Ubud is, on the whole, delightfully free from hawkers and you’ll barely be harassed to buy souvenirs, other than at the market where the vendors can get pushy at times. You’ll frequently be greeted with shouts of “transport” – and some drivers have taken to yelling this even when they see you on a scooter – but mostly this is all well humoured and all that’s required is a polite shake of the head.
If you’re renting a scooter, be very careful on the roads. All sorts of obstacles that you may be unaccustomed to will cross your path (holes in the road, dogs, chickens, children, whole families on scooters, and people carrying large, weird and wonderful objects on other scooters ranging from drums of petrol to paintings, suitcases to fishing tackle). Watch out for the exhaust pipe on your motorbike – it gets extremely hot and visitors very frequently scorch their calves against it.
On the whole Ubud is a safe place, and although some tourists are targets of crime further south on the island, it’s rare for anything to happen in Ubud. This is partly due to the strong social structures in place here – if caught committing a crime, a local person risks losing face and being ostracized from the whole community. Having said that, a few ex-pat houses have been the target of break-ins lately, so don’t take unnecessary risks with your valuables, and make sure that you are insured for both medical care and personal possessions.
Be careful at the Monkey Forest – don’t carry food if you can avoid it because the monkeys will jump on you. There has been a rabies outbreak on the island and although this is not a big issue in Ubud, it’s best not to take risks. Monkeys and many other animals as well as dogs and cats can be susceptible to rabies, and the medical clinics here don’t always have the antidote vaccination in stock.
If you’re planning to go about Ubud on foot, do watch where you’re going. The sidewalks are barely user-friendly, often potted with large holes. Be sure to avoid stepping on the metal grilles: they often aren’t attached well and you risk falling through into the water-canal beneath.