I love theme parks. I love eating ice cream to a dramatic film score soundtrack. I love walking through carefully constructed, exquisitely detailed scenes, imagining the hard work that a team of immensely creative people put in to make me feel like I’m in a 1920s-era, hyper-stylised New York.
We never expected to spend nearly five months in Bali. The island didn’t make the best first impression—it seemed touristy and overdeveloped—but it rewards a longer stay, and over time our love for it grew. By living in a village outside Ubud, we got to see beyond the souvenir shops and congested roads, and learnt more about the fascinating local culture that is so different from anywhere else we’ve visited.
Ubud rivals Chiang Mai and San Francisco as our favourite vegetarian-friendly destination in the world. During our four month stay we tried over 50 restaurants, many of which were entirely vegetarian or vegan, or had plenty of meat-free options. And Ubud isn’t a big city—it’s a collection of villages that, outside the small congested centre, has a rural feel with rice paddies dominating the landscape.
Ubud is yogi heaven. Despite its small size (it’s really a collection of villages) there are dozens of classes to choose from every day. You’ll find styles to suit everyone from spiritual practices to fast paced vinyasa and power flows. Studios are well equipped and make the most of Ubud’s tranquil beauty with views of rice fields and jungle. Classes are affordable, especially if you buy a class pass which can reduce the drop-in price (usually 120,000 IDR/ $8.60) by half. Starting your day with a yoga class is a great way to get into the relaxed, healthy Ubud vibe.
This isn’t a post about how to live in Ubud as cheaply as possible. We wanted to take advantage of everything the town had to offer—affordable villa rentals with private pools, delicious vegetarian food, a wide variety of yoga classes, and fun activities like cooking classes and bike tours. You can have a high quality of life in Ubud at a very reasonable price (read more about our Ubud life here).