Known for its rice terraces, lush jungles, ancient temples, local artisans, sustainable practices and organic fare, it’s easy to see why Ubud is Indonesia’s second most popular tourist destination. If you’ve been considering booking a little vacay with your best of kin, Ubud is a great place to get you started. Here you’ll find private villas tucked into rainforests, spas that offer chakra balancing ceremonies, organic, vegan and raw food restaurants, and great local artisan markets. Come along as we explore all the reasons you should book your next group trip to Ubud, including a whole forest filled with cute little monkeys.
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Reporter: Alyssa Brown
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When traveling with a posse in Ubud, it’s crucial to find just the right perch that’ll allow you to relax and feel rejuvenated by your trip. There are private villas where you can live like royalty on a non-royal budget, resorts that make it easy to book a last minute getaway, huts in the jungle and so much more.
Tucked into the verdant hills above the Ayung River, just fifteen minutes from Ubud, Alila provides a peaceful respite with luxury rooms that are hidden between the trees. Book a few treetop villas and plan to spend your days lazing by the infinity pool overlooking the jungle terrain. Don’t forget to book in a session of spa services for your crew too.
If you’re traveling with a group of nature and architecture lovers, this spot has your crew’s name all over it. Bambu Indah offers a collection of villas that are tucked away in gardens and forestry, where you have to walk through tall grasses and over waterways to get to your architecturally impressive digs.
Opt for the two-bedroom villa overlooking the river at this Four Seasons Resort and enjoy the river views from the comfort of your private pool. By day, you and your travel squad can enjoy the meditation area, attend a yoga session or check out the spa’s chakra ceremonies for restoring balance and harmony to your body’s key energy centers. Hello, ladies weekend wellness trip!
If yours is the kind of travel squad that really enjoys sharing a house together, you’re in for a real treat in Ubud where the private villas provide impeccable service and beautiful stays for an affordable price point. Check out Eden Estate, where you can sleep a whole party crew in 14 bedrooms and have a pool all to yourselves for just $900/night (that’s less than a hundred bucks a person!).
Book a Balinese villa overlooking the jungles, where you and your travel companions can soak in your very own infinity pool and gaze out to monkeys, birds and all sorts of tropical wildlife. Hanging Gardens Ubud offers a boutique luxury experience that’ll get you out of your element and into R&R mode.
Perched right along the edge of rice fields, the views from this getaway are pure emerald. With just ten guest rooms, Calma has all the coziness of a home away from home, which is exactly the comfort level you’ll be looking for when you’re traveling with your dearest friends.
This 148-room resort is the kind of crowd pleaser that makes it easy to book a last-minute trip to Ubud with a select crew of your besties. Once on the grounds, you’ll find tiered swimming pools overlooking the rainforests, a spa that specializes in Asian rituals and a handful of dining options.
Spring for the two- or three-bedroom pool villa at Kamandalu and you and your travel buddies will have access to your very own swimming hole overlooking the rainforests. Located just a ten minute drive from central Ubud, this spot sits in the lush hills above the Petanu River in an area that provides excellent trekking terrain and plenty of outposts for wildlife spotting. On the property, you and your crew might opt for group yoga or cooking classes to get the local spin on your favorite activities.
Authentic Indonesian fare can be hard to find in Ubud, so we’ve done the research for you. If organic, vegan and raw foods are your thing, we’ve got that too. And for those rare nights when you when you want to feel fancy with your friends and have a setting that matches your mood, we’ve got a spot or two for that too.
An architect and an artist are behind this gorgeous vegetarian café that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas. If you get to Lazy Cats for a daytime hang with your posse, order up a round of coffee made with house-roasted beans, or if you’re there a little later in the day, their cocktail game is on-point.
We’re all creatures of comfort when it comes to how we take our coffee, and Gangga is the place to head to when you need a good pour over or craft brew. Set in the center of Ubud, the space is a bright little hideaway to start your morning with a caffeine hit.
Go ahead and toss your best threads on for a night out on the town with your travel babes. Copper Kitchen Bar and Rooftop is the kind of place you’ll want to settle into and stay a while. The food here celebrates the best of local produce, sourcing from their own farm that’s just down the road and uses classic local cooking methods to create dishes that reflect the rich culture of Indonesia.
If you find yourselves looking for a change of scenery from your hotel pool, Folk Pool and Gardens should be the next lounging spot on your list. The hangout spot is open all day every day, with a swim-up bar serving everything from berry smoothies to piña coladas. Oh, and there’s an all-day food menu too.
When the travel squad is up for getting dolled up and heading somewhere flash for the night, Lumbung delivers. The space here is glamorous and sophisticated, a perfect fit for food that celebrates Indonesia’s culinary heritage with a forward thinking menu.
Step one: dine on homemade ravioli. Step two: purchase flowers. Step three: complete experience with an espresso. Your travel squad is guaranteed to love this sweet café, restaurant and flower shop. It’s an instant mood booster if ever the old group-travel blues kicks in.
With everything from house made gnocchi to juicy burgers on the menu, this charming courtyard bistro in Ubud is a total crowd pleaser. Head to Kebun with a group of your nearest and dearest, order up a round of mojitos and toast to the good, tropical life.
You can grab a quick bite at this Pan-Asian eatery just before heading into the Monkey Forest or checking out the local shopping scene. Spring rolls, summery salads, banh mi and fried rice can all be found on the menu at Habitat Café.
Ubud has this effect of making people want to eat super fresh, healthy foods, and Juice Ja Café offers some of the best juices, salads, open-faced sandwiches and more. Everything is organic, delicious and colorful, so much so that some may call it downright tropical.
IBU SUSU is crushing the local cocktail scene, and serves up some of the best shareable plates in town. Hot tip: cocktails are buy one get one free during happy hour, so you can most definitely get the first round and let your travel buds pick up the following round(s).
Located on Ubud’s Main Street, Nomad has been a local go-to for classic Indonesian fare and Asian Fusion since the 1970s. It’s easy, casual and the service is super friendly, making it a great pit stop when you’re wandering around town with your wolfpack and need to grab a bite to nosh on.
Have a tendency to crave tacos when you’re in the jungle? You’re not alone. La Pacha Mama is Ubud’s best spot for Mexican fare that’s entirely plant-based. Everything is locally sourced and prepared with authentic Mexican recipes. So, grab your amigos, order up a round of margaritas and keep the tacos flowing.
Ubud’s go-to for raw vegan foods, Alchemy serves all kinds of fresh pressed juices, veggie bowls, vegan wraps and other plant-based dishes. Spots like this make it easy to not only stay on track with your nutrition goals, but create new ones too.
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From exploring the rice fields and rainforests to learning something new at a local workshop, there’s plenty to see and experience during your trip to Ubud. Crazy about cute little critters? We’ve got the spot for you. Prefer to focus on finding your center and meditating in creative new ways? We’ve got a spot for that too.
For a truly immersive jungle experience, spend the day with your trail-loving friends and scope out Bukit Campuhan. A hike through this lush region promises stunning views and cool breezes for the early risers in your crew.
If you’re looking for an activity that’ll fill your whole gang’s eyes with childlike wonder, look no further than this popular monkey forest in Padangtegal. This forested spot is home to over 700 monkeys and serves as an educational and conservation-focused facility for the local community.
If rejuvenation is the name of your crew’s vacation game, you’re going to love Pyramids of Chi. This spot is dedicated to sound therapy and sound healing, using instruments like didgeridoos, Tibetan bowls and gongs to create healing vibrations.
This gorgeous photo studio doubles as a workshop space, offering classes in everything from belly dancing to working with clay. Give the schedule a browse when your trip to Ubud draws near and see what’s on the agenda that your posse might enjoy during your stay.
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The markets of Ubud prove to be treasure troves for the souvenir scavenger, while little boutiques and shops throughout the area offer plenty of gifts and things you’ll want to pack right into your carry-on. Here are a couple of our top picks.
Basketweaving is an Indonesian specialty and you’ll have to fight to control your urge to snatch up the beautiful locally woven basket purses by the dozen. Textiles, dreamcatchers and handmade toys also line the stalls of the Ubud Traditional Art Market.
If you’re looking for something to take back to your home and have as a reminder of your time in Ubud, a stop by Ubudahh may help you find the perfect thing. This sweet little shop offers what they call, “soul for your home,” including things like ceramics, home accessories and jewelry.