Ubud is Bali’s, cultural heart. A place surrounded by scenic mountains, Ubud is just an hour’s drive towards north of Bali airport. This place is home to one of Bali’s royal families and one is permitted to even visit the majestic palace located in the middle of the town. What makes Ubud famous? Of course, its flourishing crafts which emanate from the surrounding villages of Campuhan, Penestanan, Peliatan and Batuan. The communities based in these villages are known for their crafts and woodcarving which are very popular all over the island. There are scores of shops that sell antiques, woodcarvings, crafts, textiles, paintings and jewellery in Ubud and you will also come across the best art museums here. The Ubud streets are full of art studios, local craft market and many galleries.
As per the recent census, Ubud’s population stands at around 74,320 but this is miniscule in comparison to the whopping 3 million foreign tourists that visit this place every year. Tourism has fast picked up and the surrounding suburbs of Ubud forms a great spot of tourist attraction owing to small farms, rice paddies, agroforestry plantations, and tourist accommodations. A recent survey said that more tourists have been visiting Ubud than Denpasar which falls in southern Bali.
List of top Attractions in Ubud
Monkey Forest Sanctuary:
The Ubud monkey forest sanctuary is renowned for its rice terraces and fields of Bali surrounding the Ubud area. You can also learn how the famous “Luwak” coffee is prepared from beans part digested by the palm civets. Also, be on the lookout for the resident macaques of this monkey forest. Pay a visit to some of the craft villages of Ubud and its neighbouring villages where you can watch grand sunset from the grounds of Tanah Lot Temple.
The tour of Bali is far from complete sans a visit to the Ubud Palace which is located right on the main Jalan Raya Ubud road. This palace has a great sense of history attached to it and was built back in the 19th century by the ruler Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel. What’s attractive about the palace is its front section that is laced with beautiful gardens and carvings which are a delight to the eye. The palace also hosts international events on art, music and literature thus making this place a cultural storehouse of Ubud.
Goa Gajah aka Elephant Cave is a scenic location on the island of Bali near Ubud. It was built in the 9th century. This place served as a sanctuary. Although one does not know the exact origins of this cave, legend says it was built as a place for spiritual meditation. Locals say this cave was created by the fingernail of the legendary giant Kebo Iwa. This place is also home to both Hindu and Buddhist imagery and the cave contains lingam and yoni, the symbol of Shiva and the image of Ganesha. Though in 1923, the cave was rediscovered by Dutch archaeologists, its fountains and bathing pools were only discovered in 1954.
Pura Dalem Agung
The Pura Dalem Agung is called the ‘temple of death’ and is situated deep inside the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. A visit to this site will remind you of the sets of Hollywood thriller Indiana Jones as the passageway to the internal sanctuary exemplifies Rangda figures devouring children. This is actually one of three Hindu temples that make up for complex inside the Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The god Hyang Widhi worshiped here is actually Lord Shiva, the Recycler or Transformer.
Museum Puri Lukisan
If you are an admirer of art and its forms then appreciate the Balinese-style woodcarvings and paintings at Puri Lukisan Museum. This is a stopover before visiting Ubud’s royal residence at Puri Saren Ubud. You can also check out the handicrafts at the Ubud traditional market and also explore the Petulu Village, known for it white herons.
Tegalalang rice terrace is the most picturesque rice terraces in Ubud. Make sure you visit and get some great photos. There are activities to do there such as zip line over the rice terrace, single and double swings (aka Bali Swing) and bicycle along a zip line. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bali featuring amazing rice terrace by the cliff. This village is located 600 m above sea level and you can get lovely views of working rice terraces. You can go for walks (watch out for muddy trails) and get views of the rim. There is also the usual collection of restaurants and souvenir shops.
Marine Park is one destination that’s not to be missed. The famous Bali Safari & Marine Park is a great expedition and a chance to dine in the company of the animals. This park is set up by Taman Safari Indonesia and occupies a stunning 40 hectares of land. The best part of this park is that it is home to more than 60 species. Child orangutans and infant sharks at the aquarium are some of the highlights.
The Pura Taman Saraswati temple with a lotus pond is one of the breathtaking locations situated ib Ubud, Bali. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati and the setting is heavenly as the temple is surrounded by a picturesque landscape and the blooming lotuses are a delight to the eye. The avenue which leads to the temple and the canopy that surrounds it makes for a perfect postcard picture. This is relatively a modern temple (from the 1950s) and a perfect example of how Balinese artists have kept traditional arts and crafts alive. The temple was built under the supervision of local sculptor and architect Lempad and like most other places of worship in Bali the access to the public is limited (to the lotus pond area). Beautiful sculptures of Hindu gods, dragons and mythical animals surround the large and harmonious pond and the palms and frangipani add to the general beauty of the place.
List of attractions for Children in Ubud
Traveling Ubud with Children? It’s really fun! Explore 8 best children and Kids friendly attraction in Ubud.
Rafting can be done at the Ayung river where beginners and professionals can give it a try. The river has rapids of grade I, II and III and the streams will challenge and shoot up your adrenaline. You can also get a chance to witness the surrounding wildlife of the rainforest and the rafting route lasts for approximately 12 km.
The entrance fee is pegged at approximately is IDR 456,500 per adult for a duration of 2 ½ hours.
The trip to Mount Batur is a hiker’s delight as it is all ready to surprise and thrill you. Know for one of Bali’s most beautiful sunrises from atop an active volcano, a trekking expedition will allow you to watch a beautiful sunrise over Bali’s volcanic landscape and enjoy a grand hot breakfast on bread, bananas, and eggs – all cooked with the volcano’s heat. There’s a traditional coffee plantation lineup for a visit before getting back to your hotel.
Cost: $35 per person.
The Elephant Safari Park is children’s delight and is managed by the Bali Adventurer Tours. Besides the ride, the park has several other options as you can take a tour of the park, which houses a 200-seat restaurant, overlooking stunning views of the lake and the park itself. The museum here has more than 1000 exhibits besides, a skeleton of 15,000 years old mammoth. One can play with the elephants and give them a bath and take photos with them as well. The park is located in the Taro village, about half an hour ride from Ubud.
Entrance Fees: are approximately IDR 960,000 ($70) per adult with elephant ride.
Timing : 8 am to 6 pm.
It’s an experience you can share with your pals when you visit the Bali zoo and learn about and observe the rescued elephants from Sumatra. Follow the elephants as they walk through their space and make the most of the day by feeding elephants with local fruits, giving bath to them and playing with them in the mud.
Price: This activity is priced at $110 per person.
Jeep Safari Volcano
The Bali Jeep Volcano Safari is actually visiting Mount Batur and Central Bali in a stylish VW jeep. Enjoy the safari in the company of an experienced driver and click some stunning pictures of yourself while on the go. Mt. Batur is an active volcano and is part of UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network where one can view the calm beauty of the Batur caldera and crater lake. The safari will also take you past rice paddies, local villages, temples and a host of scenic locations.
The safari will cost you $115 per head.
The ATV Quad bike ride is an adventure activity kids must enjoy under guidance. The small thing for considerate is stops for photos along the jungle and rice fields. The trek is challenging but not so hard. Great for adrenalin junkies. Some bits are very narrow and steep (very close to the cliff edge) but it is great riding experience through the jungle.
Cost: ATV ride will cost around $45.
There are about 31 cooking classes in Ubud. Join various classed as per you liking and understand the Balinese way to cook. Various cooking classes are available from morning to evening and generally last 5 hours. Cost: Prices may vary but may start from US$45.
This safari gets you up and closes with orangutans – the kings of the jungle. This trip offers you the luxury of savouring a full breakfast with these mammals as you watch them play in their wild habitat. The perfect outing for families and animal lovers of all ages.
Cost: $60 per person.
Yoga Activities in Ubud
Ubud has gradually evolved into a South Asian Mecca for yogis and yoginis over the last decade or so. There are scores of travelers who come over to Ubud to embrace the Yoga activities as the lush nature and the deep spirituality of the Balinese culture keeps them attracting. Called the yoga studios or shalas in Sanskrit these centres are actually home or house of Yoga.
Following is a list of best yoga houses in Ubud:
- The Yoga Barn
- Chakra Yoga Shala
- Yoga Nisarga
- Ubud Yoga House
- Radiantly Alive
- Ubud Yoga Centre
- Taksu Yoga
- Taman Hati Yoga and Meditation Ashram
- Yoga Saraswati
Restaurant and Cafe *Veg Non-Veg Restaurants
- Suka Espresso Ubud: Australian Café with European fusion
- Genius Café: Internationa,l Asian, Healthy Caucasian, Vegetarian, Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free Options
- Kafe: Asian, Indonesian, Vegetarian & Vegan
- Mudra: Japanese Café, Asian, Vegetarian, Vegan
- Muse Cafe & Art: Bar, Wine, Vegetarian, Vegan Options
- Cafe du Monyet: French Spanish Café, European, Vegetarian, Vegan Options
- Aperitif Restaurant & Bar
- CasCades Restaurant
- Restaurant Locavore
- BLANCO par Mandif
- Padi Fine Dining
- Basa Gede Warung
Accommodation options in Ubud
- Sapu Lidi Resort Spa & Gallery: Most Popular House / Apartment in Gianyar@ $32
- Rumah Luwih Beach Resort & Spa Bali @$100
- Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve House / Apartment@$800
- Anahata Villas & Spa Resort Hotel@ $90
- Hotel Komaneka Resort at Tanggayuda@ $350
- Komaneka at Monkey Forest Hotel@ $200
- The Royal Purnama Art Suites & Villas @$200
- Komaneka At Keramas @ $290
- Komaneka At Bisma@ $260
- Hotel Anhera Suite Ubud@ $100
Markets in Ubud
Ubud town is a shopper’s paradise and as a traveler, one may want to shop for several things. The markets in Ubud are the one to explore for and are rated as one of the best markets.
Top 10 markets in Ubud
- Ubud Art Market
- Sukawati Art Market
- Jalan Raya Ubud Shopping Street
- Jalan Legian
- Garlic Lane
- Jalan Raya Kerobokan
- Candi Kuning Market
- Kedonganan Fish Market
- Taman Sari Market
- Badung Market