I have stayed at Sunset Hill Bed and Breakfast three different times because I love the feel and location of it so much. I have booked a one bedroom, the pool villa and the Maharani suite and have never been disappointed. The villa has a glorious spa with a full menu of services as well as an open air bungalow with mats for yoga. They cater to many different types of travelers and is a perfect location for a couples weekend in Ubud.
Each trip I have taken to Ubud has been delightful but different as I have gone once with a girlfriend, once with my kids and in-laws and once for a romantic weekend with my spouse.
Many people rent motorbikes for the day to get around, but be aware which side of the road they drive on and pay attention to the little things they do as they navigate the streets. You will be much safer if you ‘do as the locals do’. They have a driving language all their own. Also be sure to know of the closest medical center in case your driving skills aren’t up to par. I have seen many a tourist with bandages, casts, arm slings and crutches. If you decide you don’t want to do a motorbike but need help getting around Ubud, talk to the villa staff. They are always more than happy to help you find a taxi or driver by the day.
We arrived at the airport in Denpasar. Our accommodation had arranged a pick up service for us. This is easy to set up and is worth the money. Alternatively, you can easily get a taxi from the airport. You are probably going to spend between 300k-400k IDR ($20-30 USD) for a taxi.
I always opt for the convenience of a hotel pick up because the prices are similar and it’s easier than haggling. There is usually a slew of drivers standing around with signs of their hotel name and your name on a placard. It’s fairly easy to navigate the airport. If you want to get your own taxi, just walk past the drivers with placards and there will be many a taxi driver waiting to take you anywhere you want to go.
Ubud is around a two hour drive from the airport depending on traffic. A long drive, but the villa is glorious!
We stayed at Sunset Hill Bed and Breakfast in Ubud. This time round, we booked the Maharani Suite which has a lovely sitting patio overlooking the jungle and has same level access to the pool. The villa is at the top of Campuhan Hill which has a lovely trail that leads into the heart of Ubud. We walked into Ubud along this trail every day and enjoyed meeting other people, both tourist and locals, along the trail too.
Near the Resort
Once we settled into our hotel and had taken in all the beauty (and a thousand photos) we were hungry! Because its a bed and breakfast we were required to leave the villa for our other meals. If you walk along the road of villas there are many restaurants. We walked along Jl. Bangkian Sidem to Karsa Kafe and had a late lunch in an outdoor joglo hut overlooking the rice fields.
They also have a spa which was tempting but we didn’t have time. Since this was our anniversary trip, we sat for a long time in that hut chatting and enjoying each other’s company. We tend to “slow” travel when were alone together so doing a lot of things isn’t always a top priority.
In Ubud we walked along the shops and markets. The thing about Ubud is that it has exploded with tourism. Always have an idea of what you are willing to spend for an item and be aware that Bali is a touristy place so you will pay more than you think you should, but remember, you are supporting handicrafts, artisans and daily workers. More money out of your wallet means they have more money for food, electricity and housing. So being generous is never a bad thing.
There is so much to see, eat and do that you can’t go wrong.
Because we had a long travel day and had enjoyed a late lunch we picked up a few snacks along the way and took a taxi back to our villa and enjoyed an evening by the pool together.
After a leisurely breakfast we walked back into Ubud. We then spent half the day at the monkey forest. This place is crazy with monkeys! You can feed them but are encouraged NOT to hold them, for good reason. Because the monkeys are so used to people they will jump on you, pick at you and sometimes even bite. Don’t bring food into the forest or open your bags. Monkeys think everything is going to produce food.
A monkey jumped on our backpack and ran away with our water bottle stolen from its holder. The monkey got the lid off and guzzled right in front of us with his cheeky monkey grin. I have seen people put monkeys on their shoulders and heads for photo ops but I have also seen someone bitten, so I chose to stay monkey free. Well, at least as much as possible in a forest full of monkeys! So this is a fun outing but a bit unnerving if you don’t like wild animals running around you.
After a few hours in the forest we stopped at Tropical View Cafe for lunch. Now that I live in Bali (moved here 2018), I found that Tropical View Cafe is no longer in business. However, do not despair! There are many places along Monkey Forest Road. We recently ate at Taco Casa which had delicious Mexican food.
We walked along Jl. Monkey Forest to the Ubud Art Market and Saraswati Temple. The afternoon passed in shopping for baskets and exploring the temple area. We took a taxi back to avoid walking in the dark and spent another relaxing evening by the pool.
This day we woke up early to have a quick breakfast at the villa before our driver from Green Bike Cycling Tour picked us up for our full day cycling tour. I have worked with this company three different times because I love them so much. I have watched them grow from a humble one man show to the wonderfully managed company it is today. They now offer more than just regular cycling through rice fields. You can choose electrical bikes, dirt bikes, river rafting, and ATV’s. We used our legs and cycled through beautiful rice fields and quaint villages, past amazing vistas of volcanoes, tea and coffee plantations. This is a full day and you can get tired by the end, but what I loved about it was getting to learn about the traditional ways of the Balinese people.
You can learn about their celebrations, offerings, farming methods and way of life. We even met locals who taught us about training roosters for cock fighting!
It was eye opening and energizing. We loved every moment.
Lunch is included in the tour and you will be dropped off at your villa at the end of the tour, unless you specify a place in Ubud you want to be dropped off at. We had them drop us close to the monkey forest and walked around town before having dinner at Pizza Bagus. After a full day of cycling and good pizza, we took a taxi back to the villa to spend another blissful evening enjoying the tranquillity of the pool.
We took our sweet time getting up to enjoy a simple breakfast of fruit and banana pancakes with syrup which is a staple in Bali. Then, a dip in the pool and massages. You can have the concierge call in a masseuse and have it done in the spa area, room or poolside!
We had booked a cooking class at Casa Luna cooking school which was a few hours of time right around lunch. You definitely don’t leave hungry! We practiced using a mortar and pestle, making curry, chopping peppers for sambal and I even tried my first salted fish anchovies as a salad topper. It was salty and fishy!
The class was well run and it was fun to meet people from all over the world. I didn’t feel like it was as hands on as I would have liked, but it’s hard to do that with 15 people and since it’s the only cooking class I have taken, I’m unsure if this is normal or not.
The place was beautiful, well maintained and our instructor was fun and great to talk with and they send you home with some printed recipes to try. I enjoyed the class a lot. After the class we had one more night in our villa before departing for the airport early the next morning.
I do wish we’d had time to go to Ubud Water Palace for the cultural dance as well as Go Gajah (the elephant cave) but we were just enjoying our villa so much it was hard to leave!