The laid-back vibes and beautiful jungle scenery are enough to put Ubud on the bucket list for many travelers!
Although Bali has become synonymous with beach vacations, you also need to take some time to visit the center of the island. Ubud is famous for its forests, rice paddies, and spectacular culinary scene.
There’s a lot to see and do, so to help you plan out your trip, here are a few of the best things to do in Ubud.
Where to Stay in Ubud
Ubud is a popular tourist destination, so there’s no shortage of great accommodation. Depending on your length of stay and what your travel budget is, you might be better off looking for a certain type of accommodation in Ubud.
Here are our top picks for where to stay in Ubud with some variety to fit each traveler’s needs.
Best Villa in Ubud – Madani Antique Villas
If you’re looking for luxury, then a villa is definitely the best place to stay in Ubud. The great news is the prices are usually very affordable!
At Mandani Antique Villas, you’ll have wi-fi and a flat-screen TV in your villa, plus still feel totally immersed in the nature of Bali. Guests have access to an onsite pool, and you can enjoy drinks at the bar after a day of exploring.
To make transportation easier during your stay, the property has a shuttle service available, or car and motorbike hire. The top attractions of Ubud, including restaurants and markets, are nearby and you can also arrange to have meals onsite at the villa.
Best Homestay in Ubud – Adenia House Ubud
Homestays are the best option for travelers who want a more immersive cultural experience. Typically very budget-friendly options, homestays can feel a lot like hotels in terms of service and amenities, but you also get a more personal interaction with the hosts.
The Adenia House homestay is located in central Ubud, just a ten-minute walk from the Ubud Market. You can enjoy an American or Asian breakfast each morning to start your day off on the right foot before heading out to explore.
You can also rent bicycles at the property for easier transportation around Ubud, and the hosts can help you with suggestions of places to visit.
Best Hotel in Ubud – Karang Lila Bhuana Ubud
Hotels in Ubud are good at surpassing expectations; with reasonable prices, modern amenities, and good locations, there’s not much left to be desired.
At the Karang Lila Bhuana Hotel, you’ll be a little outside of the city center, so you can enjoy more peace and privacy. Each room has air conditioning to cool off on hot afternoons, and guests have access to the beautiful outdoor swimming pool.
An airport shuttle is provided for easy arrival and departure, and there’s free parking on site if you’re renting a vehicle during your stay.
An excellent continental breakfast is included in the room price, and Karang Lila Bhuana also has a restaurant on site for a convenient dining option.
Best Hostel in Ubud – New Ubud Hostel
Budget-friendly, centrally located, and full of fun energy, the New Ubud Hostel is everything a great hostel in Ubud should be. Breakfast is even included at this hostel, which you won’t find everywhere on the island.
For backpackers traveling to Ubud, the New Ubud Hostel is the perfect place to meet other travelers, and still get a relaxing night’s sleep after a long day. The property has a 24-hour front desk, so no need to worry about late arrivals or early departures.
It’s just a few steps to great restaurants and fun attractions in central Ubud, or you can also use the communal kitchen to prepare your own meals. Although a lot of the main sites of Ubud are within walking distance, you can also arrange a bike or car rental at the hostel for easier transportation.
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Ubud!
Waterfalls near Ubud
Ubud is surrounded by surreal jungle beauty, including some spectacular waterfalls. You can either visit the waterfalls as part of a guided tour group (and sometimes hit two or three in a day) or rent a vehicle or take a taxi to see them on your own time.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
It only requires about fifteen minutes of walking from the main road to reach the majestic falls of Kanto Lampo!
The best time of year to make a trip to Kanto Lampo is during the dry season between April and September; during the rainy season, the trail becomes too dangerous and slippery to navigate.
There’s a small entrance fee of 10,000 IDR (about US$0.70), which really isn’t much to ask in order to keep the area safe and clean for people to visit.
One of the lesser-known waterfalls near Ubud, Tibumana is really a photographer’s dream come true. The picturesque straight-falling cascade of water fills into a beautiful jungle pool.
From Ubud, it’s about a 45-minute drive to the parking area for the waterfall, and then another ten to fifteen minutes of walking to reach the falls. Renting a motorbike is probably the best way to reach the falls so you can take your time and enjoy the scenery.
There is a 10,000 IDR fee to enter the waterfall area, where it is possible to swim so long as you follow the rules and guidelines posted.
Sacred Monkey Forest
No trip to Ubud is complete without visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest. Within the 27 protected acres of land, literally hundreds of monkeys make their home in their natural, jungle habitat.
Even though the Sacred Monkey Forest feels like you’re in the middle of the jungle, it’s actually very easy to reach from the central area of Ubud.
Now, we feel obligated to provide fair warning that while these monkeys are cute and entertaining, they are also incredibly smart and will stop at nothing to get something they want. Even if that happens to be a headband, backpack, or loose items in your pockets!
Definitely do not bring any food or beverages besides bananas to the forest. If you are carrying a backpack, make sure it is zipped securely and preferably has a chest or waist strap for added protection.
The Sacred Monkey Forest has numerous marked pathways which lead you through the jungle habitat. You’ll get to see monkeys climbing in trees, playing, grooming each other, and checking out whether you’ve brought them any tasty treats!
In addition to being a monkey sanctuary, the forest is also a religious site and has three different temples. These important cultural landmarks are thought to date back to the early 14th or even late 13th century and still provide an important spiritual site for Balinese people today.
You’ll have to pay a small fee to enter the sanctuary, and you’ll also want to stock up on bananas which local vendors sell near the entrance. Just make sure you stash them somewhere safe to save as a distraction tactic for overly energetic monkeys!
Campuhan Ridge Walk
One of the most beautiful nature walks to take in Ubud is along the Campuhan Ridge for a view of the forest and jungle scenery.
You begin the walk at the Warwick Ibah Resort and Spas, which is close to central Ubud and easy to walk to if you’re staying in the center.
The walk is a linear path, not a loop, but things always look different from the opposite direction anyway! One way, the trail takes most people between twenty and forty minutes depending on how quickly you walk and how many stops you take for photographs along the way.
In terms of difficulty, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is not difficult; the path is fairly wide and flat and while there are some inclines it’s nothing too strenuous.
Because afternoons in Bali can become swelteringly hot, we do recommend that you plan the Ridge Walk either early in the morning or later in the evening. Although the walk is open 24 hours, we don’t recommend attempting it after dark.
There are spots to buy food and drinks at the beginning and end of the walk, but it’s definitely a good idea to bring your own water bottle. A hat and sunglasses are also strongly recommended, since the path is fairly exposed without much shade (it is a ridge after all!). This walk in Ubud would be manageable in sandals since it’s flat and not a dense jungle path, but for your own comfort, we would recommend sneakers.
Rices Terraces near Ubud
Rice terraces are the quintessential image of Ubud. It’s difficult to visit Ubud without seeing a rice terrace, but we would also recommend planning a few visits to some spots for a closer look. Not only is it totally peaceful and picturesque, but you’ll also get a chance to learn more about Balinese culture and farming practices.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
By far the most popular and iconic rice terrace in Ubud, Tegalalang is a must-visit for every Ubud traveler.
The layout of the terraces follows a traditional Balinese irrigation style called subak, and it’s one of the best examples of a rice terrace in Bali.
Tegalalang is about a 20-minute drive outside of Ubud. If you have your own car or motorcycle, it’s easy to drive yourself, but every taxi driver in Ubud knows where the rice paddies are so it’s not difficult to arrange a ride (it’s best to agree on a price before leaving though).
There’s not an official entry free, but along the path to reach the paddies, locals have set up small wooden shacks where they ask for donations. It’s a very small amount, and we recommend paying; you are visiting their own property and livelihood after all. For the donations, it’s a good idea to have small change, since the locals won’t be able to exchange larger bills.
Thanks to the hot, humid weather of Bali and the fact that tour groups will flock here in the afternoon, it’s best to visit Tegalalang early in the morning. Make sure you pack water and some snacks and well so you don’t get dehydrated.
Sari Organik Walk
Starting right in the center of Ubud, the Sari Organik Walk is named after a popular restaurant located along the route.
If you start the walk early in the morning, you can stop and have breakfast at Sari Organik or one of the other cafes located along the way, while skipping the midday heat. The entire path is about 3km, and takes about 2 hours in total if you plan on stopping for breakfast and photos along the way.
Remember that the walk doesn’t actually end at Sari Organik, but continues on a little further. A lot of hikers will stop at the restaurant, but miss the less crowded section of the trail with some really stunning views of the rice paddies in Ubud!
Markets in Ubud
If you’re hoping to find some cool, locally made Balinese art to purchase as a souvenir, then a market in Ubud is the place to go. Come prepared to be amazed and make sure you bring cash since credit and debit won’t be accepted.
Ubud Art Market
The name of this market says it all: this is the spot to go if you want some local Balinese artwork and souvenirs.
Located in central Ubud, the market features statues, silk fabrics, small decorative handcrafts, jewelry, and much more. It’s definitely recommended to take a look at all the stalls before making a decision. Otherwise, you might end up buying more than you can fit in your luggage!
Located outside of Ubud, the Sukawati Market is one of the best-known artisan markets in Bali. From paintings to clothing to jewelry, there’s everything you could imagine and more in terms of amazing artwork.
It’s about a 30-minute drive from Ubud to the market. You can either drive your own car or motorcycle or since every taxi driver knows where Sukawati is, it won’t be hard to find a ride.
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Best Restaurants in Ubud
If you’re traveling to Bali, be prepared to be amazed by the cuisine. Freshly caught seafood, tropical jungle fruits, and of course the world-famous coffee are all on the menu!
Ubud is particularly known for the variety of culinary styles and locally sourced foods, so no matter your preference, you’ll be able to find something to suit your tastes.
Best Local Restaurant in Ubud – Locavore
One of the most highly renowned restaurants in Ubud, Locavore isn’t cheap, but it’s also totally worth the dining experience.
As the name suggests, almost all of Locavore’s ingredients are sourced from Indonesian farmers and producers. They also focus on free-range animals and organic produce for the healthiest ingredients possible.
If Locavore doesn’t quite fit your budget (or it’s too hard to get a reservation), you can also try their delicious mini-restaurant called Locavore-to-Go.
Restaurant with a Great Location – Habitat
Right next to the entrance of the Sacred Monkey Forest, Habitat has a cool, natural vibe and a fresh menu with breakfast, all-day entrées, and drinks.
It’s equally suited to having an afternoon coffee or sitting down to an evening meal with friends. Habitat is fairly reasonably priced, and the food is all high quality with a lot of variety in the menu.
Best Cheap Eats in Ubud – Biah Biah
Centrally located on the main pedestrian street, Biah Biah has a quirky vibe and great traditional foods.
The venue itself is a little small, but it has a cozy and familiar feel. It’s well-frequented by travelers, so it’s a good place to hang out with new friends or meet other Ubud adventurers during your stay.
Most of the menu items are traditional Indonesian foods, and there’s a great selection including vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
Unique Shops in Ubud
There’s literally no end of fun and unique shops in Ubud. Probably the best way to explore is simply to explore the streets and go into a shop which looks interesting. However, here are a few note-worthy shops in Ubud you won’t want to miss during your stay.
One of the leading textile galleries in Ubud, Studio 22K is centrally located on Jalan Raya. In addition to the breathtaking Indonesian fabrics, you’ll also find some jewelry and other decorative items.
Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s still totally worth your time to stop in and appreciate the incredible Balinese handicrafts!
An eccentric little shop selling antiques, fabrics, and other cool items locally produced in Ubud, Shalimar has a cool collection of fun souvenirs as well as real historic treasures.
The gallery focuses on rare and old artifacts from around Indonesia, while in the boutique you’ll also find more budget-friendly items for home decoration or cute souvenirs and gifts. It’s a great shop to find a memento from Ubud, or just take a look at some of the artifacts currently on display.
Located on the western side of Ubud, Gaya Ceramics will give you a whole new appreciation for pottery and clay working.
In addition to their shop, Gaya also offers classes so you can try out ceramics for yourself! International artists have residencies at the studio featuring some of their work, so stop by to see what’s happening during your time in Ubud.
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