Ubud is definitely the best place to learn more about the history and culture of Bali. Despite the big influx of tourists flooding the area, the place is very successful keeping its unique identity, the religious ceremonies and the fame of being the cultural spot in Bali. 

Other than its rich culture, very near to Ubud you will find a rural setting with beautiful landscape and farmers working the same way their descendants did for centuries. These locations offer great opportunities to explore many natural attractions such as rice terraces, volcanoes and waterfalls, as well as temples. Ubud also offers great restaurants and shopping, especially for the ones looking for typical Balinese gifts and souvenirs. 

With so many options, it’s easy to get confused when choosing an Ubud itinerary. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the best things to do in Ubud to help you organize your trip. Check out below the 10 best things to do in Ubud.

  1. Visit Ubud Palace and Typical Dances

Ubud Palace is home to the Balinese royal family and home of the rich Balinese architecture. It is right in the city center and can be visited during the day, with free admission. Like all Balinese buildings, you will see several temples inside the main complex. As you’ll see across Ubud and Bali, many areas inside the temples don’t let tourists in, but just the areas you can visit are definitely jaw-dropping and worth the visit. 

Ubud Palace is also very famous for the performances of typical Indonesian dances – such as barong, kecak and keris. Every night at 7:30 pm the Ubud Palace offers daily shows of these dances in an open theater. You can’t leave Ubud without seeing a dance show! 

Balinese Performance in Ubud 

  1. Explore Puri Lukisan Museum

Puri Lukisan Museum, which is the Museum of Balinese Art and Culture, is located on the main street and it has more than 50 years of history. You will find there beautiful antique and contemporary pieces of Balinese art on display. Some are even available for sale.a collection of beautiful pieces of Balinese art. 

Not to mention the Balinese gate and pleasant garden, where regular performances take place. Undoubtedly a good place to visit!

  1. Visit Monkey Forest

The Monkey Sacred Forest Sanctuary in Ubud is one of the favorite places of people visiting Ubud. It is located in a dense rainforest right in the heart of Ubud. It is not a zoo – you will see many hundreds of monkeys walking around freely. And watch out, they can jump on you, especially if they suspect you have food in your backpack! If you’re afraid, just ignore them, but don’t keep anything of value – cell phones or sunglasses – in your hand or hanging. Also, it is not recommended to feed them. 

Being in the center of Ubud, Monkey Forest has a very cool structure. There are a number of Hindu temples integrated with the forest (monkeys are sacred animals for the religion). The park was built in the forest with well-marked trails and the path is full of curious sculptures.

  1. Discover Balinese Art

Bali is world famous for its handicrafts. Ubud, in particular, is widely known as the cultural heart of the island of Bali, so if you like art, this is the place to go.

The island is a traditional school in wood carving, painting and metalworking. It’s no wonder that many people earn their living by reselling Balinese arts around the world at exorbitant prices.

Coming to Ubud is a great opportunity to learn more about their artwork, enjoy and buy these beauties for a great price. Just be sure to respect and appreciate their work while bargaining.

  1. Take Amazing Pictures at Rice Terraces and Swings

Bali wouldn’t be Bali without its magnificent rice fields. Just imagine the sight of green plantations between the hills forming a step-like view. Not a bad Instagrammable view, right?

You can find rice paddies with breathtaking panoramic views across Bali, but most are in rural areas around Ubud, in the central part of the island. The most famous rice terraces are the Tegallalang and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Jatiluwih Rice Fields. Don’t forget to take pictures on the swing. 

  1. Explore Temples

Believe it or not, there are thousands of temples in Bali. The religious temples are the highlight of the trip for many people and are often located in unexpected places, which makes the experience even more unique. 

The best temples to visit around Ubud are the Tirta Empul, Goa Ganja, Besakih, among others. As it is a religious space, be aware of the dress code of Balinese temples, which usually require the use of the sarong (you can borrow free of charge at the entrance), which is a kind of skirt that is part of the local culture. Watch out for the monkeys!

Tirta Empul Temple

  1. Chase Waterfalls

There are many amazing waterfalls in Bali but the most beautiful ones are in the Ubud area.

One of the most famous is the Tegenungan Waterfall. It’s a very strong waterfall surrounded by tropical forest, perfect for a refreshment on a hot day. Although it usually gets quite crowded with tourists, there are smaller and more secluded smaller waterfalls along its river. Other options are the Git Git, Kanto Lampo among others. 

Kanto Lampo Waterfall

  1. Hike Mount Batur

Bali has several volcanoes as it is located in what is known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area with great volcanic and seismic activity. The 1717-meter Batur volcano in the Kintamani region is the highest on the island and although it remains active, its last eruption was in 1964. It’s a great day trip for tourists staying in Ubud since it’s only about 1 hour drive from there. 

You can do a two-hour hike to the top of the Batur volcano to reach the best place in Bali to see the sunrise. The hike, which runs along well-marked trails, is relatively easy and is done with an experienced guide. You will get to the top in time to catch the sunrise. On a clear day, the views are spectacular, with the caldera of the volcano, the surrounding mountain range, and Lake Batur. This is a good option for those who like outdoor activities, adventures and amazing views!

  1. Try Balinese Food and Cooking Class

Almost all Southeast Asian countries have their own version of fried rice. In this regard, Indonesia is no different: one of the most famous national dishes and loved by Westerners who visit Bali is Nasi Goreng (or Mie Goreng, which is a noodles version of Mie Goreng). Made in the wok with vegetables, eggs and the protein of your choice, it is always served with the traditional krupuk, a shrimp biscuit characteristic of Bali. Another option is to try the traditional Nasi Campur. Amazing! 

Mie Goreng 

If you want to go further, you can take a cooking class in Bali. This is a practical way to get to know a little more about the tasty Balinese cuisine, participate in the preparation of the food and finally taste it. The class starts with a visit to a local market, through a rice paddy, until finally you prepare a local dish. 

  1. Do Yoga and Massages

Many tourists visit Bali looking for a more introspective experience that goes beyond seeing the island’s sights. Ubud, which is the island’s cultural hub, has also become one of the world capitals of yoga and spiritual vibes. It’s definitely a place to relax and reconnect. 

Many places also offer cleansing and detox programs that will help you relax and slow down. There are schools specialized in these activities, with different types of practices, in which you can take individual classes or for beginners.

Other than yoga, no trip to Bali is complete without a Balinese massage. Why? First, because of the inexpensive prices compared to massage places in Europe and the US. Second, because the traditional techniques used by Balinese therapists are the most profound and relaxing in the world!