Top things to do and see in and around Ubud, Bali.
1. Campuhan Ridge Walk
Located near the center of Ubud you will find one of the most magical hike trails you will ever see. Campuhan in Balinese means the confluence of two rivers and on top of this hill you can actually see the two rivers merge. At the top you will be surrounded by lushious nature and come across a few lone standing palmtrees. I definately advise you to do the entire ridge walk and to not just go up there for taking photos since the surrounding nature is mesmerizingly beautiful.
Especially during sunset the entire area turns into a magical lightshow.
2. Hiking Mount Batur
Probably one of the most adventurous things you can do in Bali is hiking up Mount Batur to catch the sunrise. You start the climb around 4am, armed with a flash light and a bottle of water. If you want to bring your camera make sure to bring a backpack with you. I didn’t at the time and it was a real hastle and a stressful situation cause I was so scared of dropping or damaging it! It’s a steep climb of about 1700 meters but the view and experience you get in return is more than worth it. You will witness the sky clearing up and turning from black to all shades of red, orange, pink untill the entire valley unfolds in front of you. Once the sun is set prepare for some serious monkey business. If you brought some food with you make sure to stash it away properly cause they will find it and they will eat it :p. You can always ask one of your guides to hand you a banana if you wish to have a photo with a monkey. I can not guarantee you though that one of the small and cute ones will be the first to grab it.
3. Try out one of the swings
These days you have so many options to take that iconic photo. You can opt for the official Bali Swing which is located in a park near Ubud and costs around 35 USD. Besides the swing itself they also have several birds nest where you can take those typical photos that you see all over Instagram. One that’s a little lesser known is the swing at ZEN Hideaway. When you stay at this villa you can use the swing as often as you want. Otherwise I would contact the manager and ask if it’s possible to take photos here. Now the swing we went to was relatively new and located at the Tegallalang ricefields. It’s cheaper than the one at Bali Swing and I loved the feeling of gliding through the sky high above these gorgeous rice terraces.
4. Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Another perfect place to visit either for sunrise or sunset are the forever gorgeous and iconic rice terraces. If you didn’t bring the right accessories with you to create your photos not to worry. The street leading up to the terraces is full of little shops where you can find exactly what you are looking for. When visiting the terraces I do advise you to wear open shoes, otherwise get prepared to have your shoes ruined and wet :).
For the best view you have to climb all the way to the top and go across the hill. Here you will find no other tourists and the view is even more breathtaking!
5. Enjoy a SPA day
There is no place that does spa treatments like Bali does. From the relaxing massages and body scrubs to the extravagant flower baths. This is the time to treat yourself and indulge a little. Cause have you even been to Bali if you haven’t taken a flower bath?
6. Explore the streets of Ubud city
There’s nothing I love more than to just wander around and discover hidden gems. Well let me just say that Ubud is the perfect place for doing just that. Cause who would expect a palace in the middle of a busy street? Or a beautiful hotel tucked away in the backstreets behind one of the busiest markets? If the heat is getting to you a little opt for a coconut ice cream from Tukies and some fresh mango juice. The easiest way to get around in Ubud is by Go-Jek. Just install the app on your phone and you can choose between a car or motorcycle to come pick you up and the money is wired through the app itself.
7. Find the best Instagram café’s and restaurants
You’ll have endless options to try delicious food in the most amazing places. Some don’t only offer fabulous interior but also cater to those who wish to have their dinner with a view!
Some options you should definately try: Milk & Madu, Clear Café and Akasha!
8. Wander through the narrow streets outside of Ubud city
Bali is the best place to just take of your shoes and walk around barefoot all day and every day. Just go out and explore cause you may never know which curve will lead you to the next rice terrace.
9. Get creative with your photography!
Bali is one the best places to take your drone with you. I was fortunate enough to be in the presence of a true drone expert (Sam Katz) who took this photo of me. But if you think about it all of the above places would look so much cooler from the sky. So don’t hesitate and pack that drone in your suitcase when you are headed for Bali!
10. Come back to Bali and explore everything!
Due to work obligations I was only able to enjoy Bali for just 1 week and I think I did pretty well counting in the 17 hour flights there and back. But there is still so much more to see and discover on this tiny little island that I already feel the need to go back next year! So my biggest advice to you here is take at least 2 weeks so you can go at a steady pace. Hopefully by this time next year and can write you a blogpost about the top 20 things to see and do in Bali!