how to be a tourist in ubud

1. hang out with some monkeys at ubud monkey forest

This is home to about 600 crab-eating macaques, also known as Balinese long-tailed monkeys. They roam freely around the park, so make sure to keep your belongings/valuables close to you, as they have been known to grab things. You’re not allowed to touch or feed them, but you are allowed pictures as long as you keep a safe distance. You also have the option of paying $3 USD to the park ranger to help you take a photo with the monkey, so that it looks the monkey is taking a selfie. It was a $3 well spent for such a unique photo op. We spent about an hour walking around the park

2. go shopping at ubud market

This is where I bought the majority of my Bali souvenirs. They have your typical magnets, T-shirts, keychains, etc. but also have some unique local items. If you plan to buy multiple of something, make sure you try to haggle to get a better deal. My trick is to offer half of what they tell you the price is (since they will always start higher), and be willing to walk away if it’s not the price you want

3. Explore the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

I would recommend going early, right when it opens. 1. It gets unbearably hot later in the day. You’ll be walking around and climbing the terraces and there is little to no shade. They open at 8 but we got there closer to 9 and the sun was already beating down on us by 9:30. 2. The later it gets, the more people there are, which is obvious. But not just any people. All of the influencers swarm here, looking to get the perfect shot. They also have swings here (extra fee), that swings out into the paddies (which is probably safe?) so that is a really popular shot. As I mentioned, there is a bit of hiking to do so I have no idea how these influencers were able to wear long flowy dresses with flip flops. I was already struggling in my shorts/sneakers. In total, we spent about an hour there before we were over it, and just needed to get out of the heat

4. Marvel at all the details of Goa Gajah

It’s a temple, also known as Elephant Cave, due to the cave’s resemblance to an elephant. You’ll find lots of menacing faces carved into the cave, which is supposed to ward off evil spirits. Both men and women will need to cover their knees but if you are not wearing the appropriate attire, they will provide a sarong for you to borrow

5. Admire the ancient carvings of Pura Dalem

In Balinese, “pura” means temple, and “dalem” means death. If you look carefully at all the carvings and statues, you’ll see that many of them have similar menacing faces, just like at Goa Gajah. As with any Balinese temple, your knees need to be covered and if they are not, they’ll provide a sarong for you. Every Sunday and Tuesday, they have a Kecak Fire Dance, which tells the story of Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic. I really wanted to check it out but the timing just didn’t work out. Be weary of people in front of the temples trying to sell you tickets. They ask for x amount of money, give you an unofficial looking paper and will tell you to come back at showtime (which by then, that person will probably be nowhere to be found). I was so desperate to watch, that I was almost willing to chance it but Ben convinced me not to. And I’m glad he did because there was actually no Kecak Dance that night

6. check out ubud palace

It’s not as intricate as Pura Dalem, but if you have the time, the two are within close walking distance to each other

7. Go for a stroll at the Campuhan Ridge Walk

I use the term, ‘stroll’, lightly because it does get EXTREMELY hot, since there is practically no shade. With that said, I’d recommend you go early in the morning. We came at around 10:30, and it was already sweltering, so be sure to bring plenty of water. The trail is about 2.4 miles long. It leads into a small town, where you’ll see lots of rice paddies, some cute houses, and warungs (small restaurant) if you need a food or coconut water break

The last two are not specific to Ubud, but Ubud is where we happened to experience it:

8. Relax your muscles with a $10 USD/hour massage

There are lots of clean and reputable massage places, but you just have to do your research. The massages are no frills, no thrills, similar to the ones in Thailand – so don’t expect a spa-level massage. We did also do a massage at our hotel in Ubud, which was really nice. Even that was inexpensive, compared to the States. An hour-long massage was about $60 USD

9. Cook some traditional Balinese dishes at a Balinese cooking class

We got to learn how to make nine different dishes, including a spice paste, sweet fried tempe, peanut sauce, klepon cake, mie goreng (fried noodles), lawar Bali (mixed salad), fried chicken, grilled chicken steamed in a banana leaf, and chicken satay. The class was a bit long since it started out at the local market, and then a visit to some rice paddies – but it was interesting and fun to learn about all of the ingredients and the cooking techniques

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