One of the top places to visit in Bali is Ubud. It’s particularly famous for being the base of Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love but since then, both a lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. It still is the spiritual heart of the island with lots of events, sacred temples and mesmerizing views to boot.
But besides all these amazing things to do in Ubud, it’s a great base for exploring the region. So I asked a few fellow travel bloggers on their recommendations for best Ubud day trips.
**** This post isn’t sponsored nor commissioned but contains affiliate links. If you book anything from them, this doesn’t cost you anything but might give me a little commission to help keep this free blog full of more travel tips and me fuelled with chocolate to keep writing. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ****
Head to Mount Batur for an extra special Ubud day trip for an epic sunrise and an incredible view from the top of a volcano. This hike is not for those who like to lie in.
Expect to wake up at around 1:30am if you are staying in Ubud. Most tours will pick you up from your hotel, where you will begin the car journey to the base of the hike. It costs around 20-30 dollars for this trip, and most will include a breakfast to have once you reach the top. Have a look for more details here.*
You will get given a torch and off you go in the dark to the top of the volcano, following the guide. A top tip is to take some extra layers as it is bitterly cold at the top here. Once you reach the top, everyone takes a seat on the floor on some rugs and eagerly awaits the sunrise.
Depending on how fast you walk, you could be waiting a while but it is well worth it. The sun pops out from behind the clouds and there are some amazing colours.
The only downside is that it is a very popular hike and you may be walking in a line of people to the top and fighting for a space to sit down!
Volcano Hike tip by Hanna of Solar Powered Blonde
Pura Tirta Empul
THE most famous temple in Bali is the water temple Pura Tirta Empul. (Pura means ‘temple’.) It’s where you can perform the sacred washing ritual to purify yourself.
The steps on how long, in what way and which fountains you can wash yourself in are regulated (as is the dress code) and you need to make an offering, too. So it’s a good idea to visit with a local guide to do the ceremony correctly.
Pura Tirta Empul is said to have been created by the God Indra for the purpose of healing his poisoned troops. Ever since that day, the springs are believed to possess purifying and healing qualities. for those who touch them.
Why not make it a full day dedicated to experiencing spirituality in Ubud? Visit one of the most popular healers of Bali, take part in a cleansing ceremony and visit some of the region’s famous attractions. Get in here.*
One of the most aesthetically-pleasing waterfalls in all of Bali is Tibumana Waterfall. Due to its close proximity to Ubud, it is fast becoming one of the most popular waterfalls in Bali and makes a perfect day trip from Ubud.
There are multiple ways you can reach Tibumana Waterfall from Ubud, either by scooter or with a driver. After only a 35-minute scenic drive through rice fields and a beautiful palm-lined road, you will arrive at the parking area.
From the carpark, it is an easy 5-10 minute walk down a paved path and steps. Tibumana Waterfall looks like a perfect curtain of water falling into a natural swimming pool. You can either relax or swim here, but you cannot swim under the falling waterfall, due to its intense power.
It is only a 15,000 IDR entrance fee into the waterfall, and this entrance fee also includes access to the newly opened Pengibul Waterfall next door. This is one of the best day trips from Ubud, and can easily be included in a tour with many of the other waterfalls in the area.
Waterfall tip by Breanna and Dylan of Chalkie and The Chippy
A day trip to Munduk is a great way to get out of the relative bustle of Ubud and into the stunning Bali countryside.
This small village is set on a ridge with great views over forests and volcanoes, but the real highlight is hiking between several waterfalls. The walk starts from Munduk and takes a few hours; you’ll see three or four waterfalls and they’re all impressive.
The great thing about this walk is that the waterfalls don’t get too crowded, a nice change from some of the more popular spots in Bali. There are several small warung (restaurants) along the way where you can stop for a drink or bite to eat.
There’s a little bit of uphill hiking involved but it’s manageable for most fitness levels. If you have a bit longer I’d recommend spending a night or two in Munduk, there are plenty of guesthouses and restaurants and the vibe is very different to Ubud.
It also makes a great base for day trips to other waterfalls, temples and rice terraces.
Scenic Bali tip by Jon of Jon Is Travelling
It’s not too far from the heart of Ubud, just an enjoyable 30-minute scooter ride through the scenic rice paddy fields and terraces.
Once you get here, you’ll find a gem in the heart of Tampaksiring – the Gunung Kawi Temple, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bali.
Gunung Kawi (Mount Kawi) is an 11th-century temple complex that was built surrounding a series of royal tombs. The 10 shrines were carved from rock in memory of the Udayana Dynasty kings and queens.
Don’t forget to bring a sarong to cover up, along with good hiking shoes. You’ll have to climb about 300 steps to get to these monuments.
If you are in the area, don’t miss the great eateries in the village. Tampaksiring is one of Bali’s culinary destinations. There, you’ll find all the best Indonesian food featuring Balinese delicacies like roast duck and sate lilit.
Tomb tip by Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys
Grab your swimsuit and water sandals and let’s go canyoning! Hidden Canyon is an off-the-tourist-path location near Ubud that can be found in the Sukawati area of Bali. It’s a great place if you want to escape the crowds and have an adventure. Plus, it’s close to Ubud as it’ll take 20-30 minutes by car.
It may seem daunting to go canyoning yet it’s a fun and safe experience for all ages. Every group is required to have a guide to ensure their safety. Your guide also doubles up as your photographer so you’ll get some incredible shots of your adventure.
During the two hour tour, you’ll walk through the ankle-deep up to waist-high waters, walk along the canyon ridges, and awe at the beauty of the canyon. You’re also more than welcome to tailor your tour to spend more time relaxing on the rocks and wading in the shallow areas of the canyon.
It’s a good location to cool off from the humidity and heat. Before you leave the area, try the rope swing to complete your experience. Have an awesome time at Hidden Canyon!
Hiking tip by Jackie from Life of Doing
Gunung Kawi Sebatu
My all time favourite temple in Bali is Gunung Kawi Sebatu. Don’t mistake it for the King’s Grave of a similar name). It’s a lesser known temple and part of the Tegallalang area and close to the famous water temple, so you can combine it in your day trip around Ubud easily.
It comes with a gorgeous tropical garden and freely roaming animals. In its ponds you can watch and even feed colourful carps. In addition, there are public pools, which locals and pilgrims love to use as the water is holy.
It is a fair distance from Ubud to Amed, travelling around 2-hours to the east coast of Bali. But I will forever recommend a visit for at least an overnight stay or a day-trip.
However, if you’re headed for a day trip from Ubud, I would suggest starting early and returning late as the mornings and evenings are quite fascinating with local life at these times of the day. With the back-and-forth of traditional jukung fishing boats, and fishermen are all busy throwing and collecting their nets.
As it’s still very much a traditional seaside town, lesser developed and somewhat off-the-beaten-track, with black sand beaches and an unforgettable backdrop under Mount Agung. It’s just a beautiful place to be.
Otherwise, the area is best known for having some of the best snorkelling and scuba spots and is a low key amazing place to stay in Bali, with lots of rentals to make the most of a day-trip. And the beach itself is lined with lots of laid-back cafes, bars and local restaurants.
Scenic tip by Allen from Live Less Ordinary
Sanur Taman Festival
One of the coolest places I have been to in Bali – and also one of the creepiest – was Taman Festival in Sanur. It’s just a 40min trip from Ubud and good if you want to chill by the beach but don’t want to hit overcrowded and noisy Kuta or Seminyak Beach. (There are also some really quiet Canggu beaches.)
But it’s not Sanur that is cool, but Taman Festival, an abandoned theme park. Many expats use it for jogging.
But when you really take your time to walk around the empty spaces and decaying facades, a shudder might overcome you. No wonder it’s said to be haunted and some strange things were going on at Taman Festival during my visit.
If you’re into urban exploring, it still is a great place to check out. You pay a little “parking/entrance” fee to some local men guarding the entrance and are then free to roam. Just be careful of the supposed crocodiles lurking in the undergrowth…
If you don’t mind getting up super early and then rushing through a sightseeing trip, then yes, you can go on a Nusa Penida day trip from Ubud.
I know it’s on the list of many Bali travellers and I did a day trip from Canggu and learned that it’s really best to at least stay overnight. You never know how much you’ll get stuck in traffic. (And that’s a general issue in Bali.)
Why should you visit Nusa Penida in the first place? It’s a much less touristy and more untouched “version” of Bali. It’s small enough that you can explore its main attractions in just a few days.
With a lot of sheltered bays, you can do some snorkelling and diving during dry season. As soon as it rains, the water gets murky and the waves choppier. Read up on more Nusa Penida tips in my guide.
Bali has many different coastal temples but few are as popular as Tanah Lot temple near Canggu. It’s a tourist magnet and you can tell as soon as you arrive at the giant parking lot, where you have to pay the entrance fee as well.
You’ll be greeted by souvenirs shops before you actually get to go to Tanah Lot. But it’s worth it, especially during sunset.
Walk along the coast towards the South and onto the cliff for the best views. Stay until after the sun has set (but not too long because it gets super dark and you might slip on the wet rocks.)
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Another famous temple near Ubud is Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, the floating temple. If you’re standing on the side of the lake, looking over to the temple during high water levels, it appears as if the temple is floating on water.
Of course it isn’t, it’s just one of its pagodas that was built lower on the lake so it’s surrounded by water after it has rained. This also means that during dry season, it’s not as impressive. When you’re here, don’t just check out the pagoda but the entire temple complex as well.
One iconic place that many a traveler to Bali visit are the Tegalalang rice fields north of Ubud. Due to their popularity, they aren’t a hidden gem at all and quite overcrowded, with touristy cafes and attractions lining it.
Your best bet is to come slightly before sunrise as there is no one around and you have the fields to yourself at one of the most beautiful times of the day. The lighting is stunning!
A tiny bit closer than Canggu is Seminyak. Canggu is more laid back with lots of surfers hitting the waves, co working spaces and super yummy and instagrammable restaurants.
Seminyak is much more crowded and its streets are lined with souvenir shops and clubs. At night, it’s a local hotspot for parties but people don’t get as wild or obnoxious as they often do in Kuta.
Seminyak beach is absolutely gorgeous too and there are affordable villas around Seminyak to base yourself in if you want to stay a little longer after all.
One of the most impressive waterfalls and the easiest to get to from Ubud is Tegenungan Waterfall. If you want to visit Sanur, you can easily combine a stop at Blangsinga (which is another name for the popular waterfall). It lies halfway.
This one is a well known attraction in Bali, so be prepared for many tourists. It’s better to come early in the day to avoid the crowds.
Be aware that during rainy season the current is too strong to swim in and during peak dry season, the water levels are too low. So basically, don’t count on being able to swim here.
Afterwards, you can chill in Bali’s only river club in a typical Bali nest or swing overlooking the river. There is a big parking lot at then entrance, and there’s a small fee to get to the waterfall. The club is free to visit.
More ideas from the Bali blog