Rice terraces and palm trees in Ubud, Bali

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This is your Ubud area guide, including the best attractions, places to stay, and food and drink options! Nail your perfect Ubud itinerary here.

Ubud is one of the main towns of Bali, and one of the most popular destinations for tourists travelling to the island. Located in Bali’s “uplands” (the high or hilly part of the island), Ubud is a multifaceted destination known for natural scenery, authentic village atmosphere, arts and cultural experiences, and wellness practices like yoga and meditation.

Ubud is unlike many of the other main tourist hubs in Bali in that, rather than beaches and nightlife, it offers a deep immersion into traditional Balinese life, connection to the environment, and a slower pace of life. Visitors to Bali have a plethora of waterfalls, rice terraces, temples, markets, art galleries and cultural experiences to enjoy at their doorstep.

Once you have touched down in Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, there are various transportation options available to get to your accommodation in Ubud, including private transfers, taxis and rideshares through apps like Grab and Gojek. Ubud is easily accessible from other parts of Bali, usually no more than a 1.5 hour drive from popular areas like Kuta, Canggu or Seminyak.

Exploring Ubud is best done on foot within the central district. Visitors have a host of markets, temples, rice field walks and attractions like Ubud Palace to discover, many of which are found off the main street of Jalan Raya Ubud. To explore attractions further outside of town like hidden waterfalls or remote villages, a scooter or car is usually required. Ubud boasts several of Bali’s top attractions, including the Campuhan Ridge Walk, Tegallalang Rice Terraces, and Tegenungan Waterfall. It's important to consider accessibility when planning your visit, as some places may not be suitable for those with mobility issues.

Accommodations in Ubud cater to various budgets, from luxury resorts to traditional villas. There’s a wide range of options for where to stay in Ubud, including spa retreats, eco-friendly hotels in the jungle, or charming homestays adjacent to expansive rice fields.

Ubud is known for its food, especially when it comes to traditional Balinese cooking. This is a great place to sample local favourites like Nasi Campur, and take a Balinese cooking class.

Lastly, Ubud is an ideal place to come for relaxation, rejuvenation and even spiritual exploration - making it an excellent contrast to some of the more party-centric areas of Bali like Seminyak. Ubud is home to many of Bali’s best spas, wellness retreats and yoga studios, where visitors are able to enjoy massages, indulgent treatments, restorative classes and holistic healing practices.

For more detail, read our full guide to Ubud below.

Where is Ubud?

Ubud is a town situated in the Ubud District on the Indonesian island of Bali. It's located about 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Denpasar, which is the capital of Bali. Ubud is surrounded by rice fields and steep valleys in the central part of the Gianyar Regency. It's well-known for its focus on arts and culture and is part of the Greater Denpasar metropolitan area, often referred to as Sarbagita.

 

Is Ubud worth visiting?

Temple and garden of the Ubud Palace

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Yes, Ubud is a worthwhile destination for most visitors to Bali. Ubud is known as the “heart of Bali”, and offers visitors a unique glimpse into traditional life in Indonesia. This part of Bali is multifaceted, catering to visitors with diverse interests, including nature enthusiasts and culture seekers to those in search of spiritual experiences and culinary delights. Ubud is not the place to come for beaches, watersports or nightlife however.

Compared to other parts of Bali, Ubud is serene and tranquil, so many visitors appreciate a stop here during their visit. Ubud has strengths as a travel destination which other parts of Bali do not. Firstly, the natural beauty here is unparalleled, giving visitors the chance to explore incredible natural attractions like waterfalls, rice terraces, and forests. This part of Bali is more rugged and verdant compared to the more beachy or tropical vibes in other parts of the island. Secondly, Ubud is the best place in Bali to deeply immerse yourself in the island's cultural and religious aspects. Here, visitors can explore temples, watch traditional dance performances, explore art markets, take Balinese cooking classes, and taste authentic dishes like nasi goreng and rendang. Lastly, Ubud is known as a haven for wellness and spirituality. Visitors to Ubud are able to indulge in rejuvenating spa and massage treatments, attend yoga classes, take wellness retreats, and stay at villas and resorts deeply embedded in nature.

One of Ubud's standout features is its people, renowned for their warmth and kindness. Plus, Ubud caters to all palates with its diverse food offerings, ranging from authentic Balinese cuisine to international dishes, ensuring that you'll find something to satisfy your taste buds.

 

How to get to Ubud

The Balinese traditional gate at Denpasar International airport, also known as Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali island, Indonesia.

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To get to Ubud from other countries, you need to fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Denpasar, Bali, and then travel 1-1.5 hours by car.

Ngurah Rai International Airport, sometimes called Denpasar Airport, is well-connected to major international destinations and most flights to Bali arrive there. The main way to get from the airport to Ubud is by car, which takes around 1-1.5 hours depending on traffic conditions. Many hotels offer a transfer service from the airport, or otherwise it’s easy to take a taxi or book a rideshare via Grab or Gojek. A cheaper option is to take the bus, which costs IDR 93,673 ($9-10 AUD), but keep in mind this takes up to 2.5 hours.

 

From other parts of Bali or Indonesia

To get to Ubud from other Bali areas like Canggu, Seminyak or Uluwatu, the easiest way is to take a 1-2 hour journey by car - whether a taxi, hotel transfer or Indonesian rideshare service like Grab or Gojek. Some locations outside of Bali, like Gili T or Lombok, are slightly harder to reach Ubud from.

Getting around Ubud

Scooter on a path near Green rice terraces and palm trees during sunset, Bali

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There are 3 main ways to get around easily and cost-effectively in Ubud: on foot, with a rented scooter or using a rideshare service like Grab or Gojek. Other Bali transport options for Ubud include hotel shuttle, which is often a free service departing at various times throughout the day, or taxi which tends to be slightly more expensive.

On Foot: The central district of Ubud is mostly pedestrian-friendly, so walking is an excellent way to explore your way through temples, markets and warungs (traditional eateries). Just remember to be careful of traffic and watch your step, as many of Ubud’s pathways contain very large potholes which easily cause accidents or injury if missed. However, for travelling from one side of Ubud to the other, or venturing to attractions in outer Ubud, walking is not a suitable choice.

Rented Scooter: Renting a scooter is relatively cheap in Bali, and one of the main choices for getting around. At a cost of about 50,000-200,000 IDR ($5-20 AUD) per day, this option allows you to explore the district at your own pace. However, it must be noted that riding your own scooter in Bali carries serious risks, including injury or even death, so this option is only suitable for those with proper experience riding a scooter. Make sure to wear appropriate safety gear and follow local traffic rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Rideshare (Grab or Gojek)

Indonesia has its own rideshare services, including Grab and Gojek, which are similar to Uber in other countries. Booking a ride with Grab or Gojek gives you a choice of car or scooter, and both options are easy and hassle-free. Payment for rideshare in Ubud is easy once you have added your debit or credit card to the app. The local Grab or Gojek drivers/riders are experienced and know Ubud like the back of their hand - just be sure to ask for a helmet!

 

Top 3 Attractions in Ubud

From serene walks and cultural experiences to breathtaking rice terraces and powerful waterfalls, Ubud is its own world of exploration. Here are our favourite three activities for offering a unique glimpse into the heart of Ubud: 

1. Campuhan Ridge Walk

Young beautiful woman walking on Campuhan Ridge way of artists, in Bali, Ubud. Beautiful calm sunny morning

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For those craving an escape from the hustle and bustle of Ubud's vibrant arts and culture scene, the Campuhan Ridge Walk stands out as one of the best things to do in Ubud. Offering tranquil and picturesque landscapes, it provides a refreshing contrast to the city's energetic atmosphere. This 2-kilometre trek weaves through stunning rice fields, lush palm groves, and vibrant forestry, providing a panoramic backdrop that's a photographer's dream.

Navigable for most fitness levels, the trek isn't just a walk—it's an adrenaline kick set to a natural soundtrack. To fully embrace the golden hour, start your adventure at dawn, when the soft light lends an ethereal quality to your surroundings. Along the route, you'll encounter cosy warungs and roadside stalls, where you can grab refreshing coconut water and exotic fruits for a quick recharge. Don't worry about logistics; the trailhead is just a 10-minute stroll from Ubud Royal Palace. One note of caution: the path isn't wheelchair-friendly.

Entrance Fee: Absolutely free

Best For: Unbeatable scenic views and a tranquil respite from the urban buzz.

Worst For: Those requiring wheelchair access, as the terrain isn't accommodating.

 

2. Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Tegallalang Rice Terraces. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Beautiful green rice fields, natural background. Travel concept, famous places of Bali.

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Yearning for a panoramic spectacle that feels like it's been pulled straight from a painting? The Tegallalang Rice Terrace, previously known as "Ceking rice terraces," offers just that—and it's merely a 20-minute drive north of Ubud. Listed as a UNESCO heritage site, this eye-catching expanse of terraced rice paddies is a design marvel that speaks volumes of Bali's rich agricultural heritage and the centuries-old 'Subak' irrigation system. No doubt, these rice fields stand out as one of Bali's most instagrammable places.

Tegallalang isn't just a visual feast; it's also an educational foray into the island's farming history. While there, take the chance to learn about Bali's ancient water management system, and perhaps even chat with the local farmers. You'll find nearby shops teeming with local handicrafts, artwork, and souvenirs—ideal for taking a piece of Bali back home.

How to get there? Options abound. A brisk 20-minute drive by car or motorcycle is all it takes. Prefer to soak in the landscapes? A two-hour walk is equally rewarding. Upon arrival, you're not limited to top-side views; traverse a small stream to explore the paddies up close. Allocate between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for full exploration—it's time well-spent, given the spectacular vistas you'll encounter. 

Cost? Entry is free, but a small donation of around IDR 10,000 (~AUD$1) is expected.

Best For: Nature enthusiasts, Photographers, those who want to learn about Bali’s farming history.

Worst For: Individuals requiring wheelchair accessibility, as the terrain can be challenging. 

 

3. Tegenungan Waterfall

Tegenungan Waterfall. Beautiful powerful waterfall in the midst of a dense green rainforest or jungle. Top view. Bali, Indonesia

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Another place you won't want to miss is Tegenungan Waterfall, positioned just a quick drive from the heart of Ubud. With a height close to 30 metres, the waterfall is a powerful showcase of nature's splendour as it spills into an inviting natural pool beneath. Ideal for adventurers and photography aficionados alike, the spot is also a welcoming place for a dip.

For those craving a touch of luxury alongside their adventure, Dtukad River Club offers an upscale retreat right next to the waterfall. This bamboo wonderland features dual swimming pools, pulsating music, and a well-trained waitstaff—perfect for those looking to toast to life's big moments. But fair warning: if a serene communion with nature is what you're after, the club's vibe might not be your jam.

For a hassle-free visit, don't forget to pack swimwear, comfortable shoes, a towel, and some cash for the IDR 20,000 (~AUD$2) entrance fee. Given that the descent to the waterfall involves navigating steep steps, it's advisable to time your visit on a dry day.

So, what sets Tegenungan apart? Accessibility. As one of Bali's most frequented waterfalls, it's a breeze to get to from either Ubud or Sanur. Plus, the eateries nearby offer fantastic vantage points for sipping and munching while soaking in the views. However, be advised: the waterfall's popularity often results in crowds.

Best For: Nature enthusiasts and adventure junkies.

Worst For: Those seeking solitude and those averse to crowds.

 

Where to Stay

Planning your Ubud adventure? Choosing the right accommodation is key to making the most of your stay. Whether you prefer a luxurious resort in Ubud central or a budget hotel overlooking a rice field, we’ll help you find where to stay in Bali.

Best Luxury Accomodation in Ubud

Pool at Alaya Resort

Credit: Alaya Resort

Ubud offers a number of upscale hotels and resorts, many of which are surprisingly cheap given the overall quality and service. Many of these establishments offer a lot of extra touches, like in-house spas, room service, high tea and music nights which make your stay special. 

Below are the 3 best luxury resorts in Ubud.

Best Mid-Range Accomodations in Ubud

Hotel Tjampuhan Spa, Ubud

Credit: Hotel Tjampuhan Spa

When it comes to places to stay in Ubud which balance quality and affordability, there is no shortage of options - though prices do tend go up during Bali’s dry season, especially the peak season months of July and August. One great option for mid range accommodation in Ubud is to book a villa or homestay, which is usually a traditional-style room hosted by a Balinese family. This is often a great way to stay close to Ubud’s centre. That being said, many of the nicest Ubud accommodation options aren’t that expensive compared to back home. 

Below are the 3 best mid-range hotels in Ubud:

Best Budget Accommodations in Ubud

Bakung Ubud Resort and Villa

Credit: Bakung Ubud Resort and Villa

Travelling solo or with friends on a shoestring budget? That doesn’t mean you won’t find a fantastic hostel or cheaper hotel in Ubud for your stay. For the best prices for places to stay in Ubud, we recommend booking during the shoulder seasons (April-June, September-October) or wet season (November - April). These months avoid the peak tourist season in Ubud which is July, August and December, January. 

Below are the best 3 budget options for Ubud accommodation: 

Where to Eat and Drink

Watercress cafe in Ubud, Bali

Credit: Watercress Ubud

When it comes to finding the best restaurants in Bali, some of the very best spots are located in Ubud. Here are a few eateries you can’t miss if you come to Ubud. 

Best Cafés in Ubud

Looking for a bite or espresso hit on your way through Ubud’s centre? The following are three of our favourite Ubud cafes from our list of best cafes in Bali.

Important information

Best Restaurants in Ubud

Ubud is home to some of the best restaurants in Ubud. Ubud’s best Restaurant Locavore, is about to close and will later reopen in a new format called “Locavore NXT”. In the meantime, the following 3 eateries are some of the best restaurants in Bali, let alone Ubud, and won’t let you down for a delicious experience.

Best Warungs in Ubud

When it comes to Bali’s warungs (traditional eateries) and street food, some of the top options are located in Ubud - which is the same town where the Ubud Food Festival is held each year. Whilst we only recommend the best warungs in Bali, it's always important to be careful when eating traditionally due to differences in food safety standards and practices in Indonesia, compared to western countries. Here are are three of the best Ubud warungs: 

Where to Go After Ubud

Ubud is centrally located in Bali, making it an easy access point for a range of onward destinations in Bali. After a stay in Ubud, it is a drive of about 1-1.5 hours to many of the tourist hotspots like Seminyak, Kuta, and Uluwatu, which are in the southern and eastern parts of the island. Because it is located inland, Ubud is a great departure point for trips to Amed or Northern Bali as well. 

Here are our top recommendations for where to head after Ubud: 

  • Southern Bali:

Seminyak: Known for amazing nightlife, upscale shopping, and trendy beach clubs.

Canggu: Famous for its surf beaches, Australian-style cafe culture and laidback vibe.

Uluwatu: Experience stunning cliffside views, world-class surfing, and delicious fresh-caught seafood.

  • Northern Bali:

Lovina: Loved for its peaceful black sand beaches, dolphin watching, and serene vibe.

Munduk: Explore lush landscapes, waterfalls, and enjoy trekking in the mountains.

 

  • Eastern Bali:

Amed: A haven for divers, snorkelers, and those seeking a quieter coastal atmosphere.

Sidemen: Get lost in the picturesque rice terraces, traditional villages, and scenic beauty.