We’ve compiled a list of all the best things to do around Ubud. Whether you plan to come for a day or a stay, be sure to check out some!
Ubud is one of the most famous spots in Bali due to its unique character, stunning natural surroundings and appearance in Hollywood films like Eat Pray Love. It offers a very different experience to other popular tourist destinations in Bali. Whether you are planning a day trip or a stay, there are plenty of things to do.
Ubud is full of bucket list worthy adventures. There are sights to see, culture to experience, art to marvel at, nature to be immersed in, spirituality to soak up and lots of foodie adventures to be had. Is it also the spot to visit for adventure junkies and nature lovers. To make the most of your time in majestic Ubud, we recommend you plan ahead! With a little bit of a pre-planned itinerary, you will be able to make the most of your time and experience more of Ubud. Here is a list of 15 Best Things to Do in Ubud, with all of the must see sites and activities!
Ubud Story Walks offers bespoke walking tours so you can get to know the history of Ubud with an English-speaking local tour guide. There are two tours. The ‘Past to Present’ walking tour is approximately 1 mile and takes around 2.5 hours. On this tour you will learn about the last 100 years in the history of Ubud, and how it has emerged as a destination rich in culture, religion and art, and become a global hub of traditional and contemporary spiritual practices as well as a retreat for artists from around the world.
The second tour, the Lempad’s Legacy tour is also around one mile and will take around 2 hours. This tour will take you to the Royal Palace and the Saraswati Temple, where you will learn about the legacy of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, one of Bali’s greatest artists whose work is very prominent in temples, sculptures and paintings in and around Ubud.
2. Alas Harum
Just 20 minutes drive from central Ubud near the famous UNESCO Tegallalang Rice Terrace Site is where Alas Harum is located. You will find a whole lot of activities packed onto 8 hectares of land surrounded by lush rice fields and tropical jungle. One of the central attractions, an impressive three-tiered swimming pool, hangs majestically over rice fields and jungle. You can spend the day relaxing and taking in the expansive views of the native Ubud area while enjoying cocktails and international favorites from the classic American breakfast to Mediterranean-inspired dishes. For a more casual dining experience, you can head to ‘Cretya Lite’, which serves ‘The Taste of Asia’ menu.
Alam Harum also has rides and attractions like extreme swings and flying foxes which will have you soaring over emerald rice fields as well as sky bikes, all sure to set your Instagram game on fire. You can even hire dresses to add a little extra drama to your photos. There are so many instagrammable locations to shoot- a walking path that will lead you to a glass-floored look out, a 15m dancing rope bridge, a Gorilla cave, and more than 5 giant bird nests that can be found all around the property.
3. Cretya Day Club
Cretya Ubud is the perfect retreat from bustling central Ubud. It doesn’t get much better than lounging at Cretya while taking in the impressive views of the surrounding rice terraces and jungle. Terrace, cabana, hammock or day bed, the choice is yours. You can grab a casual bite or a restorative cocktail while overlooking the iconic three-tiered infinity pool of the Alas Harum property. At Cretya Ubud you’ll find three distinguished dining destinations: Yudhistira, Arjuna, and Bima Lounges.
We love that they serve plenty of healthy options along with all of the usual day club favourites like burgers, pizzas and pasta. You will find egg white omelettes, plant-based pizza, and plenty of salad options. All of that lounging, sun baking and admiring the landscape is thirsty work. Luckily they have a huge drinks menu offering everything from mocktails, cocktails, beer, spirits, wine, juice and smoothies.
4. Brunch at Mandapa
Brought to you by the lavish Ritz-Carlton group, the Mandapa Ubud offers one of the finest culinary Journeys in Ubud. Sawah Terrace restaurant where brunch is held, overlooks the majestic Ayung River so you will have the feeling of dining with nature. Dining at the Mandapa is always a feast for 5 senses, and their Sunday Brunch at Sawah Terrace is sure to hit the spot if a bougie brunch is what you are looking for.
There are several live food stations where you will have the opportunity to sample many of Indonesia’s delicacies such as Babi Guling, Nasi Campur and BBQ seafood Jimbaran style. There are plenty of flavours from across the Indonesian archipelago to try as well as traditional Indonesian sweets.
Sunday Brunch is 650,000IDR++ and is served from 12.30 to 3.30pm. Free flow drinks packages are also available.
Address: Jl. Raya Kedewatan, Banjar, Kedewatan, Kecamatan Ubud
5. Sacred Monkey Forest
No trip to Ubud would be complete without paying a visit to the cheeky monkeys of the Monkey Forest and the magnificent three hindu temples within the forest. The temples are thought to have been constructed around 1350 and are still active in the spiritual life of the locals. Some areas are sacred and only allowed to be entered by locals wearing proper ceremony attire but there are plenty of opportunities to observe both the temples and ceremonies from a distance. The 10 hectares of forest is preserved and it is a great opportunity to experience the beauty of nature without leaving central Ubud.
The monkeys play an important role in the mythology and art of the locals. They are cared for and fed sweet potatoes by staff daily. Previously it was possible to buy bananas at the Monkey Forest to feed the monkeys but feeding the monkeys has become prohibited as the monkeys were becoming a little heavy, and aggressive. The monkeys aren’t shy, they may come near you and try to grab your bag or other belongings if they suspect you are carrying food. It’s best not to enter with any food on your person, secure any loose items like sunglasses and try not to rummage through your bag while in the forest as they may think you are hiding food.
Address: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud
6. Night Out at The Blue Door
In years gone by, Ubud went to sleep not long after dusk. Now, if you find yourself in Ubud, all dressed up with nowhere to go, behind The Blue Door you will find a club lounge experience from Thursday through to Saturday night with live music performances and a carefully curated cocktail list. Neon lighting and whimsical decor is sure to bring out your wild side. Luckily the Blue Door is open till late!
For a more casual daytime-nighttime vibe, there is also a Beer Garden where you will find over 15 craft beers, a curated wine list and a very tempting cocktail menu. Open everyday from 9am till late, there are screens showing the biggest sports games live and the kitchen is open until midnight. The best part? They have the longest Happy Hour in Ubud from 12-7pm daily!
7. Ubud Art Market
Conveniently located right in the centre of town, you’re likely to stumble upon the Art Market anytime you are strolling the streets of Ubud. Open daily from around 8 am-5 pm, not only will you find a huge selection of arts and crafts but possibly the greatest selection of souvenirs, homewares, clothes, jewellery, handmade woven bags, kites and many more quintessentially Balinese crafts, much of which is produced in the neighbouring villages. The famous Hollywood movie Eat Pray Love shot a scene featuring Julia Roberts right at these very markets.
Bargaining is essential and all part of the fun. Even if you are not used to it, approach it with a sense of humour, you will enjoy it more! You can usually bargain down to 50% of the starting price.
TIP: when you are browsing, don’t ask the price unless you are serious about making a purchase because you will find yourself bargaining with the vendor! Looking to do some shopping while you are in Bali? Check out this blog on the Best Markets In Bali.
Address: Jl. Raya Ubud No 35, Ubud
8. Ubud Royal Palace
Bali’s traditional arts. It is an important historical landmark and has served as the home of Ubud’s Royal Family since the late 19th century. Parts of the palace are open to visitors and serve as a museum. The statues and art tell the story of Ubud’s history. It is decorated with much traditional art and artifacts, ornate doorways and of course, there is a spectacular temple inside. In front of the temple is a lotus pond with a pathway you can walk, making you feel like a prince or princess in this exotic and marvellous palace.
There are dance and music performances from 7 pm every night and tickets are 100,000IDR. A visit to the Royal Palace will give you an insight to the history of Bali.
TIP: It is right opposite the Ubud Art Market so you could conveniently get around to a few key sites in central Ubud like the Monkey Forest and Royal Palace and Art Market in half a day.
9. Visit a Waterfall
A must for nature junkies, waterfalls are incredible for soaking up the raw power of nature. The sight, sound and smell of mountain spring water hitting the rocks and lagoon below, the refreshing feel of spring water on your skin, visiting a waterfall in Bali is a delight for the body, mind and soul.
The jungle trek is sometimes steep, and the winding pathways are part of the fun, but make sure you bring insect repellent and decent shoes because you will find yourself in the middle of the jungle. A swimsuit is a must, a dip in springwater straight from the hills is just too good to resist!
The closest waterfalls from Ubud are;
Suwat Waterfall- around 30mins
Tibumana Waterfall- around 40mins
Kanto Lampo Waterfall- around 30mins
Dusun Kuning Waterfall- around 50mins
Tegenungan Waterfall- around 30mins
Tukad Cepung Waterfall- around 1 hour
TIP: You will find fewer crowds during the week and early in the morning. During local holidays like Lebaran it can get busier so be mindful of when you are visiting if you are hoping to capture a serene waterfall shot.
Check out our page with Bali’s 25 most stunning waterfalls for more info on the waterfalls of Bali!
10. Tirta Empul Spring
Tirta Empul is a water temple, considered to be one of the 5 most holy temples in Bali. With several holy springs thought to be blessed by the Hindu God Indra to purify those that bathe there, locals and tourists are able to take part in the bathing ritual, known as Melukat.
The locals will dip their heads under each of the waterspouts as part of the ritual. You will start at the first sprout on the right and then move left using all the water sprouts along the way. If in doubt, the best thing to do is observe how the locals use the springs for the purification ritual. You will make your way through several springs which will take 30 minutes to one hour. Whilst bathing you will be required to wear a sarong and gold sash, which you can rent at the entrance and there are change rooms also. You may want to bring a towel however and a change of clothes.
Fact: The Obamas visited the Tirta Empul Springs during their 2017 visit, very classy.
Address: Tampaksiring, Gianyar Regency
11. The Yoga Barn
One of the foremost yoga and wellness destinations globally, The Yoga Barn brings you some of the most notable yoga gurus in the world, offering lots of different styles of yoga and meditation from vinyasa, Hatha, yin, crystal bowls meditation, Tibetan bowl meditation, and ecstatic dance. In their wellness hub, they offer massage and spa treatments, cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, reiki, naturopathy, colonics, cleanses, Vedic astrology, and much, much more. There are special events almost daily like kirtan, breathwork, cacao circles, and sound healing as well as immersive workshops.
There is a Garden Kafe and juice bar so you can stop in for a wholesome bite to take in the structures and surrounding natural landscape. The Yoga Barn is like a small village made up of rustic wooden joglo structures with thatched roofing housing yoga shalas, the cafe, wellness facilities as well as accommodation. You can stay at The Yoga Barn or stay off-site and create your own retreat. The Yoga Barn is a one-stop shop for all things spiritual and wellness-oriented if you are visiting Ubud in pursuit of healing, re-aligning, or awakening.
12. Campuhan Ridge Walk
Between two jungle-clad valleys is the simply breathtaking Campuhan Ridge walk. The spectacular views, peace and tranquillity of the ridge walk are a great way to start or end the day. The walk is completely free and takes around 20 minutes. It is not too challenging as there is a paved pathway over the ridge. By the time you reach the end of the ridge, you may be in the mood for a refreshment and the Karsa Kafe is the perfect spot to have a restorative cold drink and rest your legs before heading back. You will be able to catch your breath in a shady bale surrounded by lotus ponds and rice fields. There are a few other options for food and drink nearby also.
The starting point of the walk is down the small street adjacent to the Warick IBAH Villas and Spa Hotel just off Jalan Raya Ubud. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to do the walk, so you don’t get caught in the midday heat. Make sure you take water, sunscreen, insect repellent and a hat.
Although the walk is relatively accessible for anyone who is comfortable walking for 20 minutes or so each way, it might be a bit challenging with young kids. There are some stairs so it may not be ideal to take a pram. To make the trek a little more child friendly, you could start the ridge walk at the Warick IBAH and then have a driver pick you up at Karsa Kafe on the other side. Other than that, the walk is manageable in flip-flops!
13. Bicycle Tour
What better way to see the sites of Ubud than by e-bike with the crew at the Ubud Electric Bike Tour! It’s a great way to skip the traffic and you will see more of Ubud and the surrounding areas than you would by car. There are different options for itineraries such as visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tegalalang Rice Terraces or the Tirta Empul Water Temple. The guides are fluent in English and they will share with you much information about working the rice fields, life in a Balinese Village and the ceremonial culture. You will even have the opportunity to visit a traditional Balinese compound and the ride finishes with a traditional Balinese meal at a local restaurant.
Some fresh air and a little sweat will make your day all the more invigorating after a long flight or after a few days of restaurant hopping. But don’t worry, the cycling tour isn’t too strenuous thanks to your e-bike, and the tour is open to everyone, the only requirement is that you can ride a bike. The tour includes hotel transfers as well as some photos along the way. The tour is around 4-5 hours long.
14. Balinese Village Experience
A knowledgeable guide will welcome you to experience a day in the life of a quintessential Balinese village. You will be invited into a real-life traditional family compound bustling with the daily activities of a Balinese person. Your guide will explain to you the functions of different areas and rooms, the temple and some of the ceremonies that are carried out there in this full-day, 8-hour tour. You will learn about how different generations of the family live together in a compound and the residents will most likely be there going about their day as usual.
Balinese ladies will prepare for you morning tea consisting of Balinese cakes, fruits, fresh coconuts & Bali Kopi. After morning tea you will learn how to prepare a Canang Sari, or traditional offering which you will use later for a blessing ceremony at a Holy Water site. Lunch is served at a local warung and you will have a choice of Balinese and Indonesian dishes. After lunch, while wearing a sarong and sash you will receive a cleansing and purification blessing with holy water at a hidden canyon. You will get wet so make sure you bring a towel and change of clothes as you will have the opportunity to change before you are dropped back to your accommodation.
This experience is culturally enriching and sure to be a highlight of your trip! For more information, check out our blog about the Balinese Village Tour here.
15. Learn How to Cook a Traditional Balinese Meal at Subak Cooking Class
Guided by an English-speaking Indonesian chef, you will prepare a Balinese meal from scratch including shopping for the ingredients at a local market. The tour will take you to a nearby picturesque rice field where you will learn about the culinary culture of Ubud and you will have the opportunity to take photos. The cooking class will take place in a traditional Balinese home giving you insight into authentic Balinese culture. You will learn about 9 different Balinese dishes and of course, sample each dish buffet-style after class. Make sure you bring an empty stomach, but whatever you don’t eat you can take home with you. They can cater to vegetarians so make sure you let them know!
There is so much to see and do in Ubud, it sure is a bucket list destination. To make sure you can fit in as much as possible to your time in Ubud, use our handy list of our favourite activities so you can Start planning your itinerary and start booking some activities and experiences! If you’re not sure where to stay in Ubud, be sure to check out our Ubud Guide.
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