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12 Best Things to do in Ubud

Ubud is a popular village in Central Bali where nature and serenity meet a vibrant artsy culture. Whether you want to explore Ubud’s famous rice terraces, discover hidden waterfalls or do a yoga retreat, Ubud has so much to offer. This artsy village is now buzzing with trendy café and restaurants but it remains a major spiritual destination in Bali with its many holy temples.

Things to do in Ubud

1. Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

This sacred forest sanctuary in the middle of the town is home to hundreds of Balinese long-tailed monkeys (macaques), ancient temples, and old holy trees. Spend a couple of hours walking on the serene pathways to observe the monkeys, that live freely in their natural habitat, interacting with each other.

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As in the rest of Bali, they are very cheeky, and you will often see them jumping on tourists trying to steal shiny objects like sunglasses, and jewelry or searching their bags for food. To avoid any trouble, don’t feed them, look them in the eyes or show your teeth (aggressive behavior for them). They are also very protective of their babies so don’t stay too close to them.

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monkey on ubud statue scaled
monkey forest tree

Often crowded, the Monkey Forest is one of the most touristy spots in Ubud. Come early in the morning or at the end of the day.

  • Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm everyday (last entrance at 5 pm)
  • Entrance Fee: Adult IDR 80K ($5) / Child IDR 60K ($4) — Weekend: Adult IDR 100K ($6.5) / Child IDR 80.000 ($5)

2. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

These terraces offer a jaw-dropping view of countless layers of rice fields carved into a deep valley surrounded by palm trees. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to Balinese farmers’ ingenuity that developed hundreds of years ago an ancient, sophisticated irrigation system called Subak.

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Tegalalang Rice Terraces
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First thing you’ll notice is the magnificent view from above the rice terraces. Climb down and explore all the different levels by crossing small bridges over a river. The scenery from the other side of the rice fields is worth it.

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rice terraces portrait

There are also many coffee shops, viewpoints, and swings for a break after walking up the rice terraces. Consider visiting before 10 am to avoid crowds and capture the best morning lights.

  • How to get to Tegalalang Rice Terraces: a short 20-minute drive from the center of Ubud – very easy to reach by Gojek, cars, or scooters.
  • Entrance fees: IDR 10,000 to 20,000 ($0.65 – $1.30)

3. Tirta Empul Temple

Tirta Empul Temple is a major Hindu water temple discovered in AD 962. Tirta Empul means ‘holy spring’ in Balinese. The temple pond has an ancient water spring that gives out ‘holy’ fresh water in the pools and purification baths. Balinese and tourists come to perform Melukat Ceremony to cleanse bodies and spirits from evil.

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Anyone willing to perform the cleansing rituals should wear a special green sarong (IDR 15,000). Dedicated to Vinshu (Hindu God of Water), Tirta Empul is a significant sacred temple of spirituality for the Hindu community in Bali. Don’t miss the large, impressive stone gate in the first courtyard and the presidential palace on top of the hill nearby.

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tirta empul holy temple
  • How to get to Tirta Empul Temple: Tirta Empul is located close to the town of Tampaksiring in the village of Manukaya. The village is a 30-minute drive to the north of Ubud.
  • Entrance fees: IDR 50K – $3.25

4. Cretyaubud Day Club

The perfect place to chill in the Tegalalang region with stunning views of the rice paddies. This new trendy day club has many pools layered on different levels with sunbeds, live DJ sessions, and restaurants serving good food, and fancy cocktails. The 360-degree sceneries of the green terraces surrounding the pool club are worth coming itself.

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The entrance price is IDR 50K ($3.26) and that gives you access to the two restaurants (Asian fusion & western food), pool, coffee spot, and bar. Other activities are available like swings, sky bikes, and zip lines at extra costs.

  • Info: The pool area is only for 18 + years old – you’ll need to show your ID.
  • How to get to Cretyaubud Day Club: 15-20 min drive from the center of Ubud.

5.Try Balinese Cuisine

Balinese food is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, Ubud has many diverse restaurants serving delicious foods. Don’t miss out on trying the famous babi guling (roast suckling pig), gado gado (warm peanuty salad) and nasi campur (mixed rice dish).

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ubud yellow flower coffee

6. Ubud Royal Palace (Puri Saren Palace):

This palace is not only an architectural gem but also holds cultural significance. You can explore the intricately designed courtyards and pavilions, and even catch a glimpse of traditional Balinese dance performances that are often held here.

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Balinese dance is a vibrant and integral part of the culture. Attending a traditional dance performance can be a mesmerizing experience as you witness intricate costumes, precise movements, and captivating storytelling through dance.

  • Opening Hours: 8 am to 7 pm
  • Entrance Fees: Free

7. Ubud Art Market

The Ubud Art Market is a great place to find local souvenirs such as silk scarves, clothes, decorations, handmade woven bags, hats, paintings, and many other hand-crafted goods.

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The market is Ubud Center just opposite the Ubud Royal Palace and opens daily. The quality is much higher than in Kuta or Canggu so come early to bargain the best prices.

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From 3 am to 8 am the traditional market takes place where local selling colorful veggies, herbs, and meat.

8. Ubud rice fields walks

Escape the hustle and bustle of Ubud town and take a leisurely walk in the valley to enjoy panoramic views of lush surroundings, rice fields and best cafés. There are many paths starting from Ubud town center:

The most famous walk – Campuhan Ridge

Starting point is behind IBAH Villas, only 10min walk from Ubud Palace. The uphill path is paved all the way and gives great views of Ubud countryside. There are art galleries, several cafés, a temple, views of authentic houses and some rice fields along the path. Start early as this is a very popular hike and there isn’t much shade to protect from the heat. Most people come for the sunset as well.

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Campuhan Ridge walk ubud
Campuhan walk coffee

Subak Juwuk Manis Rice fields walk

Starting point is from main street Jl Raya Ubud – well indicated on google maps and there is a sign as well on the narrow street leading to the path. This short loop trail is very central and takes you to peaceful Ubud Ricefields and one of the best cafés in Ubud called Sweet Orange Warung. Continue your way and turn right to join the Kajeng Rice field before arriving at the Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati temple to finish the loop.

Sari Organic walk

Starting point in between Campuhan Ridge and Subak Juwu Manis, this walk is also called the ‘café trail’ because it goes along many cafés leading to endless rice fields.

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9. Timbuna Waterfall

A short 15-minute ride from Kanto Lampo is the strong Tibumama waterfall. After an easy walk down, you can have a swim in front of the waterfall. Be careful; the force of the falling water is usually very strong here.

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Entrance Fees: IDR 10000 – $0.65

10. Gunung Kawi Tomb

Pura Gunung Kawi is an archeological area in Bali. A long time ago, big temples and houses were carved out of the rocks because people didn’t know how to construct houses. The whole area is surrounded by beautiful rice paddies. A highly recommended thing to do in Ubud!

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Entrance Fee: IDR 15000 – $1

11. Coffee farm

There are many coffee farms around Ubud where you can taste authentic Balinese coffee.

The visit usually starts with the explanation of the coffee production process. Then they serve you a platter with 10 teas and coffees with various and original flavors to try such as rose, matcha, ginger.

If you are adventurous enough, you can taste the kopi luwak coffee in Bali that comes from the droppings of wild luwak.

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ubud coffee tasting

12. Manuaba Waterfall (Air Terjun Manuaba Waterfall)

One of the hidden gem waterfalls around Ubud that is worth seeing. Located 20 minutes from Ubud town, follow a nice loop trail where you see two great waterfalls and end up above the valley with beautiful views of rice fields. There is also a nice café to stop for a drink.

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manuaba hike waterfall

Best restaurants & bars

Here are our favorite restaurants:

  • KAFE
  • Pison Ubud
  • L’Osteria Pizza e cucina Ubud
  • Arcadia Restaurant
  • Pissari
  • Three Monkeys
  • Warung Makan Bu Rus
  • Sweet Orange Warung
  • Balinese Home Café
  • Hujan Locale
  • Ely’s Kitchen
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Where to stay in Ubud

Ubud is filled with great hotels from classic homestays to luxury cabins in the jungle. Whether you choose to stay in the center or outside the town, Ubud accommodation are one of the best value for money in Bali.

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Sakti Garden Resort & Spa
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Sakti Garden Resort & Spa

We stayed in many different hotels with different budgets:

  • Threewin Homestay $
  • The Compass Rose Ubud $$
  • Kamandalu Ubud $$
  • Sakti Garden Resort & Spa $$$
  • Alaya Resort Ubud $$$

How to travel to Ubud

To reach Ubud from Bali airport, you can take a taxi or use ride app like Grab or Gojek. Some hotels can also arrange a private transfer for you.

The distance is approximately 30-40 kilometers but the journey can take up to 2 hours depending on traffic. Expect to pay around IRD 350K ($23).

Getting around

Ubud has become a major tourist hub in Bali over the last few years. While it used to be easy to get around Ubud back in 2012, it has since become a highly congested town.

It can easily take 30 minutes to drive 2km so expect a lot of traffic and one-way roads… Walking around is not easy either because the pavements have many holes and it can be very humid and hot.

The good news is that many homestays located outside Ubud offer regular shuttle services to town or you can use Grab or Gojek to get around Ubud town. We hired a driver to visit most sites in the surrounding of Ubud which is a great option.

Best time to visit Ubud

The best time to visit Ubud is during the dry season from May to October which is also the high season for tourism. The wet season from December to March is less crowded and offers green lush landscapes, but expect heavy rain.
April and November are good transitional months so expect some showers too!

How many days do you need

Ubud is a great base while traveling in Bali. It’s filled with holy temples, impressive rice fields, countless waterfalls, yoga retreats and has a unique artsy vibe. We recommend staying at least 2 to 3 full days to discover Ubud.

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