Ubud Beyond the Monkey and the Bebek


Ubud is the type of Bali destination I never grow tired of. No matter how often I’ve been to Ubud, its’ amazing forests, hills and scenery always lure me back and invite me to explore.

Most of the time people go to Ubud for a day trip and then head back to their base in the beachy area. It is however worth the while to spend a couple of nights in Ubud for some chilling and adventuring with the family.

What to do in Ubud

You did the Monkey Forest, strolled the market, binged at Ibu Oka, visited Ketut Liyer and now what? Instead of packing up and asking Wayan the driver to bring you back to the beach, stick around and drive to Taro instead for the beautifully maintained Elephant Safari Park. Yours truly took an early drive to Taro and the road itself was a festive adventure for the eyes. I gave my kids the iPod and they started taking films of the sawah-laden and ceremony-filled street and before you know it, you arrive at the gorgeous Elephant Safari Park. The entrance fee at Taro may be quite pricey (about 350 – 450 ribu for adults and between 250 – 350 ribu for kids, termasuk elephant ride), but I really think it is worth your hard-earned rupiahs. We spent almost half a day there to stroll around the well-maintained park, saw many healthy and thriving elephants doing cool tricks and we also did the elephant ride through the huge safari area. Guaranteed that your kids get back to the hotel in a tired and super happy state.

More outdoorsy activities not far from Ubud and in Ubud itself are numerous. The best way to find out fun stuff is to get yourself a brochure or a Bali Today magazine at the stands in your hotel or restaurant to see what’s going on there. I picked up on such a gazette at my favorite the Honeymoon Bakery at Casa Luna, which happens to sell one of the best cheese cakes I ever tasted, and not much later my kids did the butterfly walk nearby the center of Ubud.

For a dose of culture, just a kilometer or two away from Central Ubud is the Setiadarma House of Masks and Puppets. The owners have an incredible passion for antique puppets, masks and wayang dolls from Indonesia, Indochina and Africa. The collections are carefully housed and artfully exhibited in four different joglos on a lush 1 hectare piece of land. Kids can freely run around the tropical gardens in between the visits of each joglo. What I found charming was that there is no entrance fee and you can donate whatever amount you want to give, also for the in-house guides who show you around.

My favorite thing to do in Ubud so far was the walk to Sari Organik. A friend who is also an Ubud native, walked with us through a narrow road meant only for pedestrians and motorcycles, and after a 500m walk surrounded by quaint sceneries we stopped at Pomegranate, just a few gardens before Sari Organik. The round minimalist stage roofed with a large white tent is a comfortable place for lying down accompanied with healthy pitas and hummus. Adventurous kids may want to stroll through the ricefields while the lazy parents overlook their attempt from the comfortable stage on a beanie bag.


Other things to do in Ubud:

  1. Rafting and trekking
  2. Rumah Topeng dan Wayang (Setiadarma)
  3. Biking (HappyBikeTour)
  4. Yoga (YogaSwahaKids)

Rumah Topeng dan Wayang Setia Darma

Yoga Swaha Kids

Where to stay in Ubud

  1. Warwick Ibah because of its’ Treetop suites right next to the steep forest and river. It’s like sleeping in the middle of the woods, yet in a super comfortable area.
  2. D’omah for Warwick Purser luxury and great budget prices
  3. Bali T house for an ecological and nature friendly experience
  4. Panorama hotel is in the super budget segment, but their Suites are very decent. It is located in the center near Bebek Bengil and right next to the cheap and delicious Pizza Bagus

Where to eat

The amount of good eats aside from Nuris and Bebek Bengi is in abundance.

Try the following recommended spots :

  1. Pizza Bagus for healthy and wholesome pizzas and pastas. Plus they serve an awesome Levico (apple, carrot and beetroot) and a wicked ayam suir sambal matah
  2. Pomegranate for the location and the walk towards the location. The food is super healthy and organic, just like the neighbouring Sari Organik. Enjoy the arak cocktail while your kids have fun exploring the ducks and sawah
  3. Minami for the warm and cozy atmosphere in a Japanese gourmet restaurant. The lovely staff will happily entertain your kids in the beautiful garden while you dig into your wakame salad and sushi or while you quick-visit the Biasa boutique next door



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