Last Updated: 19 July 2019
by: Amina Poole
Let me take a wild guess, you’ve seen the Eat Pray Love movie and really want to explore Ubud and see if it is really as pretty and zen like in the movie.
Unfortunately, you are not traveling alone. You might be going with your partner, friends or maybe your kids. Now, you want to make sure that everyone will have things to do in Ubud to keep them happy.
Don’t worry, in this article I will list every fun, romantic, adventurous and even FREE things to do in Ubud, so you can use it for your itinerary planning reference.
Ready? Let’s jump right in:
Admit it, when you are traveling with your partner, the most perfect things to do is spending the afternoon dining in one of Ubud finest restaurants with the gorgeous natural view. There are a few choices of views that are usually available.
There are are restaurants that offers river and forest view such as Swept Away and Kupu Kupu Barong. Or if you prefer to dine next to the ricefield, there is Sari Organik or Pomegranate Café.
And the best part? Most of these restaurants offer a wide range of variety cuisine that will complement the glorious view.
My best pick is Kubu at Mandapa. The restaurant provides the illusion of a casual aesthetic as the restaurant is made of bamboo. One can gaze at the Ayung river while being serenaded by the tropical breeze.
There are numerous restaurants to pick from
Most of them will have gorgeous view and delicious palate to choose from
The sound of the river and the breeze that follows with it provides a tranquil atmosphere which is surreal.
Wouldn’t it be great if you and your partner could experience a unique activity during your honeymoon in Ubud?
And if you are aiming for an improved physical and mental health then it’s a no brainer, you should give Yoga Barn a visit. The Yoga Barn offers just more than yoga and it is more than just a typical wellness centre.
Regular yoga classes and dance classes are held every morning. Besides lessons, meditation sessions are held where one can participate and immerse fully to experience peace and tranquility.
If you want to stamp the final seal to your holistic experience, you could also opt for detox programs and being a part of community events that promotes Sound Healing. Whether you are a first timer, a casual yoga practitioner or a professional one, the Yoga Barn is the right place for all!
Also Read: Best Yoga Venues in Bali (Article Coming soon)
The overall wellness package that the Yoga Barn provides is a goldmine for people who are looking for the complete experience.
The detox program promotes a clean and a healthy lifestyle.
Many tourists in Bali indulge themselves in learning how to cook by enrolling in a cooking school. In Ubud, you would have the opportunity to learn how to prepare and cook Balinese cuisine with the help of professional local chefs.
You might want to enroll in Paon Bali Cooking Classes where you will experience the art of picking out herbs, spices and your choice of meats. This is such a romantic experience as well if you are doing it with your spouse.
The fact that you are allowed a glimpse into the authentic Balinese culture through the art of cooking is fascinating.
There are so many cooking classes available where you would be able to choose according to your convenience and interests.
Some customers have complained about having an unconfirmed booking despite having a reservation from their end.
Look, buying jewelry for your lover is definitely romantic, but nothing beat the romance of creating your own jewelry for your spouse to wear!
There is this jewelry workshop that I attended with my husband called Studio Perak. Not only is it an enriching experience but and educational experience as well.
The hosts are patient and understanding as they answer every question and provide insight into the background of jewelry making.
The studio has a professional set up and is excellent for providing a xunique touring experience.
The unique experience of jewelry making is refreshing.
Going to the spa is our (my husband and me) favourite past time, regardless of whether we are on holiday or not.
But going to the spa in Ubud is a whole new experience. You will never experience spa-like you experience it in Ubud.
If you are dying for a massage and looking for a budget option, the Ubud Traditional Spa is most recommended among tourists. But my most favourite Spa in Ubud is the Five Elements‘ Beauty Spa Rituals. Its the most relaxing experience for me and my husband.
All in all, there are plenty of options available for those looking to get away from the noise and to relax.
Also Read: Best Spa in Bali (Article Coming soon)
As mentioned, Spa in Ubud is an experience that is outward because it offers more than just a back massage but an experience that will keep calling us back to the place.
OK, I know what you are thinking, a bar in Ubud? Doesn’t sound like Ubud. Isn’t the Bars should be in Seminyak or Legian?
Well, its true! Ubud is more known to provide serenity instead of loud music. That is why, when you visit the Wanna Jungle, you will be served with different kind of music compared to the ones in Seminyak. The architecture of the bar is also complimenting the surrounding nature as it was built with bamboo.
The three level pool and the lush landscape will blow you away, and the experience of lounging in the middle of the jungle will provide you with an experience that you will never forget.
This is strictly adult only venue, so children are not allowed in the bar. Thus it is perfect for honeymooners who like to enjoy the serenity.
The bamboo structure of the club is definitely gorgeous; and did I tell you that the view is breathtaking?
So you want to chill on a pool and listen to music, but doesn’t want to drive all the way to Wanna Jungle?
Afraid not, there is an alternative bar in Central Ubud called Folk Ubud. Its rustic interior offers a really Instagramable background for your holiday photo. It is also a romantic setting for people who are on honeymoon. There are private day beads and tepees for your to laze around all day.
While one can relax in those settings, the range of food served there is fantastic as it caters to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
As mentioned, Spa in Ubud is an experience that is outward because it offers more than just a back massage but an experience that will keep calling us back to the place.
Alright, this might be the main reason you and your spouse must have visit Ubud: to experience the way Ketut Liyer read the palm of Julia Roberts.
Ketut Liyer house is surrounded by gardens and landscapes that will give you a feeling of home and he will read your future. Get ready to get your mind blown by his accurate reading!
Price for palm reading is really affordable
I know what you are thinking: “Isn’t it dangerous for the kids to get so close to the monkey?”
These monkeys are trained to be gentle with tourists and there is always a trainer nearby if the monkey got out of hand. Just be careful though with your belongings as sometimes the monkeys will try to be cheeky by stealing sunglasses or camera.
But here is the best thing about the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, you will be awed by the scenery and architecture of the temples (and the history behind it). This can be an educative learning experience for children to offer them a glimpse of Balinese culture as well.
The close encounter with the monkeys is such a fun experience for kids.
You can buy nuts to feed the monkeys.
Check this out, if you are looking for an activity in Ubud for older kids, then going for White Water Rafting or Tubing is definitely a must for your family trip.
You will be provided with a lifejacket, a paddle, a helmet along with a welcome drink. As you float into the watery descents, the guide will paddle through the most amazing scenery where you will witness the best of Ubud’s natural landscape.
When you reach the finish point, you and your family will be welcomed with a scrumptious lunch.
A word of caution though, not all of the white water rafting provide proper equipment or insurance. Make sure you read the reviews by past customers. One our most recommended provider is Bali Sobek
The hands-on guide is helpful and first timers can feel at ease.
The whole trip is budget and family friendly.
I am sure that you’ve seen these photos a few time in Instagram while you search for things to do in Ubud.
The Bali Swing is a simple yet exciting activity where you will be able to view the scenery from a bird’s eye view, literally. There are twelve swings each measuring at a height of 10 meters to 78 meters from the ground.
Scared of height? Don’t worry!
There are also Instagramable spots in the form of bird nest or even helicopter where you will be able to take breathtaking pictures with the forest and valley as the background.
After you are done swinging, you can enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch which is served with Balinese coffee, tea and water.
The swings are extremely safe.
There are a few spots for taking your instagrammable selfies.
Imagine this, you are laying on the sunbed with your mocktail and your book. While the kid are having a great time on the pool. Isn’t it a great holiday expectation?
So where in Ubud can you go to chill with the family?
You can try visiting the D’Tukad River Club that is located near the Blangsinga Waterfall. Furthermore, it has good food and drinks as well.
The swimming pool invites everyone to get a splash of its coolness. And for those who would like to keep themselves dry but don’t want to miss the party, swings are available where they will be able to get a good view of everything.
The place is really instagrammable in general, there is even a waterfall as the view!
The place feels too noisy for some people, especially those visiting for honeymoon
There is entry price for every person visiting the Club.
Ok, first look how awesome this structure is:
It’s so cool isn’t it? The Green Village is a collection of hand-built bamboo villas which are constructed with the concept of sustainable architecture for the better future.
In addition to that, they offer a half day tour that showcase their revolutionary living and educate parents and kids about the process of building the bamboo structure.
When I was there, I was so happy to see how eager children are as they learn and interact with natural spaces and materials. I truly believe that they will appreciate living sustainably more as they grow up.
If you have the extra budget, you could also rent one of these 13 villas. Staying the night around the bamboo jungle is definitely an experience that worth trying.
The bamboo houses have stunning architecture which was surreal and quite nothing like I have ever seen before.
The tour is mind blowing, as we could learn so much about sustainable architecture and living.
Look if you really want your kids to put away their gadget and enjoy the holiday, you might want to find activities for them that is interesting enough.
Don’t worry I think Pondok Pekak is a great place that could offer fun activities for the little ones.
The kids will be able to learn a few new artistic skills, such as painting, Balinese Dance, wood carving, jewelry making and even the most interesting one.. fruit carving!
Another reason for visiting Pondok Pekak is their library filled with vast collection of children story books. I found some of my favorite children classic book.
The location of Pondok Pekak is at the center of Ubud and within walking distance to other destinations such as Sacred Monkey Forest and the Ubud Palace. You can visit these places together in one day.
Some of the books are not in the greatest condition.
Toddlers would not be able to enjoy the lessons as much as the older kids.
Check this out, one of the best place to see the sunrise in Ubud! The Campuhan Ridge Walk.
In the morning, you will be greeted by the cold morning fog. You will need to trek from the main street, passing through a small Hindu Temple and you will arrive at the foot of the this ridge.
Don’t worry, the terrain is not too sloping, so you can easily trek to the higher part of the ridge. Once you arrive on this spot, you will be able to enjoy the view of the beautiful villas perching on the top of the valley on the other side.
Here’s the kick though, once you arrive here later during the day. The place will be swarmed by couples trying to get the perfect pre-wedding shot by their photographer.
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is THAT pretty, it attracts lots of couple, no wonder the local named it the Love Hill.
The trek is easy and great for the less fit or elderly as well.
The Sunrise in the morning is gorgeous
I discovered Petulu Heron Colony by accident. I took the wrong road on my way to one of the nearby villa.
Suddenly, a flock of huge white birds fly above my motorcycle. I was shocked.
After asking the local, I understand that the stretch of 400 meters road that I was passing is the home of thousands of Kokokan Birds also known as the Petulu Heron Colony.
It’s interesting that there are two version of the story why there are lots of Kokokan Birds on that street only not the whole Ubud. The first version says that the Kokokan Birds are the answers by Gods to bring prosperity for the local farmers that reside on that road.
The second one is a little more spooky. The locals said that the Kokokan are the reincarnation of residents massacred during the Civil War in Indonesia on that area. Hmmmm…Which version do you prefer?
If you opt for a tour around the place, pick-up and dropping are all arranged in the fees.
Be ready to get dirty, sometimes the Kokokan will do the number 2 from above the tree! You might be a casualty! If you know what I mean.
The Tegalalang Village is situated in the north of Ubud which has a 600m elevation from sea levels.
The villager are mostly farmers and it is no wonder that the paddy fields are one of the biggest tourist attractions for people especially for people who have never seen them in real life.
Rice is grown through a method known as terrace farming and the rice terrace fields are set on a cliff which provides a beautiful view of the whole field. If you want to opt for swings to get a better aerial view of the terrace fields, there are options to pay for them as well.
This is a natural spot where tourists can see the livelihood of the locals.
If you love to visit waterfall, then the next three locations are a must as they are just 30-60 minutes drive away from Central Ubud and located near to each other.
The first one is Kanto Lampo Waterfall which is easier to reach once you arrived on the site. The hike down will only take you 10 minutes. Very different if you are to visit the famous Sekumpul Waterfall in Singaraja.
The great news is Kanto Lampo Waterfall is still one of the hidden gem of Ubud. There are not many tourist coming to Kanto Lampo. However, its better to come early as no one will be there, thus you can get the perfect photo for your Instagram.
Access to the waterfall is easy even for beginners so it should not be a problem to climb the rocks.
Once you are done with Kanto Lampo, the next recommendation is the Tibumana Waterfall. This is a much larger waterfall where the scenery is spectacular.
If you are vying for the perfect Instagram photo, then the waterfall is bound to make your shots look out of this world. The water falls to a perfect pool, where you can refresh and swim.
The Tibumana Waterfall is a great destination for families and couples alike. Even if you are backpacking alone, you can strap yourself with a good book, a pair or sunglasses, a good sunscreen and enjoy the pure bliss with the sun.
The Tibumana Waterfall offers a closed-off sanctuary with a waterfall and pool to enjoy.
Look, this is one of the most instagramable waterfall in Bali for one reason. The sunrays that is passing through the cave into the pool of the Tukad Cepung Waterfall.
If you are already visiting Kanto Lampo and Tibumana, then you might be too tired to visit another waterfall on the same day. BUT, I really recommend you to stretch your stamina and visit this magical place.
You won’t be disappointed. Look at those sunrays!
The sunrays and surrounding scenery is definitely going to make your photos magical.
Alright, alright.. yes its another waterfall! I have to mention this waterfall as it is one of the most famous one in Ubud. The Tegenungan Waterfall.
It’s not my favourite but its definitely worth visiting. Once when its not as famous as now, you can cliff jump from the top of the waterfall. But there were tragedies before and now you are prohibited to jump to the pool below.
The availability of the food vendors and cafés made the trip even more worthwhile because everything is better with food.
On the rarest case, when one member of the Ubud Royal Family deceased, the Ubud Palace will hold a grand cremation (also known locally as Ngaben).
In 2018, I was lucky enough to attend the Ubud Royal Family Cremation. The ceremony is very sacred and definitely spent a lot of resources to organized.
This is interesting: the coffin was placed on a Balinese Bade which tower as high as 27 meters. The local teenagers lifted the bade and marched around Ubud. Finally the Bade was torched to return the body into its fundamental element: fire, air, water earth and void.
Here is a footage of the event:
You might not come across this event during your visit in Ubud. But, if there is one, you should give it a visit.
Temples have a way of letting me into the cultural aspects of any place I visit. Likewise, the Tirta Empul Temple is a haven for Hindu devotees where they perform various rituals in honoring their gods.
The temple stands within a bubbling spring where the sight of Hindu devotees indulging in ritual baths is common.
This is a perfect trip to take as the mystical aura surrounding the temple will rein you in for an educative tour about the culture and tradition of the local people.
It provides a wonderful insight into the lives of people who love in faith and devotion. The various rituals involved in worshipping a god or gods is knowledge worth studying.
The spring surrounding the temple is magical during a full moon night.
The Gunung Kawi Temple is another Hindu temple that is worth visiting. I was mesmerized by its architecture and the sculptures when I first arrived at the temple.
The place not only provides you with beautiful sights but the serenity that it comes with a religious site are immeasurable and no amount of money can buy that.
The hike to the top of the temple is quite a challenge, you will have to 250 steps to ascent to the top.
But here is your reward, you will find 10 huge shrines cut out of Rock faces. I asked my guide about its origin. He said that legend said that these shrines were made in one night by the mighty Kebo Iwa as a memorial to a member of the 11th century Balinese royalty.
People with low stamina are advised not to go as the climb will be difficult and it would ruin the whole tour.
Another Temple worth visiting is the Saraswati Temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess of art and literature who is also known as Saraswati.
People will be left in awe of the intricate sculptures and architecture of the temple. Tourists will be able to witness the popular Padmasana shrine which is dedicated to the goddess.
It is also a common sight to see Hindu devotees flocking there to pay their respects to the goddess. Besides the statue of goddess Saraswati, one would also find a magnanimous statue of the demon, Jero Gede Mecaling, which is almost 3 meters high.
Alright here is the truth though. I went to Saraswati Temple to visit its Water Garden with a Lotus Pond. I think you might have seen it a few times on Instagram?
The water garden with the lotus and the lily pads provided a serene effect to the whole atmosphere of the temple.
The statues and the sculptures were a sight to behold which gave us the experience of visiting a museum.
Goa Gajah is popularly dubbed as “The Elephant Cave” which is a place for worshipping Lord Ganesha who is a Hindu god known famously for having a head of an elephant.
From the beginning, the entry will astound you as you enter the temple through the carving of a demon’s mouth.
It also has a wide historical attachment as it was built in the 11th century. Legend tells of a story where the original builder of the cave was an elephant and hence dubbing it as “The Elephant Cave”.
The indoors of the cave are lined with carvings and sculptures of Lord Ganesha and as you descend down the stairs, you will encounter the pond of Patirtaan which people believes that the water in the pond is holy.
The architecture, of course, is awe-inspiring and it is unbelievable how the whole cave is entirely man-made.
There are people in the caves who will offer to provide you with a side tour and end up asking you a large fee at the end. Some people think that this is a part of the tour package and end up paying large sums.
As mentioned above, The Puri Saren Palace (also known as Ubud Palace) was one of the residences of the royal family of Ubud.
During the day, you can stroll around the front section to gaze around photos and collections in the Ubud Palace. Guides are available to story tell you about the history of Ubud and the Palace.
But the best thing come as the sun set, the Palace is transformed into a performance stage hosting traditional Balinese dance and Gamelan orchestras.
The Puri Saren Palace is at a convenient location from all of Ubud’s man hubs. So you can combine visiting a few attraction while visiting.
If you are a lover of art, architecture and history, then the Agung Rai Museum of Art will impress you and who knows, it might be the highlight of your visit to Ubud!
The Agung Rai Museum of Art was set up in 1996 and it was initiated by a Balinese who was set on preserving the art and culture of Bali.
The museum is under the ARMA foundation and the museum is a host to four shows every week which showcases Balinese art and culture through various means of entertainment.
Workshops are also held in the museum where interested participants can take part to learn woodwork or silver-carving. It is a great way to promote the culture of Bali.
Admission Fee to the Museum is IDR 80.000
If you have not gotten your dose of museum, the Blanco Renaissance Museum might do the job of blowing you away.
Bali has a lot of cultural inheritance and what better way than to experience it through a museum. The building of the museum itself is a work of art and the interiors will enthrall you with its architecture.
The museum has a renaissance style to it and it is a must for every art lover to visit it when in Ubud.
The renaissance style of the building and the art is eye-catching and one feels like a part of royalty just by being within its vicinity.
The art in the museum needs a bit of maintenance.
As I mentioned above, the Ubud Palace is a popular tourist attraction. But apart from the wonderful architecture of the palace, the traditional dance which is shown in the palace in the evening hours is breathtaking.
Against the backdrop of the beautiful palace, the traditional dance features the story of the epic Mahabharata.
The dance will welcome you and provide you a peephole to witness core Balinese culture through their traditional dance and story-telling.
The dance adds to the drama of the palatial grounds and makes us feel like we are a part of something bigger.
The show is just 60 minutes long which makes it a great event to attend for families as well.
Are you looking for a place to enjoy dinner in Ubud? This is where every food connoisseur must go to.
Bridges Bali is the ultimate destination if you want to wine and dine in style. It overlooks the river Wos and the tropical setting will put you in a mood to indulge in all the delicacies that Bridges offer.
Bridges Bali is known for serving authentic Asian cuisines to international cuisines. It is also known for its extensive wine collection, where wine lovers will be delighted to learn about.
The food and everything that came in between is amazing. There are definitely no complaints.
Of course, a meal in Bridges Bali does not come cheap.
Here is my claim: non-dessert lovers will be converted after visiting Room 4 Dessert.
You have heard of a full course meal, but here, your full course meal includes a four course just with desserts.
The desserts are exquisite and one can accompany them with a beautiful glass of red wine. The service was excellent as the chef himself made it his task to come and chat with everyone.
The desserts of course did not disappoint.
The place is quite crowded and you might not get a table without a reservation.
Are you looking for your own night at a zoo?
Well, now you can with the night safari package at Bali Zoo. Day safari is passé to say so, and nothing beats a dinner time with the magnificent elephants.
This is a recreational activity for families and friends alike. The tour guide makes it a point to chat with everyone while keeping up with updating you about the animals.
It is a great way to watch animals especially for animal lovers, and seeing the animals after sunset makes it all the more an exotic experience.
Petting the elephants is allowed which is a surreal experience.
This package is not pocket-friendly.
For free spirits, the night markets in Ubud are full of thrills where one can buy stuff at steal prices.
There are various night markets are different locations in Ubud, and come the sun sets, it will not be hard for a person to locate it.
People flock to the night markets to sample pure and ethnic Balinese cuisine for very cheap prices.
Prepare to savor lamb satay and fired rice along with the bustling activity in the streets. After a scrumptious meal, one could look around to find treasures that you could take back home.
One could get a full meal for the price of 1 Dollar.
Mosquitos can be annoying during the night. Make sure you applied repellents.
Paradiso is located at the heart of Ubud and every movie fanatic would go crazy upon encountering this place.
Paradiso is a movie theatre which not only shows digital movies, but live performances as well. We know that a good movie or a live performance should always be paired with good food and therefore, a food and a snacks bar is included. For vegans, a raw vegan bar is located within its vicinity as well.
Paradiso is great venue to unwind after a day that involved running around and you can be quite sure that relaxation in this theatre is mandatory.
The service was exceptionally world class.
You can check out the movies that will be screen on the day through their Official Website. Not all the movies will appeal to you.
Threads of Life is a hub for people who want to buy fabric and textiles along with local Balinese crafts.
The shop does more than just sell as it is a fair trade which is directed towards helping the poor with its profits.
The products that are sold in this shop are all made from natural materials and dyes. Tourists look for this place to buy materials that they can take back home which is an awesome way of taking back a little bit of Indonesian heritage along with them.
All the materials and the products are fully made form natural products. The proceeds from the sales are then used in uplifting the minor communities of Ubud who are a part of weaving and making textiles.
One may not find the right color and texture of a material because the shop does not have a varied collection.
Don’t let the name fool you as Utama Spice is a skin care company which fully relies on organic methods.
Utama Spice relies on aromatherapy and herbal knowledge to produce skin products that are purely organic.
If you want to buy some skin care products native to Ubud, then this is the place to go to. The staff will guide you with the products that you want to buy according to what you want and the skin type that you have.
The wide range of products was quite astonishing.
Some of the products are quite expensive.
Looking to just find a place where you can indulge in buying gifts for your family back at home? Kou Cuisine is just the right place for you.
Their main products are home made jam, and they are my personal favourites! But now, they also sell all type of soaps made entirely out of natural products.
The soaps feel luxurious and exotic, and they really are, so to say. Don’t be shocked if you find yourself adding dozens and dozens of them into your cart!
There is a wide range of soaps and all of them are reasonably priced.
The location of the shop is quite difficult to find.
While you are in Ubud Palace, you should cross the street and you can find the Balinese market heaven! Its called Ubud Art Market.
You will be able to find Balinese scarf, shirts, statues, kites, handmade woven bags, and hand-crafted artworks at very cheap price.
Be cautious though as you will have to negotiate your way to get reasonable price. The vendor usually ask quite a high price.
We get to experience authentic Balinese culture through their food, the clothes and basically just everything in between.
You will need to negotiate to get cheap price.