Yoga, meditation, breathing classes, re-birthing, and tantric retreats. I may not be totally into these things but there are plenty of expats living in Ubud that are. This is the place you want to hang out if you want to eat healthy, breathe healthy and just live life simply.
Most long-term expats stay just outside of the Ubud city centre but come in regularly for meals and yoga classes. Their places range from a simple room in a share house, a mini apartment in a kost, or a villa that may come with a maid, cook, security man, and nanny.
Realistically, you could stay in a one bed villa for a month or two in Ubud and all it would cost you is around USD $800 a month. Included in this rate would be electricity usage and a maid. The other help such as a security man and a nanny would cost extra. Around USD $200 per month for each staff member.
Ubud city centre is full of quality restaurants ranging from a Cuban restaurant to very simple cafes serving raw desserts and fresh green juices. Whatever cuisine you desire, you can find it in Ubud, especially if it's healthy.
Some of the restaurants are unbelievably pricey. Of course, we didn't head into those places but hopefully their food is worth it. You can get absolutely delicious food for under AUD $5 per meal including a drink if you shop around a bit.
Our favourite restaurant in Ubud was at Warung Rai Pasti. For the two of us, our meals were no more than AUD $9. One day, for lunch, we had a delicious vegetarian pizza, stir fried tempe and a large 1.5L water between us for IDR 63800. That is just under AUD $6.40. They also had great wifi. We ate at this restaurant nearly every day!
The majority of restaurants and cafes in Ubud offer free wifi. Depending where you choose to dine, you may have a view of the rice paddies or a view of the main road. Wifi is a bit hit and miss in Ubud and in Bali in general. In some places, the internet connection works really well, in others loading a Google search page can be time consuming process.
Hint: Cinta Grill has a brilliant wifi connection. Choose a table undercover on the wall opposite the bar. There is power and a ceiling fan here too. Beware of the prices of the meals though.
Sounds great doesn't it? Well, there is more!
The city centre is kind of shaped like a wonky rounded sided rectangle. The walkways are a bit iffy with some holes but it is very walkable going up and down little hills. Andrew and I decided that if we were to hang out in Ubud centre long term we would get up at 5:30am* and jog the city centre. It would make a really nice route. Any time after 7am or before 8pm, the roads are too busy and you would have to jog on the not-so-run-worthy sidewalks. (* - as if!)
The volume and intensity of the street hawkers is not as great as elsewhere in Bali. Of course you still get bothered in Ubud. There are many people out on the sidewalks trying to convince you to eat at their restaurant, have a massage at their spa, and take a ride in their car. The difference in Ubud? Well, the people are so relaxed and calm that they frequently just hold up signs rather than following you down the street. Now, that is lazy!
I mentioned the yoga and tantric classes earlier. Ubud is the place to locate yourself if you want to take control of your body and mind. Along with these classes, you can take a ballet class as an adult, learn a trapeze act, and of course learn how to make the best sate ayam you have ever eaten. Classes for everything and everyone.
Feel like shopping? Ubud has some of the best shopping in Bali. The clothes are stylish, artistic flavours everywhere, and the jewellery is amazing. We met a lady who went to a jewellery class and made herself a silver leaf necklace. The jeweller walked her through the process.
Accommodation wise, Ubud has a room for everyone. You can stay in a villa on the outskirts of town and still be able to experience everything that Ubud has to offer, Alternatively you can stay right in the centre, like we did. Choose a place that is on a lane way off the main roads and you won't even feel like you are in the city centre.
We stayed in a very large king bed room at Ubud Dream Homestay. We had a fantastic stay here. Our room had air-con and a very hot shower. No television or fridge though. The Internet was a little iffy at times but we had a fantastic little office on a balcony overlooking a garden and various yoga classes. Who needed TV when you could watch people!
Every morning, we had breakfast on the balcony. It consisted of something different every day. An omelette toasty or a pancake. Always with a fruit platter and tea or coffee. Yum yum yum! Our room was around AUD $30 per night. They have cheaper fan rooms available.
We checked out some other hotels and guest houses while we were in Ubud. Some were very basic and poor in quality yet were asking top price. Others were fantastic! Prices for an aircon room range from $15 per night all the way up into the $300s or more.
We prefer air-con rooms when we sleep. It is important to know that Ubud is a lot cooler than in other parts of Bali. Air-con isn't entirely necessary. We just prefer it.
Last but not least, beyond the buildings, the natural environment truly is beautiful. Ubud is surrounded by hills, rice paddies and lots of greenery making it incredibly scenic. Unfortunately there is no beach nearby.
While Ubud is lovely Andrew and I feel like we would get a little bored here. There's always the option of joining some classes but most of them don't hold much appeal for us. Plus, access to the beach really would be nice. For those who are more into yoga Ubud could be a perfect place to base yourself. It has a lot to offer, it's just not a great fit for us.