15 Best Things To Do in Ubud, Bali 15 Best Things To Do in Ubud, Bali

15 Best Things To Do in Ubud, Bali

Located in the center of beautiful Bali lies the popular art city of Ubud. Surrounded by stunning rice terraces, countless waterfalls, yoga retreats, and the towering Mount Batur, it’s one of the most incredible locations on the island. Everyone spends their time differently here, from relaxing in an eco-retreat and exploring the lush nature to visiting holy water temples. Spend a few days of your Bali itinerary in the heart of the island, and discover all the best things to do in Ubud.

Things to do in Ubud, Bali

The creative and cultural hub of Ubud lies in the center of the island, known for its beautiful green rice paddies and lush jungles. It’s one of the most sought-after locations, with many people visiting for the city’s incredible natural scenery and peaceful surrounding atmosphere.

Swim in natural pools under tall waterfalls, roam through the surrounding green lands, and discover the impressive Balinese culture by visiting the area’s temples. There are many things to do in Ubud, Bali. 

Tip: Ubud also makes a good location to base yourself in Bali, as it’s easy to visit other incredible places such as mountainous Munduk, Mount Batur, lush Sidemen, or the bustling Canggu.

1. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Rise and shine early to visit one of the most magical valleys of Bali, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Here, countless layers of rice fields spread across the hills, lined by the island’s luscious jungles. Visit when the sun’s barely risen, covering the fields in beautiful light.

The valley lies an easy 20-minute drive north of Ubud and is a great place to wander around for an hour or two. Walk through the lush paddies and explore the different levels, taking in the stunning views of the area as you go. Make sure to bring your camera, as you’ll surely want to snap some pictures on your route! 

Keep in mind that these are active farming lands; respect the workers and stay on the paths throughout the entire valley. On the outskirts, you’ll find the iconic jungle swings and plenty of small cafes, both with stunning views over the rice terraces.

Due to its popularity, it’s best to visit the terraces in the morning (before 10 AM) to avoid the bigger crowds. The entrance is easily located on the side of the road, from where you’ll walk down into the valley towards the Tegalalang rice terraces.

2. The Holy Spring Water of Pura Tirta Empul

Pura Tirta Empul is a sacred temple complex known for its holy spring water, fresh from the ground. The water here is believed to have healing powers, making it a popular place amongst locals and tourists looking to cleanse themselves in the pools.

 If you’d like to join in with this important purification ritual, dip your head under the 30 different stations, moving from left to right. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of water, and lies about half an hour from Ubud. Entrance to the temple costs 50,000 IDR (3,30 USD). 

Apart from the holy water pools, you can explore the other beautiful structures of the complex, from golden shrines to courtyards. The temple also organizes several ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, offering you a glimpse into the rich Balinese culture. 

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15 Best Things To Do in Ubud, Bali

3. Ancient Bali: Pura Gunung Kawi

Pura Gunung Kawi is an archeological site in Bali known for its ancient temple complex. About 1000 years ago, these temples and houses were carved out of rocks as people didn’t know how to construct the buildings. It’s believed to be one of the oldest and largest monuments on the island! 

The 7-meter-high shrines cut out of the rock give a unique glimpse into Balinese architecture of the past. Walk down a long flight of stairs to reach the lush river valley below to admire these ancient remnants, taking in the peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding rice paddies. Pura Gunung Kawi lies about 20 minutes outside of Ubud and costs 50,000 IDR (3,30 USD) to enter.

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4. Monkey Forest Ubud

One of the best things to do in Ubud is to experience the beauty and tranquility of the Ubud Monkey Forest. Located in the center of town, you’ll find a beautiful park without a fence, where loads of monkeys spend their day. Though, even if you don’t like the monkeys, the park makes a must-do in Ubud for its grand rainforest and beautiful walkways alone.

Escape the buzz of the town and delve into a natural oasis full of stunning temples, serene rivers, ancient trees, and hundreds of cheeky monkeys. This is a great place to observe the animals up close and watch as they interact with one another. Expect to spend about 2 hours here, walking around the park. The entrance fee is 50,000 IDR (3,30 USD). Alternatively, book a combo tour of Ubud’s most popular sites, including the Monkey Forest.

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The Monkeys 

Since the monkeys roam freely here, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see the animals in their natural surroundings. Hundreds of long-tailed grey macaques roam around the Ubud Monkey Forest, and since there are no fences, the monkeys happily live here by choice. 

They’re not really interested in you but always remember that they’re wild animals, so make sure to stick to the park’s rules. This is a must-do on any Bali itinerary

5. Campuhan Ridge Walk

Around sunset, go on a beautiful hike over Campuhan Ridge. This 2-kilometer trail lies close to the center of Ubud and is the perfect way to end a day full of sightseeing. While you peacefully wind down, take in the panoramic views of the surrounding jungle-covered hills of Ubud, Bali. 

The trail starts at the Campuhan Bridge, next to the Pura Gunung Lebah temple, where the two rivers meet. From there, you can follow the trail as it winds through lush scenery, rice paddies, and small villages. This is a popular activity for locals and visitors alike, and you’ll see people walking their dogs, going for a run, or taking lovely pictures. Walking the trail is a free thing to do in Ubud.

6. Visit the Waterfalls

Bali is known to have some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Indonesia, with many of them located in the center of the island. Because of this, chasing waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Ubud to experience the beauty of the island’s natural surroundings.

Kanto Lampo 

The Kanto Lampo waterfall, about 40 minutes outside of Ubud, is a huge beautiful wall of water and a popular one to climb up on. Locals like to hang around here on the weekends, swimming in the small pool area in front of the rocks. Take your time at this beautiful spot; jump in the water, enjoy a relaxing swim, and shower under the falls. 

This is a popular waterfall in Bali, so we recommend visiting on a weekday when there’ll be fewer people. From the parking lot, it’s only a 3-minute walk down.

Tibumana Waterfall 

Only 15 minutes further from Kanto Lampo lies the secluded and powerful Tibumama waterfall. After an easy walk down, you’ll be rewarded with refreshing water to cool off in. However, be careful, as the force of the falling water is usually very strong here. The entrance to the waterfall is 10,000 IDR (0,65 USD). 

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Tegenungan Waterfall

The Tegenungan waterfall is the closest waterfall to Ubud, located just a 15-minute drive away. It’s known for its 15-meter-tall stream that flows over a cliff, plummeting into a large pool below.

To get to the falls, you’ll have to walk down a steep flight of stairs. Once there, enjoy the fresh spray of the water and the lush surroundings. There are a few viewpoints around the waterfall, offering a different look at the natural scenery. The entrance to the waterfall is 15,000 IDR (1 USD). 

Good to know: Bali has a big problem with trash. Try to be mindful of your surroundings and the environment, and clean up after yourself. Learn more about sustainable travel.

7. Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave

Don’t worry – no elephants or animal abuse here! This small temple, with a unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist architecture, features an elephant statue carved into the rock’s face instead. 

Goa Gajah is an impressive meditation cave and an important cultural site in Bali, made entirely by hand. It’s easy to get there from Ubud, as it lies only 6 kilometers south of the city. Admire all the intricate carvings and learn more about Bali’s history while you make your way across the grounds. 

8. Ubud Water Palace

In the center of Ubud’s town, surrounded by water and beautiful pink lotus flowers, lies the Hindu water palace, the Saraswati temple. It’s dedicated to the Hindu goddess of knowledge, arts, and learning and makes a must-do in Ubud, Bali. Explore the temple grounds, admiring the different shrines, statues, and water gardens.

 You’ll find the temple hidden behind Starbucks, with its intricate carvings and beautiful pavilions sticking out above the other buildings. If you can, revisit at night when dance performances are often held. The entrance to the temple is free.

9. Tubing or White Water Rafting

Tubing and white water rafting are two very popular things to do in Ubud. Whether you’re solo or together with a group, you’ll mingle with the rest during these adventurous activities. Going down the Ayung River is a great and exciting experience – we loved tubing with our friends! You can book this tour directly through our friend Yande below.

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Float down gently in a large inflatable tube, allowing the river to guide you while you enjoy the stunning scenery. Or, navigate the river on an inflatable raft with an experienced guide, tackling the river rapids as they change class. Both tours usually take about 6 hours (8 AM – 2 PM) and cost between 445,000 IDR (30 USD) and 600,000 IDR (40 USD).

10. Relax at a Pool Bar

After your day of thrilling activities and a dose of natural gems, relax and unwind at one of the many pool bars in Ubud, Bali. The incredible views over the city’s lush rice paddies and surrounding forests make this a popular activity to do in town. A few of our favorite bars with a pool in Ubud were: 

  • Wanna Jungle Pool
  • Kelapa Muda Ubud Pool Bar
  • Folk Pool & Gardens
  • Jungle Fish
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Sip on a refreshing drink while you soak in an infinity pool overlooking the gorgeous river valley below. Many pools have loungers, sunbeds, and umbrellas, making it an ideal spot for a break to soak up the sun.

11. Shop at the Ubud Art Market

Every day in the heart of town, you’ll find the vibrant and popular Ubud Market. Depending on the time you visit during the day, you can find different products here.

The traditional market is in full swing from 3 AM till 8 AM, where lots of veggies and meat are sold. However, at 9 AM, the market changes to the lively Art Market, where you can find everything from handbags and kitchenware to decorations and souvenirs.

It’s here where the ‘Ubud bag’ comes from, now a worldwide fashion item. As a result, every shop sells these pretty bags. Take your time as you stroll through the busy alleys, admiring all the different handmade crafts and local artworks. 

Good to know: They’re currently (2023) working on rebuilding the Ubud Market, so most vendors have temporarily moved to the Ubud Central Parking Lot in the nearby Sambahan area.

12. Ubud Rice Fields Walk

One of the lesser-known things to do in Ubud is to go on the relaxing rice field walk. This 45-minute route runs across a path between the stunning rice fields and farms outside Ubud, Bali. Though it’s right in the center of town, it’s not very well known as it lies hidden between all the other highlights of Ubud. Here’s the exact route.

Soak up Ubud’s tranquil beauty and stunning natural surroundings while you make your way across the path. Walking between the rice fields offers a chance to connect with the local culture and learn more about the Balinese agriculture traditions. 

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Dinner between the rice fields 

While en route through the Ubud rice fields, stop halfway to have a delicious dinner at Sari Organik or Sweet Orange Restaurant. Both of these restaurants are in the best dinner spot in Ubud, with incredible views over the lush rice paddies. Enjoy local classics such as Nasi Goreng while you watch the green fields turn into a golden orange during sunset. 

13. Stay at a Bamboo House

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in the jungle-covered hills or a private villa with a pool overlooking lush rice terraces, there’s no limit to accommodation options in Ubud, Bali. For a unique experience, spend a few nights in a bamboo house tucked between the diverse landscapes of central Bali. 

From cozy budget-friendly cabins to grand works of art capable of housing big groups of friends, there’s a bamboo house for everyone. These incredible hotels are known for their open-air concepts, gorgeous details, and perfect hanging nets that look out over the stunning surroundings. Built only with natural resources, they make the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s busier towns. 

14. Hike up Mt. Batur

Hike to the top of the sacred volcano of Mount Batur to be rewarded with incredible 360-degree views over Bali. It rises high above the surrounding landscapes, making it the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. Look out onto beautiful pink and orange clouds that float far below or watch how endless valleys lie between the island’s green jungles.

The relatively easy hike requires an early start, with most tour companies picking you up around 2 AM. This leaves plenty of time to drive to the trailhead and trek up the mountain for sunrise. Depending on your fitness level, reaching the summit takes roughly two hours, making it a 4-hour round-trip journey.  

Guided Tour 

It’s required to hire a local guide or book a tour to get up the mountain. Although it’s generally very safe (the last eruption was over 20 years ago) and easy, a tour takes all the hassle out of the experience. Your guide will collect you from your accommodation, provide useful equipment, and tell you their expert local knowledge. Breakfast and a nice cup of hot coffee at the summit are also included!

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Tip: Wear warm layers and good hiking shoes, and make sure you bring plenty of water and some snacks.

15. Join a Cooking Class

Indonesians have an incredibly delicious and unique cuisine, making it a must-try when visiting the country. Learn more about the Balinese culture and the island’s traditional cooking methods by joining a cooking class in Ubud. 

Start with a visit to the local market, where you’ll pick up all the ingredients needed for the dishes you’ll be making later on. An experienced chef will share the secrets of great Balinese food and guide you in making delicious authentic meals. This is a fantastic opportunity to try new foods. Moreover, you’ll bring home a new culinary skill set – the perfect souvenir!

Best Cafes and Restaurants in Ubud, Bali

From colorful ‘Bali bowls’ full of fresh fruit to tasty Nasi Goreng or Gado Gado, there are many authentic Indonesian dishes to try in Bali. Because of its popularity, you’ll find many great warungs (family restaurants) and international restaurants in Ubud. A few of our favorites are:

  • Kebun bistro (Mediterranean)
  • Warung Pondok Madu (great Indonesian food)
  • KAFE
  • Lazy Cats Cafe
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Spend your days hopping around the island’s center, discovering cute cafes, and trying different dishes.

Where to Stay in Ubud

Though Ubud makes a great day trip destination, the surrounding rivers, rice field views, and jungle vibes also make it an amazing spot to spend a few days. There are some beautiful and affordable hotels in Ubud and the surrounding villages, as well as a great choice of hostels.

Stay in the center of Ubud if you’re looking to do some shopping and want to be close to most restaurants. Choose the village of Penestanan for more tranquility, or spend your days lounging in a beautiful bamboo villa in the lush region of Tegalalang.

How Many Days in Ubud?

A minimum of 3 – 4 days is plenty to fully experience what the bustling central town of Ubud has to offer. This way, you’ll have enough time to explore the beautiful temples, lush rice paddies, waterfalls, and other natural gems, as well as experience the local culture. Though many travelers also use it as a base to explore other locations on the island. 

How to Visit Ubud

Ubud lies a 1-hour drive from Bali’s International Airport and visitor favorites Canggu and Seminyak. However, the roads are busy, so it usually takes a little longer. 

Find flights to Ubud ✈️

Rent a car or motorcycle, book a tour, or arrange a private car or taxi to get to the lively center of Ubud. A slightly more affordable option is to book a shared van from the airport, which leaves several times a day. 

There’s also a public bus that operates between Denpasar and Ubud, meant to decrease the number of on-road vehicles. The Teman Bus runs daily from 5 AM to 7 PM, and you can book tickets through their app.

Getting Around

The town of Ubud is very walkable, with many incredible things to do in the center. Most roads are one-way because it can get quite crowded, especially in the high season with lots of people visiting. 

Ubud’s central location is also very convenient if you’re looking to explore the stunning surrounding areas. Within an hour or two, you can be swimming under waterfalls, rafting on strong river currents, or hiking up the grand Mount Batur for beautiful sunrise views.

By Motorbike

If you’re an experienced driver, you can travel around Ubud by motorbike. Wind your way through lush rice fields and over streets lined with palms as you explore the surrounding regions. The roads in Bali are relatively good, and motorbike rental costs about 50,000 – 100,000 IDR (3 – 7 USD) per day. 

By Private Driver or Tour

Private drivers in Bali are a great option if you don’t want the hassle of organizing your own travel. Decide where you want to go and what you want to see, and your driver can make it happen! Alternatively, book a guided tour which usually includes several points and a local guide. 

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How Much Does Ubud Cost?

Though it’s a popular tourist destination, Ubud can be very affordable depending on where you stay and eat. There are many well-priced accommodations in and around town, and a full plate of delicious food can cost you as little as 2 USD at a local warung. Prices may be slightly higher during the high season (June – August). 

Costs of Traveling in Ubud

Travel on a budget in Ubud, from $100 − $180 USD weekly per person, mid-range $390 − $1050 USD, and high-end from $930 − $1440 USD. However, costs depend on factors like accommodation, transportation, and activities. We did not include flights. Check flight prices here

Best Time to Visit Ubud, Bali 

The best time to visit Bali is between May and July and September and October when the weather is good, and the island sees less rain. However, this is also the busiest time in Bali as it’s when most people visit.

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Also see: Best Time to visit Bali

Ubud is a great destination throughout the year, except when Bali’s rainy (green) season comes (December – February). Weather-wise, Ubud is best visited between June and September when the days are warm but the nights much cooler.

21/02/2024 https://www.saltinourhair.com/bali/things-to-do-ubud/
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