Bali: The Online Travel Guide
"The main street of Ubud, and Monkey Forest Road are the traditional places to look for low cost accommodation, but recently many new low and medium cost places have sprung up in Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Bima."
Ubud is the place to go. It is where everyone who wants to escape the madness of Kuta, the sterility of Sanur and the cultural isolation of Nusa Dua will find themselves.
Ubud is Bali's heartland. It isn't perfect but it has charm. It also has pride, and the people of Ubud have been more careful than most to retain the village atmosphere that is so often cleansed when the twentieth century meets a place front-on.
Relax in Ubud, stay cool, and most importantly, learn to say the name: It's OO-bood, not YOU-bud or Ah-bud!
Accommodation in Ubud generally offers better value than Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur although the standards are typically lower than the international hotels of the south--with some very notable exceptions. Ubuds many comfortable and relaxed homestays and losmen will however, provide the feel of Bali culture that no high-rise hotel can ever hope to fulfil. Of course, those who wish to explore the countryside from a luxurious base will find several options, amongst them some of the island's newest and best hotels.
The main street, Jl Raya and especially Monkey Forest Road are the traditional places to look for a low cost place to stay, but recently many new low and medium cost places have sprung up in Jl Hanoman and Jl Bima.
Do not discount the laneways that connect the major roads, as many smaller family run homestays and losman may be found in these streets. These small and unpretentious places are often the best value available.
Further from the town centre, near the river and beyond, are the more upscale
bungalows, cottages and hotels of Campuan, which generally provide a quieter more relaxed
stay, but can also leave the feeling of isolation - especially at mealtime's and at
There are many restaurants spread all over Ubud, and are typically concentrated around the more popular accommodation areas. Those on the main street (Jl Raya) and in Jl Hanoman are generally very popular with the budget travellers, as they are quite cheap, and they serve good meals. Monkey Forest road has many fine restaurants, although an attempt to push this area more upmarket has seen prices increase in recent times.
There are some even more expensive, but very good restaurants in the Campuan area to the west of the central village, but these tend to cater mainly to tourists who stay in Campuan's more isolated and expensive bungalows and hotels. Ubud's famous pub is located just over the Campuan bridge.
Ubud has several money changers and banks, although there may not yet be any ATM's. Money services are generally located along Jalan Bima and Monkey Forest Road.
A medical clinic and pharmacy can be found in Monkey Forest Road, and the hospital is in Jalan Raya Ubud.
International telephone services are widely available, and mostly located along Jalan Raya (near the central market).
The Bemo station is located near the market, spread along Jalan Raya, near the corner of Monkey Forest Road. Services to southern Bali run mainly via Denpasar (Rp.1,200 approx.), and depart frequently during the day (whenever a minivan is filled with passengers). Short runs to the local villages, and longer runs to the north and east also depart from the bemo station.
Taxi's with meters also service Ubud, but obviously cost more than the bemo's.
The Perama shuttle service operates busses to many parts of Bali and beyond, and pickups are best arranged at the time of purchasing tickets (many agents sell Perama tickets). Arrivals via Perama busses are to their office, which is a little inconveniently located away from the town centre in Jalan Hanoman. Most busses are greeted by losmen operators who will show photo's of their rooms and deal on rates for your business. If you agree to look at their rooms, they may assist you by carrying your bags (don't abuse their labour).
Transport hire, such as bikes, motorbikes and cars is widely available, and costs are competitive. The main areas to look are along Jalan Hanoman and Monkey Forest Road, but it is a good idea to ask for suggestions at the place where you are staying. Expect to pay about Rp.4,000 per day for a bike, Rp.10,000 to 15,000 for a motorbike, and upwards of Rp.40,000 for a car.
Ubud is a haven for shoppers. Most of the main streets and the market stalls sell objects that are attractive to visitors, and the range of crafts that are represented is unimaginable. Gold, silver, jewellery, wood, cloth, clothing, pottery, batik, paintings, metalwork, antiques and many other products are sold almost everywhere. Try your luck bargaining at the market, or look into the boutiques and stores for fixed prices that are still comparative bargains. Many of the shops will assist by packing and shipping your goods home (be very careful to insist on surface transport - airmail is very expensive!).
Books are widely available in Ubud, at the several second-hand bookshops dotted around
the main streets. Be aware that the prices are not that low, but will be discounted if you
have a book to trade.
Above: Broad smiles greet the traveller almost everywhere in Bali.
Another very popular walk that takes in beautiful scenery and a couple of comparatively underdeveloped villages and some fine artist communities, is the "monkey forest walk". After a couple of hours walking you emerge in Ubuds famous damp and shady monkey forest, which is only five or ten minutes from the village centre.
and around town there are many temples. Some of these are very old, others are quite new,
but it is nearly impossible to tell. Balinese temples hold regular festivals, so be sure
to check at the tourist office for any that may be happening during your stay. If you do
attend a temple festival, or even if you are just visiting a temple, be very careful to
respect that you are visiting a place of religious significance. Always wear a sarong and
a sash (most temples will hire these items), and act in a respectful manner. Read the
signs at the enterances for local rules.
A short distance inside the cave are two statues, one is the Hindu elephant god Ganesh. Nearby are two bathing pools, with many carved stone nymphs. This is a worthwhile site, although it is visited by many tour groups making it very crowded for much of the time.
Only 2km further along the road toward Gianyar is the far less visited site of Yeh Pulu, a very old carved stone monument. Take the extra time to visit this site.
Visit the market in Ubud to sample the arts and crafts of the area, but take some extra time to visit the galleries and shops of artists and craftspeople that surround the village. Almost all of the nearby villages and the main road to Denpasar are worth visiting for their art and craft shops.
Many people choose Ubud as their base for their entire visit to Bali, which is a sound idea. The town has everything that the visitor needs, and is centrally located, making day trips to anywhere else practical. Ubud is certainly the alternative to Kuta for anyone who wants to avoid the beer and beach reputation that Bali has unfairly achieved over the years.
Copyright © 1994-1999, Wayne Reid.
Disclaimer: All of the information available within this site is believed to be correct, however the author accepts no responsibility or liability for any outcomes that may result in using this site's contents.