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Planning Your Trip

The Indonesian island of Bali conjures images of meditation, rice paddies and sacred temples. Ubud, up in the mountains, is its cultural heart, with its unique art markets, museums and historical sites. Here’s how to pack for what’s sure to be an enriching experience.

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Cultural Considerations

To truly immerse yourself in the customs of Bali, which might entail a visit to one of its many intricate temples, there are a few things to keep in mind.


  • When entering the temples or witnessing a religious ceremony, you should wear the customary sarong and sash over your clothing, so it’s best to dress in light pieces that are easily layered upon.
  • Natural fabrics like cotton and linen will be the most comfortable in Bali’s humid climate.
  • Ubud’s elevated location means lower temperatures at night, so pack a few cardigans.


Outdoor Adventure

From monkey sanctuaries to the iconic rice fields, you’ll be spending a lot of time outside exploring Bali’s incredible landscapes. Prepare accordingly. 



  • Like all tropical places, Bali is hot and the sun is strong. Protect yourself with ample sunscreen, a sun hat and sunglasses.
  • Bali’s tropical climate makes it an ideal home for mosquitos. Don’t skimp on the insect repellent, even if you’re visiting outside of rainy season (November to March).
  • You won’t be able to navigate the steep steps of the rice paddies in flip-flops. Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes or sneakers.  
Person in flowy white linen performs yoga alone in a lofty room with retractable doors that open to the rainforest

Spa Retreat

A trip to Bali is as much a spiritual journey as a cultural one. Here, yoga isn’t a trendy movement, but a way of life. For the ultimate mind-body cleanse, stick to the basics.



  • Pack a swimsuit to take advantage of the vitality pool, steam room and sauna at Mandapa Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
  • Bring an ample supply of workout clothes to partake in the hundreds of yoga and meditation classes offered throughout the island. You don’t have to go far to find a class — Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve offers daily complimentary yoga twice a day.
  • Consider eschewing technology and social media for a good book or two. If you happen to finish it during your stay, you can donate it to Ganesha Bookshop’s Books for Bali program.


Don’t Forget:

Bali is prone to periodic — and unpredictable — downpours during the rainy season. While there can be something utterly spiritual and cleansing about rain in Bali, you should nevertheless bring an umbrella and light rain jacket.  

In Ubud, there is literally something for every taste. Whether you are looking for a trip that is indulgent or minimalist, historic or modern, active or meditative, Ubud is a haven for foodies, art snobs, shopaholics, yogis and even children. Here are some ideas to fill your itinerary.  

Dining Reservations

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Ubud’s reputation as a luxury destination makes it a hotbed of culinary delights. At Locavore, one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2017 (and ranked the best in Indonesia), chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah use only local and sustainable ingredients for imaginative European-Indonesian cuisine. For a private dining experience inside a unique bamboo cocoon, book a table at Kubu at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which serves fine Mediterranean-European cuisine against the backdrop of the majestic Ayung River. To sample Bali’s signature specialty, the roast suckling pig (babi guling), go to Ibu Oka for the best iteration.

Spa Appointments

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Reach a peak state of Zen with treatments at Mandapa Spa. Nestled among tiered rice paddies with a natural soundtrack provided by the flowing Ayung River, the spa offers a menu of services incorporating Balinese traditions, from reflexology to massages with rose quartz crystals. You can also book a session with the resort’s Blind Healer, who will assess your emotional and physical issues and work with you to realign your body’s energy pattern.

Outdoor Excursions

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Make a reservation with Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s concierge to arrange a private tour of Ubud’s highlights. The mode of transport? A vintage Volkswagen convertible. The itinerary includes the famous Tegallalang Rice Terrace with its picturesque cliff-side paths; Pura Gunung Kawi, whose intricate shrines are said to be dedicated to ancient kings and queens; and Tirta Empul, a temple built around hot springs (which you can wade in) that apparently have magical powers. Your tour will end with a lunch picnic at a coffee plantation. Other must-sees? Goa Gajah, or “Elephant Cave,” a mysterious archaeological landmark and active religious site. Or practice your haggling skills at the art market, lined with colorful stalls full of souvenirs, scarves and handmade goods. 


Children’s Activities

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Along with its eco-friendly children’s club, Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve also offers the Mini Explorers program. For a half or full day, your kids will learn survival skills, make new friends and participate in creative activities. Outside the resort, help realize their Indiana Jones fantasies at the immensely popular Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, which is home to hundreds of free-roaming long-tailed macaques. For an art history lesson, take them to the Blanco Renaissance Museum, the flamboyant studio of Antonio Blanco, a Philippine-born, Bali-residing artist who is considered Bali’s version of Salvador Dalí.

Ubud sits as the cultural center of Bali, fusing natural wonders like forests filled with hundreds of monkeys with a dense concentration of art galleries and museums. Explore the countryside outside of the city to find stunning temple complexes, hikes through lush nature and artisans creating one-of-a-kind handiwork. Linger over long meals cooked by world-class chefs — Ubud has gained a reputation for the quality and variety of its restaurants in recent years. Start your days with yoga, finding the centering balance and inner calm that have come to define Bali. 

Children enter a hut-like, two-story structure secluded amid verdant foliage

Countryside Pleasures

Ubud lies at the heart of a lush region of Bali, acting as the area’s cultural center but also as a perfect hub to venture out from. You will bond with nature through meeting the creatures that inhabit it and see the unique ways the Balinese have learned to grow and harvest. Whether you are walking among monkeys or rice terraces, you’ll come to understand why the Balinese countryside has so much to offer that you won’t experience anywhere else in the world. 


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Long pathway flanked by water with lily pads leads to an orange temple under gray skies

A Culinary Tour

Ubud is considered the cultural heart of Bali, with art galleries and traditional markets dotting its streets. Head out from the main roads to discover beautiful temples, breathtaking landscapes and awesome creatures in their natural environment. The food reflects the Indonesian and Balinese cultures and how they’ve taken on a global view as the world comes to visit. Immerse yourself in the country and the culture from dawn till dusk (and beyond). 



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