There are lots of reasons people love Ubud. Elizabeth Gilbert found love there. And for some people, Ubud promises a sweet escape, a destination where they can recharge their souls and rediscover their better selves. What does Ubud mean to you? Here are 5 things you must do in Ubud.
1. Relax the Soul
People who know Bali know that different areas of the island offer different experiences. If you like clubbing and nightlife but have a limited budget, head for Kuta. If you have a bit more money to spend on such activities, try Legian or Seminyak. Nusa Dua has private beach clubs. But if you are in search of calm and quiet, Ubud beckons. Everything feels slower in Ubud. It lacks the hectic pace of so much of the island and the area seems to shut down at 9pm. This is for people who want to relax with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book, shop for artistic treasures and revel in the simple pleasures of this dreamy idyll.
But Ubud is not all about the soul. There is also physical adventure to be had, like rafting, cycling and hiking. Go rafting on the Ayung River or hiking at the nearby Mount Batur. There are glorious views to be had from the top of Batur and they are well worth the hours-long trek to the peak. A little further afield from Ubud are a number of great locations for snorkelling, including Padangbai and Blue Lagoon Beach.
3. Culinary Paradise
For a truly authentic taste of Ubud, you must try the pork. One of the best spots is Warung Babi Guling Bu Oka and in particular its famous crispy pork skin. There is, of course, plenty to choose from in terms of Western food, Indian food and more. You can also find lots of healthy options and vegan dining.
4. Health & Wellness
There are plenty of health and wellness resorts that offer bespoke packages for guests in search of solitude and a deeper connection with their physical selves. Some resorts ensure total solitude for guests, creating their own private spaces, without televisions, the internet and all the other modern distractions. Guests come to shake off the stress of work and traffic and big city woes, seeking to clear their minds and cleanse and strengthen their bodies. How they eat is a big part of that, so the resorts create special menus that help in the detox.
5. Spiritual Experience
A massage in Ubud is often not just about treating the body. Some therapists are also healers. They will pray to the gods, the spirits and universe, making a soulful entreaty on behalf of their clients. It is a spiritual experience. Pura Dalem Segara Temple, in Payangan, provides a Balinese blessing for visitors. It is a blessing ceremony to put aside bad habits and seek the blessing of the gods and the universe. One of the most unique and sacred ceremonies is the Agni Hotra, which you can find at Fivelements. It is similar to the Balinese blessing, and was adopted from ancient Indian Hindu traditions.
Text by Ester Pandiangan | Photos by Toekad Rafting, Melani Semuel, Fivelements, Ester Pandingan & Made Agus Wirayasa