Ubud is one of the most famous cities in Bali. It is located in the center of the island in the Gianyar regency. Finding the boundaries of Ubud itself and the 13 villages surrounding it is not so easy. Therefore, the adjacent territories are often called Ubud.
The city is surrounded by rice fields, farms and lush, dense jungle.
Ubud is situated at an elevation of approximately 400 meters above sea level, around the volcanic ridge. Many hotels are built on the slopes with views of magnificent rice terraces or jungles.
Ubud is located 75-90 minutes' drive from the airport (36 km). Taking a taxi will cost approximately 250,000 - 350,000 Indonesian Rupiah if you use online taxi services like Grab or GoJek.
You can also easily get there by car or motorcycle. There are several roads. Just plan your route on Google Maps and follow their instructions.
From Kuta, you can reach Ubud by taking the Kura-Kura bus. It departs from the LIPPO MALL KUTA bus stop at 9:05. You can also return on the same bus. It departs from the PURI LUKISAN MUSEUM bus stop in Ubud at 16:00. However, please note that their schedule and route may change regularly, so it's better to check the information for the most up-to-date details.
If you're staying in the center of Ubud, you can explore much of the town on foot. However, renting a bike is also a convenient option. Some people even opt for bicycles, although it may not always be comfortable due to the active traffic on local streets. Traffic jams can occur, especially in the morning and the second half of the day. However, in general, it might feel like there are fewer traffic issues compared to places like Canggu.
Ubud is renowned as the city of art, the spiritual and cultural capital of the island. It boasts numerous workshops, art galleries, and museums. Each bar and hotel in Ubud has its unique charm, and the houses along the narrow streets often resemble small towns in old Europe.
Approximately 112,490 people reside in Ubud year-round, and it attracts more than three million foreign tourists annually.
Ubud's history dates back to the 8th century, according to legend, it was founded by the Javanese priest Rsi Markendya, who meditated at the confluence of two rivers near the present-day village of Champuan. It was here that he established the Gunung Lebah temple, which remains a place of worship to this day.
In the early centuries following its inception, Ubud was a significant source of medicinal herbs, and its name is derived from the Balinese word "ubad," which means medicine. In modern Indonesian, the word for medicine is "obat," which sounds quite similar.
In the late 19th century, Ubud became a residence for the aristocracy under the rule of Gianyar. At that time, Gianyar was the most powerful principality in southern Bali. The aristocracy belonged to the Kshatriya caste, the warrior class of the Sukawati region, and they were supportive of the arts, which began to flourish in Ubud.
Tourism began to develop in Ubud with the arrival of Walter Spies, a German born in Russia, who provided training to local artists in painting and music. Spies, along with other foreign artists such as Willem Hofker and Rudolf Bonnet, attracted many international celebrities to Ubud, including notable figures like Charlie Chaplin.
A new wave of creativity emerged in Ubud in the 1960s with the arrival of Dutch artist Arie Smit and the subsequent development of the Young Artists Movement.
Today, Ubud is home to one of Bali's royal families, and the city's center features their palace, which is open to visitors free of charge.
A visit to Ubud is indeed best experienced over the course of several days. A one-day excursion might not allow you to fully immerse yourself in the magic of this place. Taking leisurely strolls along the small streets, indulging in healthy food at local restaurants, and exploring antique shops will enable you to soak up the atmosphere and delve into the history of Ubud.
Ubud is easy to navigate as it essentially has just a few main streets. The central one, Jalan Raya Ubud, runs from east to west. Two long and bustling streets, Monkey Forest and Hanoman, extend southward from Jalan Raya Ubud.
In 2018, the authorities in Ubud decided to combat the numerous parking lots that, in their view, detracted from the town's appearance. Many parking spaces were closed, creating a more attractive environment for pedestrians. Some tourists have even taken to including long city walks as part of their list of urban activities.
In the vicinity of Ubud there is the famous Green Village. It is both a school and a center for bamboo architecture in Bali.
Ubud does indeed have fresher air compared to the southern parts of Bali, and it experiences more frequent mists and rain. Nighttime temperatures can drop to around +21°C, while daytime temperatures can reach +30°C. Long-time residents of Ubud often mention the need to ventilate their personal belongings more frequently due to the humidity and mold, as compared to the drier southern parts of the island. However, this issue is almost non-existent in rooms equipped with continuously running air conditioning.
In Ubud, it's advisable to have long pants and a windbreaker, especially in the evening and if you're getting around on a motorcycle.
Ubud has a large selection of budget guesthouses with high ratings on the Booking website. Prices start from 100,000 rupees/night.
Since Ubud does not have access to the ocean, swimmers should look to hotels with picturesque infinity pools.
Ubud is an excellent place for those who are visiting Bali for the first time and do not want to rent a motorbike right away. If you stay in the city center, you can easily walk to any interesting cafes or museums.
However, there are significant advantages to living outside the city as well. Firstly, it can be more cost-effective. For example, 10 kilometers from the center, you can find options for around 2,600,000 Indonesian Rupiahs per month (as of April 2023). This might be a very local option, but if you're looking to save money, it's a viable choice.
If you have a more flexible budget, choosing accommodation outside Ubud can provide stunning views of rice fields or breathtaking canyons formed by riverbeds.
Ubud is ranked 31st on the Nomad List, a website that presents the best cities for digital nomads. Interestingly, Canggu is in the second position on this list. However, if you've convinced yourself that Ubud, as the spiritual capital, is a better fit for you, don't worry. Ubud offers excellent internet connectivity as well.
For instance, you can find good internet access at Outpost Ubud. This co-working space covers nearly 600 square meters and offers a strong internet connection, Skype rooms, conference halls, shared workspaces, and individual workspaces. Additionally, you can also work at Parq Ubud.
By the way, Parq Ubud has already become a signature feature of Ubud. It's like a city within a city, offering accommodation, co-working spaces, restaurants, a sports and concert hall. Most of the trendy conferences and forums take place there. It's clear that Parq Ubud has established itself as a prominent hub for various activities in the area.
Extreme and travel
In Ubud and the surrounding area there are beautiful routes for walking, and there are places to go on bikes or bikes.
Among the active entertainments, the most popular are rafting, motocross on lava fields, ATV racing and canyoning.
From Ubud you can get to some very photogenic waterfalls.
One of the most popular is Kanto Lampo Waterfall. It takes 25 minutes to get there. But be prepared to stand in line even longer. There are a lot of people who want to take pictures of themselves against the backdrop of the waterfall.
If you don't want to travel far, you can check out the Skcript Waterfalls. It's likely that you won't be able to approach the waterfall closely, but you can observe it from a cafe across the way. From there, you can also enjoy a view of the river.
In general, finding waterfalls in the vicinity of Ubud is not difficult. Due to the local terrain, waterfalls are quite common here, especially during the rainy season. So, simply type "Waterfall" into your search and look for the one nearest to you.
Ubud is an excellent place to learn traditional Balinese crafts such as silver jewelry making, wood carving, creating offerings, and dance.
Pondok Pekak offers classes in Balinese crafts for both children and adults, providing a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and acquire new skills. It's a great way to engage with the rich artistic heritage of Bali during your stay in Ubud.
For jewelry-making classes, you can consider Chez Monique.
RÜSTERS offers pottery classes where you can explore the art of ceramics.
If you're interested in Balinese cuisine, Casa Luna is the place to go. Casa Luna is a unique establishment that combines a hotel, retreat center, yoga studio, Indus restaurant, spa center, and more. They have been conducting culinary classes since 1987, which include visits to traditional markets. You can find information about the schedule and pricing on the Casa Luna website.
If you want to learn the art of raw food cuisine, Sayuri is a healthy eating cafe that offers culinary classes. In addition to culinary classes, they also host language workshops, yoga sessions, and live music concerts, making it a versatile place for learning and relaxation.
Sayuri is indeed much more than just a cafe; it can be considered a full-fledged cultural center, a place for gatherings and making new acquaintances.
However, there are other places in the area with similar characteristics:
This venue serves as a cinema, boutique, dance studio, and vegan raw food bar. The cinema can accommodate up to 150 visitors, and the films screened here often focus on spirituality, self-discovery, and wisdom. You can find the screening schedule and workshops on the Paradizo Ubud Facebook or Instagram pages.
It's a restaurant where you can enjoy open mic events, concerts, meditations, and discussions on spirituality. The schedule of events can be found on the restaurant's Instagram page.
Ubud offers a vibrant cultural scene with various venues and activities that cater to those interested in spirituality and self-discovery.
The Laughing Buddha is a bar and restaurant that hosts dance nights and live music concerts in the evenings. It's the perfect place for those who prefer dancing with a Bintang (a popular Indonesian beer) over meditating with cacao. You can find more information on their Instagram page.
Another highly popular spot for party enthusiasts is Kabana Ubud. It's a complex of villas that leads to a club located in a ravine in the midst of the jungle. They often feature top-notch DJs to keep the party going. If you're looking for a vibrant nightlife experience in Ubud, Kabana Ubud is a great choice.
Museums and galleries
There are several art museums in and around the city. Antonio Blanco Museum (Blanco Renaissance Museum), Puri Lukisan Museum, Neka Art Museum, Agung Rai or ARMA (Agung Rai Museum of Art), Rudana (Museum Rudana).
Threads of Life is a commercial gallery that exhibits Indonesian textiles from across the archipelago. Proceeds from sales go to the development of crafts in these regions.
Gaya Ceramic offers excellent ceramics and clay utensil making classes.
Ewa Gallery sells tribal art from the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
Taksu Bali Art Gallery occasionally hosts exhibitions of contemporary travel photography.
Health and sports
Ubud boasts the largest number of yoga studios in Bali. Among them, the most well-known are Radiantly Alive and Yoga Barn. Yoga Barn, in particular, is often considered synonymous with yoga in Ubud and is a prominent destination for many yogis.
Well, if you want something healing in the Balinese way, check out the spa.
In the list of services, be sure to consider the Shirodhara massage procedure. Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic technique during which a therapist gently pours warm oil onto the forehead, in the area known as the "third eye." It is believed to improve emotional well-being, calm the mind, overcome self-doubt, help with anxiety, and enhance concentration. Shirodhara is a deeply relaxing and therapeutic treatment that is often sought after for its potential mental and emotional benefits.
Another truly Balinese procedure is Melukat. This is cleansing with holy water, which is carried out, among other things, at waterfalls located in the vicinity of Ubud.
The Pyramids Of Chi is a highly popular destination among tourists. It is a complex built in the rice fields, designed with sacred geometry, polar alignment, and the magical energy of Bali in mind. In the pyramids, group and individual sessions of gong meditation, sound healing, and light therapy are conducted, along with cocoa ceremonies and seminars on breathwork, voice, yoga, and spiritual awakening.
Don't forget to try "jamu," a traditional herbal drink that is commonly consumed in Indonesia for its perceived health benefits. It is believed to ease discomfort during various ailments. In Ubud, you can find jamu at the tea shop you mentioned and in the fresh juice bar. Additionally, you can learn how to prepare jamu at the provided link, which allows you to both enjoy the drink and gain insights into its preparation.
If you are far from spiritual practices and alternative medicine and do not want to join them, pay attention to the Baths.
The most famous of them is Bali Dacha. It is located a little away from Ubud, on a slope in the middle of the jungle. There are three steam rooms, a large pool strewn with flower petals and ice plunge pools. There is also an area where nailing and sound healing are regularly carried out.
Another option for steaming is Hot Stone Club Ubud. There is a wood-burning sauna, an ice pool and a fire pit.
A cozy small bathhouse with a huge window and a view of the rice fields is available at Arte & Bamboo Tea Villas. After steaming, you can lie down in one of the pools with ice or warm water. Perhaps this is the cheapest bathhouse in Bali.
Running, swimming, and gym facilities are also available to residents of Ubud. The town has stadiums and sports clubs, providing options for various fitness activities.
- Gymnasium Bali in ParQ has received high ratings. It offers new equipment, pleasant changing rooms, air conditioning, and spacious facilities. Some individuals mention that the cost is on the higher side, and the space might not be optimally utilized.
- CrossFit Ubud is also praised, and they even have a sauna and a cold pool for recovery.
- A simpler and smaller option is Ubud Fitness Center, which has two rooms – one for cardio equipment and the other for strength training.
- If you're looking to save on costs, you can check out Ubud Gym, although the ambiance might not be as upscale. It's suitable for those who need a basic set of equipment at a minimal cost.
- Jungle Box Ubud is the place for CrossFit enthusiasts.
- If you're willing to travel a bit from the town center, you can find an Olympic-sized 50-meter pool with a nominal entrance fee of just 7,000 rupiahs.
Ubud offers a variety of fitness options, and you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and budget.
"Puri Saren Agung" - a palace located at the intersection of Monkey Forest and Raya Ubud streets. It is the residence of Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (1910–1978), the last reigning monarch of Ubud.
The palace still belongs to the royal family. Dance performances are held in the central main courtyard in the evenings.
At one point, one of the oldest hotels in Ubud was located within the palace grounds, opening in the 1930s.
Ubud is notable for several temples - Pura Desa Ubud, considered the main temple, Pura Taman Saraswati, and Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal in the Monkey Forest, where ceremonies related to the afterlife are held.
For tourists interested in Balinese temples, the temple Gunung Kawi located outside the city may be attractive - it's the royal family's tomb complex. Additionally, there is the Goa Gajah temple, also known as the Elephant Cave, located in the village of Bedulu.
One of the most popular places in Ubud is the Monkey Forest.
Located in the village of Padangtegal, the forest covers 12.5 hectares and serves as a natural habitat for 186 plant species and 750 macaques. In addition, the Monkey Forest acts as a natural air purifier for the bustling town of Ubud.
The staff of the Monkey Forest spend 5 million rupiahs daily to provide food for the monkeys. The funding comes from the entrance fees, which are priced at 80,000 rupiahs for adults and 60,000 rupiahs for children on weekdays. On weekends, the prices are 100,000 rupiahs for adults and 80,000 rupiahs for children, respectively.
Not many people are aware that on the outskirts of Ubud, there is another monkey forest called the Sangeh Monkey Forest.
It spans 14 hectares and is home to not only flocks of domesticated gray macaques and diverse plant species but also the ruins of a 17th-century Hindu temple. It is said that the monkeys there are friendlier than those in Ubud.
There are many terraced landscapes in Ubud, and one of the most popular ones is Tegalalang. You can take a walk on paths right through the rice terraces. There are also many cozy cafes located right on the slopes.
The best time to visit is early in the morning when you can catch beautiful lighting, and it's relatively less crowded. Another Instagram-worthy spot is Alas Harum Bali.
There is an interesting route to explore the attractions near Ubud. However, this is suitable for those with bikes. For pedestrians, the Artist's Trail is ideal.
A one-way walk takes about an hour, and you can turn back at any point. It's best to come to the trail in the morning or closer to sunset because it can get hot during the day.
Another beautiful path starts a bit to the east and also goes north. You can walk along it to reach the famous Sari Organik cafe.
Additionally, another path called Kajeng begins here. It also leads north and gradually becomes a narrow trail through the rice fields. You can follow this path to make a loop and return to the central street, Raya Ubud.
A very scenic walking route through the rice fields near Tegalalang starts in the village of WBA (wisata alam bali). Here, there's a convenient concrete path suitable for walking, running, and cycling.
Shops and markets
In Ubud, like in other tourist areas of Bali, there are stores with familiar products and a good selection. For instance, you can find stores like Pepito or supermarkets very similar to it, like Popular.
There are also simpler supermarkets with lower price points, such as Delta Dewata and Bintang Supermarket Ubud.
Fruits are also sold in these stores, but the prices for them will be inflated. To buy mangoes, pineapples, or bananas at a better price, take a look at local stalls and vendors. It's advisable to venture away from the central street, Jl. Raya Ubud. On this street, you can find fruits at non-tourist prices perhaps only in the early morning. Around the intersection with the sculpture Patung Dewa Indra at that time, a chaotic market unfolds where locals sell offerings, vegetables, fruits, and sometimes fish to each other.
If you're willing to travel a bit further from the center of Ubud for fruits, pay attention to this point (you'll pass through it on your way to Denpasar or Changgu), where you'll find an even greater variety of fruits.
As for souvenirs, on the contrary, return to the very center of Ubud. There, north of the central street, a so-called "Crafts Street" branches off. Along this street, for several hundred meters, numerous shops, stalls, and workshops line up.
In general, while strolling through the streets of Ubud, you can find a wide variety of shops selling jewelry, silver, clothing, or singing bowls.
For example, at Shiwa Rudraksha, you can purchase jewelry made from healing rudraksha beads.
Another interesting jewelry store is BITS OF BALI.
Amethysta ~ Crystals, Healing Stones & Metaphysical Jewelry offers everything for metaphysical practices.
At Angelo Store, you can find products for aromatherapy.
Consignment stores are quite popular here, where you may come across interesting vintage clothing and jewelry.
Ladies might find it interesting to visit the by-cosmetics factory, where natural cosmetics are produced in Bali!
For a small town, Ubud boasts a remarkable culinary scene.
One of the most notable places is Locavore, a restaurant that has made it to the list of the 50 best restaurants in all of Asia. It amazes guests with a variety of dishes made from locally sourced Balinese ingredients.
Mozaic, the restaurant of Michelin-starred chef Chris Salans, is another star in Ubud's culinary sky. Salans blends European techniques and concepts with local flavors. It's a gourmet restaurant, so it's not the place to go if you want a hearty meal.
Merlin's sounds like a truly unique and memorable place. It's said to be an ideal spot for romantic dates due to the mystical atmosphere inside. What's particularly intriguing is the concept where you don't choose your food, but it is selected for you based on the guidance of tarot cards. This adds an element of surprise and mystique to the dining experience, making it quite special and unforgettable.
If you're on a more modest budget, you can try visiting Hujan Locale, the creation of chef Will Meyrick, where truly Indonesian dishes with a universal Asian twist are served.
For fans of raw food and truly organic cuisine, the restaurant Moksa will be appealing. This restaurant, as well as Alchemy and Sayuri Healing Food, make Ubud a haven for vegans and raw food enthusiasts.
KAFE offers a delicious and diverse menu with generous portions for those looking for healthy eating options.
If you appreciate all things healthy and tasty, be sure to visit the organic food store and various health-related products at Bali Buda. Ubud offers a wide range of dining options to cater to various tastes and preferences.
Ubud has a wealth of legendary cafes that are definitely worth a visit, including Clear Cafe, Mudra Cafe, and Zest.
For a good atmosphere to work in, FLOCK coffee shop is a great option.
If you're looking for beautifully presented smoothie bowls, Blend Cafe Ubud is the place to go.
In addition to these options, Ubud offers a wide range of Indian cuisine. One of the more upscale and sophisticated choices is Bollywood, where you can try dishes like Palak Paneer, Murgh Malai Tikka, Malai Kofta, and Aloo Gobhi.
It's true that you can find a similar range of dishes in various establishments in Ubud.
Warung Sharaswhaty, being one of the more budget-friendly options, offers Indian cuisine instead of Indonesian, similar to a local warung. For Indian fusion dishes, you can give Chai of The Tiger a try.
If you're in the mood for Italian cuisine, Mamma Mia (Pengosekan) or L'Osteria Pizza e Cucina Ubud are great choices.
The nearest beaches to Ubud are located along the Ida Bagus Mantra highway, such as Pantai Purnama or Pantai Saba.
These beaches have glistening black sand, though they are not very suitable for swimming due to strong waves and currents.
However, if you venture a bit further east, you can find beaches with white sand that are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. These include Bias Tugel Beach, Blue Lagoon Beach, and Pasir Putih Beach.
Ubud is not a surfing destination, and while you can travel to Keramas Beach from here for surfing, it's more suitable for advanced surfers and quite far away, over 20 kilometers and almost an hour's drive. Therefore, if you're looking to immerse yourself in surfing, Ubud is not the best choice for accommodation.
However, if you're staying in this area and want to practice your skills, there are a couple of places to skate that can serve as training for surfing. Titi Batu Ubud Club is one of them, recommended by professionals as a decent option. However, it's noted that the price is relatively high at 75,000 rupiahs for entry.
Ubud is generally a safe area, but like many places, it's important to be cautious and take certain precautions to ensure your safety.
1. Prevent Theft: Avoid carrying valuable items openly, especially at night. Store your valuables securely when riding a scooter by placing them in the bike's trunk.
2. Monkey Interactions. While it's delightful to observe and feed the monkeys, exercise caution. If a monkey attempts to grab something from you and fails, it can become aggressive. Try not to attract excessive attention from the monkeys, and keep your distance from them. If you're near the Monkey Forest, stay close to the forest staff as they can help deter aggressive monkeys.
3. Accommodations Near Monkey Forest: If you're staying in accommodations close to the Monkey Forest, avoid leaving windows open at night to prevent potential theft by opportunistic thieves.
4. Snakes: Snakes are occasionally encountered in Ubud. Most snakes are not naturally aggressive, but they may act defensively if they feel threatened. Keep a safe distance, and if you encounter a snake, consider calling snake removal experts like those at Bali Reptile Rescue. You can also try using Napthalene Balls, which are said to deter snakes with their unpleasant odor.
Taking these precautions will help ensure a safer and more enjoyable stay in Ubud.