Exploring Ubud with a 1 year old
Written by: Mama Bea , 14 Jun 2018
Ubud is a small, bustling town nestled within the Balinese jungle in central Bali. The surrounding landscape is mesmerizingly beautiful, complete with stunning rice terraces and impressive waterfalls. I had heard/read how Ubud has become incredibly touristy of late, which is true to a degree, there are just so many things for tourists to do in and around Ubud. However, it also gives off an extraordinary serene kind of vibe, of which I've never really felt anywhere else before.
We visited when Roscoe was 15 months old, he had just started walking for the first time a couple of weeks beforehand. People will tell you to absolutely bring a baby carrier and not a buggy to Ubud, supposedly because pushing a pram will be very difficult on the uneven pavements. Don't get me wrong, the pavements are quite patchy and often intermittent. I would often look down and see his little head bobbling all over the place as I stubbornly tried to manoeuvre around a particularly inpertinent stone. Overall though I'd say it wasn't that bad and we have a very cheap foldable buggy with wheels that sometimes refuse to mount a small kerb back home. Having the buggy was unquestionably useful when Roscoe was sleeping and we wanted to go for some food, we find it's always good to have that extra option for where to put him when we're out and about. Having him in the carrier is great and everything but there is nothing worse than trying to eat your Nasi Goreng over a sleeping baby and dropping some crazy spicy sauce in their hair, or worse, their EYES! Yes, we have been there, done that, just about lived to tell the tale.
We planned our time around doing one major sightseeing trip each day interspersed with lots of pool time for Roscoe/relaxtion time for us. His water confidence was growing so much around that time, getting him in the water was always a refreshing break from exploring with him in the carrier or buggy. Swimming also really tired him out meaning longer naptimes for us to enjoy. Parenting high five right there!
Moksha Hotel & Spa
We stayed in the Moksha Hotel and Spa whilst in Ubud. We normally like to travel on a budget and as such rarely spend over £50 a night anywhere, we stayed here for around £40 a night and it was nothing less than stunning. Complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea each day and lush tropical gardens looking onto vivid green rice terraces.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
On our first day of exploration we headed to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. Within the sanctuary three holy temples are surrounded by dense jungle and long-tailed Balinese macaques. As we were visiting with Roscoe we tried to keep a respectful distance from the monkeys at all times and not look them in the eye. We successfully managed to walk around the entire sanctuary without incident, only to hinge upon disaster as we were approaching the exit. Kieran had walked a little off the track to take some photos and perhaps, because we were nearing the exit, I became a little too complacent. After being very careful not to expose any of our baby snacks/bottles throughout our walk I could now see Roscoe was grumbling for some water. So what do I do? Of course I reach down deep into the buggy basket for his water bottle, a bright pink one nonetheless. Almost immediately a medium-sized monkey jumped onto the hood of the pram and looked me straight in the eye, held his arm out towards the bottle and raised his voluminous eyebrows at me. We both froze in position for what seemed like decades, though was probably only a few seconds. Roscoe however, did not freeze. He was, of course, curiously excited by the long furry tail dangling inches from his nose. What happened next was one of those moments that you replay in your head hundreds of times after the event in question. Roscoe stretched his little hand out and opened his fingers ready to tug on the tail. I lurched forward to grab his tiny arms in a clumsy, panicky motion, flinging the bottle into the air mid-lurch. I could feel the monkey's eyes still fixed on me as I hastily pinned Roscoe's arms to his sides, moments before he clamped his hands on the tail and attempted to trapeze swing out of the buggy. Luckily for us, though unfortunate for the monkey, the bottle had sprayed water right in his direction, causing an even more exaggerated raise of the eyebrows. Thankfully he seemed substantially perturbed by this and as such briskly jumped away into some nearby trees as my flustered self breathed a huge sigh of relief. Lesson is learnt from that one though, avoid showcasing bright coloured bottles to sassy monkeys!
With the bottle incident aside we had a magical morning walking around the sanctuary, felt almost like we were wandering through pages of The Jungle Book.
The next morning started off pretty well as Roscoe didn't wake up until 9am, giving us time to enjoy our breakfast and coffee in peace. However the day spiraled downhill pretty quickly when he vomited all over me in the taxi on our way to the rice terraces. In an act of motherly self-sacrifice I'd managed to catch most of it, in my bra of all places! Ultimately this meant carrying a naked, sticky baby around the rice terraces whilst trying to avoid other people due to our now rather unusual aroma. No one ever said travelling with a baby was glamourous! Even this couldn't deter our attention from the impressive beauty of the terraces though.
Luwak Coffee Plantation
There is nothing we love more on a morning than a mug of fresh coffee and as such we had to visit the coffee plantation in Ubud. We were met at the entrance and taken down a winding path on the hillside to access the coffee farm. Once there they explained the whole process of making Luwak coffee, apparently the most expensive coffee in the world! We got to see how the civat cats chew on coffee berries and how the undigested coffee beans from their poop are roasted and ground up. We even had 8 free tasting samples of various flavours of coffee and tea. And to top it all off, the view from the tasting benches was just magnificant.
Now I love a good waterfall and Tegenungan, situated just outside of Ubud, did not disappoint. There were lots of steps leading down to it but once there it was incredibly refreshing to feel the waterfall mist and dip our toes in the swirling water. Baby carrier absolutely required for this one though, going back up to road level was intense!
Overall we absolutely loved our time in Ubud. There were lots of amazing, reasonably-priced restaurants, both Warungs (Balinese family-owned businesses)and international establishments, to choose from and we could always find fresh fruit and bread for Roscoe. In terms of getting around, we used local taxis or those recommended by our hotel. All our drivers were lovely and were more than willing to include small detours to show us extra places. In the evenings we had lots of fun watching traditional Balinese dances at the Ubud Palace. We thought Roscoe might get bored and tired but he actually seemed totally captivated by them. We also spent a lot of time chilling in the tropical gardens just outside our room, perfect for playtime and to practise toddling.
When the time came I didn't really want to leave, Ubud gave me such a warm feeling, it felt like leaving another home. There's so much more to explore that we didn't quite have time for. I can't wait to go back to walk the Campuhan Ridge and explore the Balinese art museums in greater depth. We will be back in the future for sure.
Thanks for reading.