Ubud is not only the cultural center of Bali that attracts countless travelers that look for peace and quiet while getting into their yogi mode but it also provides you with so many adventures and spot to explore that staying here for at least a couple of days is an absolute must. I put together a list of the pretty much coolest places to check out while you’re here.
By the way, you can either get to them by driving your own scooter or renting a driver for a day or two. Keep in mind that once you leave Ubud, traffic usually tends to be a lot less and I found some of my absolute favorite spots driving around here and exploring the area, so I definitely recommend going exploring on your own. Also, Google maps or any other navigation app will make it super easy to find anything.
1. Monkey Forest (2 hours)
The Monkey Forest is probably one of the most known places to explore in Ubud and I absolutely love it. There are different areas in the forest and some make you feel like you’re in the middle of the jungle because you’re surrounded by gigantic trees and everything is so green and lush that it just seems like a different world. Make sure to plan at least an hour here so that you really do take everything in. Throughout the park there are numerous guards because some monkey can get a bit too hands-on, so just be careful with that.
2. Ubud Palace (10 minutes)
Ubud Palace is located very centrally in Ubud (go figure) and combines a small water temple (with so many gorgeous water lilies) with a really nice, small temple. Make sure to come check it out both during the day as well as during night (it doesn’t take long anyway) because the lights make it look super different and mystical. If you’re also interested in watching a traditional Balinese dance show, I can highly recommend the one they show here every night. It lasts about an hour and costs 80k (about 5€) and is really nice.
3. Tegallalang Rice Terrace (2-3 hours)
The Tegallalang Rice Terrace is probably one of the most iconic images you could have in mind when thinking about Ubud or Bali in general. They’re located about 20 minutes/10km north of Ubud and super easy to reach by scooter. I like to go here early in the mornings when it’s not super busy yet and the sun mixed together with the mist sometimes creates the most amazing light. By now, the placed a lot of swings in a few spots all over the area and for 50-70k (so about 3-5€), you can enjoy swinging on them for a couple of minutes while taking in where you actually are right now. Make sure to haggle though because I did meet people (yup, talking about myself here haha) that paid between 150-200k per person. After exploring and walking all the way up to the road again, there are countless restaurants that offer some amazing views and super delicious foods. Most of them are actually very decently priced and I love to walk around and find a new nice spot every time I come here and enjoy a late breakfast/early lunch 😊(
4. Goa Gajah (45 minutes)
Goa Gajah is super close to Ubud (about a 10-minute drive) and one of the coolest little temples around Ubud. One of the main sights is a temple entrance that looks like you’re walking through some creatures open mouth and into this rock cave. There are also many different pathways to walk on and explore so make sure you don’t skip them cause you really don’t want to miss out on what you might find on them.
Also, you will find one of the probably coolest looking trees of your life so don’t miss out on this one!
5.Pura Gunung Kawi (30-40 minutes)
Gunung Kawi is a beautiful temple that features a couple of
really big shrine reliefs that have been carved into rock. On the way down to
the temple you will also pass beautiful rice fields in which you rarely see
anybody (hence, this is a nice alternative to the sometimes very busy
Tegallalang Rice Terrace). The whole
place is surrounded by absolute gorgeous and lush plants so make sure to have
enough time for a proper stroll around so that you can take everything in.
6. Pura Tirta Empul (30 minutes)
Pura Tirta Empul is probably one of the most known water temples in Bali. It is known for its holy spring water that is used by Balinese Hindus for their ritual cleansing process and checking it out should definitely be on your list. If you drive here from Ubud, it should take about 30 minutes and you will pass countless amazing rice fields and drive through small villages that will absolutely make you fall in love with the island and people.
7. Campuhan Ridge Walk and Pura Gunung Lebah (1,5 hours)
These two awesome places are super close to the centre of Ubud and are situated pretty much right next to each other. You will get to Pura Gunung Lebah first and it’s a small temple with countless impressive stone statues that are surrounded by a super lush jungle. Pura Gunung Lebah is not a big temple but the whole surrounding and statues somehow make it super special. The fact that not a lot of people come really doesn’t hurt also.
The Campuhan Ridge Walk on the other hand is a bit more known but nevertheless super worth checking out. The whole walk takes about an hour roundtrip and you will get to enjoy absolutely amazing views of the jungle with sooo many gigantic palm trees (which are my absolute favorite) as well as rice fields, super cool looking villas as well a couple super cute restaurants. This walk is perfect for the afternoon hours because the light is perfect during those hours and you also won’t die of a heat stroke 😀
8. Café Pomengrate (1-1,5 hours)
Café Pomengrate is a small restaurant that’s completely surrounded by rice fields in what feels like the middle of nowhere. It might be a bit hard to find although google maps and a scooter make it a lot easier. On a clear day, you have an absolutely perfect view of the Mount Batur and Agung and this place is one of my absolute all-time favorites. I definitely recommend coming here for dinner for sunset because that’s when the light and atmosphere is absolutely perfect. Their food is also super amazing (especially the curries, just saying) and the wine is super affordable for Bali prices.
9. Tegenungun Waterfall (20 minutes/ 1 hour if you decide to go down to the waterfall)
Tegenungun Waterfall is one of the strongest waterfalls in Bali and is super easy to get to (just use google maps again :D). I recently went there and unfortunately found out that is has changed a lot in the past year and what used to be a gigantic waterfall in the middle of the jungle has turned into a pretty big tourist destination that’s surrounded by little stores and restaurants. They also built a restaurant right next to the waterfall and somehow started playing super loud music (of which I think that it just ruins the atmosphere). I do recommend to come here nevertheless but I just wouldn’t bother going down all the many steps to the waterfall and instead just enjoy it for a couple of minutes from the viewpoint.
10. Tibumana Waterfall (1 hour)
Tibumana Waterfall is a lot less known but so worth going to. The waterfall is smaller than Tegenungun Waterfall but if you come here early, chances are pretty high that you have this little paradise in the middle of the jungle completely to yourself and that alone makes it so so worth coming here.
11. Kanto Lampo Waterfall (1 hour)
This place is also one of my absolute favorite waterfalls here in Bali. Kanto Lampo is a very different waterfall than the others but looks like it’s straight out of Avatar because the rock formations in combination with the running water looks simply unreal. Timbumana and Kanto Lampo are also super close to each other so you can easily combine both of them for an absolutely amazing half-day trip into a different world.
Aaaand this is. These are all of my favorite things to do in and around Ubud and I can promise you that they won’t disappoint you. Also, all of these places are usually pretty easy to get to using Google Maps so you absolutely don’t have to worry about getting lost but rather just focus on having some seriously amazing day trips.