UBUD | For those looking for a health and wellness focused holiday, Ubud is well set up to provide everything one could want. The Balinese city is famed for its peaceful vibe and slow place, traditional Balinese crafts, lush tropical jungles, terraced rice paddies and Hindu temples and shrines.
It’s a great option for those wanting to get away for a while, but also works if you’ve just got a couple of days in which to wind down. During my last visit to Ubud, I was only in town for two nights, and made the most of it. In my ’48 Hours In Ubud: Things To Do’, I’ll give you rundown of things do check out to ensure you make your most of your time in town.
There are other worthwhile things to do just outside of town, but I’ve kept this list focused on things that are all within walking distance from the centre, which will help you make the most of the short time that you have.
Check Out The Royal Palace
Officially named Puri Saren Agung, Ubud Royal Palace is the palace of the Ubud royal family. Originally built in the early 1800s, most of the structures that make up the palace date back to 1917, when the palace was rebuilt after an earthquake. It’s notable for its intricate Balinese carvings, charming garden setting, and water lillies.
Every evening, the palace hosts performances with gamelan percussive orchestras on its outdoor stage.
Eat Indonesian Food
When it comes to food, visitors to Ubud have plenty of options at all price ranges to choose from. The city is full of contemporary eateries incorporating local and traditional herbs, teas, and ingredients into their menus. There’s also lots on offer for those wanting to try Balinese warung favourites like babi guling and nasi goreng.
Check out my Ubud Food Guide: Where To Eat, for a list of some of Ubud’s best places to eat.
Explore The Backstreets
Ubud is a compact place, that’s very walkable. Instead of taking taxis from A to B, move around by foo. Explore the little side streets and winding laneways in between them and you’ll discover street art, local warungs, unassuming temples and shrines, and more.
Go To Ubud Art Market
The Ubud Art Market actually starts the day as a fresh produce market. From 3am until 8am, local farmers sell fresh produce to local cooks and chefs. From 9am, it transforms into the Ubud Art Market. Local artisans showcase their wares. Things like silk scarves, shirts, dresses, statues, kites, handmade bags and baskets, and more.
Hike Campuhan Ridge
Campuhan Ridge walk is an easy, 10km walk that takes you through lush surrounds with sweeping hilltop views. It starts in the heart of town, and before long you feel like you’ve been transported to another world. It’s stunning, relaxing, and a must do.
Immerse Yourself In Art
Ubud is home to several art museum, some which focus on particular styles of art, and other that focus on particular artists. My favourite, the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) was established in 1996 and is set across multiple buildings. The art ranges from traditional to contemporary, with a focus on Balinese and Indonesian artists.
The Neka Art Museum Ubud is also excellent, featuring over 300 Balinese works. The Blanco Renaissance Museum, overlooking scenic Campuhan, is hosed in the former home and studio of Philippine-born Spanish painter, Don Antonio Blanco, It showcases that Blanco’s unique style of painting.
See The Monkey Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is the most popular tourist attraction in Ubud for good reason. It’s a large park and wildlife sanctuary in the centre of town, that’s home to 1,260 Balinese long-tailed macaque monkeys. There’s no fences or barriers, and it’s great to relax, walk around, and watch the monkey go about their day.
See The Rice Paddies
Ubud is famed for its rice paddies/terraces. They range from small paddies in the backstreets of town, to spectacular mountainside terraces. All kinds have a different vibe and are worth taking a walk through.
Tegallang rice terrace is the most famous, photo-perfect one to visit. Closer to the centre of town, you’ll find the less ‘beautiful’, but arguably more captivating, Kajeng Rice Field.
Try Indonesian Tea & Coffee
Indonesia is one of the largest producers of coffee in the world. Luwak coffee is the famed coffee that’s harvested from the droppings of the luwak, who eat coffee cherries but don’t digest the seed. It’s worth a try, but be sure you’re getting the real deal, from an ethical source.
Luwak aside, what I’m actually talking about is the other high quality coffee that you can find in Ubud, showcasing the wide variety of beans and diverse growing regions of Bali. Visit Old Friends Coffee, where owner Made Sipil grows, roasts, and brews the beans himself.
Visit A Temple
Ubud is famed for its thousands of temples, and there’s no way you can visit without stumbling across one. They range from the popular, large, and intricate, to the low-key, small, and hidden.
Tirta Empul dates back to the 10th century, and is a National Heritage Cultural Site. The temple’s freshwater ponds and fountains are of particular note here. Gunung Kawi, which features numerous ancient shrine reliefs carved into the face of a rock cliff, is another temple worth visiting. 6km east of the centre of town, you’ll find Goa Gajah, or “Elephant Cave”. As the name suggests, this 11th century temple has been carved inside a cave.