The beaches of Bali are undeniable a great way to start your travels or your vacation. Blue waters, stunning dive and snorkel sites, and some beautiful waves to do some surfing. While this alone sounds like a dream come true, it is the lush jungles and the culture of Bali that shouldn’t be forgotten. Leave the dream beaches of Bali behind for a couple of days and head towards the beautiful small and quaint city of Ubud. Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital, should simply be on everyone’s itinerary, may you be a food lover, adventure lover, culture lover or nature lover… Ubud has something for everyone. Explore some of Bali’s most beautiful waterfalls or admire Bali’s most stunning temples, all in or near the town of Ubud. Or perhaps sit back and relax, get a massage, take a Balinese cooking course or go shopping in Ubud’s centre, Ubud just simply has so much to offer it could keep you busy for weeks. Curious to see what you can do in Ubud? Keep reading to find out what you should add to your Bali bucket list!
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Ubud Travel Tips
How do I get to Ubud?
If you are coming from outside of Indonesia you will most likely fly into Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport which is located South of Ubud. From the airport it will take you roughly 1.5 hours to get to Ubud. To avoid any hassle upon arrival in Bali you might want to schedule a pick up from the airport, something that is very common to do in Bali. You can enquire prices from your hotel or guesthouse in Ubud or use an online service such as Klook to arrange your airport transfer. We personally always book our airport transfers through Klook as we can arrange a pickup with the click of a button, and if you sign up now via this link you will actually get €5 discount on your first booking! If you are coming from other destinations within Bali this is how long it will take roughly by car, depending on traffic that day of course:
- Uluwatu – 2 to 2.5 hours
- Canggu – 1.5 to 2 hours
- Amed – 2.5 to 3 hours
- Bedugul – 1.5 to 2 hours
- Lovina – 2 to 2.5 hours
How do I get around Ubud?
With many of Ubud sights located right in Ubud centre you can easily get around by walking from one sight to the other. Unlike places such as Canggu you will find that almost all streets have footpaths so you can safely walk around town. However, if you are planning on visiting some of the sights that are surrounding Ubud, then you will need to arrange transport. Basically there are two options:
Rent a scooter – renting a scooter in Bali is extremely common and one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get around, this is our preferred option. For as little as $3.50 a day you can rent a scooter (with helmets) and you will have the freedom to go wherever you like. However, renting a scooter in Bali is not for everyone. As traffic can get quite chaotic we would only recommend renting a scooter if you feel confident and comfortable riding one, if you do not, maybe the next option will suit you better.
Hire a driver – As there is a lack of public transport in Bali it has become the standard to hire a driver for often a full or a half day tour. Prices for a half day tour start at IDR 350,000 (±$25) per car and often depend on the amount of sights you would like to see and where these sights are located. This is a great option not only for those who do not want to ride a scooter, but also for families or larger groups of friends as this way you can simply split the cost of a car.
How many days should I spend in Ubud?
While the city centre of Ubud is filled with sights, the reality is that you could probably see all of these within a day. The reason people stay longer in Ubud is to see some of the sights, such as waterfalls, rice fields and temples, surrounding Ubud, and it is these sights that will make you want to stay longer. We would recommend spending two to four days in Ubud, depending on how much time you have in your itinerary.
How Expensive is Ubud?
No matter if you are on a small budget, like we are, or if you are splurging because you are traveling to Bali on your honey moon, you can make Ubud as expensive or inexpensive as you like. If you are traveling on a tighter budget you might opt for staying in hostels, home stays and guest houses and to find restaurants in Ubud’s back streets and avoid eating at restaurants on the main street. This way you will be able to get the most bang for your buck. If you want to stay at a private villa, dine at some of the finer establishments and hire a private driver for a couple of days then you might want to budget a bit more. Here are some of the example prices we came across during our two weeks in Ubud to give you a better idea of how expensive Ubud really is:
- Laundry (2kg) – IDR 30,000 ($2.20)
- Margherita pizza – IDR 45,000 ($3.30)
- 1.5L Bottle of water at the supermarket – IDR 7,000 ($0.50)
- Entry fee to Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu – IDR 30,000 ($2.20)
- An average guesthouse – IDR 250,000 ($18.30)
- Breakfast at a warung – IDR 32,000 ($2.35)
- Daily scooter rental – IDR 50,000 ($3.65)
- Yoga class – IDR 130,000 ($9.50)
- Entry fee to the Monkey Forest – IDR 80,000 ($5.85)
- Private driver for a half day tour – IDR 350,000 – 500,000 ($25.65 -$36.65)
Things to do in Ubud
1. The Campuhan Ridge Walk
A visit to Ubud is not complete without walking the Campuhan Ridge Walk. While the hustle and bustle of Bali tourism and Bali traffic can get a bit intense, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is a peaceful oasis located only a stone throw away from Ubud’s city centre. This beautiful and lush hike is the ultimate place to catch the sun rise, or sun set, and to admire some of Ubud’s most serene rice fields. Stop for a drink at a cafe along the way and be sure to bring your camera, as this is one of Ubud’s most photogenic spots. Intrigued? Read everything you need to know about the Campuhan Ridge Walk here, including its location, how to get there and things you should know before you go, so you can put it on your list of things to do in Ubud!
2. The Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalang Rice Terraces must be one of Bali’s most famous instagram spots, and perhaps also one of the most beautiful locations you can find near Ubud. A valley filled with rice fields, small paths zigzagging across and an endless amount of cafes with a stunning view for you to enjoy, do you need any more reasons to visit this place? You could easily spend hours walking around the different sections of the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Be sure to bring your camera with an empty memory card, because trust us, you will want to take photos here! You can find more information on the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, such as things to know before you go, and how you can get there in our complete guide to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces!
3. The Ubud Palace & Pura Saraswati
The town centre of Ubud is home to some of the most delicious food of Bali, large amount of shops, but it is also home to the beautiful Ubud Palace and Pura Saraswati. You don’t have to go far in Ubud if you are looking to experience more of Bali’s culture. Cross the street from the endless amount of restaurants to find yourself walking around one of Bali’s most beautiful temples: Pura Saraswati. You will be greeted with a path surrounded by lotus flowers, and if you are wanting to experience even more of Balinese culture be sure to buy a ticket to the dance that takes place every evening at the temple. After visiting Pura Saraswati, simply follow the main road to make a quick pit stop at the Ubud Palace, another beautiful example of the stunning architecture of Bali.
4. The Tukad Cepung Waterfall
Ubud is surrounded by some of Bali’s most beautiful waterfalls, but none of them are as magic as the Tukad Cepung Waterfall where light rays fill the dark surroundings of the waterfall, creating a sight like no other. But to reach the Tukad Cepung Waterfall you will have to wade through a small creek of water, move along the large rock formations, while simultaneously being careful of the falling coconuts, a perfect activity for the adventure lovers. While requiring some effort, upon arrival you will be rewarded with one of the most unique waterfalls you will ever see. Hidden in a cave, and lit by the sun rays shining through the jungle at the top of the waterfall, the Tukad Cepung Waterfall truly is magical. Not only did we have the luck of having the complete waterfall to ourselves, we even had the pleasure of meeting two of our favorite instagrammers. You can find all info on visiting the Tukad Cepung Waterfall, including things to know before you go and how to get there and which instagrammers we met in our complete guide to the Tukad Cepung Waterfall.
5. Ubud’s Monkey Forest
Monkeys in Bali are not uncommon, you can see them on the side of the road, or perhaps even catch them near your hotel or guest house. But if you don’t want to leave seeing a monkey up to faith, then the Monkey Forest in Ubud is a must see for you! A forest filled with temples, trees and monkeys. There are roughly 750 monkeys living in the Monkey Forest. And these monkeys are not shy, they will be sure to come and say hi and check if you have some food with you. Entering the monkey forest will cost you 50K IDR, but be sure to follow the rules to stay safe and be sure to safe guard your personal items as the monkeys are known for grabbing anything they can get their hands on. Even before entering the Monkey Forest you will see monkeys everywhere you look, sitting on the side of the road, swinging above you in the trees or simply relaxing on the ground, this is the place to be for monkey spotting!
6. The Ubud Art Market
Looking for a souvenir? Or perhaps some jewelry, accessories, clothing, sarongs or well anything else? The Ubud Art Market is the place for you! Located in the middle of the town centre you can find tens, if not hundreds, of stalls opening every morning at 9am after the local market has finished. But be sure to bring your negotiation skills because shopping at the Art Market does not come without bargaining. The best time to go is either early in the morning, as vendors are eager to make their first sale, or right before closing, as the vendors often are trying to sell a couple of things more. During 11am and 2pm the large masses of tourist often wander around the market, prices will be the highest around these times. Even if you are not planning to buy anything, it is an experience on it’s own, and just for that reason alone it deserves a spot on your things to do in Ubud list!
7. The Tirta Empul Temple
Bali is filled with temples, but some are more special, or holy, then the other temples. One of the most holiest, and unique, water temples in Bali is the Tirta Empul Temple, or Pura Tirta Empul. Every day hundreds of people visit the temple to not only admire the architecture, but to participate in the purification ritual. The purification ritual is a ritual that cleans the body, mind and soul and takes place in the baths that are filled with water from the holy spring. Participating in the purification ritual is a unique and memorable experience, that is open for tourists and travelers to participate in. Intrigued to participate in the purification ritual? Check out our article with info on how to get there, when to go and the detailed steps on the purification ritual at the Tirta Empul Temple!
8. Eat your heart out in Ubud
Now a visit to Bali, or specifically Ubud, would not be complete without indulging in the local cuisine and many non local cuisine restaurants that are located in Ubud. From pizza and burgers, to nasi goreng and fried bananas, there is something for everyone’s liking in Ubud. Ubud is also well known for the amount of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, and healthy restaurant options. Some of our favorite places:
- Warung Sopa – vegetarian and vegan local cuisine
- Soma Cafe – raw organic food with vegetarian and vegan options
- Umah Pizza – delicious (and cheap) wood fired pizza
- Warung Little India – the perfect place for curry or chicken biryani
- Warung Citta Ovest – tasty and crispy pizza’s
- Sami Warung – yummy local food, tasty drinks and great service
However, this is just a small selection of the many restaurants that Ubud has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you are on a budget, or looking for fine dining, there truly is something for everyone. The tougher choice might actually be which restaurants to pick with such an amazing selection!
9. Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu
Roughly half an hour North of Ubud you will find the beautiful Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu temple with ponds, bathing pools and the most beautiful architecture. While this is one of the most beautiful temples we have visited in Bali it seems that it is often forgotten or left of many people’s itineraries as we found ourselves discovering this temple with only a handful of other people there. This temple reminded us of the nearby Tirta Empul Temple, just simply without the crowds. Visit this temple soon after opening hours and you never know, you might actually be the only one here! The temple was built on top of a natural spring and the highlight of this temple must be the shrine surrounded by a pond with some of the clearest and bluest water we had ever seen!
10. The Tibumama Waterfall
The Tibumana Waterfall is Ubud’s most hidden and perhaps one of the most unknown waterfalls, meaning it will be easy to have this waterfall all for yourself. The Tibumana Waterfall is located a short 40 min ride away from Ubud, and upon arrival it is a 10 min hike down, but when you finally arrive you will be greeted by a stunning waterfall flowing down in a refreshing river of water. Swim in the lush natural pool created by the waterfall and of course be sure to take some photos while you are there, this is a memory you would want to keep. We have created a detailed guide for you with all info regarding the Tibumana Waterfall. This guide includes entry fees, how to get there and things you should know before you go. Check the full guide to the Tibumana Waterfall and don’t forget to add it to your list of things to do in Ubud!
11. The Penestanan Rice Field Walk
You don’t have to go far our of Ubud to find peace and tranquility, and the Penestanan Rice Field Walk is the proof of that. Only a short ride from Ubud’s city centre you will find a path that takes you through the most beautiful rice fields, with the views over Mount Batur in the background. Take a stroll around sunrise for a beautiful golden glow over the rice fields, or well visit any other time of the day to awe at the beautiful rice fields of Ubud. The Penestanan Rice Field Walk quickly became on our favourite spots in Ubud, and perhaps it will be one of yours too. We had the luck of visiting the rice fields just before harvesting, creating the most colourful fields of green, an absolute must see for those who are looking for the best rice fields in Ubud!
12. The Elephant Cave – Goa Gajah
The list of temples on the “Things to do in Ubud” list is not complete yet! There are three temples that you cannot miss on your Ubud itinerary, at least if you like to explore a bit more of the local culture that is, with the second one being The Elephant Cave. Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave, is a temple that is located on the Southern side of Ubud, and it is a major hotspot for locals and tourists. You can wander around the property and admire the beautiful elephant cave but be sure to adhere to the dress code: shoulders covered and you must wear a sarong, both men and women! But don’t worry about bringing one, they will gladly hand you one upon entry to the temple.
13. The Sari Organik Walk
Sometimes the most beautiful places are where you least expect them, just like the peaceful Sari Organik Walk. With the streets of Ubud getting busier and busier, filling up with restaurants and shops, it seems that having a meal with a view over nature seems to be getting harder and harder to find. However, only a short walk away from Ubud’s city centre you can find a walk way where the sounds of honking bikes quickly disappear and you will be welcomed by the most beautiful rice fields views. The Sari Organik Walk was named after one of the restaurants on the walk, and will take you along plenty of cafes, beautiful guest houses and art shops. Stop at one of the many cafes to enjoy a meal with a view before continuing further up the walkway, as the further you will walk, the more beautiful the views will get.
14. Go on a day trip from Ubud
With Ubud being centrally located it is one of the best places on the island to take day trips from. North, East, South, it is all within reach from Ubud and often only a couple of hours away. Go chasing waterfalls, head to the beach or see some of Bali’s most beautiful temples. Here are a couple of day trip ideas that might be interesting to you:
- North Bali – Watch the sun rise over the lake at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan before heading further North to awe at some of Bali’s most beautiful waterfalls like the Sekumpul Waterfall and the Banyumala Twin Waterfall.
- East Bali – Head over to Pura Lempuyang to see the sun rise, and get your photo taken, at the Heaven’s Gates. Afterwards go and feed the fish at the Tirta Gangga Water Palace, this must be one of our personal favourite day trips from Ubud!
- South Bali – Explore the beaches of Bali in Uluwatu, take a surfing class in Seminyak or relax in one of the many cafes in Canggu. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Why not take a day trip to Nusa Penida that includes a snorkel or diving trip!
15. The Pengempu Waterfall
Ubud is surrounded by some of the most beautiful waterfalls, some big and some small, like the Pengempu Waterfall. The Pengempu Waterfall might be small, but that might also be its beauty. This waterfall seems often be skipped or forgotten by many people, meaning there will be a big chance that you will have this waterfall all to yourself. A calm and lush oasis surrounded by jungle, a refreshing escape, what else do you need? The Pengempu Waterfall is located roughly half an hour ride from Ubud, and should you have a bit more time left on your itinerary then be sure to add the Leke Leke Waterfall, located roughly half an hour north from the Pengempu Waterfall, as well!
16. Pura Gunung Kawi
Last, but definitely not least, on the list of things to do in Ubud is Pura Gunung Kawi. The Gunung Kawi temple is located close to the former named Tirta Tempul Water Temple, and can easily be combined when visiting the Northern parts of Ubud. However, for the Pura Gunung Kawi please know that you will have to walk up and down quite some steps, and therefore we would strongly advise you to visit the temple in the morning, as it won’t be that warm yet and there will be less visitors there. Even though it is quite the hike down, the path will lead you through some beautiful rice fields and little creeks before reaching the actual temple. If you did not bring a sarong you can rent one inside for a small donation. The entry to the temple itself is 15K IDR.
Where to stay in Ubud
While you can easily visit some of these places on a day trip from Kuta, Canggu or Seminyak, we would strongly advice you to stay in Ubud for a couple of days! Due to Ubud being a large touristic hub there is a large offer of accommodation available, from budget hostels to luxury hotels with infinity pools viewing over the jungles of Ubud, something for everyone’s liking.
Solo backpackers – Ubud has a large amount of hostels available. Hostels are a great option if you are looking for budget accommodation as a bed in a dorm is often much more affordable then a private room. Not only are hostels affordable they are also a great place to meet some new people. Puri Garden Hotel and Hostel is one of the most popular hostels in Ubud and we sure know why! The hostel is centrally located and has a refreshing pool to take a dip in after a day of exploring Ubud. However, if you are traveling Ubud on a budget this might be a bit on the expensive side, check out Hostelworld here to find a hostel that suits your style and budget.
Couples on a budget – During our last visit to Ubud we stayed at a lovely family owned guesthouse only a 10 min ride out of Ubud. As Ubud’s centre gets busier and busier we prefer to stay a bit further away, especially since we have our own scooter, and that is how we found Kapu Kapu Ubud. Comfortable beds, a beautiful view and great internet, a great choice for couples or friends who are on a budget but who prefer to have a bit of privacy!
While Ubud sure seems like paradise after seeing these sights, your Bali adventure doesn’t have to end in Ubud. From the North to the West, the East and the South of Bali, there is simply so much beauty to see. So if you are looking for some more inspiration for Bali, be sure to check all our Bali articles here or perhaps check out one of these practical guides:
- Bali for first timers: 21 Things to know before you go
- Bali visa extension – Everything you need to know
- Bali travel budget: how to travel Bali on $20 a day
And there you have it, 16 amazing things to do in Ubud, and tons of other Bali travel inspiration to keep your wanderlust going. Anything we should add to this list for our next visit? Be sure to tell us in the comments down below!