Top 10 Things to Do in Ubud, Bali

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 here, you can find many hidden treasures and fun-filled activities among the people with their quiet everyday village life.

Here is our take on 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 rice fields trekking tours that will take you around. There are also many rice fields walks that you can explore on foot instead.

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Rice fields terraces. Photo by Pandu Adnyana

Take an Ubud cycling tour

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. There are many cycling tours 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.

Rent bicycle (bike) at Ubud, Bali

Rent bicycle at Ubud, Bali. Photo by Made Yanuarta

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 about the legend of Legong and Barong, a dance from the south of Bali, 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 the art museums

The most important art museum in Ubud among the many here, Neka Art Museum features many traditional paintings. This museum distinct itself with creations 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. 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. Photo by Zenubud from Bali

Visit the temples in and around Ubud

Being the cultural center of Bali, Ubud comes with a number of interesting temples to visit. The two main temples located within the city center is the Pura Taman Saraswati, well known for its lotus-filled pond and Pura Dalem Ubud. Just about 10 minutes drive from the center is the Goa Gajah temple (elephant cave), which main attraction is the carved entrance and the Lord Ganesha (the God with the elephant head) inside. The two other notable temples that you must visit, with just 30 minutes drive away, are the Pura Tirta Empul and Pura Gunung Kawi temples.

-> Read more at Top 10 Temples to Visit in Bali

Best Temples in Bali: Pura Tirta Empul

Pura Tirta Empul temple, Ubud. Photo by Christ06

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. Photo by Jos Dielis

Take a walk in the Sacred Monkey Forest

Though not exactly what you would expect to do here, the sacred 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!

Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali

Sacred Monkey Forest. Photo by D.Meutia

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 here and some of the famous ones here are Lobong Cooking Class, Payuk Bali Cooking Class or Paon Bali Cooking Class.

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.

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali. Photo by Joanna Penn

Relax with spa and/or massage

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, you will bound to find some good ones. 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.


Where to stay in Ubud

Stay in Ubud for culture, nature, arts and markets. Ubud has plenty of places that tourists will enjoy staying at. There’s the Como Shambhala Estate *, which is a health retreat deep in the rainforest. There’s also the Hanging Gardens Ubud *, which has a spectacular view and private pool villas. The Purist Villas & Spa * is another popular place to stay in Ubud, as it’s a stylish boutique villa complete with meal and spa facilities. A popular boutique hotel is Uma by COMO *, which is located on the hillside in Ubud.

-> Read more on Best Places to Stay in Ubud
-> Check out Top 10 Best Area to Stay in South & Central Bali

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3 Days / 2 Nights in Bali Itinerary

Q: My family is planning to visit Bali for three days and two nights this Sept. if you can help us to plan places to visit. We have two children that are coming with us.
We appreciate your help. Thanks.
– Sheila

With only 3 days, one important tip is that you should consider hiring a driver and a car to take you around as Bali island itself is huge and would take quite a bit of time to get from one place to another. It would be serious moving around with children, so maybe you should consider choosing what you like among the must visit places in Bali. Also check out our Top 10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Bali for some ideas.

If you want to stick to the tried and tested route, visiting the best attractions, here are our suggested itinerary for 3 days in Bali:

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali. Photo by melburnian

Day 1 – Arrival, Uluwatu and Tanah Lot Temples and dinner at Seminyak

Try to arrive early since you only have 3 days to visit this beautiful island, and stay in one of the strategic places in central or south of Bali. Hire a car in advance and use it to head straight to two of the most famous temples in Bali. First head to Uluwatu Temple and double back to Tanah Lot Temple, in time to enjoy the amazing sunset there. If you are also in time, catch the famous Kecak Dance here that is set against the backdrop of this beautiful temple. End the day with a good dinner at Ultimo in Seminyak.

Kecak Dance Performance at Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

 

Kecak Dance Performance at Ubud, Bali. Photo by Meru Muhammad

Day 2 – Ubud, rice fields, beach and seaside dining

Ubud is the place one must explore when in Bali. Walk around the city would be a delight, there are many boutiques to shop around, spas and massages to pamper yourself and art or attractions to visit. Next, head out to the north to the neighbor town of Tegalalang to find classic rice terraces of Asia. Many tourists also like to stay in Ubud * as it is quite central to many of the attractions around Bali and yet away from the crowd in Kuta. After visiting Ubud, choose one of the beaches in Bali and get some swim and tan, popular choices are Balangan or Padang-padang beach. At sunset, head to Jimbaran and enjoy a seaside romantic dining.

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Rice fields terraces at Tegalalang. Photo by Pandu Adnyana

Day 3 – Temple or shopping or beach

Depending on how much time you have left, you may squeeze in one of two more things before heading to the airport for your departure. If you still want to explore more of Bali’s amazing temples, then I would recommend the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a beautiful mirrored temple by the lake. Or if you would prefer to pack in some last-minute shopping, there are few shopping places in Bali. Or if you still have not enough of the beaches, you know where to find more beautiful beaches in Bali to hang out.


Best Accommodations in Bali

Booking.com is my favourite site to book a place when I am planning my trip to Bali. The main reason is that most of the bookings can be cancelled right up to the trip, allowing flexibility. Here are a few of the best accommodations that we recommend to stay in Bali:

Luxury (from 150 USD)

 
-> See Best Luxury Hotels in Bali
 

Mid-range (50 – 150 USD)
Sri Ratih Cottage, Ubud

    • For those who is looking for unpretentious comfort with Balinese charm. Located in Ubud, our favourite place to stay in Bali, the Balinese style cottages with carved wood furnishings are set in beautiful gardens with a pool.


Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices on Agoda.com *

Resort Courtyard by Marriott Bali, Seminyak
Marriott is a trusted brand for many and this one in Bali lives up to its name. This secured luxury is located just 5 minutes walk to Seminyak beach. A noted feature is its private terraces for relaxation, hence making it a favourite of couples.
Check out the latest prices on Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices on Agoda.com *

Budget (below 50 USD)

 
-> See Best Budget Hotels in Bali
 

-> For more read Top 10 Best Area to Stay in South & Central Bali

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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 in Ubud.

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. Photo by Burmesedays

Where is it

Ubud 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 Ubud your breath will be taken away by the greenness of it all. While at the northeast 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 at Tegalalang. Photo by Pandu Adnyana

As for the other side of town, north of Kintamani area and the opposite of Campuhan, 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) of Ubud. Photo by VasenkaPhotograph

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 festiva. Photo by Steve Davidson

What to see

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Yoga Hall in Ubud. Photo by Joanna Penn

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. Photo by Arian Zwegers

Walk the Ubud market at Jalan Raya Ubud, located just the corner of Jalan Monkey Forest. This two-storey building is 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 prices 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. Photo by The Purist Villa

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.

-> Read Top 10 Things to Do in Ubud

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. If you are in for luxurious splurge then don’t miss out the popular COMO Uma Ubud *, located on the hillside of Ubud. There’s also the Hanging Gardens Ubud *, which has a spectacular view and private pool villas. The Purist Villas & Spa * is another popular place to stay in Ubud, as it’s a stylish boutique villa complete with meal and spa facilities.

For more affordable luxury here, there are The Kayon Resort * and Komaneka at Bisma *. 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 *.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Ubud at Booking.com *
-> Read more on Best Places to Stay in Ubud

What and where to eat

Few famous must eat places in Ubud 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.

-> Read Top 10 Best Restaurants in Ubud

Crispy Duck at Bebek Bengil, Ubud, Bali

Crispy Duck at Bebek Bengil. Photo by Naotake Murayama

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 in Ubud. Photo by Alexis Cozic

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 Bali. Photo by Made Yanuarta

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. Photo by Sean McGrath

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Bali

Q: We (a couple with an infant) are planning to travel to Bali for 7 nights. We wish to do all/most of the places that you have recommended in Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali.

Where (area, any hotel/resort/b&b) should we stay? We can either stay at one place or may be two places (3+4 nights).

Answer:
I would suggest looking around staying in these few areas that are quite in the middle of everything and where all the actions are. There are a variety of choices depending on your preferences, from vibrant Kuta to cultured Ubud to relaxing Sanur.

Take a pick at some of our recommendations below and you are good to go!

UMA by COMO at Ubud, Bali

UMA by COMO at Ubud, Bali

Stay in Ubud for culture, nature, arts and markets

Ubud has plenty of places that tourists will enjoy staying at. There’s the Como Shambhala Estate, which is a health retreat deep in the rainforest. There’s the Hanging Gardens Ubud, which has a spectacular view and private pool villas. The Purist Villas & Spa is another popular place to stay in Ubud, as it’s a stylish boutique villa complete with meal and spa facilities. A popular boutique hotel is Uma by COMO, which is located on the hillside in Ubud.

W Hotel at Seminyak, Bali

W Hotel at Seminyak, Bali

Stay in Seminyak for luxury resorts and villas

Seminyak is perfect for those, who are prepared to spend whatever it takes just to enjoy themselves and make their visit to Seminyak memorable. In other words, you get what you paid for in Seminyak. There are great hotels and villas, which provide discounts or special deals during off-season when there are not that many tourists. The famous places to stay in Seminyak are W Retreat & Spa Bali, The Oberoi Hotel Bali and Amadea Resort & Villas Seminyak Bali. Sometimes renting for long term is cheaper than paying by the. The North Seminyak Home is one of the popular places for long term rental in Seminyak. As for the mid-range budget stay in Seminyak, you will find the popular Dash Hotel Seminyak.

Stay in Kutafor nightlife, fun and surfing

Kuta is the central party spot in Bali. Since it’s considered the most developed area in Bali, places to stay are everywhere. The Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel is quite a popular place to stay in Kuta, despite its price, which is justified as it’s a 5-star hotel. There’s also the Bali Bungalo Hotel and Febris’s Hotel and Spa, which are highly recommended by frequent visitors of this area. Suji Bungalow and Gemini Star Hotel are affordable places to stay for low-budget tourists.

Holiday Inn at Kuta, Bali

Holiday Inn at Kuta, Bali

Stay in Sanur for a relaxing beach resorts

Sanur is well-known for its beaches. Due to the heavy flow of tourists in Sanur, there are plenty of places to stay during your visit. Some of luxurious hotels with kids club, pools, suites and interconnecting rooms are Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites and Peneeda View Beach Hotel. If you are looking something a little more moderate, there are the Besakih Beach Hotel and Griya Santrian Resort. While Kirana Homestay and Tari Bed and Breakfast are some of the finest budget hotels in Sanur.

Sanur Paradise Plaza, Bali

Sanur Paradise Plaza, Bali

The above are just the main popular ones that I suggested. Check out our Top 10 Best Places to Stay in South and Central Bali to find even more choices.

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