Visit Ubud: top 10 must-do activities
Want to visit Indonesia and more specifically Bali? Do not hesitate to make a stop in Ubud, the cultural and artistic capital of Bali. You’ll find everything from the simplest to the most luxurious, and restaurants, spas, and hotels can be found on every street corner. It is therefore a must during your stay in the superb Indonesian province. I invite you to discover what to do in Ubud in this post! Let’s go !
On the agenda of this article
What to see and do in Ubud?
What to do outdoors in Ubud?
- Discover the Monkey Forest
- Discover the superb Leke Leke waterfall
- Climb a volcano
- Get lost in the rice fields
- Immerse yourself in Indonesian culture
- Visit Ubud Palace
- Bali, the island of well-being
- Enjoy the benefits of a spa
- Take a yoga class
- Discover the Blanco Museum
- Go see a Balinese dance performance
- Ubud Market, the craft market of Ubud
- Visit temples
- The Goa Gajah Temple
- Saraswati Temple
- Discover Indonesian flavors
- Discover restaurants in Ubud
- Participate in a Balinese cooking class
How to get to Ubud?
Where to sleep in Ubud?
What to see and do in Ubud?
Ubud is located in the center of the island and in the middle of the rice fields: it is therefore an ideal starting point for an itinerary to visit Bali in 15 days. Between encounters with monkeys, exploring the rice fields, or discovering palaces and temples, many things await you during your stay.
The island of Bali is known for its variety of landscapes, ranging from stunning beaches and waterfalls to rice paddies and lush forests. Ubud is not to be outdone… If you are looking to relax, discover Indonesian culture by visiting temples and historical places, exploring the rice fields or simply enjoying a delicious home-cooked dish with a chef , You’ll be spoiled for choice. Don’t forget to book your activities as soon as you have the dates of your stay so you don’t miss anything!
What to do outdoors in Ubud?
Discover the Monkey Forest
If you go to visit Ubud, do not hesitate to discover the famous monkey forest! It is the most popular attraction in Ubud, and for good reason: in addition to being able to stroll through a tropical forest, you can meet the monkeys, symbols of this forest.
The site is a nature reserve and is home to temples: the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, the Pura Beji and the Pura Prajapati, which are forbidden to tourists, but reserved for the Balinese who can pray there and place offerings there. When entering the park, you will find some safety instructions, so that your visit takes place in the best conditions, even with the sometimes surprising reactions of the more than 600 crab-eating macaques. For your visit, count between one and three hours of visit (depending on your desire to stroll), and the entrance is 5 € per adult.
Discover the superb Leke Leke waterfall
If you are passing through the Island of the Gods, it would be a shame to miss the magnificent waterfalls offered by the Indonesian landscapes. Leke Leke Waterfall is about an hour’s drive from Ubud, and you will need to walk about 10-15 minutes to access the waterfalls. This waterfall, in the middle of the jungle, is the perfect place to rest and cool off between visits.
Why not discover this oasis with a day trip? You can combine your visit to the waterfalls with the discovery of the monkey forest, as well as a moment in the rice fields of Tegalalang where you can swing while enjoying a great view, an ideal moment to take magnificent photos . Count around 40 € for this activity 🙂
Climb a volcano
The island of Bali has a few volcanoes, why not take the opportunity to climb Mount Batur or Mount Agung? Mount Agung is the highest peak in Bali, and it is still active today, and the last eruption was in 2018. It is possible to do treks, but the ascent is quite demanding. Many inhabitants live at the foot of the volcano, because of the very fertile soils thanks to the volcanic lands. Mount Batur is also active and last erupted in 2000.
You can experience the stunning Mount Batur with a sunrise hike, at the end of which you can enjoy a delicious breakfast while watching the stunning colors of the Balinese dawn. Plus, you can end your active morning with a soak in a natural hot spring and an invigorating visit to a coffee plantation. Count around €63 for this activity and take advantage of direct pick-up at your accommodation! Do not hesitate to take a look at my articles on the volcanoes of Bali, and more specifically the one about the ascent of Mount Batur to best prepare your ascent 🙂
Get lost in the rice fields
If there’s one thing Ubud is famous for, it’s the rice paddies. Indeed, the city is located at the foot of many rice fields, which offers residents and visitors a superb view. Just take the small paths and discover nature as far as the eye can see just a few minutes from the center of Ubud.
If you want a change of scenery, this is really the step not to be missed during your visit to Ubud. The Tegalalang Rice Terraces are the best known in Bali, and they are directly visible from the side of the road. On the other hand, you will easily spend several hours in full sun, so don’t forget to take something to cover yourself with and sunscreen to make the most of these particularly photogenic places.
Immerse yourself in Indonesian culture
Visit Ubud Palace
Right in the city center, you can visit the Ubud Palace, also called Puri Saren Agung, the residence of the royal family of Ubud. After the complete destruction of the palace in 1917 following a fire, it was completely rebuilt and can now accommodate holidaymakers thanks to a hotel located on the main pavilion.
The palace is now considered one of the main cultural, artistic and architectural centers of Bali. The royal family resides in a part of this complex, the Sosrobaju, located opposite their private temple. Admission is free, so if you’re looking for what to do in Ubud, don’t hesitate, you’ll learn a lot about Balinese culture and the role of the royal family!
Bali, the island of well-being
Enjoy the benefits of a spa
If you are looking for what to do in Ubud, do not hesitate to take advantage of this trip to take time for yourself and relax in a spa. In Bali, it is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful views and the peace and relaxation that Indonesian culture and landscapes offer. The island is renowned for its spas around the world, and offers a large number of experiences and treatments. You will have a lot of choice, between scrubs, massages, different body and hair treatments… Enjoy real moments of relaxation in these wellness retreats, alone or as a couple!
Take a yoga class
If you want to continue to relax on your trip to Ubud, why not try a yoga session? Even if you are already adept at this discipline, the Ubud Yoga House will allow you to attend various yoga or meditation sessions in a superb house surrounded by a magnificent green setting. The house is located near the center of Ubud, and the sessions are very affordable: count around 1 € (15,000 Indonesian rupees) for a 1h30 session.
Discover the Blanco Museum
Discover the works of Don Antonio Blanco, one of the most famous artists who lived in Bali, at the Blanco Renaissance Museum! You will see the works of the Spanish artist who arrived in Bali in 1952, who used to paint his wife, a Balinese dancer, whom he considered his muse. In addition, the museum is superb: you can stroll through magnificent gardens, and enjoy a grandiose interior with pillars surrounding the paintings. There is also a fairly fine restaurant, if your visit has whetted your appetite. The artist’s studio is completely preserved, as he left it, that is to say with a half-finished canvas. Despite his worldwide recognition, Don Antonio Blanco did not greatly affect the Balinese cultural scene. You will enjoy this superb place in peace and quiet.
Go see a Balinese dance performance
On the Island of the Gods, traditional dances occupy an important place in the culture. Indeed, the population uses dance to convey a message and share emotions. Originally serving as entertainment for kings, Balinese dances are real shows, stories about gods, creatures… Why not live an enriching experience and dive into the Indonesian past by attending a show of traditional dance? Do not hesitate to ask your accommodation where you can see shows, they will redirect you to nearby places. In addition, there are also some shows in temples, such as the Royal Palace, which will provide you with a superb setting at the same time.
Ubud Market, the craft market of Ubud
If you are looking for what to do in Ubud, you could go to the traditional market, located just in front of Ubud Palace. Here you will find all the souvenirs you want to take home. From clothes to bags to jewelry, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Items and clothing can be made in the neighboring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan, or can be imported.
In addition, you will be able to recognize this place in the film Eat, pray, love, where the actress Julia Roberts, opposed to a male character, walks through the stalls, between foreign and local visitors.
The Goa Gajah Temple
This religious sanctuary has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, and its name means “the elephant cave”. The site is best known for its entrance, represented by a demon’s head carved into the rock. Upon entering, you will discover an altar and a statue of Ganesh, the deity of wisdom.
Outside, you can see fountains and pools, whose sacred water is said to preserve the youth of those who touch it. If you want to discover this temple, you can combine this visit with exploring the rice fields, meeting the wood carvers of Ubud and discovering the temple of Tirta Empul Tampaskiring in this day trip.
Right in the center of Ubud, you can find a superb temple, nicknamed “water temple”, surrounded by aquatic gardens populated by numerous water lilies. If you are looking for a relaxing time, you can stroll in front of this monument dedicated to the Hindu goddess Saraswati, goddess of wisdom and the arts.
Access to the interior of the temple is forbidden to tourists, but you can still get close to take great photos of the temple, whose door is decorated with beautiful flourishes. In addition, if you decide to go there in the evening, you will have the opportunity to attend a traditional Balinese dance performance, which takes place every evening at 7:30 p.m. Entrance to the gardens is free, and you can watch a dance performance for around €1 (15,000 Indonesian rupiahs).
Discover Indonesian flavors
Discover restaurants in Ubud
In Bali, you can eat delicious food at really affordable prices. You will be able to find restaurants of very good quality, with quantity and at affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for typical Indonesian restaurants or more Western food, you’ll be spoiled for choice, so don’t deprive yourself!
Rice is the staple food. You will find it in a large number of dishes, in particular the national dish: nasi goreng, fried rice with meat and/or vegetables, accompanied by an egg. With influences from the rest of Indonesia, China and India, much of the dishes feature chicken, pork and also seafood. In addition, a spicy paste, basa gede, is found in a large number of dishes: it is made with garlic, ginger, nutmeg, and other delicious Indonesian flavors. During your stay in Ubud, do not miss the the flavors of the country!
Participate in a Balinese cooking class
Bali is known for its good cuisine. After tasting the different local dishes, you will undoubtedly have plenty of meal ideas to reproduce at home, to share the delicious Indonesian flavors with your friends and family. Why not try your hand at Balinese cuisine with a class right on the Island of the Gods?
How to get to Ubud?
If you want to go to Ubud, you will surely land in Bali. Ngurah Rai International Airport is the airport of Denpasar, the capital of the Indonesian province of Bali. From this airport, you will have several options: take a taxi, rent a car, go by bus or private driver (Uber style).
To take a taxi, you just have to leave the airport to find many independent drivers. However, beware of scams, do not hesitate to validate the price before getting into the taxi. For more peace of mind, you will also have the choice of going to the official taxi counter at the airport to book your trip. Generally speaking, the journey should take 1h15 and cost around €25 per person (360,000 rupees).
To book a ride with a driver, you can use the Grab Taxi and GoJek apps. The rates are generally quite advantageous, but the drivers are quite rarely in the airport area: don’t forget to check when you arrive! Note that it is strongly discouraged to use the Uber application, as some streets prohibit access to these drivers due to competition with conventional taxis.
If you want to rent a car, keep in mind that driving in Indonesia is not always calm: the roads are not necessarily in good condition and the traffic is very dense. However, if you want to travel independently, don’t forget to check the car parks, especially at your accommodation!
To take a bus, you will have to make two transfers, which is why I do not particularly recommend this type of transport, especially if it is the first time you have visited Bali. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to check with your accommodation if they do not offer shuttle bus services, which will allow you to share the journey with other visitors and lower the prices at the same time. Don’t forget to negotiate the rates!
Where to sleep in Ubud?
If you are looking for where to sleep in Bali, and more specifically where to stay during your stay in Ubud, you will have plenty of choice. Whether you prefer rather chic hotels, or if you are a fan of homestays (Home Stay), there will be something for everyone.
So, if you are looking for accommodation for a few days in Ubud, you can go to Honoman Street to find the main Home Stays that you can visit before choosing according to your needs.
As I know that the travel budget is often significant, I will offer you here some addresses for correct prices and where life is good 🙂
At Pertiwi Bisma 2, you can enjoy a magnificent view from the infinity pool. The rooms are nestled in tropical gardens, and have terraces from which you can observe the rice fields! Additionally, Balinese dance lessons, trekking and hiking can be arranged upon request. You will have access to this superb hotel for the reasonable price of €60 per night.
At Ayu Homestay, you will find affordable, clean and conveniently located guesthouses. This guest house has a 24-hour front desk, as well as shuttle services and car/bicycle rental. Laundry and dry cleaning services are also available at an additional charge. For a room with a double bed, it will take around 15 € per night. 🙂
For this last accommodation, I couldn’t help but show you a little gem! The budget is much larger than for the other two accommodations, but the Adiwana Dara Ayu Villas is one of the most beautiful hotels you can find in Ubud. You will find private villas in a breathtaking setting, without forgetting the outdoor showers, the swimming pool, the bar… Count around 150 € per night to discover this superb place!
We are coming to the end of this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you now have some ideas to complete your trip to Ubud 🙂 Don’t hesitate to take a look at my article on visiting Bali with my advice to best prepare your trip to Indonesia !