I haven’t been to Bali in 10 years. From what I see on Instagram and hear from friends – it’s a completely different place. The fancy beach clubs in Canggu look great, but come at a cost – and that cost is Perth prices!
Bali can be done on any budget. It also has much more to offer than espresso martinis (although I did have one, pictured below) at whatever new beach club just opened. That’s why we wanted to get out into the Balinese countryside and check out some of the picture perfect waterfalls and rice terraces we so often see online. While I recommend going for as long as time permits, here is a helpful guide for 2 days in Ubud.
We stayed at B.Saya Villas, Ubud. It was an absolute bargain at $60AUD per night (cheaper finds are available of course). Located a 30 min walk out of main Ubud, you get the feeling of the countryside whilst being close enough to restaurants and nightlife. They also offer a free shuttle into town. Check in and get ready for your day. Take a look at the pool area below – it was beautiful!
Scooters are the best way to get around. We got ours for 60,000 rupiah per day ($6AUD). If that isn’t your thing – you can get a private driver to take you to my recommended spots below. Costs are negotiable, however, expect to pay between 300,000-500,000 rupiah per day. We have a good contact for a driver – message me for details.
DAY 1 ITINERARY:
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Recently made famous by instagrammers, these rice terraces are PICTURE PERFECT. That being said, they are 20 mins from the main area. This means they are on everyone’s hit list, so you’re going to need to get here early. We recommend getting here by 7am – before the heat and the crowds roll in. By 9:30am this place was packed! Try and enter before all the restaurants (if you’re coming from the main town). The walk down through the terraces, up and around the other side was really nice. The path will funnel you out into the middle of the terraces (where the swing is). From here you can walk back up to the road to your scooter or continue through the rice terraces if you’re feeling adventurous. Due to time restraints, we were done by 9am, had breakfast at a restaurant up on the main road, which had a great view of the rice terraces to take in more of their beauty, and continued on. These are some of the best rice terraces I have seen and I can see why they are so popular. At times you feel completely surrounded by the terraces which is really cool! See below.
Coffee break at Seniman Coffee Studio
Stop in for a quick coffee at Seniman Coffee Studio in the heart of town. Well known for some of the best coffee in Ubud. This should give you enough energy for the activities ahead!
Campuhan Ridge Walk
A relatively short 2km “hike” (you don’t need any hiking gear for this one). We started at 10am, which is a late start from what we read online, but we didn’t find it too hot (but I would avoid any trekking or hiking in Bali at midday) and there were barely any other people around. However, we were there at the tail end of rainy season, so check the weather/time of year. It’s a nice relaxing stroll, with gorgeous scenery and very easily accessible from main Ubud. Apparently it is much cooler and even more beautiful at sunset. So either start or end the day with this if you can!
Lunch at Warung Bintang Bali
The food at this warung (local family owned eatery) was amazing! So good, we went twice. The highlight was the pork ribs – absolutely delicious. Everything we had was great – mie goreng, nasi goreng, chicken curry, chicken satay and DON’T miss the fried bananas with ice cream! Yum. The restaurant is a short scooter ride out of town, set in a rice terrace – lunch with a view is always nice.
This is also on everyone’s list. It is only 20 mins from town, so it is easily accessible and therefore really popular. Mixed feelings about this one and I have to be honest with you guys – the waterfall itself is stunning. However, the whole place has been “commercialized”. I didn’t know if I was at a natural waterfall or a theme park. A cliff side club above the waterfall constantly pumps loud music. At the end of the day it is definitely worth seeing, however I wish it had a more natural, untouched feeling. But the reality is, it doesn’t. It opens at 7:30am. If you aren’t strictly following this itinerary, I recommend getting down as early as possible, maybe the music won’t have started by then…
Dinner at Melting Pot Warung
Melting Pot Warung is a safe choice in town – from the Tripadvisor reviews at least. We liked it and whilst maybe not “traditional Balinese food”, the food was delicious. Probably considered ‘expensive’ by warung standards and those on a super tight budget – but still only around 50,000 rupiah ($5 AUD) per meal. See photos of deliciousness below. The curry noodles were my no.1.
Drinks at Night Rooster & Hujan locale
We splashed on drinks. I really wanted to try some cocktails, and these places did not disappoint. Expect to pay around 160,000 rupiah ($16AUD) per cocktail (including tax and service charges). Night Rooster was really cool! I loved the décor and the cocktails were absolutely top notch.
A short walk away is Hujan locale. It was very good, but after Night Rooster we felt something was lacking. If you can only budget for one, Night Rooster is my pick.
P.S: don’t drink too much. You’re getting up early tomorrow!
DAY 2 ITINERARY:
Your day starts at 6am, because it’s going to take you an hour on the scooter to get to your first destination. That might seem far, but it is absolutely worth it to get where you’re going – and the roads are completely fine. I didn’t feel unsafe at any point, which might be a different story in Kuta. The drive itself is also a great chance to see more of the countryside, so it’s more of an adventure than just a drive.
I am hesitant to share this one with you because it was dead quiet when we arrived and I don’t know how popular it is at this time. But I can’t hold out on you. One of the most amazing waterfalls I have ever seen. A 30 min trek through the jungle leads you to a waterfall, surrounded by the jungle and leaving you feeling completely secluded. The only sounds that can be heard are the birds and the running waterfall. We arrived by 7am (and you should to) and had the place to ourselves. When we left at 9:30, only two other people had arrived – but we passed a few more on the walk back to the scooter. If you can, do this and Tegenungan Waterfall – two completely difference experiences. You can probably tell which one I preferred…
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Back on the scooter – a 30 min drive away are more rice terraces. Referred to as the “granddaddy” of rice terraces – this place is amazing. Again a completely different experience from Tegalalang Rice Terraces, and I recommend doing both to compare and contrast. These rice terraces extend as far as the eye can see. The road that runs through them gives you the perfect view of just how impressive they are, and you can get off along the way to walk down amongst the terraces. Stop somewhere here for lunch and a cold Bintang – it been a long day and you’ve earned it!
Dinner at Balinese home cooking
Grab an early dinner before drinks. Balinese Home Cooking is around 20 mins out of town. The food here was delicious! We really enjoyed the pork ribs and the traditional Balinese soup for entree. Everything on the menu sounded delicious – this is a great choice. Drop the scooter back home (drink driving is not cool) and make your way into town for drinks.
Drinks at Ibu Susu
These cocktails were absolutely amazing! I went for the salted caramel espresso martini and the jalepeno infused tequila margarita. Stick around for a few more drinks, bringing an end to your action packed Ubud trip!
Let me know if you went to any of the places above and what you thought of them!