Weaving through the city streets of Ubud just before sunrise on our way to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, the sky was turning a soft pink while we scootered past the smell of incense from the offerings the Balinese people put out on their doorstep every morning. While there are many amazing things to do and see in Ubud, I’ve included the Best things to do in Ubud if you are short on time.
You can see the top three attractions of Ubud in one full day. However, you might feel rushed and there is definitely more to Ubud than the “highlights”. Brent and I spent one night in Ubud and if we were to do it over I would have chosen to spend two or three nights. We could have seen more and relaxed more in our amazing Air Bnb.
If you are planning to travel around Bali, my favorite area was the Bukit Peninsula! (Guide coming soon) We also stayed at Hotel Kommune which was the perfect place to kick off our Bali trip.
Luwak Coffee Agrotourism:
More than likely if you’re traveling to Ubud from another part of the island your driver will offer to take you to the Luwak coffee tourist attraction. We obliged our driver Gusti because honestly we felt bad, plus Brent doesn’t drink coffee (weird!) However, it was a really cool experience and definitely worth the short stop on your way to Ubud. You will have a guide who will take you through the process of making the luwak coffee, show you different plants and little civets sleeping (they’re so cute!) At the end of the tour your guide will bring you an assortment of all the teas and coffees they offer (for free!) After the taste testing you are led into a gift shop (obviously) where you will purchase the expensive luwak coffee, because it is that good!
What is Luwak Coffee?
Small cat like animals called civets eat the most ripe coffee cherries. After digesting the coffee and pooping them out they are collected. Since the coffee beans now have less acidity (from being digested by the civets) it makes for a much smoother cup of coffee. But don’t worry, the beans are cleaned multiple times, roasted, ground and then brewed!
Best Things to Do in Ubud:
There is actually a lot to do in Ubud and many visitors spend weeks here. But if you are like Brent and I, we generally prefer spending our time near the ocean. Both of us were truly surprised with how much we liked Ubud! I would definitely recommend a night or two in Ubud to people coming to Bali for the beaches as it was such a cool experience for us!
Campuhan Ridge Walk:
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is a paved pathway that leads you through lush jungle along the ridge of a river. You’ll pass through some of the rice terraces too! This is an easy walk for all abilities to enjoy but keep in mind it gets very crowded.
Bali is an extremely hot and humid climate so I definitely recommend doing this walk either in the afternoon or first thing in the morning! There are a few cafes along the walk. We stopped at one to get cold coconut waters. Plan on taking 2-3 hours to do this walk with stops for water and photos!
Tegalalang Rice Terraces:
The Tegalalang Rice Terraces were my favorite thing we saw in Ubud. Although they are outside of the city center, it is definitely worth the 20 minute drive to get there. We arrived just after the sun had risen and there was only a handful of other tourists mulling about the rice terraces.
While we were walking through the terraces a young Balinese man had asked for our help with something. (truthfully, I didn’t want to help and thought he was going to try and sell us something but Brent offered his help.) This young man happened to be a student in the local college and needed to interview different people for a project he was doing. After he asked us his interview questions he offered to take a photo of us. He then offered to take us to the other side of the ridge to see less crowded rice terraces.
This is where the real magic was! He led us to his grandfathers rice terraces where we were able to walk down the small rows of irrigated rice and were able to capture photographs with no tourists in the shot! We thanked him. This was such an amazing experience that we were able to enjoy just for helping someone else out in need. Brent and I always try to talk to the locals where ever we are traveling because for the most part they are very kind and can offer up cool advice you wouldn’t have otherwise known! Locals always know their town best.
Click here to find out how and when to get the best photographs when visiting the Tegalalang Rice Terraces.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary:
I’ve never seen so many monkeys in my life! In the middle of Ubud is a Monkey Sanctuary where visitors are welcome to walk inside and observe the thousands of monkeys who live within the forest. If you like wildlife (aka monkeys) definitely make sure to stop by while you are in Ubud! You can take as little or as much time as you want here.
What I Wish We Had Time For:
- Tegenungan Waterfall
- Shopping in the traditional markets
- Yoga – there are many places to practice Yoga in Ubud but the Yoga Barn came recommended 🙂
- Mount Batur hike
Jetset Christina’s Ultimate Travel Guide to Ubud helped me plan my trip to Ubud and she includes more things to do and see including places to eat!
Where to Stay in Ubud:
- Mana Boutique $$ – this is where we stayed and it was so calm and relaxing! Our room was huge including a small kitchen and a large outdoor bath which was #goals. The property was comprised of 6 rooms with a central pool and common area where breakfast was served. We found this property through Air Bnb. Would recommend staying here 10/10.
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- We secured our Air Bnb the day before our arrival. We visited Bali in March though, which is considered low season.
- You will need a driver to take you from the coast up to Ubud. Where you are staying can arrange for one.
- Once in Ubud you can either hire a driver/guide to bring you to the attractions you’d like to see or we rented a scooter from where we were staying. The farthest ride was to the rice terraces (15 mins or so but so much fun!)
- There are tons of vegan and vegetarian places to eat in Ubud!
- Try to get to the Rice Terraces first thing in the morning before it gets too hot and there are too many people walking in the terraces.
- All of the swings and “nests” you see in peoples Instagram posts cost money just to sit in them!
- We did not bring anything but one iPhone into the monkey forrest because they will steal! We saw it first hand more than a few times over the duration of our trip. Leave your wallet and sunglasses behind!
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