Ubud Travel Guide
Maybe it's the rolling green hills and luscious forests that surround the valley, maybe it's the breathtaking temples that dot across the landscape, or the serenity of the locals as they go about their business, whatever it is, something marks Ubud as being a very special place indeed.
Ubud is a far cry from the traditional tourist towns that make up the other hotspots on the island. Most of the people visiting Ubud do so because they want to immerse themselves in Balinese culture and the natural beauty of the island.
Some of the most stunning temples in the whole of Bali are located within the Ubud region. Not all of them are completely open to the public, but many of them are. A few of the temples are actually still active, with visitors able to observe traditional religious ceremonies and stunning native dance displays surrounded by the full glory of this almost magical setting.
Balinese spirituality is a big draw for the town of Ubud, so it shouldn't be surprising that many people who come to the region do so in order to learn some of the local yoga and meditation techniques. There are several centers dedicated to providing these kinds of services to tourists, all of which offer multi-day classes at very affordable rates. These yoga and meditation experiences are well worth trying, as nowhere else in the world will you be able to so easily practice these kind of techniques in such a picturesque setting. To help accentuate that spiritual feeling, Ubud is home to a host of health spas, many of which place special emphasis on the spiritually healing aspects of Bali culture.
Then as if that wasn't enough, there are also a wide range of cultural museums and shows to visit in Ubud, making the whole area feel like it has somehow been specially preserved from another time. Truly a unique experience the likes of which you won't find anywhere else.
The other reason people visit Ubud is because it is an ideal base from which to explore the Bali wilderness. Whether on a trip through the famous Monkey Forest, exploring the myriad colors in the Botanic Gardens or riding an elephant through a local safari park, the semi-tamed wilds on the outskirts of Ubud make an excellent place for a spot of natural adventure.
So if you're looking for that truly special experience when visiting the Indonesian island of the gods, Ubud is definitely the place to be. Not surprisingly, we believe that one of Ubud's many villas is the ideal base for your explorations of this wonderful town.
Ubud photo gallery
On the map of Ubud below, we have marked all the places mentioned in this guide. Click on one of the dots on the map to read a short description of the location. When you read through the guide you can click on "see on map" to view the location of the place you are reading about.
You can spend weeks in Ubud without running out of things to do. The reason just a few are mentioned in this section is that most of the places are described under another category – museums, temples, active holiday, etc. and the ones below are the ones that didn’t really belong under one of the other headlines.
A visit to Ubud’s Monkey Forest combines temple sighting with primate watching. You enter the forest from Monkey Forest Road in Ubud. You will spot the monkeys right away as they aren’t shy. Hold on to your camera, glasses and other loose objects and don’t bring any food as the monkeys most likely will try to snatch it from you and in some cases can get aggressive when trying to their hands on food.
Within the forest, which has a real jungle feel to it, there are three temples. The most interesting is probably the Pura Dalem Agung (Temple of Death). Make sure to inspect the temples many finely detailed stone carvings.
Entrance fee: Adults 20.000 rp
Ubud Palace is the home of the local royal family. Located in the heart of Ubud the palace is often used as a reference point. It is worth spending half an hour wandering the grounds of the palace that are open to the public, but the highlight of the Royal palace are the dance shows held at night.
Every afternoon before sunset thousands of herons arrives at the village of Petulu. They spend the night in the threes outside the village before leaving again next morning. The birds started arriving from one day to the other in 1965 and have been returning every afternoon ever since.
Their arrival coincided with a ceremony held for the victims and the survivors of the anticommunist massacres in Indonesia in the 1960’ies and it is believed that the herons are reincarnations of the Balinese killed in the massacres.
Petulu is easily reached from Ubud. From the eastern end of Jalan Raya Ubud, take the crossroad 2 km north.
Tip: Don’t linger too long under the trees as one of the birds might drop you an unwanted souvenir.
Ubud Botanic gardens
The Ubud Botanic gardens used to be worth a visit, but at our last visit it looked like the garden hadn’t been kept for a while. We hope the gardens will be up to standard anytime soon, but for the moment plant lovers will do better by visiting the botanical gardens in Bedugul.
Entrance fee: 50.000 rp
Big Tree Farms bamboo chocolate factory
About 10 km south-west of Ubud lays this impressive chocolate factory. In line with the companies values of sustainability the factory is constructed in bamboo. A part for letting you have a look inside the impressive structure a tour at the factory will teach you about chocolate production and of course you get to try the products.
As the Bamboo Chocolate factory tours have become increasingly popular, the factory is currently updating its facilities to cater to the many visitors and won’t be doing tours until mid-2014.
Museums and artist homes in Ubud
If you want to dive in to Balinese art and culture, there is no better place to do it than in Ubud. Excellent art museums are scattered around Ubud, the home region for the majority of Bali’s most influential artists.
Museum Puri Lukisan
From the Ubud royal palace, walk 5 minutes west, down Jalan Raya Ubud and you will find Museum Puri Lukisan on your right.
Opened in 1956, the museum was the first of its kind in Ubud in an effort to keep Balinese art on the island. Among the initiators behind the museum were the Dutch painter Rudolph Bonnet and the Princes of Ubud, Tjorkorda Agung Raka Sukawati and Tjorkorda Gede Raka Sukawati.
The museum consists of three buildings, located in lush garden with lotus ponds and statues. Each building showcases different painting styles and different periods in the Balinese painting tradition. The first building focuses on pre-war paintings from Ubud and the surrounding villages – the work of the seemingly ever-present I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, is also featured here. The second building focuses on post war “modern traditional” works, while the last of the three galleries often hosts special exhibitions.
When you are done, make sure to visit the café and enjoy the drink that is included in the ticket price.
Entrance fee: Adults 50.000 rp/Children free
The Agung Rai Museum of Art (The ARMA)
Located just south of central Ubud, the Agung Rai is much more than a museum; it’s also a center for cultural events, performances, art classes and workshops. The museum itself is based on the personal collection of the Balinese entrepreneur, Agung Rai. Inside the larger of the two large buildings that make up the museum, you will find contemporary art and originals, as well as reproductions, from some of the Balinese masters and foreign artists that have influenced Balinese art.
A visit should also include a stroll around the beautiful grounds, where you might encounter performers practicing or craftsmen working.
Drinks are included in the ticket price.
Entrance fee: Adults 50.000 rp/Children free
Neka Art Museum
The Neka Art Museum is one of Ubud’s premium museums and it is a good place to learn about the history of Balinese art. The museum has a large hall with examples of the many different painting styles in Bali and it exhibits paintings from some of the great Balinese artists (Ida Bagus Rai, I Gusti NyomanLempada, I Gusti Ketut Kobot and more) and the foreign artists (Arie Smith, Rudolph Bonnet, Theo Meier and more), who have influenced Balinese painting traditions; as well as work from young Balinese artists. Most of the things on display in the museum have good English explanations available..
The museum also has an interesting collection of historical photographs, giving a look into life on the island before mass tourism arrived. The collection of Kris daggers is a little hidden on the second floor, but this interesting exhibit should not be overlooked,
Entrance fee: Adults 50.000 rp/Children free
Opened in 1996, Museum Rudana holds more than 400 paintings. The paintings, collected by the local politician Nyoman Rudana, hang on the walls of the grand three-story building. The paintings range from modern Balinese art to classic paintings. The oldest piece, a Balinese calendar, dates back to the 1840’s.
Located next to the museum, the Rudana Gallery has paintings for sale.
Entrance fee: Adults 100.000 rp/Children free
You don’t have to spend long in the museum to realize that Antonio Blanco was a flamboyant character with a love for the female form.
Blanco, born of Spanish parents in Manila, arrived in Bali in 1952. He married the local dancer Ni Ronji and settled down in the house built on a piece of land given to him by the King in Ubud. Shortly after his death in 1999, his home was converted into the Blanco Museum.
Apart from the hundreds of paintings from Antonio Blanco himself, the museum includes paintings by his son Mario Blanco, a pretty landscaped garden, several parrots and the painter’s untouched atelier.
The museum restaurant overlooking the river gauge is also well worth a visit.
Entrance fee: Adults 50.000 rp
Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets
This museum (although the founder prefers not to call it a museum) is a little overlooked, which is such a shame because it is one of the most interesting museums to be found around Ubud.
In a park-like setting, five 'joglos' (traditional Javanese teak houses) hold the world’s largest collection of masks and puppets. The more than 6000 masks and puppets have been collected by the businessman Hadi Sunyoto and the Setia Darma house of masks and puppets was built to create greater awareness towards these traditional art forms. Among the many masks there are traditional Balinese Barong masks and costumes and shadow puppets, but also masks from the rest of Asia and Africa and even, a Barack Obama stick puppet.
The Setia Darma is an excellent option for families as adults and children will both enjoy it. Bring a packed lunch and enjoy it on the lawns of the scenic grounds of the Setia Darma.
Entrance fee: Free, but donations are appreciated. Website
I Gusti Nyoman Lempad's house
I Gusti Nyoman Lempad was a remarkable man in many ways and is probably Bali’s best known artist. His paintings and drawings are well-known around the world and as an architect, he has been involved in the design of several temples in Ubud. Even though his exact birthdate is unknown it is estimated that he lived until he was 116 years old. When he died in 1978 he had chosen the day months in advance and gathered his family on the day to say goodbye.
His home is located on Jalan Raya Ubud and is more a family home than a museum. His relatives still live here, but they welcome visitors. Inside you can see a few of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad works, a gallery with the works of other artists, a pretty garden with statues and a surprising range of tropical birds.
Entrance fee: Free
Temples and ancient sites in Ubud
In Ubud, like anywhere else in Bali, temples are not difficult to find. In fact, a lot of Bali’s most interesting temples can be found in or only a few kilometers from Ubud.
When it comes to visiting the largest and most important temples, it is a good idea to get there either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the tourist busses that usually arrive between 10a.m. and 4p.m. and also the light is softer and the temperature more pleasant, which all adds to the mystery of the experience.
Before you start touring the temples, remember to respect the fact that temples are much more than just a tourist attraction; these are holy places of high spiritual importance to the Balinese people. Follow these rules and all will be well:
- Cover up modestly and wear a sash or sarong when entering a temple
- Don´t enter a temple with an open wound. Women shouldn’t enter a temple during menstruation.
- Pay extra respect to people attending the temple for religious purposes.
Sarongs can be rented or bought outside most of the popular temples; at some it might even be included in the entrance fee. If you plan to visit a lot of temples, consider buying a sarong of your own. Read more in our post on Bali temple etiquette.
One of Bali’s oldest and largest ancient monuments is located in the Pakerisan valley, north of Ubud. On the way down the many stone steps leading to the site, the rice field panoramas alone make the trip worth it.
Once down in the valley, the main attraction is the 10 shrines (candi) that are cut straight out of the rock face. The eights meter tall shrines are believed to be carved out in honor of the 11th century King Udayana and the members of his family. The most popular theory suggests that the five shrines on the east bank were built for King Udayana, his Queen Gunapriya and his three sons Airlangga, Anak Wungsu and Marakata (some argue that none of the shrines are dedicated to the less prominent son Marakata, but rather to the king’s concubine). The four shrines on the west bank are regarded to have been made for Anak Wungsu’s concubines. The last of the shrines is found about a kilometer further, south of the main complex. The road is quite hilly, but it is a beautiful walk.
Entrance fee: Adults 15.000rp/Children 7.500rp
Pura Tirta Empul – Temple of Holy water
Pura Tirta Empul, also known as the holy water temple, is located just one kilometer away from Gunung Kawi, so you can easily access both in one day.
The temples name comes from the holy springs that fill the temple pool and fountains, a Koi-filled bathing pool.
The temple is one of the most important temples in Bali and is very much a working temple. Locals come to pray and bathe themselves in the holy water. Although the Balinese are ever friendly and you are more than welcome to purify yourself in the pool, remember to remain respectful of their rituals.
If you want to get in the water there are public change rooms and lockers that can be rented.
Entrance fee: Adults 15.000rp/Children 7.500rp
Pura Taman Saraswati - The Water Palace
Located right in the heart of Ubud, the water temple is one of the most easily accessible temples in Ubud. If you can find it, that is. Hidden behind Starbucks and the Lotus café, it is not easily seen from the road, but once you find this little gem, you’ll be happy that you did.
The temple was designed by Gusti Nyoman Lempad, one of Ubud’s most important architects and artists. Artistic carvings cover the temple in honor of Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and art, but the main draw of Pura Taman Saraswati is the picturesque pond in front of the temple, overflowing with lotus flowers.
At night, the temple is a popular venue for cultural performances. If you are lucky you might see performers practicing for their show when you come past in the afternoons.
Entrance fee: Free durring the day.
Goa Gajah – the Elephant cave
Located just two kilometers southeast of Ubud, the Elephant Cave can easily be reached by bicycle. The cave is estimated to be from the 11th century and is believed to have been the sanctuary of a Hindu priest. You enter the cave through what looks like the mouth of a demon. Once inside the relatively small cave, turn left and you will find a statue of the elephant-headed Ganesha. Turn right and you’ll see a worship area with several stone yoni and lingams.
The exploration of the cave won’t take you long, but you should also set aside time to have a look at the bathing pools in the courtyard outside and to walk down the beautiful river valley, where you will find rock carvings, remains of ancient temples, waterfalls and another small cave.
Entrance fee: Adults 15.000rp/Children 7.500rp
Yeh Pulu Stone carvings
Yeh Pulu is not as popular as many of the other sights on this list, probably due to the fact that it isn’t as spectacular as many of the larger temple complexes. Another reason could be that it is a little difficult to find. Look for the small sign on the main road and then walk about three hundred meters down the path leading down to Yeh Pulu. On the positive side you get to enjoy the 25 meter long stone carving on your own and breathe in the tranquility of Yeh Pulu. The carvings date back to the 14th or 15th century and, apart from the image of Ganesha, most of the carvings illustrate everyday life in Bali at that time.
For a small donation the priest attendant will be happy to bless you with water from the holy well at the carvings.
Entrance fee: Adults 15.000rp/Children 7.500rp
Pura Samuan Tiga - Temple of the Meeting of the Three
If you are looking for a temple around Ubud, away from the tour bus trail, then Pura Samuan Tiga could very well be right for you.
The seven-courtyard large temple was originally built in the early 11th century, but was destroyed in the earthquake of 1917 and has since been rebuilt. Not many tourists stop here, so you can enjoy a calm and peaceful atmosphere in the temple.
Pura Samuan Tiga is located at the Bedulu village, close to the Elephant Cave and the Yeh Pulu, making it easy to combine the three sights into one trip.
Don’t forget to inspect the main gate designed by one of Bali’s most influential architects and artists I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.
Entrance fee: Adults 15.000rp/Children 7.500rp
Gunung Lebah Temple
The Gunung Lembah temple rests on a small hill surrounded by lush bamboo forest and intersecting rivers. It lies One and a half kilometers west of downtown Ubud, right at the beginning of the Campuhan ridge walk (see the description under the active holiday section).
This peaceful temple is known to be the birthplace of Ubud. The temple was built in the 8th century by the Javanese high priest, Rsi Markandya. The forest turned out to be a great resource for herbal medicine and was named “Ubad” after the Balinese term for medicine, which later ended up as Ubud that we know today.
The temple is the perfect destination for a morning or an afternoon stroll.
Entrance fee: Free
If you have appetite for more temples, have a look at our Bali temple guide.
Active holiday in Ubud
Surrounded by green hills and terraced rice paddies, in a region with lush valleys, winding rivers and volcanoes, Ubud has several options for those who enjoy outdoor activities.
The rice fields around Ubud, where ducks and local farmers go about their daily chores, are the perfect setting for a leisurely walk.
Not far from Ubud there’s the Sungai Ayung valley where the Ayung rives flows. The valley ridge is a popular place for trekking and the river is also used for white water rafting.
Further to the north and to the east are the two volcanoes, Mount Batur and Mount Agung, offering challenges for trekkers and mountain bikers.
Several operators arrange mountain bike tours in the countryside northeast of Ubud. Most tours start with a drive to Kintamani, which means that you won’t have to deal with the traffic around Ubud and most of the ride will be on a downhill or on flat roads. A typical tour will include panoramic views of Mount Agung and Mount Batur and will take you through small villages, rice fields, coffee plantations and bamboo forest. Most operators include knowledgeable guides that will give some background on the landscape as you pass by.
If you are a bit more adventurous, the bike tour companies can usually arrange tours with some more uphill riding (Banyan three bike tours has a more challenging ‘extreme’ tour), or you can rent a bike in Ubud and take off on your own adventure. If you choose the latter, it is a good idea to check the condition of the bike before venturing too far, as the quality of the bikes available varies quite a lot.
Bike tour operators in Ubud
Below some popular bike tour operators in and around Ubud. Most of the operators will offer to pick you up at your villa or hotel and drive you to the starting point of your tour.
Bali Bike Baik Cycling Tours
A full day cycling tour with Bali Baik Bike is much more than just cycling. A visit includes an introduction to rice growing, a coffee plantation visit, breakfast, lunch and much more.
Price: Adults: 450.000 rp /Children 300.000 rp
Bali Hai Tour
Bali Hai promises to take you on a tour off the beaten track through bamboo forest, local villages and rice fields. Choose among to packages, a premium and an ultimate package, both are all day tours, but the latter includes more sightseeing.
Price: Adults: 420.000 rp /Children 300.000 rp
Bali Eco Cycling
Start your day with a breakfast overlooking Mount Batur and the volcanoes crater lake, before venturing downhill through the central Bali’s countryside.
Price: Adults: 360.000 rp /Children 250.000 rp
Banyan Tree Bike Tours
Banyan Tree Bike Tours have a couple of tours to choose from. A flat cultural tour true Bali’s heartland and a more extreme tour through the Ayung river valley (650.000 rp)
Price: Adults: 450.000 rp /Children 350.000 rp
Explore Ubud’s rice fields on your own
No matter where you stay in Ubud, lush green rice fields won’t be far away. One of the way best ways to enjoy them is to venture out and find a small track leading into the countryside and see where it might take you. If you are having trouble finding a place to start, ask at your villa or hotel desk and they will certainly be able to help. Rural Bali, where tourists rarely venture, is only a few bends in the road away.
Some of the most beautiful rice paddies in Bali are found in Tegalalang, ten kilometers north of Ubud. You are unlikely to have the rice paddies to yourself, but chances are good that you will get the postcard photograph opportunities of perfectly manicured rice fields.
Campuhan Ridge walk
One of the most accessible walks around Ubud is the walk along the ridge that runs along the valley Campuhan River. The paved path will offer you views of the jungle that covers the river gorge below you and, take you through rice fields and past villages. Depending on how many stops you make to take in the scenery, the walk will take between one or two hours; that is not including stops at one of the small cafés you’ll find at the end of the path.
The path starts at the Campuhan Bridge. From the center of Ubud (the corner of Monkey Forest Road and Jalan Raya Ubud), head 800 meters west down Jalan Raya Ubud. About 100 meters before the bridge that crosses the river, turn right at the Ibah Hotel sign. Twenty meters down, there is a path on the right that leads downwards. When you come to a small bridge, take the stairs down to the path on the right, where the walk starts by ascending slowly toward the ridge.
Organized walking tours
If you prefer joining a guided walking tour, Ubud has a couple of good options. Apart from ensuring you are not getting lost, having a guide with you comes with the added benefit that a guides will to show you places you wouldn’t find yourself and usually have a deep knowledge about the places and the flora and fauna you walk by.
Bali Off Course
Wayan Sumerta from Bali Off Course will take you on a 3 hour tour through charming villages and stunning rice fields. You can choose among a morning and an afternoon tour.
Bali Herbal Walk
Bali Herbal Walks takes you on a 3-4 walk, where you will learn about the many natural remedies that grows in the Ubud area. You will also be introduced to rice growing techniques used in Bali. Tours start in front of Museum Puri Lukisan.
North East of Ubud are the two volcanoes Mount Agung and Mount Batur, both popular destinations for Bali trekkers. Most people climb the volcanoes early in the morning to take advantage of the relative cool temperatures and to reach the summit in time to see the sun rise over the ocean and Lombok.
Rising 3013 meters above sea level, Mount Agung is Bali’s highest point and the harder climb of the two volcanoes. It has some difficult sections and it will take you between 2 and 4 hours to reach the summit and a little less to walk down, so you need to be in good shape to climb Mount Agung. The panorama from the rim of the volcano, however, makes it well worth all the effort.
With a height of 1717 meters, Mount Batur is a less exhausting climb than Agung. The climb is fairly straight forward, but you need to be prepared to walk uphill for 1-2 hours. As you get close to the summit, you will see steam flowing out between the crevices in the rock. If you are with a guide, there is a good chance he has brought some eggs, so you can boil your morning egg in the steam from the volcano. If you want to climb Mount Batur on your own, you should be aware of that the local guides found at Mount Batur are infamous for hassling anyone trying to climb Mount Batur on their own.
No matter which of the volcanoes you decide to climb, it is advisable to bring water (refreshments can be bought near the summit of Batur) and both light and warm clothes, as it can get windy and cold near the summit. Also, you should check the current weather conditions, especially in the wet season, as the tracks can get very slippery and muddy.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, combined with views of tropical rainforest, then rafting one of the rivers near Ubud is an excellent way to spend the day.
There are two rivers to choose from, the Ayung and the Telaga Waja River. On either you will be rafting for around two hours and, between rapids, you will be able to enjoy the scenery, consisting of rice paddies, waterfalls and ancient forests. The Ayung River is the more accessible and more popular of the two rivers in Bali. Although the Telaga Waja River tends to get a little shallow in the dry season, it is the more challenging of the two.
The best time for white water rafting in Bali is in the wet-season, between November and March, when the rapids are at their wildest. From April to September there is less water in the rivers and there won’t be too much white water on the rapids.
Several rafting companies operate in and around Ubud and the professionalism, security standards vary quite alot. The two operators below are among the more expensive, but have a good reputation.
Bali Sobek has almost 25 years rafting experience in Bali and can take you rafting on either the Ayung or the Telaga Waja River. There is pick-up in Ubud three times daily for rafting on the Ayung, while there is only scheduled a single morning trip to the Telaga Waja.
Prices: Adult USD 79 - Children (7-15 years) USD 52
Bali Adventure Tours
Like Bali Sobek, Bali Adventure Tours has been around for a while and are among the most professional rafting companies in Bali. Bali Adventure specializes in the Ayung River where they will lead you through 33 rapids before finishing the day with a buffet lunch. Rafting trips can be combined with cycling tours and elephant rides.
Canoeing on Lake Batur
Surrounded by the three volcanoes Mount Batur, Agung and Abang , Lake Batur, about an hour’s drive from Ubud, makes for a great day on the lake with friends or family.
C.Bali arranges tours to Lake Batur where you enter the lake in a canoe. It is likely that you will only have to share the lake with a few local fishermen, so you can enjoy the spectacular views of Bali’s volcanoes that surround the lake, in complete tranquility.
Classes and courses in Ubud
Ubud is a Mecca for arts and crafts in Ubud. Creativity is found everywhere, in the many cafés and restaurants that cook up some of Bali’s most interesting dishes, in the galleries that are found in the most unexpected places and in the numerous craft shops around town.
If you want to pick up a skill in one of the many art forms, or crafts represented in Bali, then Ubud has a myriad of opportunities.
Food and cooking is a fine way to get a look into any culture. Cooking classes in Ubud are held within restaurants or in private homes, the latter enhancing the cultural appreciation aspect.
A typical cooking class will start with a visit to Ubud morning market or to one of the other markets nearby. After an introduction to classical Balinese ingredients and cooking techniques, you and fellow class mates will be cooking numerous local dishes. The day ends with a feast where the day’s delicious creations are enjoyed by everyone.
Casa Luna Cooking School
The popular Casa Luna has cooking classes every day of the week, except Saturday. The theme and menu depends on the weekday. On Sundays you can learn to cook the famed Balinese Smoked duck.
Price: 350.000 -450.000 rp
Held in a family kitchen in the small village of Laplapan, north of Ubud, it doesn´t get much more authentic than this. Pick up from central Ubud can be arranged.
Price: 350.000 rp
The warm and friendly family-run Lobong cooking, invites you into their home to learn how to cook Balinese style.
Price: 375.000 rp
Bumbu Bali Cooking School
It’s the Bumbu Bali restaurant’s version of a cooking school. A vegetarian class is also available.
Price 300.000 rp
Payuk Bali cooking class
Experience true Balinese cooking in a traditional Balinese kitchen. You can choose between a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian menu and decide between morning and evening classes.
Price: 350.000 rp
This is the class for discerning food connoisseurs. Mozaic, Ubud’s premier food temple, offers workshops for professionals and ambitious amateur cooks.
Price: Varies depending on workshop, contact for information
Arts and crafts classes
When it comes to arts and crafts classes, Ubud has a lot of options as well. Learn to play a traditional instrument, spend some time painting in the Balinese style, try a Balinese dance or get creative with one of the local crafts like mask making, silver-smithing, wood carving or making offerings.
Many courses are only a few hours and will give you a basic introduction to your chosen subject, but for those who really want to dig in, week long courses can be arranged.
Below we have listed some of the well-known places in Ubud that offer workshops or classes, but there are several other places where craftsmen or artists will teach you their skills. Just ask at one of the galleries or craft shops in Ubud or in its surrounding villages. If you are interested in a specific craft, it is recommended that you visit one of the villages where they specialize in that trade. Batubulan is the center for stone carvings, Tegallalang and Mas for wood carving and masks, Celuk is known for silver-smithing, while Batuan and Ubud itself are famous for their paintings.
Nirvana Batik Course
Be introduced to batik coloring in the basic one or two day course, or go for the advanced option with a 5 day batik course.
Prices: From 450.000 rp/day
Pondok Pecak Library
This privately run library, located opposite the football field in Ubud, arranges many different craft classes; including wood carving, fruit carving, offering making, mask making, music and dance lessons.
Prices from 75.000 rp
Painting lessons at Pranoto’s Art Gallery
Pranoto’s art gallery holds private painting lessons and model sessions. Materials are included in the painting lessons, while for the model sessions no instructions are given and you will need to bring your own material.
Prices: Painting lessons 400.000 rp/session, model sessions 20.000 rp
Silver smithing at Studio Perak
Create your own piece of jewelry with a silver-smithing course at Studio Perak. Courses are half-day in the morning or in the afternoon. Children (from 8 years and up) are welcome. Booking needs to be done in advance.
Price: 350.000 rp (incl. 5 g silver, extra silver 15.000/g)
Museum Puri Lukisan Workshops
At the time of writing, Museum Puri Lukisan offered 15 different workshops. Learn to “master” an instrument, a Balinese dance, painting or a craft. A lesson can be anywhere between one hour and two days.
Prices: From 125.000 rp
Workshops at the ARMA
With more than a dozen different workshops available, your first task will be to decide on which class to enter. Choose from among a variety of classes featuring egg painting, Balinese architecture, wood carving, basket viewing and much more.
Prices from 250.000 rp
Ubud dance and music performances
On most nights you can find some kind of performance to see in Ubud or in one of the surrounding villages. Choose Legong, Barong or Kecak dance performances, gamelan concerts, the Ramayana Ballet or the shadow puppet shows (see descriptions below). Many of the performances take place in Ubud’s most beautiful venues, like the Pura Dalem temple in the Monkey Forest, the Ubud Royal palace, the ARMA museum and the Water Palace.
The time and venue of the different shows varies, so the Ubud Tourist Information on Jalan Raya Ubud is usually able to provide you with the current weekly schedule and help you to acquire tickets. Alternatively Balitaksu is a good source of information about performances in Ubud.
Ticket prices for most performances are between 75.000 – 100.000 rupiah.
Legong Dance - intricate fingers movements and expressive faces
The Legong is always danced by young girls who start their training at the age of five. Legong dancers have a high status in Balinese society and will often be remembered for their dance talent even long after they have stopped dancing. The defining characteristics of the dance are the intricate fingers movements, the vivid eyes end expressive faces of the dancers themselves. The costumes and the makeup are rich and colorful, adding to the whole experience for the audience.
Barong dance – lions, monkeys and witches
The Barong dance is all about the classic battle between the forces of good and evil. Barong, a lion-like creature from Balinese mythology, represents the good. The evil is represented by the evil witch Rangda and the monkey characters that follow Barong ensure some great laughs throughout the show.
Different dance troupes interpret this dance in unique ways, so if you bring children it is advised to consider picking a show where humor plays a dominant role.
Kecak dance – trance and chanting
The Kecak dance has its roots back in the traditional Balinese religious rituals that were used to exorcise evil. A Kecak is traditionally performed by more than a hundred men, standing or sitting in a circle while rhythmically chanting “Ke-Cak”, hence the name of the dance. A performance will most likely include other elements like fire or dramatic acting or other traditional dances and as such, the Kecak is usually a very impressive sight to behold.
Wandering the streets of Ubud, you are likely to hear a gamelan flowing out from one of the town’s many small alley ways. The gamelan is a set of musical instruments that is played by an ensemble; it plays an important role in Balinese and Javanese culture. Most of the instruments are percussion like xylophones, gongs, bronze kettles and drums, but string instruments and flutes can often also be found in the gamelans.
An important characteristic of the gamelan is that all the instruments are built and tuned together, so that you can’t take one instrument out of a gamelan and use it with another gamelan.
Shadow puppets (Wayang Kulit) are the most widespread form of theater in Bali. The shadow puppets are used in religious ceremonies, as well as for pure entertainment purposes. The stories are told by casting puppets on sticks, which are placed in front of a light source. The stories are often based on Hindu epics and are accompanied by gamelan music. The Pondok Bamboo music shop and the Oka Kartini regularly host shadow puppet performances. See “Performance schedule and venues” below for information about where to see shadow puppet shows in Ubud.
When it comes to spa and massage salons, Ubud certainly doesn’t lack options. Some of the more humble options are barely more than massage table behind a curtain in someone’s home, while others offer pure luxury with elegant tubs, rice paddy views and treatment center to cater to the most discerning spa aficionado.
Spa aficionado or not, don’t miss out on a visit to one of Ubud’s salons. Loosen tired muscles with a 60 minute Balinese massage, after a hard day of trekking or shopping in Ubud. Take the entire day off and enjoy the ultimate pampering experience, with a full-day treatment; molded, scrubbed, bathed and cleansed from head to toe, you can go all-in with a week-long cleansing program, which often includes fasting, natural juice diets and meditation as part of the package.
The classic Ubud treatment is the Balinese massage, which is generally a gentle form of massage. The Balinese massage is just one of a countless treatments available. Bathe in tea, coffee, milk or flowers; or have the entire body massaged. Focus on your feet, shoulders or head; or be scrubbed or covered in avocado, chocolate, chamomile or clay; or have warm oils dripped on your tired body and hot stones treatment.
Ubud has such a number of spas that it would be impossible to list them all, even though only a few are mentioned, there are many others that are well worth the visit. Why not explore your Ubud neighborhood and find a local spa? Just be sure to check out the salon location before making any payment, to ensure that it lives up to your expectations.
Maya Spa Ubud
With spectacular views of the river in the Petanu valley, the Maya Ubud is among the more exclusive spas around Ubud. The panoramic views themselves are almost enough to relieve weary muscles. A spa experience at the Maya Ubud can be combined with some jungle trekking and a choice of cooking classes, for a full day of activity at the retreat.
Prices: 60 minutes massage – Rp 690.000
Another high-end spa is the Alila spa, located in one of Ubud's most tranquil locations; the peaceful atmosphere at Alila is hard to beat. Apart from the surroundings, Alila’s own line of natural spa products, which are based on locally produced coconut oils, ensure that you walk out after a treatment at Alila feeling completely renewed.
Prices: 60 minutes massage – Rp 630.000
Bali Botanica Day Spa
Bali Botanica Day Spa, located two kilometers northwest of downtown Ubud, has a wide selection of treatments available. A popular choice is the Ayurvedic Chakra Dhara massage, where warm herbal oils are dripped onto your chakra points. Any half or full day treatments often include lunch at the excellent Bridges restaurant.
Pick up in the Ubud area is included for most treatments.
Prices: 60 minutes massage - Rp150.000
Ubud Sari was one of the first places in Ubud to specialize in spa and massage treatments and the place hasn’t changed much since its initial opening. Centrally located in Ubud, but nestled within tranquil surroundings, Ubud Sari offers all the treatments you would expect from a day spa in Ubud, as well as several cleansing programs.
Prices: 60 minutes massage - Rp150.000
When it comes to finding value for money, the SANg spas, which have several spas in central Ubud, are among the best options in Ubud. The salons are clean, the staff is friendly, the treatments are great and the prices are very competitive. Try the god Karma body massage, where four hands are working on your body at the same time.
If you have no inclination to leave your bedroom or pool area, SANg spa has an on-call massage service too, so you can pamper yourself in the privacy of your villa or hotel.
Prices: 60 minutes massage – Rp 120.000
Zen Bali spa
The Zen Bali spa might not be quite of the standards of Ubud’s top spas, but they offer good quality massages at very reasonable prices and the spa is conveniently located on Jalan Hanoman. Treatments end with a refreshing cup of ginger tea and a tasty bit of fresh tropical fruit.
Prices: 60 minutes massage – Rp 100.000 Spa guide
Eve is another good value spa chain, with one location on the Monkey forest road and another only a couple of kilometers west of the center of Ubud. They will pick you up anywhere in Ubud. A half-day treatment (4 hours) goes for about $40.00.
Prices: 60 minutes massage – Rp 100.000
Although all kinds of massages are available in Ubud, foot and hand massages are the specialty of Reflexology Bali. Reflexology is an ancient technique using pressure points (mostly located on the undersides of the feet) to relieve stress and pain. So, if you’re in need of some stress relief in Ubud, consider an hour blissful reflexology.
Prices: 60 minutes massage – Rp 110.000
All around Ubud there are small art galleries and new ones seem to pop up all the time. Below are some of the places in Ubud that are a nudge above the rest., however, don’t let that stop you from having a look at any other gallery you find when exploring the quaint streets of Ubud . Often, you will get to meet the artists themselves and chat about the art and inspiration behind the work.
Agung Rai Gallery
The Gallery of Agung Rai, who as a young boy started out by selling village art to tourists in the 1970s, is now home to Bali’s most prominent art dealers. He is now the owner of the ARMA museum (see the museums section) and the owner of several other businesses in Ubud. The Gallery has a wide array of artists on display and covers several painting styles.
Pranoto's art gallery
Pranoto art gallery displays the works of the artist-couple Pranoto and Kerry Prendergast. The gallery that also serves as the couple’s studio and home, is located about ten minutes south-east of Ubud. Pranoto mainly paints portraits and abstracts, while landscapes and flowers are often the motifs in Kerry’s paintings. One thing both husband and wife have in common is the generous use of vivid color.
Pranoto’s gallery provides painting lessons as well – see the “classes” section.
Colorful portraits and paintings capture daily life in Bali at the Symon’s studio on Jalan Raya Campuan. Symon is an American who has been living in Bali since the 1970s. Other artists also work in the gallery, but you will rarely find Symon there himself, as he stays out on the Bali coast.
Komaneka Art Gallery
Komaneka is a bit of a favorite showcasing and selling art from some of Bali’s more established artists. The gallery is spacious and the pieces on display give good insight into the current Balinese art scene. A good place to go for serious art buyers, but also worth a visit even if you are not planning to buy anything.
Located next to the Neka Art Museum the Neka Gallery has a quality selection of Balinese paintings. Styles are varied and there are both modern and older paintings.
Rio Helmi Gallery
This is the gallery of the Ubud-based photographer, Rio Helmi, where he exhibits his private work. The gallery has photos from around Bali, as well as from Rio Helmi’s travels to other parts of the world. Visit his daughter’s café next door, Localista, for a cup of coffee and a delectable cupcake.
Treads of life textile center
Threads of Life is a fair trade organization selling traditionally woven textiles from rural areas of Indonesia. The aim of the museum is to keep the weaving tradition alive, while helping to support some of the poorest areas in Indonesia. Apart from the gallery, this fairly small center has a shop and also hosts weaving workshops – see the “classes” section.
Shopping in Ubud
Ubud is a haven for shoppers. All around town, especially on Jalan Hanoman and Monkey Forrest road, the small and cozy specialized boutiques sell everything from clothing and home ware to musical instruments and locally-produced organic foods, such as coffee, jam and healthy snacks. At the markets in and around Ubud, the farmers, artists and talented artisans sell their wares; and in many of the small villages around Ubud you can also buy pottery, silverware and wood- and stonework, straight from the craftsmen by which they were created.
While many of the shops and stalls have price tags on their wares, bargaining is recommended, especially in the markets and in the smaller local shops.
Go searching for sentimental souvenirs amongst the many stalls of the Ubud Art market, or head to one of Ubud’s produce markets to heighten the senses with local delicacies.
Ubud’s Art Market
The Ubud Art market, located just opposite the royal palace, has opened a brand new version of the old market, which was recently demolished and now rebuilt. There are mixed opinions about the new market (as there were about the old one) and many feel that it lacks the characteristic charm of the old fashioned markets and caters too much to tourists. However, as a tourist, this market’s many stalls are a good place to go hunting and haggling for Balinese souvenirs.
Ubud Morning market
The Ubud Morning Market is a far more authentic experience; especially if you arrive there early enough to witness the Ubudian’s buying their groceries at the crack of dawn. You will find vegetables, flowers, fruits, meat and fish for sale here.
The market opens before sunrise and you would need to get there by no later than 9 a.m. in order to get a taste of the genuine atmosphere. See our photo series from the market.
Ubud organic market
An organic market, run by small local businesses and farmers, is held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vegetables, jam, honey, herbs, pastries and pies are among the main ingredients you can bring home from the market. Remember to bring your own bag as the use of plastic bags is kept to a minimum.
Many of the villages around Ubud specialize in a specific craft. The villages of Mas, Tegalalang and Jati are well known wood carving centers, Batubalan is the home of stone carvers, Celuk has many gold and silver smiths, Ubung and Kapal are famous for pottery, while Batuan and Ubud itself are the places to find exquisite paintings.
Most products can be found in stores all around Bali, but by buying in these specific villages, it is possible to get the products at retail prices and have things like wooden or stone statues custom made for you.
Shops and boutiques
This exquisite showroom and store of the late Master Artisan Jean-Francois Fichot is worth a visit, even if you are not planning to buy anything. The shop is full of one-of-a-kind jewelry and home-décor, made from the unique materials Jean-Francois Fichot gathered on his legendary trips around the world. The knowledgeable ladies in the shop are happy to give you some background on the truly unique pieces that are found on the shelves.
Moari - musical instruments
Moari sells all kinds of traditional Indonesian musical instruments – percussion, bells, xylophones and several others, which you have probably never seen before. The owners are musicians themselves, which ensures the availability of high quality instruments.
Tegun Galeri – home wares
Tegun Galeri is the perfect place to go exploring for folk-art. The intimate shop is full of handmade reproductions of pieces found by the shop owners in distant corners of Indonesia and even in the rest of Asia. The staff is friendly and always happy to share knowledge about the many interesting items.
Simplicity - Jam and salt is all that this picture perfect little boutique is about. There is a small table available where you can taste out the different jams before choosing which to buy. We have tried the caramel, the mango and the strawberry; and we love them all.
Confiture Michelle – Jams
Pure simplicity – Confiture Michelle is all about jam (and a few chutneys too). A wide variety of flavors are available and you are more than welcome to taste before you buy. Don’t leave the shop without trying one of the crepes with Michelle’s delicious homemade jams.
Kertas Gingsirs- Paper
Kertas Gingsirs is a small shop specializing in paper products that are cleverly made from banana and pineapple plants.
Sarasari – Masks
Sarasari or Bali Dream Mask is the shop of Wak Jaka, a master in creating Balinese dream masks. You are very likely to find Wak working in his tiny shop when you visit, so prepare to be impressed by his phenomenal creations.
This tiny shop sells locally produced organic soaps, shampoos and skin treatment products. They have also squeezed in a few accessories made from recycled plastic.
Pusaka – clothing
Visit Pusaka for ethnic clothing, with a modern twist in rayon and cotton. You can buy finished items straight from the store or have them tailor-made to suit your specifications. Pusaka also has a small selection of jewelry and plush toys available.
Ashitaba sells hand-woven baskets of all sizes, bags, tableware and a long list of other items that are made from Ata grass.
Dining and Nightlife in Ubud
While you might end up disappointed if you come to Ubud for nightlife gourmets will be thrilled by Ubud’s diversity and the quality of Ubud’s many restaurants.
Nowhere else in Bali will you find as good a selection of restaurants as in Ubud. No matter whether you are looking for an unforgettable night out with a seven course menu with matching wines of just a looking for quick cheap bite, Ubud has several mouthwatering options.
To list all good restaurants in Ubud would be impossible, but below we have picked ten we consider to be among the very best in the area and at the same time show the diversity among the many restaurants in Ubud.
Locavore has just opened (late 2013) and if the restaurant can continue on the high level it has started out on it is bound to be one of Ubud´s – or rather Bali’s - very best restaurants. Roughly Locavore can be translated into “eat local” and that is exactly the aim of the two chefs at Locavore, to make modern experimental European cuisine based on locally produced ingredients. Even though the food might suggest otherwise, the atmosphere is informal and relaxed in the open kitchen restaurant. You can choose between a five or seven dishes set menu.
Starters: 55.000 – 95.000 rp
Mains: 125.000 – 195.000 rp
Putu´s Wild Ginger
Some of Ubud’s best Balinese food is served at Putu Wild Ginger. The small restaurant, located on a quiet side street, is more elegant than the average family run warung, but the atmosphere is still homely. The dishes on the menu can be found on hundreds of restaurants around Bali, but at Putu’s Wild Ginger they take pride in their cooking and you can taste that. One of Putu's specialities is the smoked duck feast, which needs to be ordered a day in advance.
Starters: 15.000 – 25.000 rp
Mains: 30.000 – 45.000 rp
Mozaic is definitly Ubud’s most ambitious restaurant. Traditional western ingredients like oyster and foie gras meet local ingredients like mango and coconut at Mozaic.
The dishes are served as tasting menus where you get 6-8 different dishes and can choose a matching wine menu. One of the menus is vegetarian.
Discovery menu: 700.000 rp
Chef’s surprise menu: 1.250.000 rp
This small place located in the heart of Ubud is extremely popular and tables are few, so it is a good idea to make a reservation in advance.
There isn’t that many dishes on the menu, but what is on it is really good. The curry dishes and the desserts are recommended.
Mains: 30.000 – 50.000 rp
Warung Pulau Kelapa
At Warung Pulau Kelapa they take pride in serving authentic Indonesian dishes. The old Javanese teak house that is the home of the restaurant is the perfect setting for an Indonesian meal.
Prices are extremely reasonable.
Starters: 10.000 – 20.000 rp
Mains: 20.000 – 30.000 rp
Ibu Oka, is Ubuds most hyped place when it comes to Babi Guling – or suckling pick. Crackling skin and juicy pork meat is what this classic Balinese street food is all about and here they make that to perfection. Ibu Oka is the perfect spot for a quick lunch, but don’t get there too late (after 13.00) as there the might be sold out.
Dishes: Around 30.000 rp
The green jungle views is one of the reasons people keeps coming back to Bridges. The delicate French inspired food is another. Combine the the two and you have the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.
Bridges also have a wine shop and bar where you find one of Bali’s best selection of wines.
Starters: 55.000 – 165.000 rp
Mains: 110.000 – 240.000 rp
Schnitzel might not be the first thing you associate with Ubud, but for some reason it doesn’t feel out of place at all at Warung Schnitzel. Choose between chicken and pork and enjoy with a cold Bintang.
For non-schnitzel eaters there are several alternatives on the menu.
Starters: 35.000 - 50.000 rp
Mains: 45.000 - 80.000 rp
Lamak’s prices are above average in Ubud, but so is the quality of the food that is a fusion of Asian and Western. The servings and atmosphere is elegant, but relaxed.
Crabmeat with crispy wontons, lamb cannelloni and Australian beef filet are among the offerings.
Starters: 45.000 – 105.00 rp
Mains: 45.000 – 265.000 rp
Fair Warung Bale
Fair Warung combines restaurant and social project. The profit from the warung supports the Fair future health clinic, so if you want to dine with a good conscious, this place is a good choice. The dishes are mainly inspired by the Indonesian and the Thai kitchen.
Mains: 25.000 – 40.000 rp
When it comes to hard-core clubbing venues, Ubud really doesn’t have many options. Most places close before midnight and a typical night out in Ubud is more about hanging out with new or old friends, while listening to one of the live bands that can be found playing in one of Ubud’s bars or cafés, any day of the week.
This combined restaurant and café has live performances every night at 8 o’clock. The performing band changes every night. Thursday is a live band karaoke night and Nancy Ponto & The Soul put on a great show on Fridays. There is plenty of room to dance in the Jazz café too, so kick off your shoes and move to the music.
CP Tapas Bar and Lounge
The CP Tapas Bar and Lounge, located on the southern side of the soccer field, is your best option for a long night out in Ubud. The party kicks off in the outdoor restaurant and lounge with live music, dancing, cocktails and shishas. As midnight approaches, the party moves inside, where a DJ brings the dance floor alive and others can enjoy themselves with a game of pool at either the indoor or outdoor tables.
The friendly, laid-back vibe at Napi Orti hosts talented local bands on several nights a week. Apart from the music and the cozy atmosphere, the tasty snacks and cheap drinks bring a mixture of locals, tourists and expatriates to Napi Orti. On good nights, this place really comes alive.
Villas in Ubud
The Ubud area has a wide selection of villas - from large family size villas overlooking the river valley to to small intimate one-bedroom villas ideal for couples seeking a romantic hideaway.
You can browse through some of Ubud's most popular villas in the gallery below or visit our Ubud villas page:
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