Our favourite thing on Bali is without a doubt the super cosy town of Ubud. Or actually we should say: the super cosy 14 villages, because that is what Ubud actually is. Over the past 10 years Ubud has grown at the seams due to the large influx of tourists. The immediate surroundings of the 14 villages has fortunately lost little charm. Keep in mind that the centre can be quite busy with many traffic jams.
Best travel time for Ubud
Ubud is located in the hills so it is just a bit cooler than on the coast. This is especially true for the evenings. During the day – partly because of the high humidity – it can be quite stuffy. Try to do as many of your planned, strenuous activities in the morning or late afternoon as possible.
There is only one period in the year when it is best to avoid Ubud, and that is December through February or March in our winter months. It rains a lot and the high humidity doesn’t make it so pleasant anymore.
Apart from the friendly, relaxed atmosphere we experienced, Ubud is also a great place to spend a large part of your stay in Bali because of the landscape and the vast number of things to do. At least a week in any case.
The main historical attractions and temples are located outside the city. We recommend you to make use of the many tours that are organised to visit several of them at least.
Of course, you can also go out on your own. Arrange for a guide so that you not only enjoy nature and the landscape but also learn more about particularly interesting cultural and spiritual facts. A real loss if you don’t do this!
Furthermore, you can do fantastic cycling, rafting and hiking in the area and enjoy nature and many, beautiful green sawah. But not all highlights are outside the city. One of the things that we ourselves found very nice and special within the city was the monkey forest.
The monkey forest
The over-12-hectare monkey forest in Ubud is located in the village of Padangtegal. The inhabitants of this village consider the forest an important centre for spirituality, education and information, research and nature conservation.
The forest has about 700 macaques (monkey species) and 186 tree species. Furthermore, you have temples from the middle of the 14th century and other holy places, but these are not accessible for tourists unless you want to go in to pray.
From a distance, we liked the monkeys very much and it was so photogenic to see. Where else on earth can you find so many wild animals walking loose in the middle of a town or village? Although we only enjoyed it, we also heard and read stories about visitors to the forest who were attacked by ‘aggressive’ monkeys.
The animals often block the path. If you don’t walk around it with a big stick it can happen that they approach you to see if you have any food with you.
According to the park management, the monkeys are free of rabies but we wouldn’t like to take their word for it. Make certain therefore and don’t take any food with you in the forest at all. No plastic or paper bags either (not even plastic drinking water bottles). If you accidentally bring something the monkeys are interested in and pull out of your hands, try not to take it back because you will definitely lose this battle!
We hope the above doesn’t deter you from visiting the forest because the forest park remains a beautiful environment with special animals. When we were there we often had to go through the park because our hotel – seen from the centre – was on the other side of the forest. All these times we could reach our hotel without any problems from the monkeys.
The forest park is open from 8:30 am to 6 pm. The entrance is approximately €3.