Bali, Indonesia has plenty of interesting places that you can explore, and one area you must not miss is Ubud. Apart from offering art and culture, the region is also teeming with stunning natural sights from exhilarating waterfalls to Tegalalang’s rice fields. Eager for that tropical adventure? Here is my list of the top places to visit in Ubud.
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1. Pura Tirta Empul
Manukaya Village in Central Bali is home to the Pura Tirta Empul or the Holy Water Temple. Locals consider the springs found in the temple as sacred
Its waters are said to contain curative properties as fashioned by the God Indra. The tradition of soaking and splashing in its waters still stands though, as locals and tourists often mingle in the springs for a blessing.
2. Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Second in my list of stunning Ubud attractions are the marvellous rice terraces of Tegalalang. Marvel at the magnificent wonders of nature by taking a hike in the rice terraces of Tegalalang.
Those meticulously-crafted layers of rice fields are testaments of a people’s hard work and dedication. Just set the alarm on your clock for an early trek; a good time to visit the paddies is before 10 in the morning.
3. Tegenungan Waterfall
Ubud is a place for nature lovers, and it’s packed to the rafters with ecological beauties like the Tegenungan Waterfall. Energising waterfall activity in the middle of all that green will exhilarate your jetlagged spirit. Bathe or swim in the natural springs, it’s your call.
It has to be said. In Ubud you can do yoga. It’s probably THE place to enjoy yoga in Bali but since it’s so common, I decided to list it last.
There are many classes you can join, many of which you can just rock up and don’t have to reserve a spot in advance. You can look around in facebook forums and events to get personal recommendations and connect with your new yogi.
Should you really don’t have the nerve for that, check out this yoga class. It’s hassle free.
5. Gunung Kawi
Close to Tegalalang rice fields, there are two places called Gunung Kawi near Ubud. The more well known are the royal Gunung Kawi tombs. Lesser known is the temple Gunung Kawi Sebatu, next to the Holy Water Temple. Both are totally a must do in Ubud.
6. Campuhan Ridge Walk
Do you love long walks surrounded by stunning, untouched nature? Head over to the Campuhan Ridge Walk and take a stroll, contemplate, shoot pics or just take in the moment.
7. Tanah Lot Temple
Stumped for what to do in Ubud? The Temple Tanah Lot is deemed by the Balinese as a temple of massive importance. For many travellers, this is the top spot if you want to get into the heart of Ubud’s Hindu side.
A day trip to the temple near Canggu is all worth it for the location itself is an environmental gem. Here are my personal tips for the best timing of a Tanah Lot visit.
8. Kanto Lampo
Got to the Kanto Lampo on a weekday if you have the time and just chill, enjoy the cooling streams all over for a relaxing day. This Bali waterfall is bursting to the seams with wall upon wall of rejuvenating, cool H20.
9. Tibumana Waterfall
Minutes away from Kanto Lampo is the Tibumama waterfall. Complete your waterfall quota with a visit in this force of nature. Prepare for the strong splashes of water before venturing to a swim. Regardless, still a sight you can dig and should not miss.
10. Royal Palace Cultural Night Performance
The Royal Palace is a popular landmark on the region and one that should be included in your Ubud itinerary. The impressive architectural efforts, Legong performances and the Ramayana are must-sees if you want to get more insights on Balinese culture.
To get a glimpse of a traditional performance, catch one of the Cultural Nights at the Royal Palce of Ubud. Even so, you’ll never run out of things to see in Ubud especially when it comes to evening/nightly events.
11. Monkey Forest Ubud
Drop by to Monkey Forest, a famous Ubud attraction, to observe monkeys going by their daily existence. The park is located within a sizable rain forest. Thus if you’re done with some fun monkey-watching, you can take a stroll around the park.
12. Puri Lukisan Museum
Get to know Balinese art, culture and history by visiting the Puri Lukisan Museum. Surrounded by beautiful, verdant greenery, the museum offers interesting facets of Balinese history and culture plus a relaxing place to spend the day as well.
13. Ubud Palace
Puri Saren Agung, popularly known as Ubud Palace, is another Ubud sight spot favoured by tourists. This ancient architectural wonder was once the home of the region’s royal family. There are also nightly Barong Ubud dance performances here which you can check out.
14. Bali Swing
One of the most iconic and most instagrammable photo spots is a Bali swing. There are plenty throughout the island but of course also close to Ubud.
If you want to really nail the shot (and don’t have a personal photographer or insta hubby with you), get onto a Bali swing trip. The booking fee is less than what you would pay onsite and you can rent a fancy dress especially for the shoot too. Get the deal here.
15. Ubud Art Market
The wee hours of the morning in this market is dedicated to the retail of fish, vegetables, meat and other foodstuffs.
When the clock strikes 9 in the morning, the wares are changed, Ubud Market turns arty and offer a mishmash of items from bags, home decorations, paintings, kitchenware down to knickknacks that you can purchase as souvenirs.
16. Goa Gajah
There are no native elephants on Bali, so how come there is an elephant cave? You can find that out at Goa Gajah at Ubud’s outskirts. Local guides wait for you to show you around for a small fee (don’t forget to haggle).
But you can explore on your own as well and admire the impressive carvings and crumbling bathing fountains that were discovered long after an earthquake covered the popular temple near Ubud.
17. Wellness Treatment
After a long day of sightseeing in Ubud, you really deserve a relaxing treatment. And Ubud has just the thing for you. Pick from spa days, massages and soothing facials. To take away the trouble of picking one of the many options, check out this spa in Ubud.
18. Cooking Class
While there are a lot of hip restaurants in Bali with fusion and SoCal vibes, lots of pretty vegan food and smoothie bowls, that’s not the authentic Balinese cuisine.
To really get into that and see how multi faceted it is and what the history of various Balinese meals is, why not make it yourself? There are local cooking classes to join. Reserve your spot here.
It’s easy to get around Ubud centre, you can walk on the pavement, which is typical for most of Bali. However, if you want to head outside to further away attractions, you might need a scooter or get into the drama of trying to order a ride via Gojek. Drivers are often banned. You could also get in with an ebike group.
Plus, if you’re only visiting for a short time or prefer some company on your solo adventures, it’s really a good idea to join a guided tour. This way you have no hassle or organising everything and braving the traffic on a scooter. Here are a few ideas:
- Pure Ubud Private Tour with Lunch at Bebek Bengil Restaurant
- Ubud Rice Terraces, Temples & Volcano
- Ubud: Monkey Forest, Rice Terrace & Tanah Lot Private Tour
- Bali Ubud Tegenungan Waterfall, Butterfly Park, Monkey Forest, & Petulu Village Private Day Tour
- Ubud Walking Tour with Lunch
20. Taman Festival
When you’re scooting down to Tegenungan Festival, odd another 20 minutes to your drive as you’ll want to visit Sanur. Close to the beach, you can find Bali’s haunted ruins of a theme park that was set to be Indonesia’s answer to Disneyland. Nothing much is left but crumbling structures covered in street art and hanging vines. Love spooky Bali attractions? Then come on over.
21 Cacao Ceremony
Ubud is highly spiritual and there are tons of classes to take where you can join in a group ceremony to really connect with your spirituality. One of the most sought after events is a cacao ceremony. As the name says, you’ll get to drink “cocoa” but that’s not it.
22 Ayung Water Rafting
Would you have thought to go wild water raftin ing Bali? Near Ubud you can do exactly that. Ayung River is 68.5 km long and flows all the way to Sanur Beach and if you join a guided tour, you also get to see Tegalalang Rice Terraces, Ubud Palace and Ubud Art Market. Get in here.
23. Pura Taman Saraswati
This is a temple built for Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of art and wisdom, and you will find her likeness throughout the complex through beautiful engravings. Marvellous fountains and a lotus flower-covered pond greet locals and tourists as they come inside the complex. Like the Ubud Palace, there are dance performances held here at night.
24. Balinese Dance Lesson
Have you heard of the unique style of traditional Balinese dancing? It’s super hard and requires precision and body control. You can get a taste in a dance class. A local expert will guide your movements and introduce you to this important part of Balinese culture. Reserve a spot now.
25. Setia Darma House of Mask and Puppets
A popular tourist attraction, the Setia Darma Masks and Puppets House houses the country’s exquisite heritage treasures. Over 4,000 manikins and a thousand covers not only from Indonesia but other countries like China, Africa, Europe and South America are on display.
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