Bali’s been in the news recently for a lot of unpleasant reasons, but today’s post is all about beautiful Ubud (skip to end for volcano)! Ubud is a fantastic city in Bali, Indonesia, full of vibrant culture, delicious food and buckets of culture. It’s a wonderful place to walk around and explore, and if you’re in the mood to buy a couple souvenirs, you’re in the right place.
While the city has plenty to offer, it’s really the surrounding area that holds all the hidden gems. Here are 7 things you can’t afford to miss near Ubud:
This is the main one on anyone’s Bali bucketlist. If you can get there for sunrise, we’d highly recommend it; incredible light and less crowds. If you happen to bump into the farmer there, play your cards right and you might find yourself with a coconut and a musical serenade.
This is another place worth the early start. We made it for sunrise and it was already hot and busy! Drones and joggers everywhere so getting any photos without people is going to be tough. Start right in the heart of Ubud and walk along the ridge into the rice paddies at the far end. It took us about 40 minutes at a decent pace; I wouldn’t have wanted to do this past about 8am – it gets seriously sweaty.
Tukad Cepung waterfall was probably our favourite on the trip. We’d gone expecting light rays, but it wasn’t to be that morning! The journey down takes the form of a lot of rather large steps, and eventually you’ll find yourself in a cave. Find somewhere reasonably dry for your things and step into the stunning falls. This one gets busy, so again, all the more reason to visit while everyone else is heading home!
Tibumana is another waterfall that you’ll find at the bottom of long staircase (not as bad as Tukad Cepung). The waterfall comes right from the rice fields (we were told), so after the rain the water tends to turn a little brown. With that being said, isn’t that rock just the perfect place for a photo? It’s almost as if it was put there on purpose. For a unique view, you can also swim out to the cave at the back!
If you want to see some wildlife, this one (as the name suggests) might be for you – official name “Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary”. 50,000 Rupiah entry for more monkeys than you can shake a stick at, especially if you buy a bunch of bananas. The monkeys here are all well fed and well taken care of; it’s a pleasure to see them in their natural habitat.
Kanto Lampo is one of the few cascading waterfalls that we came across near Ubud; and it’s truly a landscape photographer’s dream (if you can get far enough away from the spray). Find yourself a driver that knows where he’s going, or try to figure it out with a scooter! Make sure to give a donation to the local community on your way through.
This is the one that everyone goes to. It’s a complete zoo, but I suppose you can’t say you’ve done all the sights unless you’ve done it as well. It sounds like, yet again, going for sunrise is the best time! Entrance is 15k per person, with another 20k if you want to cross the river and climb the waterfall (the other side of the river is owned by another village). The water can come down in torrents after it’s rained, so best to go when it’s a little drier.
Before we end this post, we just wanted to mention something about the present volcano situation in Bali. If you’ve been following the news recently, you might have spotted that Bali’s most active volcano, Mt. Agung, is currently in the process of erupting, rather spectacularly. If you haven’t seen it in the news, check out our buddy Emilio’s epic photo that’s gone viral around the world.
Unfortunately, the continuing threat of the volcanic eruption has seen Bali suffer immensely in the form of reduced tourism. For an island whose revenue is largely dependant on tourism , the volcano has cost the island at least $114M, and the cost is only rising every day.
The truth is, the evacuation zone is only a very small part of the island, and most of the incredible island is still very safe to visit. In fact, while everyone else is cancelling their trip, now is the perfect time to visit (once the airport reopens of course).
Well, as is the curse with any popular tourist destination, it inevitably suffers from overcrowding. Rewind 6 months and a visit to any of the most popular tourist sites in Bali would mean fighting through a sea of tourists. If you visit now you might actually have a chance to see Bali as it was 20 years ago.. and if you’re a photographer, you might finally be able to get your shot without having to worry about photo-bombers.
If that isn’t enough reason, don’t forget you’d get to see one of the greatest shows on earth in real life (the volcano erupting)!
If you’re on the island right now, or you’re visiting in the near future, and you think you might like to actually watch the volcano from a ‘deemed’ safe distance, then you seriously need to check out an incredible restaurant called Mahigiri. It lies around 12.6km from Mt. Agung, outside of the 10km evacuation zone and hopefully well away from any potentially devastating pyroclastic flows.
If you do make it there, it has one of the most incredible views of the Mt. Agung that you can possibly imagine. Sat on a hillside without obstruction, you can sit and enjoy a buffet lunch with totally unadulterated views. As if that wasn’t enough, you can support a great local restaurant whose business has been hammered by the volcanic disruption.
Check out this view!
Hope you enjoyed our 7 things to do near Ubud (plus the volcano)! Feel free to write a comment if you enjoyed it or would like any more information!
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