The most fascinating destination in Bali, Ubud charms with its natural beauty, enchants with its spiritual philosophy and captivates with its culinary appeal. No trips to Bali will be complete without an Ubud adventure. If you find yourself wondering about the best things to do in Ubud, worry not, for we have curated a list of 10 remarkable experiences that will make your visit truly unforgettable.
1. Visit Tegenungan Waterfall
Bali is an island of waterfalls but one of the most photographed and accessible is Tegenungan Waterfall. Just 30 minutes from Ubud centre, this natural wonder is tucked deep in the basin of a gorge. A scenic rainforest pathway provides the backdrop to the trek down about one hundred gentle stairs to reach the fall. Along the way you have plenty of opportunities to stop and pose at the many strategically placed bird’s nests and mini waterfalls before reaching the main attraction. Refresh with a swim or get busy snapping your best Instagram photos at the various vantage points around the waterfall. It’s no wonder that Tegenungan is considered one of the famous waterfalls in Bali.
2. Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
One of the best things to do in Ubud is visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Located right in the heart of Ubud, this sacred sanctuary is home to more than 700 long tail monkeys in their natural habitat. The tropical rainforest surrounding with tall trees and dense foliage on a cascading landscape is a worthy attraction all of its own, but the monkeys run wild and they do rule here! Three Hindu temples can also be found at different corners of the compound. As you venture down into the gorge where a small creek flows over big rocks, stop at the rock bridge and admire the root system of the ancient Banyan trees streaming down from the sky. Unforgettable!
3. Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Among the most instagrammable Bali attractions are the rice terraces at Tegallalang. Just 10 minutes north of Ubud central, this cascading rice field down sloping hillside is actually a traditional irrigation system called Subak, and is still widely used to this day. Walk down the lush terraces and across to the other side and be surprised at how this magnificent landscape changes depending on where you stand. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir from the roadside shops before you leave. Exploring the rice terraces is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Ubud.
4. Ubud Wellness: Stretch, Eat & Stroll
Known also as the spiritual quarter of Bali, many come to Ubud for its world-famous Yoga retreats, to eat clean, live well, and to recharge the soul with volcano-facing meditation at sunrise. Start the day with vinyasas of your favourite Yoga discipline, then frequent the many organic warungs which offer plant-based or raw food options next to the rice fields, before taking a stroll into the Ubud wilderness in search for some much-needed inspiration. Yoga centres and healthy warungs and restaurants can be found literally at every turn of a corner.
5. Shop, Bargain and Score!
Ubud Art Market, Sukawati Art Market and Guwang Art Market are probably three Ubud markets you want to drop into to score a bargain: from an art piece, a hand-painted sarong to one-of-a-kind jewellery. Before you go, make sure you are ready to squeeze through narrow alleyways, get hustled by shop vendors and your bargain skills are in-check. Did you know that walking out of the shop most of the time will get you the best bargain price? With that in mind, there’s only one thing left to do! Shop till you drop!
6. Campuhan Ridge Walk: A Tranquil Stroll
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by embarking on the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a serene trek often touted as one of the unique things to do in Ubud. This scenic trail takes you through lush hills, small villages, and verdant river valleys, providing a perfect setting for a peaceful walk amidst nature’s splendour.
7. Holy Spring Temple (Pura Tirta Empul): Spiritual Cleansing
Located near Tampaksiring, the Holy Spring Temple is a sacred Balinese water temple known for its purification baths. Pilgrims and visitors alike come here to partake in the spiritual cleansing rituals. Experiencing the serenity of this ancient temple is undoubtedly one of the unique things to do in Ubud, offering a profound spiritual experience.
8. White Water Rafting: Thrills on the Ayung River
For adventure enthusiasts, white water rafting on the Ayung River is a must. Navigate through exhilarating rapids while immersing yourself in the scenic beauty of the surrounding rainforest. This adrenaline-pumping activity is one of the cool things to do in Ubud, providing an unforgettable experience amidst nature’s raw power.
9. Goa Gajah: The Elephant Cave
Step back in time by exploring Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave. This archaeological site features intricate carvings, bathing pools, and ancient relics. It’s a glimpse into Bali’s mystical past and is considered one of the unique places to stay in Ubud, offering a serene retreat away from the bustling city centre.
10. Puri Saren Palace: Royal Heritage
Delve into Bali’s royal history at Puri Saren Palace, the official residence of the Ubud royal family. The palace is an architectural marvel adorned with ornate carvings and lush gardens. Witnessing traditional Balinese dance performances here is one of the best things to do in Ubud, providing a captivating glimpse into the island’s cultural heritage.
Beyond the above, Ubud also has many palaces and galleries for those with select interests. So to make sure you get to enjoy all the magic of Ubud, make sure you spend at least a couple of nights in this beautiful part of Bali. How would you like to elevate your Ubud you’ll probably want a calm and comfy spot to relax. Luckily, Nakula has luxurious and relaxing villas in Ubud where you can unwind and enjoy the tropical atmosphere.
Or, if you’re not sure if Ubud is the best spot for your next Bali vacation, take a look at our guides for other places to visit.