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!
Where is Ubud
The city of Ubud is located North of the famous touristic beaches of Kuta and is surrounded by the greenest scenery of Bali. Depending on your mode of transportation it will take roughly 1 – 2 hours to get from Canggu or Seminyak to the town of Ubud. You could easily visit Ubud on a day trip, if you prefer to stay near the beach, but personally, we would recommend staying in Ubud at least for a couple of days so you have enough time to see all the beauty Ubud has to offer. While there might be no beaches in Ubud, there are enough waterfalls to keep you refreshed. To give you a bit of a better idea where Ubud is located, check out the map below!
Things to do in Ubud
Ubud is a town where you won’t go bored, and a great place to spent some time if you are traveling Bali on a budget. Rent a scooter or get a taxi for a day to explore the beautiful surroundings of Bali, and of course, the centre of Bali itself as well. We would recommend spending at least 3 days in Bali to have enough time to see some waterfalls, some temples and the most beautiful rice terraces Bali has to offer. It will also leave some time in your schedule to enjoy the delicious Balinese cuisine at one of the many warungs, and to go on a shopping spree. But now, without further ado, here are 11 amazing 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 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.
3. 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!
4. 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!
5. 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.
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. 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 out here and don’t forget to add it to your list of things to do in Ubud!
10. 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.
11. 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.
For the budget travelers and 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 based on the latest Hostelworld ratings and we sure understand why when seeing the photos! 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 the complete list of hostels in Ubud here to find a hostel that suits your style and budget.
For any kind of traveler – Airbnb is one of these things that we simply cannot go without anymore during our travels. From luxury villas to homestays, Airbnb seems to have it all! No matter what kind of budget you are on, if you are with a group of friends or a couple traveling together, Airbnb has the best deals. We booked our accommodation through Airbnb and found ourselves on the outskirts of Ubud, surrounded by beautiful rice fields for a fraction of the price of some of the more central hotels. And to make it even better sign up here now for AirBnB to receive 45$ credit to be used on any of your future bookings!
Fore the luxury seekers – While Ubud has a large amount of hostels, homestays and budget hotels available, it is also home to some of the most stunning (romantic) resorts in the country. From infinity pools to floating breakfasts, nothing is too crazy in Ubud. Booking.com is the only website we use if we are looking for hotels as they have such an extensive selection. While we didn’t stay in any hotels in Ubud, we have used it to book all our other accommodation in Bali. Check it out here, or simply have a look at the large selection of hotels and guesthouses in Ubud below!
Where to go after Ubud
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 guides:
- Bali for first timers: 21 Things to know before you go
- The Sekumpul Waterfall – Bali’s most beautiful waterfall
- The Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall – Bali’s best kept secret
- Banyumala Twin Waterfalls – Paradise in Northern Bali
- Sunrise at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – Bali’smost beautiful temple
Or perhaps that is a bit too much research. If you are just looking for a quick overview for some inspiration on what to do in Bali, check out our ultimate Bali Bucket List including over 80 things to do on this beautiful island! And there you have it, 11 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, and oh, don’t forget to pin it!
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