What to Do in Ubud Bali

Located in a beautiful area leading up to the mountains in the central part of Bali, Ubud is an oasis of atmosphere, tranquility, Balinese culture and traditions. Ubud is one of the most famous highlights of Indonesia and given the beautiful surroundings, it is more than justified.

Ubud has become busier in recent years, but there is still a charming mountain village where Balinese traditions still survive.

Chances are you will go to this town when you are in Bali. After all, it is one of the most popular places on the island.

  • Why is Ubud so popular
  • What to do and see in Ubud
  • The best of Ubud streets
  • Best time to visit Ubud
  • How to go to Ubud

Why is Ubud so popular?

It is not for nothing that many tourists come here for two or three days, but in the end stay much longer, inspired by the beautiful culture, nature and many activities. In addition to the fairytale rice fields in the area, you can take yoga and meditation classes in the morning, take cooking classes, walk, cycle or attend one of the popular dance and music shows.

If this is not enough, you can also walk around the atmospheric village where temples and markets alternate. The atmosphere is chill, so if you’re looking for tradition, culture, nature and relaxation, this is the place to be.

What to do and see in Ubud

When you are in Ubud you naturally want to see the most beautiful highlights. And highlights Ubud has enough. In addition to the well-known rice fields, you can also enjoy walking and cycling here. Moreover, there are many courses that you can follow. From cooking classes to yoga and from painting to handicraft.

In addition to dancing and making music, the locals still paint and carve. Shopping in Ubud is therefore a popular daytime activity. The town is also known for its culinary delights. 

#1 Rent a moped and go to Tegallalang

The most famous rice fields here are those of Tegallalang. These rice terraces are among the most beautiful terraced landscapes in Southeast Asia. It is located a few minutes drive north of Ubud in the cool highlands of Tegallalang. The rice fields are a feast for the eyes!

It can get very busy in the high season, so it is better to go outside the high season. Also take the time to discover these rice terraces. You can walk through the terraces and have a drink in restaurants with a beautiful view!

#2 Go see monkeys in the Ubud Monkey Forest

Perhaps one of the most famous sights is the Monkey Forest Sanctuary ( www.monkeyforestubud.com ). Unsurprisingly, there are about 300 long-tailed macaques in the Monkey Forrest that are used to tourists, which sometimes results in funny images. It is located on the edge of the center. It is also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest or Padangtegal.

What many people also do not know is that the Ubud Monkey Forest is a place for scientific research. Officially you are not allowed to feed the monkeys, but this is not strictly controlled. Keep an eye on your bag (and sunglasses and food). They want to grab this!

#3 Visit the Goa Gajah

The Goa Gajah Temple, also called Elephant Cave, is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Bali. The temple complex is a six kilometer drive south of the center. The temple is quite popular and it can get quite busy here, especially in high season. Many consider it one of the most beautiful temples in Bali.

#4 Stay in the temple atmosphere for a while; the Pura Taman Saraswati

Located in the heart of Ubud, this picturesque temple pays tribute to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, literature and art. The Pura Taman Saraswati is a beautiful water temple, accessible from Jalan Kajeng just behind Café Lotus.

The temple is a nice stopover as you stroll the streets of Ubud, Pura Taman Saraswati is set in a beautiful water garden with thousands of lotus flowers, so bring your camera.

#5 Explore the Ubud Palace

If you want to experience a little more culture, the Ubud Palace is an absolute must. It is a palace and temple (Puri Saren Agung) and is close to the Ubud Market. This palace was built in 1917 and the local royal family still lives there. The Royal Palace of Ubud is one of the most prominent places in Ubud as it is located on the main road and intersection of Jalan Raya Ubud.

Ubud Palace was built during the reign of Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800-1823). The palace is also known for its well-preserved Balinese architecture. In addition, it is known among lovers of Balinese art. It is one of the most famous sights in central Ubud, so keep in mind that it can get busy.

#6 Souvenir shopping at Ubud Market

The Ubud Market is not to be missed. It can get quite busy, especially in high season, but it is a nice experience. It is also known as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’ and is located opposite the Royal Ubud Palace.

You will find many stalls where you can buy souvenirs. Popular are the colored rugs, bags, hammocks and scarves or jewelry.

Most of the things sold in the Ubud market are made in nearby villages like Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan and Peliatan. It is a nice place to spend a few hours. The market is at the end of Jalan Raya.

#7 Walk the Campuhan Ridge Walk

One of the best (and free) things to do in Ubud is the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Escape the bustle of Ubud for a while to enjoy the fresh air and enjoy the surroundings. It is a beautiful walk that shows the most beautiful side of Ubud. It is nice and green with many trees and hills. The Ridge Walk has the landscape of a jungle, forest, hills and of course beautiful rice fields.

#8 Rent a moped (or bicycle) and explore the area

Ubud, and the rest of Bali, is a great place to explore by moped or bicycle. The distances are short making it easy to see a lot on your own. The surroundings of Ubud are beautiful, no matter which way you drive.

You drive through an impressive landscape past small villages, green fields and small temples. If you prefer to be more active, you can also rent a bicycle. Cheaper, but you see a bit less. But not if you cycle very fast. Renting a moped will cost you about 50,000 to 100,000 Rupiah per day.

#9 Go to a traditional dance performance

If there is one place in Bali where you can see traditional dances, it is in Ubud. Here you will find many possibilities to attend a dance. There are many traditional dance shows to choose from in Ubud.

Shows are held in different locations, so the best way to find a dance show is to check with your accommodation or the Tourist Information. Here you can request a schedule for the upcoming dance shows.

#10 Take a cooking class

In Ubud you can take cooking courses everywhere. It is the ideal place to learn how to cook with local ingredients. Often you start in the morning and first go to the market to buy fresh herbs and vegetables. That’s fun!

Then you work with a chef to put together the most special dishes.

#11 Treat yourself with a massage or a day at the spa!

You can get nice massages everywhere in Ubud. Neck, head, shoulder, back etc. Delicious! You can have a 30 or 60 minute massage, but you can also choose to pamper yourself and spend a few hours in a spa. It is dirt cheap here and it is wonderfully relaxed. You come back reborn.

#12 Enjoy the atmosphere in the evening

Ubud is super cozy, especially at night. It has become a lot busier and more touristy in recent years, but you have plenty of places in the evening where you can relax.

In the main streets you will find countless bars and restaurants where you can easily spend an evening. They all serve snacks, local beers and the best cocktails.

#13 Book a yoga class

Ever seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love? Then you may have noticed that Bali is a real paradise for Yoga enthusiasts. There is a wide range of yoga courses in all shapes and sizes, a multi-day course combined with a retreat or an entry-level course with a healthy lunch at the end, everything is possible!

Yoga schools have exploded like mushrooms in recent years. Ubud is one of the best places to take a course. You can really go anywhere. The costs vary per course, but it is nice to learn more about it.

The best streets in Ubud

In the meantime, Ubud has grown considerably and around the center you will still find all kinds of streets. It can be quite a challenge to figure out exactly where to go for the best restaurants and bars. Especially if you don’t spend the night in the center.

There are a number of streets where everything revolves around. The main ones are:

  • Jalan Monkey Forest
  • jl. Raya Ubud
  • Jalan Gootama
  • Jalan Dewisita

You will also find most accommodation in these streets. You will also find a lot of shops, massage parlors and small temples here. It’s nice to just stroll through Ubud for a day and admire all the splendor.

Jalan (Jl.) Monkey Forest

Jalan Monkey Forest is perhaps the most famous street because you will find the famous Monkey Forest here. It starts at the intersection of Coco Supermarket and continues all the way past Monkey Forest and becomes Jl. Raya Ubud at the market. At Jalan Monkey Forest you will mainly find good restaurants.

Jalan Raya Ubud

jl. Raya Ubud is the street where you will find Ubud Palace and the market, among other things. The street continues down Jl. Penestanan, where the Ridge Walk begins nearby. Here you will also find Karma House where you can get the best tattoos in Bali.

Jalan Gootama

Jalan Gootama is a side street off Jl. Raya Ubud. The street continues all the way to Jl. Dewisita who eventually turns back into Jl. Monkey Forest. Jalan Gootama is a narrow street and much more relaxed than the two above.

There are no cars here either, so you can walk around a bit more relaxed. You will mainly find cozy bars and restaurants.

Jalan Dewisita

Jalan Dewisita is another side street of Gootama. This street is somewhat smaller and continues to Jl. Monkey Forest and ends at the famous football field. You can eat here in the evening and they often have live music here!

The most beautiful accommodations

Spending the night in Ubud can be cheap, but also very luxurious. A basic hostel will cost you 80.000IDR per night on Money Forest Rd, one of the main streets. However, you can also stay overnight in the resorts for IDR 3,000,000.

It is not possible to list all accommodations. However, it is best to look around for yourself as the difference in accommodation is huge. In addition, it depends on your budget where you want and can stay overnight.

You can choose to stay overnight in the center. So in one of the above streets. You can also choose to spend the night slightly outside the center. Often you have a lot of good accommodation there for lower prices. The disadvantage is that you have to walk a little longer. Of course you can also just take a taxi.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Bali depends not only on the weather, but also on the high and low season, which affects the price for the accommodation. The high season is the months of July and August, during the Easter holidays, and Christmas and New Year. This is the busiest period in Bali.

The best time in terms of weather to visit Ubud are the months of  April, May, June, September and October  just before and just after the high season. It is then still the dry season and prices are about 30 to 50% lower than during the high season. In Ubud, and all of Bali, it’s more relaxed than that.

How to Go to Ubud?

Tourists usually come to Ubud via Kuta (Denpasar). There are endless options for getting to Ubud. You can take shuttle buses from Kuta (70,000 IDR), as well as local buses. The easiest way is to take a taxi. A taxi from the airport or Denpasar will cost around IDR 300,000.