The Complete Guide to Ubud – 6 Unmissable Things to Do in Ubud, Bali
Ubud is one top tourist destination in Indonesia and a must-visit for sure, which is why I compiled this complete guide to Ubud in order to help out all my fellow travellers. So scroll down to read about the best things to do in Ubud, where to eat, where to go for the best spa or yoga practices and more!
Ubud, Bali – paddy fields, waterfalls, lush green valleys, spas, yoga and a laid-back atmosphere. Compared to other parts of Bali, Ubud is more lush and it invites travellers to complete relaxation and meditation, making it an ideal vacation destination. A journey to Ubud is a journey of exploration of art, craft, music, and cuisine, against the backdrop of age-old temples and quaint pathways, and towering hills that lead to spiritual retreats.
So let’s find out everything there is to know in this Ubud travel guide:
6 Unforgettable things to do in Ubud
From walking through enchanted forests to discovering art galleries and visiting healers, there are countless activities and things to see in Ubud – a place that’s anything but boring. Here are the best places to visit in Ubud, Bali, as well as my favorite spas and the best yoga practices!
1 - Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Even if you have visited the tropics and Indonesia before, you may not have experienced something like Tegalalang Rice Terraces. While most rice fields in Asia are on the plains, Tegalalang rice field is terraced, which makes it seem almost sculpted. Surrounded by majestic coconut trees, the rice terraces are what people usually associate Ubud with, and therefore, it can get quite crowded.
TIP: What I recommend is to go there in the early morning, when there are less crowds; plus, watching the sunrise there will leave you in awe! Ah, and don’t forget to take a picture at Tegalalang rice terrace swing as well – a must-do in Ubud!
Tegalalang Rice Terrace entrance fee: 15,000 IDR/person (US$ 1.10). You can only pay in cash.
2 - Tegenungan Waterfall Ubud
Discovering some waterfalls should be a must-do during any Ubud tour out there – and Tegenungan Waterfall is probably the most beautiful out of them all. It’s a superb scenic spot where you can sit and admire everything around you, or you can walk around and take some pictures in the romantic swing and nest there.
Tegenungan Waterfall entrance fee: 15,000 IDR/person (US$ 1.10). You can purchase the tickets from the parking lot in front of the entrance.
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3 - Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
The Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is exactly what you think it is: a protected forest filled with monkeys! Other than more than 700 monkeys, you can also see some special Indonesian trees there, as well as some temples and ancient statues.
TIP: While you’re there, make sure to protect your belongings, as the quirky monkeys love to steal loose jewellery, sunglasses, or even cameras!
Monkey Forest Ubud price: 80,000 IDR/person (US$ 5.70).
4 - Tirta Empul Temple
Looking for things to do around Ubud? Constructed around a natural spring in 962 A.D., Tirta Empul Water Temple (also known as the Holy Water Temple) is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and it’s a great place for a ritual purification through holy spring water. The temple is not exactly in Ubud, but a very short 30-minute car or scooter ride away, in the village of Manukaya.
The temple has 2 purification pools and 30 waterspouts and they even provide sarongs that travellers can wear inside the temple.
Tirta Empul Temple entrance fee: 50,000 IDR/person (US$ 3.50).
5 - Ubud Art Market
For this next destination, you may want to start your day early because the Ubud Traditional Art Market, located right across from Royal Ubud Palace, starts at 6 in the morning. And it’s one of the most famous traditional markets in the entire Bali and a top Ubud tourist spot!
You can find tons of colourful wares here, handmade in villages around Ubud, all sold by vendors who are eager to negotiate. There are also wicker bags and hats, boxes in all shapes and sizes, as well as stunning sarongs, silk scarves and clothes with the famed Batik and Ikat patterns of Indonesia.
Ubud Art Market hours: 9AM – 6PM
TIP: Like all local markets, it’s better to get there early for friendly prices and good weather. Don’t forget to take your time and negotiate!
TIP #2: If you’re a foodie that wants to try all types of Balinese food, make sure to visit Gianyar Night Market as well!
6 - Campuhan Ridge Walk
What sets the Campuhan Ridge Walk apart from other nature trails and hikes is that it’s just minutes away from the town. The starting point of the walk is at the Warwick Ibah Villas, and the whole trail is a mere 4 kilometres. The walk will take you through the superb countryside for some authentic Ubud sightseeing, and if it gets tiring, you can always stop by the Karsa Kafe for a snack.
By the way, there is no entrance fee here, making it one of the best free things to do in Bali!
Best tour of Ubud by type of traveller
If you want to explore Ubud with a professional guide, with everything arranged for you beforehand, here are the best tours you can book for your Bali holidays:
Best spas in Ubud
Going to a spa is definitely one of the best activities in Ubud! And yes, you may have experienced it elsewhere, but as they say, nothing compares to the original! And, after all the swimming and hiking, you surely need a massage. Ubud has PLENTY of reputed centres where you can get a traditional Balinese massage and relax your muscles.
The Balinese massage is derived from ancient Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese practices, so it uses reflexology and acupressure techniques to relax your body and make it more flexible. Unlike other methods, a Balinese massage isn’t uncomfortable or painful as they use essential oils.
Want to try it too? Here is the list with my favourite spas in Ubud, all of them tested by myself:
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Best yoga practices
If you’re passionate about Yoga, then Ubud will be Heaven on Earth for you. There are TONS of options when it comes to yoga classes in Ubud and the most complicated thing for you to do (except for that monkey side plank!) is to choose. Ubud is full of top-rated yoga studios and passionate instructors, so you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands here. By the way, most studios provide free water, as well as mats and other props you might need, so no need to buy those in advance!
Here are two of my favorite yoga places in Ubud, Bali (tried and tested, of course):
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Where to stay in Ubud, Bali
Good news: if you are wondering where to stay in Ubud, you should know that there are plenty of options for all types of travellers and budgets out there. You just need to know your needs and how much you are planning on staying here.
Here is a short round-up of the best areas for Ubud accommodation:
- Town Centre – best if you’re short on time; you’ll be walking distance to the main attractions;
- Tegalalang – where the famous Rice Fields are, north of Ubud;
- Peliatan – for an authentic Balinese atmosphere; 10 minutes from the city centre
- Penestanan – for a laid-back atmosphere and some piece of mind;
- Goa Gajah – best place to stay in Ubud for backpackers;
- Pengosekan – if you’re looking for retreats and yoga studios;
Here are some excellent choices for places to stay in Ubud, sorted by budget:
SPLURGIN’: Hanging Gardens Ubud – one of the top Ubud resorts with a superb infinity pool
HIGH END: Desa Visesa – one of the best hotels in Ubud with a view
BOUTIQUE: Zen Hideaway – with THE famous Bali swing!
MID-RANGE: Sandat Glamping Tents
HOSTEL: Puri Garden Hotel & Hostel
What to eat in Ubud & best restaurants in Ubud
When it comes to gastronomy, the Balinese cuisine is one of the best ones in the world! In fact, Bali hosts some of Bali’s best restaurants, did you know that? In fact, Ubud has it all: warungs (small family-run cafes), street food, fine dining, brunch places and everything else in-between.
Here is a breakdown of what to eat and the best places to eat in Ubud:
BST AT: Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3
Babi guling is a dish based on roasted pig and it’s surely the most famous Ubud food. Although you can find babi guling everywhere you look, the best place to serve it is a warung called Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3 – delicious and affordable!
BEST AT: Bebek Bengil
This is Balinese crispy duck with Indonesian spices. Bebek Bengil serves the best one around and it’s the place that made this dish famous. Oh, it’s also one of the top Ubud restaurants with a view!
BRUNCH RESTAURANT: Simply Social
If you’re craving some fresh fruit and yummy brunch dishes, head over to Simply Social for colorful, healthy bowls of goodness and great coffee.
VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT: The Elephant
There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Ubud, but I recommend heading over to The Elephant for healthy, environmental-friendly food and a cozy atmosphere.
COFFEE AND HEALTHY MEAL OPTIONS: Lazy Cats Cafe
Good for either breakfast, lunch or dinner, the Lazy Cats Cafe has a gorgeous setting and one of the best coffees in Ubud. Great place for relaxation!
FINE DINING: Locavore
If you want to splurge with some fine dining, head over to Locavore. Although it’s small, this restaurant serves world-class dishes and some people say it’s even the best food in Ubud. Make sure to make a reservation, though!
Transportation in Ubud, Bali
Bali Denpasar International Airport to Ubud is 40 km / 40 minutes by car. Here are the best options of getting there:
- The easiest way of getting from the airport to Ubud city centre is by taking a taxi from the official stand at the airport. 40 min journey to city centre depending on traffic; fixed fee: 300,000 IDR (US$ 21,3).
- The cheapest option would be to take the public bus. 100 min journey, around US$4. Please note there is no direct link so you’ll have to change buses at Batu Bulan. I don’t really recommend it!
GETTING AROUND UBUD
Because Ubud is not a big city, the most convenient way of getting around is by walking. If you want to get outside of the city for further exploration, you can either discuss with your hotel (they sometimes offer free shuttles), get a private driver or rent a scooter.
This was my complete Ubud guide! I have discussed many practical things above, including the best sights, best spas and yoga studios, best hotels for all budgets and the must-try dishes in this town.
So if you’re planning a vacation here, get ready for complete relaxation, fun yoga classes, lots of amazing restaurants and some unforgettable landmarks and things to see as well.
Ubud is one of my favorite destinations in Indonesia, but if you want to further explore this country, I recommend checking out all my articles about Indonesia here.