Monkey Business Why families love Ubud |

Monkey Business – Why families love Ubud

Monkey Business – Why families love Ubud

Ubud is the popular Balinese village you might have seen in the 2010 film adaption of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat Pray Love. Set in the hills about an hour’s drive from Denpasar Airport, Ubud offers a slower, more relaxed pace than Sanur or Seminyak. With cooler temperatures, it’s a lovely place to get acclimatised with Bali and a great spot to start your family holiday.

Getting there

The simplest way to get to Ubud from the airport is a taxi or private transfer. It’s around an hour long trip without traffic. Expedia’s Aussie travellers have started heading to the hills for longer, staying around 4-5 nights in the 3.5 star hotels and villas hidden among the rice paddy fields.

Many hotels will offer a transfer or you can arrange via a Private Bali Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) Airport Transfer.


The Balinese people are very fond of children and especially enamoured with babies. No matter where you go as a family, you’re sure to be greeted with a smile and a helping hand. When we were eating out in Ubud, my 11 month old baby was often whisked away in the arms of cooing staff who wanted to entertain her while we ate in peace.

Where to eat

When it comes to eating, Ubud has plenty of options, from local Warungs to trendy organic cafes. A few places of note:

Clear Cafe: this chic cafe is very popular with Bali’s expat community and prides itself on offering delicious organic food. They have a great kids menu with meals from 25,000 – 35,000 IDR ($2.50-$3.50 AUD) and extra yummy kids’ milkshakes for 20,000 IDR ($2 AUD). Adult meals all make my mouth water and cost between 40,000 – 55,000 IDR ($4 – $5.50 AUD).

Murni’s Warung: considered the first “real” restaurant in Ubud when it opened in 1974, Murni’s continues to be a local institution worth visiting. The food is great but the real winner for me is the setting. Perched on the side of a hill overlooking a river, Murni’s sprawls over four levels, each with its own vibe and eclectic collection of local artifacts. The riverside terrace on the lowest level is a beautiful place to have a relaxing meal.

Sari Organik: getting to Sari Organik is half the joy of eating there. It’s a 20minute walk through rice paddy fields to this tranquil café, where delicious organic food and drink awaits. Children will enjoy sitting on cushions around a low table and although there isn’t a specific kids menu, there’s plenty on offer that appeals to young tastebuds.

Out and About

You don’t have to make the trip to Sari Organik to enjoy a walk in the rice paddy fields. Plenty of guided trips are available but you really don’t need them. A little research before you leave home or a helpful concierge can get you good enough instructions and a map for a short stroll. Walking along the narrow dirt tracks through tranquil fields, green as far as the eye can see, is beautiful. Duck spotting is a good game to occupy children.

Ubud is a hub for handicraft and textiles. Small shops along Monkey Forest Road sell carved wooden statues and there are great boutique stores along Jalan Raya, where we bought great oversized cushion covers which now live on our daybed. The local central market overflows with clothes, kitchen items, kites, material, carved ornaments and anything else you might need.

A real highlight of a stay in Ubud is taking the kids to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. This sanctuary and the temples inside are of spiritual significance to the Balinese so please keep this in mind. The forest provides a wonderful cool escape on a hot day and the hundreds of long-tailed macaque monkeys are very cute and highly entertaining. Warning – avoid having food with you and resist the temptation to buy bananas to feed the monkeys. These cute creatures are bold and won’t think twice about jumping on you to steal food or following you along the path pulling on your clothes to get you to handover your goodies!

Where to stay

There are plenty of great places to stay in Ubud. The Rama Phala Resort & Spa and Bali Rich Luxury Villa & Spa both offer two bedroom villas, outdoor pool and an in-house spa to make some much deserved pampering easy. Bali Rich Luxury Villa and Spa also provide plunge pools and a kitchenette in the two bedroom villas.

If you are planning your first family trip to Ubud, I’m confident it won’t be your last! The relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the beautiful landscape and the delicious food are just a few of the reasons my family will be sure to spend more time in this hidden gem.

For more family-friendly info, check out 5 more reasons to visit Bali with the kids and the Expedia Ubud Travel Guide.

Images by Linda Anderson, Edmund Lowe Photography and Szefei

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Linda Anderson

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