Ubud was the largest city nearest to our hotel. It's well known as an arts and culture centre with a large tourism industry. Ubud has a lot to offer, but it's also very busy and hectic. Traveling around this area during rush-hour is something you should avoid.
Make sure to be hungry when you visit Ubud; there're many fancy restaurants, cocktail bars and coffee shops and you don't want to miss any of them.
We definitely wanted to visit the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, but we picked a bad day for our trip. On the one hand, it was raining a lot, and on the other hand, it was Tumpek Landep, which is a ceremony held in Bali every 6 months to bless metallic/iron objects. This includes cars, boats, motor bikes, computers, cameras and more. Several roads were blocked by the ceremony or by rain covering the road. Getting from A to B isn't always easy in Bali, especially not by car. That's why Bali is full of scooters instead.
The rice terrace itself is stunning and beautiful to look at. We only walked around at the top as the stairs where so muddy that we couldn't make it down. The good part was that the place was almost empty—unusual for such a popular tourist attraction.
You can find rice terraces all over Bali, so it doesn't have to be the one at Tegalalang. Wear appropriate footwear if you want to make it down and pick a sunny day—when possible.
Visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is a must. The forest is full of monkeys that have become accustomed to humans, making the visit extremely funny and entertaining.
Senetan Villas & Spa Resort offers private pool villas in the middle of the jungle, 30 minutes away from busy Ubud.
An exclusive cooking class at an organic farm in the lush tropics surrounding Ubud was one of the best things we did in Bali.
Mount Batur is an active volcano surrounded by black lava. Our tour led us from our hotel along the Penelokan main road, which offers a breathtaking view over the lava fields. We made a short coffee break at the Sari Restaurant before we continued our way down.
Driving though the lava is a shaky experience and we constantly had the fear that our old Jeep wouldn't make it. It's fascinating how nature slowly recovers and how the vegetation makes its way through the rocks.