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My visit to Kuta in Bali didn’t go as planned. I was expecting a peaceful place, and I ended up with backpackers who were just thinking about getting shitfaced and having drugs. So I started wondering if it was going to be the same thing in Ubud, my next stop (in Bali as well). Fortunately, during my stay in Kuta, a few travelers reassured me “We arrive from Ubud. Don’t worry, Ubud has nooothing to do with Kuta. It’s a very quiet little town, where you can eat good food and pay almost nothing. The locals are relaxed there and the area is wonderful. We don’t like Kuta either and we won’t stay here for a long time. But we loved Ubud! You’re probably gonna like it, too!” Cool! Let’s find out all the beautiful things to do in Ubud!
Description of Ubud
All right! So I took a van from Kuta, to go to Ubud, and the least we can say is that Ubud is really quiet. So quiet compared to Kuta. It’s surprising, usually the cities next to the sea are relaxing, and the ones on the mainland are more lively. This time it’s clearly the other way around. There’s no beach in Ubud but the place is relaxing. No noise pollution, no drunk backpackers, no street with 50 very loud bars next to one another. That’s cool! It’s a bit more expensive than Kuta but don’t worry, here’s how to travel Bali on a budget!
Ubud, that’s the Bali I wanted to see! It has to be part of your Bali itinerary! Once again, the cost of living is very low! The food is good. The locals are relaxed and live their lives. A lot of them greet me in the street. Ubud is also a place with wonderful landscapes : you cannot miss the rice fields stretching as far as the eye can see. But also all the beautiful temples there, and the monkeys wandering around, especially in the sacred monkey forest. There are restaurants serving local food all over the place, an art market, etc… Check what to eat in Bali! Otherwise Ubud is a paradise for those into yoga! There are yoga classes and retreats everywhere in the town! If you’re into yoga, here are the best yoga retreat destinations! Needless to say, Ubud is one of them!
What to do in Ubud
Balinese dance show
Every evening in Ubud, there’s a Balinese dance show. In fact, there are many shows all over the area. In some cases, you have to pay to attend the show, in other cases it’s free. Actually there are several types of Balinese dance : Barong, Topeng, Jegog, Janger, Tek Tok… Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to attend a Balinese dance show, I heard about them during my last day in Ubud and I was busy… Anyway, since Ubud is a lovely little town, I decided to rent a bicycle to explore Ubud and the surroundings!
The sacred monkey forest
Several tourists didn’t dare to go there because they’re afraid, however it’s the main tourist attraction of Ubud : the sacred monkey forest. A forest in the heart of the city where hundreds of monkeys live in total freedom. Some of them are wandering around the forest, others sleep, sometimes they play, they run all over the place, they make noise… The monkeys there are not thiefs like the ones in the mount Popa in Myanmar. A monkey came up to me, jumped on my shoulder, and tried to open my bag. Do not panic, after some time, they just leave.
The monkeys were not aggressive with me, I even found they were nice. But later on the road, on top of Mount Kelimutu, I met an American girl who told me a monkey bit her face in this forest! She also told me “That same day, another monkey bit a 7-year-old girl’s index“. Apparently there are various bites several times per week but they don’t talk about it to not scare the tourists off (the forest brings them a lot of money!). Do not leave home without a travel insurance! It’s 50k rupees (3 euros) to get in.
In the south of Ubud, do not miss Tegenungan Waterfall, one of the best Ubud waterfalls! Around the waterfall, you’ll see a few shops selling souvenirs and local art, some restaurants, otherwise just admire the view, it’s impressive! It’s 15k rupees to get in (one euro). You can get on top of the waterfall (blangsinga waterfalls). You’ll have to pay an extra 10k rupees (0.60€) to get there. In Bali, you can also visit the wonderful Munduk waterfalls.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Another place you cannot miss in Ubud : Tegallalang Rice Terrace, the rice fields you have to see in Ubud! Tegallalang Rice Terrace is located 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Ubud, and those rice fields are wonderful! It’s also possible to have a walk in the middle of the rice fields, but in some areas, the locals will ask for a donation. It’s reaaally hot there, come early to avoid the scorching heat and the crowd. And don’t forget to bring water! If needed, here’s a Tegallalang rice terrace guide!
If you can, you should see a famous Hindu temple : Puri Saren Agung, also called Ubud Palace. It was the official residence of the royal family of Ubud. Unfortunately, the palace was under construction when I was there, so we couldn’t get in. I decided to go to see another place just opposite to Ubud Palace called Saraswati Temple. This one is also beautiful, and it’s free to get in.
You can also visit Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) and its menacing faces that are carved into the stone. They represent Hindu divinities. Funny peculiarity, women having their periods cannot visit the temple. Why? I don’t know… How do they check? Good question… Your legs have to be covered to visit the temple but don’t worry, they lend the visitors sarongs. That means you can ignore the local women claiming you have to pay a sarong to get in. It’s 15k rupees (one euro) to get in. In the temple, several locals will come up to you, asking if you need a guide for the visit. Needless to say, it’s not free, they charge 10 US dollars. Up to you…
The Blanco Renaissance Museum
There are other things to see in Ubud. You’re into art? Go to the Blanco Renaissance Museum, dedicated to Antonio Blanco, a painter who lived in Ubud for a long time.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
You can also enjoy Campuhan Ridge Walk. It’s an enjoyable walk, 2 kilometers long, where you can admire several rice fields. Some locals go jogging there (be careful, there are a few slopes!). If you stay in the area, here are the best day trips from Ubud!
The Bali swing
Finally, there’s a very popular place I didn’t go to : the Bali Swing. It’s located a few kilometers away from Ubud, and you can “have fun” on a swing, in front of the Balinese vegetation. The perfect place for a beautiful Instagram picture. Why didn’t I go there? Pay 35 euros (that’s a lot in Bali!) for a beautiful picture on a swing, no thanks! Yeah lunch is included, yeah they give you a lot of time to take your pictures on the swing, but it’s not worth the price. From what I heard, almost everyone there take 300 pictures in order to get THE perfect picture to publish on Instagram. No thanks…
Activities in Ubud
There are so many activities in Ubud! This list can help you out!
- A full-day Instagram highlights tour in Bali. Click here for more info.
- A mount Batur sunrise hike. Click here for more info.
- A visit with a local guide. Click here for more info.
- A rafting adventure! Click here for more info.
- Explore the hidden canyon. Click here for more info.
- A jungle swing private tour. Click here for more info.
- A silver jewelry making class. Click here for more info.
- A spa treatment. Click here for more info.
- Enjoy a romantic dinner among the rice fields. Click here for more info.
Ubud is a small litlle town you cannot miss if you go to Bali. We’re far from the hustle and bustle of Kuta, and the town is enjoyable. A must see!
How to get to Ubud
If you come from abroad, you’ll have to get there by plane. Click here to check the latest flight prices. From Kuta, I paid 50k rupees (3 euros) my 2-hour-ride by van.
How to get around in Ubud
Most people rent a scooter, prices vary from 50 to 60k (3-3.50€) per day. I decided to rent a bicycle (to stay in shape!). It’s 30k rupees (2 euros) per day. By foot, apart from the monkey forest and the temples, you won’t see much…
Where to stay in Ubud
Here are many options regarding where to stay in Ubud. If you’re traveling on a budget, the Jero di Bisma Hostel is a good hostel. Click here to book your stay. Looking for a mid-range hotel? The Pratama House is a nice guesthouse! Click here to book your stay. If you prefer luxury hotels, you’re gonna like the Bisma Eight. Click here to book your stay. Otherwise click here to check what are the hotels available in Ubud.
Finally, if you prefer to stay in an apartment, click here to check the apartments available on Airbnb.
Ubud travel tips
- Traveling soon? Check out my travel resources page! This list of travel accessories can also be useful!
- Wanna go to Indonesia? All Western countries can visit Indonesia without a visa for 30 days.
- Do not go to Indonesia without a travel insurance! Here’s why buy travel insurance!
- Likewise, if you go to Indonesia, you’ll have to provide proof of onward travel!
- Want a tailor-made trip to Indonesia? Get a free quote here!
- Always use a VPN when traveling. I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling!
- Indonesia is a cheap travel destination!
- You won’t escape from Nasi Goreng, Indonesia’s signature dish : rice, egg, chicken and shrimps. By the way here’s an article about the best Indonesian food to try.
- The laughing buddha bar is a nice place to have a drink!
- Here’s a complete Bali travel guide for first timers!
- Did you know? There are abandoned airplanes in Bali!
- Here are the do’s and dont’s in Bali!