you’re in paradise – before your inevitable descent down a stomach-dropping fall.
This article was originally published in JUICE Singapore May 2015, Issue #200, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.