If you’re seeking a retreat from the hustle and bustle, Ubud is the perfect place. In Ubud, you’ll find an incredible mix of lush greenery, vibrant culture, and endless adventures. From the must-visit spots to some hidden gems, I’ve got you covered in this Ubud Travel Guide.
How to Get To Ubud
Wondering how to get to Ubud? Most travelers land at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar.
From Bali Airport to Ubud, it’s a 3-hour drive, covering around 37 kilometers.
You’ve got options: grab a taxi, use a ride-hailing app like Grab or Gojek, or book a private transfer for convenience.
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider renting a scooter. It’s a popular way to enjoy the scenery at your own pace.
Just keep in mind that Bali’s traffic can be tricky, and sometimes the journey may take longer than expected. I heard sometimes it could take 6 or 8 hours.
Arriving late in the evening could mean less traffic and a quicker trip to Ubud.
Tips: Double the travel time that Google Maps shows, and you’ll get the correct time.
Once you’re in Ubud, you’ll find that its beauty lies in its simplicity. Many of Ubud’s attractions are within walking distance, perfect for leisurely explorations.
If you want to cover more ground, scooters are a fun option.
Not up for riding? Ubud’s local taxis, or Grab and Gojeks, are affordable and readily available.
Where to Stay in Ubud
You’re spoiled for choice here.
For those seeking a bit of luxury, there are resorts with stunning views and infinity pools.
On a budget? You’ll find welcoming hostels and guesthouses that are easy on the wallet. My favorite ones are Pondok Bulan Mas and Sedana Jaya.
For something different, why not try an eco-lodge or a treehouse stay? Waking up to the sounds of nature is an experience in itself.
Best Things to Do in Ubud
Here are some of my favorite Ubud activities:
- Ubud Traditional Art Market: Feel like grabbing some souvenirs? This is your spot for the best handicraft shopping.
- Campuhan Ridge Walk: Whether you’re a morning jogger or just want a peaceful stroll, this trail offers breathtaking views.
- Tegallalang Rice Terraces: You’ll be awed by the beauty, and you can gain cultural insights into Bali’s age-old Subak irrigation practices.
- Local Cooking Classes: Learn culinary skills and recreate the taste of Bali in your kitchen when you’re back home!
- Puri Lukisan Museum: Your love for art will find a home here, with Balinese paintings and sculptures taking center stage.
- Yoga Classes: Feeling the need to stretch and relax? Recharge your body and spirit with Yoga!
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary: As you wander here, not only will cheeky monkeys vie for your attention, but you’ll also get opportunities for bird watching and temple exploration.
Best Time to Visit Ubud
Ubud’s tropical climate means it’s usually warm and humid. But, depending on what you’re looking for, some seasons might suit you better:
Dry Season (June to September):
June to September is generally the best time to visit Ubud.
You’ll experience less rain and cooler evenings, making it pleasant for outdoor activities. But remember, it’s also the peak tourist season, so expect more crowds.
Wet Season (October to March):
You’ll encounter more rain, but the landscapes are at their greenest.
It’s a quieter time in Ubud, offering a more laid-back experience.
Some outdoor activities might be limited, but it’s a great time to explore indoor cultural experiences or enjoy the peace of Ubud’s cafes and spas.
How Long to Stay in Ubud
Deciding how many days to spend in Ubud is important to fit all your activities:
Ubud Short Stay (3-4 days): Ideal for a quick getaway or a weekend break, 3 days in Ubud lets you hit the major highlights, from the art market to the rice terraces, and even sneak in a relaxing spa session.
Extended Ubud Vacation (1-2 weeks): If longer retreats in Ubud are your thing, this duration lets you enjoy Ubud’s rich culture, join Ubud yoga retreats, or take day trips from Ubud. We stayed 2 weeks and had a blast!
How Much to Budget for Ubud
Planning your Ubud adventure also means setting a realistic budget. Whether you’re keeping it low-key or indulging in luxury, it helps to know what to expect financially.
Here’s a general overview and a list of item costs (all figures are approximate and in USD):
- Hostels/Guesthouses: At about $10-25 per night, these are perfect if you’re looking to save or meet fellow adventurers.
- Mid-range Hotels: For those seeking comfort without extravagance, expect to pay around $30-100 per night. It usually comes with a swimming pool at this price.
- Luxury Resorts: Ranging from $150-500 per night, these offer excellent stays amidst Ubud’s natural beauty.
Food & Drink
- Local Warungs: These small eateries serve delicious meals at $3-10.
- Mid-range Restaurants: A meal here costs about $10-25, blending local flavors with a more refined setting.
- High-end Restaurants: Expect to spend $30-60 per meal for a gourmet experience.
- Local Beer: A bottle costs around $2-4 – perfect for a relaxing evening.
- Fresh Juices: Refresh yourself with a glass costing just $2-3.
- Scooter Rental: At $5-10 per day, scooters offer freedom to explore at your own pace.
- Taxi Rides: Short trips within Ubud are about $5.
- Day Driver Hire: For about $40-60 per day, hire a driver for a more relaxed exploration.
Activities and Wellness
- Yoga Classes: Join a class for $7-15 to rejuvenate your body and mind.
- Balinese Cooking Classes: Learn local culinary arts for $25-50 per session.
- Spa/Massage Treatments: Prices range from $10-50, depending on what you choose.
- Traditional Dance Shows: Experience Balinese culture for about $10 per show.
- Souvenirs: Budget $5-50 for unique items like textiles and handicrafts.
- Temple Donations/Entries: Typically, $2-5 will suffice.
On average, a mid-range traveler might spend $30-150 per day.
During my stay, I found myself spending about $40 to $50 per day, which included a mix of activities and local meals.
Keep in mind that prices can vary with the season and your personal preferences.
What to Pack for Your Ubud Adventure
- Weather-appropriate attire: Given Ubud’s tropical climate, lightweight, breathable clothes are a must. If you plan to visit during the rainy season, don’t forget that handy waterproof jacket.
- Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes or sandals are essential. Consider hiking boots for treks.
- Electronics: Don’t forget a universal adapter (Bali uses the two-pin round-pronged plugs) and a power bank for those long days out.
- Essentials: Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are must-haves, along with a travel guidebook – though sometimes, wandering without a map leads to the best discoveries.
What to Wear in Ubud
You might be thinking, “It’s Bali, so shorts and tank tops all the way, right?”
Well, not exactly. Ubud, with its cultural heart and countless temples, demands a bit of thought.
- Temple Visits: In Ubud, temples are sacred spaces. Men and women are expected to wear a sarong as a sign of respect. You can often borrow or rent one at the temple, but having your own means that you’re ready for impromptu visits. I always carry a lightweight sarong in my daypack – it’s been a lifesaver!
- Around Town: Lightweight dresses, skirts, shorts, and tees are perfect. However, it can be a bit chilly in the evening, so a light coat might come in handy.
- Adventure Time: Comfortable clothes with natural fibers are ideal if you’re heading out for treks or nature walks. And don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to shield you from the tropical sun.
Best Day Trips from Ubud
While Ubud itself is charming, there are some incredible places nearby that you shouldn’t miss:
Mount Batur Sunrise Trek: This is a breathtaking experience. Climbing a volcano to catch the sunrise is as magical as it sounds. It’s an early start, but the views are worth every bit of lost sleep.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace: Just about 2 hours from Ubud, this historical palace is a photographer’s paradise with its intricate water gardens and traditional sculptures.
Nusa Islands: While it’s a stretch to call it a day trip, the Nusa Islands are a must if you can spare the time. With stunning cliff views, clear waters, and incredible marine life, it’s like stepping into a postcard.
What to eat in Ubud
Ubud’s food scene is a lovely blend of traditional Balinese dishes and modern culinary twists. Here are some must-tries:
- Babi Guling: This Balinese-style roasted pork is a local favorite. Ibu Oka serves one of the best I’ve ever tasted – delicious and perfectly spiced.
- Bebek Betutu: This is a slow-roasted duck dish packed with flavor. The best place to try it? Look for a local warung where it’s cooked traditionally.
- Nasi Campur: You get to sample various Balinese flavors – rice served with a mix of meat, fish, and veggies. Each serving is a new experience!
Best Warungs in Ubud
If you’re keen to try local Balinese dishes in a traditional setting, warungs are the place to go. These small eateries offer a genuine taste of Bali.
Here are some of the best warungs in Ubud:
- Babi Guling Bu Desak Pejeng: This place is renowned for its Babi Guling (roasted pork). It’s a must-visit for meat lovers.
- Warung Makan Bu Rus: This place offers a wide range of Indonesian and Balinese dishes. We ate here almost daily.
- Wulan Vegetarian Warung: A haven for vegetarians, offering a variety of tasty and healthy options. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, the dishes here are worth a try.
Best Cafés in Ubud
Ubud is a haven for coffee lovers and digital nomads. Here are a couple of spots I always find myself returning to:
- Garcon Ubud: Great cafe to work in Ubud. The coffee is good, and the staff is friendly.
- Namaskara Coffee: I stumbled upon this café during my brunch hunts and fell in love. The variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options is impressive. I’ve been back multiple times – it’s that good.
- Seniman Coffee Studio: A must-try for anyone who appreciates a good cup of coffee.
Nightlife in Ubud
Looking for a place to unwind in the evening? Ubud’s nightlife is more laid-back than the party scenes of Seminyak or Kuta, but it’s charming in its own way.
- Why Not Restaurant and Bar: If you’re into live music and a chill vibe, this spot is for you. I didn’t get around to trying the food, but the drinks are well-priced, and the atmosphere is just what you need for a fun night out.
- No Más: A quirky bar with an eclectic design. You can expect some live music here too.
- CP Lounge: Looking for a night of dance, pool, and good music? This is your spot.
Shopping and Wellness in Ubud
Ubud isn’t just about serene landscapes and cultural experiences; it’s also a great place for some retail therapy and self-care.
If you love picking up unique souvenirs, Ubud Art Market is your spot.
Now, let’s talk about unwinding. Karsa Spa is my go-to when I need some pampering. Tucked away amidst lush rice fields, this place is a perfect retreat.
Some other massage shops, like Nusa Therapy, are also great. Just make sure that you book it in advance.
Essential Tips for Your Ubud Trip
Before packing your bags for Ubud, keep these tips in mind for a smooth experience:
- Currency: While many places accept cards, having some Indonesian Rupiah on hand is a good idea, especially for local markets.
- Language: The official language is Bahasa Indonesia, but don’t worry; a friendly smile goes a long way here. Plus, you’ll find many English speakers in tourist areas.
- Connectivity: Grab a local SIM card for easy and affordable internet access. It’s the best way to stay connected and navigate around Ubud.
Is Ubud vegan-friendly?
Yes. Ubud has several vegan and vegetarian eateries, offering everything from traditional dishes to international vegan cuisine.
Is Ubud suitable for families?
Certainly! With a variety of activities and a welcoming atmosphere, Ubud offers many experiences that both kids and adults will love.
Is English widely spoken in Ubud?
Yes, you’ll find many locals speak English, especially in shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions.
Are credit cards widely accepted in Ubud?
While many restaurants and shops in Ubud do accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to keep some cash, especially for smaller establishments and local markets.
Is it safe to drink tap water?
No, you should stick to bottled water in Ubud, as the tap water might not suit all travelers’ digestive systems. Bali belly isn’t fun!