Ubud Things To Do
Ultimate Guide for Ubud
Ubud is located in the lush mountains of Bali surrounded by rice fields. It has long been known for its mystical and healing powers and is the spiritual and cultural centre of Bali. Religion is part of the daily life for the local population which is 90% Hindu religion. Ubud is about an hour drive up the mountain from the airport in Denpasar. It is a very popular spot for artists and spiritual people. The area has many small villages and rice fields. Tourism has grown here dramatically over the past 20 years. In addition to all the temples and beautiful walks the top thing to do is a daily massage. Ubud is a beautiful and one of a kind place making it one of the top 10 places to visit in the world.
Top 10 Things to Do in Ubud
1. Puri Saren Agung - Ubud Royal Palace
1. Ubud Royal Palace – known as Puri Saren Agung, the palace is located in the centre of Ubud. There are traditional cultural performances that change every night in the courtyard at 7:30 pm. Tickets are sold in advance beginning in the afternoon until 7 pm. Seating is not assigned so go early and you can pick where you want to sit. We sat right on the sidelines and could touch the performers performing the traditional Barong dance and it was fantastic. I can not believe how they can bend their fingers and the facial expressions are unbelievable.
Admission into the palace during the day is free. Take the time to wander around and take in the beautiful carvings and architecture. They even have a traditional bungalow for rent where you can stay right in the palace grounds.
2. Pasar Seni Ubud
2. Ubud Art Market – opposite the Royal Palace in the centre of Ubud the art market, Pasar Seni Ubud, sells handicrafts from the surrounding villages. A congested building with small stalls overloaded with goods. We bought several traditional purses. Being the first customers of the day we were given the special first sale price. A good first sale will be lucky for the vendor the rest of the day. Haggling on price is expected. Offer half the asking price and go from there.
3. Pura Taman Saraswati
3. Taman Saraswati Temple, nicknamed the Ubud Water Palace, is located right in the heart of Ubud. It was built in 1952 to and dedicated to Saraswati the Hindu diety of learning, literature, and art. In front of the temple is a comfortable open air restaurant with an extensive menu and well trained staff. We watched the evening performance performed on the stage from a table at the rail. It was beautiful.
4. Tegallalang Rice Terraces
4. Tegallalang Rice Terraces – located about a half hour drive up the mountain from Ubud the rice terraces are beautiful to see. Their unique cooperative irrigation system is called subak and people have been growing rice here since the 8th century. It is an UNESCO site. Go early before the many shops along the ledge are open. We walked along the terrace paths for an hour before other tourist began showing up. The rice had been recently harvested and a new growing cycle was beginning. Some of the terraces were being worked and repaired before being flooded and planted.
5. Tirta Empul Temple
5. Tirta Empul Temple – not far from the Tegallalang rice terraces is this very important Hindu temple with a fascinating legend. It is a water temple that was built around an artesian spring that feeds ponds and a unique purification pool where pilgrims go through a ritual purification.
6. Pura Gunung Kawi
Pura Gunung Kawi, meaning carved mountain, is a 11th century temple. It is located just below the Titra Empul Temple on the Pakerisan River. There are about 300 steps down to the temple. There are 10 shrines that are over 20 feet high and cut into the rock cliff. There are beautiful rice fields in the valley. Admission is about $3.50 and it is open from 8am – 5pm. The best time is early morning before the crowds start arriving about 10am.
7. Ubud Monkey Forest
7. Ubud Monkey Forest – a very sacred Hindu forest located right in Ubud. It was established back in the 1300s. There are 3 temples and over 600 monkeys that live in 3 different groups within the forest. I loved the afternoon we spent there. The monkeys are so cute. I had little ones playing with my toes with their soft hairy hands. But be careful as they will try to steal any food or shiny things you have. There are lockers at the entrance where you can put your stuff before entering the lush jungle forest. The monkeys are continually studied and every monkey is known by sex and date of birth.
8. Campuhan Ridge Walk
8. The Campuhan Ridge walk is located just behind the west side of Ubud and easy to get to. We took a 5 minute taxi ride from the Ubud palace. The pathway is covered in lava paving stones and it is an easy 4 mile roundtrip walk with a bit of a climb at the start until you get on top of the ridge. Along the way there are great vistas and at the far end are some galleries, small restaurants and lodges. We only saw a few other people the whole time we were on the walkway.
9. Kajeng Rice Fields Walk
9. Kajeng Rice Fields Walk starts in Ubud and goes through the village of Kajeng before entering the beautiful walk through the rice fields. It takes about an hour or so and the walkway takes your through some stunning and mystical vistas. The best time to go is the early morning before the day begins to heat up.
10. Alas Harum Kopi Luwak Coffee Plantation
The most expensive coffee in the world is produced in Ubud. The Alas Harum kopi luwak coffee plantation is located by the Tegallalang rice terraces. It is an agro-tourist business that shows the process of creating the coffee made from the partly digested coffee bean that is eaten and excreted by the civet animal called kopi luwak. The discovery of the process is an interesting story. The plantation hires local young people to act as tour guides, retailers and hospitality service. At the end of the guided tour you can taste a dozen coffees and then play on all the swings and other activities located in the lush gulley.
Places to Stay
Kayon Jungle Resort - 5 Star Luxury
The Kayon Jungle Resort is a remarkable luxury resort with a 3 tiered pool located just outside of Ubud. With longer stays daily massages and cocktails are included. The elevated rooms have sweeping views of the lush tropical views. Rooms start at about $120. Book here.
Royal Kamuela Villas & Suites at Monkey Forest - 5 Star Luxury
Located in the heart of Ubud next to the Monkey Forest this 30 room luxury hotel is a quiet oasis from the busy street. A private villa with pool runs about $100 a night. There is an onsite spa with massage and treatment rooms. The hotel offers free wifi and airport shuttle. Breakfast is a surcharge but is highly rated. Book here.
Villa JJ and Spa - 4 Star Moderate
Villa JJ and Spa is located a few miles out of Ubud with a free shuttle to and from Ubud. We arranged for them to pick us up at the airport for about $20. We stayed in the end villa with pool for a week for $35 a night including breakfast and free wifi. The small open air restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner. The menu selection is limited but meals run only about $5 and we could hear the kitchen staff preparing our meal as we were usually the only ones there. The staff were very pleasant and accommodating. Book here.
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