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6 Days in Ubud: Heart of Bali

Go beyond beaches to uncover hidden waterfalls, ancient temples, and local village life.

Last updated: 22 Apr 2024 - 7 min read
6 Days in Ubud: Heart of Bali

When people think of Bali, they often think of beach bars and villas. But if you're looking for Bali's true heart, Ubud offers a far more authentic experience. This six-day plan takes you beyond the usual tourist trails into nature, Balinese traditions, and local village life.

Why this works: This itinerary balances Ubud's iconic sights with a rarely seen, authentic side of Bali. While based in Ubud's cultural heart, you'll venture beyond the tourist crowds to Munduk and Sidemen, where tradition thrives.

Who it's for: This itinerary is suitable for both first-time visitors to Bali and seasoned travelers seeking a deeper, more authentic experience beyond the usual tourist spots. If you're primarily looking for a beach or club focused vacation, this isn't for you.

Day 1: Arrive in Ubud

Ubud is a long drive from the airport, so this will be a travel day with light evening activities.

Check out the fire dance in the evening at Ubud Palace

Welcome to Bali! The drive to Ubud from the airport is 2-3 hours' long, depending on the traffic. If you feel up for exploring after your long journey, spend a couple of hours in the evening exploring Ubud Palace and watching the Kecak dance performance, a traditional Balinese fire dance. It's touristy, but a chill thing to do after your long drive.

For dinner, try Batubara for really yummy charred steaks, or Hujan Locale a trendy modern Indonesian spot with pretty setting and generous portions (try the rendang!).

Top Tip: When you arrive at the airport, there will be hordes of eager drivers hoping for your business. If you prefer to avoid the hassle, we'd highly recommend pre-booking your airport transfer.

Day 2: Sightseeing, But Only the Worthwhile Spots

If it's your first time in Bali, check off the Ubud hitlist today.

Goa Gajah Temple is a picturesque heritage site you can spend a couple of hours at

Morning: Start your day browsing Ubud art market (lots of tack, but nice market vibes), or visit the ancient Goa Gajah Temple, an ancient Elephant Cave and one of the great heritage sites in Bali.

Afternoon: After lunch, head to Campuhan Ridge Walk for the iconic rice terraces views that Bali is known for. If you want an easy walk in Ubud, Bali, where you walk past rice fields and rice terraces without a car in the world, this is IT. Before your walk, grab a coffee at Senimen Coffee, one of Bali's best cafes (just 15 minute walk from the start of the ridge walk).

The Campuhan Ridge Walk is THE place to go for an easy walk with incredibe views over Bali's iconic rice paddies

Alternatively, if you don't mind chaos, you can also check out Monkey Forest - but know that the monkeys here will steal whatever food you have!

In the late afternoon, unwind with a massage at Fresh Spa. It's clean, professional and one of our fave spas in Ubud!

Evening: In the evening, go for unforgettable modern Indonesia food at Nusantara. Created by the same team as Locavore (Bali's top restaurant), Nusantara is really interesting because it showcases all the famous dishes from around Indonesia - who knew there were so many types of sambal! It's perfect for the curious foodies.

Top Tip: Though today will be spent around Ubud town, there's quite a lot of distance to be covered between the various spots, so we'd recommend getting a driver for the day to cover all the spots!

Day 3: Seriously Cool Nature

Ubud is close to some of Bali's most gorgeous nature. Today's the day to chase waterfalls or explore volcanoes.

Munduk in North Bali is home to ancient forests and incredible waterfalls

Choose your adventure today! If you're looking for off-grid Bali, head to Munduk for the day. Munduk is north of Ubud and home to centuries' old trees, one of Bali's most sacred lakes and the most beautiful waterfalls. Here you can also learn about Balinese environmental stewardship and the deep connection locals have with their surroundings.

Check off your Bali hitlist with the most off-grid route up Mt Batur, Bali's most visited volcano.

Alternatively, if you want to check off your Bali bucket list, take a less-travelled route to Mount Batur. It's Bali's most popular volcano but we know a hidden route which involves a scenic boat ride, an easy ascent to the crater rim, and a delicious breakfast with breathtaking views. After Batur, we'd highly recommend going to Trunyan village, Bali's oldest village with ancient customs.

Top Tip: If you're going with kids or don't want to hike, you can also take the jeep up Mount Batur.

Day 4: Food, Artisans and Conservation

Ubud used to be home to Balinese artisans, but they have moved to neighbouring villages now. To get to know the artistry of Bali, head to the villages near Ubud.

If you're looking to get to know the artistry of Bali, head to Sidemen a neighbouring village of artisans

Morning: Sleep in, then savor a traditional Balinese lunch of mixed rice and local treats at SunSun Warung. If you're feeling active, head to a lovely garden in Sidemen for a modern Balinese plant-based cooking class!

Afternoon: Tap into your creativity at a silversmith workshop with a family of silversmiths Not only do you get to meet Balinese artisans who have been doing this for generations, this is special as it takes you to the neighbouring village of Sidemen (which is basically the true essence of Bali and what Ubud was like before mass tourism).

Evening: In the evening, experience a magical firefly safari guided by a conservationist. After learning about ground-up efforts to save fireflies, enjoy dinner with a local family for a heartwarming exchange. This is unexpected, and one of our favourite Balinese experiences that shows you the true heart of Bali.

Head to a tiny village that's leading the charge on fireflies conservation and enjoy a village dinner

Day 5: Ancient Traditions and Healing

Bali is home to incredible ancient traditions that are practiced by the locals to this day. Dive into the heart of Bali with a purification ceremony and healing.

The Melukat is one of the most meaningful experiences in Bali

Morning: Begin your day with a Melukat, a purification ceremony that allows you to experience the spiritual essence of Bali. The Melukat ceremony is so important to the Balinese that they do it several times a year. Afterward, grab a tasty sandwich at Lusa by Suka.

Afternoon: If you're seeking deeper cultural insight, consider a session with a traditional Balinese healer. Healers in Bali are highly revered and consulted on every life milestone by the locals. It shows you the deep spiritual side of Bali that most visitors never get to see.

Getting to know Bali's spiritual traditions is key to understanding the true essence of Bali

Evening: For your final dinner in Ubud, treat yourself to the innovative tasting menu at Locavore - it's basically the Noma of Indonesia which uses all local ingredients! For example there's no Indonesian dairy, so they use fish bones to craft incredible butter. It's incredibly fun and well executed. Reservations are essential.

Day 6: Departure

If time allows before your flight, enjoy a leisurely coffee and breakfast at Old Friend’s Coffee, a haven for coffee and dog lovers alike.

Top Tip: We'd recommend leaving your hotel at least 4-6 hours before your flight time on the day of departure, depending on what time you're leaving Ubud. If you're leaving at rush hour, allow at least 2 more hours for traffic.

Bye Bali!

Itinerary Notes

  • If you're looking to spend only a week in Bali and want to be based in one spot, we'd highly recommend Ubud. Ubud is ideal for exploring Bali's natural beauty and top sights like volcanoes, rice paddies, and temples. It's perfect for first-timers and families. If you love beaches and clubs, note that Ubud doesn't have these - head to Canggu or Uluwatu instead.
  • Ubud is further from the airport than South Bali, so add an extra hour or two for travel time (traffic dependent). This might be a consideration with young kids or short stays, but if you have more time, Ubud's beauty makes it worth the journey!

Travel Tips

  • Budget: If you're looking to do this itinerary, budget for SGD $60-$90 (USD $50-$70) per person per day for activities and transport.
  • Getting around: Ubud is pretty walkable but note that sidewalks can be narrow, and traffic can be chaotic. To get around, you can hire a private driver, take taxis (Bluebird) or ride-hailing services (Gojek). You may want to download the apps before you get to Bali just to be sure. Many of the activities will also include transport in the price!
  • Solo travel: Ubud is perfect for solo travellers because it's very welcoming and safe. You can walk around at any time of the day without people hassling you.
  • Clothing: Ubud is welcoming so you won't be judged on what you wear. But to respect local customs, dress modestly when visiting temples (cover your shoulders and your knees). Also it's cooler than Canggu so bring a light sweater (especially if you're going up Batur).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this itinerary good for solo/female travelers?

Absolutely! Ubud is a safe and welcoming destination for solo travellers and female travellers, and you'll find plenty of other solo travelers throughout the area. All the activities suggested in the itinerary are suitable for solo female travellers.

What's the best time of year to visit Ubud?

Bali enjoys warm weather year-round, but the dry season (April-September) is generally considered the most pleasant. Avoid the peak tourist season (July-August) if you want smaller crowds.

Can I customise this itinerary?

Yes! This plan is simply a starting point. Feel free to adjust activities, destinations, and add in rest days based on your own interests and pace.

How do I get around Ubud?

Ubud town is walkable. For destinations further out, you can use taxis, ride-hailing services, or rent a scooter if you're comfortable with one. If you're doing lots of sightseeing in the same day, the most time and cost efficient way of doing this is to get a private driver to take you around for the day.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan-friendly restaurants in the itinerary?

Yes! Hujan Locale, SunSun Warung, and Lusa by Suka all offer excellent vegetarian options. Many restaurants in Ubud are happy to accommodate dietary needs.

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