Is Ubud Walkable?


Currently living in Chiang Mai and loving it.

I’m trying to figure out where I’ll go once burning season hits in late Feb, as I don’t want to be here then.

I’m definitely considering Bali - but I don’t ride motorbikes, and I don’t really want to learn if I can help it.

Is there anybody who has lived in Ubud and gotten around entirely by foot? If so, what was your experience like?

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Yeah, not advisable. (I lived there for a few months)

It’s not the distance, it’s the elevation changes, they humidity, the sun, the temperature, the exhaust fumes. It doesn’t make for a pleasant walk.

You can’t do bikes either (I tried). And dealing with cabs and motorbike taxis (gojek, grabcar, uber) gets old real quick.

So in that regard its nothing like CM. CM is doable on foot, especially if you stay in the centre. Ubud, not so much.

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In Ubud now, it is definitely walkable however there’s a huge caveat to that statement - it all depends where in Ubud you are and what your expectations are.

If you’re accustomed to large grocery stores and whatnot, you’ll need a vehicle (cheap and easy to get). If you’re happy with small shops and living near the busy tourist strip, you can walk everywhere.

You probably won’t though. Unless it’s for short trips.

(this is all based in you being used to Chiang Mai, others who haven’t lived in a SEA City would probably say it’s definitely not walkable)

I’m also in Chiang Mai trying to figure out where to go in February when the burn season starts. I was here last year, and it was terrible.

It is not easy to find a place that compares to Chiang Mai’s infrastructure and value.

If you stay in the town centre its walkable, but I wouldnt advise that as the exterior of Ubud is what makes it special. Stay a 5 mins scooter drive outside of town in the rice fields. The town centre is very busy with traffic and tourists. Personally I prefer Canggu in the South as I think its more liveable, but Ubud is very beautiful.

I lived in Ubud for 18 years. Currently travelling (and working) again through Sri Lanka and India so far.
The Ubud town centre now is pretty much gridlocked from early afternoon on to early evening. So cars getting around are out of the question. Plus there is no parking available.
To get best use of the place, if you don’t want to ride a bike yourself, hire a local to be on call so you can get bike lifts wherever you want to go. You could be some distance beween where you are living and using internet Hubs, and using the three main supermarkets.
BTW, much of central Ubud now has cable up to 100Mbits, with owners taking it at 10, 20, 50 or 100 Mbits. Nearly all cafes and restaurants have free wifi.
Walking is possible, plenty of tourists do it, but it can be exhausting. There are no real footpaths, but drain covers that rise and fall with access ways. They require your constant attention to avoid tripping and fallling. Much of Bali slopes upwards to the north, and so your walks in Ubud are either challenging going north or easy going south.

I’d echo @jodie_taylor – the best of Ubud is outside of the centre. There’s so much tourism in the centre that it almost has a theme park quality. To the credit of the Balinese, it retains culture and the people are very warm.

But for authenticity and peace, you need to be outside of the town, ducking in when hungry etc. – which then requires a scooter. Having a scooter takes some courage and there’s no shame in opting to skip it if you don’t feel up for it. But it is liberating.

Canggu is quieter, but more spread out – potentially viable on a push bike. There’s also an ebike firm in Ubud, not sure about in South, which could be another option.

I don’t think it takes too much courage to ride a scooter in Bali tbh. It can be a bit scary the first time, but as with most things, you’ve just got to be careful and ease your way into it. You’ll be comfortable real quick. And most of these accidents you hear about are just drunken ozzies/tourists. Be vigilant and you’ll be fine (disclaimer: no guarantees, your mileage may vary). It indeed is liberating to be able to escape the busy Ubud city centre, it’s a night and day difference in terms of beauty and tranquility.

Apologies for disagreeing with you on most accounts @kmander , but I think a scooter is even more of a necessity in Canggu. It’s so much more spread out than Ubud, as there’s no real centre. Also, good luck trying to take the shortcut (you know the one with all the cars toppled over in the sawa) on a push bike, not gonna work IMHO :wink:

Also, some of the dogs in Bali can get quite gnarly at night, so better to be on a scooter than walking on the side of the road. But that kinda depends on your bravery when it comes to street dogs.

When I first came to Bali, I had no drivers license and I was confident that I could just do it by walking, Ubering and a push bike. I tried all three, and IMO a scooter really is the only sensible, and by far the most convenient, way to really experience the island. So that’s what I resorted to in the end any way.

An alternative would be to hire a local guy, sort of like a personal (scooter) chauffer, which is about $150/mo

Would exercise caution about driving without a license. Paying police here and there is one thing. But if you end up in hospital, it’d be highly unlikely that your travel insurance would cover you. I’ve had a friend need to pay $50k out of pocket - sure could be worse too.

You can get an Indonesian driving license whilst in Bali but it’ll only be valid for a month (unless you have a KITAS; then it’s a year).