[4 MIN READ]
I have always loved Bali, and so do millions of Indonesians out there. Bali is an island rich in cultures, traditions, delicious food, and beautiful sceneries. Some famous areas in Bali include Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Canggu, and Ubud. There are so many cool beach clubs in Bali and many famous DJs are often invited to play and rock their pool bars. In this post, I won’t be talking about any of that, instead, I’ll be sharing one of my most memorable travel experiences in the Northern side of Ubud where zen is truly calling.
WHERE IS IT?
If you look at the map, Ubud is located quite centrally in the island, but to me, it’s more in the northside from the areas people like to visit e.g. Denpasar. It takes about an hour driving from Denpasar area.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Just like any other area in Bali, you can fly to Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, rent a car from there and drive straight to Ubud. Google Map works very well in Bali. There are many direct flights available from Jakarta daily.
HOW MUCH DID IT COST?
Depending on when you travel and what kind of travelers you are. Direct flights on normal low-season days cost around Rp. 1,200,000 round trip or USD 80. A meal cost around Rp. 50,000 or USD 3.50. When in Bali, I usually like to rent my own car so we can go wherever we want flexibly. An Avanza is around Rp. 250,000 / day self-driving (USD 16) and around Rp. 400,000 / day (USD 26) with a driver.
Accommodation is pretty cheap as well and you can find many beautiful villas, hotels, and homestays in Agoda or Airbnb, and price can start as low as Rp. 200,000 / night or USD 13.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?
Anytime really. Some would say it’s best to visit between April – September, but Indonesia is a tropical country and it’s almost always sunny. December and June are peak seasons because of the schools’ holiday so the island will get more crowded than usual and traffic will be worse. Avoid those months if you want more serenity, which I hope is what you’re looking for in Bali.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Absolutely, Ubud is a truly divine and magical place. The faint sound of angklung in the distance, the delicious local food, and the welcoming locals make it a destination everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
CAN YOU GO BY YOURSELF WITHOUT A GUIDE?
Yes. People are very friendly and Google Map works well. Most of the places (like waterfalls) can also be visited on your own.
HOW LONG DO YOU NEED TO EXPLORE EVERYTHING?
There are so many places to see and do in Ubud and I almost wanted to say a month to truly experience everything. But since most people don’t have the luxury of time, one week should be enough to give you a taste of how wonderful Ubud is.
A DAY OF PAMPER
I spent a few days in Seminyak before moving my way up to Ubud. We stayed at Bisma Eight for 3 days and the experience was absolutely amazing. I usually like to stay at villas in Bali because they’re bigger and most come with private pools. However, this hotel is just so beautiful and the reviews are good, we couldn’t resist. There’s also a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the jungle.
Moreover, the location is very strategic in central Ubud with lots of restaurants and entertainments nearby. When we arrived in Ubud, we decided to just chill at the hotel and got food nearby. We had an amazing lunch at Naughty Nuri’s. It’s very famous among Indonesians and it has also opened a couple of branches outside of Bali but the taste and authenticity are completely different and I still think the one in Ubud is best. Here’s the address if you’re thinking of visiting (which I really recommend).
Address: Jl. Raya Sanggingan No.88X, Kedewatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571 (Across the road from Neka Museum)
Hours: 8am – 10pm everyday
After lunch, I also spent some time in Folk Pool & Gardens Beach Club because it was really close to the hotel and it’s a perfect place to unwind. The beach club is not as big as other beach clubs in Seminyak and Canggu, but it’s so intimate and decorated with cute comfortable gazebos that will protect you from the angry sun. The food was subpar, but I had my computer with me and was working for a little so I didn’t mind. They have those tiny Christmas lights and some bean bags on their mini lawn, which I thought was adorable.
1. Tegunungan Waterfalls
The next day, we woke up really early and started our journey in Tegunungan Waterfalls. The waterfall is not big nor tall and it was crowded with tourists. It’s recommended to go early in the morning to avoid them. You don’t need to hike or anything to see the falls, and it took me only 5 minutes to reach the main site. Most people were wearing sandals. Personally, I didn’t enjoy it that much because the water was brown and murky, and there were way too many people. To me, the highlight of the falls was the really the swing. I took some really nice pictures of the falls as its background.
Nearby there’s also a small river where people stack up stones. But nothing too cool about this place and we were ready to move on to our next destination.
2. Tirta Empul Temple
This may be one of my favorite destinations in Bali just because of how cultural it is. The name “Tirta Empul” means holy water spring. Many people come to the spring to bathe and purify their souls. Some believe that the holy water can also heal sickness. Like many temples in Indonesia, we need to be respectful when entering the temple so women and men need to wear special sarong provided by the locals.
3. Jungle Fish
We ended our long day in this adorable pool bar where we ordered a few delicious drinks and snacks. Jungle Fish has a decent infinity pool to chill in and their cocktails selection are great. It may not be crowded like most beach or pool clubs in Bali, but since we were really tired and wanted some quiet time, it was perfect. You’ll need to pay to get into the pool, apologies I can’t remember how much, but you get a towel with it.
4. Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
The next day, we started our trip at Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. I loved loved this place. It’s a temple printed in one of our Indonesian currency but it looks so much better in real life. It was around May when we went so it was quite chilly because there was wind blowing from Australia. The temple complex is huge and every spot was very beautiful. It also has a mini garden you’ll walk through before you see the big lake.
5. GitGit Waterfall
The next day we left a little later than usual and planned to go to GitGit and Aling-Aling Waterfalls. However, our Google Maps took us the wrong way and we got stuck in the jungle for a few hours and it was almost sunset when we finally got out. Therefore we only got a chance to go to GitGit.
At the entrance, you’ll be asked from locals if you need a tour guide. My suggestion is to say no. It’s very easy to navigate around the falls as it’s basically a one-way path. There are two waterfalls in GitGit and both of them are located really close to each other. We got some time to swim in the bigger waterfall and the water was icy cold and very refreshing. The smaller waterfall had a rope swing that you can dangle from so I thought that was pretty cool as well.
If you walk further, you would be able to see some cool spots for people to take pictures. There’s also a swing. But since we were very limited in time, we didn’t get a chance to check it out.
Out of the 5 attractions I went to, I would recommend all of them except Tegunungan Waterfall. It’s very famous, but I don’t think it’s worth the time.