Oh my, how much I love Bali, its people, its culture, and its nature. It feels like home, like a big warm hug. I spent more than two months on this island in the past, and this October visited it once again for a short period of time.
Quite a few of you messaged me over on Instagram asking for recommendations about the BEST (in my humble experience) places to eat, where to practice yoga, and things to do. So, in this blog article, I am sharing exactly that.
This is part 1, where I focus on Ubud, and part 2 will follow sometime in the future about other areas of Bali.
Let's start with a waterfall...
Manuaba hidden waterfalls and a circular hike
When we visited the area, we encountered only a few individuals; hence, the name "Hidden Waterfall." It was so quiet, with only the sounds of nature around us. This seemed similar to the experience of other people from the reviews that I found online.
Around 20 min/9 km away from central Ubud, driving along this beautiful road that you can see on the left.
Entrance fee: 20k IDR per person. There is lots of space to park your scooter.
There are two waterfalls in the area (as you can see in the photos below), and you can visit them both while doing a circular hike. The hike itself is short, not challenging, and easy to follow, but bear in mind that there are steps, and you also walk in the shallow water at the end of the trail (so it might be a bit slippery). I did it barefoot, but some people might prefer non-slippery shoes.
It's also possible to swim in the second waterfall; however, the water was not very deep when I went there in October. Still so refreshing and so much fun to stand by the waterfall and experience its power!
My recommendation for you: at the end of this circular trail you will see this cute cafe (photos below) owned by Balinese people. I so recommend you to visit it, to buy a fresh coconut water, sit down and enjoy the view to the rice terraces.
Seniman Coffee Shop in Ubud
Oh my! This is THE BEST coffee roaster in the whole world. And trust me, I've been to many coffee shops. While staying in Bali, I was also undertaking my 300-hour yoga teacher training at the same time. With a substantial amount of studying to do, I spent several hours each day sitting at Seniman's big wooden table. Yes, studying AND drinking their coffees. I first visited Seniman coffee shop back in 2015 on my first trip in Bali and it was so lovely to be back again. Their staff is very knowledgeable and friendly, the coffee shop offers a variety of seating, including rocking chairs! Every coffee order is served with a little biscuit and a cup of water on a lovely wooden tray. They have delicious plant based milk and can perfectly foam it. I also brought back 2 kg of their coffee to Lithuania along with their raw cacao powder. So good! And who doesn't appreciate gifts that you can eat or drink? If you arrive by scooter, there is a designated space in front of the coffee shop for parking, and there is also a person working there available to assist you with it.
Sun Sun Warung - Balinese & Indonesian food
Located in the central Ubud, within a traditional Balinese family compound lies the BEST warung that I have tried in Bali (warung refers to a small family owned business - a small eatery or cafe).
I know I said that the Seniman coffee shop is the best one in the world, and here I'd like to say the same thing about this Balinese warung (once again, trust me, in my more than two months in Bali I ate in many delicious warungs). The food is so delicious, their tempeh and peanut sauce other worldly! They have plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, too. And people who work there... so friendly and caring.
My recommendation: go there early, as during peak meal times there is often a queue waiting (I'm not surprised at all as their food is so delicious!) AND make sure to try their veggie Nasi Campur plate (price 40k IDR), which you can see in the photo on the right with rice in the middle. You can also purchase peanut sauce in a jar for take away as a gift to bring back home. How sweet is that!
Alchemy Yoga and Meditation Center
Woah, what a place! Currently while writing this from snowy Lithuania I still remember the feeling of practising yoga at AYMC. The Shiva Shala is so spacious, and there is this gentle breeze coming in, caressing the skin, even on the days when it was very hot. My recommendation would be to purchase a bundle if you are staying in Ubud for a longer period of time and want to take part in many classes. Drop in price: 150 k IDR. Also, as much as I liked the practises that I took part in and loved the space, I would appreciate to see local Balinese teachers teaching there, too. During my time in Bali in 2015 I practised with Made Murni at the Yoga Barn. Made Murni is a local Balinese teacher and I would recommend you to go check her classes out as well.
Dini Bali Massage in central Ubud
We stumbled upon this massage centre on our first evening and visited them quite a few times during our time in Bali. Owned by local people, the space is clean, the massage therapist are kind and knowledgeable and the massages that we tried were very good and strong. We tried foot massage and Balinese massage several times with various therapists. The owner of the place also helped me to bring our scooter to the inner yard, as it's not possible to park next door, grateful for their hospitality. 30 min foot massage: 65 k IDR and 60 min Balinese massage: 110 k IDR (at the time of visiting in October, 2024).
***** That's it for now. Top 5 places in Ubud, even though there are so many more! If you found it useful and/or have any questions, welcome to leave a comment below or send me a message on Instagram. Terima kasih, Bali! Until next time!