Top 30 Things to Do Around Ubud
The most epic things to do in Ubud from hiking adventures to crafting with local artisans
- Things to Do in Ubud
- Cool Day Trips from Ubud
Ubud is known by many for its rice fields and yoga retreats, but we love it because it’s the perfect mix of epic adventures and heartfelt experiences. Ubud is also the perfect base for day trips such as exploring Mount Batur volcano, hidden waterfalls and authentic East Bali.
You can spend 5 days or two weeks in Ubud and you won’t be bored!
Things to Do in Ubud
Explore Gorgeous Rice Paddies
One of the most special sights in Ubud is the rice paddy fields that surround the town. We don't love the Bali swing as it feels incredibly touristy. So if you're like us and are looking for a more authentic way to explore the paddy fields other than the jungle swing, we'd highly recommend a bicycle tour instead. Here you'll get to see the more remote rice paddies and local villages, and really experience the local way of life.
Take Part in a Purification Ceremony
For the Balinese, the Melukat ceremony is a way to purify the mind, body and soul while seeking blessings from the gods and ancestral spirits. You don't have to be religious or spiritual to find meaning in this ritual. You can just enjoy the peace of being in nature. Pura Tirta Empul Temple is the most famous place for Melukat, but if you are looking for something a bit more off-grid and authentic, check out this one instead.
Enjoy Sunset on Campuhan Ridge Walk
You can wear your flip flops for this relaxing stroll! The Campuhan Ridge Walk is a mellow, mostly paved hiking trail that offers stunning views of the surrounding rice paddies and forests. It's easy to get to and even easier to navigate, all on your own. Best time to come is in the evening to enjoy the gorgeous sunset skies.
Admire the Beauty of Saraswati Temple
Although it can be a little hectic and it's most certainly not a hidden gem, the Saraswati Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess, is a must see spot in Ubud. The gorgeous lotus pond gives the place a peaceful vibe even with many tourists milling around.
Stop by Serayu Pot for Hand Made Gifts
We love Serayu Pot for its cozy and bright aesthetic as well as the story. This pottery studio and shop was started by a local artist who wanted to find a way to make enough money to send his kids to school. You may not have the time to make your own piece, but you can browse the shop to pick up a beautiful hand made terracotta pot or Balinese style painting. All for a good cause!
Watch Macaques Play in Sacred Monkey Forest
Whether you choose to go to Ubud monkey forest or not will depend on your tolerance for cheeky monkeys. If you can stand a bit of chaos, it can still be an interesting experience to wonder through this thick, jungle like natural reserve and watch the thousands of long tailed macaques play. Empty your pockets and bags of food before you come - otherwise they’ll be all over you!
Swing by Seniman for a Cup of Coffee
Seniman Coffee is an Ubud based, vertically integrated specialty coffee brand that elevates Indonesian beans to new heights. In addition to making tasty coffee, they also invest a lot in training and up-skilling local baristas and roasters. If you are planning an off-grid adventure and need good coffee to come with you, we highly recommend to pick up a box of their single use coffee drips!
Get Kitschy at the Ubud Art Market
Although a little kitschy and at times touristy, the Ubud Art Market is still a fun spot to wonder the stalls, hunting for souvenirs and gifts to take home. Here, you'll find a wide range of traditional Balinese textiles, wood carvings, and the occasional dream catcher and unicorn figurine.
Surprise Your Taste Buds at Locavore
Locavore is basically the Noma of Indonesia, but at a fraction of Noma's prices. It's one of our favourite restaurants in Bali because it really showcases the creativity of Balinese chefs and highlights local ingredients in a really surprising way. Imagine butter but without dairy and entirely made out of fishbones?! Come here for a really special experience.
Feel the Vibes at Goa Gajah Temple
Step right up and be swallowed up by the demonic, gaping mouth of the Goa Gajah Temple. The menacing entrance to the temple also known as Elephant Cave, leads to a small carved from stone chamber. Imagine what it would have been like to be a Hindu priest in the 14th century meditating here day in and day out!
Learn About Unique Flavours of Bali
The flavours in Bali will leave you wondering what makes food here so bold and fragrant. The Bali Farm Cooking School offers hands-on lessons that will teach you how to make local dishes using fresh, organic ingredients grown on the school's farm. Perhaps the best part of the experience is visiting the local market where you get to see the colorful local vibes and pick up ingredients for the meal.
Learn the Balinese Art of Batik
Ubud is traditional the artistic hub of Bali, with local artisan villages all based around here. These days it's hard to find an authentic artisan in Ubud as they've all decamped to nearby villages that are cheaper.
One of the remaining artist studios, nestled by green jungle vibes, teaches the traditional art of Batik. This elegant fabric painting by wax and dye is an ancient Indonesian tradition. Making a piece of your own at Five Art Studio will give you a glimpse of how intricate and time consuming this practice can be.
Make Yummy Tempeh
Did you know that tempeh was on the agenda at the G20 Meeting in 2022? This native Indonesian food, extremely dense in nutrients, is the sustainable food of the future that promises to feed the growing global population. Get ahead of the curve and learn how to make and prepare this delicious delicacy from the experts!
Design Jewellery with a Local Silversmith
Want to take home something a little more special than just a souvenir you picked up at a local market? How about making your own piece of silver jewellery! Ubud is famous for its silversmiths and spending a few hours in a cozy studio, while you make a ring or a pendant is a great way to learn more about this craft.
Experience Yoga with a View
You've probably heard of yoga in a studio and most likely practiced it at home, but have you ever tried yoga outside with an amazing view? Pranasanti Yoga can lead yoga sessions anywhere around Ubud - from forests with waterfalls to your own private villa. Their instructors are super patient and great with beginners and even advanced students.
Make Your Own Balinese Offering
Wonder what's the deal with all the tiny flower trays scattered on the pavements through out Bali? You can take a workshop where you can learn all about the significance of the offering to Balinese culture as well as make one yourself. If you wish, you can even wear the traditional garb that Balinese women wear when they make the offerings!
Spiritual Guidance from a Healer
The Balinese have a long and sacred tradition of consulting healers in a time of need or change, seeking spiritual wisdom from an elder. This tradition has come to wider attention with the film Eat Pray Love, which has also brought about a lot of hacks. After searching far and wide, we have found Jero, a genuine healer that continues the authentic practice, spiritually advising both locals and travellers.
Learn about Traditional Farming
Bali has ancient but modern day relevant farming techniques that take into account sustainability. By joining a workshop on a local farm you will see how traditional tractors and plows are used and get hands on in the harvest process. At the end, you will be able to prepare a dish with locally grown ingredients.
Craft Your Own Bamboo Furniture
As you travel around Bali you will notice bamboo being used in everything from food to building materials. At Bamboo Creative, you can work with local craftsman that will teach you all about the importance of bamboo to the Balinese home and you can even craft your own piece of bamboo furniture!
Cool Day Trips from Ubud
Experience Sunrise on Mount Batur
Is it worth waking up in the middle of the night to see the sunrise atop Mount Batur? YES!! You will not regret the early wake up and the night time trek as you watch the sun illuminate Mount Agung and Mount Abang. But if you are really can't be bothered that early, there are other ways to experience Mount Batur, such as taking a jeep!
Learn more about the Mount Batur trek here.
Taste Sunstainably Grown Coffee
Not all cups of coffee are created equally. If you really want to taste the best and learn more about this globally beloved crop, visit a sustainable coffee farm. Bali Beans is a family owned enterprise which only grows organic beans and works to elevate the local community as well as the status of Balinese beans as it sends them around the world.
Head to Gorgeous Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida with its dramatic landscapes, small winding roads and farming community is known for being like Bali 20 years ago. The most popular way to see this island off the coast of Bali is to do a day trip that usually covers all the IG-famous spots via car, followed by a snorkelling boat trip to see Manta Rays and other amazing sea life.
Feel the Epic Sekumpul Waterfalls
Sekumpul is the biggest and most impressive waterfall in Bali. Standing at the base of it as two large and constant streams of water come barreling down, it's hard not to be in awe of how powerful nature is. There are several ways to trek down to the bottom of the waterfalls, but anyway you take, it will make for a mild lush jungle trek.
Buggy Ride Through Villages of Munduk
Have you ever heard of the Fin Komodo? No, it's not the lizard! It's a locally produced off-road vehicle, similar to an ATV or buggy. And it's perfect for exploring jungles, villages and finding hidden waterfalls in Munduk. You won't regret the 2 hour drive from Ubud for this fun adventure!
Discover Untouched Sidemen
Sidemen is a sleepy small town that can be described as Ubud before Eat Pray Love. Sidemen is best for a quiet, back to nature stay or a day trip to walk through the rice paddies. If you have more time, there's also a super quaint silversmith shop that is worth a visit to make yourself a unique piece of jewelry.
Canoe on Gorgeous Tamblingan Lake
Lake Tamblingan is a hidden gem in the heart of the Bali Barat National Park. Its deep blue waters are surrounded by dense forests and verdant hills. One of the highlights of the lake, is the Ulun Danu Tamblingan Temple which is perched right on the bank. The best ways to experience it is by canoe.
Discover Local Balinese Wine
If you were not expecting to find locally made wine in Bali, you are not alone. We chanced upon Sababay Winery by accident and discovered that they have a noble mission of empowering local farmers to get better returns for their grape harvests. Knowing that you are helping the local farmers makes the picnic wine down in a lush garden that much sweeter!
Hike Mt Agung, Holliest Mountain in Bali
This is one of the most challenging climbs in Bali, but also one of the most rewarding. At 3031 meters, Mt. Agung is the tallest peak in Bali, as well as the most active volcano and most sacred to the local people. Suitable if you do regular cardio, or are an intermediate hiker as this requires a 8-10 hours climb time.
Mud Wrestle Like the Locals
This is a super cool way to understand local Balinese culture, and immerse in their traditional practices. Here you'll to try Mepatingan, a uniquely Balinese martial art which takes place in the rice paddy mud. Once you've had an exiting tumble in the mud with your friends and family, you can enjoy a mud sauna, a coffee scrub and a cup of java followed by a delicious local lunch!
White Water Rafting
If you’re up for a bit of an adventure, head to nearby Ayung River for white water rafting. The river is nestled in the jungle and you’ll be immersed in beautiful nature views. Ayung River is popular because it’s beginner-friendly - it’s a good way to get out in nature and have fun!
Frequently Asked Questions
Ubud in Bali, Indonesia is made popular by Eat, Pray, Love, but there’s so much more to Ubud than yoga classes and rice fields. Ubud is the beating cultural and spiritual hub of Bali. Here you’ll find gorgeous nature, adventure, temples, spiritual experiences and a rich artists culture.
The top things for us to do here are: farm-to-table cooking class, learn about local spiritual practices such as Melukat (purification ceremony), visit a local village to learn about the Balinese approach to sustainability, crafting with master artisans and day trips to the adventurous North Bali and sleepy, authentic East Bali.
If you’re interested in tourist attractions, there are a number of sights within Ubud you can rent a motorbike or get a local travel guide to take you on day trip - such as the more touristed Ubud art market and Ubud monkey forest.
As for day trips, you can also do white water rafting nearby on the Ayung river, do an early morning hike at Mount Batur and ATV in the jungle nearby. We’d highly recommend a day trip to adventurous Munduk or sleepy East Bali.
Ubud is definitely the best place to base yourself for sightseeing as most of the activities are nearby here.
We would recommend at least 4 clear days if you’re pressed for time, but ideally you would spend a week here. With a week, you’ll get enough time to explore Ubud and its surrounds to get a real feel for the place. 4 clear days means that you land on day 0, and you leave on day 5!
Ubud is about 2.5 hours drive from the airport, and even getting out of Ubud central to go to nearby rice terraces such as e.g. Tegalalang rice terraces, could be a 40-60 minutes drive. So you do need to factor in the travel time when deciding how long to spend here.
Here’s how you can spend your time in and around Ubud:
- Day 1: Hire a local guide / driver for a day tour to take you around Central Ubud and nearby spots for sightseeing. During this day you’ll cover the usual tourist attractions such as Tegallalang Rice Terrace, waterfalls such as Tibumana and Kanto Lampo waterfall, Tirta Empul Temple and Ubud Monkey Forest. In the evening if you still want more, you can head to Ubud palace to see the traditional kecak dance performance. After this first day, you’d have seen all the touristed spots!
- Day 2: Head to Mount Batur for a easy beginner-friendly hike up Bali’s most popular volcano. If you don’t like hiking you can also take a jeep up. After your hike, you should add-on a visit to Trunyan village - Bali’s oldest village with a magic tree. If you prefer a bigger hiking challenge, we’d recommend hiking Mount Agung, Bali’s tallest and most sacred volcano.
- Day 3: Experience crafting with local artisans. You can stay in Ubud and learn Batik (a traditional balinese art), or you can do a half day trip out to nearby Sidemen to learn jewellery making from a silversmith family who has been crafting for generations. We’d highly recommend Sidemen as you’ll get to see what Ubud was like before mass tourism. In the evening, we’d recommend having dinner in a local village to learn about the local way of life in an authentic and heartfelt way.
- Day 4: If you'd like more nature, do a cycling tour around the rice fields in the morning. Or you can do a farm-to-table cooking class with a visit to a local market and organic farm to really experience the heart of Balinese sourcing and cooking. In the evening, head to a local warung for dinner or to Nusantara or Locavore (upmarket restaurants that are some of the best in Bali).
- Day 5 (Optional): If you’re interested in wellness, we’d highly recommend doing a purification ceremony and visiting a healer in Bali. The Balinese spiritual vibes are strong and it’s difficult to fully understand Balinese culture without understanding the deep spirituality underlying it. If you like yoga, you can head to the famous yoga barn, but we prefer getting a private yoga teacher for a more personal experience.
If it’s your first time in Bali and you’d like to explore the beaches, you can also spend 4 days in Ubud and 3 days down south in Canggu, Seminyak and Denpasar to experience beach and surf culture. Note that there are no beaches or clubs in Ubud so you’ll need to head down south for that.
Yes! Ubud is one of the best places in Bali (and even Asia!) to visit as a solo traveller, and especially if you're a female solo traveller as it's incredibly safe here. There are no clubs in Ubud so it's rare to encounter drunk and rowdy behaviour (that you might encounter in South Bali e.g. Seminyak and Kuta), and it's perfectly safe to walk the streets alone even when it gets dark. The Balinese are incredibly hospitable and helpful, and speak excellent English so if you ever need help you can turn to the locals.
As with travelling anywhere in the world, low risk doesn't mean zero risk. So do have your wits about you - don't walk around with your bag wide open, clutch your bag to you at all times and don't leave valuable items unattended. Ubud is safer than most cities around the world, so you don't need to be hyper vigilant but just keep your wits about you and it'll be fine!
As for things to do there, there are so many things to do in Ubud as a solo traveller. We'd highly recommend taking a guided tour (but a non-cheesy one!) and seeking out experiences where you'll interact with the locals so you'll get to see how truly hospitable the Balinese are. You'll be on your own but we promise you'll never feel alone here in Bali.