Bali is a Provence in Indonesia. It is made up of the main island of Bali plus the incredible neighbouring islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida (which you HAVE to visit - see our blog post on Nusa Penida!) Being only 8 degrees south of the equator, Bali has a pretty stable average temperature of around 30°C. Monsoon season falls between October and April, with December to March being the wettest (but cheapest) time to visit. With insanely affordable luxury, it's no wonder Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Private villas with a pool can be found for as little as £15/night.
Ubud is around an hours drive from Bali's DPS airport. The cost of a private taxi to take you there will be around £20 each way. Shared bus's / Taxis will allow you to do this for cheaper. When you arrive at the airport you will join a queue for the taxi kiosk and pay a set fee for your destination. They will give you a ticket which you will then give to a driver in an allocated bay.
We found renting a scooter was the easiest, and cheapest, way to visit all the sites we want to see in Ubud. You can take taxis, or arrange organised tours if you aren't confident driving a scooter. The roads are mental and so I wouldn't recommend driving a scooter here if you have no prior experience.
TOP 5 THINGS TO DO WHILE IN UBUD
1. Pura Tirta Empul temple
The highlight of this beautiful Hindu water temple is the two holy spring water purification pools. People queue to purify themselves and warn off evil under a line of 13 fountains. Leading up to the temple you will walk through lush tropical gardens before entering the gate. Women on their period are prohibited from entering the temple, but can enjoy the surrounding grounds.As you leave the temple you pass a large pool full with enormous koi carp. We enjoyed sitting and relaxing here while admiring the huge colourful fish. Don't forget to dress respectfully when visiting temples, sarongs are available to ensure you are dressed appropriately.
2. Monkey Forest
We really enjoyed our visit here. This is not a zoo, the area is a natural sanctuary for over 1000 balinese long-tailed Macaque. Located in the centre of town, this place is definitely worth a visit. This beautiful unfenced rainforest-like area is a great retreat from the heat and bustle of the city. With over 100 different species of tree, a rocky stream running through the area, three different temples and a cafe, it's a great place to take a morning stroll. Don't take any food in there, if the monkeys see you have food, or think you are hiding food, they will jump on you to try and get it. They have been known to be aggressive, so make sure you stick to all the rules.
I'm grouping these together in order to keep this to a top 5! Exploring the waterfalls surrounding Ubud is a multiple day activity. There are way too many to cram into one day. If you are limited for time, lots of tour operators offer 'Bali waterfall tours'. The issue with these is that you will always get there with many people, and at the busiest times. We visited the waterfalls on our scooter. We set off very early to make sure we were able to enjoy the waterfalls without the crowds. Often we arrived before the ticket people, so we would get in for free!
These were our three favourites:
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
A hidden gem in Bali and slightly off the main tourist trail. We parked our scooter in the car park by the entrance and went down for free as we were there before the ticket man. The route down is straight forward, follow the steps down to the bottom where you will find the falls.
One of the most impressive and popular waterfalls in Bali. As a result it gets very busy, but the crowds didn't take away from our time there. There are quite a few steps to get down to the waterfall, people with mobility issues can stay at the cafe at the top and admire the falls from up there. The power of this waterfall is felt before you get too close, with a cool spray and the sound of crashing water filling the surrounding area.