Ubud is described as the cultural and arts centre of Bali. And its not hard to see why as you drive through the bustling streets, filled with shops selling handcrafted items, yoga studios and cookery schools. On top of all this, its only a hop, skip and a jump from the centre of Ubud to escape into nature, making it an ideal place to explore the best of Bali.
Ubud is found in central Bali, so you’ll want to make the most of the long drive to Ubud if you are staying in another area of the island. But don’t worry, as we’ve done the leg work for you and put together this guide to help you make the most of your day trip to Ubud. There’s something for the animal lover, nature lover, foodie and culture fans.
GETTING TO UBUD
The town of Ubud is situated in central Bali, around 1.5hrs to Seminyak and Canggu, and a little bit further from Denpasar and Kuta. To explore Ubud and its surroundings fully you’ll want to hire a form of transport – be that a bike, car or driver, depending on your confidence on the narrow and winding country roads. If you want to hire a driver then speak to your hotel or villa staff and I’m sure they’ll be able to put you in touch with a local driver for the day.
To save you the trouble of finding your way between all of these sites, we have created a GoogleMap for you to use.
FIRST STOP: UBUD MONKEY FOREST
First up on your adventure around Ubud, head to the Monkey Forest. Here you can wander among the towns 700 strong monkey population while checking out some of the temples and the forest that they call home. The monkeys are pretty forth-coming here and will jump on you if you have food for them (or anything they think could be food). All profits go towards conservation and medical care for the monkeys on Bali. For more information on the Monkey Forest and details on how to keep yourself and the monkeys safe check out our full post (coming soon).
Entry: 40,000 rupiah for adults
Time: Allow at least an hour for wandering around and stopping to feed/photograph the cheeky little monkeys
Address: As one of the biggest attractions in Ubud it’d be extremely surprising if your driver was unsure where to go, but if you’re heading yourself via bike then the address is: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia.
LUNCH TIME: FAIR WARUNG BALE RESTAURANT
Head to Fair Free Foundation, also know as the Fair Warung Bale restaurant, in the heart of Ubud. All the profits from this little eatery go towards a local NGO providing healthcare and consultations to locals in Bali. More than a worthwhile place to spend your pennies. They’re currently building a paediatric hospital to provide free medical care to the children of Bali and each meal = two medical consultations and treatments.
Take a seat on one of their outside terraces and enjoy their incredible Indonesian food. We initially went to support the NGO but we were blown away by the food. Definitely some of the best we ate on the island (and thats saying something considering Bali’s food reputation). The fresh fish was great, as were the curries! Copy us and grab some of their crepes to take away for the drive to your next destination!
Address: Jalan Sriwedari 6, Taman Kaja, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80517, Indonesia
Next to the till they have a little box for extra donations, so be sure to put a few more rupiah in to support them.
AFTER LUNCH: TEGALLALANG RICE TERRACES
Head half an hour north of Ubud to the village of Tegallalang where you’ll be awestruck by the steep rice terraces winding down to the bottom of the valley. Climb down into the valley and enjoy the peaceful water running between the hundreds of rice terraces, and try your balancing skills on the narrow paths! The photos don’t really do this area justice – the terraces are so unusual and lush that its quite surreal to see first hand. To see more photos and find out some interesting history about the rice terraces see our full post.
Entry: Free, but you will need some small change for donation to cross the bridge to the main terraces.
Time: Allow about 30 minutes to wander down, longer if you want to have a coffee over looking the terraces at one of the many cafes perched at the top of the cliff.
Address: Again, any driver you hire is bound to know exactly where to go but just for reference here is the address: Jl. Tegallalang, Banjar Ceking, Gianyar, Tegallalang, Denpasar, Bali 80561, Indonesia
Be sure to spray yourself with bug spray before your visit, this is one of the places we got pestered the most by mosquitoes.
NEXT: TIRTA EMPUL WATER TEMPLE
Last up on our tour of the Ubud area, head to the UNESCO Tirta Empul water temple, just a short drive north of the rice terraces. The temple marks a freshwater spring, the start of the river Pakerisan. In Balinese Tirta Empul means “holy spring” and the freshwater pools are used by Hindu’s for ritual purification. There are 13 spouts which pilgrims bow under, with the final two spouts being reserved for funerals. As the source of the mountain spring, the water is freezing and we watched many pilgrims shivering by the time they reached the final spouts.
To visit you must wear a traditional ‘kamen’ wrap around the lower body plus a sash around the waist (don’t worry you can loan these at the temple). A kamen wrap is compulsory for both males and females, long trousers will not suffice here.
If you want to go in the water then you will need to bring your own wrap, but it is recommend that the purification ritual is only for pilgrims. Ladies will also need to cover their torso’s and shoulders. We did see some tourists going in the water, but I personally find it religiously insensitive to do so. Instead we just observed.
Women on their periods are not allowed to enter the main temple, but may see the outer perimeters.
Entry: 15,000 IR and you will need a money donation to loan of a wrap for your legs.
Time: Around 30 minutes should be enough to see the temples and wander around the complex.
Address: Jl. Tirta, Tampaksiring, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia.
IF YOU STILL HAVE TIME: TANAH LOT
If you manage to squeeze all that in before sundown and have enough time or are heading back toward Canggu and Seminyak you should head to Tanah Lot – some of Bali’s most famous temples. The temples are built on rocks which jut out into ocean. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time left during this day trip but as we were staying nearby we were able to visit another day.
Stay tuned to find out more about the two temples at Tanah Lot in our full post (coming soon)!
While you can’t enter either of the temples because of their situation, it is epic to watch the wild Bali waves come crashing over the rocks. Because you cannot go inside there is no need to cover your knees, but you are expected to dress respectfully.
Entry: 60,000 rupiah per adult + 5,000 to park a car, cheaper to park a bike.
Time: You’ll want about an hour to wander to each of the temples and take some photos of the waves crashing against the shore.
Address: Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia.
If we had had a little more than a day in Ubud then we would also have liked to do a waterfall trek, but unfortunately the monsoon rains had other plans for us – I guess we’ll just have to go back during dry season!
There you have it – the perfect way fit all of the best bits into a day in Ubud! As you can see, Ubud is definitely not a town to skip when in Bali.
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