Image Alt

Ubud Travel Guide – 20 Best Things to Do in Ubud

A set of rice terraces in Ubud in the soft morning sun

Ubud Travel Guide – 20 Best Things to Do in Ubud

Nestled in the jungle heartland of Bali, Ubud is a haven for those seeking a perfect blend of cultural richness and natural beauty. In this travel guide, we’ll explore the 20 best things to do in Ubud, along with essential tips on getting around, accommodation, dining, and more.

A woman in a flowing red dress swinging over rice fields with the words "Best things to do in Ubud" superimposed

Ubud

Famous for its lush landscapes, waterfalls, rice fields, and spiritual scene, Ubud offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a culture connoisseur, or simply looking for relaxation, Ubud has something for everyone.

20 Best Things to Do in Ubud

1. Monkey Forest Ubud

In the heart of Ubud lies the sacred Monkey Forest, where ancient temples intertwine with lush greenery, and cheeky macaques roam freely. This mystical sanctuary is more than just a wildlife encounter. It’s a cultural immersion, where you can witness monkeys playing and explore intricately carved stone structures dating back centuries.

You can easily spend a couple of hours here strolling through towering trees and moss-covered relics. Avoiding the crowds on the furthest edges of the forest gives a powerful sense of a moment frozen in time.

A lush forest with varied flora and a woman stood on a wooden walkway

Don’t forget to engage with the Balinese macaques, but do so cautiously, respecting their space and following the provided guidelines.

You can actually walk through some of the forest for free as there’s a path connecting Ubud center to the very south of the town. However, it’s well worth going into the official Monkey Forest Ubud as it’s only $5–6 to enter.

2. Tibumana Waterfall

A short journey from the bustling center of Ubud leads to the tranquil Tibumana Waterfall, a huge plunge waterfall surrounded by emerald greenery. The journey is an adventure in itself, passing through charming villages and lush landscapes.

Upon arriving, there’s a short, enjoyable walk down to the bottom of the falls. There you’ll find the impressive waterfall, plummeting 15 feet, and crashing into the deep pool below.

Far from a hidden gem, it’s worth getting here early to avoid the crowds. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an Instagram-worthy moment, Tibumana Waterfall ticks both boxes if you arrive early enough.

Take a dip in the inviting cool water, savor the tranquility, and let the soothing sounds wash away the stresses of everyday life.

3. ATVs

For those craving an adrenaline rush and a unique way of seeing Ubud, an ATV experience is the perfect remedy. Take a thrilling ride along muddy trails, through the dense jungle, and even some rivers and streams!

Guided ATV tours typically cater to various skill levels, ensuring both beginners and experienced riders can enjoy the experience.

Book a guided ATV adventure in advance.

4. Jewelry Making

Unleash your inner artist and immerse yourself in Ubud’s rich artistic heritage with a jewelry-making workshop. Ubud has long been a hub for traditional craftsmanship, especially when it comes to silver jewelry.

Taking a jewelry-making class allows you to create your own unique piece while learning about the process. From cutting, shaping, and molding to the final polishing, the hands-on experience provides a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship woven into Balinese culture.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned crafter, the workshops are designed to cater to all skill levels. Taking part in a jewelry-making class not only rewards you with a lifetime souvenir but also offers a connection to the cultural and artistic heritage that defines Ubud.

Book a silver jewelry-making class here.

5. Swings

We’ll admit this is possibly the ultimate “touristy” thing to do in Ubud, but we couldn’t not include it. Put your best floaty dress on – or rent one (yes that is a thing!) – and take to the swings over the rice fields of Ubud.

A woman in a flowing red dress swinging over rice fields in Ubud

There are endless companies popping up that offer these swinging experiences, each providing a unique vantage point for capturing the perfect shots. The swings range from simple setups to elaborate contraptions that soar high above the steep hillside.

While it’s known as an Insta-worthy experience, some of the bigger swings do actually offer an exhilarating ride.

6. Jungle Clubs

Immerse yourself in Ubud’s vibrant Jungle club scene. These jungle clubs, also known as day clubs, offer a fun blend of leisure, entertainment, food & drink, and natural beauty.

Ubud’s day clubs provide a relaxing escape where you can soak up the sun, sip on exotic cocktails, and chill in pristine pools and hot tubs – all within the embrace of Bali’s incredible rice fields.

Currently, most places offer free entry with a minimum spend on food & drink. The prices were very reasonable, especially when compared with similar experiences elsewhere in the world. Two of our favorites were Cretya and Jungle Fish – Cretya has a lower minimum spend but does get busier.

7. Pyramids of Chi

If you’re after a unique and holistic approach to relaxation, Pyramids of Chi is a must-visit destination in Ubud.

Amidst the lush greenery, this serene complex offers a variety of meditation and healing experiences – the highlight being the sound meditation. The pyramids, inspired by the sacred geometry found in ancient structures, create an environment where musical vibrations and harmonic frequencies merge to promote a sense of balance and well-being.

A tan colored pyramid building with palm trees and ponds

Some of you may be thinking this is right up your street, but if you’re thinking “bit too hippy, not for me”, we’d urge you to think again. It was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable experiences we had in Ubud. The region is famed for its spiritual culture and the Pyramids of Chi is a fun immersion into that different world.

8. Climb Mount Batur for Sunrise

Brace yourself for a difficult, but rewarding adventure as you take a pre-dawn trek up Mount Batur. Weather permitting, witness one of Bali’s most spectacular sunrises! We weren’t so lucky with the visibility, but instead flew the drone above the clouds for a glimpse of what we were missing.

The journey begins in the early hours, guided by the gentle glow of headlamps, creating a sense of anticipation among fellow trekkers. As you ascend, the veil of darkness gradually lifts, hopefully revealing the awe-inspiring landscapes of Bali below.

A sunrise near a lake and silhouetted mountains

Reaching the summit provides a panoramic vista of the surrounding caldera, with the golden hues of the rising sun casting a warm glow over Lake Batur and the distant peaks.

It’s important to dress appropriately for the hike – it’s considerably colder at this altitude and early time of day. Also, there’s always a chance of rain, so come prepared for all weather!

Book a Mount Batur trek here.

9. Batur Natural Hot Spring

Following the exhilaration of a Mount Batur sunrise trek, it’s time to reward yourself with a visit to the Batur Natural Hot Spring. Set against the backdrop of the majestic Mount Batur and overlooking Lake Batur, this thermal pool oasis provides a soothing retreat for weary adventurers.

Immerse yourself in the warm, mineral-rich waters and let the therapeutic properties of the springs work their magic on your body and mind.

10. Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Kanto Lampo is the second waterfall on our list, but it couldn’t be more different to Tibumana. This once hidden gem – now Insta-famous must-visit spot – captivates with its wide, cascading waters and moss-covered rocks.

If you’re looking to capture the best photos and videos, we’d highly recommend hiring one of the local guys that offer services at the waterfall. Even as experienced photographers and videographers, they provide great value for money. They know the best angles and camera tricks and will help you with your poses to achieve high quality shots.

This is another place where the earlier you arrive, the better the experience, as you avoid the busiest periods.

11. Pura Tirta Empul – Water Purification Ritual

The water purification ritual in Pura Tirta Empul has to be one of the most authentic spiritual experiences you can get in the whole of Bali.

The temple’s central courtyard houses a bubbling spring, and locals and visitors alike engage in a traditional cleansing ceremony, believed to purify the body, mind, and soul. The ritual involves a series of steps, including prayer, meditation, and submersion in the holy waters.

A man sat cross-legged holding Hindu offerings

The temple’s architectural beauty, combined with the sacred atmosphere, creates a profound sense of reverence.

Make sure to get here for opening time to beat the crowds, it gets incredibly busy throughout the day.

12. Eat at Vegan Restaurants

Ubud has a thriving food scene, famous for its fresh, wholesome, and healthy cuisine. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, here is the place to try some incredible plant-based dishes.

One of the newer additions to Ubud’s growing list of fully vegan restaurants – and our personal favorite – is the excellent Plant Bistro. Featuring a large and varied menu from sushi to burgers, their specialty is Italian food. Their wood-fired pizzas are hands down the best vegan pizzas we’ve had anywhere in the world! What’s more, they have a bakery under the restaurant that serve Italian pastries and cakes. You can order them as a dessert or get them to go and enjoy them for breakfast.

Another fully vegan place not to miss is the relaxing, hippy vibes at Zest. They too have an extensive menu with tons of international dishes. It’s much less formal than your usual restaurant, featuring sofas, lounge chairs, and board games.

If you like coconut flavored foods, you have to visit Tukies Coconut Shop in Ubud. Their flagship item is the coconut ice cream which comes garnished with coconut shavings and dried pieces. They also offer coffee with coconut milk and a whole host of desserts including banana bread – a Bali favorite.

So, whether you follow a vegan lifestyle or simply appreciate unique cuisine, Ubud’s vegan restaurants are a culinary delight that will nourish your body and soul.

13. Balinese Massage

The perfect end to a long day, adventuring in the heat, has to be a Balinese massage. Indulge in the relaxing practice rooted in centuries-old healing traditions. Ubud boasts an array of renowned spas, each offering a variety of treatments.

The Balinese massage technique involves a combination of acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy, creating a holistic approach to well-being.

It’s hard to decide on a place because there are so many to choose from. Some of the highest rated places include Sang Spa, Jembawan Spa, and Nata Massage. Alternatively, take a stroll down the main street in Ubud – Jalan Monkey Forest – and find one you like the look of.

14. Yoga Class

Ubud has earned its reputation as a global yoga hub, attracting practitioners from all walks of life. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, the town’s numerous studios and retreat centers offer classes catering to various levels and styles.

Engaging in a yoga class in Ubud is more than a physical exercise – it’s a journey into self-discovery and mindfulness. Surrounded by lush landscapes or within the tranquil walls of a traditional Balinese studio, you’ll find a serene space to reconnect with your inner self.

Some of the more popular yoga studios are The Yoga Barn, Radiantly Alive, and Ubud Yoga House which boasts views over the rice fields as you practice.

15. Merlin’s Magic – Fun Dining Experience

Merlin’s Magic features a unique dining concept where instead of choosing your food, your food chooses you!

Before you enter the restaurant, you can enjoy the downstairs area. A magical-themed interior, featuring optical illusions, tricks, and magic paraphernalia.

Next, you’ll be whisked upstairs to the rather grand restaurant with a vaulted glass ceiling and other worldly decorations. There, you’ll decide your fate through a tarot reading, where you’ll choose 3 cards signifying your past, present, and future – and more importantly what you’re having for starter, main, and dessert.

For the fussy eaters among you, don’t panic, you can decide not to follow your destiny and choose any dish from the menu.

16. Chocolate Making at JungleGold

Discover your inner chocolatier at JungleGold, where you can participate in a hands-on chocolate-making workshop. They use high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, and what’s more it’s all fully plant-based.

The workshop at JungleGold is not just about making chocolates – it’s an exploration of the cocoa bean-to-bar process. From roasting and grinding to molding and decorating, you’ll learn about each element of chocolate production.

JungleGold has a cafe and shop area where you can try all of their different chocolates. There are so many flavours to choose from and a range of both “milk” and dark options. And the best part, of course, is eating the bar that you hand-crafted yourself!

17. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Marvel at the iconic Tegalalang Rice Terraces, a testament to Bali’s ancient agricultural traditions and breathtaking natural beauty. Carved into the landscape with precision, these emerald-green terraces create a mesmerizing patchwork as far as the eye can see.

A high aerial view of the tegalalang rice paddies in Ubud

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the unique Subak irrigation system allowed Bali to become the most prolific rice growing region in the Indonesian archipelago.

You can enjoy the Tegalalang Rice Terraces by taking a walk along the paths through the fields or stopping at a nearby cafe or restaurant overlooking the terraces.

18. Goa Gajah – Elephant Cave

Dating back to the 9th century, Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave, is a historical and spiritual site just outside the town of Ubud.

The meditation cave itself – which doesn’t actually feature any elephants! – is found by entering through the mouth of one of the giant stone faces. The cave’s interior features carvings that show a fusion of Hindu and Buddhist influences.

A woman walking towards a cave entrance carved to look like a monster's mouth

Outside, this ancient sanctuary features intricate stone carvings, a bathing pool adorned with mythical creatures, and various statues and stone structures.

There are also trails through the forest area leading to small temples and an impressive waterfall.

19. Ubud Palace Show

Each evening, Ubud Palace, also known as Puri Saren Agung, serves as the theatre for a performance of traditional Balinese music and dance.

From Legong dances – involving intricate hand and eye movements – to the melodious percussion music known as Gamelan, the show transports you into the world of myth and legend.

The performance usually sells out, so be sure to buy your Ubud Palace Show tickets in advance.

20. Campuhan Ridge Walk

The serene Campuhan Ridge Walk is a scenic pathway that meanders through lush hills and offers panoramic views of Ubud. This tranquil trek is a perfect way to unwind, avoid the crowds, and take in the views.

A drone shot of a jungle with a stone walkway going through it

The ridge, often hailed as the ‘Sacred Hill,’ is a gentle stroll, however it’s best to avoid the midday sun. It’s better to go in the early morning or around sunset.

At the northern end of the walk, you’ll find a few small cafes and shacks where you can stop for an ice-cold coconut before returning to town.

How to Get to Ubud

Bali has great international and domestic connections via the main airport – Ngurah Rai – in the capital, Denpasar.

From Denpasar, Ubud is easily accessible by taxi or private transfer. The easiest way is to book a Grab from the airport. Despite it being a 1.5-hour drive it’s ridiculously cheap at around $25!

How to Get Around Ubud

The best way to explore Ubud and have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, is to rent a scooter. For experienced drivers, Ubud is no different to other places in Asia, although the center of town can get very busy.

Many people ride a scooter for their first time in Bali because that’s the culture here, but we’d suggest avoiding the busiest areas until you’re confident.

Another convenient way to get around is to hire a driver, this is particularly useful if going long distances like out to the waterfalls.

Walking and cycling are also great ways to navigate the town’s charming streets.

Where to Stay in Ubud

Ubud offers a range of accommodations, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. The best place to stay is in the center of town for easy access to attractions.

Here are some options depending on your budget:

Affordable: We loved Bali Bohemia Huts because of the lush pool area and great restaurant area. The only downside is it’s on the south side of the Monkey Forest. Alternatively, Satya House Ubud is better located, but more expensive. The courtyard has a beautiful temple garden vibe and the price includes breakfast.

Mid-Range: The 5-star KajaNe Mua is very good value for money and has a pool, gym, and spa area available. They offer free chauffeur services around central Ubud, which is handy.

Luxury: Set amongst the rice paddies in the town center is the luxurious Kaamala Resort. It features an infinity pool, gym, and massage rooms. If you really want to go all out, they offer one-bedroom villas with private pools overlooking the rice fields!

Where to Eat in Ubud

As mentioned, Ubud’s culinary scene is incredible.

As well as the vegan places we already mentioned – Plant Bistro, Zest, and Tukies – there’s also:

The Seeds of Life – A raw food cafe with salads, sandwiches, and superfood smoothies.

Pizza Cult – A pizzeria with unique and innovative toppings like kimchi and coconut anchovies.

Wild Vegan – A cool, hippy place that specializes in raw and organic foods.

Gelato Jedi – A fully vegan ice-cream shop with 17 flavors, featuring some novel options like mulberry passion and lemongrass.

Best Time to Visit Ubud

The dry season from April to October is ideal for visiting Ubud, with pleasant weather for outdoor activities.

However, the wet season brings lush landscapes and fewer crowds.

Ubud Costs

Ubud is a very affordable town, with budget accommodations, reasonably priced meals, and affordable scooter rentals. Here’s a rough breakdown of what you can expect:

Accommodation:

    • Budget Guesthouses: $20–50 per night
    • Mid-Range Hotels or Resorts: $50–150 per night
    • Luxury Resorts or Villas: $150+ per night

Food:

    • Street Food or Local Warungs: $2–5 per meal
    • Casual Restaurants: $5–15 per meal
    • Fine Dining Restaurants: $15 and above per meal

Experiences:

    • Budget Experiences (Waterfalls, Temples): $1–5­ / Monkey Forest Entrance Fee: $5–10
    • Mid-Range Experiences (Jewelry Making, Yoga Class, Chocolate Making): $15–40
    • Higher-End Experiences (ATV, Mount Batur Trekking): $50–100

Scooter Rental:

    • Scooter Rental: $5–10 per day
    • Fuel: $1–5 per day (depending on usage)

Final Thoughts on Ubud

Ubud, with its enchanting landscapes and vibrant cultural scene, promises a journey of discovery and relaxation. From exploring ancient temples to indulging in adrenaline-pumping activities, this town offers a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. Whether you’re drawn to the lush rice terraces or the spiritual rituals, Ubud invites you to immerse yourself in its unique charm.

As you explore the 20 best things to do in Ubud, you’ll find that it’s not just a destination – it’s an experience that lingers in your heart long after you’ve bid farewell.

Ubud Travel Guide – 20 Best Things to Do in Ubud

Don't Forget to Pin it for Later

Post a Comment