As soon as you arrive in Bali you will hear about Ubud. As far as your stereotypical “Bali experience” goes – many of those experiences start with things to do in Ubud. Almost everyone knows this charming, spiritual, and natural town, and let me tell you that there are several reasons why.

This town mixes what you need from a city and the wonder of local nature tamed by the wellness & yoga-healthy vibe that expats have brought with them. It is also a welcome change from the chaotic mess of Canggu and the infamous Bali traffic. So you’ll breathe and feel a relaxed, tolerant, and welcoming energy when getting here. 

But also, Ubud is without a doubt, the cultural and artistic hub of Bali. From traditional dances, amazing temples, and local paintings and sculptures to excursions that delve into nature to see rice fields and incredible waterfalls where locals thrive in the unique Balinese Hindu traditions.

This town has it all for those who enjoy a good organic coffee at a local cafe, the local gastronomy, and its unique activities in its incredible natural landscapes. Let me tell you more about the absolute BEST things to do in Ubud.

the broke backpacker team at the water temple in bali
Ubud buddies.

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Exploring The Unique Attractions of Ubud

The coolest experiences often arise spontaneously, I know! But trust me, Ubud is in a league of its own. With so much to do, you might miss out on the most unique things to do in Ubud if you don’t dive into a bit of research beforehand. 

And when I say UNIQUE, I mean relaxing, exciting, and adrenaline-packed experiences. All are complemented by the rich natural landscapes and diverse cultural tapestry. It all makes Ubud one of the best places to stay in Bali.

a large balinese statue in ubud, Bali
AAAHH.
Photo: @amandaadraper

Whether you’re treasure hunting at the Antonio Blanco Museum, chasing down the Tegenungan Waterfall, or strolling the serene Campuhan Ridge, each experience will fuel your wanderlust and satisfy your thirsty and probably tired backpacker soul.

After spending quite some time in Ubud over the years, The Broke Backpacker team put this things to do in Ubud post together, for you, in a collaborative effort. All activities below are Broke Backpacker-approved and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up trying them all. Enjoy 🙂

Must-See Activities in Ubud

When I say “must-see,” I’m talking about the activities that should give you serious FOMO!

Your trip to Bali remains incomplete until you’ve soared on a jungle swing in Ubud, hiked Mount Batur to witness the breathtaking sunrise, and explored the Tegallalang Rice Terraces.

These dopamine-filled experiences will shape the chapters of your Ubud saga—a narrative you’ll definitely pass down to your grandchildren. So, amp up your journey with this epic lineup of activities below.

1. Rice Fields

When you do a Google search of Bali, you’ll no doubt come across photos of the famous Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud. The endless layers of lush green rice patty fields are pretty damn magical to see.

However, it may not be as serene as you think because this place can get BUSY. I mean it’s no surprise, this place is one of the must-visit places in Bali!

dani walking through the rice paddy fields in tegallalang rice terraces ubud, bali
Rice fields galore.
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

If you’re after a more low-key stroll through the rice paddy fields, I’d recommend heading to Kajeng Rice Fields, Penestanan Rice Field Walk, or the Campuhan Ridge Walk. All of these places provide the same incredible experience of strolling through the rice paddy fields – however, they come with fewer crowds.

2. Swing

The Bali swing has become a popular activity in Ubud, and after trying it for myself, I can see why.

Swinging over incredible rice fields is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My inner child was so happy! The guys who strapped me into the swing also made it a fun time by swinging me super fast and making goofy noises like ‘Kapaw’ or “ZOOM”. I ended up going twice because I had such a blast.

a girl on a swing with a white dress on and a flower in her hand with rice fields and palm trees in the background
I just had to, really.
Photo: @amandaadraper

Most hostels in Ubud can offer you guidance on the best swings in the area. In my case, I wandered around the Tegallalang Rice Terraces until I found a breathtaking view for a good old sunset swing sesh. Even my boyfriend went for a go since he saw how much fun I had. 

Hey, I get it. You might be thinking that this is what all tourists do. But once you try it, you will see why everyone tries it at least once. Luckily for you, in the most pristine, jungly corners of Ubud, you can find a swing to enjoy the view. It is also a great Instagram location!

3. Waterfalls

If there’s one thing to do in Ubud that I’d say you absolutely CANNOT skip, it would be chasing beautiful waterfalls. These sheer wonders of nature can be found all around the outskirts of town, and swimming in them was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my Ubud trip.

I’m sure you’ve heard that Bali waterfalls are epic, and it’s Ubud where their magic takes centre stage. Sure, some waterfalls may be more touristy than others, but trust and believe you’ll be able to find the perfect one for you. 

I spent some time channelling my inner child splashing in the Manuaba Waterfall, a quieter option that you may want to check out if you’re looking for something that’s quick and easy to access, but still swimmable. 

Dani and Samantha in Tibumana waterfall in Ubud.
Even better if you can’t afford a pool.
Photo: Samantha Shea

But now for the big guns, the most popular falls in Ubud that you can squeeze into a Bali travel itinerary:

  • Kanto Lampo waterfall – Closest to the centre of town, this set of falls is one of the best for swimming. I definitely recommend arriving early though to beat the crowds, which is a hot tip to keep in mind for all Bali falls.
  • Tibumana waterfall – 30 minutes from downtown and you’ll find yourself at the waterfall of your dreams. This is a piece of nature that may even have got you to come to Bali in the first place. Following a 15-minute hike, you’ll find yourself in front of a fantastical flow of water complete with a bright blue pool. 
  • Tegenungan waterfall – Sitting at the bottom of a steep jungle ravine, this waterfall has landed it a spot among the most popular things to do in Ubud. And most popular means hella’ people. The cascade is pretty wide compared to other options, but I’d say the others on the list are more worth your time – unless you’re fully prepared to arrive at 6:30 sharp when gates open.

Exhilarating Adventure and Outdoor Activities

When people think of Ubud, the first thing that comes to mind are the relaxing things to do: temples, rice paddy fields, and yoga studios. It’s the kinda place where your inner soul sighs in relief as it’s time to chill out, recharge, and relax… a few downward dogs and warrior poses.

But then there’s the side of Ubud that people don’t usually think of straight off the bat. The adrenaline pumping, near-death experiences! Some of my most special memories in this place were on the wild rivers, white-water rafting, ATV quad biking through lush jungles and temples, and hiking some of Indonesia’s most breathtaking volcanoes!

two girls on a scooter in Bali, Indonesia holding a small dog and with a surfboard hanging on the side of the scooter
Bali adventures 101.
Photo: @amandaadraper

Guys, I’m telling you, Ubud is not only home to some of the most zen activities in Bali but also some of the most EXHILARATING adventures and outdoor activities. Get your blood pumping with our top picks for adventure activities in Ubud below.

4. Jungle Tours

Ubud is known for being a chilled tropical paradise, but did you know it is also an adventure hub with tons of adrenaline-pumping activities to indulge in? Some of my favourite activities in Ubud include white water rafting and ATV quad bike riding.

This amazing tour from Ubud comes with both 4WD ATV riding and an epic white water rafting session. It also includes a bunch of extra goodies like lunch, a towel, changing rooms, etc.

5. Mount Batur 

Hiking in Bali is beautiful. There are some sensational settings for long walks and treks everywhere in central Bali, amongst lush green tropical rainforests, rice fields, gushing waterfalls, and more, Ubud included.

Mount Batur Indonesia Bali
Mount Batur – The best view in Indonesia?
Photo: @joemiddlehurst

But if you are searching for more adventurous things to do in Ubud, perhaps you might like to try this four-hour morning hike to Bali’s most famous active volcano.

Join a sunrise hike with breakfast that comes with Ubud as a pick-up option location. It’s about a one-and-a-half-hour drive between Ubud and Mount Batur in northeast Bali, and the views are so worth it!

6. Campuhan Ridge Walk

If you’re looking for a relaxing and gentle hike around Ubud then the Campuhan Ridge Walk is perfect. Situated within walking distance of Ubud centre, or a short hop on the old Grab Bike, it’s a conveniently located way to escape the crowds.

Ubud is known for its incredible nature, lush forests, and meandering rivers and the Campuhan Ridge Walk offers exactly that. You don’t exactly need solid walking shoes for this: the walk is more than achievable for even the most unfit. But it’s a good excuse to give the sandals a rest and get your body moving.

A person walking along the Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia surrounded by trees, forest and jungle.
The chillest activity.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

The 2km walk (1 way) begins with a short, relatively steep but not overly challenging uphill section before levelling off above the jungle. From this vantage point, you can take in the sheer beauty of Ubud and the surrounding forests below. 

Be sure to visit the stunning Gunung Lebah Temple before you begin your hike and take some photos of the river before beginning your ascent (you can’t see it from the ridge).

Once you pass through the gates at the end of the ridge, continue your walk through the local village and rice terraces of this area. There are also some nice cafes for some food and refreshments before you begin your walk back. 

Cultural and Artistic Experiences

The Balinese culture is one of my favourites in the world. The people of Bali are so incredibly kind and welcoming to every visitor in their home. Ubud is no exception. 

Balinese Hinduism is practised by more than 80% of the population. The life, colour, and spiritual practices can be seen all over Ubud and there are many ways for us, as tourists, to experience it.

Canang sari offerings with burning insense at a shrine in Bali
Captured in this image is the timeless tradition of Canang Sar.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

One of the simple joys of daily life in Bali is watching the locals make their daily offerings with a thick ploom of incense smoke lingering around every corner. If you wait a while, you’ll see all the little birdies, dogs, and ants come and clean them up, ready for a new day of offerings tomorrow. There are a few particularly incredible cultural and artistic experiences in Ubud and, as always, I’ve got you covered with a list of the most spiritual things to do in Bali.

7. Pura Tirta Empul

Honestly, the Pura Tirta Empul (or, the Holy Water Temple) absolutely exceeded my expectations. I’ve visited many temples during my travels in Southeast Asia but I have never before been submerged in freshwater and dipping my head under spouts of sacred water with little fish swimming between my legs. 

woman wearing a green robe in a pool washing her face with water pouring from a spout
Purification rituals in action…
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

There are 30 gushing water spouts and you queue up to dip your head under each in a purification ritual known as melukat. The temple is frequented by many locals and travellers alike who partake in the ritual. 

In Bali, it’s rare to find a tourist attraction that doesn’t feel overly touristy (however, I did visit in March which may have been why…). Sure, there were shops with people trying to sell you things on the way out but inside the temple, it was pretty damn special. It’s easily one of the best spiritual things to do in Ubud.

8. Ubud Palace Legong Dance Show

I attended the Palace Legong Dance Show when I first arrived in Ubud, and it was the perfect way to start my trip. This show is a truly captivating display of Balinese culture and artistic expression.

You can usually find these shows in many places throughout Bali, but the Ubud Palace makes this one unique. The Ubud Palace is located in the heart of Ubud and is home to the king and princess. You can visit throughout the day and then go after 6 pm to see the dance.

If I were to describe the dance, it would be challenging as so many things are happening. The dance is a form of storytelling that is hypnotic, especially with the hand gestures and movements. You will have to see it for yourself to understand!

9. Bartering For Masks

As you wander through the back lanes of central Ubud, you’ll definitely notice the array of colourful ‘demon’ masks on display in the little boutiques.

Well, these traditional wooden masks are not mere decorative items mass-manufactured for tourists, they are (or at least were originally…) crafted for use in sacred performances and hold a special place in the island’s ancient, unique cultural practices. 

a traditional balinese statue in denpasar, bali, Indonesia
Look at those details, dude.
Photo: @amandaadraper

Shopkeepers are usually artisans themselves (or are closely tied to the craft) and they love sharing insights about the myths and craftsmanship behind each piece. Bargaining is expected in many of the local markets so bring your haggle game.

Sellers will quote a higher price initially, so feel free to counter-offer with about half the asking price and work from there. Remember, the goal is to reach a fair agreement that reflects the value of craftsmanship.

Relaxation and Wellness Options

Relaxation and Wellness.. now this is where my mind goes when I think of Ubud. Sure, this may be due to Eat Pray Love but who doesn’t imagine Julia Roberts sitting with a monk when they think of Ubud? 

The relaxation and wellness options in Ubud are endless. Fancy a yoga class? Or maybe a massage? You won’t be short of activities to look after your body, soul and mind here.

A group of people, lying on the ground with closed eyes, engaged in a meditation session led by Amanda.
Chill vibes in the chillest spot around.
Photo: @amandaadraper

10. Massage

Massage, massaaaaaaaaage.

When first hearing the call, one might be sceptical and let it pass. But the next day it happens again, and you kinda wanna give it a try.

So you do, and you’re glad you did — you feel at peace and you sleep like a baby that night.

I love a good massage, though they’re too expensive back home so I rarely ever do them. But when 5 bucks can get you a pair of well-trained hands dancing all over your body… in a strictly therapeutic way… you’d be a loco to pass up on that offer.

Ubud is probably the place where I’ve done the most massages in Bali. And in my life.

Khmer Massage
Me in Ubud.

There is something about this place that just makes me want to relax (perhaps the traffic or the expats on acid). Massage parlours are EVERYWHERE, so it’s easy to walk and pick.

I recommend a foot massage after a long day of walking or easing the burden of your backpack with a soothing shoulder and back massage. Or, you know, go full-on full-body.

Rinse and repeat until it’s time to float back home dreaming of the next time you’ll be back in Bali.

11. Yoga

Yoga is one of those spiritual activities in Ubud that you simply can’t leave without experiencing at least once. Imagine hearing the sounds of the jungle beneath a bamboo shala, inhaling a variety of aromas from essential oils. I feel relaxed just writing about it.

Group practicing Child's Pose during a yoga session
And breeeeath…
Photo: @amandaadraper

Even if you aren’t flexible or have no idea what yoga is, Ubud has world-class yoga studios that will help guide the way. I personally recommend Yoga Barn and Alchemy. They are both INCREDIBLE yoga studios that offer everything from beginner classes to acro yoga for the pros. 

If you have the time, you should join yoga retreats in Ubud. After a week of jungle, waterfalls, clean eating, and yoga practice you will be completely zen

Best Things to Do in Ubud for Couples

Lush greenery, an earthy scent of the woods, and the manic cries of packs of monkeys trying to claw each other’s faces out… Can you think of a more romantic setting for couples? Guess not. 

Ubud is the kind of place that whispers ‘slow down’ and draws you in to savour every moment with your loved one. 

a couple taking a selfie with a monkey in the monkey forest of ubud, bali
Ubud’s friendly locals!
Photo: @amandaadraper

Start the journey in the charming Ubud’s villages, exploring hidden gems and local life hand in hand. And if you’re craving an adrenaline rush, hike up to watch Mount Agung’s sunrise together. It’s one of the experiences that will stick with you. 

Leaving this haven of romance won’t be easy, but you’ll carry with you memories to last a lifetime AND… some lovely Insta pics, each one a testament to the journey you shared together.

12. Ecstatic Dance

You may not be aware that as well as being spiritual Bali’s beating heart, Ubud is also the island’s hippy-holiday camp where long-term travellers go to wear white, drink matcha, and exchange heart-hugs.

Well, Ecstatic Dance is what Bali’s wellness-focused new-age travellers do for fun 2 or 3 nights a week. It’s basically a sober rave where DJs blast out tribal beats, afro house and new-age-techno while Bali’s sweaty bohemians shake their chakras and tune up their tantra.

dance party in the wadi rum of jordan
From dusk till down
Photo: Roaming Ralph

While the music can be a bit twee sometimes, it’s all actually good fun. Being able to dance completely sober is a challenge for many which is why I recommend going with your partner for a bit of encouragement, but rest assured that Ecstatic Dance is a judgement-free-space and nobody is watching you (unless you are a fit and sexy yoga girl in which absolutely everybody is watching you). 

There are a number of different places doing Ecstatic Dance on different nights. You could try RISE at the stunning Alchemy Yoga and Meditation Center or The Yoga Barn.

13. Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Bathing together under a waterfall in the middle of nature is probably one of the best things to do in Ubud as a couple. Nature, water, unique scenarios and some loooove.

Waterfalls in Bali

A nice escape from town, to spice up your relationship and still a very budget-friendly activity, is heading East Bali and getting to Kanto Lampo Waterfall. One of the best things to see in the area. Not too far, 20 minutes by bike, with some stunning views along the way.

To get to the area where the waterfalls are involves a short walk through the jungle, which, let me tell you, adds to the adventure as a couple. 

Once there you might have to pay a small entrance fee. Avoid tour groups and crowds by getting early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

The waterfall is not that big but it’s still impressive. The water cascading down the rocks and the light coming through the trees reflecting on the water create the perfect scenario for some romantic pictures.

You’ll find some locals willing to help you get the perfect picture for a tip. They really know the right spot and make some good shots. 

14. Shopping

Ubud Market is surely the best place in Bali to get all the goodies. The artisan culture in this town is second to none and you can get all sorts of colourful and unique trinkets for a really fair price. 

In other parts of Bali, you won’t see this quantity or quality of shops, so make the most of the opportunity while you’re in Ubud.

a girl at a fruit shop in Bali, Indonesia holding dragon fruit, a pineapple, and a papaya and picking bananas
Markets and big bananas.
Photo: @amandaadraper

You don’t want to do what I did and leave Ubud thinking they’ll have the same calibre of markets over the rest of the island. I can assure you: they don’t. Clothes, bags, shoes, fans, those little wooden frogs that ribbit if you run the wooden stick down its back, it’s all here. 

The best thing about making this a couple activity is having someone to follow you around and give you compliments on everything you try on. Follow it up with a coffee and a nice dinner and you’ve got yourself one fine, memorable travel experience with the best souvenirs to take home. 

Best Things to Do in Ubud for Families

When it’s kids’ time, there’s often a tempting desire to “get out and do things,” which is hell-fun in Ubud. 

All the experiences above are awesome for family bonding but I was a kid once and I’d be bursting with joy at the chance to spend time at the Ubud Monkey Forest, exploring local markets, and trying delish food. OR… lacing up my shoes and going for a thrilling hike.

rice-fields in Ubud, Bali, indonesia
Like this one.
Photo: @amandaadraper

HOWEVER, don’t be fooled into thinking that kid-friendly activities are only for the little ones. Ubud is so much more exciting when you unleash your inner child and embrace any experience that just seems fun.

15. Monkey Forest

The Monkey Forest in Ubud is surely a unique thing to do. This nature reserve in the town is home to a huge tribe of well-looked-after long-tailed macaques that roam freely.

Monkeys around a little Balinese Hindu shrine outside the Monkey Forest in Ubud.
Ya lil monkey.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

You can pay to get into the Monkey Forest, and there are far worse forms of animal tourism surely, but I’d still recommend you DON’T pay to go in. You can walk around town and see more than your fair share of monkeys. If you want to go in any way, do you and have fun.

16. Pondok Pekak Library

Although this is one of the best things to do with kids in ubud, this library and learning centre is hardly just for kids, but they’re the best kinds of places! It’s such a cool place to understand more about Balinese culture in an artistic and creative way. 

They have loads of art classes where you can get into painting or fruit carving. You can make unique pieces of jewellery in silver classes or try your hand at some Balinese dancing. 

 Where to Stay and Bookings in Ubud

Your Ubud experience greatly depends on where you choose to rest your head. As a savvy backpacker, I’ve spent countless hours scouring Booking.com for the ideal spot and parsing through reviews.

A Canggu villa patio with a swimming pool and chairs amidst lush greenery.
Off-season, there are some steals!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

The sheer number of places to stay will make your head spin. Choosing where to stay in Ubud is pretty pivotal to how your experience in this town will go.

If you aren’t renting a bike and you’re going to be walking everywhere, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying close to all the things you want to do in Ubud. Trust me, you’ll enjoy the experience way more and cram so much more into your itinerary. Location, location, location…

Whether you’re seeking self-catering vacation rentals, cool hostels, or unique Airbnb-like properties, there’s something that exceeds your expectations. Let your intuition lead the way, but allow us to lend a hand in selecting the perfect haven for you.

Pillow Inn Ubud – Best Hostel in Ubud

Pillow Inn Ubud

Bali hostels have a lot to offer from the inside out. High-speed Wifi, super comfy beds, an epic location, and staff that goes above and beyond to make your stay the absolute best.

You can start your day with a complimentary breakfast, take a dip on the rooftop pool, or enjoy a free yoga class to find your zen before embarking on your adventures! For me, it’s a no-brainer, I gotta push for my fav; Pillow Inn Ubud. it’s such a gem that I’m sure you’ll love.

Jepun Bali Ubud Homestay – Best Homestay in Ubud

Jepun Bali Ubud Homestay

A lot of great things to do in Ubud start at the place you’re staying. There is a pretty insane number of temples in Ubud – and the cool thing about this town is that a lot of the places to stay are built to accommodate the temples, like this amazing homestay in Ubud centre.

The hosts were amazing and the free breakfast was stand out. I was even there during Nyepi, The Balinese Hindu New Year which was cool. 

Entire villa Ethnic Ubud – Best Villa in Ubud

Brand new Luxury 3BR villa Ethnic Ubud

One of the most relaxing things to do in Ubud (in my opinion) is to rent a nice villa in the Ubud area with a nice group of friends, your partner, or your family. 

Sit back and relax in your pool as the villa staff (or your hyper children) pass you fresh coconuts. Can you really beat that? Or you could go for a floating breakfast with a special someone, you know, go full Bali! 

Get Insured Before Your Ubud Trip

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Book A Trip to Ubud Today

A trip to Bali is not complete without at least a little stop in this magical town. I was blown away by the steer amount of amazing activities that I left time at the end of my itinerary so I could make a return trip. Besides the best coffees on the island, I felt the welcoming and zen atmosphere that is pretty iconic to this small area of the world.

Even if you stay outside of town, you’ll need to experience Ubud at least once. From here, you’re only a quick drive away from plenty of hidden gems! You can rent a bike easily enough, and you’ll get serious bang for your buck.

If you stay in town, you’ll be in walking distance to all the best attractions in Ubud. You’ll pay a little extra to get luxuries like a pool and free breakfast, but it’s worth it to give yourself the most rounded experience in this East Bali tour.

If you’re feeling ready, just book it and go. 😉

Women riding a scooter along lush rice fields, with a rustic hut in the background
POV: Scampering around to grasp all the treasures Ubud holds.
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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