Ubud, the cultural heartland of Bali

‘I don’t think I have to explain to you what couples do on their honeymoon’, says Jack with a cheeky grin, to which Joe replies, ‘I have no idea what you mean!’ Our Ring a Bike Tour guide’s walking us through a traditional Balinese home, explaining what each part of the house is used for.

At the moment we’re stood in front of the north building, which is where the elders live as it’s closest to the family temple. When Balinese Hindu newly weds tie the knot, they spend the first few days of marriage tucked up in here. The aim is for one of their ancestors to reincarnate into the next generation. I don’t know how much I’d enjoy spending my honeymoon at my grandparents’ place, but the idea behind it is nice.

Traditional Balinese family temple, Ubud

Ubud is a refreshing change of pace from the sensory overload south. This vivacious town in the uplands of Bali has been on the travellers map for decades, and even featured in the Hollywood film Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts (cheesy but good). It’s one of the island’s most famous and admired landscapes, dotted with jaw-dropping rice paddies and beautiful moss-covered stone shrines.

The traditional town is also home to one of the island’s royal families, and the majestic Ubud Palace is often brimming with tourists. There are nightly Balinese dance performances there; couldn’t get more authentic than that really! Entrance is usually 80,000 rp (£4.50).

Kanto Lampo Waterfall, Ubud

The surrounding quaint villages are also worth exploring. We woke early on our first day to go waterfall hunting. Tibumana Waterfall and Kanto Lampo Waterfall are quite close together and only 30 minutes outside of Ubud centre. You can also check out Tegenungan Waterfall, which is the most popular in the area, but gets quite crowded.

The Ring a Bike Tour takes you on a wonderful ride through the heartland of Bali, passing rice terraces, fields and homes. It includes a spectacular buffet breakfast overlooking Mount Batur (best view I’ve ever seen), a coffee tasting at a plantation, tour around a traditional Balinese house, and delicious lunch. It’ll only set you back £23 per person, and we were lucky enough to have the guide Jack all to ourselves.

Ring a Bike Tour, Ubud

One of our other favourite activities we did in Ubud was the Sacred Monkey Forest (fun fact: Eat, Pray, Love was filmed there). It costs 50,000 rp per adult, so around £2.50. Make sure you keep your valuables close to hand and don’t carry in food, even in your backpack. These little guys aren’t afraid to go rooting through your stuff. I’d feel safer wandering through Guildhall in Portsmouth at 3am covered in diamonds than walk with a packet of crisps through the sanctuary!

Monkey Forest, Ubud

Other popular things to see or do in Ubud are the Tegalalang Rice Terrace , the Bali Bird Park, the Jungle Fish Bali pool bar, the Mount Batur sunrise hike, the Bali Swing for that perfect Instagram snap, drive an hour to Bangli and seek out the Jungle Viewpoint, and admire the crafts and art in Ubud market.

Here are a few of our favourite photos from our time there…



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