Bali, the ‘Island of the Gods’, is a well-known travel destination, famous for its beautiful beaches, temples and stunning sunsets. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more authentic, peaceful and cultural, Ubud is the perfect place to be. Ubud, the cultural capital at the heart of Bali is home to incredible waterfalls, rice terraces, majestic palaces and colourful arts and craft markets. Here are the top 10 things to do in Ubud, Bali to discover why it’s one of the most popular destinations for travellers seeking a tranquil escape.
Immerse yourself in the local culture at the Ubud Palace
The Ubud Palace, also known as Puri Saren Agung, is a historical site that showcases the traditional Balinese architecture and culture. This palace was built in the 19th century and it is the former residence of the royal family of Ubud. The attraction features beautiful gardens and a museum where you can learn more about the local history and culture. Make sure to visit the palace in the evening when the dance performances take place. You can witness the beauty of Balinese dance and music here.
Discover the natural beauty of Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Tegallalang Rice Terraces is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. These rice terraces offer a stunning view of the green hills, rice paddies and coconut trees, which create a peaceful and serene atmosphere. You can take a leisurely walk through the rice fields, take some Instagram-worthy photos, enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful scenery. Make sure you visit the rice terraces early in the morning to avoid the crowds. You can also try some local Balinese cuisine at the small restaurants that are located in the area.
Explore the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a unique destination that offers a glimpse into the local wildlife and spirituality. This sanctuary is a natural forest that is home to over 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques, which are considered sacred by the locals. You can walk through the forest, observe the monkeys’ behaviour and feed them bananas or peanuts (which can be purchased at the entrance). The sanctuary is also home to three ancient temples that are still used by the local community for daily prayers and ceremonies.
Take a yoga class and find inner peace
Ubud is known as the yoga capital of Bali and it’s no wonder why. The town offers a wide range of yoga studios and retreat centres that cater to all levels of practitioners. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, you’ll find a class or a retreat that suits your needs. Yoga classes in Ubud are usually held in serene and peaceful settings, such as rice fields, gardens, or studios overlooking the jungle. Practising yoga in Ubud will not only improve your physical health but also help you find inner peace and connect with your inner self.
Experience Balinese cuisine at the local warungs
One of the best things about visiting Ubud is the opportunity to taste the delicious and authentic Balinese cuisine. The town is filled with small local warungs (restaurants) that serve traditional Balinese dishes such as Nasi Campur, Satay and Gado-Gado. These warungs are usually family-owned and operated and they offer a unique dining experience that you won’t find in the touristy areas of Kuta or Seminyak. Make sure to try the famous Babi Guling (roasted suckling pig) which is a speciality of Bali and one of the most popular dishes in Ubud.
Visit the Tirta Empul Temple and purify yourself in the holy springs
The Tirta Empul Temple is a significant Hindu Balinese water temple that is believed to have magical powers to cleanse the soul and body. The temple features a series of holy springs where you can participate in a traditional Hindu purification ritual. The ritual involves bathing in the holy water and praying at the temple. It’s a unique experience that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and spiritually enlightened.
Shop for local handicrafts at the Ubud Art Market
The Ubud Art Market is a great place to find unique and authentic Balinese handicrafts, souvenirs and textiles. This market is located in the heart of Ubud and features a vast array of stalls selling everything from traditional batik clothing to wooden carvings and silver jewellery. Make sure to bargain with the vendors to get the best price and be prepared to spend a few hours exploring the market.
Take a cooking class and learn the secrets of Balinese cuisine
If you’re a foodie, taking a Balinese cooking class is a must-do activity in Ubud. These classes offer a hands-on experience where you’ll learn how to prepare traditional Balinese dishes using local ingredients and cooking techniques. You’ll start by visiting a local market to select fresh ingredients and then learn how to cook dishes such as Nasi Goreng, Sate and Lawar. After the class, you’ll get to enjoy your delicious creations and take home some new culinary skills.
Relax and unwind with a spa treatment
Ubud is known for its luxurious spas and wellness centres that offer a wide range of treatments and therapies to help you relax and rejuvenate. From traditional Balinese massages to aromatherapy and meditation, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the best spa resorts in Ubud include the Como Shambhala Estate, the Four Seasons Resort Bali and the Ubud Hanging Gardens.
Hike to the top of Mount Batur to watch the sunrise
For the adventurous types, hiking to the top of Mount Batur is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn’t be missed. This active volcano is located in the northeast of Bali and offers a challenging, but rewarding hike to the summit. The hike usually starts early in the morning and you’ll arrive at the top just in time to watch the sunrise over the beautiful Lake Batur. It’s a breathtaking view that will make all the effort worth it.
Ubud, Bali, is a unique and charming destination that offers a perfect blend of culture, nature and wellness. From exploring the local culture and traditions to hiking up a volcano and relaxing at a luxurious spa, there’s something for everyone in Ubud. We hope this article has inspired you to plan your next trip to Ubud and experience the magic of this beautiful town for yourself.