Ubud Travel Guide: 31 Best Things To Do In Ubud Bali

This Ubud travel guide is the culmination of many years spent exploring the artistic and cultural center of Bali island. No trip to Indonesia would be complete without a visit to Ubud Bali!

This tourist hotspot is full of interesting markets, palaces, jungles, and temples to see, and of course lots of great cafes, restaurants, and comfy luxury hotels.

After you’ve exhausted all of the top things to do in Ubud, there are even more waterfalls and rice terraces to see in the nearby areas of Tegalalang, Gianyar, and Bangli, which can be reached in 15-30 minutes.

Here’s my Ubud travel guide, with a list of some of the very best things to do in Ubud Bali!


Where To Stay

 

Where Is Ubud Bali?

First things first — where is Ubud Bali located?

Ubud is located in the highlands of the Gianyar regency, in the heart of Bali, Indonesia. It’s about 40 kilometers north of the Bali airport, which is a 1 hour drive.

The main Ubud tourist area is concentrated near the Ubud town center, which is packed with hotels, restaurants, markets, activities, and attractions like the Bali Monkey Forest.

However, the areas surrounding Ubud (like Tegalalang, Gianyar, and Bangli) also have some nice accommodation, and there are lots of waterfalls, temples, rice terraces, and other things waiting to be explored.

Ubud Travel Guide Things To Do In Ubud Bali
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The best things to do in Ubud Bali include markets, palaces, and rice terraces.

How To Get Around Ubud

If you’re staying near the Ubud town center, it’s pretty walkable and most things are close enough to be reached on foot.

However, if you want to do some exploring outside of town, you’ll need to rent a scooter or hire a private car and driver (both of these can be booked online). Airport transfers to Ubud from the Bali airport can also be arranged with your hotel or booked online.

Taxis are available for short rides around Ubud, but the prices are wildly inflated for tourists. It’s possible to use ride-hailing apps like Grab and Go-Jek, but you have to be discreet because the local taxi mafia is very protective of their turf, and may cause trouble if they see you using one of these apps in Ubud.
 

Best Things To Do In Ubud Bali

1. Ubud Monkey Forest

Seeing the cheeky Bali monkeys should be somewhere near the top of your Ubud to do list, and the Sacred Monkey Forest is the most popular place to do it.

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.

Read More: Ubud Monkey Forest


 
 

2. 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.

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3. Local Cafes

Ubud has great restaurants and cafes everywhere you look.

A lot of places serve familiar Western foods and fresh fruit juices (including smoothie bowls), but don’t forget to try the local Indonesian dishes too, like chicken satay and nasi goreng.

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4. Balinese Massage

Practically every third building in Ubud is a massage shop.

Balinese massage is fantastic and the prices can be very affordable, at 150k Rupiah ($10 USD) or less for a 1 hour body massage.

It’s the perfect way to unwind after a full day of hiking or touring.

Bali massage
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5. Ubud Royal Palace

On the corner of the Ubud town center is this fancy palace from the 1800s, with amazing Balinese stone carvings and courtyards. It’s a quick stop (15 minutes) but very worthwhile!

Read More: Ubud Royal Palace


 
 

6. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

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.

Read More: Tegalalang Rice Terrace


 
 

7. Bali Elephant Sanctuary

Mason Elephant Park is a rescue park opened in 1997, and they do a lot of great conservation work for the Sumatran elephants, which are critically endangered on their home island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

We had a great experience here, and I have to say every aspect of the park is very well managed and nicely maintained. The elephants are happy and healthy, and you can tell they love the attention from humans.

The park is a 30 minute drive from Ubud.

Read More: Bali Elephant Sanctuary

    
elephant sanctuary bali elephant bali mason elephant park
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Ubud Temples

8. Saraswati Temple

The Saraswati water temple is in central Ubud and it has some of the coolest wall patterns and carvings you’ll see in Bali. The doors are insanely detailed and elaborate. Flowers, dragons, demon figures, and more.

Read More: Saraswati Temple


 
 

9. Pura Dalem Temple

This is another temple in central Ubud and it’s known for having some of the most bizarre and intricate statues of any of the Bali temples. Creepy demon goddesses, lions, and other creatures stare back at you here.

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10. Goa Gajah Elephant Cave

This is one of the oldest temples I’ve visited in Ubud, and also one of the weirdest. The doorway to the cave is really bizarre and unique, and it feels like you’re walking into the belly of some underground rock monster.

Read More: Goa Gajah Temple


 
 

11. Samuan Tiga Temple

This is a big temple from the 10th century between Ubud and Gianyar, just 800 meters from the Goa Gajah temple or a 10 minute drive from central Ubud. This temple is unusually quiet and only a few tourists seem to know about it, but it’s popular for Hindu ceremonies.

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Ubud Waterfalls

12. Layana Waterfall

This is one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Ubud. Layana is just a 10 minute drive from the Ubud town center.

As an added bonus, there’s a warung above the waterfall where you can eat with the view — but it’s totally optional, you don’t have to order anything to visit the falls.

Read More: Layana Waterfall


 
 

13. Tibumana Waterfall

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!

The road to this one winds through some green rice fields and palm trees, so it’s a great scenic drive, and there are a couple of smaller waterfalls you can also see nearby.

Read More: Tibumana Waterfall


 
 

14. Suwat Waterfall

This waterfall is an up-and-coming hidden gem near Gianyar and Ubud. It’s good for swimming and there’s even a neat little bamboo raft you can paddle around on.

The hike to Suwat Waterfall is short and easy, and takes you through a small bamboo forest and other tropical foliage along the way.

Read More: Suwat Waterfall


 
 

15. Pengibul Waterfall

Just 500 meters from the entrance to Tibumana is a separate path that leads to Pengibul Waterfall.

Also called the Taman Sari Waterfall, it’s a small 2-step cascade with no crowds, and you can reach it in 5-10 minutes of walking, so it’s definitely worth checking out while you’re at Tibumana!

Read More: Pengibul Waterfall


 
 

16. 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.

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17. Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Kanto Lampo is a cascade of waterfalls running over the rocks into a natural pool below. As an added bonus, you get to see some creepy carvings in the rock walls nearby.

This is a really nice waterfall and I’d definitely rate it as one of the best things to do in Ubud!

Read More: Kanto Lampo Waterfall


 
 

18. Tegenungan Waterfall

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 chances are you’ll be driving past it at some point anyway!

Read More: Tegenungan Waterfall


 
 
 

Other Top Things To Do Near Ubud

19. Kemenuh Butterfly Park

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.

Read More: Bali Butterfly Park


 
 

20. Bali Zoo

The Bali Zoo has a lot of great wildlife, including some species that are local to Indonesia. You can get your picture taken with tropical birds here, and the park facilities and animal care seem to be top notch too.

Read More: Bali Zoo Review + Photos


 
 

21. 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.

Red parrot and green parrot at the Bali Zoo
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22. Mas Wood Carving

Balinese wood carvings are some of the best in Southeast Asia, and the carvers at Mas village are known for being some of the very highest quality. Warning though, some of these can be very pricey. Research and haggle before you buy.

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23. 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.

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24. Goa Garba

This is an ancient cave temple and 12th century archaeological site in Pejeng village.

Goa Garba was a school and place of study for the Balinese kings and their children. Today, it’s a peaceful hidden spot in the jungle where you can see some ruins and escape the tourist crowds.

Read More: Goa Garba Temple


 
 

25. Gunung Kawi Ruins

Of course I can’t do an Ubud travel guide without mentioning Gunung Kawi!

In my opinion, this is one of the most unique and interesting temples in Bali. Gunung Kawi is actually an underground temple carved into the side of a cliff.

It’s an 11th century temple, and the age of everything here is obvious when you look at it.

Read More: Gunung Kawi Temple

Gunung Kawi Ruins
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Gunung Kawi Ruins near Ubud

 

26. Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

The name and location of this temple is very close to Gunung Kawi, but this one is not near as famous. This is a water temple with a nice jungle setting.

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27. Tirta Empul Spring

This is one of the most well known temples near Ubud, partly because of the Hindu holy spring where visitors (including tourists) are allowed to bathe and pray, if that’s your thing.

Read More: Tirta Empul Temple

    
Tirta Empul Spring
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28. Batuan Temple

This is an ancient 10th century temple located in Batuan village, halfway between Ubud and Sanur. The whole temple grounds are open to tourists, and a lot of the buildings and carvings are different from what you normally see at other Balinese temples.

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29. Sangeh Monkey Forest

The Sangeh Monkey Forest is another protected jungle area in central Bali with hundreds of friendly (but wild) monkeys to play with.

If the Ubud Monkey Forest is too crowded for your liking, you might want to check out the one in Sangeh instead. It’s only 30 minutes from Ubud, but it’s quieter, cheaper, and less crowded.

Read More: Sangeh Monkey Forest


 
 

30. Taman Ayun Temple

I think this is one of the best temples in Bali — very photogenic, but away from the major tourist areas so it doesn’t get too crowded. Taman Ayun is pretty close to Abiansemal and the Sangeh Monkey Forest.

Read More: Taman Ayun Temple


 
 

31. Mount Batur Sunrise Trek

The Mount Batur hike in east Bali is a popular day trip from Ubud, especially for sunrise, where you can catch epic morning views from the top of an active volcano!

Read More: Mount Batur Sunrise Trek


 
 

Ubud Itinerary

Here’s what a sample 3-day or 4-day itinerary for Ubud Bali could look like:

You can take a look at my full blog post about this Ultimate Ubud Itinerary for more detailed information and photos!

Ubud Travel Guide Things To Do In Ubud Bali
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A fancy door at the Ubud Palace

 

Is Ubud Bali Safe?

Yes, Ubud is very safe. It gets more than 4 million visitors a year, and it’s generally known as one of the safest areas in Bali. Just take normal precautions and you shouldn’t have any issues.

I often bring my camera gear all over Ubud photographing the markets, temples, and rice terraces, and there are usually plenty of other photographers doing the same.

Even around sunrise, people are already jogging the path at Campuhan Ridge Walk and other places in Ubud. Violent crime is pretty rare in Bali, and Indonesia in general.

The main thing to watch out for is drive-by phone snatchings, which do happen in some parts of Bali from time to time, so just remember to put away your phone when you’re by a busy road with passing motorbikes.

Ubud Travel Guide Things To Do In Ubud Bali
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When To Visit Ubud Bali

The best time to visit Ubud 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 cooler, and it’s more breezy and sunny. This is the windy season and it’s the nicest weather. It’s also the high season for tourists, so it’s generally more crowded.

In any case, it’s generally possible to experience the sights in this Ubud travel guide all year round!

Monkey crossing caution sign at the Ubud Monkey Forest in Bali
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I love this sign. It’s so authentically ‘Bali’. I want to hang it in my living room.

More Bali Travel Tips

I hope you enjoyed this list of the best things to do in Ubud Bali!

We plan to add more tips to this Ubud travel guide in the future, so check back later.

Don’t forget to check out my complete Bali Travel Guide for more tips, info, and photos!
 

Ubud Hotels

 

Bali Private Driver & Motorbike Rental

If you want to explore Bali in the comfort and safety of a private car with an English speaking driver, my top recommendation would be GetYourGuide.

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If you'd rather travel by motorbike, they have that too. Their scooter rentals start at 140k Rupiah (~$9) and include a helmet, rain coat, and free delivery in the south Bali area.

We've used GetYourGuide for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they're great! Highly recommended.

Book Now: Bali Private Driver / Scooter Rental
 

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