If you’re travelling to Ubud for some chilled out relaxing time, then you’re going to be in shock. The centre of Ubud is well, a shock if you’re expecting tranquility. Row after row of souvenir shops, question after question about tours, transport and the like, yoga in a class full of 50 people. Your planned trip to paradise can feel a little hectic. But it can still be possible to find peace in Ubud if you look further afield. One word, Penestanan. Penestanan is an artist’s village about a 15 minute walk from central Ubud. It is how I imagined Ubud used to be. Rice fields, little pathways, hidden cafes and yoga studios. If you’re in for chill then this is the place to be. I’ve been lucky to visit here twice now so I would love to share my tips with you. This post is not sponsored by the way. Just sharing the love for everything you need for a Do-It-Yourself retreat in Penestanan.
There are quite a few options for accommodation in this area. You can look for a hotel (Booking.Com has some here). You can find a homestay or meander the paths yourself. You’ll no doubt see “room for rent” signs about and people outside of houses and villas waiting for you to negotiate. I found my treasure on AirBnB and I’ve stayed at Kuntia’s place twice now. The room is a short walk to Yellow Flower Cafe, Intuitive Flow Yoga, and has perfect lofty feel, there is even a day bed on the balcony where you can while away a day and read. It is the perfect place to a lot or nothing.
Penestanan is foodies heaven. In particular if you are into raw/organic/vegan/health foods, you do not need to travel far to eat in some of the best places in Ubud. At the bottom of the village, is Alchemy. This place set the standard for raw and vegan food in Ubud and is hard to top. I had the raw cannelloni above and it was amazing. I’ve also tried the bounty slice for dessert with a glass of organic red wine. Up the middle of the ridge is Yellow Flower Cafe, a hip hang out for yogi’s. Yellow Flower has a great vegan and organic food menu, a Sunday Buffet, and a range of flavoured soda waters for when you’ve walked up a sweat making it up the hill. Across the other side of the road from the Bintang Supermarket on Jalan Raya Campuan is The Elephant which might just be my favourite. A top spot for having a wine while the sun sets over the rice fields. The 100% menu has so much on offer, for even the ‘non-vegetarian’ types, such a Gyoza, Laksa, Rice Paper Rolls and more. If you come here, the dessert is a must. Check out this dairy free cheesecake. OMG. For some great local food Lala & Lili Warung is fantastic and set around a lovely garden with a pond.
Yoga and Relaxation
I’ve heard at some of the studios in central Ubud you have to show up an hour before the class starts, only to share a space with 50 or more yogis. This is not my type of yoga. Just a couple of steps from Yellow Flower Cafe (on the same path) is Intuitive Flow Yoga. The small studio can accommodate about 20 or so yogi’s has a wonderful, playful morning flow class, meditation and more. The classes are slow, focussed on getting the pace right, and enough time in rest (my favourite pose). Save yourself some money by purchasing a five class pass if you’re planning on a few.
For the more active kind, there is plenty of walking to be done. Campuhan Ridge Walk starts near the school at the bridge, on the way to central Ubud from Penestanan steps. Go through the school, down the stairs and the walk starts. The whole walk takes three hours, along a ridge, where you have jungles on both sides. Or you can walk along the ridge and return at your pleasure. Go early in the sunrise or late in the sunset to avoid the heat and take water. For the final relax of the night, head to La La & Lili Spa. A facial and an hour massage will knock you back around $25 Aud. A worthwhile investment. They are also open late so you can have a massage that will send you off to sleep!
Got any other hot tips for Penestanan, Ubud?
Do share if I’ve missed any!