I’ve been to Bali a number of times in the past but this was our first visit beyond the south of Bali and decided to exclusively spend 5 days in Ubud after being inspired by Eat, Pray, Love. Prior to our visit, I did some research and listed down everything I wanted to eat, visit and do in Ubud and compiled it all into this guide to help you for your next visit to Ubud.
Table of Content
- Getting Around
- Things to Note
Bali is an island in Indonesia and is about a 2 hour plane ride from Singapore. Ubud is the cultural hub located in the centre of Bali and is well known for it’s nature and temples about an hours drive from the airport.
To bring you around Bali, you can hire a driver to take you anywhere from South (Kuta) to Central (Ubud) to North (Lovina). However, even if you intend to exclusively explore Ubud, take note that you will still require a driver as most of the region are mountainous and hard to get to if you’re not familiar with the road there.
Private Drivers and Custom Tours
- BaliCowboy Tour & Adventures
- Klook Private City Transfers Around Bali
- Klook Private Sightseeing Custom Tour for Bali
Driving your own hired car?
Komaneka Rasa Sayang
Although there are many hotels in Ubud, we decided to stay in Komaneka Rasa Sayang because of it’s convenient location. It also has a beautiful pool and the hallways makes you feel like you’re walking in a rainforest with such a caring staff at our service and all these at an affordable price.
Sacred Monkey Forest
Home to around 700 Balinese long tailed Monkeys, 186 species of trees in this 12.5 hectares forest, it feels like you are stepping into Walt Disney’s classic – The Jungle Book. The park is heavily forested and hilly and there is a deep ravine that runs through the park grounds with rocky streams that visitors may access.
As beautiful as this place is, you must watch your step as there are quite a number of narrow pathways and uneven slopes. And of course, watch out for the cheeky monkeys! They may look cute but they won’t be so cute when they attack.
- Be careful of your belongings especially if they’re shiny and bright as it will attract them.
- Do not carry shopping bags especially those with food. Monkeys are very smart and they know where to look.
- Feed the monkeys at your own risk and do not try to pull the food back.
- Do not taunt the monkeys (even the babies) as they will take it as a threat.
Opening Hours: 0830 – 1800
Entrance Fee: 20,000IDR
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
A must-see while you’re in Ubud and one of the most (or probably the most) Instagram-ed places in Bali. This rice terrace is one of the most stunning as it is very well maintained and the dense green layers makes for great photo opportunities. You can explore the rice field from the top to the bottom and you can even take photos with the rice farmer and borrow his hat and tools (check out my Bali Highlights on Instagram) but do ensure to give them a tip.
Opening Hours: 0700 – 1900
Entrance Fee: 15,000IDR
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Hike along Campuhan Ridge Walk and enjoy sweeping hilltop views, more temples and more paddy fields. I’m not much of a hiker but I’m all for a good spa and there’s a popular one located towards the end of the ridge walk. We were there in the afternoon to tie in with our spa time due to our tight 5 days schedule but if you have more days to spare in Ubud, you may want to go for your hike early in the morning, enjoy your spa and leave before 6pm before it gets crazy dark and impossible to hike back down.
Opening Hours: 0530 – 1900
Entrance Fee: None
Tegenungan Waterfall is one of the few waterfalls in Bali that is not situated in highlands or mountainous territory hence it attracts lots of tourists. Take note though that swimming here depends on the season and the waters will look like chocolate milk especially during rainy season, nevertheless, it’s still beautiful and all part of Mother Nature.
Opening Hours: 0800 – 1800
Entrance Fee: 10,000IDR
No trip to Ubud is complete without watching a Balinese performance, particularly the story of Ramayana! You can purchase the tickets from the palace entrance but be there about 30 minutes before the show starts as most of the good seats will be taken. We got the best seats in the house because we were there early – right at the top with no bobbing heads blocking our view.
Show Ticket: 15,000IDR
Show Time: 1930 (Seated by 1900)
Gunung Kawi is one of Bali’s oldest and largest ancient monuments consisting of 10 shrines each believed to be a memorial to a member of the 11th-century Balinese royalty but little is known for certain. Balinese come here after prayers at Tirta Empul Temple and bring along some of the holy water to continue with prayers here.
Opening Hours: 0700 – 1700
Entrance Fee: 30,000 IDR
Goa Gajah also known as Elephant cave dates back to the 11th century and was built as a spiritual place for meditation. Legend has it that it was created by the fingernail of the giant Kebo Iwa.
Although it is called Elephant Cave, you will not find elephants here. Gajah meaning Elephant, came from the stone figure inside the cave depicting Lord Ganesha who is characterised by his elephant head. Inside, there are three stones to signify the trinity of the creator Lord Brahma, the preserver Lord Vishnu and the destroyer Lord Shiva.
Opening Hours: 0800 – 1630
Entrance Fee: 15,000 IDR
Pura Tirta Empul
One of the busiest water temples of Indonesia, Tirta Empul meaning Holy Water Spring in Balinese was founded in 926 A.D. and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The waters are believed to have healing powers, both physically and spiritually, so people come from all over Bali to purify themselves. Non-worshipers can bathe too but ensure you follow the ritual with a local guide.
Find out more about our experience at Pura Tirta Empul.
Opening Hours: 0900 – 1700
Entrance Fee: 30,000 IDR
A Guide to Cleansing Your Soul at Tirta Empul
I have always wanted to bathe in the holy waters of Tirta Empul and I finally did during this visit to Ubud. I wanted to make sure that I was…
Pura Taman Saraswati
One of the most accessible temples in Ubud, the Pura Taman Saraswati or better known as the Saraswati Temple is notable for the water at the front of the temple overflowing with lotuses. The temple honors Dewi Saraswati, the Goddess of wisdom, knowledge and the arts.
Opening Hours: 0800 – 1800
Entrance Fee: None
Folk Pool & Gardens
Folk Pool & Bar was a little tricky to find as the entrance was in between a narrow alleywalk behind No Mas Bar, just a stones throw away from Komaneka Rasa Sayang. But don’t let the entrance fool you, it’s a paradise secretly hidden!
You can choose to lounge on the cushion in the garden or you can dine in the pool hence it’s name – Folk Pool & Garden.
Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Opening Hours: 1000 – 2200
Cafe Lotus is located just beside Pura Taman Saraswati and is a little most upscale but it’s one of those restaurants in Bali that you must visit mainly for the experience of dining like Balinese royalty while watching a Balinese dance.
Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Opening Hours: 0830 – 2300
This warung has it’s tables full all the time and quite understandably so because both myself and Shine agreed that they served very fragrant food and they taste so incredibly good! Call to make a booking in the morning for your lunch/dinner as many people were turned away without a booking while we were enjoying our sumptuous dinner.
Jalan Gootama 13, Ubud, Bali 80571
Opening Hours: 1000 – 2200
Babi Guling Ibu Oka
A very popular warung famous for its roasted pork, Babi Guling, a Balinese delicacy. Take note though that it sells out very fast and has hoards of tour coaches flocking here so it’s recommended to come by early for lunch.
Jalan Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud Tengah, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Opening Hours: 1100 – 1800
Bebek Joni was recommended to us by our guide, Budi, because I wanted to try another Balinese favourite, crispy bebek (meaning duck in Bahasa). It was one of the best ducks I’ve had, never tried it fried until this visit to Bali and Bebek Joni gave me a good impression with the attentive staff and awesome scenery of the paddy field to go along with my lunch.
Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80582
Opening Hours: 1100 – 2200
Although Bali is jam-packed with Luwak Kopi farms and cafes, we went for Uma Pakel because they served a colourful array of Balinese Tea for tasting too and they had the Bali Swing and Bird Nest all in one place! Turned out, we took some of our favourite photos here and bought quite a bit of coffee and teas home.
Find out more about our Kopi Luwak Tasting Experience at Uma Pakel.
Jalan Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561
Opening Hours: 0800 – 2100
Balineses Kopi Luwak Tasting
Since both Shine and I are coffee enthusiasts, one of the things to strike off the bucket list was to try the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi…
If you’re looking for some serious shopping and recommendations on what to purchase and bargaining tips while in Ubud, this Ubud Shopping Guide will be helpful.
Ubud Traditional Art Market
A bargain hunter’s dream and I would recommend Ubud Art Market if you’re up for endless rows of shops and if you’re nearby Monkey Forest or Ubud Palace. Take note that it is better to shop in the morning for the best bargain buys.
Sukawati Art Market
I would recommend Sukawati Art Market if you have extra time in your hands and buying anything in bulk. Great place to buy t-shirts and keychains for colleagues and a big family back home but don’t expect it to have as much variety as Ubud Art Market because Sukawati Art Market is very crowded and much smaller.
A Guide to Shopping in Ubud
I’m quite picky when it comes to shopping especially when I travel because I hate having to carry heavy baggage back. There are only a few places in the world…
Karsa Cafe & Spa is located towards the end of the Campuhan Ridge walk about an hour from the starting point depending on your pace. I wanted to get an authentic Balinese Spa feel amidst the lush surrounding and zoomed in for Karsa Spa. We went for the Traditional Balinese Massage and Lulur Scrub Flower Bath.
Take note that you have to make a booking before visiting the spa as it is extremely popular and do not show up late or your booking will go to walk-in customers.
Jalan Markandia, Banyar Bangkiang Sidem, Keliki, Tegallalang, Kelusa, Payangan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Tel: +62 813-5339-2013 / +62 812-3665-7908
Opening Hours: 0900 – 1900
Quick Travel Tip
Find the cheapest flights at midnight on Tuesdays on Skyscanner.
Things to Note
- The main language spoken in Bali is Bahasa Indonesia but majority of Balinese understand and can speak simple English.
- Most Balinese are Hindus.
- Best time to shop in Ubud is the morning when the stores open. Check out my Ubud Shopping Guide for more shopping tips.
- Book a driver to bring you around Ubud before you make your way here as the local cabs are limited and Grab is banned here! Do not underestimate the distance in Ubud as most places are hard to get to without a driver.
- Not all the eateries we visited were upscale, some were little warungs recommended by the locals so don’t expect to get fine dining service especially for the price that some of these warungs charge. In fact, some of my favourite Balinese dishes were from these warungs, don’t diss it till you try them!
There you go, a complete guide to everything I’ve learned about Ubud! I hope you find this helpful in planning your next trip here and of course, there is much more to see in Bali. I hope to write a similar guide to Seminyak, Kuta and Northern Bali someday too.
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