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10 amazing things to do in ubud

Ubud is a town located on the Indonesian island of Bali and has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the years. The towns population is massively exceeded by more than 3 million tourists a year dwarfing the near 75,000 people who live there. So what makes Ubud so popular? lots actually, too much for one article, there’s a lot to see in Ubud and it’s near on impossible to list it all here, but it is a good starting point, so without further ado, here are 10 amazing things to do in Ubud, Bali. 

Sarawatui Temple Ubud

Kicking off our list is the beautiful Sarawatui Temple which is more commonly referred to as Ubud water palace, which is one of the more popular Hindu temples in Ubud. Construction began in 1951 and impressively only took one year to complete. The temple was designed by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, a Balinese sculptor and architect who is accredited to building many other temples in and around Ubud and neighbouring villages. 

The temple is a popular Instagram spot and attracts many visitors. It is important to mention that a sarong tied around the waist is required to enter but if you haven’t purchased one they are available to rent also, menstruating women are not permitted, there currently is no admission fee however they have private dance performances that take place daily with the exception of Friday. Tickets for this are 80,000 IDR ( $5.75 / £4.30 ) with performances starting at 19:30, standard temple opening hours are from 07:00 – 17:00.

Things to do in ubud - temple
Typical balinese style temple.

Ubud art market

Ubud art market is exactly what it says on the tin… an art market, in Ubud. Amidst the sea of colours you will be able to find fine silk scarves, beautiful shirts and other hand crafted items. One of the delights about this market is that it is such a pleasure to just stroll through and take in the how beautiful it all looks,it’s an experience in itself without even having to purchase something. 

The market is open daily from 9am until 6pm. The prices here are generally pretty good for the most part but vendors have come to accept haggling is a part of the buying process and wont find it rude if you try to go in with a polite offer, so don’t be shy! The key to haggling is to always have a smile on your face and know how much you are willing to pay for an item before you start, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a purchase if you don’t come to an agreement on the price. 

Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest is one of the regions biggest attractions and is one of the main reason that Ubud pulls in so many visitors annually. The forest is a nature reserve owned by the villige of Padangtegal and plays host to over 180 different species of tree’s spanning over 12.5 hectacres. The forest is open daily from 8:30am until 6pm and the entrance fee is IDR 80,000 (£4.39 / $5.74) for adults and IDR 60,000 (£3.29 / $4.30) for children. check out monkey forest’s website

As there is over 700 monkeys in the forest there have been a few guidelines set out to help make your visit as smooth as possible. First and most obviously, it is recommended to not bring any food, especially bananas as this will cause the monkeys to swarm you which could potentially lead to the injury of yourself, those around you and the monkeys themselves.

Generally other than this it is common sense, monkeys are wild animals and not pets and are in no way domesticated, trying to grab, stroke or pet the monkeys in any way can result in bites, scratches and other injuries and is therefore advised against. If you are respectful of the animals and use common sense i’m sure you’ll have a fantastic time. 

Get up close and personal with the monkeys.

Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah otherwise known as ‘Elephant Cave’ is a sanctuary built in the 9th century and is one of Ubud’s most visited place of worship and is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Ubud. The Goa Gajah has detailed carvings in the stone depicting menacing faces which are thought to have helped ward of evil spirits. Inside the temple are different statues and carvings, most notably that of seven women holding pitchers of water which are intended to represent the 7 ‘holy’ rivers in India. 

The Elephant cave is open daily from 10am until 6pm and has an entry cost of around IDR 30,000 – 60,000 (approx. $2-4) depending on the season and day. It’s also worth noting that depending on what the individual is wearing they may be required to wear a sarong, however these are rented out free of charge from the entrance. 

Tegenungan Waterfall

Tegenungan waterfall is a natural waterfall located just a short drive south-east of Ubud in Gianyar. The waterfall is one of the only ones in the area that isn’t located in a mountainous or highland territory which therefore makes it one of the easier waterfalls to gain access too. the waterfalls clarity depends on the amount of rainfall so it is therefore best to organise your visit during several dry days. The waterfall area boasts several different vantage points to help you take beautiful shots of the waterfall and surround greenery. 

There are tours available at varying prices depending on how and who you book your tour with, it’s also worth mentioning that access to the waterfall is down a flight of steps so appropriate footwear is required, the entry fee is around IDR 15000 which is just under a dollar/pound making it very affordable, parking is only 5000 also. 

things to do in Ubud - waterfall

Take a tour

It’s fair to say that the locals are going to have a better knowledge of the area than most tourists, this is why some of the locals decide to put their knowledge to good use and offer a wide variety of different tours. A tour is a cheap way to see different sites in and around Ubud and is a great way to also find out about all the best dining spots and bars. Local tour guides are generally famous for being super friendly and also very knowledgeable and know how to have a laugh so if you’ve got a bit of spare time why not fill it with a personalised tour.  

Puri Saren Palace

Puri Saren Palace without a doubt deserves a place on this list, not only is it one of the most amazing things to do in Ubud it is also one of the most beautiful. Puri Saren or more simply Ubud Palace was once upon a time the official residence of the royal family of Ubud. The palace regularly plays host to different ceremonies as well as other regular events that focus on art dance and literature as well as events of other cultural importance. 

The Palace is open daily from 8am to 7pm and is well worth a visit, the breathtaking architecture alone makes it worthwhile. It is worth noting that while there isn’t currently a dres code enforced those wearing shorts and sandals may want to wear a sarong. Entrance is free but the events cost around  IDR 100,000 and are different daily. 

See a performance

One thing that Ubud has no shortage of are performances and stage events, there’s plenty of music and dance to be enjoyed if that’s your thing. A lot of Bali’s culture is bought into the performances too which makes it very interesting to watch. The outfits normally consist of bright colours styled off of traditional attire and the music is set to match. A lot of the performances in and around Ubud actually happen in the evening. It is not uncommon for a temple to be used to set the stage for a performance once it has closed for the day. 

It is worth checking out the different tourist boards for more detailed schedules and pricing for performances but you wont have to look very far, be prepared to pay between IDR 60,000 to 120,000 for a performance depending on season where and when it is. It’s worth noting that sometimes places will offer free performances if a meal if brought so it’s worth checking out all your options. 

Traditional Balinese performance

Botanical Gardens

So this article is about amazing things to do in Ubud but have you taken a moment to see how amazing Ubud is by itself, Ubud is a beautiful little village town with a lot of nature around it, from natural waterfalls to age old temples and rice fields, this place has a lot of amazing things to do. If you want to take a step back and just enjoy the tranquillity of this place then maybe you should try out a botanical garden. 

There are plenty of different nature trails and gardens to choose from but if you have the time to take a small journey south of Ubud then you will find a breathtaking garden called Bali orchid garden and while technically not a thing to do in Ubud it is in close proximity with good transport links. 

Bali orchid garden is open daily from 8:30am to 6pm and boasts many different species of orchid and guided tours amongst their secluded and intimate gardens. The entrance fee is IDR 100,000 which also includes a tour guide so is very reasonable.

Take a moment to relax

One thing that you will begin to feel when you visit Ubud is that although there can be a lot of hustle and bustle there is still a small village feel to it and you feel as though you are never too far away from somewhere very peaceful. You can go from a busy market street to a near abandoned ancient temple that feels worlds apart in less than 5 minutes, and that’s one of the amazing things about Ubud. 

If you are a fan of all things tranquil then I strongly suggest trying about one of their many spa’s and massage parlours dotted in and around Ubud. The first place I suggest trying is DaLa Spa. This spa offers a range of different treatments and packages from bath and body scrubs to full body massages. The staff are described as being very friendly and professional and the overall experience is 5 stars. 

secondly, why not give Bali Botanica Spa a try? They offer 5 star treatments at budget prices. They are really reasonably priced and also offer day packages if you fancy treating yourself. For around about £75/$100 you can treat yourself to a full day of pampering and they go all out. 

To start things off they will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the spa, then upon arrival you will receive a free drink from reception as well as all the information you will need from the receptionist such as treatments scrubs etc. After this you will have your first treatment, an Ayurvedic massage which lasts two and a half hours, followed by a body scrub and your choice of bath (there’s a range of different scrubs and you can also choose what bath you would like i.e. rose petals, bath of spices etc.) 

then after this you will receive a two course lunch and drinks then a facial and to finish off a hair cream treatment, this truly is an all day spa package that is hard to beat. check out their packages!

Take some time to relax!

There was have just a few things to do in Ubud, by no where near all of them but something to get the creative ideas flowing, Ubud is an amazing destination to visit and I highly recommend it if you get the chance, be sure to make the most of your time here though because time will fly by in this amazing village.

There we have it, 10 amazing things to do in Ubud. If you have enjoyed this article then feel free to drop a comment below and give a suggestion for an upcoming article. Feel free to check out a few of my other articles such as a backpacking guide and how to enjoy solo travel. 

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