Ubud offers a one of a kind mixture of sense of calmness, serenity, tranquility and of course jungle vibes - what more could one ask for? If you are already thinking of a holiday to Bali, you have to include a few days or even a week in Ubud.
Believe me it’s a place where you will want to visit more than once with or without kids as it’s perfect for a family holiday, a couples getaway or a relaxing yoga retreat - whatever your desire Ubud has it all. Think lush greenery, temples, waterfalls and paddy fields - Instagram heaven.
With so many things to do in Ubud, here is my own list of adventures to enjoy!
1. Pura Tirta Empul and drink the holy spring water
This temple is an important site for holy, fresh drinking water from the ground. Both locals and tourists go into the two purification pools where you clean yourself at each of the 30 stations. The cleaning process starts from the left and continues to the right side, with each fountain of water having a short line, but each one is worth it. The temple provides sarongs but take your swimwear too, Entrance is 15000 IDR per person. A truly beautiful and spiritual experience that cannot be missed.
2. Monkey Forest Ubud
One of the most popular things to do in Ubud is a visit to the Monkey Forest. In the center of town you may start to see monkeys when walking around the town close to the forest (one cheeky monkey stole sweets from my daughters while we were walking down the road) so don’t be alarmed.
The park is a lovely big rainforest and worth walking around. Some monkeys are cheekier than others so stick to the following rules and you should be OK!.
* Don’t look a monkey in the eyes
* Don’t smile, showing your teeth is a form of aggression.
* Don’t feed them however they may steel food from you!
* Don’t touch their babies
* Remove all lose items sunglasses or food that’s outside your bag or within a second it will be gone forever!
Entrance fee is 50000 IDR
3. Shopping at Ubud Market
Every day in the center of Ubud is the Ubud Market. It is split into two timetables. The traditional market where vegetables and meat is sold starts from 3 AM until 8 AM. At 9 AM, the market changes to the Ubud Art Market. Here they sell everything from handbags, kitchenware, decorations, paintings, souvenirs, you name it. The Ubud bag became a worldwide fashion item, as a result, every shop in Ubud sells these pretty bags
4. Visit Jungle Fish
Swim in the Jungle! Ubud's 'no beach' beach club! Jungle Fish is a must do in Ubud, where you can experience swimming amidst the lush jungle, in the beautiful landscape of the Ubud area. Open-air split-level restaurant and pool bar perched on the side of a ridge overlooking the Osh River Valley; Jungle Fish is located just 10 minutes drive north of Ubud. It’s so well priced with great food.
5. Ubud Rice Field Walk Tour
The picture perfect rice fields of Ubud. There is 45-min walk over a pad along the beautiful fields and farms. It is unknown because the path is a bit hidden away although it is right in the center of town. There are so many rice fields to see wherever you go
6. Tegenungan Waterfall
The waterfall isn’t huge, but the scenery is lovely,
It’s a 25-minute drive from Ubud (go early) and can be combined with the Hidden Canyon. Its quiet a hardcore canyon so come prepared to clamber rocks and wade through waist-high water. It’s best to hire one of the local guides to show you the way
7. Goa Gajah
Only 10 minutes south of Ubud lies one of the most sacred sites in Bali: Goa Gajah. Also known as the Elephant Cave, this Hindu site dates back to the 11th Century and was nominated as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cave is believed to have been home to Hindu priests and the entrance is carved with menacing figures from Hindu legend. The interior of the cave is dark and contains a few religious relics. The site is still used for worship by locals so proper dress is required to enter
8. Cycling with Bali Eco Cycling
See the lovely views of the Balinese mountains by going on a guided tour. The trails will take you across the remote regions of Ubud where you can see the wonderful sceneries of the island including bamboo and fruit groves, rice paddies, and the countryside. You’ll also pass through villages where there will be plenty of opportunities to meet the locals and learn more about the local culture
Located in its own manicured rice field besides a rushing river, the sinuous new bamboo yoga bale at the Four Seasons Resort at Sayan is undoubtedly the best location for yoga in Ubud
10. The Bali Swing at Zen Hideaway
This famous spot can be seen on any Instagram feed. This iydllic swing is found in a village called Bongkasa and soars over a dense jungle of palm trees and the Ayung River. At Zen Hideaway the swing opening hours are between 12-2pm, as it's an Air BnB house too you are free to stay in the estate during those hours for as long as you like. You are asked to donate 300,000 IDR per person to the housekeeper on the property in exchange for an entry to the property and to swing. The swing is obviously not the safest thing on earth so you ride on it at your own risk and you are required to sign a waiver before you swing.
You are spoilt for choice with amazing restaurants in Bali, but two of our favorites in Ubud are:
Lacavore was one of our favorite restaurants – its always featured in the ‘Top 50 restaurants in the world” They offer a yummy 9 course tasting menu – were the presentation and thought process behind each dish will blow your mind let alone your taste buds.
The Sayan House offering a fusion of Latin and Japanese cuisine served with panoramic views of the stunning Ubud jungle
There are so many stunning properties in Ubud from guest houses on rice fields to retreats hidden in the lush vegetation of a Ubud jungle.
There are two properties which we highly recommend in Ubud and we are pleased to say are also Unique Family Travel partners:
Located a 10-minute walk to central Ubud. Bisma Eight is a part of the unique Ubud experience. They help people to discover and define what Ubud means to them by creating singular moments that will surprise and delight. With a roof top infinity pool hanging right over the verdant valley and a round bath tub in the rooms that looks like you’re about to crush grapes with your feet.
A winding mile from the village below, the hilltop boutique resort of Alila Ubud owes its inspiration to traditional Balinese village life. 14 two-storey wood-and-stone-made blocks house just 56 rooms. Each one offers panoramic views of the valley below, the River Ayung that runs through it and the ring of volcanoes surrounding the hotel. The pool at Alila Ubud has a global reputation, and no wonder: it’s a watery sliver of infinity that seems to overhang the valley plunging beneath it. Also close to the Zen Hideaway
One other place where I would recommend a night or two at is
The Hanging Gardens of Bali – featuring one of the world’s most spectacular pools, which juts over a lush ravine, popular with travelers who thrive on aesthetics.
How to get to Ubud
Ubud is a 1-hour drive from Denpasar airport. Roads are busy so it usually takes a little longer. Getting around on a motorbike is only advised for experienced drivers.
If you enjoyed this, read our post about Seminyak