Last Updated on August 26, 2021 by queenie mak
Ubud is a laidback traditional Balinese town full of culture, rice fields, and palm trees in central Bali, Indonesia. With a focus on arts and crafts, you will find many handmade products like wood carvings, antiques and textiles that are great to bring home as souvenirs.
The quaint town of Ubud is zen, peaceful and tranquil. It has some of the best spas and yoga retreats in Bali. Because Ubud is so different from other parts of Bali like Seminyak, Canggu or Uluwatu, it is definitely worth exploring.
Besides exploring the town of Ubud, there are majestic waterfalls and sacred temples just outside of town that you should not miss. And if you only have 2 days, you can still see all the best things to do in Ubud! And in this post, I’ll show you exactly how you can do that.
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What you need to know before visiting all the best Ubud attractions
Before you visit Ubud, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Bali. I included a lot of information, including how to get around Bali, how to get a prepaid SIM card and other essential Bali travel tips.
Here are a few additional tips for exploring some of the best Ubud activities:
- The best way to see Ubud is by riding a scooter. Make sure you have your international driver’s license before flying to Bali.
- If riding a scooter is not an option, you can get around with GoJek or hire a driver for the day.
- The temperature in Ubud is cooler than the rest of the island. Make sure to pack something warm for nighttime
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How to get to Ubud in Bali
Ubud is about 37km north of Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to get to Ubud via private car.
You can arrange with your hotel for transportation from the airport. It might be the easiest option. Pre-Arranged transportation costs about 300K IDR.
Or you can hire transportation at the airport. It might feel chaotic because there will be many people approaching you to offer you a ride to Ubud. And you must negotiate with the drivers to get the best price. To avoid chaos, I always pre-arrange a pick-up with my hotel.
How to get around Ubud
While you are in the town of Ubud, you can easily walk around on the main streets. And it might be a good idea to do that because there are many shops, restaurants and things to see along the way like the Sacred Monkey Forest and Saraswati Temple.
However, beyond the town, it is best to travel around Ubud with a scooter. There are many scooter rentals in Ubud Town, and it costs about 60K IDR per day (not including petrol).
Otherwise, you can hire a taxi to sightsee around Ubud. Look for blue cabs with the sign “Blue Bird Group.” They are a reliable group of taxis, and they use the meter so the fare is clear and you do not need to haggle the price.
Alternatively, download GoJek on your smartphone and order a car or a scooter. GoJek is similar to Grab or Uber in other parts of the world. It is a popular car and bike service in Bali.
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Where to stay in Ubud
Even though there are plenty of budget accommodations like hostels and homestay that costs a few dollars a night, I would suggest splurging and pay a little bit more for luxurious accommodation in Ubud. After all, you are only spending 2 days in Ubud and Ubud has some of the best accommodations in Bali.
Here are some high-end hotels and Balinese private villas I’ve stayed before:
Ulun Ubud Resort ($$) – The resort has spacious guest rooms and a private balcony that leads you directly to the swimming pool. The daily complimentary buffet has a good selection of Balinese and western cuisine.
Kamandalu Ubud Resort ($$$) – The resort only has private villas: the chalet or the valley pool villa. Each villa has a bedroom area, an extra-large bathroom and either a balcony or terrace. Check out the pool overlooking the palm trees and the fantastic spa facilities.
Alila Ubud ($$$) – Alila Hotel is one of the most luxurious resorts you will find in Indonesia and Asia. The 5-star hotel has spacious and comfortable rooms with a balcony where you can see the surrounding lush greenery. And if you upgrade to the valley villa suite, you will get your own villa with windows all around, and it feels like you are in a treehouse with palm trees all around. And make sure to check out the beautiful swimming pool or get a spa treatment at Spa Alila Ubud.
Best things to do in Ubud in 2 days
Wondering what to do in Ubud on your own? I put together a list of the best things to do in Ubud for any solo travellers who want to explore all the best places in Ubud in 2 days.
I pinned all the Ubud attractions on the interactive map and included a description for each of the attractions below. All you have to do is to follow the numbered pins each day.
Day 1 Ubud itinerary: explore Ubud town
The first day in Ubud is about exploring the town. Most of these destination can be explored on foot but it would definitely be more enjoyable with a scooter. Follow the red pins on the interactive map for your full day of exploring the quaint town.
1. Campuhan Ridge Walk
Close to the town and just off the main road, Jalan Raya Ubud, Campuhan Ridge Walk is a pleasant walk where you will see rice paddies and palm trees on both sides of the path. The entire route is about 9km, and it is entirely free of charge.
When you approach the entrance just off the main road, park your scooter in the small parking lot before walking down the hill. Then follow the path, and it will take you to Campuhan Ridge Walk.
The best time to go is early in the morning which is why it is the first attraction on your 2-day Ubud itinerary. Alternatively, late in the evening is pleasant as well as it gets quite hot during the day.
2. Saraswati Temple
Situated in the centre of Ubud, you will find one of the most beautiful temples called Saraswati Temple. It doesn’t cost anything to visit the water temple. Just make sure you cover your shoulders and knees when you enter the sacred property (as with most holy temples in Ubud). It is a good idea to bring a sarong with you when you are in Ubud.
Check out the serene atmosphere, and admire the architectural details and features that honour Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and arts. And if you are up for it, have a drink or meal at the Café Lotus which is just in front of the temple.
3. Ubud Town
Exploring Ubud town is definitely a must-do in Bali. There are many sacred temples, galleries, souvenir shops, arts and crafts stores, spa facilities, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants.
After your visit to Saraswati Temple, walk along the main avenue, Jalan Raya Ubud. Then turn right on Jalan Hanoman. You can walk down Jalan Hanoman to see all the shops or turn right at Monkey Forest Street, which will eventually lead you to the Sacred Monkey Forest (which is the next attraction) and back to Jalan Raya Ubud.
4. Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is one of the top things to see in Ubud. As the name suggests, it is a place full of monkeys. There are about 700 monkeys in the park, many sacred temples and 186 species of trees.
At the park entrance, you can buy small bananas to feed the monkeys, and it might be a good way to get up close and personal with the sacred animals.
However, be careful when you are in the Sacred Monkey Forest! The monkeys are quite smart, and they will steal your bags and sunglasses when you are not looking.
One of the monkeys smelled food in my purse and decided to jump on me and grabbed my bag. I had to let go of my purse, but eventually, I got it back with the help of people at the park. It was a bit of a traumatizing experience for me (and a super funny story now. Ha!).
The entrance fee for the Monkey Forest is 80K IDR. A lifetime of fearful thoughts of a monkey stealing your purse, priceless! Ha!
5 & 6. Enjoy a Spa treatment
A visit to Bali is not the same if you haven’t had a spa treatment. There are many different ones, from the budget to the most luxurious spa treatments in Ubud.
Here are two spas I really like and at different price points:
- Spa Alila Ubud ($$$) – The massage therapist at Spa Alila Ubud really knows how to get out all the knots on your back. Plus, the atmosphere is one of a kind! You get your own semi-outdoor private room with a massage bed, shower, and bathtub surrounded by a garden. Don’t worry – it is a private space! The atmosphere plus the delightful scents of lemongrass will make a memorable experience. To guarantee a spot with Spa Alila Ubud, call ahead to secure a time slot.
- Saka Energy Healing Ubud ($) – On the other end of the budget spectrum, you can get an excellent Balinese massage at Saka Energy Healing Ubud for next to nothing. A budget price doesn’t mean you will get a lousy massage treatment. It is just as good as any other massage treatments you will get but in a basic but comfortable room. The massage room is upstairs, and a privacy curtain separates each massage. You don’t have to make an appointment; you can walk in any time and up to 9:00 pm.
And that is the end of day 1 in Ubud. Finish the day with a traditional Balinese meal in Ubud town. Food suggestions are at the end of the itinerary.
Want to explore other parts of Bali? Read about how you can spend a day in Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan
Day 2 Ubud itinerary: rice terraces, sacred temples and waterfalls
Day 2 on your Ubud itinerary is all about rice terraces, sacred temples and waterfalls. There are many natural scenery and attractions in the vicinity so I chose the best ones that you can see all on the same day. All you have to do is to follow the purple pins on the interactive map.
1. Tegalalang Rice Terrace
One of the most iconic rice paddies in the Ubud area is the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Despite massive tourism, it is definitely worth checking out the rice fields and an awesome spot for Instagram photos. It is wonderful in the morning as Tegalalang Rice Terrace has one of the best spots for sunrise in Bali.
As soon as you approach the rice terrace, you can see the cascading rice fields with palms trees all around. Walk down the slope and over to the other side to get another perspective of the rice terrace.
And you can view the giant rice fields from another perspective: from a Bali swing! There are several giant swings around the rice fields. One of the giant swings is on the other side of the rice terrace which gives the best aerial view while you are strapped onto the secured swing.
And when you are done with taking photos and seeing all the nooks and crannies of the rice terraces, have a drink at (maybe a coconut) at one of the cafes that overlook the rice fields.
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2. Pura Tirta Empul
Pura Tirta Empul is a large temple complex with many sacred temples, a purification bath and a large pond with many koi fish. As a national cultural heritage site, the holy temple brings in many tourists as well as Balinese and Hindu worshippers.
The Holy Water Temple has a purification pool in the central courtyard where it has 13 sculpted spouts. The cleansing process starts at the first spout where you clasp your hands and let the water wash you. Then you move onto the next spout until you reached the 11th spout. The last two water spouts are for the cleansing of the dead so do not use the last two.
And before you enter the temple, borrow one of the sarongs at the front to cover your legs (see the main photo of this post), as it is important to dress modestly when entering sacred grounds. And return it when you leave the temple.
3. Tibumana Waterfall
One of the top things to do in Ubud is to see various waterfalls in the area. Air Terjun Tibumana, or called The Tibumana Waterfall, is a 20-meter high waterfall that directly pours into a pool of water. The pool is an excellent spot for swimming; however, during the rainy season, the pool of water might seem a bit muddy. It is a magnificent waterfall to visit as it is not too busy.
It costs 10K IDR to see both Tibumana Waterfall and Pengibul Waterfall (the next attraction). After you pay, drive to the end of the road and park your bike. Then trek down to the stream and turn left. By following the stream, it will eventually lead you to the Tibumana Waterfall.
After spending some time with the glorious waterfall, walk past the staircase you came down and continue walking for a bit and see the water at the end of the stream. And there is a small pagoda there too.
4. Pengibul Waterfall
After seeing Tibumana Waterfall, drive your scooter and stop just before the entrance and descend a few flights of stairs to see Pengibul Waterfall.
The cascading waterfall is not as well known as other waterfalls in the Ubud area, but it is an excellent attraction, especially if you are already in the area.
And it is quite nice to experience two different types of waterfalls in the same area. Tibumana Waterfall is more dramatic where the water plunges down at a vertical angle, while the water at Pengibul Waterfall softly rolls or drops off from a series of large rocks.
The best part about Pengibul Waterfall is the natural rock formation at the base of the waterfall. You can comfortably sit there while the water trickles over you. And in my opinion, the best way to cool off on a hot summer day!
5. Tegenungan Waterfall
One of the biggest Ubud attractions is the Tegenungan Waterfall. Also known as Air Terjun Tegenungan, the waterfall is in the village of Tegenungan Kemenuh in Gianyar Regency.
And because the waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery, many photo opportunities, a cafe with a view, and the famous Bali giant swing, Tegenungan Waterfall is quite a popular attraction.
When you arrive, pay a 15K IDR entrance fee at the gate, and follow the path and stairway to the waterfall. Along the way, you will find many photo opportunities. There are heart-shaped frames made with branches and a bird’s nest where you can sit in to take photos.
Keep descending to the bottom of the waterfall. Here is an opportunity to get up close to the base of the waterfall and the surrounding water. This is where you can see how big Tegenungan Waterfall really is and the surrounding lush greenery around the top.
But you can also see Tegenungan Waterfall from another angle. Climb up the flight of stairs on the right side. And when you reach the top, there is a relaxing cafe overlooking the waterfall. This is the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring Ubud.
Plus, if you look closely, there are several giant swings at the edge of the cafe. It isn’t cheap to try the giant swing. It costs about 300K IDR for a few minutes on the swing. But it is quite popular with tourists, and some people bring their fancy flowy maxi-dress for the perfect Instagram photo.
And that’s the end of day 2 in Ubud. Return back to the parking lot to retrieve your bike and head back to Ubud town for dinner.
Where to eat in Ubud
There is a wide variety of food options in Ubud. The cafes and restaurants serve either international cuisine or traditional Balinese food.
While there are many excellent Ubud cafes, I highly recommend eating at a warung in Ubud. A warung is a small family-owned restaurant that serves local food. You’ll get to experience all the best local flavours, and it will not cost a lot.
Here are several excellent options that I love:
- Balinese Home Cooking – One of the best meals I had in Ubud and it was in a traditional village where the dining area is outside. It is like visiting a local Balinese family and entering their residential compound.I tried the classic Balinese nasi campur (variety of dishes with rice), and sate ayam (chicken satay). If you’re going for dinner, don’t forget the bring mosquito repellent.
- Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3 – They are famous for its babi guling (Balinese suckling pig). They have several locations but I like the one I pinned on the map, in which you can eat while overlooking the forest. I ordered the “special” that comes with pork roll, fried meat, sausage, pork skin, vegetables and rice. The price is somewhat reasonable for something so authentic. Order a fresh coconut. It goes well with the flavourful meal.
- Warung Biah Biah – One of the best local restaurants in town! The atmosphere of the restaurant is casual and relaxed. There is a lot to choose from at Warung Biah Biah, and it might take you a while to go through the menu. But let me give you a head start on suggestions. Try the tumis sambal tempe kemangi (stir-fried tempeh, lemon basil leaf with pelecing sauce), kangkung goreng ebi (fried spinach with small dried shrimp), and lawar sayur (vegetable with grated coconuts and Balinese spices).
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Want to join a tour in Ubud? Take a look at these tours:
Don’t have a lot of time in Bali? Check out the 5 day itinerary for Bali
Are you going to follow my 2-day Ubud itinerary?
Are you ready to spend 2 days in Ubud? The attractions I highlighted in this itinerary are the best things you can do in Ubud especially if you are limited by time.
But if you have more time in Bali, definitely spend a few more days in Ubud because there are just so many things to do in Ubud. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Hope my Ubud itinerary helps with your trip planning to Bali! Let me know in the comments!