Hello, my name is Charlotte and I recently graduated from the Shades of Yoga 200h Teacher Training course in Bali! Living and training in Ubud is a really magical experience! The training programme is intense, so make the most of your free time! There are soo many things to do in Ubud, but these are my top 10 activities that I enjoyed doing during my time there…
Eat, Eat, Eat
Yoga teacher training is hungry work! I noticed that I was eating more and more each week! Luckily it is easy to satisfy a hungry belly in Ubud as it has some of the most delicious food and best restaurants in the whole world! From cheap local warungs to smart michelin star restaurants, there is something for everyone. I would suggest trying as many different restaurants as possible during your time in Ubud, because they are all incredible and so affordable.
Some of my favorite restaurants in Ubud are:
- Warung Sopa – try their gado dago and dumplings with hot jamu tea
- Clear Cafe
- Seeds of Life
- Mudra – try their miso avo aubergine poke bowl!
- Atman Nourish – try their charcoal smoothie bowl and their vegan pizza!
Have you ever tried raw vegan food? If not, I challenge you to try it here! Ubud has some incredible world-renowned raw vegan restaurants. Seeds of Life is probably my favorite. Try their pink dragon fruit and chia seed sol jar for breakfast with a hot jamu elixir (it tastes kind of like a healthy gingerbread hot chocolate). Then have their raw pesto burger or lasagna for lunch! This food tastes just so incredible and it gives you so much energy! My mouth is watering now even just thinking about their menu!
Visit a Spa
Teacher training is intense, so you need to make sure that you balance out all the stress of the course with some you time! Ubud is packed to the brim with spas and they are super affordable, so make the most of them! Our cohort spent a lot of our free time in the local spas (with a few people having massages every other day for the duration of the course!) so we became quite the connosaurs of the spas in Ubud. These are some of our favorites:
Nusa Therapy – This was by far the best spa experience any of us had in Ubud! Nusa’s full body massage is just heavenly!! It is a very professional spa, the staff are expertly trained and they are super friendly. Their massages are strong, purposeful and relaxing. As well as a massage, I also had my nails done by a lovely male therapist who did them perfectly. After your treatment you get given either a fresh hot jamu or ginger tea, yum! Despite the incredible service, the treatments are still really affordable. It was interesting to find out that the spa owner is an expert in sustainability and economics and so this is a big part of their business model. The products that they use are all natural and organic and they sell them at Blue Stone Organics down the road.
Fresh – Fresh is another favorite. This is a very well established spa that is always super busy. It is probably the most expensive spa we went to. Like Nusa, the staff are well trained and very friendly. When you arrive you are given a glass of cold water and a face mask. I tried their full body massage, their bamboo massage (ouch!) and their facial. My favorite treatment was the full body massage, which seemed very thorough and professional. After you finish they will encourage you to sit you down to relax and they will give you some tea and a rice cake with some vegan chocolate! So yummy!
Skin – They do an amazing facial with extractions. Lovely setting.
Audries – They do an incredibly strong foot massage! I nearly cried, the pressure was so strong, but it was also amazing! Not the prettiest decor, but I had my eyes closed most of the time anyway!
We would often go to spas in groups after class, I guess it is the equivalent of going out for drinks after work, Ubud is not known for its nightlife!
Do the Campuhan Ridge Walk
If you are like me and you love spending time in nature, you have to do the Campuhan ridge walk! The ridge walk is a pathed trail set high above and in between two valleys. The scenery is just beautiful, lushous jungle and rice paddies with a river running by. The ridge itself is only about 1.5 kilometers long and at the end of the path you will arrive at Bangkian Sidem, where you can buy a delicious fresh coconut to rehydrate. You can go at any time of day but I would recommend getting up early to watch the sunrise and beat the crowds. Sunset is also a beautiful time to go, but it tends to be busier. I wouldn’t recommend going during the middle of the day as it will be scorching hot and there is not much shade.
Watch a Traditional Balianese Dance
Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali, so make the most of it by visiting one of the traditional Balianese Dances! The dances are a beautiful and ancient art, highly regarded by the Balienese. Aspiring dancers often start training from the age of 4 or 5 years old. The traditional dances are so unusual, they tell stories, not only by dancing with their bodies, but also by dancing with their eyes and their facial expressions. Its really cool to see! There are many different dances that you can choose from. I watched the Legong dance at Ubud Palace, which tells the story of a king who finds a lost maiden and holds her captive. It was beautiful and I loved the music! Make sure to read up on the story before you watch the dance so you know what is going on!
Visit the Morning Market
If you are an early bird / jetlagged and awake super early, make a trip to the early morning market! It starts at about 4am and runs until about 7am, when it then turns into the day time art market. I went here on my first day in Bali when I was super jet lagged and couldn’t sleep! The morning market is a locals market and so it feels very authentic and Balianese. I went at about 6am and only saw one other tourist, which is so unusual for Ubud! They primarily sell food here and it is all super affordable, as it is locals prices. I bought some fruit and a fresh coconut and I sat on some steps eating and drinking whilst watching the world go by and buzz of the market around me. This simple morning was one of my favorite experiences in Ubud! If you are staying in a homestay it may be worth asking your family if you could go to the market with them. Then they can help you with negotiating!
Visit Monkey Forest
You can’t go to Ubud without visiting monkey forest! Monkey forest is actually a group of three temples that date back to the 14th century. They are located in a nature reserve, which has been turned into a conservation area. As you might have guessed from the name, there are looaaddss of really cute wild monkeys that live here. The monkeys are said to be spiritual animals that guard the temples. The baby monkeys are very inquisitive and so if you sit quietly and calmly in certain areas, they will often come and sit on your lap and play on you. Although the monkeys are cute, take care, they are wild animals. Don’t try and stroke them or take pictures with flash, they might get scared and bite you. Don’t bring any food (even in your bag!) they will smell it and steal it from you! Also be careful of your glasses / sunglasses, I saw a monkey take someones sunglasses and run off with them! I heard that they stole someone’s passport once!
Take a Half Day Trip to Visit Tegalalang Rice Terraces and Ubud’s Waterfalls
On a Sunday it can be nice to venture away from Ubud’s busy city centre to explore the nearby areas. On our first day off our cohort organised a trip to visit Tegalalang rice terraces and Timbumana waterfall.
Tegalalang rice terraces are probably one of the most iconic scenes in Bali. They are just breathtakingly beautiful! The terraces were developed as a result of an irrigation method called ‘subak’ which creates a tiered landscape. Tegalalang is located on the outskirts of Ubud and so you will need to get a taxi. I would try and get there as early as possible in the morning as it gets super crowded. You can walk through the rice terraces, take a photo on one of the iconic Bali swings and explore the local villages, learning about how the Balianese people built and now maintain the stunning rice terraces.
There are many waterfalls in Ubud but we chose to visit Timbumana, as it tends to be a little quieter than some of the other waterfalls. You will hear it before you see it! The waterfall is massive, beautiful and powerful. Tibumana falls are a world away from the chaos of Ubud, it is so so peaceful there. It was lovely to escape the heat for a bit and go for a swim and play around together in the cool water. It was amazing to connect with nature and each other. Like most attractions in Bali, it gets super busy, so try and get their early, before 11am! I
So those were my top tips for what to do in Ubud when you are not training! If you want to know more about my experience of yoga teacher training with Shades of Yoga, check out this youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXYk26yfmGs . Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below. Or you can contact me on instagram @charlotte_amber_rose. I hope you have a magical time in Ubud 🙂 !
With love, from Charlotte xoxo