What to do in Ubud
- Ubud Royal Palace
- Goa Gajah Temple or Elephant Cave
- The Yoga Barn
- Ubud Yoga Centre
- Monkey Forest
- Tegallalang Rice Terraces
- Sound Healing Pyramid of Chi Meditation Center
- Sayan House Restaurant
- Artists’ Trail (Campuhan Ridge Walk)
- Bali Dacha
- Tirta Empul Water Temple
- Ubud Art Market
- Pura Taman Saraswati Temple
- Candi Tebing Gunung Kawi
- Bali Swing Theme Park
- Tegenungan Waterfall
- Kanto Lampo Waterfall
- Tibumana Waterfall
- Jaens SPA Ubud
- Parq Ubud
- Zest Ubud
- Kebun Bistro
- Suka Espresso
- Bali buddha
- Jungle fish
- Padma Resort Ubud
- Kayon Jungle Resort
- Alas Harum
Ubud lacks the sea and beaches that many people come to Bali for. But its unique atmosphere attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists. The city, where hippies and bohemians used to gather, has become a prestigious resort, the cultural capital of the island, and the center of fine arts, music, and dance. You can understand what Bali is all about and what traditions it preserves only after visiting Ubud. You have to come here for at least a few days to feel the city's spirit. Here everyone finds something special — ancient temples, places of power, waterfalls, excellent SPAs, the best schools of yoga, and fine restaurants. In this article, we have described 28 must-see attractions in Ubud.
Ubud Royal Palace
The official name of the royal palace in Ubud is Puri Saren Agung. It is still the home of Indonesia's ruling dynasty. It is worth starting your sightseeing in Ubud with the palace, especially since you can visit it for free.
Statues of the guardian deities guard the stone arch that leads to the courtyard. A small square behind it is decorated with flowerbeds and skillfully carved stone sculptures. Two luxurious pagodas and household buildings stand surrounded by trees and neatly trimmed bushes.
The main entrance to the palace is in the form of a three-tiered pagoda crowned by a figure resembling a crown. The wooden gate, decorated with gilding, is closed to visitors, and even the royal family uses them only on special occasions. But anyone can go to the courtyard, where there is a beautiful pond with carp. A sculpture of a turtle, holding two pagodas on its back, is installed in its center. The dining hall and throne room are closed. You can see them only on the days of official events. Dancing performances are held every evening on the square in front of the palace.
Goa Gajah Temple or Elephant Cave
The Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave, located a few kilometers from Ubud, is one of Bali's oldest cultural and architectural monuments. It is believed that the sanctuary in it was created in the IX century by the Bali Aga people. The entrance to the cave temple is crowned with a bas-relief depicting an evil deity who is supposed to terrify spirits and humans. There are 15 carved niches inside the rock, used for spiritual practices and meditations.
The area around the temple complex of Goa Gajah is very scenic, so be sure to take the time to walk through the jungle. Signposts lead travelers to the temples of Pura Petapan with its Buddha statue and Pura Taman with its sacred spring. If you walk even farther, not afraid of the narrow paths, you can see huge stone bas-reliefs, a beautiful pond overgrown with lilies, a small waterfall, the Cave of Giants (Goa Raksasa), and fragments of one of the oldest statues of Buddha.
Elephant Cave is mentioned in a Javanese poem Nagarakretagama, written in 1365. It is still unknown whether it is of natural origin or artificial. It is also unclear what religion the people who founded the shrine practiced. There are both Buddhist and Hindu elements in its design.
The Yoga Barn
Ubud is a Mecca for lovers of yoga. Those who can't imagine their morning without Surya Namaskar and those who want to get workshops and master classes from renowned gurus come here. Retreats, festivals, courses, excellent yoga schools, and studios are concentrated here in the heart of Bali. That is why you don't have to wonder for a long time what to do in Ubud. The most popular yoga center is The Yoga Barn. Its seven studios hold more than 100 classes a week. This is not only yoga but also meditation, dance, health sessions, and SPA treatments. Everyone can attend classes of classical Hatha, vinyasa flow, Fly High Yoga, ashtanga, pranayama, Iyengar, capoeira, and children's yoga. There's also a healing center, a smoothie bar, and a vegetarian cafe. The Yoga Barn also features a guest house with one four-bed and nine two-bedrooms.
Ubud Yoga Centre
Ubud Yoga Centre is another popular yoga studio in Ubud. It offers a wide range of practices for guests of all ages and experience levels. Classes are held in three spacious rooms with panoramic windows overlooking the rainforest and river. You can book online on the center's website or simply show up for any class without prior notice. Ubud Yoga Centre's schedule includes vinyasa and kundalini yoga, Yin Yoga, Fly High Yoga, Bikram Yoga, as well as TRX, pilates, and meditation. The studio often hosts retreats and other events. You can snack at the vegetarian café after class.
One of the most interesting and popular tourist locations in Ubud and all of Bali is the Monkey Forest. Its official name is Mandala Suci Wenara Wana. The forest is both a Hindu sanctuary and a reserve of Balinese long-tailed monkey Macaca flavicularis. The forest is located in the village of Padangtegal near the city.
The park is not only interesting for its inhabitants but also its territory. Rare trees grow here, and many stone sculptures are hidden in their shadows. Three temples — Pura Prajapati, Pura Beji, and Pura Dalem Agung — are located under the forest's crown. Mandala Suci Wenara Wana is where many religious rites and festivals are held.
The Monkey forest is home to several groups of monkeys, dividing the territory of the reserve into five parts:
- main temple;
- Michelin area;
- center of the park;
- east side;
- cremation grounds and cemetery.
The macaques are constantly fighting over territory, especially during the dry season. In case fights arise, the reserve staff always carries slingshots to scare the fractious primates.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Tegallalang Rice Terrace (Tegallalang) is Bali's most famous rice terrace and one of the island's landmarks. They are located 20 minutes from Ubud, on hills 800 meters high. The stepped rice plantations with winding paths and the palm trees surrounding them are a beautiful picture. You can admire it from the road, but it is better to walk down the narrow paths and then up the opposite side of the hill. You will need comfortable shoes for this walk, as the trails can be slippery.
The Tegallalang rice terraces are a favorite spot for photographers and Instagrammers. Several swings and photo booths with decorations have been installed at the plantations. There are also cafes and restaurants serving national cuisine. A small plantation where the most expensive sort of coffee in the world — Luwak — is produced is about a kilometer away from the terraces. You can have a cup of fragrant drink at the local coffee house.
Sound Healing Pyramid of Chi Meditation Center
Pyramids of Chi is a unique wellness center practicing sound healing and sound meditation. Its founders, Peter and Lynn McIntosh came to Ubud in 2013. They decided to erect two pyramids a few kilometers from the city center, analogous to the iconic sacred structures of ancient Egypt. In March 2017, the Golden Pyramid of the Sun and the Silver Pyramid of the Moon appeared among the rice fields. They practice sound therapy — sound-healing — in the first one. Healing vibrations are created using gongs, drums, and didgeridoo (ancient wind instruments). The effect is enhanced by the pyramidal shape of the structure and the aroma of sandalwood. During the session, visitors lie on comfortable mats with pillows. The Pyramid of the Moon is designed for breathing and sound meditations. Pyramids of Chi also hosts group and individual light therapy sessions, cocoa sessions, yoga, and spiritual awakening workshops. The Pyramids of Chi are a must-see for those who come to Ubud for an unusual experience, esoteric practices, and self-discovery.
Sayan House Restaurant
Sayan House Restaurant is located in Sayan Village, 5 kilometers from Ubud. Its terrace offers a superb view of the jungle and rice plantations. The beautiful scenery and romantic atmosphere have made the restaurant popular with newlyweds on their honeymoon in Bali.
Sayan House offers a unique blend of Japanese and Latin American cuisine. Chef Yuki Tagami skillfully combines flavors and is not afraid to experiment with a presentation. Traditional Balinese babi guling (suckling pig on a spit) mixed with Japanese sushi is served here. And crispy king prawns are complemented by salmon carpaccio and avocado maki. The menu includes a teriyaki burger with guacamole, roast beef with ginger rice, vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, Japanese curry with beef, katsu roast pork, and cheese mix. There are also extraordinary desserts with matcha tea, chili peppers, and exotic fruits.
Artists’ Trail (Campuhan Ridge Walk)
Wondering what to do in Ubud? The narrow path called the Artists' Trail is a must-see. It winds along the ridge of the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It offers stunning views of the rainforest, rice paddies, and Сampuhan and Ayung rivers. Some of the trees along the trail have swings on them, allowing you to fly over the cliff and take stunning photos.
The Artists' Trail leads to the small village of Bangkiang Sidem. It has a SPA, art galleries, and the popular Karsa Restaurant. Its terrace offers a great view of the rice fields. You can also see Agung Volcano on a clear day.
Bali Dacha is an oasis of relaxation amidst the dense jungle. It has Bali's hottest sauna with a panoramic view over the rainforest, a natural pool, a cold pool with flower petals, and a professional sauna attendant. After your sauna treatment, it is recommended to visit the SPA complex located above the river next to the waterfall. It offers several kinds of massage: deep massage using traditional techniques, pressure point massage for back and shoulders, and hot stone massage, as well as face or feet massage. In addition, you can have a special SPA ritual Marigold Bliss which promises complete relaxation.
The Bali Dacha is the perfect place to relax, meet, and socialize. After sauna and SPA, guests are invited to enjoy the restaurant, art lounge club, vegetarian cafe, healthy bar, or cinema. A beautiful garden surrounds the complex, which is equipped with recreational areas.
Tirta Empul Water Temple
One of the oldest water temples in Bali, Tirta Empul, is located 14 km from Ubud in the village of Tampaksiring. Locals consider the water of the springs next to which it is built to be sacred. Hindus claim that it rejuvenates and purifies karma. The springs fill two pools. Everyone can perform ablutions in one of them, and the second is intended only for Balinese. Women will need clothing covering the shoulders (such as a T-shirt) and a sarong to go through the ritual. Men who come in shorts also need to cover their legs.
According to the Balinese, the first bath has the power to purify karma and create harmony between husband and wife. Water flows into it from 13 taps. Eleven of them are for the ablutions of the living, the remaining two — for the deceased. The second pond with seven fountains is able to remove curses and purify karma. A little further is a pond with fish. You can take pictures with them for a small fee. It is interesting to walk around the temple's territory, looking at the pavilions, sanctuaries, and ancient statues.
According to legend, the springs of Tirta Empul appeared thanks to the god Indra during his war with the Balinese tyrant, Prince Mayadenawa. The prince, sneaking into the deity's military camp one night, created a magical spring with the help of occult powers. When the warriors drank its water, they were struck by an unknown disease. Indra came to the rescue, creating a spring with holy water. It quickly healed the soldiers and restored their strength.
Ubud Art Market
Ubud is considered the cultural capital of Bali. It is therefore not surprising that Ubud is home to the most popular art market in the country, the Ubud Traditional Art Market. The long street lined with market stalls is located in the center of the town. This is the best place to buy souvenirs. Here you can find unique handmade items not seen in other markets. Wooden dishes, wicker baskets, round bags made of rattan and bamboo, dreamcatchers, stone statues, wooden masks — a variety of products will satisfy the most demanding buyer. It is impossible to pass by the stalls with sarongs of all rainbow colors and jewelry. Those who want to buy inexpensive clothes, bathing suits, and surfing goods also should visit the art market in Ubud. The most expensive variety of coffee in the world - Luwak — is sold here. Ubud Traditional Art Market is open from 9 AM to 5 PM. It is better to come in the morning or just before closing time. If you do not know what to do in Ubud in the evening, you should go shopping. Moreover, many vendors significantly reduce prices at the end of the day.
Pura Taman Saraswati Temple
The Pura Taman Saraswati Temple (officially Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati, or Pura Saraswati Temple), also known as Ubud Water Palace, is one of Bali's main iconic buildings. It was designed by the sculptor and stone carver I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and commissioned by the Prince of Ubud, Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati. The temple is built in the traditional Balinese style and is dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and creativity, Saraswati.
The temple complex consists of three courtyards or mandala zones — Nista Mandala, Madya Mandala, and Utama Mandala. The outer courtyard (Nista) has a beautiful lotus pond and water garden. The gate of Kori Agung, constructed in the shape of Bali's tallest and most sacred mountain, leads from here to the middle courtyard (Madya). Statues of serpent dogs guard them, and a demon mask crowns the entrance. The Madya Mandala has symbolic thrones of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. Figures of the goddess Saraswati and the demon Jero Gede Mecaling stand in the courtyard (Utama). And in the central part of the temple, which is considered the most sacred, there is a lotus throne Padmasana with the image of the main Hindu god Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. You can only get here on religious holidays. Every night except Friday, the dance schools of Ubud give performances near the temple. You can watch them sitting in one of the cozy cafes.
Candi Tebing Gunung Kawi
The ancient temple and burial complex of Gunung Kawi is located in Tampaksiring village near Ubud. Ten tombs placed in rock niches are located on both sides of the Pakerisan River. You have to go down a stone staircase consisting of three hundred steps to see them. It leads through the rice terraces and then disappears into a tunnel. The five tombs in the eastern part of the temple are believed to have been erected in honor of King Udayana, Queen Mahendradatta, and their sons, Airlangga, Anaki Wungçu, and Marakata. Concubines are buried in the other five tombs. A temple was built near the tombs, and if you walk a little further along the path, you can see a beautiful waterfall.
Bali Swing Theme Park
You can't leave Bali without a photo on the famous Balinese swings soaring over the jungle or rice paddies. Bali Swing theme park is just a half-hour drive from Ubud, where you can take dozens of fashionable and spectacular Instagram photos. There are a lot of swings here — for one person, tandem, family, and even in the form of large beds. The rides are divided into three themed areas. You will have to pay for the entrance to each of them separately. Rope swings soar over the abyss to a height of 10 to 78 meters. Girls can rent brightly colored dresses with a long plume that will fly beautifully during the ride.
Several photo zones are equipped for those who do not like the extreme: wicker nests hanging between palm trees, benches at the edge of the abyss, and an abandoned helicopter. Visitors who are not confident in their art of photography can order a photo session from the park staff.
It takes only 15 minutes to get to Tegenungan Waterfall via a scenic road that leads through the rice fields. It is not too high (20 meters), but it is very picturesque. Tegenungan is often called the secret waterfall (Hidden Waterfall), as dense jungle surrounds it on all sides. There is a long descent to the stream with steps of different sizes. The Balinese have organized viewing platforms with art objects along the way to keep tourists entertained. Several sets for Insta-photos and swings were also set up at the foot of the waterfall. The bravest tourists climb to take pictures at the top of the rapids, where the rushing river rushes between the rocks. After a long descent to the waterfall, refreshing oneself in the cool water is very pleasant. But it is forbidden during the rainy season when the stream becomes turbulent and muddy.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
You need to take an hour's drive to see one of Bali's most picturesque waterfalls, Kanto Lampo, on a trip to the town of Gianyar. The natural wonder is located in a secluded gorge among the jungle on its outskirts. Kanto Lampo Waterfall is a cascading waterfall where water flows down 30-meter-high rock steps. There is a comfortable descent to the lake at the foot of the waterfall, equipped with a railing with umbrellas to protect you from the sun. But you can approach the cascade itself only by water. The lake is shallow, and the water is warm. In addition, the local staff helps tourists pass on the slippery stones. It is very nice to climb the rock steps on a hot day and sit under the water jets, which gently massage the body. After heavy rains, this massage becomes more intense and refreshing. There is a small cave on the outskirts of Kanto Lampo, as well as several viewing platforms for photography.
Kanto Lampo is a young waterfall. It was formed in 2015 after landslides blocked the riverbed of the Bangunlemah River, and the water flowed down a new path. Kanto Lampo has become a gift for locals as it has attracted tourists, who are charged a small fee to walk.
Tibumana Falls, a hidden gem of Bali, is located in the district of Bangli, just a half-hour drive from Ubud. A picturesque path winds between rocks and leads to an open grotto. A powerful stream of water falls from one of its walls into a small lagoon at the height of 35 meters. The water looks impressive against the background of ivy-covered rocks. The lake at the foot of Tibumana Falls is a great place for swimming. It is not very deep (about 2 meters), and the bottom is covered with soft sand. But it is not recommended to swim directly under the stream — the force of the falling water is quite large. There are several cafes on the way to the waterfall, and there are restrooms, changing rooms, and showers near the lake.
Jaens SPA Ubud
The Jaens SPA Ubud invites you to relax and enjoy a traditional Balinese massage. It is located just a few kilometers from the city, surrounded by green rice fields. The comfortable and relaxing atmosphere makes every guest feel at home. Jaens SPA Ubud offers several types of massage using traditional techniques, beauty, and SPA treatments. Zen music, aromatherapy, and refreshing herbal teas stimulate all five senses. It is recommended to order one of the SPA packages, which include baths, scrubbing, full body massage, and facial and hair care, to get maximum pleasure and save money.
The creator of Parq Ubud calls it the city of the future. This modern community is designed for entrepreneurs and artists who can now live and work among like-minded people. When creating Parq Ubud, the designers and architects were inspired by the culture of the ancient Balinese civilization. Many of the elements used in the interior were purchased in the antique markets of Surabaya and Jakarta.
The complex includes everything you need for work, leisure, and development. It has a cultural center, gallery, co-working, rented apartments, and offices. Massage rooms, yoga studio, gym, Finnish saunas, and Russian baths are at guests' disposal. European and Japanese dishes, including vegetarian, are served in the restaurants. Parq Ubud often hosts concerts and business seminars.
Zest Ubud, which opened in 2018, has taken vegan cuisine to a whole new level. The restaurant is located in an old building, the interior of which is complemented by modern works of art. The creators of the restaurant decided not to use expensive imported products. All dishes on the menu are cooked from seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs, bought from local farmers. Root vegetables such as sweet potato, cassava, and galangal are widely used. Animal and gluten products are prohibited. Instead of wheat flour, cassava, rice, or tapioca flour is used for baking. Scones made of fermented brown rice and mung bean sprouts are an alternative to bread. Desserts at Zest Ubud are also vegan: pitahaya carpaccio, raw apple pie, mango cheesecake, and banana muffin. Drinks include vegetable and fruit smoothies and whole bean cacao.
Some of the products used in the kitchen are grown at home by the restaurant employees themselves. For example, Chef Simon has a tropical garden of several hectares.