20 Best Things to Do in Ubud: Culture, Adventure & Food!

Things to do Ubud

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Not only are there countless things to do in Ubud itself, but its central location makes it perfect for further adventures. Must-see places like Mount Batur and Lempuyang Temple are much closer to Ubud than Canggu or Uluwatu.

People often compare Ubud and Canggu, describing Canguu as more ‘liveable’ and Ubud as a place for ‘tourists’. Yes, Ubud does feel touristic and it has done for quite some time. That’s not a bad thing: it’s a great spot for a first 2 week trip to Bali because you can reach almost anywhere easily.

If you don’t like the hard-sell of tours and souvenirs in the heart of town, nip out to the countryside and see what this island paradise is all about!

UBUD ESSENTIALS

Bali SIM card (30 days, 6GB)

Copy of Lonely Planet Bali

Check visas requirements: iVisa

Pre-book your airport to hotel transfer

Accommodation: Hotels on Booking.com // hostels on Hostelworld

Tours: GetYourGuide / Viator

Travel insurance: World Nomads

Read next: the perfect 3 day Ubud itinerary

How to get around Ubud

Hire a scooter: If you feel confident, hiring one is the very best way to get around since there’s no public transport and the government discourages apps like Grab and Uber. Book your scooter here.

Taxi tours: If you don’t want to drive a scooter, consider taking taxi tours. If you can get a group together, they become super affordable. For a group of four people, it works out at $20 for a private 10-hour tour. Book a half-day tour or full-day tour. Get your money’s worth by packing in as many Ubud activities as possible!

Day tour: I’m a fan of GetYourGuide tours. They offer tours to all the attractions surrounding Ubud as well as fun, cultural tours like cooking classes and craft activities. They’re also a good way to meet other people when travelling solo. You can also compare tours with Viator and Airbnb Experiences.

How long to spend in Ubud

How long is a piece of string, and how long does your Southeast Asia itinerary allow for? You could explore the main things to do in Ubud in two days. For a day trip to Lempuyang and Tirta Gangga temples, add an extra day. Add one more for Mount Batur.

I stayed for three weeks and explored at my leisure while working online. You’d need at least that long to get through all the great brunches in Ubud!

Where to stay in Ubud

Ubud has a huge range of accommodation options for budget backpacking hostels and also nicer ones for flashpackers, alongside luxury resorts and homey guesthouses. It just depends on your travel style.

Hostels in Ubud:

  • Greenview Inn – for a relaxed hostel in traditional Balinese style, this is a friendly place for budget and solo travellers. Bunks have privacy curtains, chargers and lockers. Check availability from $6.
  • The Onion Collective – perfect for flashpacking, this gorgeous hostel is built in Balinese style with elegant details, a pool and work-friendly areas. Don’t miss the smoothie bowls! Check availability from $10.

Hotels in Ubud:

  • Budget hotel – Balimas Guest House: stay here for comfy double and twin rooms with swimming pool access, and let the friendly team serve you tasty breakfasts. Check availability from $24pn.
  • Midrange hotel – Ulun Ubud Resort: for a peaceful escape with rice terrace views and swimming pool access, this is a lovely option near Campuhan Ridge Walk. Check availability from $50pn.
  • Luxury accommodation – Chapung Sebali: for an unforgettable experience, stay in a villa with spectacular nature views. The enormous rooms are enhanced by Balinese decor, an infinity swimming pool and the promise of a floating breakfast. Check availability here from $200pn.

Browse all Ubud hotels on Booking.com and hostels on Hostelworld.

Things to do in Ubud

Okay so without further ado, here are my top 20 activities in Ubud, Indonesia. Enjoy!

1. Visit the market… before 7.30am

Morning market Ubud things to do

I hate it when blogs persuade me to do things at ungodly hours but I know it’s the right thing to do. On my last day in Vietnam, I went to a 5am morning market and vowed not to do it again soon. On my second day in Ubud, Wayan offered to take me to the local Ubud morning market… at 7am!

Not only is the fruit cheaper at that time, he told me, but it’s a better place to see local life.

Pineapples at Market

Visit before 9am as after that, Ubud Market is full of tourists and sarongs. The fruit goes out and the prices go up! Beforehand, it’s a local haven of colourful religious offerings, fresh fruit and local food.

Venture deep into the inside section for some of the cheapest local cuisine you’ll see in Ubud. Whether you can stomach meat and rice before 9am is up to you, of course…

Address: Jl. Raya Ubud No.14, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud.

2. Visit Ubud Palace

Balinese Palace
Gargoyle statue

If you’re new to Bali, a free and quick thing to do in Ubud is visit Ubud Palace. It’s a good introduction to Balinese architecture with its intricate details and gargoyles full of expression. You don’t need to spend long here but it’s a good spot to start your sightseeing.

Address: Jl. Raya Ubud No.8, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud.

Opening times: 7am-5pm daily.

Entry price: free.

Foodie tip – it’s right beside Milk & Madu, known for healthy brunches, speciality coffee and fantastic pizzas. How they do so many things well, I’ll never know!

3. Take the plunge at Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple

My early morning trip to Tirta Empul was probably my favourite experience in Ubud. If you have just one day in town, I’d recommend you start it early by dipping into the holy water baths at this sacred site.

Tirta Empul Water Temple Ubud attractions

Tirta Empul is a temple complex built around a mountain spring that locals have been visiting for centuries. The holy water pool is the main focus and today, locals and tourists alike climb in for the experience. The Balinese will be busy praying but they welcome visitors, so jump in and join them!

My Airbnb host, Wayan, took me for the opening time of 7am and we’d explored and left before any other tourists arrived. Apparently, by 11am the pools are totally rammed.

There are lockers for your valuables whilst you’re in the water. You need to be wearing a sarong but if you don’t have one, they’re available to rent.

Tirta Empul Water Temple

Address: Jl. Tirta, Manukaya, Kec. Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar.

Entrance fee: just 15,000 IDK ($1).

Opening times: 7am-5pm.

Related activity: tour to Tirta Empul & Gunung Kawi temple

4. Do some yoga

Yoga is one of the most popular things to do in Ubud; some would say it wouldn’t be a trip to Bali without a session! The main place to get all Eat Pray Love is The Yoga Barn where there are daily sessions for all levels of ability.

It’s the only yoga studio I’ve been to in Ubud but I also like the look of the Yoga House up in the northern rice fields. Prices are similar (130,000 IDR/$9 a session) and the location looks more peaceful.

5. Wander the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Drive 20 minutes from busy Ubud and you’ll be surrounded by greenery. The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are probably the overall most popular thing to do in Ubud and you won’t want to miss them… Saying that, they’re high on everyone’s Southeast Asia bucket list and therefore busy every day!

The entry fee is low at 15,000 IDR but you’ll have to walk through a ‘donation’ station (where you don’t really have a choice but to pay something) lined with overpriced ice cream stands. Then there are the various swings that charge 100,000 IDR per five-minute go.

Basically, it’s a bit of a tourist trap but cheaper than the Bali swing which isn’t getting a mention here as it’s $50 (rip off)!

Tegallalang Rice Terraces Ubud what to do

All that said, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are gorgeous. If you don’t go, you’ll be forever answering ‘no’ when people ask you about your time in Ubud. We wouldn’t want that, right? As with everything in this blog, visit early to beat the crowds.

Address: Jl. Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kec. Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561.

Opening times: 7am-6pm.

Entry fee: 15,000 IDR ($1), additional 5,000 IDR for parking. Have small bills for additional tip stations.

6. Take a cooking class

Bali cooking class

What an absolute spread! I love a cooking class so I knew I wanted to do one in Ubud. Top tip – experience tells me you end up with a lot more food when doing a cooking class solo than in a pair or group. Do what you will with that info!

Ubud cooking class

My Balinese cooking class was at Siboghana, my favourite local warung. The family who run it are so kind and friendly, plus the food is fantastic. For Rp. 350,000, you make four dishes from the menu, unless you choose nasi campur which counts as three dishes.

The price includes two drinks and a slice of banana bread making it better value than most classes in Ubud.

For more Ubud cooking classes, browse GetYourGuide.

7. Campuhan Ridge Walk

Campuhan Ridge Walk

I donned my trainers and backpack to spend a couple of hours at Campuhan Ridge Walk which in retrospect was unnecessary. You can do the walk in 20 minutes and plenty of people were doing it in flip-flops. Some people will tell you to go all the way to Karsa Cafe before turning back.

Honestly, after the main ridge section pictured, you’re just walking on a small street with shops and cafes so I think that’s just a marketing ploy.

Views of forest Campuhan Ridge Walk
Lizard at Campuhan Ridge Walk Ubud

I’d suggest doing a quick trip to the Campuhan Ridge Walk early in the morning or late afternoon when it’s cool. Don’t set aside a half day or expect to feel totally off-grid, but it’s a nice spot to see the scenery and take some photos.

Address: Kelusa, Payangan, Jl. Raya Campuhan, Sayan, Kecamatan Ubud.

Entry fee: free.

Opening times: 24 hours but don’t go in the dark.

8. Hang out at Clear Cafe

Colourful interior Clear Cafe

There are so many gorgeous cafes in Ubud but one of my favourites is Clear Cafe. As I ducked past a Ganesha statue and through the ornate circular door at the entrance, I knew I was in for a treat.

Read next: Where to find the best coffee in Ubud

Not only is the food really good, the comfy cushions and colourful details make for a great chill or work sesh.

9. Climb Mount Batur

Hiking Mount Batur sunrise what to do near Ubud

How stunning is the view from the top of Mount Batur? Reaching this point requires a disgustingly early wake up (the 2am kind) and a fairly tough hike to the top… but it’s so worth it!

Read next: Trekking Mount Batur for sunrise

Mount Batur is a 1.5-hour away but it’s much easier to reach than from most other places in Bali. Your easiest option is taking a tour which will include pick-up, drop-off, breakfast and your trekking guides.

Book a classic tour including a Bali coffee plantation on the way back, a tour including a swim in natural hot springs or, if hiking isn’t your bag, a Jeep tour to the summit.

10. Sample the coconut ice cream at Tukies

Tukies coconut ice cream

On a hot day in Ubud when I was tired, Tukies was my oasis. I genuinely think it was the best coconut ice cream I’ve ever had. It was topped with fresh coconut meat and dried coconut chips.

11. Take a day trip to Lempuyang Temple (East Bali)

Lempuyang Temple

Lempuyang Temple is an ancient mountain temple most famous for the Gates of Heaven with their view of Mount Agung on a clear day.

Read next: Visiting the Gates of Heaven at Lempuyang Temple

Set off early if you hope to pose at Lempuyang’s Gates of Heaven. We arrived at 9am to wait for 30 minutes in a queue which had doubled in size by the time we left! Crazy stuff.

We hired a cheap and cheerful scooter and did the trip independently but you could also arrange a taxi tour from Ubud or take a dedicated Lempuyang Temple day tour including two other temples and a buffet lunch. 

Address: Jl. Pura Telaga Mas Lempuyang, Tri Buana, Kec. Abang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80852.

Opening times: 7am-5pm.

Entry fee: donation-based; around 20,000 IDR ($1.50).

12. Visit Tirta Gangga Water Palace (East Bali)

Lempuyang from ubud things to do

Tirta Gangga is a serene water palace with carved stepping stones across manmade ponds filled with fish. It’s not an ancient temple: it was built in the 1940s by a former raj of the Karangasem regency for the royals to relax and unwind in beautiful surroundings.

There’s a public pool at the back so don’t forget your swimwear if you fancy a dip. Even if you don’t, this lovely complex is one of the loveliest places in Bali.

Tirta Gangga is a 20-minute drive from Lempuyang Temple in East Bali so consider visiting them as part of the same trip, by scooter, taxi tour or as part of a Lempuyang & Tirta Gangga organised tour.

Address: Jalan Raya Abang Desa Adat, Ababi, Kec. Abang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80852.

Entry fee: 40,000 IDR ($3) and entry to the swimming area costs another 20,000 IDR.

Opening times: 8am-5pm.

13. Visit the Monkey Forest – or not!

Monkey Forest bali

Okay, this photo wasn’t taken at the Monkey Forest (I snapped it at Mount Batur) but this guy is probably one of their cousins. I visited the Monkey Forest during my first visit to Ubud in 2016 and those critters are intense, climbing all over you and occasionally biting people. Sounds like something the nurse would not recommend.

I’m not sure the way they’re baited with food for the tourists is particularly ethical either. I passed this time around.

Address: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud.

Opening times: 9am-5pm.

Entry fee: 40,000 IDR ($3).

14. Pop in to Saraswati Temple

Saraswati Temple

This is a quick and free thing to do in central Ubud. Saraswati Temple is busy unless you visit early but the temple is very pretty and surrounded by serene lily pads. Spend 10 or 15 minutes wandering around and snapping some photos.

It’s been around since Ubud was a small, holy village never having been visited by a Westerner before… The things it must have seen!

Lily pad Saraswati Temple

Address: Jl. Kajeng, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571.

Opening times: 7am-5pm.

Entry fee: Free.

15. Try Balinese cuisine at a local warung

Yes, the smoothie bowls and coffee culture are on point in Ubud but you should really get stuck into the delicious Indonesian food, especially since a quarter of the price if you eat in the right places!

Gado gado balinese food
Eat gado gado as often as possible

Read next: The 9 best warungs in Ubud

My favourite place for local food in Ubud is Siboghana where I did the cooking class mentioned above. This family-run restaurant set in a peaceful garden serve delicious home-cooked veggie meals. Most are less than a dollar!

16. See the Kekak Fire Dance at Pura Dalem Ubud

Kekak Fire Dance at Pura Dalem

Funny story – I only went to this cultural show to meet a friend but in the last-minute rush we never found each other. I ended up watching it by myself and got a bit bored, but I have a terrible attention span so other people might enjoy it.

Tickets are 80,000 IDR ($6) and you should arrive 30 minutes before (no need to book, just turn up at Pura Dalem Ubud). Make sure to get there at least 15-20 minutes to get a good seat.

Pura Dalem Ubud is also lovely in the day!

Entrance is Rp. 10,000 and not many tourists seem to visit (maybe because it’s far smaller than the other temples?) so I had it virtually to myself early one morning. The giant tree roots creeping over the temples were almost Angkor Wat-like.

Pura Dalem Ubud

17. Eat brunch at Zest Ubud

Zest is the mother of all plant-based cafes. Massive coconut, mango and creamy chocolate pancakes… Can I just move in?

This cafe on top of a hill is worth visiting for the aesthetics alone. The exterior resembles a temple while the spacious interior is full of colourful murals and leafy plants. It doubles up as a great workspace if you’re doing the digital nomad thing.

Brunch at Zest cafe

Read next: Where to find the best brunch in Ubud

There are so many amazing places to eat breakfast in Ubud that you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Urban murals at Zest cafe
Inside Zest Ubud

18. Visit Goa Gajah (The Elephant Temple)

Goa Gajah attractions in Ubud bali

The Elephant Cave Temple is a 10-minute drive from central Ubud and disclaimer: there are no elephants there. The first thing you see when you enter is the famous face built carved into the rock. You can walk through the mouth to a small, not particularly exciting shrine.

For me, the highlight was the lovely nature walk down some steps and into the forest. Find small temples, waterfalls and lily pads. The whole site will probably take you a little over an hour to explore if you stop for photos.

Address: Bedulu, Blahbatuh, Gianyar Regency.

Opening times: 24 hours.

Entry fee:
15,000 IDR ($1).

19. Spend an afternoon in the rice fields

The Tegellalang Rice Terraces are incredible but very busy: not the kind of place you’d spend a whole afternoon. One of my favourite days in Ubud was spent eating, blogging and chilling in the rice fields towards the north of town.

Pizza in rice fields

Read next: A day cafe-hopping in Ubud rice fields

I had breakfast at Sari Organik then lunch at Cafe Pomegranate, both chilled little cafes looking out over beautiful surroundings.

20. Find the ancient carvings at Gunung Kawi 

Carvings at Gunung Kawi

If you’re not totally sick of temples already, take a trip to Gunung Kawi, a 35-minute drive from central Ubud. If you’re visiting Tirta Empul, it makes sense to combine the two as they’re just five minutes apart.

Gunung Kawi Temple
Greenery at Gunung Kawi things to do Ubud

Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple with 10 shrines carved into the rock face. The whole site temple is worth a visit with gorgeous rice field views. The only annoying bit is climbing up and down a million stairs lined with souvenirs and touristy cafes.

When you arrive in the quiet village you’ll think you’ve found a totally hidden spot – not quite! It’s still one of the most worthwhile things to do in Ubud so I’d recommend braving the stairs and hard sell 😉

Note – there are two results that come up when you Google Gunung Kawi. You want Candi Tebing Gunung Kawi rather than Gunung Kawi Sebatu.

Related activity: tour to Gunung Kawi & Tirta Empul

21. Get your caffeine fix at Gangga Coffee

Coffee at Gangga Coffee

If driving back to Ubud from Tellagalang, Gunung Kawi or Tirta Empul, be sure to stop at Gangga Coffee. They serve some of the best coffee I’ve had in Ubud, along with cheaper Western brunches than you’ll find in the heart of Ubud (plus tasty Indonesian food). Also it’s so colourful!

Visiting the Ubud attractions early

Because I spent three weeks in Ubud working from my laptop, I was able to visit most of the attractions on different days, all early in the morning. If you have just a couple of days to see all the sights, that obviously won’t be possible – but if you can go early, do.

After 9am, many of the Ubud attractions after packed out for the day. I’d recommend going before breakfast to the places you especially want to see and photograph.


Finally… enjoy Ubud! It’s a place where you can be completely indulgent on holiday, or get stuck into the culture for a totally different look at the world. Or you can mix it up and do both… It’s entirely up to you.

Have you been to Bali already? Do you have any top things to do in Ubud I’ve missed?

Thanks for reading my Ubud guide!

Check out my other Bali & Asia posts:

Ubud blogs:

Canggu blogs:

Nusa Islands:

See you next time for more adventures,

Rose

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Ps. Liked my guide to the best things to do in Ubud? Pin it for later!

Ubud things to do

2 thoughts on “20 Best Things to Do in Ubud: Culture, Adventure & Food!

  1. Sandy says:

    Really great post! I wrote a similar guide to Ubud after spending a few months there last year and I’d love to mention that Tibumana Waterfall is also a beautiful place to visit near Ubud (probably my favourite waterfall in Bali!). I’ve never heard of Gangga Coffee so just added it to my list to check out when we’re back in Ubud. Thanks for sharing <3

  2. Madhu says:

    Loved this list..during our visit to Ubud we could see some of the things you mentioned.hope to cover the rest next time

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