The Best Things to Do in Ubud Bali: 8 Amazing Adventures

We were beyond excited to finally visit the spiritual Indonesian island of Bali. This Indonesian island paradise has been on our travel bucket list for many years. We landed in Bali at Despnensar airport and headed straight to Ubud, a town known for its peaceful culture and tranquil beauty. We started in Ubud because we knew we’d need to decompress from our long 30-hour flight and layover in Sydney.

Ubud is nestled in the heart of Bali and is surrounded by lush rice fields, dense forests, and a vibrant cultural scene.

things to do when. you visit Ubud Bali

We found Ubud to be a much larger city than we had imagined. That peaceful energy helped us discover balance as we explored this magical corner of Bali. A tip: be sure to pack comfy shoes since you’ll be walking a LOT!

There are transportation alternatives: you can jump on the back of a GoJek scooter. Drivers for ride-sharing services are everywhere. Or you can rent your own scooter from the many rental shops – there’s one on every corner. We had 4 people, so we just hired a car and driver for 4-6 hours. We walked everywhere while in Ubud.!

Here are 8 of the best things to do in Ubud

1. Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

The Ubud Monkey Forest is a place with a deep spiritual and historical significance. As we walked through the jungle, we encountered hundreds of monkeys and explored the ancient temple ruins.

the ubud sacred monkey forest

We were able to get up close and personal with the playful monkeys. The interesting blend of history, wildlife, and spirituality makes the sanctuary a must-visit in Ubud.

ubud monkey sanctuary

Another important note: keep your belongings securely fastened to you as sometimes the monkeys can be aggressive and go for your pockets and handbags.

visit the Ubud Monkey sanctuary for things to do in Ubud Bali

Don’t offer them food and don’t encourage them to climb on you. They look small, cute, and innocent, but they can be very aggressive!

2. Visit the Ubud Art Market

The Ubud Art Market is an eclectic place to explore. It’s where local artists gather to showcase their beautiful handmade crafts, paintings, textiles, and jewelry.

Visit an art market when you're lookin for the best things to do in Ubud Bali

It’s brimming with paintings and beautiful wood items, to handmade crafts and stunning jewelry, each with the artist ready to share the story of how it is made. We found the perfect piece of Bali’s spirit to bring home to Hermosa Beach.

3. Admire the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are beautiful stepped rice fields located in Tegallalang village near Ubud, and they’re one of Bali’s most amazing sights.

things to do in Ubud Bali - visit the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

The view of the green terraces flowing down the hills is truly breathtaking. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a swing high up in the air or stand at different viewpoints to take in the stunning scenery.

Ubud rice terraces

This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the fresh mountain air and connect with Bali’s natural beauty.

4. Visit the Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Agung)

Puri Saren Agung — the Ubud Palace — is where the Ubud royal family still lives and it’s located in the center of town. What’s cool about this palace is the blend of history, architecture, and the performing arts.

The Ubud Palace - Puri Saren Agung

In the evenings, there are often traditional Legong Balinese dance performances, offering a glimpse into Bali’s artistic and cultural traditions.

 Traditional Dance Legong And Barong In Ubud Palace

The architecture and pristine gardens are a nice escape from the bustling streets of Ubud. The Ubud Palace is a peaceful place to leisurely wander around to immerse yourself in Bali’s culture.

5. Best Things in Ubud: Chasing Hidden Waterfalls

Ubud is home to many hidden waterfalls – some are well-known and some are hidden and hard to get to. Tegenungan Waterfall and Tibumana Waterfall are popular choices because they are relatively close to Ubud. Tegenungan Waterfall is located about 10 kilometers to the south of Ubud, making it a convenient day trip.

chase waterfalls are things to do in Ubud Bali - visit Tegenungan Waterfall

Tibumana Waterfall is a bit further away, approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Ubud. There are also many other smaller waterfalls in the area, too. Their proximity to Ubud makes them easily accessible if you’re looking to explore these natural wonders. I’d highly recommend arriving early to take a refreshing dip in these magical waterfalls to avoid the crowds. Visiting waterfalls is definitely one of the best things to do in Ubud — whether you’re there for 2 days or 2 weeks.

Ubud Bali: visiting Tibumana Waterfall

6. Recharge at a Yoga or Wellness Retreat

Ubud is a world-famous wellness and yoga destination and the serene location provides the perfect sanctuary for your practice, surrounded by lush nature and rich culture.

visit the Yoga Barn in Ubud

We joined yoga classes at The Yoga Barn to rejuvenate our minds as expert instructor Byron de Marsé guided us on a journey of self-love to help us find our inner power. With stunning natural gardens and a welcoming, inclusive community, The Yoga Barn experience is not just about exercise. It’s a path to inner peace and a deep connection to the beauty of Bali.

the yoga barn in Ubud Bali

7. Enjoy Balinese Cuisine in Ubud

What makes the food in Ubud truly special is the use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients and the commitment to preserve authentic recipes. Ubud is a vegan paradise filled with local restaurants and charming warungs (small restaurants) offering a variety of traditional dishes showcasing many rich and diverse flavors of Indonesian cuisine.

local dishes in Bali - Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng is one of Bali’s popular dishes. It’s a base of either fried rice or fried noodles, topped with a fried egg and dried shallots, mixed with veggies and and side of pickles, prawn crackers, and a few sticks of either chicken or beef satay.

freshly squeezed fuit juices in Ubud, Bali

It’s seasoned to perfection and locals flock to eat it for a quick lunch or dinner. We also enjoyed the freshly squeezed fruit juices!

8. Visit the Temples Around Ubud

There are many temples located around Ubud and we visited the Pura Tirta Temple and Goa Gajah Elephant Cave Temple.

temples to see in Ubud - Pura Tirta sacred water temple

Pura Tirta, known as the Sacred Water Temple, is a temple considered sacred by Balinese Hindu community. The temple has several holy springs, which are said to have been created by the God Indra and believed to be blessed water that could purify those who bathe there.

pura tirta sacred water temple in ubud bali

why should you visit pura titra temple in ubud

It is considered one of the five most holy temples in all of Bali and is considered one of the holiest water sources in Bali.

temples to visit in Ubud - pura tirta temple

The Goa Gajah Elephant Cave Temple dates back to the 9th century, and features a massive carving of a menacing face at the entrance.

goa gajah elephant cave temple in Ubud

The temple’s underground chambers and yoni structures add a feeling of mystery and spirituality to this sacred site.

visit goa gajah temple in Ubud

The temple is nestled in a lush tropical setting, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere. The surrounding jungle and scenic pathways make the site not only culturally enriching but also a visually stunning place to explore.

visit the temples in ubud, bali

Wearing sarongs to temples in Bali is a sign of respect for the sacred sites and their cultural significance. The sarong is a traditional Indonesian garment symbolizing modesty and humility.

why you need to wear sarongs when visiting temples in Bali

Additionally, menstruating women are restricted from entering temples as in Hindu tradition, menstruation is considered to reflect impurity.

what are things to do in Ubud Bali when i visit

The Best of Ubud: Hidden Gems & Insider Secrets

When is the best time to visit Ubud?

The best time to visit Ubud is during the dry season, from April to October, when the weather is sunny and warm, making it ideal for exploring and participating in outdoor activities. The shoulder season, in November and December can be fine, but there’s more of a chance of rain. It WILL rain in the winter. A lot. So from January to April, expect to get wet.

What are the best things to do in Ubud for local culture?

Immerse yourself in Ubud’s rich culture by visiting the Ubud Palace to witness traditional dance performances in the evening. Explore the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) to see a vast collection of Balinese art, and don’t miss the Ubud Art Market for handicrafts made by local artisans. Each of these locations offers a deep dive into the artistic traditions that Ubud is famous for.

How can I learn about Ubud’s history?

Visit the Neka Art Museum to explore the evolution of painting in Bali through a well-curated collection from Balinese artists. For a historical tour, explore the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) with a guide. This temple dates back to the 9th century and offers insights into both the Hindu and Buddhist heritage of the region. A knowledgeable guide will be able to help you understand the complex history of Balinese society and religion.

What are some insider secrets to navigating Ubud?

  • Avoid the main roads during peak hours to escape traffic. It’s busy all the time, but rush hour is crazy.
  • Explore on foot or rent a scooter to discover hidden gems in the area like waterfalls and temples, or just find a park outside of Ubud.
  • Attend local ceremonies or temple anniversaries for a truly authentic experience — just be sure to wear a sarong and sash as a sign of respect.

What are three off-the-beaten-path attractions in Ubud?

  • Kanto Lampo Waterfall is not too widely known among tourists. This beautiful waterfall offers a serene spot ideal for photography and relaxation.
  • Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu is a  less-visited temple complex set around lush gardens and ponds. It’s a peaceful retreat from the more crowded tourist sites.
  • Penglipuran Village this village is a step back in time in this traditional village known for its unique architectural layouts and bamboo forests.

What’s the best way to get to Ubud from the airport?

The best way to get to Ubud from Ngurah Rai International Airport is by taxi or private shuttle, which can be booked in advance or found on arrival. The drive takes about 1.5 hours depending on traffic. Or you can use a ridesharing service like Gojek or Grab and book a car when you land. Make sure to have the apps pre-installed with your credit card info before you leave to save time.  Taxis are also available, but you might have to wait for one. Make sure you negotiate the price before getting in!

What is the best way to get around Ubud?

Public transport options in Ubud are limited, but you have plenty of options. We were able to walk around Ubud central to most things, but did log 8-10 miles a day.  If you want to go visit temples and waterfalls, you’ll need something with more power than your Cariumas.

  • Scooter rentals: Widely available and allow you to explore at your own pace. Not great if you’re traveling as a family, but easy for 1-2 people. Wear helmets at all times!
  • Bemos (minivans): These operate on set routes and are cheaper than taxis. If you have a regular commute, these are the best way to go for cheap.
  • Taxis: Easy to find on the street but always agree on a fare before starting your journey.
  • Rideshare – there are 2 rideshare services in Ubud. You can get a car with either, and GoJek also offers scooter rides. When walking around, Gojek scooters will honk at you. If you don’t need a ride, wave and keep walking. You’ll get used to it!

What ridesharing services are available in Ubud?

Travelers in Ubud might want to use Uber or Lyft to hail a ride, but they’re not approved for use in Bali. Uber was operational in Bali until 2018, but it was bought out by Grab, Southeast Asia’s counterpart to Uber.

Grab and Gojek are the two ridesharing apps available in Ubud, Bali. Both apps are highly efficient and cover a wide range of services from simple rides to food delivery.

  • Grab – As a major player across Southeast Asia, you can rely on Grab not only in Bali but also in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
  • Gojek is exclusive to Indonesia and we found it to be a better option.
    • Gojek services
      • Transportation – Options include motorbike and car rides.
      • GoFood – Competes directly with GrabFood to deliver meals to your doorstep.
      • GoSend – Delivery service for sending items, handy for laundry or documents.
      • GoShop – A service where the driver purchases items you need from the store.

Is Grab or Gojek Better?

Choosing between Grab and Gojek largely depends on your specific needs. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Pricing: Gojek often tends to be cheaper than Grab, though prices can fluctuate based on demand and time of day. Always compare prices on both apps before booking.
  • Service Variety: Gojek offers more variety in services, which can be particularly good if you are staying in Ubud for a longer period or trying to live like a local for as little as possible.
  • User Experience: Both apps are user-friendly and efficient and will be familiar if you use Uber or Lyft.

Download both apps and have them handy. This will give you the flexibility to compare prices and see what wait times are like.

How can I live like a local in Ubud?

  • Eat at local “warungs” or cafes, where locals frequently dine. If the restaurant is busy, that’s a good sign.
  • Join in on a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Balinese dishes and make them in your Airbnb. Balinesian cuisine is fresh, easy and delicious.
  • Participate in a local temple ceremony — this is a profound way to connect with the Ubud community.

What are some tips for visiting temples?

  • Dress modestly, covering shoulders and legs. Sarongs and sashes are often required and are available for rent at most temples. They’re extremely affordable, or you can bring your own.
  • Do not use flash photography.
  • Do not climb on any sacred structures.
  • Follow the temple’s specific guidance for visitors.

 

Best things to do in Ubud Bali

Ubud offers a wide range of experiences, making it a destination suitable for relaxation AND adventure. Whether you’re in the mood to explore ancient temples, swim in waterfalls, or simply unwind with a yoga class, Ubud has something for everyone. With its natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, we created many lasting memories. If you’re also visiting the south Bali beach area, here are the best things to do in Seminyak.

What are your favorite things to do in Ubud, Bali?

Let me know by leaving a comment below and joining me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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