Ubud is the perfect destination to relax your mind, explore magical temples, taste healthy foods, try yoga and meditation, and get lost among spectacular jungle and rice field views.
Every year about 6 Million travelers are taking a flight to Bali, and half of them spending some time in Ubud. It’s no surprise that the beautiful village became such a popular hotspot over the past decade. Ubud is a true treasure of Indonesia and it’s not hard to fall in love with this magical place…
3 month ago I made the decision to come back to Ubud for an extended period of time. I have gotten so much into yoga over the past year that moving there for a few months in order to deepen my yoga practice seemed one of the best things to do in Ubud.
I visited Ubud on many occasions over the past 10 years, and every time I wondered, what would happen if I just stay longer? Well, it was about time to find out. Here’s some inspiration for your visit – 10 things to do in Ubud, Bali.
01 | Eat your way through Ubud… Or even better: Take a Cooking Class!
Ubud is an absolute food heaven! I’m not exaggerating! From all the places in the world, this is my personal favorite when it comes to food, and I’ll tell you why: Vegan food everywhere, it is unbelievable!! And not only vegan, you can also find vegan raw (at Alchemy), vegan macro (at Clear Cafe), and vegan gluten free (at Sawobali)… just to name a few of these wonderful places to eat. And the best of all, it’s extremely affordable. I have never paid more than $10 for a meal in Ubud.
Cooking is at the heart of Balinese culture, and there is no better place than Ubud to take a cooking class. One of the most acclaimed cooking schools in Bali is Ketut’s Balinese Cooking Class. The Cooking School runs programs that are perfect for anyone that wants to understand Balinese flavors, culture and food.
Too lazy to cook, but you would love to try different kinds of traditional foods? Take it easy, and go on a foodie tour in Ubud to enjoy a delicious culinary feast!
02 | Wander through Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Tegallalang Rice Terrace is one of those surreal places you won’t forget. It’s even more magical during sunrise and sunset,however If you’re exploring the area without a guide, make sure to head to Tegallalang as early as possible (6AM) to escape the crowds. You can park your scooter on the main road on top.
The place is heaven for photographers and drone pilots, the rice fields stretch out for miles while the terraces sit at an elevation overlooking the countryside. If you get tired from hiking through the paddies there are plenty of cafes and warungs along the main road with million dollar views.
03 | Enter the Ancient Elephant Cave of Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah stands since the eleventh century. It was initially constructed as a spiritual retreat to practice meditation away from the interference of society. A trip here rewards you with an area carrying sprawling vendors selling art, souvenirs, and refreshments.
Entry is free and you are offered the assistance of a guide when you enter through the ominous mouth of a demon – the doorway to this temple. A pool lies waiting with seven Hindu deities immortalized on seven vases acting as waterspouts.
Take your time to admire the animal carvings and ancient inscriptions along those ancient walls. The entire area carries an ornate, time swept feeling which does a great job of bringing one to realize just how magical this landmark actually is.
04 | Learn Yoga and Meditation
After Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book “Eat Pray Love“, Ubud became the mecca for all those searching for enlightenment. Ubud is one of the most incredible places in the world, if you want to connect with yourself, deepen your yoga practice and learn about meditation. There are numerous yoga studios in Ubud, the most popular ones in the center are Yoga Barn, Radiantly Alive and Ubud Yoga Centre.
All of these studious above have a delicious restaurant onsite, and with plenty of yoga and meditation classes every day, it’s easy to keep yourself busy all day long without doing much. Try Healing Yoga at Yogabarn, it’s an amazing experience.
Yoga classes cost on average about $10 per class. If you’re on a budget, try one of the local studios, Saraswati is a smaller, but comfy studio, located in the center and classes are as cheap as $5.
05 | Hop between Ubud Art Market and the Royal Palace
Ubud Art Market and the Royal Palace are located in the heart of Ubud, and right next to each other. Between these two, you can easily get lost exploring and shopping for hours, buying souvenirs and taking in the awe-inspiring culture & history of Bali. The Royal Palace in Ubud is a structure that has stood since the start of the 8th century. The detail and level of preservation are remarkable and making this place a must see.
While in the area, you can’t miss the chance to sample some of the best Indonesian food in Bali. Puspa’s Warung is a popular and cheap eatery with some vegan choices. If you feel like having a healthy dessert, head to Acai Queen around the corner, they have the best vegan Acai Bowls in town!
06 | Meet the Monkeys
There are approximately 750 monkeys living within the grounds of the Monkey Forest, visiting the sanctuary is one of the most popular things to do in Ubud. It’s a fascinating place to explore, with Hindu temples scattered across the complex.
Watch your stuff when you’re around the monkeys, they love to snatch things such as sun glasses, water bottles and obviously if you carry around food, they will grab it from you in no time! Don’t put your phone or camera beside you if you decide to take a rest on a bench. Basically attach anything tight onto you! I’m not kidding.
It’s 100k IDR to enter the Monkey Forest, that’s roughly USD7. If you’re on a tight budget, just walk the trail around the Monkey Forest. It’s free to pass, you’ll see many monkeys there as well, but motorbikes using this path as a shortcut, so the walk can get a bit stressful during rush hours.
07 | Watch a Traditional Balinese Dance Show
Balinese music and dance is among the most vibrant displays of culture you’ll ever see. You can witness this spectacle at many places around town, one of them is at Pura Dalem Taman Kaja, where you can enjoy a hypnotic performance at the temple, featuring a Balinese Hindu drama & dance act, also known as Kecak dancing. The entrance fee is 100k IDR (US$7).
Another great way to a grand show of Balinese Culture is to head to Laka Leke Garden Restaurant. The buffet has a broad selection of vegetarian and Indonesian dishes. Enjoy your tasty traditional meals as you watch Kecak fire dances, Kris and Barong dances, and many other cultural displays. Every night a different show is on offer.
08 | Get Pampered in a Balinese Spa
Ubud’s beautiful spas give a full-service treatment including ayurvedic massages, body scrubs, and local healing therapies like flower bath treatments. You can look forward to ancient Balinese remedies granting you the highest level of relaxation and therapeutics.
Where to go? You can’t go wrong with the world-class service of Botanica Bali Day Spa for luxury and true local tradition. Another leading option seated in the middle of the rice fields is Karsa Spa. Their full day treatments aside jungle trail scenery will have you calm and rejuvenated. Definitely make an appointment in advance!
09 | Ride through Ubud’s Neighborhoods by Scooter
Ubud is wonderful to explore on a scooter or bike. Once you hire a scooter and explore the city and its surrounding villages, you’ll soon understand why this is the favorite form of travel for locals. Stick to smaller rads and off-route streets to avoid traffic.
A trip through the city with multiple busy intersections can be quite daunting for a tourist, but the adventure is a unique experience if you dare to try. Please don’t ride a bike without helmet, International Driver Licence and insurance! If you’re not feeling confident, skip this! There are plenty of drivers available to bring you around. Unfortunately Grab, Uber and Gojek aren’t working in Ubud.
I’m renting my scooter from Darma Putra Bali Bike Rental and I’m pretty happy with their services and the conditions of the bikes. Give them a try if you’re looking for any scooter rental.
10 | Admire Balinese Art at Museum Puri Lukisan
Photo © Jorge Láscar under CC BY 2.0
Puri Lukisan is the oldest art museum in Bali, with a focus on wood carvings, modern and traditional Balinese paintings. It’s a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours. If you have kids, you could easily end up spending the day. You can look forward to gracious displays of Balinese art at its best. Each painting gives you a wonderful depiction through a vivid story, and the entire visit can be quite calming. There are tons of exciting workshops for kids but be sure to reserve your booking at least one day in advance.
The museum operates between 09:00 and 17:00. The entry ticket cost 75k IDR ($5) and gives access to all four different galleries, plus a free drink at the garden cafe.
You only have 24 hours to explore Ubud?
If you’re in Ubud only for one day, I suggest doing the Best of Ubud Tour, which covers the highlights of the city and its surroundings. It makes sense to plan ahead for shorter stays, so you can relax more while you’re there and don’t need to waste time with travel planning. Also, you can earn more when you travel by booking your activities through Orbitz.
If you’re lucky enough to stay more than a day, make sure to book your hotel in Ubud in advance, especially during peak season in July and August, as well as Christmas and NYE it’s getting busy and rooms are filled up in no time.
Whether you’re looking for peace and relaxation, amazing food, or just hauling your scooter along to explore the green jungles, Ubud is a place that you’ll probably never forget. It’s especially fun for those who enjoy exploring the lesser seen trails and villages surrounding this area.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Ubud and you’ll love this place as much as I do! Needless to say, there are far more than 10 things to do in Ubud, I’m here just a few weeks, maybe in a few months I’ll come up with even more places to visit in Ubud! Until then, I’m enjoying this magical town as much as I can…
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She’s half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe.
She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she’ll switch now. Phew…much better! Let’s restart:
Hi, I’m Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
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