To many, Bali is just another beach destination, but this diverse little island has so much more to offer only a few miles away. For those looking for a little change of scenery and slower pace, Ubud offers lush green landscapes, beautiful hikes and nature at its most majestic.
Here are some fantastic things to see, do and eat on a trip to the region.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Home to more than six hundred Balinese long-tailed monkeys (or macaques as they're known in English), Ubud's monkey forest is an animal lovers' paradise!
Whilst I'm always a little concerned about any tourist attraction that involves animals, this one does genuinely seem OK. The monkeys are free to come and go as they please, opting to enter visitor-restricted areas if they want a break, they're fed a species appropriate diet and their presence allows important conservation research.
Just be warned, if you have a banana, the monkeys will steal it!
Price: Rp 30,000
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Beautiful temples, undulating seas of tall green grass and vistas of the surrounding countryside as far as the eye can see - it is clear why the Campuhan Ridge Walk is a hugely popular local hike. And at 9km, it is an ideal way for visitors to the region to combine stunning Balinese scenery and a bit of exercise.
It's tiring work in the hot sun (which is why it's often recommended to visit early in the morning) but there are plenty of places to buy cool drinks and fresh coconut water along the way.
Depending how slowly you walk, and how many photos you take, allow 2 hours each way, beginning at Ibah Villas and Suites. The path is clearly signposted from here.
Long time readers of Along Dusty Roads will recall that we have a bittersweet relationaship with waterfalls - so few measure up to the expectations. And whilst we had more than a little rain during our afternoon visit to Tegenungan, I have to admit that it's pretty bloody impressive (and definitely worth the steep climb back up the hill once you're done!).
Lush green rainforest, crystal clear waters and a large pebble beach make this a perfect spot to cool off after a hot and sticky day.
Price: Rp 10,000
The famous rice terraces
Whilst some may travel to Ubud for a monkey encounter, it is the lush rice paddies and terraces that cover the area's landscape that capture the imagination.
For those with only limited time here, it is good to know that should you venture even a little out of the town, there are countless vibrant green fields and rolling hills, often filled with local workers and their iconic peaked hats, that await your discovery.
However, it is the wave-like terraces at Tegalalang that undoubtedly prove the most popular. This ancient land (legend has it that the terraces have been standing since the 8th Century) has long attracted tourists, and the local farmers have caught on - a number are happy to pose for a photo!
Dirty Duck Diner
You may be wondering why, as someone who hasn't touched duck for many, many years, I'm recommending this restaurant? Well it just so happens that The Dirty Duck Diner (known locally as Bebek Bengil), also happened to serve me the best vegetarian food I had in Indonesia!
Of course, the duck comes highly recommended too, but if you're looking for a meat free meal, make sure to try their Vegetarian Nasi Campur - I swear you won't be disappointed!
Getting to Ubud
First things first, you need to get to Bali. Thankfully, there are countless international flights arriving into Denpasar airport daily, and whilst there are no direct flights from the UK the route is incredibly popular - which means great deal can be had, even at short notice or during peak season. We recommend checking out Skyscanner for the best value flights, from across the UK.
Once you arrive in Denpasar, there are a number of ways to reach Ubud, depending upon your start point and your budget - the most popular being bemos (or minivans).
Bemos run frequently throughout the day (but rarely after 4 p.m.), originating from the airport. The actual rate is Rp. 8,000 per person, but as a foreigner don't be surprised if you're quoted closer to Rp. 50,000 - even excellent bargainers may struggle to get the price lower!
If you choose to take a taxi, remember that if it's only one way, you will be hit with a 30% surcharge to cover the driver's return to Kuta. Cost should be between Rp. 150,000 - 200,000 depending on where you start.
There are also a number of air-conditioned tourist shuttles that have regular departures to popular destinations all over the island. More information can be found at the airport, or in tourist information offices.
Want to experience the Indonesian countryside fist hand or meet some very friendly monkeys?
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Along Dusty Roads visited Indonesia as part of a project with Skyscanner and the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism - all views, spelling mistakes and photos are our own.