3-Day Ubud Itinerary – Touring Bali’s Cultural Center
Ubud is the cultural capital and heart of Bali, so it’s a must for your itinerary. It also happens to be a great place to base yourself while exploring the island!
This 3-day Ubud itinerary will guide you through some of the top highlights of the area, starting in the town center and then branching out to nearby villages with waterfalls, temples, and rice terraces.
You can click the links for more information on each of these activities as you go!
About This Ubud Itinerary
To give some background on this Ubud itinerary, my wife is Balinese and we always stay in Bali between our other travels. It’s her home, and my second home, so we’ve spent countless days exploring the island.
Three days is not enough time to see everything in Ubud (because there’s a ton to see and do!), but it’s a pretty good start. And I’ve added an optional day 4 at the end of this Ubud itinerary in case you want to do even more sightseeing!
For many of the sights on this Ubud itinerary, you will need transportation. It’s easy to rent a scooter in Bali for 80k IDR ($5 USD) per day, or you can hire a private car with driver for 450k IDR (~$30) for 10 hours.
Where To Stay
✈ Where To Start
This entire itinerary takes place on Bali island in Indonesia, but first you have to get there!
Fly to Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Bali, which is served by a bunch of budget friendly airlines with good ratings.
AirAsia often has flights from Singapore (SIN), Bangkok (DMK), or Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Bali for 1 million IDR ($70 USD) or less.
Better yet, if you’re located in Australia or New Zealand, you can fly directly to Bali through a number of international airports like Adelaide, Cairns, or Perth, and the costs will be similar.
When you arrive in Bali, take an airport transfer by private taxi to Ubud (you can book this in advance on Klook for 300k IDR).
Check in to your hotel in Ubud, and get rested up for the tropical adventure ahead!
• Day 1: Ubud Center
First things first: the monkeys! Swing by the famous Ubud monkey forest for a funny experience getting your pic taken with the Balinese macaques. There are hundreds of them living in the jungle here, and they’re (mostly) friendly to outsiders. It’s the perfect way to start off your Ubud itinerary.
○ Ubud Market
Just up the street from the monkey forest, you’ll find the Ubud art market. It’s full of interesting handmade souvenirs like wood carvings, paintings, coconut bowls, rattan hats and bags, and everything else you can imagine. Feel free to haggle for lower prices, because some of the sellers here start a bit on the high side.
On the street corner is this fancy palace from the 1800s, with amazing Balinese stone carvings and courtyards. It’s a quick stop (15 minutes) but very worthwhile!
Across the street from the Ubud palace, with just a 3 minute walk you’ll find Saraswati Temple. This one has elaborate doors and walls that make for some great photo spots.
• Day 2: Ubud Terraces & Temples
Bali’s most famous rice terraces are at Tegalalang, just a 15 minute drive north of Ubud. There are foot paths to walk through the whole valley and see the terraces up close.
○ Gunung Kawi Sebatu Water Temple
For some reason this is one of the least known temples in Bali, even though it’s one of the most scenic (IMO) and easy to reach from Ubud. It has a nice koi pond, garden, and courtyards to explore, and it’s only a 5 minute drive north from Tegalalang.
Tirta Empul is the most famous temple in the Tegalalang area, and one of the most famous in Bali. Tourists and locals alike come here to bathe in the Hindu spring. Even if that’s not your thing, you might enjoy the interesting buildings and the big art market nearby.
This is a hidden temple and archaeological site more than 1,000 years old, where you can see ancient funeral shrines carved into the cliffs. It’s a fascinating piece of Bali’s history.
By this point you might be feeling templed out. If not, head over to Goa Gajah, a weird looking cave temple from the 9th century. It’s got one of the craziest doorways you’ll see in Bali.
• Day 3: Bangli Waterfalls
○ Goa Giri Campuhan Waterfall
The Bangli area has lots of great waterfalls and it’s not far from Ubud. Start with Goa Giri Campuhan waterfall, in the north. This one is hidden and you have to sneak through a couple of cool caves to reach it.
○ Kuning Waterfall
This is a unique looking waterfall and swimming hole at the bottom of a big ravine in the jungle. It’s a steep hike down, but you can cool off in the natural pools at the bottom.
Tibumana used to be a secret waterfall, but it’s exploded in the last couple years and now every Instagrammer comes here. It’s still worth a visit!
This is another free waterfall just 500 yards from the entrance to Tibumana. It’s a small 2-step waterfall with no crowds, and you can reach it in 5-10 minutes.
○ Goa Rang Reng Waterfall
Watch out for slippery rocks! Goa Rang Reng has 3 different waterfalls, but my favorite is the first one, a big sloped cascade that looks like a natural Slip N Slide.
• Optional: Day 4
If you want to add an extra day (or half day) to your Ubud itinerary, hire a private driver and head south from Ubud to Denpasar, checking out some more places on the way.
○ Mas Wood Carving
Balinese wood carvings are some of the best in Southeast Asia, and the carvers at Mas village are known for being top notch. Warning though, some of these can be very pricey. Research and haggle before you buy.
This is a small park with hundreds of butterflies, but the best part is getting to hold an Atlas Moth, the biggest moth in the world. They also have giant stick bugs from Borneo.
Tegenungan is the busiest and most touristy waterfall in Bali. Don’t go here to escape the crowds, but it’s still a nice spot for lunch, and you’ll be driving past it anyway!
○ Bali Bird Park & Reptile Park
This park has more than 1,000 birds and reptiles ranging from tropical parrots to Komodo dragons. The grounds have an ancient ‘Angkor Wat’ theme that fits perfectly with the wildlife, and everything is very well managed. If the park’s not your thing, you can swap this with Batuan Temple (which is also nearby).
More Bali Travel Tips
I hope this Ubud itinerary was helpful for planning your own trip.
Don’t forget to check out my full Bali Travel Guide with free tips, info, photos, and more!
Bali Private Driver & Motorbike Rental
If you want to explore Bali in the comfort and safety of a private car with a driver, my top recommendation would be Klook.
Their price is 450k IDR ($30 USD) for a full day of driving and sightseeing in Bali (up to 10 hours) for 1-5 passengers. That's the total price for the whole car + driver + petrol! It's a steal.
If you'd rather travel by motorbike, they have that too. Their scooter rentals start at 85k IDR (~$6) and include a helmet, rain coat, and pickup in the south Bali area.
We've used Klook for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they're great! Highly recommended.
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
The best time to visit Bali depends on what you’re looking for:
☁ Bali’s rainy season runs from November to April. The weather during the day can be hot and humid at 90-95 F (32-35 C), but it’s less crowded during this time, and the rain is mostly at night.
☀ From May to August, the temps are a lot cooler, and it’s more breezy and sunny. This is the nicest weather. It’s also the high season, so it’s generally more crowded.
The sights on this Ubud itinerary are spectacular at any time of the year, but I personally think the best months for photography are March to May (right after the rainy season ends), when most of the island is covered with green foliage.
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