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The 15 best things to do in Ubud

Ubud (Bali) is a town located in the interior of Bali. In addition to being the main cultural and artistic hub of Bali, it stands out for its natural beauty, which includes rice fields, jungle, and various waterfalls. It has long been the island's busiest and most popular tourist destination. There are so many cool things to do in Ubud.

It's true that the majority of people who travel to this region of Bali do so to see the temples and natural beauties, yet there are still others who come for other reasons. Some travel to Ubud in search of the serenity and disconnect that can be found there, while some are drawn by the culinary options, yoga studios, and art galleries.

In this article, I am going to show you the best things to do in Ubud and its surroundings. In addition, you will find cool places, restaurant recommendations, and hotel recommendations. Finally, I have created a map of Ubud on which I have marked all these places.

Table of contents

Where to stay in Ubud

where to stay in Ubud
Where to stay in Ubud

Since Ubud is one of the most touristic areas in Bali, there are many hotels to chose from. There are options for all tastes and budgets, so whatever you’re looking for, I’m sure you’ll find it. Also, being in such a central location, Ubud is one of the best areas to stay in Bali.

Here are several hotels recommendations in Ubud for different budgets:

Things to do in Ubud, Bali

Ready to discover all the things to do in and around Ubud? Let’s start!

1. Tegalalang Rice Terraces, things to do in Ubud (Bali)

things to do in Ubud
Tegallalang Rice Terraces

One of the must-see attractions in Ubud is the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Bali actually has a lot of rice fields. All you need to do is get lost on the island with your motorcycle, and you’ll run into many rice fields. The Tegalalang rice paddies, on the other hand, are among Bali’s most stunning tourist attractions.

They are 10 kilometers from the center of Ubud. Depending on the traffic, it takes under 20 minutes on a motorcycle. It takes around an hour on a motorcycle if you want to stay in another area of the island, such as Canggu. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes from Seminyak. The time increases to 1 hour, 45 minutes, or longer from Uluwatu. You can park your motorcycle in a parking area in front of the rice fields.

Tips to visit Tegalalang

Getting up early is the best advice I can give for visiting Tegalalang. The best-case scenario is showing up right before daybreak. I’ve already let you know that sunrises in Bali typically happen pretty early. It will be challenging for you to get out of bed so early, but you won’t regret it.

Going early is an advantage because less people will be there, which will make your experience more memorable, and the temperature will be cooler. The heat is typically unbearable because there is so much humidity and there is little airflow in the area. It is much more tolerable in the morning.

Another positive about going so early is that the light is much more beautiful. You will be able to see how the first rays of sun sneak between palm trees and rice plants. If you want to take photos, they will be much cooler.

There isn’t an entry fee, which you should be aware of. Tegalalang is open to everyone. However, there are locals inside the rice fields who will beg you for a tip in order to walk along the many paths.

On the other hand, depending on when you arrive, you can encounter individuals attempting to sell you a ticket at the entrances to the rice paddies while impersonating legitimate sellers. It’s a scam, so ignore it and keep walking into the rice fields.

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2. Ubud Monkey Forest

ubud monkey forest
Ubud Monkey Forest

The Ubud Monkey Forest, as its name suggests, is a sizable forest (12.5 hectares, to be exact), home to more than a hundred different tree types, pathways, temples, fountains, and, of course, hundreds of monkeys that are allowed to roam freely. The Balinese long-tailed monkey, or Macaca fascicularis, is the kind of monkey that calls this refuge home.

I was unable to visit this place on my first trip to Bali because, to be very honest, I’m a bit scared of monkeys. On the other hand, I didn’t want to pass up the chance again on my second trip to Bali. Most monkeys won’t pay you any mind, although it’s true that there are some that are more naughty. You can feel safe knowing that if a monkey tries to jump on top of you or take something from you, a guard will most likely scare them off.

If you visit the Ubud Monkey Forest, it is crucial to abide by the following guidelines and suggestions:

– Take care of your belongings, especially your jewelry, accessories, glasses, bottles, purses, and other items. You can leave items in the front desk locker for no additional charge if you want to store them somewhere safe.
– Do not pet, bother, or touch the monkeys.
– Avoid bringing food with you, not even in your bag.
– Remain calm if a monkey jumps on you. Simply begin moving slowly, and they will stop.
– Avoid giving the monkeys food.
– Avoid looking into the monkeys’ eyes.

Due to its close proximity to Ubud, getting Monkey Forest is a breeze. You can even walk there if you’re staying in the center.

  • Schedule Monkey Forest: 9:00h – 18:00h.
  • Entrance Fee For Monkey Forest: 80.000 IDR (M-F), 100.000 IDR (WEEKEND).

3. Goa Gajah Temple

templo goa gajah
Things to do in Ubud

Goah Gajah is one of the most popular temples to visit in Bali. It is only 5 kilometers outside of Ubud in a small village named Bedulu. Its name, which translates to “Elephant Cave” in Indonesian, was first used in the 11th century. It is situated close to a sacred location in Balinese culture where two rivers converge.

This religious complex contains multiple shrines and ponds, although the cave carved out of the rock is its most well-known feature. Since it is a popular location, I advise you to arrive early so you can explore the temple more calmly.

  • Schedule Goa Gajah: 8:00h – 17:00h.
  • Fee Goa Gajah: 50.000 IDR.

4. Campuhan Ridge Walk, on of the best things to do in Ubud

things to do in Ubud
Campuhan Ridge Walk

If you enjoy nature walks at sunrise or sunset, you will love Campuhan Ridge Walk. It consists of a small stone path located on hills full of vegetation located very close to the center of Ubud. I recommend going early or late in the day as there are not many shades and the abundant heat will make you not fully enjoy the experience. It is a perfect place to escape the noise and the hustle and bustle. Plus, it’s free.

5. Ubud Art Market

things to do in Ubud
Ubud Art Market

One place where you can buy local handicrafts to take home with you is the Ubud Traditional Art Market. This market is located in the heart of Ubud, and depending on what time of day you go, you will find one type of market or another. I explain! 

In the early morning, it is a local market where they sell fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Starting at 9:00 in the morning, the market is transformed, and its stalls begin to sell all kinds of souvenirs. The most popular item is the famous Balinese bag. Being a very touristy market, prices are quite inflated. Therefore, do not forget to haggle.

6. Ritual in Tirta Empul, a unque thing to do in Ubud

places to visit in ubud
Tirta Empul Temple

The Tirta Empul Temple is one of the most visited in Bali because a purification ritual takes place here, carried out by both locals and tourists. Pura Tirta Empul was founded in the year 962 AD and is dedicated to Vishnu, the god of water. The name of the temple means “holy water spring” in Indonesian. It is located about half an hour by motorbike north of Ubud (Bali).

You can visit the temple for free or with a guide. I recommend booking a guided tour because the location is quite interesting from a cultural and historical standpoint. You will be able to learn about Balinese beliefs and customs. On the other hand, your guide will be able to walk you through every step if you are interested in doing the ceremony.

  • Schedule Tirta Empul: 8:00h – 18:00h.
  • Fee Tirta Empul: 50.000 IDR.

7. Visit Tibumana Waterfall, one of the best things to do in Ubud

things to do in ubud
Tibumana Waterfall

Tibumana is one of the best waterfalls in Bali. It may not be one of the largest and most impressive, but the way the water falls in a perfect stream makes it one of the most picturesque. Apart from its beauty, it is well worth visiting this waterfall if you feel like taking a good bath.

Getting to the waterfall is very easy. Once you leave your motorcycle in the parking lot, you will have to walk for about 10 minutes along a charming path surrounded by nature. From Ubud, it takes around half an hour by motorbike.

  • Schedule Tibumana: 6:00h – 18:00h.
  • Entrance Fee Tibumana: 15.000 IDR.

8. Gunung Kawi Temple, near Ubud

things to do in ubud
Ubud, Bali

Very close to Tirta Empul, you will find one of the best places to visit in Ubud, the Gunung Kawi Temple, one of the oldest in Bali. It was built in honor of an ancient Balinese king named Udayana. It draws special attention for the five funerary sanctuaries carved into the hillside. They are more than 8 meters high. Despite the fact that this is the most popular place, this religious complex has a total of 15 temples that you can visit.

  • Schedule Gunung Kawi: 8:00h – 18:00h.
  • Fee Gunung Kawi: 50.000 IDR.

9. Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Just 15 minutes by motorcycle from Tibumana waterfall, there is another waterfall that I recommend you visit: Kanto Lampo. Unlike the previous one, there are several jets over a wall formed by gigantic rocks. The water falls on the natural pool where you can bathe. Accessing it is also very simple. From the parking lot, you have to walk for about five minutes.

  • Schedule Kanto Lampo: 7:00h – 17:00h.
  • Fee Kanto Lampo: 15.000 IDR.

10. Taman Sawaswati Temple, located in a town near Ubud

Templo Taman Saraswati
Taman Saraswati Temple

Another temple that I recommend you visit in Ubud is the Pura Taman Saraswati. It is located in the very center of Ubud and the entrance to the outer gardens is free. As its name suggests, this temple is dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom, and learning.

One of the things that stands out the most about this temple are its ponds full of floating lotus flowers. Every afternoon, around 7:30 PM, a Balinese dance show is held in the temple, one of the best things to do in Ubud. The entrance costs 100,000 IDR.

11. Cretya Ubud, Bali

cretya ubud
Cretya Ubud

One of my latest discoveries in this area of Bali was Cretya Ubud, located very close to Tegalalang. It is a restaurant and “day club” that has a series of beautiful infinity pools built on different levels. In addition, the place has amazing views of the rice fields. Every afternoon, there is also a DJ session.

You can choose between going to the restaurant or renting one of the available hammocks and spending part of the day there. The hammock rental does not have a price as such but requires a minimum expenditure. This ranges from IDR 150,000 to IDR 500,000 plus 17.5% in fees per person.

Our experience at Cretya Ubud was amazing. We went first thing in the morning so we could enjoy the pools alone. It was wonderful. If you prefer a livelier atmosphere, it is better to go in the afternoon. I also wanted to highlight the food, since it was very tasty. If you are looking for a relaxing plan in Ubud, this place is a great option.

  • Schedule Cretya Ubud: 08:00h – 21:00h.
  • Fee for Cretya Ubud: from 150.000 IDR per person.

12. Suwat Waterfall

alrededores de ubud
Suwat Waterfall, near Ubud

One of the best things to do in Ubud is to visit Suwat waterfall. It is located just half an hour by car from the center of this Balinese town. Something that I loved about it is that the water falls into a beautiful natural pool, where you can take a good bath. In addition, there is a bamboo raft with which you can cruise and take a very cool photo.

To get to the waterfall from the parking lot, you have to walk for about ten minutes. The path, surrounded by vegetation, is very beautiful. There is also a stall where you can buy something to drink or eat.

  • Schedule Cascada Suwat: 8.00h – 18:00h.
  • Fee for Suwat Waterfall: 15.000 IDR.

13. Tegenungan Waterfall

things to do in Ubud
Tegenungan Waterfall

Another of Bali’s most impressive waterfalls is located just 20 minutes south of Ubud. I’m talking about Tegenungan Waterfall. This waterfall is very special to me because it was the first one I visited in Bali. Not a bad start, right? In fact, it is one of the most voluminous waterfalls. It is possible to climb the cliff located to the right of it and enjoy different views.

  • Schedule Tegenungan: 6:30h – 18:30h.
  • Fee Tegenungan: 15.000 IDR.

14. Enjoy a hotel stay with views of the rice fields

One of the things that I highly recommend doing in Bali is to book at least one night in one of the best hotels in Bali. Many of them are in Ubud, where it is very typical to stay in a hotel that has a pool overlooking the rice fields. Yes, the price of these accommodations is higher than average, but it is totally worth it since you will be able to enjoy a unique experience.

Below, I’ll recommend several hotels with views of the rice field for different budgets:

15. Other cool things to do in Ubud

ubud planes diferentes
Balinese cooking lessons

Do you feel like doing more cool things in Ubud? Below, I’ll list several unique activities in the area.

Rafting in Bali

One of the most fun and adventurous things to do in Ubud is rafting on the Ayung River. The tour lasts 2 hours and a half. After having a great time descending its rapids and enjoying wonderful landscapes, you can enjoy a buffet meal. You can book your rafting tour in Ubud in advance here.

Visit a museum in Ubud

If you like museums, you should know that there is no place in Bali that has a higher concentration of museums. Most are art exhibitions. These are some of the most important museums in Ubud:

  • Puri Lukisan Museum.
  • Rudana Museum.
  • Agung Rai Museum of Art.
  • Peruse Neka Art Museum.
  • The Blanco Renaissance Museum.

Book a handicraft class

What better souvenir to take home from Bali than a silver piece of jewelry made with your own hands? In this 3-hour class, an expert jewelry maker will help you create your own from 5 grams of silver. During the class, you will have a welcome drink and a small lunch. You can pre-book the jewelry-making class here.

Book a balinese cooking class

Are you a food lover? Would you like to learn how to cook a typical Indonesian dish? On this tour, you are first taken to a traditional market to select the food, and then you learn to cook two sauces and seven different recipes. At the end of the class, you will be able to taste all the dishes. You can pre-book the Balinese cooking class here.

Book a free tour in Ubud

Recently, this free tour of Ubud has been made available. It is a 4-hour guided tour of Ubud. During the tour, you will visit the monkey forest, the traditional craft market, and the Saraswati Temple. The best thing about doing this tour is that you will have the opportunity to learn many details about the fascinating Balinese culture. This visit free, but in the end, you pay the guide the amount of money that you see fit.

Book a yoga class

I have already mentioned that Ubud is the artistic epicenter of Bali, but I have not yet commented that it is also the quintessential Yoga town of Bali. Yoga is an ideal practice to exercise the body and calm the mind. If you have never done yoga, perhaps this is the perfect moment. One of the best known schools in Ubud is The Yoga Barn.

Where to eat in Ubud

warung janggar ulam
Warung Janggar Ulam
things to do in Ubud
Nasi Goreng

Ubud has some of the best restaurants in Bali. In addition, the restaurant selection is very large. You can find everything from delicious warungs (local eateries) to restaurants from any country in the world. In addition, some of the sites that I am going to recommend below have beautiful views.

These are some of the best restaurants to eat in Ubud:

  • Warung Janggar Ulam. A beautiful place to try local food.
  • Ithaka Warung. I recommend it especially for breakfast. Try their white bowl!
  • Clear Cafe. Healthy food in Ubud.
  • Sayan Point. Restaurant with good views during sunset.
  • Zest Ubud. Healthy food with beautiful views.
  • Layana Warung. Restaurant overlooking a waterfall.
  • Sugriwa’s Warung. Good and affordable place to eat in Ubud.
  • Kafe. Healthy food restaurant.
  • Kelapa Muda. Restaurant with pool.

Map of Ubud, Bali

On the following map, I have marked all the places mentioned in this article: places to see, recommended restaurants and hotels, with their respective links to Booking.

Take a look at my Indonesia travel guide if your are planning on visiting the country.

I hope this post about the best things to do in Ubud (Bali) has been very useful for you as you plan your trip to this incredible Indonesian island. If you have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment or write me an email. Until next time!

Source Goa Gajah: Halans – CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Source Gunung Kawi: Big Ben in Japan – CC BY-SA 2.0

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide. I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

↠ To pay with card in foreign currency or withdraw money from ATMs, I always use this card (there are free and paid plans). It works the best!

↠ Traveling with travel insurance to a destination where you don’t have healthcare coverage is a must. Get your insurance 5% cheaper with this link.

↠ If you want to have cellphone data at your destination from the moment you land and don’t want to waste time, there is nothing like this eSIM. Use the code “comeamaviaja” for a 5% discount.

↠ Check out Booking’s offers, a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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