Tis Cafe in Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

13 Things to Do in Ubud in Bali (Plus Tips for Avoiding the Crowds)

Ubud is one of the cornerstone tourist destinations in Bali, and often touted as the cultural capital of the island. Here is my Ubud travel guide to help you plan your perfect Bali trip.

Long exposure photo of waterfall in Ubud in Bali with text overlay Drone photo of Tegallalang Rice Terraces near Ubud in Bali with text overlay Woman walking into Goa Gajah cave temple near Ubud in Bali with text overlay Woman in infinity pool in day club in Ubud Bali with text overlay

Ubud is famous for its emerald cascading rice terraces in nearby Tegallalang, thousands upon thousands of gilded Hindu shrines, powerful waterfalls and art museums.

Entrance to the Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud Bali

It is one of those destinations that has become almost synonymous with Bali as a whole, and it is therefore unsurprising that its streets are saturated with tourists seeking out a little piece of that Ubud magic – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Bali itinerary that doesn’t include Ubud as one of the stops.

Though Ubud itself is not huge, the main hub is bustling with swarms of pedestrians popping in and out of cafes, souvenir shops, yoga studios, boutique labels and restaurants.

Quiet street in Ubud Bali

While we certainly knew of Ubud’s reputation as a soulful and popular place to visit in Bali, we were somewhat caught off guard by exactly how crowded it was – especially after our contrasting time in the peaceful mountains of Munduk. I’m told that the small town was once far sleepier, before it became the sleek and sophisticated tourism epicenter it has developed into.

Rice fields in Ubud Bali

This is not necessarily a negative – especially when Ubud is in a destination where tourism brings huge income and job opportunities for the community. It simply demanded a change in mindset – I booked a boutique hotel in the heart of Ubud and had (naively) envisioned a slow-moving, jungle-framed village filled with yoga retreats. And while that world certainly still exists within Ubud, you’ll need to venture away from the busy nucleus from time-to-time to experience that side of the cultural capital.

Scooters in Ubud Bali

The good news is: it’s not difficult to steer clear of the crowds if you know where to go. Planning a trip and want to know what to do in Ubud? Read on for the top things to do in Ubud and how to make the most of your time there.

You may also enjoy: Planning a trip to Bali and not sure where to start? Here is my easy 2 week Bali itinerary for first time visitors

Where is Ubud in Bali?

Tis Cafe in Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

Ubud is located in central Bali, about an hour and a half’s drive away from Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar. It is directly north of Sanur and south of Munduk and Bedugul.

Traffic in Ubud Bali

Wondering how to get to Ubud? First you’ll need to travel to the island of Bali by flying into Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar. An airport transfer from the airport to Ubud costs approximately 300-350,000 IDR (US$25 or so) and takes 1-1.5 hours from door-to-door depending on where in Ubud you are headed and what time you are driving. The streets of Ubud are narrow with lots of cars when entering or exiting central Ubud, so be prepared to hit bottleneck traffic.

I recommend getting in touch with Sudewa/Ani (Whatsapp at +62 819 9845 3366) or Gede (Whatsapp at +62 812 3689 2841) for any long-distance transfers in Bali. We found that their rates were fair, vehicles are clean and they can also provide a forward-facing car seat if you are traveling to Bali with kids or babies.

Travel tips for visiting Ubud in Bali

Visa on arrival sign in Bali International Airport in Indonesia

First time to Ubud or Bali? Here’s what you need to know before you go.

✈️ The main airport in Bali is Ngurah Rai International Airport. Many airlines fly direct to Bali, and a 30-day tourist visa-on-arrival is available for passport holders from more than 80 countries.

Visa on arrival receipt in Bali Indonesia

The Bali visa fee is US$35 or 500,000 IDR, and can be paid by Visa (not American Express). Children and babies are charged the same fee. As of November 2022, you can also apply for an electronic visa ahead of your trip here.

You may be eligible for the visa exemption arrangement if you hold an ASEAN member country passport including those from Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Save yourself some time by completing the electronic customs declaration ahead of your Bali trip here.

As of February 14th 2024 you will also be required to pay a 150,000 IDR (approximately US$10) “tourism levy” to be used towards the conservation of Bali’s nature and support sustainable tourism – this fee is in addition to the visa-on-arrival fee. You should arrange to pay this fee online before your trip, though certain exemptions apply (diplomatic visa, Golden visa and student visa etc.) and must be applied for 1 month in advance. Read more here.

Indonesian Rupiah currency notes

💱 The currency is the Indonesian rupiah and the exchange rate is approximately US$1/1 Euro: 15,000 IDR or AUD$1: 10,000 IDR. There are ATMs in the airport where you can withdraw a small sum to get you started, and then you can visit brick-and-mortar money exchange places once you are in Ubud. Legitimate currency exchange shops in Bali advertise the rates clearly and do not charge a commission – we had a great experience with this money exchange shop on the main street through Ubud. The majority of hotels, tourist restaurants and supermarkets accept credit card payments, though you will still need cash to pay drivers and for tips.

You pretty much never have to pay full price for admissions tickets in Bali as most tour operators, car charters, spas and major attractions are listed on Klook. Before you book anything for your Ubud itinerary click here and search for places you want to go, and book online for discounted entry or head on over here to read more about how to use Klook to book travel experiences.

📱 Buy a local Indonesian SIM card. The easiest way to do that is via Klook – you can get a 35 GB (US$12) or 51 GB (US$13) data-only SIM card and pick it up from the airport on arrival or have it delivered to your hotel. You will need to provide certain information including your passport copy. Buy your local Bali SIM card here. Everyone in Bali including hotels, taxi drivers, spas and equipment rental companies use Whatsapp to communicate, so make sure you have stable internet access throughout your Bali trip.

Drone photo of Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

🏖️ The best time to visit Bali is typically considered to be during the summer months between July to early September, which means this is the peak travel season in Bali and the island receives the highest volume of tourists during these months – many hotels are fully booked and the atmosphere is buzzing. This is the dry season and Bali typically receives lower rainfall during these months. The rainy season in Bali usually runs during the winter months from December to February. Want to avoid the crowds in Ubud? Consider visiting in the shoulder months in May, June and September.

That being said, there is no “bad” time to visit Bali. One thing to note for first time visitors to Bali is that Nyepi, New Year’s day in the Balinese calendar, falls in March (the date changes each year) and during this day the island observes complete silence. Shops and businesses close for the day, and everybody (including tourists) is expected to stay indoors as part of the ritual. The airport is no exception – there are no arrivals and departures on the day of Nyepi and some hotels may not facilitate check-ins and outs during this day.

Penjors during Galungan in Bali Indonesia

Another major holiday to take note of is Galungan and Kuningan, a Hindu celebration which takes place every 210 days. The two major events are 10 days apart, and many Balinese Hindus will spend the festival visiting family temples – many government offices will be closed on Galungan and Kuningan, and some major religious landmarks (like Pura Lempuyang in East Bali) may close for ceremonies or have different opening and closing times. It is a beautiful time to be in Bali, when all the streets are lined with towering bamboo penjors.

Dress code at Goa Gajah temple in Ubud Bali

👚 What to wear in Bali: The majority of the population on the island are Hindu, and the dress code in Bali is typically fairly relaxed. Beach and vacation wear is the norm, so go ahead and pack your dresses, shorts and crop tops. There is, however, an exception – if you plan on visiting any temple or shrine (of which there are many in Ubud) you will need to cover your legs with a sarong and make sure that your shoulders are also covered. You will also notice that most women in Bali dress conservatively, even donning gorgeous traditional attire on certain days during the week and to partake in religious ceremonies – to be respectful, I would recommend that you dress on the conservative side when out and about around town outside of your resort or hotel.

Planning on heading inland to chase waterfalls in the mountains of Bali before or after visiting Ubud? The temperature can fluctuate significantly over the course of just a couple of hours, so make sure you bring some warm clothes.

🗓️ How many days to spend in Ubud: For a first time visitor I would recommend spending no fewer than 3 days, maybe 4 days in Ubud if you plan on exploring the surrounding areas and waterfalls. It may appear small, but there’s a lot of ground to cover and plenty of things to do in Ubud that will keep you on the move.

No drone sign at Ulun Danu Beratan Temple in Bali

🚁 Flying a drone in Ubud: You can fly a small drone in Bali for recreational, non-commercial purposes without a license as long as you follow a few important guidelines. Most temples and places of worship forbid the use of drones, and many hotels and day clubs in Ubud will have their own policies for drone usage on their property, so it’s best to check ahead before you launch your UAV.

Safety in Bali

Road policeman controls the traffic of vehicles in Bali, Indonesia.
Photo credit: tang90246 via Depositphotos.com

The vast majority of visits to Bali are trouble free, and tourism is a major source of revenue for the island. Violent crime against foreigners occurs infrequently, but petty crime including bag and phone snatching is not uncommon. You should keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas. There are a number of common scams in Bali: if an offer seems “too good to be true”, it could be part of a scam.

Kanto Lampo waterfall ticket booth in Ubud Bali

Most well-known waterfalls in Ubud have ticket booths with posted prices – if you are asked to pay extra fees it may not be a legitimate request.

I recommend taking certain precautions such as pre-booking airport transportation with a reliable car service and driver, watching your drink when you are out and about, and letting friends and family know of your travel plans and hotel contact information. Read more about safety in Indonesia and Bali by clicking here and here. Here is more information about local laws and customs in Indonesia.

How to get around Ubud in Bali

Scooters in Ubud Bali

The best way to get around Ubud is either by local taxi, scooter rental or on foot. While local ride-sharing companies like Grab, GoJek and Bluebird used to be visibly unwelcome in Ubud, as of August 2022 we were able to use Grab in most areas of Ubud with no issues – usually it takes no more than 10 minutes for the driver to show up.

Here is another one of my top Bali travel tips: when you find a driver you like, get their contact information and add them to Whatsapp so that you can get in touch with them directly. In addition to Gede who I mentioned above for transport between areas in Bali, we used Nyoman for short trips within Ubud – he was always fairly punctual and friendly, and can give you a good rate if you book him for a few hours at a time. You can reach Nyoman via Whatsapp at +62 813 3855 9491. We paid approximately 250,000 IDR for 3 hours of private car service within Ubud (mostly within the city center), just make sure that you agree on a price with your driver ahead of time.

Scooter in Canggu in Bali

Another popular option for getting around Ubud is by scooter, but you may want to consider this option carefully if you are not confident driving a scooter – the roads in Ubud are narrow and there are often pedestrians trying to narrowly avoid traffic on the non-existent sidewalks. Even the smallest of loose rocks can cause a serious accident (like it did for us towards the end of our trip in Uluwatu)!

My husband has the proper international motorcycle certifications and license, and we paid approximately 70,000 IDR/day for scooter rental in Ubud (the daily rate varies across Bali). We had a good experience with Aloha Scooter Rental in Ubud and paid an additional 20,000 IDR for delivery of the scooter to our hotel. Ensure that your scooter rental comes with helmets, that you note any existing damage/scratches and that you have the proper international driving license in case you are stopped by the local authorities.

It is also possible to hire a car in Bali but you should know that parking can be an issue and that not all hotels will offer parking; it is also not recommended unless you have experience navigating very narrow streets filled with scooters zooming by. Your international driving permit may require further endorsement by the local authorities, and you should double check that your travel insurance covers any motor vehicle accidents overseas. Have all your ducks in a row? Great! Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your Bali trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!

Where to stay in Ubud in Bali

Origin Ubud boutique hotel in Bali exterior

Looking for the best accommodation in Ubud? For first-time visitors traveling to Ubud I recommend staying near the centre of town so that you can easily walk to the various Ubud tourist attractions and restaurants.

Poolside breakfast at Origin Ubud boutique hotel in Ubud Bali

Origin Ubud was our home for 4 days in Ubud, and boy did we feel right at home in this cozy boutique hotel. Origin Ubud was just a 10-minute walk from the main stretch where the majority of restaurants and bars are located. We absolutely loved the daily breakfast by the pool – such a treat! You can order breakfast a day in advance and choose a delivery time.

Bedroom at Origin Ubud in Bali Indonesia

The villas are extremely spacious, but some areas could do with touch-ups and a little TLC; nevertheless, a great boutique hotel that has a very reasonable price tag in Ubud. If you are sensitive to noise ask for one of the lower villas situated furthest away from the main road as it is located opposite an incredible active temple that regularly hosts religious ceremonies for the local community. Don’t miss the hypnotizing Kecak fire dance show – staff can help arrange tickets!

Pool at Origin Ubud in Bali Indonesia

We appreciated the warm hospitality and would not hesitate to recommend based on the property’s staff, location and value for money – this is one of the best Ubud hotels with a private pool in the heart of town. It is perfect for couples and independent travelers – click here to check availability and rates at Origin Ubud or head over here to see more hotel options in Ubud.

If you are traveling with young children who are very mobile you should be aware that there is not a lot of common area for them to run around in, nor is there a kids club or on-site restaurant/other facilities. There is an excellent laundry just up the street (Seaweed Laundry) which we used during our stay in Ubud.

Booking tip: Sort by “Distance from city centre” if you want to be within walking distance of the majority of restaurants and shops in Ubud. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to travel into the city centre – it can take a while traveling 2-3 KM in Ubud as there is lots of traffic and many one-way streets.

You might also want to check out Airbnb if you are traveling with friends to Ubud as there are plenty of Ubud villa options available outside of the city centre (however you’ll want to double check if meals are served on-site or whether you will head out for meals). We mostly used Booking.com for this Bali 2 week itinerary as the cancellation policies tend to be a little more flexible.

Interested in checking out other options for accommodation in Ubud? Here are some other highly-rated hotels in the area – we also personally considered staying at these Ubud boutique hotels:

11 on Kajeng: Located in the heart of Ubud, 11 on Kajeng is a 10-minute walk from the Ubud Palace and Saraswati Temple. The décor is a curious blend of modern meets traditional Balinese, and reviewers love the pool and spacious rooms. Despite its proximity to the Ubud city centre, most people say it is quiet and peaceful. This may not suit you if you or a travel companion has any mobility issues as you will need to walk up lots of stairs to get to the rooms. Click here to check rates and availability at 11 on Kajeng.

The Sankara Resort: If you aren’t fussed about staying near Ubud town, then consider staying at this boutique hotel 15 minutes by car from the city centre. This beautiful property has a fantastic on-site spa, and is away from the hustle and bustle. There is also a shuttle service into town if you want to visit the main Ubud attractions. Click here to check rates and availability at The Sankara Resort.

Sapodilla Ubud: Sapodilla is one of the top-rated boutique hotels in Ubud. It features a large outdoor pool, a free shuttle service and spacious, brightly-lit rooms. Reviewers love the attentive team, excellent food and say that it feels like an oasis away from the crowds. Click here to check rates and availability at Sapodilla Ubud.

The best things to do in Ubud in Bali

Saraswati Temple in Ubud Bali

You could easily spend up to a week in Ubud as a first-time visitor, there is an infinite number of things to see and places to visit in Ubud. From the lush jungle waterfalls to sophisticated day clubs overlooking jewel-toned rice terraces, here are some of the best things to do during your Ubud trip.

1. Watch a Kecak fire and trance dance

Kecak fire dance in Ubud Bali

A Kecak dance is a form of traditional Balinese Hindu dance and drama that typically tells the story of Rama’s triumph over Rahwana and his demons. Though the most famous Kecak dance in Bali takes place in Uluwatu overlooking the ocean, there are a number of temples in Ubud that also put on this captivating performance.

As night falls, dozens of Kecak dancers chant in unison, seemingly never taking a breath as performers in elaborate costumes act out King Rama being led away from Sita by a golden deer, who is actually Rahwana’s evil servant in disguise.

Kecak fire dance in Ubud Bali

Eventually, the lovely Sita is kidnapped by Rahwana and taken away to his kingdom. Rama sends his trusted general, the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, to hand over Rama’s ring to Sita and destroy the park where Sita is being held hostage.

Kecak fire dance in Ubud Bali

Finally, a battle ensues and Rama kills the evil Rahwana – a testament that good always prevails over evil.

Kecak fire dance in Ubud Bali

The hour-long performance takes place on Sunday and Tuesday evenings at 7 PM at Pura Dalem Gede (across the street from Origin Ubud). Tickets are available at 100,000 IDR per person, and seats are limited – I highly recommend getting there early to secure a good seat.

Hanuman in Kecak fire dance in Ubud Bali

The Kecak dance was one of the most fascinating traditional Balinese performances that I had the privilege of watching during our Ubud trip. Is it touristy? Yes. Is it amazing? Also yes. It is also far less crowded than the Uluwatu Kecak fire dance so if your heart is set on watching this amazing Balinese cultural performance make sure you set aside an evening in Ubud!

2. Visit the Tegallalang rice terraces

View of rice terraces at Tegallalang in Bali Indonesia

Spending an afternoon at the Tegallalang rice fields is one of the top things to do in Ubud. Visitors from all across the island head to the lush UNESCO-listed rice terraces for the amazing views and to hike down the elevation and walk among the emerald fields.

Drone photo of Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

The Tegallalang rice terraces follows the traditional “Subak” irrigation system, and is reachable by car or scooter from Ubud – the drive will take you approximately 20 minutes or so.

Tis Cafe in Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

The main street of Tegallalang is lined with plenty of tourist cafes, restaurants and photo parks – this is where you’ll find a plethora of “Bali swings”.

Wine glass at Tegallalang Rice Fields in Bali Indonesia

Prefer to sit back and take it all in over a glass of wine or some lunch? Head straight to Tis Cafe, a gorgeous bamboo-built restaurant complete with an infinity pool and rope swing. The service was impeccable and the atmosphere was incredibly laid back – unlike some of the other more Insta-famous Tegallalang day clubs in the area.

Did you know that there are also rice paddies in Canggu near the beach? Read my Canggu travel guide here to get the lowdown on where to stay in Canggu and the best things to do.

Tis Cafe in Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

Looking for boutique Ubud accommodation in the heart of downtown? Check out the individual pool villas at Origin Ubud. We loved the privacy of the 1-bedroom villa and enjoyed a delicious breakfast served poolside each morning. Click here to check availability and rates at Origin Ubud or head over here to see more hotel options in Ubud.

Want to explore more Ubud hotel options? We also considered staying at 11 on Kajeng (a small boutique hotel within walking distance of the Ubud Palace and Saraswati Temple), The Sankara Resort (beautiful hotel with an excellent on-site spa, provides a shuttle service into town) and Sapodilla Ubud (one of the top-rated boutique hotels in Ubud).

3. Observe the purification rituals at Pura Tirta Empul

Worshippers at Pura Tirta Empul near Ubud Bali

You can combine a trip to the Tegallalang rice terraces with your visit to Pura Tirta Empul water temple, both of which are located north of Ubud town.

The stunning Tirta Empul is one of the most sacred water temples in Bali and one of the top places to visit near Ubud. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Tirta Empul features holy springs with water that is believed to purify devotees in a ritual known as “melukat”.

Worshippers at Pura Tirta Empul near Ubud Bali

Each day, rain or shine, thousands of Balinese and Hindu worshippers queue in pools to dip their heads in spring water that flows out of nearly 30 spouts. Once they have immersed their heads and hair in the water from one spout and prayed, they move onto the next until they have cleansed under each spot (with the exception of two which are only to be used for the dead).

Raining at Pura Tirta Empul in Ubud Bali

We rode through a thunderstorm to get to Pura Tirta Empul, and were privileged to observe the holy cleansing ritual as hundreds of devotees offered prayers under the pouring rain – it was a humbling experience and one I won’t soon forget.

Worshippers at Pura Tirta Empul near Ubud Bali

The dress code for entering Tirta Empul temple is strict – you must wear a sarong (long pants that cover the knees will not suffice) which can be rented at the temple. The entry fee is 50,000 IDR for adults and parking costs extra. You should also be aware that like many other Hindu temples around Bali, women are requested not to enter during menstruation.

We also noticed that there were many tourists partaking in the melukat purification ritual as part of a tour – while it seems to be possible, I did not feel comfortable partaking as a non-Hindu. There is a lot of debate about the commercialization of religious ceremonies such as the melukat (similar to partaking in alms giving if you are not Buddhist); if you are not Hindu, I encourage you to do your due diligence and put in some thought before you sign up for a tour that offers this as a tourist “experience”.

4. Do the Campuhan Ridge Walk

Campuhan Ridge walk drone photo in Ubud Bali

The Campuhan Ridge Walk (or Bukit Campuhan) is a fairly leisurely nature walk that begins just outside of Ubud’s main centre, and is one of the most popular places to visit in Ubud.

Palm tree on Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud Bali

The scenic walk is approximately 2 kilometres long along a stone-paved path (not stroller-friendly), with a number of small rest stops and shops offering refreshments on the way.

Campuhan Ridge walk drone photo in Ubud Bali

The best time to do the Campuhan Ridge Walk is in the early morning or afternoon, when the heat of the mid-day sun isn’t beating down – the trail is not shaded so make sure you bring a hat and wear proper walking shoes as it can get steamy.

Baby walking along Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud Bali

If you are hiking the Campuhan Ridge with young children I would recommend bringing a lightweight carrier – you can always turn back after 10-15 minutes and head back to the beginning of the trail if you don’t want to complete the entire walk.

5. Stop at the Saraswati Temple / Ubud Water Palace

Woman walking at Saraswati Temple in Ubud Bali

Pura Taman Saraswati temple is a stunning Hindu temple in Ubud dedicated to the goddness of knowledge, Saraswati (or Sarasvati). Featuring an enchanting lotus pond, it is also sometimes referred to as the Ubud Water Palace.

It is located right in the heart of Ubud town (right behind Starbucks) and around the corner from the Ubud Palace. There is no entrance fee and worth a quick stop – you are not allowed to enter beyond the lotus pond area into the temple interiors.

Looking for the perfectly located Ubud accommodation in the heart of downtown? Check out the individual pool villas at Origin Ubud. We loved having breakfast served poolside each morning and the spacious, brightly-lit rooms. Click here to check availability and rates at Origin Ubud or head over here to see more hotel options in Ubud.

Want to explore more Ubud hotel options? We also considered staying at 11 on Kajeng (a small boutique hotel within walking distance of the Ubud Palace and Saraswati Temple), The Sankara Resort (beautiful hotel with an excellent on-site spa, provides a shuttle service into town) and Sapodilla Ubud (one of the top-rated boutique hotels in Ubud).

6. Walk through the grounds of the Ubud Palace

Ubud Palace in Bali Indonesia

Ubud Palace, or Puri Saren Agung, was once the official residence of the royal family of Ubud.

Ubud Palace in Bali Indonesia

This historic landmark is conveniently located in Ubud town and, like the Saraswati Temple, has no entrance fee. It’s one of the most popular and well-known tourist attractions in Ubud.

Ubud Palace in Bali Indonesia

As the grounds are not sprawling, you can explore Ubud Palace within 10-15 minutes as most interior locations are not open to tourists.

The palace hosts cultural performances in the evening, and tickets for the show can be bought at the gate.

7. Explore Goa Gajah elephant cave

The ancient Goa Gajah temple complex is a 15-20 minute car or scooter ride away from Ubud town. Though it is a fairly prominent and well-known Ubud attraction, the grounds are sprawling and there were only a handful of other tourists when we were there.

Goa Gajah cave temple in Ubud Bali

It is most well known for the intricately-carved devil face whose mouth serves as a doorway into the inner sanctum.

Water pool at Goa Gajah elephant temple in Bali Indonesia

You can walk through the menacing portal – while the interior of the cave is fairly basic, it is not uncommon to see delicate floral offerings left within.

Walking into Goa Gajah Temple in Ubud Bali

Directly in front of the cave is a large communal bath area which was unearthed in the 1950s featuring half a dozen rock statues of women, possibly Hindu deities, pouring water from jars.

Grounds of Goa Gajah temple in Ubud Bali

In order to enter Goa Gajah you will need to purchase a ticket which costs 50,000 IDR per adult – this includes sarong rental which is required for entry. Don’t get pressured into purchasing a sarong from the souvenir shops! Parking costs extra at 2,000 IDR for scooters, so bring some small notes.

8. Lounge at a day club in Ubud

Tis Cafe in Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

Honestly, a trip to Ubud just wouldn’t feel complete without some R&R at one of the amazing day clubs in the area, and you should definitely set aside some time during your Bali itinerary to lounge at an Ubud pool club.

Kelapa Muda pool bar in Ubud Bali drone photo

Here’s the thing, the vast majority of Ubud tourists tend to flock towards the big-name Ubud day clubs – but there are actually a whole host of alternative options if you’re looking to spend a day in Ubud away from the crowds.

Young coconut at Kepala Muda pool club in Ubud Bali

We loved our time at Kelapa Muda, Adidarma and Tis Cafe – all of these Ubud pool clubs have an on-site restaurant and fabulous pool to frolic in.

Kelapa Muda, or “young coconut”, is a stunning pool club in Ubud surrounded by rice paddies and palm trees. This was the perfect place to take our baby in Ubud – there is a small children’s playground, are willing to prepare off-menu kid’s items and the staff were so incredibly warm and hospitable.

Kelapa Muda pool bar in Ubud Bali

The swim-up bar is a winner for grown-ups, and we were all-too-happy to spend our afternoons here lounging and sipping on drinks.

Adidarma, while perhaps more traditional in its architecture, has a lovely pool with built-in cabanas and a bamboo-built restaurant on-site. The food was some of the best we had in Ubud, and the staff were extremely friendly as well.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

Tis Cafe in Tegallalang is a sophisticated and relaxing pool club overlooking the rice paddies. The food is fab and the setting and views really can’t be beat!

Ready to visit Ubud? Look for a hotel near downtown Ubud if you are a first-time visitor and want easy access to restaurants and bars. Head over here to see highly-rated hotel options in Ubud, or check out Origin Ubud – a boutique hotel in Ubud that offers the best of both worlds – it’s private and away from the hustle and bustle, but within walking distance to the main Ubud strip.

We also considered staying at 11 on Kajeng (a boutique hotel within walking distance of Ubud town), The Sankara Resort (beautiful hotel outside the city centre with an on-site spa) and Sapodilla Ubud (a stunning hotel surrounded by lush greenery).

9. Drop in to a Yoga class

Like Canggu, Ubud has a strong Yoga community and is considered one of the top Yoga destinations in the world.

Yoga practitioners travel to Ubud to join in workshops and retreats led by some of the most popular Yoga teachers who travel from all over the world to share their teachings in Bali.

Wondering where to go in Ubud to practice Yoga? There are several wonderful yoga studios in Ubud to choose from, and all of them offer drop-in classes or you can buy a multi-class pass if you are spending more time in Ubud.

The Yoga Barn is a popular studio that offers a whole array of different classes, workshops and yoga trainings. The complex has its own on-site café, accommodation and spa, and also hosts ecstatic dance and community kirtan events.

Radiantly Alive Yoga studio in Ubud is another reputable and popular option for Yoga lovers – they have a diverse class offering everything from acroyoga and Vinyasa to myofascial release Yin and Kundalini.

10. Go for a dip in a jungle waterfall

Kanto Lampo waterfall in Ubud Bali

Ubud is surrounded by waterfalls enveloped by lush jungle. The good news is that the top Ubud waterfalls are easy to reach – most are within a 30 minute to 1 hour-long drive away from the town centre. The bad news is that they can get extremely crowded.

Crowds at Kanto Lampo waterfall in Ubud Bali

After our time in Munduk I was, quite frankly, shocked by the ridiculous queues of people waiting up to an hour at Kanto Lampo waterfall for their turn to take photos in a series of poses in the exact same spot as the last person.

Kanto Lampo waterfall in Ubud Bali long exposure

There was barely a second to spare to take a photo of the Kanto Lanto waterfall itself without a person in it – this is the best that I managed with the help of long exposure and some minor editing.

To avoid the crowds at the waterfalls in Ubud you will need to wake up bright and early to enjoy the peace and quiet, or travel to Ubud outside of the peak season which typically runs from June to August.

In addition to Kanto Lanto which is easily accessible from Ubud (only about 30 minutes away – entry costs 20,000 IDR), some other Ubud waterfalls to add to your Ubud itinerary include Tegenungang Waterfall (about 30 minutes from Ubud – there is also a pool club named Omma which overloks the waterfall), Tibumana Waterfall (45 minutes from Ubud), Tukad Cepung Waterfall (1 hour from Ubud) and Leke Leke Waterfall (just over an hour from Ubud).

Have more time in Ubud? You might also consider venturing to East Bali for a day trip to visit some of the island’s most important temples and former water palaces. Here is my East Bali day trip itinerary.

11. Get your caffeine fix

Gangga Coffee in Ubud Bali

Coffee is taken very seriously in this neck of the jungle. Some of the best coffee in Bali is served in Ubud.

We especially loved the (seriously strong) flat whites from Ubud Coffee Roastery in the heart of downtown Ubud (limited seating), as well as the coffee from Gangga Coffee just outside of the main strip. I also heard great things about Seniman but didn’t get a chance to stop by this time around.

12. Wind down with a relaxing massage

Treatment room at Radha Spa in Ubud Bali

The cherry on the cake of our 4 days in Ubud was a traditional Balinese massage at Radha Spa at The Sankara.

Treatment room at Radha Spa in Ubud Bali

The stunning couple’s treatment room was light-filled and it felt as though we were in the depths of the forest with the lush garden.

Pool at Sankara Ubud in Bali

After the spa treatment you can use the hotel’s pool or opt for a flower bath (at an additional cost). You can also book massages in Ubud at Kamandalu, Maya Ubud and Chapung Wellness – most will include a day pass to allow you to use their pool and other facilities.

13. Go on a sunrise trek up Mount Batur

Sunrise on Mount Batur, Bali
Photo credit: Stan_pit via Depositphotos.com

Hiking up Mount Batur (AKA the Kintamani volcano) to watch the sunrise is one of the top things to do in Ubud. Most Mount Batur tour operators pick up hikers from Ubud sometime between 1:30-2 AM in the morning, and the trek begins at approximately 4 AM to ensure that you get to the top in time for the sunrise.

We had a toddler in tow, and let’s be honest – I’m not a huge fan of hiking, so gave this a miss. However lots of friends who have done the Mount Batur sunrise hike speak highly of the experience!

Ready to visit Ubud? Look for a hotel near downtown Ubud if you are a first-time visitor and want easy access to restaurants and bars. Head over here to see highly-rated hotel options in Ubud, or check out Origin Ubud – a boutique hotel in Ubud that offers the best of both worlds – it’s private and away from the hustle and bustle, but within walking distance to the main Ubud strip. It is perfect for couples and solo travelers!

We also considered staying at 11 on Kajeng (a boutique hotel within walking distance of Ubud town), The Sankara Resort (beautiful hotel outside the city centre with an on-site spa) and Sapodilla Ubud (a stunning hotel surrounded by lush greenery).

Travel tips for visiting Ubud with a baby

Baby in Ubud Bali

Heading to Ubud with kids? There are a few things you should know first. Families traveling with young children to Ubud will love the child-friendly pool clubs in the area, waterfalls which are easy-to-reach from the centre of town, and walking down the rice terraces at Tegallalang. I even saw a few older children having a blast watching the traditional Kecak fire dance show in the evening.

Here are some additional tips for visiting Ubud with children:

Worried about bringing too much luggage? You can rent any baby gear including travel cots and car seats for around US$5 or AU$7 a day. We used Bali Baby Hire – it was easy to coordinate the equipment booking via e-mail and they even dropped off and picked up all the gear for us (for an extra fee).

Book a driver with a child car seat. I recommend getting in touch with Gede (number at the top of this Ubud travel guide) who can provide a forward-facing child car/booster seat. If you need a rear-facing baby car seat for younger children book one for your trip via Bali Baby Hire.

Stock up on diapers and baby food in Ubud. You can easily buy diapers and baby food from Pepito Andong Ubud about 10 minutes away from the main strip.

Be prepared if your baby gets sick in Bali. Many Ubud hotels will have a pediatrician on call, make sure you ask if your baby requires medical attention. Otherwise, head straight to BIMC private hospital in Ubud. You can also buy baby paracetamol in liquid form from Guardian pharmacies.

Baby in Ubud Bali

Many hotels may not have a cot, or may be adults-only. Double check with hotels if they are able to provide a cot, as they might not even if the hotel’s booking page says that they can. Origin Ubud were able to provide a wooden cot in the room, though we opted to use our own rented travel cot.

Some, but not all, restaurants and day clubs in Bali have high chairs. If you are looking for kid-friendly cafes and restaurants in Ubud I recommend Milk & Madu (however it does not have any outdoor play area like the ones in Canggu) or Kelapa Muda. If you are not sure whether a restaurant in Ubud has a high chair consider bringing along a portable travel high chair like the Totseat or Bumbo booster.

Last but absolutely not least, here is my top tip for traveling to Ubud with kids: need an extra pair of hands to wrangle your little one? There are many experienced nannies in Bali who you can hire by the hour (or day, or even your whole trip) to help you out so that you can actually sit down and eat your meal, go for a surf, practice yoga or go for a massage.

I highly recommend getting in touch with Febri from Feby’lous Bali Nanny or Ani from Mom’s Nanny Care – we have personally used both services. We were set up with Ani who looked after our baby in Canggu, Ubud and Uluwatu during our 2 weeks in Bali.

Get in touch with Febri or Ani as soon as you know your dates for visiting Ubud as good nannies are in high demand! The rates are extremely reasonable – 75,000 IDR (US$5 or AU$7) per hour and up with a minimum of 5-6 hours per day. There is an extra fuel surcharge to help cover the cost of the commute to Ubud (many nannies are based in and around Denpasar).

Ready to visit Ubud? If you want easy access to restaurants and bars check out Origin Ubud – a boutique hotel that offers the best of both worlds – it’s private and away from the hustle and bustle, but within walking distance to the main Ubud strip.

We also considered staying at 11 on Kajeng (a boutique hotel within walking distance of Ubud town), The Sankara Resort (beautiful hotel outside the city centre with an on-site spa) and Sapodilla Ubud (a stunning hotel surrounded by lush greenery). You can also head over here to explore other highly-rated hotel options in Ubud.

Where to go after Ubud

We traveled to Ubud after spending time in Munduk and Canggu. You could, however, kick off your time in Bali in Ubud. Planning your Bali itinerary and not sure where to go after Ubud? Here are a few options:

Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfalls in Munduk Bali

Ubud to Munduk: Munduk in northern Bali is a quiet mountain town that remains somewhat off-the-beaten-path. It is surrounded by dozens of waterfalls and is a stone’s throw from one of the holiest Hindu water temples in Bali – Pura Ulun Danu Beratan. Munduk is located approximately 70 kilometres or two hours by car from Ubud. Read my Munduk travel guide here.

Uluwatu Cliff view from Mu Bungalow in Uluwatu Bali

Ubud to Uluwatu: Uluwatu in the southern Bukit Peninsula is popular for its white sand beaches, world-class surf and picturesque clifftop views. Uluwatu is only 55 kilometres or so from Ubud but the road into Uluwatu through Denpasar is often crowded with heavy traffic, so you can expect the drive from Ubud to Uluwatu to take over two hours. Read my Uluwatu travel guide here.

Watching the sunset in Canggu in Bali

Ubud to Canggu: Canggu is one of the top beach destinations in Bali and a great place to begin or end your Bali 2 week itinerary. Canggu is only 30 kilometres or an hour by car from Ubud. Read my Canggu travel guide here.

Sanur beach in Bali Indonesia

Ubud to Sanur: The coastal beach town is an underrated Bali destination, popular with families and people looking for a less frenetic pace and fewer crowds. Sanur is about an hour by car from Ubud. Read my Sanur travel guide here.

Drone photo of Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud Bali

I hope this guide to Ubud in Bali helps you to plan your perfect getaway!

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