A Beginner’s Guide to Ubud

In Blog, Ubud Guides by UbudHood

Never been to Ubud? Got a million questions? We’ve covered it all here. Find out the what visa option is best for you, learn how to avoid dodgy ATMs and most importantly, follow our tracks to all the seriously delish foods & cosy stays. There are so many options for hotels, restaurants and activities in Ubud; so, we do the hard work (ahem, it’s really fun actually) of visiting and testing them all in order to recommend only the best to you.


CHOOSING A VISA

FREE VISA ON ARRIVAL
(a.k.a. Tourist Visa)
30-days
A free Visa on Arrival is available to the countries listed here.
It allows people to visit Indonesia for a holiday, working is not permitted with this visa. This visa cannot be extended, visa holders must leave the country before or on the 30 day mark. There are numerous visa options available for those who wish to stay longer. Click on the link below to see more options.

VISA ON ARRIVAL (aka Tourist Visa)
60-days
Visitors can receive a 60-day tourist visa if they go to the counter at the airport and pay $35 USD (Rp. 455k) for the visa on arrival. You will need to get an extension at Immigration prior to the conclusion of the first 30 days, which will cost approximately $52 USD (Rp.700k).

SOCIAL BUDAYA
6-months
You will need to secure this through a sponsor or visa agent and apply for the visa at an Indonesian consulate outside Indonesia. The visa allows 2 months’ entry upon arrival and subsequent months can be extended 30 days at a time. Cost varies depending on country of application.

BUSINESS VISA
12- months
Business visa’s are designed for people who are in or travelling to Indonesia for Business purposes or to do research but will not be working or receiving payments while in the country. Business visa holders are required to leave the country every 2 months.

KITAS
6 to 12 months

A kitas is an official permit that is most commonly attained for foreigners who wish to work in Indonesia. A kitas requires an Indonesian employer to act as your sponsor. Cost varies depending on industry and length of permit. They generally start around $1300 USD (Rp. 18jt)

GETTING TO UBUD

The most efficient mode of transportation to/from the airport is taxi. Bali has a few different types of taxi vendors however most taxi’s are individual drivers in private cars/vans. The trip from the airport to Ubud or vice versa should not cost more than Rp.300k (even after midnight).

TRANSPORTATION IN UBUD

There is no public transportation available in Ubud. Depending on where you are staying will determine how many restaurants/attractions are within walking distance. Some hotels offer free shuttle services into town. For those experienced driving a motorbike you can hire them starting from Rp. 50k per day.

Taxi drivers line the main roads offering both car and motorbike taxis; the latter being the cheaper option. You can barter the prices with these drivers. When you find one you like it’s a good idea to take their phone number so you can call on them for future trips.


[Please avoid using coach buses for transportation as they are the primary reason behind traffic issues in Ubud. If travelling in a group opt for shuttle/mini buses. ]

Uber is available in Indonesia despite signs lining the streets saying it is forbidden. Uber drivers are much cheaper than regular taxi’s. Yet they aren’t as common and tend to remain discreet during pickups and drop-offs due to potential conflict from competition with regular local taxi drivers.

GoJek is Indonesia’s motorcycle version of Uber (and man do we love it!). Download the app before you arrive, it functions in a very similar way to Uber. Rainy season hacks: you can order meals from any restaurant in town and have the delivered to your door for as little as $1 USD in fees (although it’s always nice to tip!).

ETIQUETTE

Ubud is a particularly pious culture on the island, with Balinese Hinduism being the predominant religion. Despite the development and amount of tourism in the town, the culture and devotion to religion remains strong.
It is important for visitors to respect local customs and culture. Unlike coastal towns such a Kuta, where etiquette has been decimated by tourism, it is still expected that tourists visiting Ubud have an awareness of appropriate behaviour & dress. A few guidelines for clothing:

  • Cover up your shoulders & wear a sarong when entering a temple
  • Don’t walk around Ubud shirtless or revealing your belly
  • Address elders with the title ‘Ibu’ for a woman or ‘Pak’ for a man.

Check our detailed ‘Etiquette in Ubud’ guide here.

Major Holidays

Balinese Hinduism is a religion reliant on ceremonies, and as Ubud is Bali’s hub for spiritual activity, it is unlikely that a day will pass where you won’t see traces of a ceremony. Most day-to-day activities aren’t affected beyond the occasional traffic jam. There are three major Indonesian/Balinese holidays that



NYEPI
If you’re lucky enough to come to Bali during Nyepi you will be witness to an experience unlike any other in the world. Nyepi is the Balinese New Year, a time of cleansing, when the it is believed that evil spirits are released from the earth through a day of silence. The island pauses, no one is allowed to leave their home/accommodation and little to no electricity is used. If you’re in town during Nyepi keep in mind you won’t be able to leave your accommodation for 30 hours during the silent period.

GALUNGAN & KUNINGAN

Two major holidays that occur every 210 days and are 10 days apart, starting with Galungan and concluding with Kuningan. Large picturesque decorated bamboo poles (penjors) line the streets during this time when the ancestral spirits visit the Earth. On the days between Galungan and Kuningan life goes on as normal, however during the first and last days of the holiday some venues may be closed for part or all of the day.

EID AL-FITR
The Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. As Bali’s predominant religion is Hinduism this holiday doesn’t affect the functioning of the island as it does in Java (hello traffic jams!), however many Javanese in Bali return home during this time so you may find some of your favourite eats closed from anywhere between a week to a month, as the owners spend time with family.

NYEPI
2018: March 17-18
2019: March 7-8

GALUNGAN & KUNINGAN
2017: November 1-11
2018: May 30 – June 9 & December 26- January 9 2019
2019: July 22 – August 3

EID AL-FITR
2018: June 14-16
2019: June 3-5
2020: May 23-25

SIM CARDS

Getting a simcard is easy-peasy. There are numerous phone shops around town, Jalan Cok Gede Rai (Jl. Peliatan) in particular is lined with them. A simcard will cost approximately Rp. 50k and 4G is available in both Telkomsel and Indosaat networks. Top up credit at any independent phone shop, Indomart or Alphamart convenience stores. Just ask for ‘Pulsa’ (the indo word for phone credit). Rp. 100k will go a long way in calls and text. Adding data can be done at a phone store, via the networks app or by dialling particular codes; we like *123# for telkomsel- ask a local to show you how.

MONEY

Indonesia’s currency is the Rupiah. It roughly converts as $1 USD = Rp. 13,000 or $ AUD = $10,000. You will get better a better exchange rate if you exchange cash as opposed to using an ATM. The exchange rates of ATMs are always significantly lower than the cash exchange stores.

When exchanging cash use fresh notes (no folds, tears etc.) and USD notes should be no older than 2007. There are numerous good cash exchange places. Choose one who doesn’t charge a fee and that looks reputable (i.e. the store is devoted solely to money exchange and is not a mini mart offering the service). Three good ones are:
– Jalan Raya Ubud next to Guardian (near Jalan Tirta Tawar)
– Jalan Raya Ubud next to Igelanca Warung
– Jalan Pengosekan a short walk south of The Yoga Barn (it has orange signage)

If you wish to use an ATM check with your bank to see what international charges apply to you. Each ATM takes a minimum of $2 per transaction. ATMs that are concentrated in a block and located where foreigners frequent are the biggest targets for scams such as card skimming (the ATMs outside Cocomart are often targeted). The easiest way to avoid this is to visit ATM’s that are located within a branch or with security guards attending them. ATM’s dispense either Rp. 50,000 notes (maximum transaction is Rp. 1,500,000) or Rp. 100,000 notes (maximum transaction Rp. 3,000,000)- look for stickers on the ATM to see what notes they dispense.

Where to stay in ubud

There is a huge amount of accommodation available in Ubud with something to suit everyone’s budget. Balinese homestays are a great option for budget accommodation offering private rooms within a Balinese family compound; a great way to get a taste of local culture and make friends. Mid-range budget options are extensive with villas, bungalows guest houses and cottages spread throughout town, some in secluded in rice fields and others smack bang in the centre. Those looking for luxe stays have plenty of options available with numerous high quality resorts & spas in the hood. Pamper, indulge, relax and enjoy the view (because you know it’s going to be good). We carefully curate our portfolio of accommodation to make sure that we only recommend the best for your stay in Ubud.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FAVOURITE ACCOMMODATION IN UBUD

A few of our favourite stays:

FIREFLY ECO LODGE
Rooms start from $13 per night. Bamboo tree houses and bird’s nests for the adventurous & nature loving travellers.

GAYATRI BUNGALOWS
Rooms start from $30 per night.
Traditional Balinese design meets boutique interiors, located in a quiet pocket of central Ubud.

UMAJATI RETREAT
Rooms start from $190 per night.
A retreat experience & immersion into local Balinese customs, surrounded by pristine nature.

What do to in Ubud

In recent years Ubud had become known as the go-to destination for all things yoga & healing. However before the Eat, Pray, Lovers Ubud thrived as a creative town full of artists. So, no matter what your jam, there’s something for everyone to do in the hood; from relaxing spa days to adventurous bike rides through hidden Bali! Follow our lead as we grow our ever expanding directory of recommendations for things to do in the hood.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IN UBUD
A GOOD COMBO OF ACTIVITIES:

GUNUNG KAWI
A temple steeped in history carved into the side of a mountain, stunning rice fields and lush jungle over a river.

FRESH! SPA
All your pampering and beauty needs covered from; eyelash extensions to massages and mancials (man-facials).

SEPEDA BALI: CYCLING TOUR
A guided tour downhill through unseen bali. Soak up some culture and stunning nature along the way.

Where to eat in Ubud

We’ve done the hard work and literally eaten our way through this entire town to present you with some of the best eats in our ever-expanding directory. Ubud has got it all, a true foodies paradise. We’ve got raw vegan health conscious meals to go with your yoga through to epic burgers with a side of booze to go with your fat pants. There’s not a category of food that you won’t find in this town.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FAVOURITE YUMMY SPOTS IN UBUD
A SELECTION OF YUMMINESS:

WATERCRESS
This mouth-watering menu has a selection of seriously fresh eats to satisfy everyones taste.

WAYAN’S COCONUT JUICE BAR
The go-to for juices in the hood. Wayan has her menu decked out with the best combos at affordable prices.

CASA LUNA
An endless variety of quality eats; international and Indonesian foods. Not to mention the desserts!

GOT A QUESTION ABOUT UBUD? Shoot us a note: hello@ubudhood.com