Perhaps made most famous by Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud is known locally as the epicentre of Bali’s arts scene. Located deep in the jungle, about an hour’s taxi ride from Denpasar (~400,000 Rupiah), Ubud should be stop number-one on your must-visit list. Upon arriving, you will have a choice of accommodation ranging from five-star spas, to backpacker’s bungalows, to guesthouses and everything in between. Stay a couple of days – there is too much to do and see in one day.
Many tourists come to Ubud to shop and dine, they are not disappointed – the rows of storefronts are seemingly endless. However, rather than tacky knock-offs (although there are those), you’re more likely to find unique fashion, gorgeous art and “real” souvenirs. Tip: if you want to avoid the cheap and gaudy, skip the marketplace, tucked inside the alleyways of central Ubud. Finally, no trip to Ubud would be complete without a stroll through the Sacred Monkey Forest.
Here, you will be able to get up close and personal with hundreds of furry, long-tailed macaques – but be wary, as cute as they are, these critters are like grabby toddlers, stealing food, shopping bags and everything else they can get their fingers on. (There is a small entrance fee to the forest.) Note: avoid the banana retailers at the entrance to the forest; carrying a handful of bananas into a monkey forest is just asking to be swarmed. Trust me, I know.