Best Places to Visit in Ubud

What to do in Ubud? Discover our list of must-sees so you don’t miss anything during your stay in this city, in the heart of the Island of the Gods! There are many places to visit in this town, but our list of places to visit in Ubud to make sure that you don’t miss any must go places in Ubud.

Considered the cultural and spiritual center of Bali, Ubud has become an essential stopover during a stay on the island. The city of more than 34,000 inhabitants is renowned for its artistic life, but also the lush nature that surrounds it and its atmosphere conducive to relaxation.

Location of Ubud

Ubud is located in the highlands of Bali, between the rainforest, the Ayung River and the rice terraces, where majestic temples are hidden. And despite the influx of tourists throughout the year, the place does not lose its charm.

Balinese culture is also very present in this city where a large number of museums, art galleries and dance performances await explorers.

Legend of Ubud

According to legend, this haven of peace was discovered by the Javanese priest Rsi Markendya in the 8th century. Ubud, from the Indonesian Ubat (medicine), was for a long time just a simple village where medicinal plants grew in abundance. Before attracting its first tourists, Ubud welcomed the Sukawati royal family (19th century) then Western artists who settled there (20th century), thus participating in the development of the arts in the city.

Read also: Ubud, Bali – Complete Travel Guide

Ubud Rice Fields (177188131)
Ubud rice fields. Stefan Kiehn Rosell, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Ubud is on the program? Here is a small selection so you don’t miss anything during your visit to the heart of Bali!

1- Observe the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest
2- His walk in the rice fields of Tegalalang
3- Visit Ubud Palace and Sarawasti Temple
4- Hike Campuhan Ridge Walk
5- Get lost in the central market of Ubud and Jalan Raya
6- Tegenungan Waterfall
7- Discover the temples of Ubud
8- Visit the Neka Museum
9- Relax at the Karsa Spa and at the springs of Empul Temple
10- Taste Balinese specialties in restaurants and at Café Luwak

It is a tourist town in Bali that offers many beautiful places to visit and many activities to do. Ubud is located in the center east, in the middle of the land and on the highlands. Ubud is famous for being a lively city that offers superb landscapes in the surroundings. There are many temples, a museum, restaurants, rice fields, spas, waterfalls, tropical forests etc. It is our ideal destination for nature lovers who wish to immerse themselves in Balinese culture. You can meet locals, attend ceremonies and traditional dances. We really enjoyed getting lost in Ubud!

Places to Visit in Ubud and Must Go

1- Observe the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest

The monkey forest is a must do when you go to Ubud and also one of the most visited places in Bali. We loved this attraction even though we were afraid of falling into a “tourist trap”! Here we can feed the monkeys and play with them.

Monkey Forest Ubud, Indonesia - panoramio (8)
Monkey Forest Ubud, Indonesia. Michelle Maria, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The beautiful rainforest provides a great ride. There are also 3 magnificent temples that can be visited. We appreciated this place because there is spirituality, walks, nature and a nature reserve. Long-tailed monkeys are very playful, following humans for food.

Monkey Forest Ubud, Indonesia - panoramio (2)
Monkey Forest Ubud, Indonesia. Michelle Maria, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Price: ADULT IDR 80,000 and CHILD IDR 60,000
Hours: open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Duration: we spent 2 hours in the forest

2- Walk in the rice fields from Tegalalang

One of our favorite places! You have to go to the small village of Tegalalang and then walk through the rice fields. We took lots of great pictures of the rice fields while strolling upstairs.

We also had the chance to chat with locals who explained to us how the harvest was going. Indonesia is the leading rice producer!

Rice terraces in Tagallalang

Photo credit: Pinterpandai (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

3- Visit Ubud Palace and Sarawasti Temple

Here are two palaces that we advise you to visit if you are in Ubud. Ubud Palace or Puri Saren Agung, can be visited quite easily since it is located near the Ubud market. There are often a lot of tourists which can make it difficult to take photos, but the visit is free.

The palace offers traditional dance performances but we did not attend. Ubud Water Palace or Sarawasti Temple is also easy to visit because it is located in the center. There are beautiful water lilies and beautiful plants! Here too, the visit is free.

Temple in Downtown Ubud Indonesia Bali - panoramio
Saraswati Temple in Ubud. Michelle Maria, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4- Hiking on Campuhan Ridge Walk

Being great hiking enthusiasts, we decided to test the Campuhan Ridge Walk. We had read many reviews and recommendations for what to do in Ubud and this hike seemed like a must.

We have not been disappointed ! Small advise…start the walk very early to avoid the flow of tourists. You will be able to observe beautiful panoramas on the surrounding rice fields.

Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud, Bali (15003626368)
Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud. Fabio Achilli from Milano, Italy, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5- Get lost in the central market of Ubud and Jalan Raya

Located in the center of Ubud town, the central market is the ideal place to buy souvenirs or discover Balinese handicrafts. We liked to get lost in the market and feel the ambient local atmosphere.

If you want to buy on the market, do not be afraid to negotiate because the locals will not hesitate to give you high prices at first sight, business is business! Jalan Raya is the city’s main avenue. Here you will find many shops, cafes, restaurants and museums. This is the very lively corner of the city!

Ubud market (16870234508)
Ubud market. Jorge Láscar from Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6- Tegenungan Waterfall

One of the places to Visit in Ubud is this waterfall is located in the village Tegenungan Kemenuh. You will have to walk a bit before reaching it but it is a fairly well-known tourist spot now. You will have a superb view of the surrounding green nature!

Tegenungan Waterfall 2017-08-18 (1)
Tegenungan waterfall. Magul, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7- Discovering the temples of Ubud

Most Balinese are Hindus. There are superb temples to visit: Gunung Kawi, Pura Turta Empull. There are others but these are the two we visited.

The first is superb because of the vegetation which blends with the local architecture. The second is a high place of the Balinese religion. Many ceremonies are held there regularly.

Gunung Kawi temple

In the vicinity of Ubud, you will discover Gunung Kawi, an exceptional temple with a sanctuary dug directly into the cliff. The Balinese call it the mountain of the Ancestors…

Located in Tampaksiring, Gunung Kawi is one of the must visit temples in Bali. It has the particularity of having tombs nestled in the cliff. You will fall in love with this Balinese place of belief, and will fully enjoy it without the crowds that you may encounter at Tirta Ganga, for example.

Access to Pura Gunung Kawi is chargeable. At the entrance, a temple agent checks your ticket and offers you a sarong if you are in shorts or bare legs, whether you are a man or a woman. For children, the sarong is not required, but you can request one if your child wishes.

Original: the entrance does not give immediate access to the temple! You will walk along rice fields to reach the Pura Gunung Kawi. The rice terraces lead you down countless steps to a flat path.

Gunung Kawi Tomb & Temple, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 02
Ancient Hindu Gunung Kawi temple in the dense forest area near Ubud in Bali. Saranabhi (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

8- Visit the Neka museum

The Neka museum is located a few kilometers from Ubud, on the heights. There are many paintings representing Balinese culture. It’s really an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and the daily life of the Balinese.

Read also: Museums in Bali | Explore the Island’s Rich Cultural and Artistic Heritage

Museum Seni Neka
NEKA Art Museum, Ubud. Harditaher, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

9- Relaxing at Karsa Spa and Empul Temple Springs

If you want to relax in an incredible setting, then the Karsa spa is for you! Even if the spa is quite expensive, the place is unique. That’s why we put it on our list of must-do places in Ubud. Located in the middle of the rice fields, this spa offers you superb services.

The springs of Empul Temple are magnificent. This source is the most beautiful that we did during our trip. Located more than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the center of Ubud, it is a sacred place made up of different temples. We strongly advise you to visit this place!

Pura Tirta Empul, Bali
Tirta Empul (Empul Temple Springs). A beautiful and old Hindu temple which hosts rituals. The temple has holy springs in which devotees bathe. Saranabhi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

10- Taste Balinese specialties in restaurants and at Café Luwak

There are many restaurants in Ubud to test the local gastronomy. We really enjoyed the different restaurants in town to eat in the evening and try different things.

The prices are so attractive that we were able to eat at the restaurant every day during our visit to Ubud. Luwak Coffee particularly marked us since we can taste the Luwak coffee, a product made from the excrement of the luwak which itself digests the small cherries of calé. Atypical experience guaranteed!

Sources: PinterPandai, CleverlySmart

Photo credit (main photo): Michelle_Raponi / Pixabay

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