Ubud is one of our family's favourite stops when staying in Bali, and a must for anyone who wants to see the cultural side of the popular Asian destiantion. We can't get enough of the scenic hikes, variety of talented local artisans, private pools perched at the edge of the jungle, tranquil visits to sacred temples, and the mouthwatering local fare that is served at every corner. Here is a guide that will help you have an unforgettable luxury vacation on your next trip to Bali.
Where to Eat:
Spice by Chris Salans
- Celebrity Chef Chris Salans, the founder of Mozaic restaurant in Bali, serves up mouthwatering fusion fare at his Ubud establishment. The impressive menu fuses Western cooking techniques with Balinese flavours and ingredients to create a culinary journey that will please any foodie. We loved the open bar, rustic and chic design and innovative dishes and cocktails. Highlights include the fragrant Beef Rendang Cromesquis, flavourful Pork Belly & Crispy Skin, and fresh Pan Seared Barramundi Fillet.
Copper Kitchen & Bar
- Located in the chic and immaculately designed Bisma Eight boutique hotel, Copper Kitchen & Bar is the ideal spot for a mouthwatering culinary treat. You'll be drawn to the stylish and intimate design alongside fresh produce and innovative dishes. Many of the ingredients are sourced from Bisma Eight’s own sustainable farm with recipes paying homage to its location in beautiful Ubud. We highly recommend the fresh and flavourful Asparagus with Smoked Quail Egg, the tender Grilled Sumac Spiced Lamb Cutlets with Almond Tarator, and the melt in your mouth 12-Hour Miso-Braised Short-Rib with Crispy Garlic and Potato Puree.
Apertif Restaurant & Bar
- Aperitif is the newest addition to Bali’s fine dining scene and is located in the luxurious and romantic Viceroy Bali, Ubud. We were instantly wowed by the grand and elegant space which would suit any black tie event. The bar, accented with deep brown leather sofas and ambient lighting, serves up perfectly mixed handcrafted cocktails alongside creative canapes. In the main dining room, Executive Chef Nic Vanderbeeken has created a tempting menu of global cuisine using creative techniques and the finest ingredients grown locally and abroad. The tasting menu is a must try for any foodie and included dishes such as delicate Ceviche with Leche de Tigre and Coconut Milk, flavourful Wagyu Beef Tartare with Quail Egg and Pumpkin Meringue, and a signature Venison Wellington with Foie Gras and Truffle. The desserts were equally impressive and were presented as elevated renditions of well loved childhood treats.
- Kubu, set beside the beautiful Ayung River, is a uniquely designed fine dining restaurant located at the luxurious Mandapa, A Ritz Carlton Reserve. We loved sitting in the other-worldly wooden pods and soaked up the intimate ambiance and majestic river views. The staff are attentive and ready to make every dinner memorable, serving a delicious western menu with Indonesian touches. Highlights include the refreshing Tuna Crudo with Burrata Pugliese and Tomato Essence, indulgent Mascarpone and Eggplant Ravioli with Cod Fish and Smoked Ricotta, and the juicy and mouthwatering Wagyu Beef Rib Eye with Braised Tongue and Beef Jus.
- This Ubud eatery received Anthony Bourdain's stamp of approval. The signature is their fall of the bone, juicy marinated pork spare ribs. The ribs are slow cooked for hours and slathered in the famous house bbq sauce. Once ordered they're barbecued on a simple open grill at the front of the restaurant so you can be tempted by the inviting aroma before they're decadently served at the table. The space is humble and friendly, prices are affordable, and kids will love getting their hands dirty to satisfy their appetite.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3
- You can't visit Bali without trying the local dish, Babi Guling, and this Ubud institution serves a traditional and mouthwatering version of the well loved roast pork speciality. Located down a small alley, the rustic and open space is popular with both locals and tourists. The restaurant only serves babi guling and is simply presented on paper plates alongside fragrant white rice, spicy vegetables, and rich blood sausage. You can't beat the strong punch of spicy flavours and the price tag is under $5.00. A local eat that everybody must try before leaving Ubud. Order just rice and pork for little ones so they miss out the spicy fixings.
Things to Do:
- Ubud's most famous residents are the cheeky and playful monkeys who call Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary home. Be prepared to hang on to your belongings and be on the lookout for a few aggressive encounters, but overall it's a fun and lively experience you won't soon forget. Entrance is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children. Travel tip: If you aren't keen to be surrounded by the over 1000 macaques that live in the monkey forest, just grab a coffee at a cafe across the street and you'll see plenty of them running around without coming in close contact.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
- Even non-hikers will love this easygoing, scenic walk through the natural side of Ubud. Immerse in the lush greenery and find tranquility while gazing at rolling hilltops and swaying palm trees. The path is well paved and even suitable for young children. If you need a rest and drink, stop at Karsa Cafe along the way. Enjoy fresh juices and picturesque views as well as an affordable menu of local food.
- There is something about Ubud that makes you feel insanely zen. Maybe it's the lush jungle surroundings, calming Balinese music, or aromatherapy that seems to permeate every restaurant, spa, and hotel. The mood makes it a perfect opportunity to try a few yoga and meditation classes during your stay. The Yoga Barn offers classes for all levels so whether you are a beginner or seasoned yogi, there will be something for you. A healthy activity is you have teens that want to do something different during their vacation. They also host detox programs, wellness retreats, and an Ayurvedic spa if you are really looking to reset and rejuvenate.
Ubud Art Market
- Retail therapy and culture all in one place. Ubud Art Market is constantly buzzing and has a variety of Balinese trinkets, clothing, fabric, and homewares that will ensure you'll be paying excess baggage on the way home. Make sure to delve deeper into the hidden corners to find the true treasures and grab an iconic photo next to the clusters of straw bags which adorn the majority of stalls at the market. Our favourite buys have been wooden bowls and cutlery, large straw bags and baskets for home storage and decor, and dreamcatchers for our children's bedrooms.
Pura Tirta Empul
- Pura Tirta Empul is a holy spring water temple located just outside the center of Ubud. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu God of Water, and is often named as one of the most holy temples in Bali. The local Balinese dip their heads under the water fountains in a purification ritual known as 'melukat'. Visitors to this holy temple can pay an entrance fee and participate in the purification ritual during their visit. The holy springs run through 30 waterspouts into the two sacred purification pools creating a stunning and enlightening sight. Make sure to wander the picturesque and historic grounds and kids will love feeding the koi before departing.
Where to Stay:
The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah
- Set in Ubud’s beautiful rice paddy fields, The Chedi Club is the perfect Ubud sanctuary. We loved the rustic, traditional charm that ran throughout the resort and the incredibly personal service provided by each villa’s own private butler. The 2 bedroom pool villas are ideal for families with two large bedrooms, a spacious lounge and a perfectly refreshing private pool. The outdoor bath tub was a favourite for our kids, as were the beautiful grounds where they could run and engage with nature. Taking a walk through the The Chedi Club’s traditional grounds is a must and a twice weekly traditional Balinese performance was a true highlight of our stay. Don't miss a meal or two at the main restaurant surrounded by nostalgic rice paddy fields serving mouthwatering Balinese and Western fare.
Kupu Kupu Barong
- Kupu Kupu Barong, set in the alluring Ubud jungle, is an ideal resort to immerse in nature while having access to luxurious villas and five star amenities. The Family Pool Villa is perfect for those traveling with small children, complete with an infinity pool overlooking jungle and river views. The resort’s butler service ensures you have personalized care and attention throughout your stay and don't miss a visit to their award winning Tree Spa.
Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- If you're budget can stretch further there's no better place for an unforgettable trip than Mandapa, A Ritz Carlton Reserve. Set along the Ayung River you'll be treated to serene privacy, stunning rice paddy filled grounds, memorable riverside picnics, champagne afternoon teas, and the ultimate in five star service. Book a private pool villa and find yourself immersed in nature alongside your five star accommodation. Their butler service ensures that all of your needs are met and the variety of dining experiences and facilities means you will never want to leave. The outdoor kids club, Mandapa Camp, includes an organic garden, bamboo hut that features a slide from the second to first floor, and an educational farm where young explorers can tend to the resort’s cow, chickens, ducks, and more.