Located around the middle of Bali, Ubud has long been considered the cultural heart of Bali. Home to many local galleries, workshops, rice terraces and an endless number of beautiful luxury resorts to relax in. Ubud could easily be a destination all of it’s own and if you’re visiting Bali it’s a good idea to book a couple of nights accommodation here to really soak up everything the area has to offer.
It can be a little cloudier and cooler in Ubud than down in the coastal suburbs of Seminyak, Canggu and Legian, so it’s always a good idea to check the weather before you’re going to avoid disappointment. Due to the traffic in Bali it can also take significantly longer to get around the island then what Google maps or common sense will tell you.
It can be frustrating and time consuming if you’re not prepared. If you’re not staying in Ubud, make sure you plan a whole day to explore the region so you don’t have to come back another day.
Here’s a guide to some of the top highlights around Ubud.
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1. Make friends at the Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud
No trip to Ubud would be complete without a trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Home to hundreds of Balinese macaques who are as cheeky as you can imagine, the beautiful grounds of the forest are a sight all of their own.
In the forest you are able to feed the monkeys, but make sure to be particularly careful around them as they are known to be naughty and sometimes aggressive if they think you are teasing them or hiding food from them.
Address: Jl. Monkey Forest Street, Ubud
2. Explore the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
These famous rice terraces in Tegalalang are an iconic part of the Balinese landscape. There are rice fields located all over Bali Island, but Tegalalang is known for being one of the most beautiful.
The town of Tegalalang is super cute, with arts and craft market stalls line the streets along with traditional foods and gifts. The rice cycle at the terraces is three months in Bali, so if you’re visiting a few different rice fields you are more than likely to find one that is completely green and luscious while others might be at an earlier stage of their cycle.
3. Visit a tea & coffee plantation
One of our favourite experiences in Ubud was visiting Alam Bali Agrowisata, a tea and coffee plantation around the middle of the island. It wasn’t something we had planned to do, but on a tour of the countryside our driver pulled up and told us we would enjoy it, so we thought why not! One of the farmers showed us around the plantation, pointing out all the different types of beans, leaves and herbs that were growing around the gardens.
As well as coffee, Alam Bali also produces high-quality tea, cloves, avocado and vanilla. We were able to meet some Asian Palm Civet, the famous little animal who’s coffee bean poop is used for the very high-end expensive Kpoi Luwak Coffee. I am not really a big fan of hot drinks, but some of the tea flavours at Alam were just amazing. If you’re looking to take something home we can highly recommend the lemon grass tea.
Address: Bali Kopi Luwak, Jl. Raya Regal Suci, Desa Tegallalang Kec. Gianyar
4. Stay at a luxury resort
There are no shortage of beautiful luxury resorts to stay in Ubud. They offer stunning views over jungles, rivers and rice terraces. They offer luxury spas, five star restaurants and tree top rooms to sleep in. They offer more Instagram opportunities than you could even fit on your feed.
With a new luxury resort popping up in Ubud every day it seems like make sure you do some research into the best options for you. Some of them are located quite far out of the main town, so make sure you’re okay with the location before you make your’re booking. Many of them are also nice enough to include a free shuttle bus for you to and from the main streets of Ubud.
5. Take a ride on the Bali Swing
Super popular these day, the Bali Swing offers you the opportunity to fly high above the jungle of Ubud on this beautiful big swing. Offering you some of the best views around and some amazing photo opportunities, the Bali Swing is a can’t miss experience in the Ubud area.
There are more than 15 swings, photo opportunities and attractions to check out at the Bali Swing site, so there’s plenty to keep you entertained for hours of the day. And a hot buffet lunch is even included in your ticket price!
6. Take a bicycle ride around the Balinese countryside
Get a glimpse into the other side of Bali with a ride through the back roads, rice fields and farmers fields that not many visitors get to see. The bike ride is about 20km long and takes a couple of hours (depending on your fitness level) and is a great way to see more of the island of Bali.
Getting straight off the main roads, our guide took us on a ride through narrow pathways, to views overlooking active volcanoes and even stopped at a local farm where we got to meet some cute baby cows. Make sure you take plenty of water with you on your ride, even on an overcast day it can be quite a workout.
7. Explore Pura Taman Ayun Temple
Taman Ayun literally translates to “beautiful garden”, and it’s a fitting name for this ancient temple that was built in 1634. Located in a beautiful park near the Village of Mengwi, approximately 8 kilometres southwest of Ubud, Taman Ayun is a family temple where the ancestors of Raja Dynasty of Mengwi and important Gods are honoured.
Surrounded by canals, the temple can only be entered via a bridge which gives access to the outer courtyard of the temple. If you’re not a worshipper you are able to walk around the grounds and look in, but you are not able to go into the temple at all out of respect.
Address: Jl. Ayodya Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung
8. Check out Tegenungan Waterfall
Located at the sacred river of Petanu River is the Tegenungan Village, the southern part of the Kemenuh village. We were unfortunately visiting on the rainiest day Bali has ever seen, which meant that the water was significantly murkier than we had hoped for, which was a little disappointing.
Never the less, the falls were quite remarkable, smashing into the rocks and the river below. There is quite a steep flight of stairs to get down to the falls, so be prepared with water and light clothes, especially if you’re visiting in high humidity like we were. Entrance to the Tegenungan Waterfall is 10,000 Rp per person.
Address: Kemenuh Sukawati, Kec. Gianyar
9. Check out the views of Mount Batur
Mount Batur is an active volcano in Batur Village in the northern region of Bali. It is a highlight for visitors offering both beauty and tranquillity as well as fantastic hiking opportunities, including the option to trek to the top to watch the sunrise.
If you’re not into hiking you can have lunch with an incredible view to take in all the scenery and just kick back and enjoy being in the mountains.
10. Try all the local cuisine you can
Indonesian food is simply delicious, not to mention amazingly cheap. Ubud has some of the best local restaurants where you can find mouth watering Indonesian dishes for only a couple of dollars. While you’re in Bali make sure you try all the different dishes you can and really experience the best of what Bali has to offer.
There are so many different things to see and do around Ubud, it’s a truly beautiful part of Bali island, while also offering a completely different vibe from the beach towns of Seminyak and Legian. If you’re looking for more of a jungle experience, it’s the perfect place to base yourself while you’re visiting Bali.