Top 10 Things to Do in Ubud

Ubud is one of the popular town in Bali, famous for its arts, rice terraces, spa, and yoga. It is metaphorically a cultural center of Bali. The people here are also friendly while the architectures are beautiful and there are many tourist attractions to keep you entertained.

Ubud is geared very much to tourists, therefore, it does not lack in tourist attractions or things to do. out of 14 villages that make up Ubud, you can find many hidden treasures and fun filled activities among the people with their quiet everyday village life.

Here is our take of Top 10 Things to Do in Ubud for you:

Explore the rice fields of Tegalalang

Arguably the most popular thing to do in Ubud because of the beautiful landscapes that are lined with rice terraces, running through with brilliantly blue streams with dramatic limestones and valleys as a backdrop. The best way to explore this area is on a motorbike so that you can feel the cool refreshing wind while you hear every sound and see every sight in person. At the northeast of Tegalalang, you will find the classic rice terraces that are so revered all over Asia. Riding here will keep you well entranced as you see the greeneries stretch out as far as the eye can see. If you are not keen on motorbike, then you may find one of the Ubud rice fields trekking tours that will take you around.

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Take an Ubud cycling tour

Rent bicycle (bike) at Ubud, Bali

Rent bicycle at Ubud, Bali

Cycling is one of the top activities in Ubud, being a place of beautiful and amazing sceneries. Besides many of the cycling tours includes sampling the delicious Balinese food along the way and also interacting with the locals. This is truly one experience not to be missed in Ubud. There are many cycling tours in Ubud to choose from or if you want it to be a leisure one, try out the electric bike tour. Some of the other famous bike tours are Greenbike Cycling Tour, Baligobike, Bali Bike Baik and Bali on Bike.

Watch Kecak Dance

Kecak Dance is one of the most popular traditional dance in Bali and one of the best place to watch it is in Ubud. This dance is from the legend of Legong and Barong, a dance from the south of Ubud, with a story of a never-ending battle between good and evil. It is more commonly known as the fire dance that is set to impress. Watch this dance at its origin at the road to Sanur within Ubud and you will definitely enjoy the authenticity of it.

Visit Neka Art Museum

The most important art museum in Ubud among the many here, Neka Art Museum features many traditional paintings. This museum distinct itself with creatiuons of Suteja Neka, a private collector and dealer of Balinese arts. Opened in 1982, this museum has continued to hold great selections of works from many famous Balinese artists.

Visit Agung Rai Museum of Art

The other art museum that is worth visiting is the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA Museum). Here it differed with many cultural activities. It is also home to many well known international Balinese artists. There is also a kafe (cafe) with tea and coffee inside.

Neka Art Museum, Ubud, Bali

Neka Art Museum, Ubud, Bali

Walk around the Ubud Market

This double story market is located at Jalan Raya Ubud, just around the corner of Jalan Monkey Forest. It has many stalls selling all kinds of items from woodcarvings, batik, sarong, souvenirs and so on. Local tip is to go upstairs to scout for your bargain as the price is usually lower up there, but bear in mind that you would need to hone your haggling skills.

Ubud Market, Bali

Ubud Market, Bali

Take a walk in Monkey Forest

Though not exactly one of the things you thought to do in Ubud, Monkey Forest turns out to be one of the places travelers come to whether out of curiosity or for some good old laugh. Besides being entertained by antics of the monkeys, the area is actually a lush forest with old carved stones that will make a wondrous walk. Just take care of your belongings as the monkeys can be really cheeky!

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali

Take up a cooking class in Ubud

Balinese cuisine is well known around the world and most travelers here enjoy the food very much. What could be better than eating them but to learn how to make them? You friends and families back home will definitely love you for it. There are many cooking classes in Ubud and some of the famous ones here are Lobong Cooking Class, Payuk Bali Cooking Class or Paon Bali Cooking Class.

Relax with spa and/or massages

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Ubud is popular for offering good spa and massages at very reasonable prices. You will be spoilt for choice as you go out and walk around Ubud to find these. These pampering sessions are top notch in true Balinese hospitality, it will leave you feeling like a princess and well rejuvenated from all the constant traveling and heat.

Have a Yoga session

If self-pampering is not enough, it is time to rejuvenate yourself with yoga. The classes here are well run by locals and expats alike, and you will have quite a number of choices to choose from. Two of the popular yoga studios are the Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive. You will be sure to find one that suits your level so don’t worry and enjoy your yoga.

Photo credits from top: Pandu Adnyana, Made Yanuarta, Zenubud from Bali, Jos Dielis, D.Meutia and Joanna Penn.

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Ubud, Bali : Arts, Rice Terraces, Spa, Yoga

Ubud, one of the favourite town in Bali, being centrally located and also metaphorically as a cultural centre of the island. Many people who visit Bali, comes first to experience Ubud, which had been well known for arts, culture, people and food. There are also beautiful architectures to behold, many attractions to see and things to do.

Though Ubud may be said by some that it is now fashioned towards tourist business, but there are still many local livelihood that permeates the place. It is made of 14 villages that is run by their very own banjar (committee). In Ubud you can still find terraced fields along the rivers and away from the town centre there is still quiet village life going on as usual.

Ubud, Central Bali Map

Ubud, Central Bali Map

Where is it

It is located at the south of Central Bali, about an hour from Bali’s Airport in Denpasar.

Why go

Imagine a town bursting with activities, energies, arts and culture while surrounded by rolling rice paddies. If you head out to south or southeast of the town your breath will be taken away by the greenness of it all. While at the northeast of this town in Tegalalang, you will find the classic rice terraces of Asia that everybody so admire. Imagine picturesque backdrop along the way as you explore Bali whether in a car or on a bike flanking by rice fields as far as the eye can see.

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

As for the other side of town, north of Kintamani area and opposite of Campuhaun, Sanggingan and Kedewatan areas, you also get landscapes such as gorges, limestones and lush, dramatic valleys. Here is one of the places where it is best explored by a motorbike.

There are also key historical sites like attractions such as Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul and Pura Kehen. A local guide would be nice to help understand and appreciate the cultural and spiritual significance of all these sites besides marveling at all the beauty.

Pasar (Market), Ubud, Bali

Pasar (Market), Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

When is the best time to go

It is hard to say when is the best time to go to Bali as you would be hard-press to choose between good weather of dry season which is peak season or less tourists during low season which would be wet season. Nevertheless, it would be your choice cause Bali is actually good to visit all year round. The dry season is April to October while the wet season is November to March but normally only rain in the afternoon.

If it is your thing, come here for Ubud Writer’s Festival in October. Or other Bali Indonesian festivals as Ubud is the center of it like Galungan and Nyepi.

Balinese Hindhu festival, Ubud, Bali

Balinese Hindhu festival, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

What to see

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Neka Art Museum for traditional paintings

Agung Rai Museum of Art for the many cultural activities, and home to many well-known international Balinese artists. There is also a kafe (cafe) with tea and coffee here.

Museum Rudana boasting 400 paintings with a wide range on both traditional and contemporary Balinese styles.

Museum Puri Lukisan with impressive carvings and beautiful garden

Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women, a gallery featuring arts only by women

What to do

Watch traditional dances such as Legong and Barong dance at the south of Ubud on main road to Sanur, which is about a story of never ending battle between good and evil or Kecak dance which is an impressive fire dance.

Legong and Barong Traditional Dances, Ubud, Bali

Legong and Barong Traditional Dances, Ubud, Bali

Walk the Ubud market at Jalan Raya Ubud, located just the corner of Jalan Monkey Forest. This two story building are filled with stalls selling all sorts of things like wood carvings, batik, sarongs, souvenirs and such. Shopping tips here is to go upstairs where the price are often lower but you would need to hone your haggling still here for a good bargain.

Take up a cooking class here to learn Balinese cuisine which is well known for delicious. Famous courses are such as Payuk Bali Home Cooking Class or Paon Bali Cooking Class.

Or you can go for relaxation with either spa, massage or yoga, your take as all are well available here in Ubud.

Spa at Purist Villas, Ubud, Bali

Spa at Purist Villas, Ubud, Bali

Take a motorbike ride out and explore the north of Kintamani area for the gorges, limestones and lush, dramatic valleys. Head out west over Campuhan Bridge and all the way via Jalan Raya Sanggingan to Kedewatan. You will not be short of an impressive ride through mesmerising landscapes.

What and where to eat

Few famous must eat places in Bali that are well recommended by fellow travelers are Naughty Nuri for its BBQ pork, Sari Organik for fresh off the farm food and Bebek Bengil for the crispy duck. For cheaper and budget options, you will be spoilt for choice for various local warung (stalls) around.

Crispy Duck at Bebek Bengil, Ubud, Bali

Crispy Duck at Bebek Bengil, Ubud, Bali

Where to stay

Ubud has a big selection of choices from luxury to specialty to budget accommodations to choose from. Many travellers would choose to stay in the outer area from town centre for its beautiful view of the famous rice terraces. That said living on the outer area means it is harder to get around so you would need to get a transport of sorts. For budget places to stay, you can go to Jalan Monkey Forest or Hanoman or north of Raya Ubud.

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How to get there

First fly into Denpasar, Bali airport, from either internationally or domestic flights from Jakarta, Surabaya and other major airports in Indonesia. There are many flights whether international or domestic that flies to Denpasar as it is a really popular tourist location.

From Denpasar airport in Bali, there are few ways to get from Denpasar to Ubud:
By taxi
The easiest way which will cost about 200,000 Rp. Some taxis are metred while some would like to set a price before leaving, just make sure you check before going off. Official Denpasar airport taxi will cost 250,000 Rp

By Bus
Cheaper option from Denpasar to Ubud, you can catch one of the buses which runs four times a day. The bus will take you to Perama terminal which is unfortunately not in the center of Ubud, where you need to get another bus to get to town center.

Kids at a temple, Ubud, Bali

Kids at a temple, Ubud, Bali

How to get around

You can cover central Ubud by foot itself but if you want to venture further a transport of sorts will be needed. Be careful when walking around as there are many vehicles around and sidewalks are not necessarily available.

Rent bicycle (bike) at Ubud, Bali

Rent bicycle at Ubud, Bali

Ubud can be quite large if stretch out the the quieter areas and all the beautiful serene surroundings. Many tourist find it fun to rent a motorbike and do self exploration but be careful when driving especially in hectic town center. A motorbike rental will set you back about 50,000 Rp a day.

You can also go around by metered taxi or rent a local car transport with driver for trips further afield. A short trip should not cost more than 30,000 Rp. Or you can rent an ojek (motorbike taxi) for half the price to closer destinations.

You can also rent a bicycle for nearer places that cannot be cover by foot for 20-30, 000 Rp a day cost. You can get a lot of choices for bicycle rental at Jalan Monkey Forest. Though be warned cycling here is not in best condition especially within the town but riding through the rice paddy fields is a wonderful experience though hilly.

Where to go nearby

Check out our Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali for more places to go nearby Ubud!

For further escape, you can catch a boat out of Bali to Lombok or Gili Islands.

Travel Tips

As in matter of most famous tourist places, touts are everywhere. Beware of your surroundings, take care of your belongings and all else travel safety measures apply here. But most of all, come here with an open mind and heart and you will find that you can enjoy Ubud despite all the facades and touristic setups.

Farmer working at rice field, Ubud, Bali

Farmer working at rice field, Ubud, Bali

Photo credits from top: Burmesedays, Pandu Adnyana, VasenkaPhotography, Steve Davidson, Joanna Penn, Arian Zwegers, The Purist Villa, Naotake Murayama, Alexis Cozic, Made Yanuarta and Sean McGrath

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