Walking: Penestanan & Campuan Ridge

  • Start Ubud Palace
  • End JI Raya Ubud
  • Length 15km; 3½ hours

From Ubud Palace, head west on Jl Raya Ubud and over the modern Campuan bridge (noting its picturesque predecessor on the southern side). Continue up JI Raya Campuan until you come to the Dharma Cafe and Bintang Supermarket on the left-hand side of the road. Walk up the stone stairs immediately south (left) of the cafe and follow the signs to 'Yellow Flower Cafe', passing local houses, homestays and an often-dry riverbed en route. You'll soon come to the cafe, which is a lovely spot to pause for a chai, coffee, fresh juice or health tonic if you so choose. Continue south until you arrive at at a point where the path intersects with another, and turn west (right) into the village of Penestanan, home to a number of Balinese artists. If it's open, you can visit the Art Space run by abstract painter Wayan Karja (www.facebook.com/KarjaArtSpace), one of the best-known members of the local artistic community. Continue downhill, crossing the bridge over the Sungai Blangsuh (Blangsuh River), and then turn north (right) into CL Cempaka Putih. A short distance ahead is the Pura Pesimpangan Ulundanu Penestanan, where the local community worships. From here, turn left and then right, continuing past Paddy Point Bungalow and following the grey-paved pathway through the fields. You'll come to a stretch that isn't paved but forge ahead, as the paving starts again a short way ahead. Though some construction is occurring here, this area is still predominantly agricultural, and you'll walk past rice paddies and fields planted with various crops.

After passing a number of resorts, you'll eventually come to busy JI Raya Lungsiakan. Turn left and you will come to another busy road, JI Kedewatan, where luxurious resorts including Mandapa, the Four Seasons and Amandari are located. Turn south (left) and walk down to one of the road's less-luxurious accommodation options, the Sayan Terrace, which overlooks the magnificent Sungai Ayung Valley (Sungai River Valley). This was the home that Canadian composer and musicologist Colin McPhee chronicled in his 1930s memoir A House in Bali, which recounted his decade living in Ubud seeking to understand Balinese culture through the history of its music; it was first published in 1944 and is widely regarded as a classic. You can enjoy the magnificent view over the valley from the hotel's terrace before continuing south and then turning east (left) into JI Penestaran and backtracking through Penestaran village. Walk straight ahead and down the staircase to return to JI Raya Campuan and then turn south (right), walking downhill to Bridges, an upmarket bar-restaurant with sweeping views over the Cerik Sungai rIver gorge from its downstairs cocktail bar. Here, you can either finish your walk and reward yourself with a drink, or cross JI Raya Campuan, enter the driveway of the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas and then take the path to the left, where a walkway crosses the Sungai Wos (Wos River) and passes the tranquil Pura Gunung Lebah with its impressive multi-stepped meru (multi-tiered shrine). Continue north on the concrete path, climbing up onto the Campuan Ridge between the two rivers (Campuan means 'Where Two Rivers Meet', referring to the confluence of the Wos and Cerik). Fields of elephant grass, traditionally used for thatched roofs, slope away on either side of the path and you'll be able to see the rice fields above Ubud in all of their lush green majesty. Continue past rice fields up to the village of Bangkiang Sidem, where you should turn around and return the way you came, heading back towards the town centre when you get to JI Raya Ubud. If you still have energy, there are plenty of sights to enjoy along its length, including the Pura Dalem Agung, Museum Puri Lukisan and Pura Taman Saraswati.

Walking: Ubud's Urban Rice Fields

  • Start Pura Taman Saraswati
  • End Museum Puri Lukisan
  • Length 3.5km; one hour

Start at Pura Taman Saraswati, where you can pose for a photograph or two in front of the temple's carved entrance gate and gorgeous lotus-filled pond. Then head north up JI Kajeng, following the 'To Rice Field' signs. Pass the Pura Catur Bhuana, one of hundreds of small neighbourhood temples in Ubud, and then head uphill as the road becomes a path. You'll soon see a lush green vista of rice fields on your left and come to a small shrine, where you should veer right. Continue north, passing a few villas, and turn left when you come to a path before a simple warung (food stand). This path soon joins another footpath, where you should turn left, looping back towards the town centre (if you veer right, the path will take you to the village of Tegallalang, passing many studio shacks used by local artists on the way).

Having taken the left turn, you will pass two organic farms where some of the produce used in Ubud's restaurants is grown; one is home to the Sari Organik cafe, where you could pause for a drink or organic meal. Continuing south, you'll soon enjoy wonderful views over to the Campuan Ridge. This area was among the first to attract Western painters in the 1920s and 1930s and you'll understand why from the still-lush foliage and the sound of the river swiftly flowing that can be heard when the wind is in the right quarter. The path becomes serpentine at this point, and you'll be sharing it with darting lizards, scraggy chickens and the occasional pedestrian or motorbike rider. Birds sing, and the hilltop breezes can be blissful on hot days. Continue walking until you come to a T-intersection and then veer left, passing the Abangan Bungalows and emerging on JI Raya Ubud, close to Museum Puri Lukisan.