Moonlit Travel Guide: Ubud, Bali

Hi All! It's Stephy, co-founder of Moonlit here! Over the years, many of my friends, family, and internet friends have asked for my Bali recommendations (our formulas are made here) so I'm sharing this travel guide with eeeeveryone on the internet :)
My days in Bali are filled with sunshine, production visits, naps (the jetlag from the US is no joke), books by the pool, yoga, writing, sketching, emails, and of course.. eating!
Described as the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud has got something for everyone but below is a list of greatest hits that I personally come back to over and over..where to stay, where to eat a few more helpful tips that I wish I knew from Day 1.
Happy travels! 
bali travel guide moonlit skincare ubud bali wanderlust

To Chill Out:
Want to indulge in the yoga and wellness capital of the world? Head over to Radiantly Alive, the yoga studio that local yoga teachers attend. My favorite is Sky Yoga (aerial yoga with hammocks- great for spine decompression!). The Qi Gong class with Peter Caughey is a must. Walk out transformed. (120,000 RPH per class/ $9 USD)
Women in yoga class with their hands pressed above their heads in balinese yoga retreat center
You can't not spa it up in Ubud. My favorite is Jaen's Spa, an understated haven, tucked away. Their 90-minute Balinese massage is their signature. Top notch service and magic hands. They're pretty accomadating with walk-ins as well. (190,000 RPH for 90 min/ $14 USD - that is not a typo). 
PS. Shanti means "peace" :) You'll be seeing and hearing the phrase around here.
spa bali ubud travel guide wanderlust jaen's massage
If you want to go all out, Taksu Spa and Cafe has divine packages complete with massages, scrubs, facials, lunch, and mani/pedis. Indulge for 6 hours and receive all of these for under $120 USD. 

*Moonlit Tip*: The Taksu Cafe has a vegan cheese cannoli that will have you triple-confirming that it is, in fact, vegan. 
Outdoor cafe filled with plant life in bali indonesia travel guide
• Pyramids of Chi
The grand-daddy of all sound healing, Pyramids of Chi is about a 45 minute slightly uphill walk (Sari Organik Walk) from Ubud Palace. Gong and sound bath meditation mecca. (250,000 RPH / $18 USD) 
pyramids of chi ubud sound healing bali where to go travel guide
The Must-Do: 
• Ah, the famous (or is it infamous?) Monkey ForestIf it's your first time in Ubud, The Monkey Forest is a must-do. The babies are darn cute and it is quite entertaining to see the creatures at such ease (most of the time) around so many people. Admission 50,000 RPH / $3.50 USD

*Moonlit Tip*: No need to purchase bananas for the monkeys (unless you want them climbing all over your head and stealing your hat and phone). In fact, tuck all belongings away in your bag. I've seen monkeys steal people's possessions right out of their hands. Also, avoid smiling at them since baring teeth and eye contact are signs of aggression. Leave your snacks at the hotel. And hold tight onto your camera. Good luck!!
monkey forest ubud bali travel guide wanderlust to do island
 Tegalalang Rice Terrace Kind of on the same page as Monkey Forest when it comes to must-do, these rice terraces are probably the most photographed thing in Bali. They're incredibly well-maintained and hold vibrant green colors. Yes, it's touristy, yes, there will be hundreds of people trying to sell you something. But it's still quite a sight to see as pictures don't do it justice. (Minimum donation: 5,000 RPH / $0.30 USD)
Tegalalagang Rice Terrace bali indonesia tourist travel guide wanderlust
*Moonlit Tip*: Bring decent sneakers as the steps are a bit steep and rocky. Depending on the season there might be snakes. Avoid midday as it is sweltering and peak time for tourists. Sunrise and sunset times are preferred (and photograph wonderfully)
To Eat: 
• I couldn't stop eating at Warung Dosa- the Indian menu is simple but kept coming back time and time again. The papadum is crispy, the masala plate is tasty, and the service is great. Central location but off the main road so it's a bit quieter. Vegan and gluten-free options also available. 
 Mudra Cafe is one of my favorite places to hide from the noise and kick back with a book (or knock out emails). Their selection of teas and smoothies are plentiful. I like to balance a sweet fruit smoothie with a side of their fresh savory roti bread. Their quality ingredients shine!
mudra cafe bali ubud where to eat travel guide wanderlust
Bread: Not enough people rave about the bread here in Ubud. Most of the credit goes to the fact that they use flour from France and/or Italy so the croissants, pastries, pizzas, paninis, sandwiches, garlic bread, sourdough are...divine. For delicious pizza and slices of bread, Black Beach was our favorite spot. The toasted bruschetta has a slight crunch and the tomatoes are fresh.

*Moonlit Tip*: Go upstairs to the balcony where you can escape the loud street noise and take in a stellar view of Ubud's rooftop during sunset. The view is best paired with the house wine. 
black beach pizza bali garlic bread toasted bruschetta italian food ubud travel guide

To Do:
• Ubud Market
Drink your Balinese coffee if you're heading into Ubud Market because you're going to need to be prepared to haggle. We scored a yoga bag for about $6 USD and a 100% silk robe for $10.
*Moonlit Tips*:  Try to come before 10AM before all the tourists come in and the heat and hecticness set in. Inspect your products carefully to make sure they are in tip-top shape before purchasing. 
Take a Class! Whether it's cooking, creating art, making silver jewelry, wood carving, fruit carving (yes, this is legit and you will be the cocktail queen if you can hack a bird shape out of lemon), ceramics, kites, puppets, masks, basket weaving .. the cultural roots of Bali are embedded deep in Bali so where else would be better (and more wallet-friendly) to learn? 
• Betutu Bali Villas The pool is beautiful and quiet. Spacious, clean rooms with large bathrooms and rainfall showers. Most rooms come with a private balcony and kitchenette as well (you can even ask for breakfast to be served on your private deck). Excellent prices and wonderful service. A few steps out is the bustling city but each night, I was able to retreat into my own quiet space. (450,000 RPH per night / $30 USD)
betutu bali villa travel guide ubud where to stay wanderlust pool
• If you're looking to meet other travelers and have a party, check out Puri Garden Hotel & Hostel. I stumbled into this place because my friend recommended their lobby restaurant, Ubudian Cafe (which has an excellent breakfast menu) and saw visitors take part in their morning yoga by the pool. Private rooms and hostel-style dorms are available. Beer pong and puppies also can make an appearance depending on the season. (Rates are 230,000 RPH - 1,000,000 RPH per night / $16 USD - $68 USD)
ubud travel guide where to stay poolside kindness kind
Getting Around:
 The taxis here are notorious for ripping off tourists so expats and experts rely on the official taxi, Blue Bird Taxi. From DPS airport to Ubud, it should take about 45 minutes to an hour and a half depending on traffic and cost around 200,000 - 300,000 RPH ($13-$20).
*Moonlit Tips*: A little note about Blue Bird taxis.. there are many replicas and fakes (that look like the real thing!) but for a true, authentic Blue Bird taxi the headrests will have a white cover, a meter, and the driver's shirt will have the Blue Bird logo all over it. The official car itself will be blue and have the Blue Bird Group along with a phone number written all over it. Download the app before you depart to summon a Blue Bird taxi right when you arrive at the airport (just like Lyft/Uber). 
blue bird fake travel guide bali ubud wanderlust transport taxi
 If you're on a budget, bopping around the hotspots on the island is easy with the Kura Kura bus. The super cute logo, easy-to-read routes, and super cheap prices are excellent. (Prices low as 20,000 RPH / $1.30) 
 Scooters and motorcycles are a convenient (and inexpensive) way to get around town but since I'm from the US and drive on the other side of the road, I opted out on this one. Many places advertise their motorcycle fleet and if you ask your hotel, a scooter will probably show up for you.  Rentals will run you about 300,000 RPH / $20 USD a week. 
*Moonlit Tips* Wear a helmet! Not to be a nag but safety comes first (I've seen a number of tourists crash) and the local police will make you pay a fine if they catch you without a helmet. 
Last but not least, learning a few key words goes a long way. It's much appreciated by the locals and will definitely get you some respect. Happy travels!
  • Tidak (no)
  • Terima Kasih (thank you)
  • Sama Sama (you’re welcome)