Full of chilled-out yogis, spiritual seekers and full-on hippies, Ubud has such a relaxed vibe it’s really hard not to fall in love with it! I ended up staying for 20 days when I had only planned for 5…
Even if yoga/crystals/dreadlocks are not your kind of thing, there’s so much to see and do there that I would recommend a visit to anyone visiting Bali.
Here are my top 10 things to do in Ubud (apart from yoga which I covered in this post) – enjoy!
Prices are in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
1. Take a long soak in a flower bath
Have you ever been scrubbed with green tea, smothered in yoghurt and left to soak in a bath full of flowers?
If this sounds like your kind of thing, Ubud has you covered.
There are many spas that offer this treatment but I chose to visit Bali Botanica Spa as I’d read great reviews online. They certainly didn’t disappoint!
After my 1 hour massage and green tea scrub I was, for reasons unbeknownst to me, smothered in yoghurt. It was a little cold but kind of nice!
Then I was left alone to enjoy bathing in a tub full of frangipani with a cup of chai tea, gazing out of the window into the jungle beyond. Magical.
Price: 230k for the Mandi Lulur (flower bath) treatment
2. Drink the most expensive coffee in the world (for £3)
Indonesia is the home of the Luwak coffee bean, you know, the one that has been eaten and pooped out by a luwak (an Asian animal that looks a bit like a cat).
The coffee is supposed to be the most delicious in the world due to whatever happens inside the cat’s tummy when it tries and fails to digest it. In the UK it goes for £70 a cup!!!
Maybe I’m a coffee chav because I tend to drink cappuccinos rather than espressos, but I didn’t rate it that much.
No more cat-poo-ccinos for me.
The tour of the plantation was very interesting and the animals were kept in large enclosures, which seemed humane enough.
However, I’m told that this is just for the tourists’ sake and in the industrial reality they are farmed for their poop in less attractive conditions…so now I feel guilty for having ever visited. Maybe this one shouldn’t be on the list…
Price: 50k for a cup of Luwak coffee, free tea tasting included (with 14 different teas!!!)
p.s. Please forgive the awful photo quality – I took what I thought to be some cracking pictures on my DSLR camera on this day but when I got home I realised my ISO was on full blast and they were all awful. #noob
3. Explore the stunning rice terraces
Tegelalalaalagang (or something) and Ceking rice terraces are well worth a visit while you’re in town (image source: Indoneo).
There’s just a short walk through the paddies to see them from different vantage points; about 45 mins walk if you stop to take photos.
You’ll be charged a few thousand IDR to get through at various points by the locals; I was never sure if this was legit or if they just rocked up and set up camp there for the day!
As with all of these activities, arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat.
Price: roughly 10k for parking/entry and then a few 5k charges along the way
4. Bathe at the holy water temple
Tirta Empul is a temple just outside of Ubud where Balinese people go to cleanse their spirits from sin before prayer (image source unknown).
There are 30 “showers” with flowing spring water where locals and visitors alike can wash themselves and reap the benefits of a cleansed soul.
A very beautiful and serene experience.
Price: 15k plus 2k for parking
5. Watch the sunrise from Mount Batur
Mount Batur is an active volcano in the north-eastern part of Bali, about a 90-minute drive from Ubud (image source: Bali Adventure Tours)
For about £30 you can pay someone to come and pick you up at 2am from your hotel, drive you to the volcano and guide you to the peak in the pitch black.
As long as the weather is fair, you will be rewarded for your efforts with the most spectacular sunrise in the whole wide world (so I’m told – I haven’t made it yet!)
Price: about 800k for a guide with 2 people
6. Watch an Indie film at the vegan cinema
Apparently the world’s first organic veggie/vegan cinema (!), Paradiso in Ubud is a lovely place to enjoy a relaxed evening in Ubud (image source: Waterman’s Week)
None of those stingy upright chairs you get in Cineworld; in Paradiso you can have a big ol’ couch to yourself and the waitresses will bring your choice of vegan food to you right at your seat.
I had a falafel wrap and a juice whilst watching a German film called Pheonix (which I highly recommend by the way). Most of the films tend to be European Indie/artsy ones but they also have kids nights as well.
Price: 50k which goes towards your meal – bargain!
7. Stride along the Campuhan Ridge
With pretty rice paddies and terraces running along either side of the ridge, this 30-minute uphill stroll is well worth a place on your Ubud itinerary.
I would strongly recommend you go at sunrise or sunset due to the fact that it’s uphill and you will just be a sweaty mess if you go in the midday heat.
In fact you will probably be a sweaty mess anyway, but if you follow my advice you’ll get better pictures as the light is much nicer at sunrise and sunset.
I started the walk at 4pm and it was still way too hot; I would suggest starting between 5-5:30pm for optimum striding conditions.
8. Beat the crowds to Tegenungan waterfall
I set off for this waterfall from Ubud at 6am and it was 100% worth the early start.
I jumped straight in the pool at the bottom of the falls when I arrived and was completely overwhelmed by the experience of being alone under that huge, majestic waterfall!
I stayed there until a few other people started to arrive, just taking pictures and enjoying the view. There’s not much else in the vicinity but it’s worth the 20-minute drive outside of Ubud.
Price: about 75k for the taxi journey there and back from Ubud
9. Meditate in a room full of fireflies
Ubud Yoga House is situated just to the right of the Campuhan Ridge Walk on the way to Café Pomegranate and Sari Organic (image source: Ubud Yoga House).
It has just one modest studio with a very special twist.
Because of its location in the middle of the rice paddies, after sunset the open air studio is prone to visits from glowing fireflies. They drift up into the room and linger in the air as you sit peacefully in meditation.
Get yourself signed up for the 6pm meditation class on a Tuesday and you might be lucky enough to witness this magic for yourself.
Price: 100k for a drop-in class at Ubud Yoga House
10. Wade through the hidden canyons
About a 30-minute drive outside of Ubud, there’s a series of “hidden” canyons waiting to be explored (see map below for location).
I thought it was going to be a get-out-of-the-car-take-a-few-pics jobbie, but actually this was a full-on adventure!
There are guides hanging around the entry to the canyon and YES you 100% need one: we were scrambling up and down huge rocks and wading through rivers and pools for a good 2 hours. I wouldn’t have known how to traverse some of the paths if the guide wasn’t there.
You just pay the guide whatever price you think is fair at the end of the trip.
I really recommend this activity to adventure lovers!
Price: we paid our guide 100k between two
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I would love to hear from you in the comments if you found this guide useful 🙂 Are there any I’ve missed that you think should be on the list?