Ubud, Bali

Travel Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Planning a trip to Indonesia? We highly recommend spending a few days in the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud. We have broken down all the details about how to get there, where to stay, what to do and more in this Ubud travel guide! 

Perched high up in the tropical jungle, surrounded by rice fields, waterfalls, and tropical rainforests exists a place so magical it’s hard to put into words. A place known as the cultural capital of Bali, that offers a fascinating mix of nature, historic temples, and traditional art & crafts. A place of lush landscape, luxurious resorts, countless monkeys and so much more. A place called Ubud. And we cannot wait to tell you every single reason why you need to visit immediately, in our Ubud travel guide below!  

Quick Tips


The native language is Indonesian, which has a unique dialect in Bali. But most people speak some level of English.

When To Visit

Dry season, April through October. But being the high season, you can expect higher prices. So you may want to consider visiting in the wet season, November through early April, if you don’t mind a few rainstorms.


Proof of COVID-19 vaccination OR proof of negative COVID-19 test if unvaccinated; Purchase a ‘visa on arrival’ at the Indonesian airport; Passport that is valid for 6 months from date of arrival; Additional health questionnaires may be required upon arrival 

Getting There

As Bali is an island, you will need to get there by flight. Their one international airport, Denpasar-Ngurah Rai International Airport, is located in the Kuta area in the south of Bali. The airport is located just over an hour drive from Ubud, and can be easily reached via a fixed-price taxi, pre-booked car or a ride-hailing app. We recommend downloading Grab and Go-Jek prior to your arrival, which are the Balinese versions of Uber. We consistently found that these apps were the most cost effective way to get around Bali. 

What To Expect

Is it Safe?

Indonesian people are some of the friendliest people we have ever met, and Bali is extremely safe for travelers overall! That said, it’s always a good idea to keep your wits about you and make sure your valuables are secure and out of reach at all times. You also need to watch out for road safety, especially if you are renting a scooter. 

Heels or no heels?

No heels! Due to its tropical atmosphere, Bali fashion is generally informal. When planning what to pack, choose clothing in lightweight fabrics to keep you cool in the humidity, such as flowy sun dresses with sneakers or sandals. Be sure to pack a variety of lengths – short options for a night out or to lounge by the beach, and longer styles  to wear to visit sacred sites. Additionally, be sure to pack work out attire for all of your outdoor adventures, and at least a couple good swimsuits.


YES. Skin safety is extremely important and the sun is strong! Even at 9am… Be sure to purchase reef safe sunscreen to protect the incredible marine life around Bali. Additionally, bring bug spray with you at all times!

How Long Should I Stay?

Being such a diverse destination, we recommend two full weeks on the island of Bali. Of this, be sure to stay 3-4 nights in Ubud to give yourself time to fully explore Ubud village and all that surrounds it. Walk through the rice fields or the beautiful Campuhan Ridge, visit Monkey Forest, go swimming in a waterfall… the options are endless. Ubud can also be a great base for some interesting day trips, so if you plan to do more, we would add more nights. 

How do I get around?

As the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud is home to the iconic Tegallalang Rice Terraces, sacred monkey forest, the impressive Goa Gajah ancient caves & more, all of which are easily accessible via taxi (we recommend Blue Bird Taxi) or a ride hailing app (Grab or Go-Jek). But being so centrally located on the island, Ubud is also the perfect base to explore attractions around the island, like the Tegenungan Waterfalls, Gunung Kawi, Sekumpul Waterfalls, Sidemen, Ulun Danu Temple & more. The best way to do this is by either renting a scooter (the traditional Balinese way), or hiring a private driver for the day. Private drivers generally cost around $20USD for the entire day. We would avoid traditional ‘tours’, but rather, opt for a private driver.

What about Money?


The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), and the numbers can be very confusing in comparison to USD. We recommend memorizing a few simple conversions to make things easier. For example: 15,000 IDR is about $1 USD ($0.96), 150,000 IDR is about $10 USD ($9.58), and 500,000 IDR is about $30 USD ($31.95).


Like most of Indonesia, Bali is a very affordable destination. Whether you are traveling on a budget or looking for luxury, this destination is unlikely to break the bank.


While many places include a 5-10% service fee, tipping is not expected on top of this. However, if you receive excellent service and wish to leave a tip, it will always be appreciated.

Cash or Credit Cards?

We highly recommend keeping a good amount of cash on you at all times, as many places do not accept credit cards. Luckily, there are plenty of ATMs in Ubud. 

Neighborhood Guide

When deciding where to stay in Ubud, the first thing to consider is whether you prefer to stay in the city center, near all the hustle and bustle, or a little bit outside of it. If you are after the convenience of being able to walk around the shops, restaurants, and markets, the city center is the place for you. This is also our top recommendation if it is your first time visiting Ubud, as it will make it easier to explore the streets, eat at the restaurants, go shopping and visit different spas. You will also have easy access to Ubud Monkey Forest. However, staying in the village will be more touristy and much busier than if you stay on the outskirts. Alternatively, you can stay outside of town if you’re looking for a more relaxing and calm stay in an Ubud villa. Here is where you find most of the incredible 5-star resorts Ubud has to offer, many of them being secluded and overlooking the rice paddies. In fact, the outskirts of Ubud offers some of the best places to stay in Bali for a relaxing vacation, yoga practice and is an ideal spot for both couples, honeymooners, families or a group of friends.




Ubud Village Hotel

This boutique property presents stylishly-appointed rooms and suites, a gorgeous spa, two pools, two delicious restaurants, and even hosts a free afternoon tea for guests every afternoon on the stunning rooftop. Located in the city center, right on Monkey Forest Road, Ubud Village Hotel is within easy walking distance to a number of fascinating attractions, such as the monkey forest, Ubud market, Puri Ubud and more. We were extremely impressed with this hotel and would absolutely stay here again. 

The Kayon Resort

The perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a luxurious Bali experience, away from the hustle and bustle. Located about a 10 minute drive from the city center, this 5-star resort features luxurious air-conditioned rooms that boast a beautiful terrace, marble bathrooms and views over the historical Petanu River and jungle. The resort is built directly on a cliff, designed in complete harmony with nature.

Sapodilla Ubud

Sapodilla Ubud is another great option that is located in the city center, just 900 yards from the monkey forest. This hotel features a restaurant, an outdoor pool surrounded by lush greenery, and concierge services, all just steps away from temples, palaces, cultural attractions, cafés, eateries, shops, yoga centers & more. 

Four Seasons at Sayan

This secret sanctuary is another wonderful option if you are after luxury, away from the hustle and bustle. Located about a 10 minute drive from the city center, this gorgeous resort is set amid lush tropical valleys by the Ayung River. With an outdoor pool, four dining options, a gym and a spa, it is the perfect place for couples looking to relax. 

Hanging Gardens of Bali

Perched high up on the wild green valley of the Ayung River with a magnificent jungle backdrop, this is the ultimate instagram-worthy spot. The enchanting five-star luxury resort boasts 44 private suites and individual villas, each enhanced by its own granite infinity pool, rippling into the jungle below. This spot is so gorgeous that it was actually named as the World’s Best Pool and number one honeymoon destination in Bali by Condé Nast Traveler in 2014. In 2015 Hanging Gardens of Bali has been awarded: World Luxury Hotels Awards, Seven Star Global Luxury Awards and World Travel Awards as well as other prestigious recognitions, such as the World Luxury Spa Awards and the World Luxury Restaurant Awards.

Komaneka at Monkey Forest

Located in the heart of the city center, this resort gives you immediate access to the Ubud market, cultural activities, cafes, restaurants, shops, spas, activities and other touristy hotspots, including the ever-popular Monkey Forest.  Yet upon entering the tranquil gardens of this hidden gem, you’ll feel an entire world away from the buzzing streets beyond, veiled by a wild green rainforest. This oasis is complete with luxurious suites, an infinity pool, open-air restaurant, spa, and pool villas, all in a lush garden with mature shade trees.

Alaya Resort Ubud

A gorgeous boutique hotel that is spacious, tranquil, and conveniently located downtown – yet it offers rice field views! The spot offers 2 large, outdoor pools, a fitness center and multiple on-site restaurants.

Viceroy Bali

Known as one of the best resort villas in Ubud, this 5-star spot is dedicated to giving you the royal treatment during your stay. It offers 40 award-winning, sprawling private villas, each with a heated infinity pool overlooking a spectacular jungle ravine known as Valley of the Kings. Every detail of this tropical sanctuary has been meticulously designed to provide an extraordinary expression of Balinese authenticity whilst also being world-class. Viceroy is the only Bali luxury resort to have won the Condé Nast Traveller accolade of #1 Resort in the World (2018).


Things To Do


Take a Class at Yoga Barn

Ubud is known for its yoga retreats and one of the most-loved is the Yoga Barn. Here you will find a range of classes for all different levels (some of which are free), in styles such as Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Pranayama, Power, and Yin. It is the perfect place to stretch the body, clear the mind, and take in stunning scenery.

Get Lost in Ubud Market

Located just opposite the Royal Palace, the Ubud Market draws together hundreds of artisans displaying their wares for tourists and locals alike. You can expect to find a wide array of  trinkets, Balinese products, and artistic works such as silk scarves, handwoven bags, statues, dresses & more. Be sure to use the local custom of haggling over the price with vendors before purchasing any items! You’re sure to get a better deal and maybe learn a few cultural tricks of the trade along the way. And as always, make sure you have cash with you.

Hang with the Monkeys

You can’t visit Ubud without an afternoon at the Sacred Monkey Forest! Home to over 1000 Balinese long tailed monkeys, this nature reserve is the place to get up close and personal with authentic Balinese wildlife. Not only will you have the chance to admire the monkeys, but you may even feed or hold one before you leave! Be sure to bring cash with you, as you will need to pay an admission fee, as well as a fee if you would like to get your picture taken with a monkey. If you do want a photo with a monkey, we highly recommend paying the staff to assist, as some of the monkeys are known to be aggressive towards tourists. As long as you remember that this is their home and treat them with respect, you shouldn’t have  a problem. Overall, this is one of the coolest experiences we have ever had in Asia.

Visit Tegalalang Rice Terrace

This is one of the most famous Bali attractions not to be missed (at least for a few photos), and a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers one of the most iconic views in all of Bali. These rice paddy fields were created as a result of an irrigation technique called subak, which uses five terraced rice levels and water temples to regulate the crops development. In our opinion, the rice terrace was quite a bit more touristy than we expected… but being so close to Ubud, it is definitely worth a quick visit. Be sure to bring cash with you for the entrance fee and for photos on the famous Bali swings. Another rice terrace to consider visiting, that is still in use today, is the Jatiluwih rice Terrace.

Enjoy the Outdoors at Campuhan Ridge Walk

If you want to get out and soak in the best of the local scenery, then head to Campuhan Ridge Walk just outside of town. Over the course of 9km, the walk will take you through a lush area of gorgeous hills which overlook an exquisite valley. It is fit for all fitness levels, and is a great opportunity to catch a gorgeous sunset while getting some exercise

Sunrise Hike at Mount Batur

A sunrise hike up Mount Batur is one of the best activities in Bali (assuming you can wake up in time)! Technically, Mount Batur is not in Ubud, but the town acts as a main spot for visitors to catch a ride to the active volcano. The volcano is located about an hour from Ubud, and the hike takes around 2 hours in total – all of which must occur before the sunrise. That said, be prepared to have a very early morning. But trust us, the views will take your breath away!

Relax at a Day Spa

One of the best parts about Bali is the affordable, luxurious spa services. You can get a one-hour aromatherapy massage for as little as 80,000 IDR ($6 USD)! With such a low price point, it’s easy to budget for a massage every single day – and trust us, it is so worth it. Spas are scattered all over Ubud, and most take walk-in appointments. As always, be sure to bring cash. 

See a Traditional Balinese Dance

As the hub of all things relating to art, Ubud is the perfect place to witness the artistic and ancient tradition of Balinese dance. Each dance tells a story and is truly unique. In colorful costumes and make-up, Balinese dancers express the stories of dance-drama through gestures including gestures of fingers, hands, head and eyes.There is a great richness of dance forms and styles in Bali, which is magical to experience.

Visit the Ubud Royal Palace

Also known as Puri Saren Agung, the palace dates all the way back to the 1800s and is still in use today! The palace is located in the city center, near the Ubud Market, where it acts as both a cultural gathering place and an administrative building. It’s a great place to get a true glimpse of traditional Balinese culture – especially if you visit in the evening during a traditional Balinese dance performance.

Take a Balinese Cooking Class

Bali is known for many things, but Ubud is especially notable for its food! As a result, Balinese cooking classes have become extremely popular among tourists, teaching the tricks of the Balinese culinary trade. They offer everything from ingredient scouting to traditional preparation and must-try dishes to give you a real taste of Bali. A few well known cooking class options include The Casa Luna Cooking School, Sokasi Cooking School, Art Cafe Bumbu Bali, Tresna Bali Cooking School and Paon Bali.

Visit the Waterfalls


Bali is home to some of the most gorgeous waterfalls, offering endless adventure-filled experiences. Below is a list of some of our favorite falls, but be sure to do your research, as more falls are always being discovered. For all of the waterfalls, be sure to bring cash to cover entrance fees, and go as early as possible to avoid the crowds.

Nungnung Waterfall

Nungnung Waterfall is one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in Bali. It involves a bit of a hike to reach the falls, where you can swim, relax, and enjoy nature.

Tekad Cepung Waterfall

Tukad Cepung Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and arguably, one of the best waterfalls in Bali. Located just outside of Ubud, the magical falls sit nestled within a cave, making them somewhat unique compared to others on the island. Be sure to get here early, as this waterfall has become a popular tourist destination.

Kanto Lampo waterfall

Just a 30 minute drive from Ubud village, this is one of the most unique waterfalls in Bali. While not the tallest of falls, the Kanto Lampo Waterfall flows off of multiple rock levels down into the river below – it is absolutely stunning. Luckily, it is a lesser visited waterfall, making your chances of getting great pics a little bit better.

Tibumana Waterfall

If you are looking for a less crowded waterfall experience, this hidden spot is the one to check out. The secluded waterfall is one of Bali’s better secrets, and though it’s popular enough that there is an entrance fee of 10,000, there are still very few people there. This waterfall may not be as powerful as Tegenungan Waterfall but the serene setting and quiet atmosphere make this simple waterfall a picturesque destination.

Layana Waterfall

This is one of the best waterfalls in Ubud because it’s so easy to visit. Layana is just a 10 minute drive from the Ubud town center. But again, be prepared for crowds!

Suwat Waterfall

This waterfall is an up-and-coming hidden gem near Gianyar and Ubud. It’s good for swimming and there’s even a neat little bamboo raft you can paddle around on. The hike to Suwat Waterfall is short and easy, and takes you through a small bamboo forest and other tropical foliage along the way.

Tegenungan Waterfall

This waterfall is easily accessible from Ubud village, located about 30 minutes south, and is extremely popular among tourists. As such, we recommend getting here as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Be sure to bring cash to cover the entrance fee, and a camera for all of the insta-worthy spots! Be aware that you will have to take about 100 steps down to reach the waterfall.


Visit the Temples

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple

This quaint, scenic temple is located right in the center of town and is the perfect escape and oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Ubud village. Step in here to admire this water temple that has ponds filled with blooming pink lotuses and Balinese architecture, and is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of wisdom and art. There are also dance performances held here in the evenings, when the temple is illuminated against the night sky.

Tirta Empul Water Temple

Tirta Empul is a beautiful temple complex and holy mountain spring that’s also a national cultural heritage site. The main highlight here is the series of freshwater pools, lined with over a dozen fountains where pilgrims wade through and seek spiritual purification by ritually praying and going under each fountain in succession.

Goa Gajah

Despite its name meaning Elephant Cave in English, this is actually an impressive 9th-century archaeological wonder and one of the top sites to visit in Ubud. Located a quick 10 minute drive from Ubud, this Hindu temple is made up of bathing pools, rock-wall carvings, fountains and a meditational cave. It is bursting with historical and spiritual value and is definitely worth a visit.

Gunung Kawi

This unique temple complex is one of Bali’s more significant archeological sites, with a collection of ancient shrine reliefs carved into the face of a rock cliff. It is said that the man who made the carvings did it just using his own nail. On-site there are also a number of shrines and the site overlooks a river that flows down from Tirta Empul Water Temple.

Gunung Kawi Sebatu

Locally referred to as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu, this is a beautiful water temple that is one of the least visited temples in Ubud. You can expect an impressive set of bathing purification pools, well-manicured gardens and lawns, and several large garden ponds filled with blooming lotuses and carp.

Visit North Bali

Being centrally located, Ubud is the perfect base for a day of exploring Northern Bali. You’ll find fewer crowds, remote temples and plenty of beautiful waterfalls to explore! From chasing waterfalls and climbing volcanoes, to cruising along some of the most picturesque landscapes on the island – everything about the North screams adventure. Not only that, it’s far less crowded than the South of Bali, which makes exploring a far more enjoyable experience. Because North Bali is a bit of a trek, we recommend hiring a private driver for a full 10-hour day. Some key places to visit include…

Sekumpul Waterfalls

Known as the grandest waterfalls in all of Bali, this stop is a must-not-miss! With water cascading from an almighty 80-meters high into the lagoon below, and dense green vines adorning the cliff face, it feels like a scene straight out of Avatar. But be sure to prepare yourself mentally – it’s about 400 stairs to get down to the waterfalls, and 400 stairs to get back up.

Fiji Waterfalls

After visiting Sekumpul, the adventure is not over… Located a few minutes away lays another set of breathtaking waterfalls. To get there, you actually pass through Sekumpul Waterfalls, meaning you do not have to take another set of 400 stairs (thank goodness!). Be sure to bring your camera, as this may be the most insta-worthy place you visit on your Bali vacation! Additionally, remember to bring cash for the entrance fee.

Gitgit Waterfall

At a tremendous height of 35-meter, Gitgit is one of the tallest and most powerful waterfalls in Bali, and a great place to take a dip and admire nature. But due to its accessible location, it’s also one of the most popular amongst tourists and locals alike, so be sure to get here early to avoid the crowds.

Aling Aling Waterfall

Famed for its impressive collection of waterfalls, countless natural pools, water slides and cliff jumping opportunities, this is a must-not-miss for our adventurous lovers!

Ulun Danu Water Temple

The Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple is an iconic Hindu lake temple that sits on the waters of the scenic Lake Beratan in north Bali. Set within the highlands of the mountainous Bedugul region, and situated on the coast of the lake, the sacred spot is absolutely breathtaking and very popular among tourists.

Handara Gate

Another insta-famous landmark that is worth a stop if you are after traditional Bali photos. The landmark is often mistaken for a religious site or historical point of interest, when in fact, the picture-perfect gate is actually just the entrance to a luxury golf course in Munduk. A little touristy – yes. But worth it for the photos.

Wanagiri Hidden Hills

If you are after magnificent views and insta-worthy photos, we highly recommend visiting Wanagiri Hidden HIlls. From its beautiful human-sized bird’s nest, famous Bali swing, wooden teacups, the bow of a boat, wooden stars, tree houses, an Indonesian interpretation of the Eiffel Tower & more, this spot offers endless photo opportunities.


It’s no secret that Ubud is home to some of Bali’s very best restaurants including two of Indonesia’s most award-winning fine-diners, as well as Bali’s most famous babi guling warung. From modern fine-dining within 5-star resorts to authentic local restaurants minutes away from lush rice fields, Ubud’s restaurant scene offers a wide range of styles. Whether you’re craving comfort food from back home or looking to savor authentic Balinese dishes, there’s a restaurant in Ubud that’ll satisfy your appetite. The main street of Jalan Raya Ubud, down to Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Monkey Forest, is lined with an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafés and bistros, but we have summarized our top recommendations in our Ubud travel guide below.  

This Japanese-Latin-Fusion gem is just ten minutes from downtown Ubud and offers panoramic views of the surrounding jungle that borders the Sayan valley. Not only is it considered one of the best sunset views in Ubud, but the cuisine is absolutely delicious. You can expect casual fine dining here with a fantastic fusion of Latin-Japanese cuisine.

If you are after next-level nori rolls and modernized Japanese plates, TGYR is the place to be. Everything is made fresh, with hand rolls made-to-order and rolled right in front of your eyes with still-warm rice, shatteringly crisp nori, and oh-so fresh fillings.

As the most famous restaurant in Ubud, if not in all of Indonesia, this modern European-Indonesian restaurant has won a host of awards! Most dishes are fusion based so they mix local elements with foreign techniques, using up to 95% of locally sourced ingredients. You can expect modern, casual fare, and a couple different tasting menu options, which we highly recommend.

This low-key fine diner, from the iconic team behind Locavore, is all about top-end Indonesian food from all over the archipelago. It’s as authentic as it is delicious, and with dishes that represent the heart and soul of this massive country, you can be sure of a culinary journey like no other. Be sure to book reservations early!

Calling all dessert lovers – this is a MUST! You can expect a whimsical tasting menu of 21 courses, 7 of which are dessert, curated by the world famous chef Will Goldfarb. This is such a unique experience that it landed the restaurant and chef on the Netflix hit, Chef’s table!

Widely recognized as the best fine diner in Bali, Kubu at Mandapa – a Ritz Carlton Reserve, is a truly divine experience. Here, you can enjoy the soothing sounds of the Ayang River with a tropical breeze while indulging in their exquisite menu of fine Mediterranean-European cuisine. We recommend the chef’s tasting menu.

Kyoka Japanese Kitchen

This Kyoto-style restaurant is where it’s at for modern Japanese staples and colorful signature cocktails. Don’t miss the fan favorites, including the Nabeyaki Udon, Tonkotsu Ramen, Spicy Tuna Roll and Green Tea Soba Salad.


Housed within the Blanco Renaissance Museum complex, this restaurant serves up ultra-fine dining Indonesian cuisine in a totally refined setting. With only 28 seats, you will want to book a spot as early as possible!


Casa Luna

With its relaxed tropical atmosphere and Bali-chic mix of traditional furniture and fabrics, Casa Luna is an Ubud landmark that’s been serving authentic Balinese food and modern, nourishing dishes for more than 25 years. Vegan and vegetarian options play a significant role on the menu, while organic ingredients are hand-picked from the Casa Luna garden. 


Bebek Bengil, which translates as the ‘Dirty Duck’, is another one of Ubud’s most famous restaurants and the best place to try Bebek Betutu (aka duck). The whole menu here is almost entirely dedicated to duck – crispy fried duck, duck in chili sauce, duck fried rice, and of course, smoked duck. 


Swept Away Restaurant 

Best place to splurge. The restaurant sits on the river and has a great fusion menu with choices like Pulled Chicken in Rice Paper Rolls. There is also an afternoon tapas menu, as wel as a 4 or 6 course tasing menu. 

World famous for their ice-cold martinis and melt-in-your-mouth barbecue pork ribs, Naughty Nuri’s is a must-stop for all meat lovers traveling to Bali.



As the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud is extremely unique and an absolute must. Honestly, we don’t think a Bali trip is complete without experiencing the stunning temples, breathtaking waterfalls, sacred sites, monkey forest & more. We hope you enjoyed our Ubud travel guide! Please share with friends and family, and be sure to check out our destinations page for more! 

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