Oh Bali, how you stole my heart! I spent SO many months planning and getting excited for Bali, and I never expected it would be as amazing as it was. The people, the food, the environment… everything was just so perfect. I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share a few things we did and some recommendations we have if you plan on traveling to Ubud, Bali.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at three places and they all gave us such different experiences. Each time we left a villa and the staff I felt so incredibly sad. At all three places the staff was beyond helpful and sweet and each person we came across holds a special place in my heart!
Ubud Villa: I am so happy we started our honeymoon here. It was a bohemian dream come true. The entire villa was completely private, but also completely open to the outdoors. The villa offered one of the most unique experiences, placing us right in the middle of the jungle! When you opened the windows you could nearly touch the trees. It was unlike anything either of us have ever experienced. As soon as you walk in the door there was a stunning plunge pool, a bathroom that was decorated to perfection, and a view that was amazing to wake up to. You can book the Ubud Villa here.
Bennu House: Bennu house took us out from the jungle and right into the rice fields. Like our other villa, the views were amazing and all the details in the house made it so charming. Not to mention the outdoor bath. One of my favorite memories from the trip was the night I filled up the bath with hot water and sat underneath the stars admiring the beauty and trying to take in every moment. If you stay at the Bennu House, make sure you ask the staff to arrange the at home Balinese Cuisine dinner. A chef comes directly to your villa and cooks right in front of you. HOLY MOLY it was amazing. At the Bennu House we had the opportunity to spend almost 2 hours talking to one of the locals. It was really eye opening to speak with him and compare the differences between our cultures. He was so happy he had the opportunity to speak with us and the feeling was certainly mutual. He really was the sweetest. If you’d like to stay at the Bennu House book it here.
Four Seasons Bali at Sayan: From the moment we were on the property, it wasn’t hard to figure out why Four Seasons Bali at Sayan was a 5 star hotel and ranked one of the best hotels IN THE WORLD! There was so much to review about our stay at Four Seasons, so I actually did a blog post dedicated specifically to Four Seasons here. Or just let the video above speak for itself.
WHERE TO EAT
Yellow Flower Cafe: A MUST! Our favorite place to eat BY FAR was Yellow Flower Cafe. It is tucked up in the jungle of Ubud with the most beautiful view you will ever see. The manager of our first villa was actually the manager of the cafe. The food was soooo good. My favorite thing to get was the Super Energy Bowl (I posted it a few times on my Insta stories). I’m totally craving one right now!
Banana Leaf Cafe: This was just a short walk away from one of our villas. They had the BEST chicken quesadilla I have ever had (not kidding). I ordered it and was bummed that they didn’t have any dipping sauces (I have to dip everything in some type of sauce… usually ranch). I thought I wouldn’t like it, but as soon as I took a bite I was like OH MY GOODNESS! It was the best quesadilla… ever… seriously! They also had something called angel fries that Charles & I scarfed down very quickly!
WHAT TO DO
We spent a lot of our time relaxing at our villas, but we definitely spent a good amount of time exploring too. Here are a few things you have to do in Ubud.
Sacred Monkey Forest: This was one of the coolest/scariest things we did. The Sacred Monkey Forest is a big tourist attraction in Ubud where you can get up close and personal with the monkeys of Bali. It was amazing to be walking literally inches away from the monkeys but, like with any wild animal, you never know what it is going to do which made me a little nervous. I did a lot of research before going here and we were definitely prepared. If you are going, do NOT bring in anything really important to you like jewelry, sunglasses, etc. The monkeys like it and will steal it from you… and you won’t get it back! If you want to bring water take a backpack that you can zip it up inside because the monkeys really like the water bottles. Keep all your important belongings inside the backpack until you exit the forest. As far as phones, you can bring them in and take photos, but I wouldn’t leave it hanging out of your pockets.
If you are going to Ubud you should really make a trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest. It really is an amazing experience!
Sedona Spa: This spa was pretty close to the first villa we stayed at and it was amazing! We ended up paying about $20USD per person for an hour and a half couples massage with a milk bath to finish (with lots of flower petals, of course). Definitely take advantage of the spas in Bali because they are so cheap and well worth the money. There are tons and tons of spas which makes it really convenient to get a massage. Sedona spa just happened to be our favorite.
Scuba Diving: Okay, so I know this post is about Ubud, but I wanted to add this in too (even though it took place in Jimbaran). If you didn’t already know Ubud is a jungle. There aren’t any beaches close by, but one thing Charles kept saying he wanted to do in Bali was go scuba diving. We drove about two hours to the closest beach and did just that. Let me just tell you this was SO SCARY!!! I have an irrational fear of open water and sharks (oh hey, shark week!) so I bet you can imagine how I felt. When we got on the boat I kept turning around to see the shore get farther and farther away. In my head I was like “Oh we are still going. Okay we are still going. Uhhh we are still driving straight out into the ocean. I. CAN. DO. THIS.” haha. It was definitely really cool to see some of the beautiful fish up close and even feed them… but I did all of that while having a TIGHT grip on the guide!!! If you are a thrill-seeker or just want to see the ocean life up close, scuba diving is a great option!
City Exploring: The best part about Bali, hands down, was the people. They treated everyone with such respect and it was completely different from how people treat each other here in America. The city was kind of crowded, but it is the best way to interact with the people of Bali. I loved walking through the city and seeing all the unique handcrafted items in all the shops. Make sure you grab a couple woven bags to bring home! Be prepared to negotiate prices. You can usually get a good deal by buying multiple items at once, or just talking them down on the price. We scored a lot of things for really good prices.
Cab Drivers: The first thing I would recommend is finding a driver BEFORE you go… and make sure you are getting a fair price. We arrived in Bali and immediately got a taxi. It was the middle of the night and we were just trying to get to our hotel and away from the commotion of the airport. While we were in our taxi Charles was searching the taxi rates, only to find out our driver was charging us the equivalent of a 3 hour drive, for a 5 minute drive (no joke!). We tried talking the driver down and telling him that price was absolutely not fair. He ended up speeding through the streets and taking us back to the airport. It was actually really frightening. After that, we found two honest drivers that we stuck with for the rest of the trip. Just to avoid the brain damage, I would highly suggest setting up a driver to pick you up from the airport.
Stray dogs: There were SO MANY stray dogs in Bali. It made me sad, but it honestly didn’t look like they were malnourished or anything. I think the locals feed them pretty well and they even have stores with bowls of dog food outside of them. It was really cool. A quick tip… stray dogs means stray poop. There was a lot of close calls where one of us almost stepped right into poop. Make sure when you are walking you are scanning the ground so you don’t end up with a shoe full of poop! ;)
Bugs: Keep in mind that Ubud is smack dab in the middle of a jungle which means bugs… and a lot of them. But also keep in mind that I absolutely DESPISE any sort of creepy crawler and for some reason it just seemed fitting for Bali and I still enjoyed every moment of it. Charles told me a few times he was so surprised how well I was taking sharing our villas with lizards and bugs. Honestly, I don’t know how I did it because the thought of it really freaks me out haha.
Medication: One of the nights that we were in Bali, I woke up in the middle of the night and started feeling extremely sick. My head was pounding, my stomach was aching, I had the chills and I just knew things were not right. It ended up lasting all night and the whole next day, which meant I was down and we had to stay in the villa (but I’m not complaining that we were “stuck” in the villa). Anyways, we needed something for my fever and I didn’t bring any medication with us so we had to go to the city and buy some Bali medication which was kind of sketchy. Don’t forget to bring any medication you may need and pack some extra just in case!
I definitely left a piece of my heart in Bali. I was a basket case when we were leaving and I was completely heartbroken to be leaving such an amazing place with such amazing people behind. When we were driving in the cab to the airport, I was sitting in the back seat crying haha! Charles and I had the experience of a lifetime and we are already anxious to go back!