Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital, is filled with the most beautiful sights but the reason so many people decide to stay an extra couple of days is to explore all that surrounds Ubud. Only an hour from Ubud you will find some of Bali’s most famous sights, including rice terraces, temples and so much more. Chase waterfalls, learn more about the Balinese culture by visiting unique temples, or escape the hustle and bustle for a day and trade it for the peaceful area of Sidemen, there is something to do in Bali for everyone. From North to South and all the way East, make the most of your time in Bali by filling your itinerary with these unforgettable day trips. We have carefully selected some of our favourite sights in Bali and grouped them by location so you can spent your days exploring, instead of being stuck in traffic. So now, without further ado, here are the 7 most unforgettable day trips from Ubud.
Day Trips from Ubud
Now, before we share our favourite day trips from Ubud with you, we thought it would be best to map them out for you, just so you can have a better idea of where everything is located. These 7 day trips will take you all over Bali, all ranging from half an hour to two hour in distance from Ubud. Most of these day trips will take you a full day and one tip we would like to give you: leave early. This way you will avoid the major crowds at least at some of the first sights of the day, and you will have a bit more time to spent at the sights itself so you don’t have to rush to your next destination. But we won’t keep you waiting any longer, scroll down to find out to find the perfect day trip from Ubud for you!
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While Ubud is filled with the most gorgeous sights, the reason many people decide to stay a couple of days extra in Ubud is to explore Ubud’s amazing surroundings. Within half an hour of Ubud you will find some of the most beautiful temples of Bali, and Bali’s most famous rice terrace. Spent the day roaming from temple to temple while learning more about the Balinese culture or have breakfast with a view over the rice fields, here are some must see sights near Ubud:
Tegalalang Rice Terrace – Half an hour North of Ubud you will find Bali’s most stunning and famous rice terrace, the perfect place to start your morning. While you might have seen the Tegalalang Rice Terrace hundreds of times passing by on your Instagram feed, trust me when I tell you that photos don’t do it justice. A valley filled with rice fields with paths taking you up and down along the rice terraces, the Tegalalang Rice Terrace are an absolute must see when you are visiting Ubud! After you are done exploring the rice fields relax at one of the many cafes to enjoy a breakfast with a view before heading to your next destination.
Tirta Empul Temple – A short 15 min ride from the Tegalalang Rice Terrace you will find the Tirta Empul Temple, one of Bali’s holiest water temples. People from all over Bali come to this temple to do a purification ritual, a ritual to cleanse the body, mind and soul. The ritual takes place in bathing pools where spouts fill the pool with holy spring water, a unique sight to see, and if you are up for it you can even do the purification ritual yourself. I did the purification ritual with the help of a local guide at the temple back on our first trip to Bali and it was one of the most unique experiences I had in Bali, definitely one for the bucket list. And while the bathing pools and the purification rituals are beautiful, be sure to wander around the temple compound to admire some of the stunning Balinese architecture before heading to the next temple.
Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu – From the Tirta Empul Temple make your way to Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu, a holy spring temple located only a couple of kilometres down the road. When you walk down the stairs leading to the temple your eyes will immediately be drawn by the large koi pond, and while stunning, it is definitely not all there is to see. Wander around the temple complex to admire the bathing pools, the ritual bathing pools and a shrine that is surrounded by the most crystal clear spring water we have ever seen. Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu is one of the most amazing temples we have visited in Bali, and surprisingly a lot less popular compared to some of the other temples on this day trip.
Goa Gajah – Last, but definitely not least, on this day trip discovering Ubud’s surroundings is Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave. Goa Gajah is located only a short 15 min outside of Ubud, and due to its convenient location has quickly become one of Ubud’s most popular sights. Goa Gajah is believed to date back all the way to the 11th century and was actually rediscovered by a Dutch archeologist in the early 20th century. The Elephant Cave is the perfect stop to end your day of exploring Ubud’s surroundings, time to enjoy dinner, and perhaps even a drink, at one of the many restaurants in Ubud’s city centre!
Chasing Waterfalls in Ubud
While Ubud might be known for its beautiful temples and rice fields, it is the waterfalls that also shouldn’t be forgotten. Chasing waterfalls is the ultimate day trip for adventure lovers, and while it might require you to walk up and down some steps, the views will be worth it. These are three unique and incredible waterfalls that you might want to consider visiting:
Tukad Cepung Waterfall – Every waterfall in Bali is unique, but some just a bit more unique then others. The Tukad Cepung Waterfall is located in what looks almost like a cave with the light breaking through the top of the waterfall. To get here you will have to walk down steps and through the small river that comes flowing from the waterfall before you will be rewarded by the spectacular sight of the Tukad Cepung Waterfall. This waterfall has quickly became one of Bali’s most visited waterfalls, so come early to avoid the larger crowds!
Tibumana Waterfall – From the Tukad Cepung Waterfall make your way to the Tibumana Waterfall which is located a rough 40 min drive down South. A short 10 min walk down concrete steps and through the lush green jungle of Bali will take you to this beautiful single drop waterfall. The pool of water at the bottom of the waterfall is not deep, but surprisingly cold. Go for a swim in the waterfall for a refreshing break before you have to make your way back up to the last waterfall of the day!
Kanto Lampo Waterfall – Another 15 min South of the Tibumana Waterfall you will find the Kanto Lampo Waterfall, the last stop of the day. The Kanto Lampo Waterfall is a bit different as to see the waterfall you will actually have to go into the river, meaning that there is no chance you won’t get wet here. Just be careful when exploring this waterfall, the rocks here can actually get quite slippery here. After all this exploring you will probably be hungry, time to head back to Ubud to enjoy dinner and to simply relax.
Sidemen’s Rice Fields
Located roughly an hour away from Ubud you will find the beautiful area of Sidemen, one of the lesser explored areas of Bali and while you could probably combine it with a couple of sights, this place deserves a full day on your itinerary. When you arrive in Sidemen you will be greeted with rice fields as far as the eye can see, situated in a lush valley with views overlooking Mount Agung. Sidemen quickly became on of our favourite destinations in Bali and is the perfect place to escape the crowds for the day. Some ideas of things to do in Sidemen:
- Do a cooking course to learn more about the delicious Balinese cuisine
- Take a guided hiking tour through the rice fields to find the most stunning views
- Go white water rafting Telaga Waja River
- Visit the morning market in Sidemen’s centre
- Learn how traditional Balinese textiles are made at one of the weaving plants
Or turn this day trip into an overnight trip and stay at one of the many incredible hotels in Sidemen that have pools overlooking the rice terraces, the perfect place for a sun set, or sun rise for the early risers. Sidemen is the perfect place to just stay the night and relax for the day as views in a peaceful place like this are incredibly hard to beat!
Looking for something a bit different? Why not head over to the South of Bali to go beach hopping! The South of Bali is filled with the bluest beaches and exploring them all would take days if not weeks. Relax at the beach, hang out at a beach club or perhaps even learn to surf, and where better to learn how to surf then in Canggu! Canggu is known to be Bali’s surfers paradise, not only because of the waves, but also because of its laid back vibe, and the latter is the reason we fell in love with Canggu. Planning on spending the day in Canggu? Here are a couple of things you can do in Canggu during your day trip:
- Grab a coffee and brunch at one of the many cafes in Canggu
- Rent a scooter and explore the different beaches and rice fields surrounding Canggu
- Relax at one of Canggu’s famous beach clubs
- Learn how to surf
- Watch the sun set at the beach
- Go shopping at one of the weekend markets or many shops
While Canggu has quickly become one of Bali’s most popular destinations with backpackers and expats, it is not for everyone. Alternative destinations in the South of Bali are Uluwatu, Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua, all known to be great beach destinations. Have you been to Bali before? What is your favourite beach destinations? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below!
While most travellers stay in either the South of Bali or in Ubud, the East of Bali is a place that definitely should not be forgotten in our opinion. Mountain views, beautiful temples and the bluest beaches, the East of Bali has something for everyone. Here are some of favourite things to do in East Bali:
Pura Lempuyang – Pura Lempuyang has quickly become on of Bali’s most famous temples for one specific reason: the Heaven’s Gates. While Pura Lempuyang consists of a massive temple compound many travellers come from all over Bali just to get a photo at this famous spot where, if you are lucky, you will have the most spectacular view over Mount Agung. This is the perfect place not only to get a photo but also to catch the sun rise if you are an early riser and to start your day in East Bali. After you have taken your photo explore the rest of the temple, or if the photo is all you came for, head over to your next destination.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace – Roughly half an hour from Pura Lempuyang you will find the Tirta Gangga Water Palace. The former royal palace literally means water from the Ganges, named after the sacred river that flows through India and Bangladesh. The one hectare compound consists of bathing pools, koi ponds, fountains, statues and the most magnificent gardens, a beautiful sight to see. Buy some fish food at the entry to feed to koi fish or just simply take a stroll to see all that Tirta Gangga has to offer before heading to your last stop of the day.
Relax at the beach in Amed – We did this day trip on our way to Amed as this way we could make the most out of or travel day, and would highly recommend this option if you are planning on visiting Amed. However, if you are not planning on going to Amed then this might be a bit out of the way for a day trip. Perhaps consider visiting Taman Ujung, another water palace located close to Tirta Gangga, or relaxing at at the beach before making your way back to Ubud. We decided to head over to Amed and to enjoy lunch with a beach view before hiring some snorkelling gear to awe at the incredible underwater world that you can find just of the shores of Amed.
Getting to the North of Bali will take you quite some time, especially if traffic is bad, so sadly this does mean less time for exploring sights. Now this day trip is a bit different as the highlight of the day is undoubtedly the Sekumpul Waterfall, one of the most incredible waterfalls we have ever seen in Asia. But we figured, if you are heading that way, why not stop for a magical sun rise along the way…
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, located a bit over an hour North of Ubud, is a temple located on the shores of lake Bratan and the perfect place to watch the sun rise. Situated between the mountains mornings here are surprisingly fresh, but with the clouds rolling over the mountains absolutely magical. Make it even more special by going over a boat ride over the lake, or simply head back on the road to head to the highlight of North Bali, the Sekumpul Waterfall.
Sekumpul Waterfall – Visiting the Sekumpul Waterfall was the highlight our first trip to Bali, and there are not enough words to describe how beautiful this waterfall really is, I guess you will just have to go and experience it for yourself. The climb down to the waterfall is quite long compared to some of the other waterfalls mentioned in these day trips, so be prepared, but trust us when we say it is worth it. You will have a first glimpse of the waterfall from the viewpoint at the start of the trail, and with every step you get closer you will start feeling the incredible force of this 80m high waterfall. Water crashing down onto the rocks forming not only a wild river flowing down stream but also a misty spray that will make staying dry almost impossible. Before you leave make sure to pay a visit to the Fiji Falls, another unbelievable set of waterfalls, located only a short 5 min walk away!
Last, but definitely not least, on the list of unforgettable day trips from Ubud is Central Bali. This green region of Bali is often skip as travellers make their way North, which is a shame as it has so many stunning sights that deserve a spot on your itinerary. So without further ado, here are some must see sights on a central Bali day trip:
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces – A little bit over an hour Northwest from Ubud you will find the immense area of Jatiluwih where you will be able to awe at rice fields as far as the eye can see. With the large size of the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace it will be easy to get away from the crowds and to find beautiful views all to yourself, something that seems rather impossible at the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Visit the rice terraces for sunrise or in the early mornings to avoid the heat of the middle of the day before heading to your next stop on the list.
Leke Leke Waterfall – From the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace make your way to the Leke Leke Waterfall, located roughly half an hour East. Follow the dirt path deeper and deeper into the jungle until you reach this one of a kind waterfall. A small stream of water that has carved a path into the cliff plummets down into a small and shallow pool of blue water, the perfect place to go for a swim and to take a break. After you feel all refreshed make your way back up, perhaps even have some lunch at the on-sight restaurant, before heading to your last stop of the day.
Nung Nung Waterfall – The last stop of the day is the incredibly powerful Nung Nung Waterfall, but be warned because this waterfall is actually quite the hike down. We were planning on visiting the Nung Nung Waterfall on our last visit but sadly had to return home as the clouds were rolling in predicting heavy rains. However, we have our next visit to Bali already planned, so hopefully we can update you soon on what it is like to visit one of Bali’s most powerful waterfalls! From the Nung Nung waterfall it will take you roughly an hour to get back to Ubud, time for some dinner and drinks after a long day of exploring.
How to Organise a Day Trip from Ubud
Rent a scooter or motorbike – Getting around by scooter is our personal preference when it comes to transport in Bali. Not only is it the most affordable option, it will also allow you to have all the freedom you like to leave as early or as late as you want, being able to completely create your own schedule. Scooters can be rented for prices as low as $3 a day with fuel costing around $0.75 per litre, these prices are incredibly hard to beat. However, riding a scooter in Bali is not for everyone as traffic can be quite chaotic. If you don’t feel confident or comfortable riding a scooter then perhaps the second option might work for you.
Get a driver – As there is a lack of public transport in Bali it has become quite common to get a driver for a day. You will find drivers simply everywhere in the centre of Ubud or often even your hotel will also be able to arrange a driver for you. You can discuss the sights you would like to see with your driver and he will simply be waiting for you at the sights until your done, quite convenient right? Prices often range between IDR 600,000 to 800,000 ($44 – $58) per day depending on how many sights you would like to see, and where the sights are located. Prices are per vehicle, so splitting the cost with friends is a great option for those who are sticking to a budget. Don’t forget that entry fees are not included, so be sure to bring some extra cash!
Book a private tour online – Last, but definitely not least, is booking a private tour online. Online services like Klook have a large amount of set day trips available where you can simply book a tour with the click of a button. The benefit of using booking a private tour online is that you will be able to read the reviews and will be able to see all the prices of the different tours. The downside is that these private tours often have set sights, leaving little flexibility in the schedule. You can check out all day trips on Klook here to see if there are any trips or tours that you might be interested in!
Where to stay in Ubud
Kapu Kapu Ubud | During our last stay in Ubud we stayed at this lovely family owned guesthouse just 10 min outside of Ubud. Situated in a quiet neighbourhood, overlooking the rice terraces, and some of the best internet we have had in Bali, this was a great place for us to work and relax after a day of exploring. We absolutely loved our stay here and would highly recommend it to couples who are traveling on a budget, and who have their own transport!
Puri Garden Hostel | If you prefer to stay a bit more central and are looking to meet some other traveller then perhaps this is a better option for you! Puri Garden Hostel is located in Ubud’s city centre, has a pool and does daily yoga classes, what else do you need? However, this is one of the more expensive hostels in Ubud, so if you are on a budget check out Hostelworld to find the perfect hostel for you!
And there you have it, everything you need to know to organise the perfect day trip from Ubud. After reading about all these day trips, which ones are you planning on adding to your itinerary? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below! Now before you go, make sure to check out some of our other practical Bali travel guides filled with tips and tricks to help you plan your ultimate Bali trip:
- Bali for first timers: 21 Things to know before you go
- Bali travel budget: How to travel Bali on 20$ a day
- Bali visa extension: Everything you need to know
- A complete guide to the most beautiful rice fields in Ubud
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Your photos are absolutely stunning! Im heading to South East Asia this second half of this year and this is definitely on my list!