Ubud is the spiritual heart of Bali and the centre of arts and crafts. The lush nature around Ubud is perfect to escape the busier parts of Bali. There are many things to do in Ubud like chasing the Ubud waterfalls, walking through the rice fields, relaxing in a jungle resort and admiring all the different temples and traditional balinese architecture. In this blog post you will find all the best things to do in Ubud!
Best time to visit Ubud
Ubud can be visited year round, but generally there is more rainfall in Ubud & north Bali than the rest of the island. Bali’s rainy season is usually from November – February which means that the best months to visit Ubud are from March – November.
How to get around in Ubud
The best way to get around in Ubud is with a motorbike. But you have to have some experience before you decide to drive a motorbike in Bali. You can rent motorbikes for around 60,000 IDR per day. Another option is to arrange a tour so you can see the highlights of Ubud in one day.
The main street in Ubud in soft morning light.
If you’re confident to drive, the best way to get around is with a motorbike.
Where to stay in Ubud
If you want to stay in central town, there are many great options for hotels, guesthouses and resorts. Despite it can get very busy in the centre of Ubud, you can still find peace and serenity in most accommodations. For example Adiwana hotels has a few great options in and around Ubud with jungle or rice field view. But also further away from town there are many amazing luxury jungle resorts, perfect for honeymooners or luxury travellers. But for the smaller budget there are also loads of options in guesthouses where you can rent a big room for a small price.
Best things to do in Ubud
Explore the Tegalalang rice terrace
The Tegalalang rice terraces are one of the main tourist attractions in Bali and must be on your Bali itinerary! It’s a perfect morning walk through the rice fields. The Ubud rice terraces are impressively cut out into walls of the valley with up to 10 tiered levels of rice paddies and cascading water throughout. You will see the local farmers doing their daily routine harvesting the rice and maintaining the valley which makes it very enjoyable and picturesque for visitors.
Read everything about the Tegalalang rice terrace in this blog post
Visit Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave
The Goa Gajah temple, also known as the Elephant Cave, is a historical archaeological site which dates back to the 11th century. The temple is sacred and was built to pray and meditate. When you enter the temple through the cavernous mouth of a demon, you will see fragmentary remains of the lingam, the phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva. The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR per person.
Walk along the Campuhan ridge walk
The Campuhan ridge walk offers a nature trail that is hidden between the Jalan Raya Ubud main road and the Gunung Lebah Temple complex. It’s the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of the centre. The Campuhan ridge walk definitely showcases the natural side of Ubud and is a popular morning or evening workout spot for the locals. The complete walk is around 2 kilometers long and goes up and downhill but is doable for every age.
Read everything about the Campuhan ridge walk in this blog post
Cool off at Tegenungan waterfall
The Ubud waterfalls are beautiful and absolutely worth a visit! If you want to cool off from the hot and busy centre of Ubud, then head over to Tegenungan waterfall where you can take a dip and enjoy the fresh nature. Be aware that it can get busy here as it’s a well known waterfall in Bali. If you want to have the place practically for yourself, then make sure to arrive early.
Read everything about Tegenungan waterfall in this complete guide.
Admire the traditional Balinese culture & architecture
All traditional buildings in Bali are designed based on the principles of Balinese Hindu traditions and belief systems. Many buildings in Bali are designed based on the principles of a ‘sacred place.’ The houses are precisely built in the direction of the sunrise or in the direction of the volcanoes.The cultural and religious influence on the architecture goes back many centuries. The Balinese culture actually originated in Java centuries ago. But Bali has remained the only place in Indonesia where those Hindu traditions are still followed. Today Indonesia is dominantly a Muslim society, which makes Bali very unique and different.
One of the impressive traditional Balinese architectures is the Ubud Royal Palace. Officially known as Puri Saren Agung, which is the former palace of the royal family of Ubud, Gianyar.
Go cycling through the rice fields and villages
Another great way to explore Ubud and its surroundings is with a cycling tour. You will cycle downhill from the higher located Kintamani area down to Ubud village. On the way you will pass the green vegetation, traditional rice fields and native local villages. Mostly a pick up and drop off at your hotel, lunch, the guide and safety tools are included, but make sure to check this beforehand!
Hot air balloon flight
Not many people know this is possible in Bali, but if you’ve always wanted to fly in an hot air balloon, The Chedi Club in Ubud fulfils your wishes as the the only hot air balloon experience in Bali. It’s an amazing opportunity to see Ubud’s green forests and rice fields from up high. The hot air balloon climbs 50 metres high above the resort’s expansive rice fields and the flight lasts between five to seven minutes. The hot air balloon season goes from from June until November with dawn and late afternoon flights for $150 per couple including breakfast or afternoon tea. Evening trips are $200 per couple and are followed by dinner.
Bath in the holy Pura Tirta Empul
Tirta Empul is a water temple which is an important site for holy, fresh drinking water from the ground. Balinese Hindus go here to bathe in the holy waters, but also tourists can go into the two purification pools where you clean yourself at each of the 30 stations. The entrance fee is 15,000 IDR per person.
Enjoy the beautiful Tibumana waterfall
Another beautiful waterfall in Ubud is the Tibumana waterfall. What makes this waterfall so unique is the perfect straight form of the water gushing down. A perfect photo opportunity and, early in the morning, a serene get away in nature.
Read everything about Tibumana waterfall in this blog post.
Stay at a luxury jungle resort
To indulge in the jungle of Ubud, a stay in a luxury jungle resort is really recommendable. Bali is the perfect destination for honeymooners, and has many choices in luxury jungle (boutique) hotels and resorts. All of them included with an infinity pool and endless jungle and or rice fields view. A few of our favorite luxury hotels in and around Ubud:
- The Kayon Resort
- Adiwana Bisma, Unagi, Monkey Forest
- Goya Boutique Resort
- Four Seasons at Sayan
- Wapa Di Ume
- Mandapa by Ritz Carlton
- Hanging Gardens
Make sure to also check the accommodations on Airbnb. There are some really cool Bamboo houses in and around Ubud which are a unique experience to stay in.
Stroll through the Ubud market
One of the things you can’t miss during your stay in Ubud is a visit to the Ubud Market. The traditional, local, market where vegetables and other food is sold starts from 3 AM until 8 AM. Around 9 AM, the local market changes into the Art Market, mainly focussed on tourist. At the Art market they sell everything from handbags, clothes, kitchenware, decorations, paintings, souvenirs and much more. The woven round ratan bag, shown on the picture below, became a worldwide fashion item. As a result, you will see these hand bags everywhere in Bali!
White water rafting on the Ayung river
The Ayung river in Ubud is considered as the best white water rafting river in Bali. The Ubud stream is the most extended river on the island of Bali. The Ayung whitewater river has a length of approximately 68 kilometers. During the water rafting adventure you can enjoy the Bali rainforests, wildlife and lush green rice fields. These tours are suitable for beginners and available year-round.
Go to an Ubud spa for a massage
Getting a massage or a spa treatment is one of those super relaxing things to do on vacation. It’s the prefect way to relax after a day of exploring. Or when it’s raining in Ubud, getting a massage is the best way to spend the day. Many hotels and resorts in Ubud have spa facilities, but you can also get good Balinese massages all over town. Just make sure to read the reviews before you make your reservation for a massage in Ubud or do your research on the internet for the best spa in Ubud.
Hike the Mount Batur before sunrise
This one if for the adventurous people! It is possible to hike to the summit of the Mount Batur, an active volcano, and watch the sunrise. We did it, and it was one of the highlights we have had in Bali. From Ubud, its a one hour drive to the start point for the Mount Batur trekking. The hike itself takes about 2 hours and is doable for most people. For more information and our personal experience hiking the Mount Batur before sunrise, head over to this complete guide about the Mount Batur sunrise trekking.
Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest
One of the most popular things to do in Ubud is a visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest. This park, located in the centre of Ubud, is a big rainforest with monkeys roaming around free. It’s basically a beautiful walk through nature where you will encounter many (cheeky!) monkeys. So be aware and put all your loose items like sunglasses, hat, jewellery, phone etc. in your bag. These Ubud monkeys are known to snatch stuff from visitors. If this happens to you, don’t worry because the ‘security guys’ are walking around to help you get your stuff back from the monkeys.
Jungle Fish Pool bar
The Jungle Fish is an amazing open-air, split-level restaurant & hotel with a pool and swim-up bar in Bali. It’s a great place to relax for a day, especially if your own accommodation doesn’t have a swimming pool.
You can buy a day pass in three different categories. The regular day pass is 350,000 IDR per person from what 200,000 IDR food & beverage credit is. A day bed on the lower deck is IDR 500,000 IDR per person with 300,000 IDR credit for food & beverage. The highest category is the hanging bed (max 6 persons) or cave (max 4 persons), which costs 2,500,000 IDR per space and includes food & beverage credit for 2,000,000 IDR and a bottle of wine or a choice from their bubbly selection. The daily opening hours of Jungle Fish are from 7:30 AM to 10:30 PM.
Practice yoga at one of the yoga retreats
Ubud is the spiritual centre of Bali and a yogi heaven. There are many yoga schools and retreats, so whether you prefer fast-paced vinyasa or gentle yin, you’ll find a class that suits you.
Take an art, or cooking class
Ubud is the the centre of arts and crafts so it makes sense that you can do lots of different classes like painting, jewellery making, cooking class and batik.
A cooking class usually involves a food market visit, how to make offerings and plenty of Balinese cooking.
Have fun at the Ubud swing
If you’ve ever seen those beautiful Instagram shots of a girl in a dress on a swing above the rice fields, then you can assume it was taken at one of the famous Bali Swings. The most popular swing is the Bongkasa Pertiwi, also known as ‘Bali swing Ubud’ to travellers. The price is $35 USD per person (500,000 IDR) and includes an unlimited number of swings and access to the instagrammable bird nests.
But more Bali swings have been added overtime, so don’t get confused when asking or looking for “the Bali swing”. The other Bali swings are:
- D’tukad River Club & Swing; with a restaurant, bar, and swimming pool with waterfall view!
- Aloha Ubud Swing; five single swings ranging from 10 to 60 metres above the ground with fascinating sights of the rice fields. Price is $20.
- Terrace River Pool Swing; consisting of 15 swings, some bird nest photo opportunities and a cute couple swing that is 45 meters above the ground. But there is also an extreme swing option which is 60 meters above the ground! The price ranges between 150,000 IDR and 300,000 IDR depending on the swing you take.
- Tegalalang Rice Terrace Swing; located in the village of Tegalalang, this rice terrace swing is a tourist hotspot with its beautiful views on the Tegalalang rice fields. There are two swings here and the total cost is 150,000 IDR per person.
- Uma Pakel Swing; the Uma Pakel swing also offers incredible jungle views and is adjacent to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. The entrance fee is 150,000 IDR per person.
More Bali travel inspiration
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the best things to do in Ubud. For more information about Bali and all the best things to do, head over to these blog posts: