It is almost impossible to think of Bali without not thinking of Ubud, the beating heart of the island, a place with a lot of things to do and see. Ubud is one of the most popular destinations in Bali, an important administrative district and cultural center, a mix of nature, art, tradition, spirituality and good food. In few words, a must for anyone visiting this part of Indonesia We visited Ubud during our 7 days itinerary in Bali.
Things to do in Ubud
For uotsiders Ubud seems like a small city, but is composed by 14 villages. Orienting yourself is fairly easy. The main streets in central Ubud are JI. Monkey Forest, JI. Raya Ubud and JI. Hanoman and right here are the most important attractions such as the Monkey Forest, the Ubud Palace, the market and many restaurants, bars and shops.
To move around the city it is possible to do it on foot, by bicycle, by bemo or by motorbike. If you need a taxi, don’t worry, the most used word on the street is “Taxi, Taxi”. The taxi drivers are very insistent, even if in reality they are not real taxi drivers, but locals looking for a profit.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, popular things to do in Ubud
It is a natural forest, home to more than 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques. It is located near the center of Ubud and, despite being fenced in, it is quite common to see monkeys even outside, above cars, in the middle of the road or on the rooftops.
To move inside the forest, just follow the map wich is provided with the purchase of the ticket. The nature reserve is an important economic, educational and spiritual center, where monkeys are free to move. In a couple of hours you can complete the entire route.
Apart from the monkeys and lots of vegetation, inside there are also 3 temples, open only for prayer, and the Komaneka Fine Art Gallery contemporary art gallery.
Pay close attention to the monkeys because are wild cheeky animals. If they jump on you, please do not panic, stand up and slowly walk away, they will come down. Do not look them into the eyes, because they may take it as a challenge. Avoid carrying food with you, because they smell it and you risk having it on you all the way. Please take care of your valuable belongings because they are skilled thieves. Avoid touching them, as they are unpredictable.
Walking through the streets of Ubud it is impossible not to notice the large number of temples that populate the city. Among the most famous are the Royal Palace and the Taman Saraswati Temple.
Royal Palace Puri Saren, popular things to do in Ubud
It is a historical complex, an excellent example of typical Balinese architecture, consisting of the royal palace and the temples Puri Saren Agung and Pura Marajan Agung (private temple of the royal family). We only visited the gardens and the courtyard surrounding the palace, both enriched with beautiful statues. The place is ideal for attending evening music and dance performances (for a fee) and religious ceremonies. A sarong is not required to visit it.
Taman Saraswati temple in Ubud
The temple is one of the most impressive in Ubud, surrounded with water and beautiful lotus water flowers. The visit is quick as the complex is quite small. A sarong is required to visit it.
Hike Around Ubud
Campuhan Ridge Walk, popular things to do in Ubud
Campuhan Ridge Walk is a path that passes through the rice fields up to a village, offering a stunning view over the surrounding scenery. The beginning of the path starts a few minutes from the center of Ubud, more exactly from Warwick Ibah Villas (see Google Maps), where there is the “Going to the hill” sign and an arrow that suggests going left. Going down, you will come to the bridge over the Campuhan River and to some stairs. At the beginning of the stairs there is another sign “This way Trekking Campuhan Ridge ‘Karsa Kafe’ 2 km”, indicating the path to the right. Continue in that direction. The walk passes in front of the Pura Gunung Lebah temple, and continues along the path covered by stone slabs that passes through the vegetation.
We have arrived as far as Karsa Kafe, but those interested can continue, even if the best part is the first 2 km that pass in the middle of nature.
Go early morning, like this you have this place almost completely to yourself and to avoid the midday heat.
Ubud Wellness Lover’s
Things to do in Ubud: Barong Dance show
We chose Ubud Kelod Community Hall to see the Barong & Legong Dance show, 80,000 RP / pers. Very interesting experience to understand better the Balinese tradition. You’ll find a lot of places like this in Ubud.
Barong is a traditional Balinese sacred dance that shows the struggle between good and evil. The show is based only on music and dance, without narration.
Aside from Barong, there are also performances of Kecak, a Balinese dance form without instruments, also called “the monkey dance”.
Things to do in Ubud: Shopping at Ubud Market
Ubud Traditional Art Market is located near the royal palace (see Google Maps) and is open every day from 08:00-18:00. Great place not only to buy souvenirs, but also to admire beautiful Balinese handicrafts such as scarves, bags, hats, statues, paintings or simply to fill up on food, spices, fruit and vegetables. In general, prices are not displayed and you have to ask for them, and sometimes, even negotiate them.
Another thing to do in Ubud is to visit one of the village around such as Batubulan, Singakerta, Celuk, Batuan, Mas, called “the villages of crafts” famous for their Balinese handicrafts, made of stone, silver, carved wood or simply paintings. They are worth a visit even to admire their truly unique work.
With the card you can pay mainly in shops and restaurants. While for the rest (souvenirs, entrance to temples, beaches) you will have to pay in cash because are very low prices.
Last update: march, 2022