Lives in Sydney
Since Oct 2007
Ancient Ruins, Sacred & Religious Sites, Monuments & Statues
Sacred & Religious Sites
Caverns & Caves
Farms, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Flea & Street Markets
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Art Museums, Lessons & Workshops, Performances
Nature & Wildlife Areas
A visit to the stunning Gunung Kawi is a must for those who love to get away from the crowds, and experience absolutely amazing 11th century architecture. The beautifully carved stone temple can be seen across the Pakerisan River (once you get to the bottom of the steps and have crossed the little bridge), and you'll find Hindu monuments carved into the rock face on either side of the river. This is an absolutely beautiful and peaceful monument and is a must see in the area. The hardest part is the climb back up to the real world!
Tirta Empul Temple is located at Tampakskiring, just a short drive from Guning Kawi, and is a very easy site to visit as it is relaxing and refreshing. Tirta Empul has a holy spring and many Balinese make a pilgrimage here at least once a year. Plus, holy water from this spring is also taken home and used all over Bali in many Hindu ceremonies where the sprinkling of holy water is essential. While the spring, with its crystal clear water, is the main attraction here, there is also a large pool where worshipers can bathe and pray under each of the 12 different fountains.
Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave, is a significant site built in the 11th century (with certain vestiges dating back to the 9th century), and being located just a short flight of stairs down from the road makes accessing it fairly easy. While no actual elephants can be found here, there is a large 'Wantilan' (meeting hall) in the middle of the complex, and rock carvings surround its edges — both of which are well-worth exploring. The main attraction here however is a cave with three statues wrapped in red, yellow, and black cloths, where meditating monks once sat.
The Mask and Puppet museum is set on two hectares of beautifully-landscaped gardens, with numerous old joglos and other old buildings to explore. The collection of masks and puppets from Bali, other parts of Indonesia, and the world is just amazing, so please do take the time to spend an hour or two here — even the kids will adore this museum!
After all the sightseeing in the morning, what could be better than a great little restaurant with beautiful relaxing views of rice terraces in order to recharge your batteries?! You simply must try this one with views of the Sepat River Valley. You won't regret it.
Absolutely spectacular rice terraces only a short drive from Ubud, with dramatic views and wonderful photo opportunities — that's Tagalalang in a nutshell. The valley is narrow so the terraces are steep as they step down to the Sepat River Valley. If you are energetic, ask your guide to take you on a walk through the rice terraces, which are mostly on the opposite side of the valley to the road you drive on from Ubud. The road from Ubud also passes through many kilometers of craft shops, so don't hesitate to stop if something catches your eye — especially as goods here are far cheaper than in Ubud itself!
You really can't visit Ubud without at least one trip to the Art Market. Open every day from 8am to 6pm, and located opposite the Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Palace), you will find a range of arts and crafts, home ware, clothing, and other souvenirs here — the large majority of which are made in Indonesia. The variety of goods on sale can be quite overwhelming, but if you take the time to search, you're sure to find a treasure or two.
Ubud Palace lies at the center of downtown Ubud — at the crossroads of Jalan Raya Ubud and Jalan Monkey Forest. The palace was the original home of the Ubud princes, referred to as 'Tjokorda,' and even though the feudal system was superseded more than 80 years ago, the Tjokorkas still play a special role in both religious and secular sections of Ubud society, and remain well respected. The Ubud Palace is essentially a private home that was founded by the King of Ubud, between 1800-1823, and is composed of traditional Balinese houses, some of which have beautiful golf leaf applied to their wood work. The gardens are very pretty and the palace is a well known venue for traditional Balinese dance performances.
Ibu Oka is an Ubud institution, known the world over for its succulent Babi Guling, or roast suckling pig. This is a tiny but busy restaurant where roast park is the only item on the menu, and it's cheap to boot! The crackling is fantastically crisp and the sauce is made from a secret recipe. This is simple but simply delicious food!
This is actually a monkey sanctuary (where the macaque monkeys live protected), a nature reserve, and a complex of Hindu temples — all in the one beautiful forested area. There are plenty of staff members keeping a careful watch over the monkeys (and the tourists!) to make sure that there is no mischief making, and there are some 115 species of trees to explore here too, many of which are considered to be holy and used in various Balinese spiritual ceremonies. Plus, it is worth walking down the stairs to the right, shortly after the main entrance, just to see the small temples and the beautiful, peaceful areas away from the tourist crowds.
A beautifully tranquil garden greets you the minute you step off the busy road and into this museum — and this peaceful feeling accompanies you throughout your visit to the museum and its gardens. The art museum's collection includes paintings from artists all over the Indonesian archipelago, as well as foreign artists who have made Bali their home. The ARMA complex is also more than just a museum; many performances and workshops take place here, and there is even an on-site resort and restaurant to explore.
This is an art museum very unlike any other in Ubud, let alone in Bali! Antonio Blanco was an artist of Spanish origin who adored painting beautiful women, and this museum was built by him towards the end of his life. The architecture of the main building is based on the Renaissance style and is quite extraordinary in itself. Sadly Blanco died before his masterpiece was finished.
This is a great restaurant with absolutely delightful gardens and traditional wooden buildings. The cuisine is Indonesian, made with organic vegetables grown on the property, and with no MSG, which is a rare thing in Indonesian restaurants. The service is not always the best but the food certainly makes up for the lack of attention you may experience here. If in doubt, go for the Chicken Sate Rica Rica — absolutely my favorite dish on the menu!
If you want to see a more genuine dance performance than the ones that are often advertised in Ubud, or Bali in general, head to the Legong Dance and Barong performance at Tirta Sari and you won't be disappointed. It would be a shame to miss this one as it is absolutely delightful to watch!
Balinese food is just so delicious, and I'm sure we'd all love to be able to cook it — or at least learn some of its secrets! The best cooking class I have been to is this one, run by the delightful Puspa and Wayan, and which takes place in a traditional Balinese family home. A visit to the Ubud traditional market is a great start to your morning class (no market for afternoon classes), and then get ready for tons of fun as you chop, cut, and grind. Finally, you are rewarded for all your hard work when you sit down to the delicious meal you've prepared. A really great day for all the family to enjoy.
This is a great afternoon out for the whole family, and very relaxing if you have done the cooking class in the morning! There is truly something for everyone here. The marine park is fascinating, the safari ride is just fabulous, and the Agung Show at the Bali Theater here is something not to be missed. The performance features more than 180 dancers, live animals, and is all in all, an extremely sophisticated production. This is not a cheap afternoon out, but a very worthwhile one.