When people search for what to do in Ubud, their mind instantly jumps to the Ubud Monkey Forest. However, while I’m a huge fan of monkeys, when visiting Ubud for myself, I found that there’s much more to discover! Thus here’s my guide to the best unique things to do in Ubud Bali:
**Updated June 2020
1) Visit Ubud’s Rice Fields –
Ok, I know what your thinking, the first of my top things to do in Ubud Bali isn’t exactly that unique. After all, have you even been to Ubud if you don’t visit the picturesque rice fields?
This said the man-made landscapes are simply too breathtaking to miss. Therefore, despite being ‘touristy’, a trip to one (or more) of the rice fields is something I’d highly recommend doing and definitely a Ubud must see!
Personally, I chose to visit the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, which are no doubt one of the best Ubud Attractions! Not only was I blown away by the scenery here, but I also thoroughly enjoyed walking along/down the terraces. It really felt as though I was getting a true sense of life in rural Bali… Even if there was a slight crowd!
Alternatively, if you fancy taking in the scenery somewhere ‘off the tourist trail’, why not walk the Campuhan Ridge. Rather than taking you within the rice fields themselves, this walk lets you admire the landscape from one of Ubud’s many ridges. The walk also brings amazing views over the whole valley, something which is especially beautiful at sunrise/sunset: making it one of the most amazing things to see in Ubud.
2) White Water Rafting –
The second of my unique things to do in Ubud Bali is one for adrenaline seekers: White Water Rafting… Hurtling down the rapids of the Ayung River was not how I’d imagined spending my last day in Bali but it was perhaps the most memorable experience from my whole trip!
TOP TIP: With its amazing surfing beaches, Seminyak (just south of Ubud) is another great location to visit in Bali for watersports lovers!
The scenery along the rapids is what makes rafting here so special! The river is encased by tall cliffs on either side, meaning that vines and trees hang down to the water’s edge, making you feel as though you’re in the middle of the Amazon!
However, I do have to admit that visiting in early June i.e. the dry season, meant that the rapids were more of a lazy river for me. As such my blood didn’t really get pumping during my voyage downstream. So, if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, make sure to visit from October to March when the river is in full flow!
TOP TOP: There are many different companies that offer White Water Rafting in Ubud. Some are safer and more professional than others. Thus do your research when choosing! I opted to go with Bali Adventure Tours and would highly recommend them!
3) Eat Overlooking Mount Batur –
Mount Batur is an active volcano with spectacular scenery and vibrant colours. In other words, it’s one of the top places to visit in Ubud.
Located in Batur village, within the islands Kintamani District, Mount Batur is actually about an hour’s drive from Ubud. None the less, the views are more than worth the drive!
I decided to pair my trip to Mount Batur with a feast fit for a king. Madu Sari Restaurant is one of a handful of restaurants that overlook the volcano. Offering an authentic Balinese buffet, you can eat as much as you like whilst taking in the spectacular views. Which is a win-win in my mind!
4) Sunrise Hike up Mount Batur –
For some, simply taking in the volcano from afar isn’t enough… In this way, if you’re feeling adventurous hiking up Mount Batur in the early hours of the morning is one of the best Ubud activities!
Taking around two hours, the hike to the summit is tough but rewarding! Most tours leave around at 3-4am as this allows hikers to reach the summit just in time to watch the sunrise over Bali below… Magical and spectacular the experience is quite unforgettable!
TOP TIP: Such tours can be arranged through most hotels in Ubud.
5) Visit a Luwak coffee farm –
Now onto the most unique of my things to do in Ubud: visiting a Luwak Coffee farm. Luwak Coffee has recently become known as the ‘best coffee in the world’.
But how is it made? I hear you ask. Well basically, Luwak’s (also known as Civet Cats) roam freely around the coffee plantation, eating only the best coffee cherries. But, they can’t digest the coffee beans inside the cherries meaning that farmers can then collect the perfectly sorted beans from their droppings. Weird but ingenious!
I visited Satria Agrowisata plantation, which you can easily reach by bike or taxi from Ubud town. I found it fascinating to learn more about how this delicacy is made, and the process through which the Luwak poo is turned into something people actually drink!
However, my favourite part of the experience was the free coffee tasting, whereby I got to sample the Luwak’s work, along with many fruit teas – all whilst enjoy the scenic surroundings of the jungle.
For me, this is one of the best Ubud attractions and the perfect place to stop after a busy day of exploring!
SIDE NOTE: Some Luwak coffee farms keep their Luwaks in cages rather than allowing them to roam free – please try and avoid such places!
6) Tour an ancient temple –
Ubud is famous for being the cultural heart of Bali! Because of this, it’s no surprise that the town, and surrounding area, is filled with historic temples.
One of the most picturesque Ubud places to visit is the stunning Pura Taman Saraswati Temple. Located within the heart of the town, but tucked inconspicuously behind a few cafes, the temple is a true hidden gem!
Elaborately decorated, its most striking feature has to be the large lotus flower pond which frames the buildings as you enter.
For a more spiritual experience, Tirta Empul Temple is another must visit! Built around 960 AD, it’s a cultural heritage site and one of the most important temple complexes in the whole of Bali.
Its name actually translates to ‘holy spring water’ and it’s, therefore, no surprise that the temple’s various purification pools and fountains have a deep spiritual meaning for locals who come to bathe in the holy water.
If you want to get a taste of Bali’s culture and history, then visiting Tirta Empul is definitely one of the best things to do in Ubud!
7) Hit the beach –
Beach days aren’t the first thing that jumps to mind when you think of what to do in Ubud. However, there’s some great hidden beaches near the area which are perfectly untouched thanks to being off the beaten track!
In this way, if you feel the urge for a beach day when staying in Ubud you won’t be disappointed… For example, I visited Bias Tugel Beach. Near to Padang Harbour, a path through lush jungle leads to the pristine small stretch of sand, which reminded me much of the stunning beaches I explored during my 2 days in Gili Trawangan!
TOP TIP: the path to reach the beach is a bit rocky so make sure to bring suitable shoes!
8) Do some shopping at Ubud Market –
The next of my unique places to visit in Ubud is the local market! Located right in the center of town, it’s the perfect place to go souvenir shopping. You can buy anything in the market from handmade wood carvings to cheap clothes… And who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy?!
9) Chase Waterfalls –
You simply can’t go to Ubud without visiting one of its spectacular waterfalls! The most famous is Tegenungan, which is certainly magnificent and quite a sight to behold.
This said its popularity brings large crowds all year round! Therefore it’s best to try and visit as early in the morning as possible. Tegenungan is only around half an hour’s drive from Ubud so it’s easy enough to book a taxi to take you at any time of the day.
Alternatively, you can beat the crowds altogether by visiting the less well known (but equally as beautiful) Nung Nung waterfall, which sits about an hour north of Ubud. Being slightly further away means fewer people tend to visit, making it by far one the best unique things to do in Ubud Bali!
TOP TIP: If you want to discover the very best waterfalls in the whole of Indonesia, it’s worth taking a Lombok day trip, as Bali’s ‘sister island’ has the most spectacular natural scenery.
10) Take a cooking lesson –
The final of my unique things to do in Ubud Bali is to take a cooking class! I mean what could be better than learning from local Balinese chefs how to cook famous dishes such as Satays, Nasi Ayam, and Lawar. Dishes which you then get to sample I might add… 🙂
In this way, such classes not only allow you to fill your stomach but also provide you with new skills. Therefore, cooking classes are probably the best of all Ubud activities!
Check out the Top 10 Ubud Cooking Classes on TripAdvisor!
So that completes my list of the best things to see in Ubud… There’s so much to do and discover in this cultural heartland, and that’s even before you start thinking about all the breathtaking natural attractions! But I hope this post gives you a few ideas of where to start exploring in Ubud…
Have any other suggestions of Unique things to do in Ubud? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!