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TOP THINGS TO DO IN UBUD

A FIRST-TIMER'S GUIDE


Ubud is the top arts and culture destination of Bali. Here you are surrounded by rice fields, lush forest, stunning temples, a plethora of wellness offerings and a thriving local arts scene. The main hub of Ubud is located around Jalan Raya, which is home to many popular attractions within walking distance of one another. However, there are also many places to discover in the surrounding region, just a short taxi ride away.

Top Attractions in Ubud - Tegallalang Rice Terrace

 

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CAMPUHAN RIDGE WALK


Located off Jalan Raya, on the east side of town, is the Campuhan Ridge Walk. This is a great natural attraction that has no entry fee. There are a couple of uphill sections, but for the most part, it is a moderate walk. The trail starts at a bridge, crossing the rapids below. You walk alongside the river before ascending the incline to the ridge. From here, you have sweeping views across the surrounding forest, houses and rice fields.


We would highly recommend visiting in the early morning, not only to beat the crowds but also the heat of the day, as there is barely any shade on the ridge.


TEGALLALANG RICE TERRACE


Of all the rice fields in Ubud, the most beautiful and famous is the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. These rice paddies cover the slopes of the valley and utilise a traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system called Subak. It takes less than 30 minutes to reach the rice terrace by taxi, or you can book a tour with transportation included.


We decided to enjoy the views for breakfast first before venturing into the terrace. Check out our food guide, Where To Eat in Ubud, for more information on this amazing cafe.

Accessing the terraces from the cafe is free, unlike other entry points that require an entry fee. However, donations or tips to the farmers of the land you are exploring is encouraged.



WATERFALLS

There are many amazing waterfalls sites to visit around Ubud. To tick them all off, you would need an extended stay in the area, but with limited time, there are a few popular ones at the top of the list. These include Tibumana, Kanto Lampo, Suwat, Tegenungan, Tukad Cepung and Leke Leke just to name a few. To reach these waterfalls, you will need to book a tour, arrange a driver or hire a form of transport for yourself.   

 

We arranged a driver for half a day to see the waterfalls. We fit in Kanto Lampo, Tibumana and Suwat. For more on this half-day trip, check out day six on our 1 Week Ubud Itinerary.  


SACRED MONKEY FOREST SANCTUARY


The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is one of the most popular attractions in Ubud. Although it is well known for the opportunity to interact with the macaques, the forest is, first and foremost, a nature reserve and temple complex.  

 

Prior to visiting the forest, we were unsure what to expect, and we did a lot of research to understand if it was an ethical experience. If you are also looking for clarification and more information on visiting this site, check out our Know Before You Go guide.  


SARI ORGANIC WALK & SWEET ORANGE WALK TRAIL


When you want to escape the crowds without driving outside of town, head to the Sari Organic and Sweet Orange Walks. These trails take you along the rice fields right in the heart of Ubud. Considering how close this is to the main street, it is amazing how peaceful the rice fields are. Along the trail, there are stores selling a range of goods and galleries full of incredible local art. There are also many cafes and restaurants.


There are two entrances to this walk. The first is a path from the main street in town, indicated by a sign that says "Subak Juwuk Manis - Magical Rice Field in Ubud". At first, this trail doesn't look like a relaxing walking path, but a few minutes in, the track turns a corner and opens to the stunning rice fields ahead. For a less adventurous option, you can meet the trail on the other end, a further walk away from the main street up Jalan Kajeng.



UBUD ART MARKET


Things To Do in Ubud - Ubud Art Market

In the centre of town is the Ubud Art Market. Whether you are looking for something to buy, or just want to stroll through the rainbow umbrellas, these markets are worth a visit. Most items sold here are made locally, and there is an overwhelming number of stalls to browse. The markets are open every day, from 8 am to 5 pm, although some stalls stay open later.




PURI SAREN AGUNG (UBUD PALACE)


Things To Do in Ubud - Ubud Palace

Puri Saren Agung, or Ubud Palace, was the home of the royal family of Ubud. It is located on the main road, in the heart of town. Entrance to the grounds is free, with a few areas in the compound open to tourists. These gardens are not very big, so you don’t need to block out a huge chunk of time to visit.


At night, the Palace also hosts traditional Balinese dance performances.




PURA TAMAN SARASWATI (SARASWATI TEMPLE)


Located a short walk away from the Ubud Palace is Pura Taman Saraswati, also known as the Ubud Water Palace or Saraswati Temple. This temple is dedicated to Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of wisdom, knowledge and the arts. Tourists cannot enter the temple, but the main attraction outside the gate is free to visit. The lotus pond, with a passage that leads up to the stunning temple gateway, is what draws most tourists to this place. Up the path, the statues, tiled walkways and gateway have incredibly intricate designs you can only admire up close.



GOA GAJAH (ELEPHANT CAVE)


Goa Gajah, or ‘Elephant Cave’, is a Hindu archaeological site located a short drive south of the main street. There are a few sites to explore within the grounds, including a bathing temple, relics (some still with unknown origins), sculptures and gardens. However, the main part of the site is the ‘Elephant Cave’. The entrance to the cave is through the mouth of a menacing-looking demon. Inside is relatively small, dark and hazy from the incense. To the left is a statue of Ganesh, to the right there are several stones honouring Shiva.


The entrance fee is 50K IDR per person. Both men and women need to cover up to enter the site. There are stalls selling sarongs outside, but if you don't want to buy one, there are some to borrow at the entrance for free.



OUR GOOGLE MAPS


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use too.



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