Before we’d travelled to Bali we’d heard some great things about the Indonesian island and especially Ubud, the cultural and spiritual centre of Bali.
To say our expectations were high would be an understatement as we flew from Malaysia toward the island paradise.
Just remember this is only our view and our experience of Ubud and lots of other travelling families have much different views.
If you’re looking for tropical landscapes then you’ve come to the right place.
The Ubud area is surrounded by gorgeous countryside filled with rice paddies, volcano views and lush greenery.
There are some lovely walks from the town out into the countryside and small villages.
Further afield you can take trips to beaches and to climb a volcano as we did and you can read about that here.
There is something beautiful about strolling along the walkways in between rice fields with nature all around.
This is where our views on Ubud starts to go down hill
We’d heard Ubud was an unspoilt paradise but our experience was far from this.
It may be a lot quieter and more laid back than other resorts on Bali but in our eyes it was definitely far from unspoiled.
Town is awash with tourists from all over the world going to the island to let their hair down in the many restaurants and bars in town.
It’s a pretty town with its typical Balinese architecture but its chocker block full of expensive tourist shops.
We stayed in the Penestanan area which lies outside of the town and is much quieter and peaceful with pretty walks.
Ubud is expensive.
You’ll hear otherwise but compared with other places in South East Asia and in fact, other Indonesian islands it is not cheap by any means.
But if you’ve come from Europe or Australia on your holidays then it will seem inexpensive.
If you come on a short break then costs don’t really matter but if you stay longer term then it works out quite expensive.
There are some lovely places to eat with nice food and a thriving vegetarian, vegan scene but you’ll pay for it.
This is another thing we disliked (sorry ).
There is not much in the way of public transport besides a few shared mini vans that ply the island between villages.
We felt like we couldn’t really go out and about as much as we would have liked.
The only way to get around is to hire a car and driver.
There’s loads of drivers standing about in town ready to pounce on you as you pass them by, but remember to negotiate.
They will try to over charge you so compare a few prices and make a deal.
We organised a trip with a couple of other families to go and climb Mount Batur Volcano and Sue managed to get quite a good deal for transport and guides etc.
It just seems a bit of a palaver having to sort out a driver and car when you want to get out and visit anywhere.
The other alternative of course is renting mopeds and joining the other swarms of them on the roads.
There are lots of moped accidents on the roads of Bali and most of them are down to tourist zooming around on mopeds going to fast etc.
The trouble is everyone comes here and thinks they can ride no problem, but the roads and how to behave on them are a lot different to what most people are used to.
So here’s the thing.
Ubud is known for it’s spiritual vibe, yoga retreats, meditation workshops and everything else available but we felt it was all just a bit fake.
Sorry right now if that offends anyone but we love authentic experiences and Ubud doesn’t feel authentic to us.
It feels like there are lots of people making money running holistic businesses (which is fine of course ) but it has nothing to do with the spirituality of the place but more to do with people jumping on the bandwagon and Ubud becoming the in place.
Like I said it’s just our opinion but it felt like Ubud was spoiled and fake but we have good friends that love it and you know what, we may even return one day and have a completely different experience.
I think you can pretty much tell that we didn’t really like our time in Ubud, although there are some lovely things to do and see and you can read about them here in our things to do in Ubud post.
And like I said we may go back one day and have a different experience.
So much of travel is down to the experience you have and not so much the destination.
Now if we had to pick our favourite Indonesian island then it would be Java, now that’s a completely different story
Have you been to Ubud, Bali?
What did you think of it. Did you like it or loath it/
Leave us a comment below