Ubud, Bali

When I was in Bali for 2 weeks during March of 2014, I was volunteering and staying in a small village called Penestanan.  Penestanan is just outside of Ubud, a town made famous by the movie “Eat Pray Love”, and it is even more beautiful in person.  Because we were volunteering, (read more about that here) we didn’t have a ton of free time to explore our surroundings, but we made the best of the time that we did have.  Below is a list of my top 6 most memorable experiences from my time in Penestanan and Ubud.


1. The Yoga Barn

The Yoga Barn is the most popular yoga studio in all of Ubud, and for a good reason.  The property is huge, and the main studio has large windows overlooking a stunning Koi pond and big, beautiful trees.  Classes are around $12.00 USD per person, which we found to be fairly standard in Ubud, but if you’re planning to go to a few classes, you can buy a multi-class pass at a reduced rate.  The studio supplies mats, blocks, and anything else that you may need, so all you have to do is show up with an open mind.  Be advised that these classes can get packed quite full because of the studio’s popularity, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.  You can check out rates & classes here.  The restaurant on site, The Garden Kafe, is a wonderful spot for a healthy meal or fresh squeezed juice after class.




2. Kopi Desa Cafe

Located in Penestanan, Kopi Desa became like a second home to us while we were in Bali.  They have the best iced coffees and milkshakes we had in all of our time in Bali, and delicious, moderately priced food as well.  The atmosphere is what really made the place feel like home, though.  It is a family business, and the staff are warm and friendly.  They have been known to bust out an acoustic guitar and jam together on occasion, but otherwise they’re usually playing super cool indie music that makes you feel right at home.  It’s definitely worth the trip up from Ubud to get a little taste of local life.  Kopi Desa also has a home stay available, and while I didn’t stay there myself, I was living directly across the street, and I would recommend these kind people to anyone.  Click here for more info.


Famous Iced Cappuccino at Kopi Desa – to die for.


3. Midas Spa

On one of our days off from volunteering, Sean and I spent a few hours at Midas Spa in Ubud, and we felt like absolute royalty.  Sean had a 90 minute massage (in an actual massage bed, with actual massage oil…a rarity in SE Asia) and I had a 60 minute massage and a hair shampoo & blow-dry.  Our services included a flower foot bath on arrival, two cups of herbal tea, and a luxurious shower after our massages.  The entire experience cost us less than $30 USD altogether and was the most relaxing spa experience we have had in a long time.  You can check out the spa menu here.


Pardon the pre-massage hairdo.


4. The Mansion Country Club Pool

Also located in Penestanan, The Mansion Resort & Spa looks like just the swanky location where you’d spot celebrities enjoying a 5-star vacation.  I have never in my life seen such a peaceful, immaculately beautiful place to kill a day in the sun.  The pool can be accessed for about $3.00 USD per person, per day, including a pool towel.  I’d recommend eating before you go, or bringing your own snacks, however – the restaurants on site were quite pricey.  Link to website here.





5. Ubud Centre

Right in the heart of the action of Ubud lies a place commonly referred to as “Ubud Centre”, which is essentially a network of streets and alleyways converted into an open-air market where you can find anything from clothing and souvenirs to fruit and meat.  It’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon.  Afterwards, hit up Ibu Rai for amazing food!

A small section of the bustling market
Sean experiencing a Rambutan Fruit


6. Mount Batur

About an hour outside of Ubud lies Bali’s third highest peak – Mount Batur, which is also an active volcano.  Most trekkers head out in the wee hours of the morning and climb through the dark to witness a beautiful sunrise from Batur’s summit.  Expect to pay between $25 – $35 for a package including taxi transportation to and from, guides for the climb (a requirement) and a small breakfast.  Check out my article on Conquering Mount Batur for more information.

The sunrise from the top of Mount Batur
Mount Batur from the ground



Whether you have two days or two months to spend in Ubud, I can’t imagine that you’d ever run out of things to do.  While the town itself has become much more touristy since it’s rise to popularity in “Eat Pray Love”, there is still a ton of authentic Balinese charm left to be discovered.

Happy Travels!


Do you have any favourite experiences from your time spent in Ubud?  Anything else you’re dying to check out?  I’m always interested in hearing about your experiences!

Ashley Dempster is a twenty-something Canadian Travel and Adventure blogger based in Calgary, Canada. Her passions include good food, minimalist packing, running, music, and chasing down every opportunity for adventure.


  1. Great post, Ashley! I’m so happy to have found your blog.
    I spent a month in Indonesia last summer, and I had a totally different Ubud experience. It was wonderful, but I definitely hit different spots than you did! You are so right when you say you’d never run out of things to do there. Your writing makes me wish wish I’d conquered Mount Batur! I’m glad we both fit a Balinese massage into our visits, though! What a luxury.
    On a different note, I’ve been exploring some of your Canada posts and was so excited to see your Johnston Canyon pictures. I was there a couple weeks ago!

    1. Thank you so much for reading!! I’m happy we found each other too!

      Ubud is amazing, and I truly believe that it has something different to offer everyone.

      I’m really looking forward to reading your posts about Banff and area…I live in Calgary which is just 90 minutes from Banff, so it’s my backyard, but I’m really looking forward to reading a different account.

      I’ll find you on instagram and twitter as well! Keep in touch!! xx

  2. Hi Ashley! I am headed to Indonesia in a week and came across your blog when doing some pre-trip research. Great stuff! Also – I am excited to look through your other adventures – I just started (like 2 weeks ago!) my own blog, so found your site very helpful – great work!

    Look forward to reading about your trips!
    – Meredith

  3. Hi Ashley, that’s a pretty nice review of Ubud you did there.

    I love that town, too, and if I may I’d like to add a couple of nice spots to eat and have fun.

    – Cupit Warung. It’s ran by the same people (locals) that run Kopi Desa, and you’ll find a similar ambiance, just more intimate and with the bestest ribs around.
    – Warung Sopa, if you’re vegetarian/vegan, offers very tasty Indonesia/Fusion food and is reasonably priced.

    – Sedona Spa, a good alternative to your suggestion. What I like there is that they usually get the perfect balance between relaxation and healing, they are really good.
    – Rafting and Cycling tours are available all around the area, they have a very low carbon footprint, and they let you see the nature while taking your time.

    If you have time during your next trip, I advise trying Nusa Lembongan, it is said to be just like mainland Bali was 30 years ago, very different experience 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *