Ubud in 4 Days: A Blissful Bali Itinerary

The cultural center of Bali, a small town filled with numerous rice fields and waterfalls; Ubud will take you away from the bustle and crowds of Seminyak or Canggu. It offers a quieter, more traditional Balinese experience.

Though central Bali may not have the enticing surf or coastline of other popular hotspots such as Uluwatu, this Ubud travel guide will showcase what to see and do in Ubud that will truly complete your trip.

The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), and it is traditional to wear sarongs (a long piece of fabric wrapped around the waist) in religious areas such as temples, but you can find these in local shops and some temples will even lend you one.

The easiest way to get around the town is by scooter, as you’ll be able to weave in and out of traffic. Grab and Gojek are both apps similar to Uber that you can use to request a scooter or car to transport you anywhere you need to go. You can also opt for a private driver (more on this later!) to take you around all of the attractions.

A drone shot over the rice terraces in Ubud
A bird’s eye view of the rice terraces in Ubud

When to visit Ubud?

The best time to travel to Ubud is April-October, during the dry season. July and August is peak season for Bali, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, consider traveling on the shoulder season during May, June, and September- when the weather is still warm and pleasant.

If you’re going straight to Ubud from the airport, it will take around an hour to reach the city by car. However, if you’re coming from Seminyak/Canggu, it will take about 45 minutes by car. You might have heard about the traffic in Bali- it is no joke. If you want to avoid the bustle of traffic, try planning your departure before 9 am.

You can also visit neighboring islands by boat from the Sanur Port, located just 30 minutes from Ubud. Tickets can be purchased in person at the port, however you can also purchase tickets online from sites like 12Go, which allows you to view ferry schedules and purchase tickets from all of the islands surrounding Bali.

Where to stay in Ubud?

One thing that attracts many tourists to this magical Indonesian Island is the opportunity to have a luxury experience at a much lower price. 

The average price per night of a hotel in Ubud is $20-30 USD, however the type of accommodation can cause this price to fluctuate:

  • Hostels with shared dorms and typically bunk-bed style sleeping arrangements can be found for as low as $8 USD per night. I stayed at the Lagas Hostel during my stay in Ubud, and I was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming nature of the staff and the ability to make friends easily here. I think this is the best place to stay in Ubud for solo travelers!
  • Mid-range hotels will typically have rooms from $35-50 USD per night, but should not be overlooked when considering accommodation as they will typically provide a top-of-the-line experience at a budget price. During my stay at Jati Cottage, I had just fallen very ill with Dengue Fever, and the staff was extremely helpful in caring for me and even served all of my meals (as well as the included breakfast) to my room.
  • Luxury hotels/resorts in Bali will blow your socks off with high end amenities such as stellar spa experiences and chic dining experiences, typically for around $150-200 USD per night. The Amori Villa offers a personalized stay nestled in the jungle of Ubud complete with butlers, chefs, and spa therapists that will help you to kick back and be one with yourself.

No matter where you stay, all of the experiences mentioned in this itinerary are accessible by scooter or car from your stay. Most hotels also offer a transportation service that may be booked through the front desk.

This itinerary is created with the intention of staying 4 days in Ubud, assuming they are all full days of exploration. If needed, you can adjust these activities to your schedule and also expand your stay in the town with additional activities listed at the end. 

Day One: Mt Batur and Spa Day

Mt Batur Sunrise Trek

We begin your Ubud experience with one of the most adventurous but extremely popular attractions for anyone visiting Bali: Climbing Mount Batur. Your first day will start with an early morning wake up call, with pickups typically being around 2 am from Ubud. 

The transport will be about an hour to the base of the mountain, where local guides will greet you with snacks and coffee or tea before beginning the trek. You are also provided with a small water bottle, but I’d still recommend bringing a larger water source for this adventure.

Laynie standing at the summit of Mount Batur with the sun rising behind her
A victory shot from the top of Mt Batur

Wandering Words of Wisdom: Though the humidity and heat of the tropics may make you sweat in the daytime, the temperature can feel drastically different in the early morning before sunrise. I recommend bringing a zip-up and/or packing a blanket in your backpack. I also used the blanket as a seat at the top as it’s very dusty, and the blanket gives you a spot to rest yourself and your things without worrying about them getting dirty.

The difficulty of the hike is typically regarded as easy to moderate, and many people go on this hike every day (you will notice by the crowd at the top during sunrise). It takes around 2-3 hours to complete and can be steep and rocky in some places. Nonetheless, it is doable for anyone ready to take on the challenge, and the experience is well worth it.

Following the hike, most tours will get back to town around 10 am, so you can take a nap for a few hours after the hike to recuperate.

You can book one of the highest rated tours for the sunrise hike here.

Spa Experience: Balinese Massage

Following a laborious morning, opt for a Balinese classic that you can’t miss during your trip: a traditional Balinese spa experience.

Soothe those muscles and allow yourself to relax after an early morning trek. You’re sure to find many spas lining the streets of Ubud, many that offer a cost-effective spa service. I’ve had a good share of massages in Bali, and most of them do a great job, but there are also many mid-range to luxury options to choose from in Ubud that will provide you with the perfect rest and relaxation experience following the hike. 

One of my favorite spas that I visited in Ubud was the Biyukukung Spa, hidden away through rice fields and away from the center of Ubud, the environment of this spa is inspired by the serene silence and nature that surrounds the facility. This environment creates a peaceful vibe that makes it feel like you’ve jumped into a new world uninterrupted from the business of the city or the anxiety of travel.

Flower Bath

A classic Balinese flower bath
Relax in a serene flower bath

Along with their signature massages, Balinese spa experiences don’t end there. Many visitors and Instagram enthusiasts are also familiar with the flower baths, as the aesthetic appearance of the service attracts many tourists to the spas of Bali just for this experience.

The flower bath is created through a concoction of luxurious oils that soothe the skin, complete with an assortment of colored flowers organized on top of the water that give it the signature elegant look. Consider getting one of these baths and embracing that true pleasant tranquility of Ubud. 

Because of the early morning hike, the rest of the day is reserved for relaxation and recuperation for tomorrow’s adventure. Take the time to rest up and prepare for your second day of exploration in Ubud. 

Day Two: Temple Hopping

I’d recommend traveling by Grab or Gojek, as most attractions are within walking distance of each other, but you will need to catch a ride to certain temples.

Pura Tirta Empul

Embrace Balinese culture on your second day in Ubud by attending a cleansing ceremony at the Sacred Water Temple. 

The Holy Springs of Pura Tirta Empul is a temple located just north of Ubud that allows you to be immersed in a traditional Hindu cleansing ceremony. By dunking your head under the many spouts of water, you undergo the soul purification ritual. 

A water cleansing ceremony at Tirta Empul
Cleanse your spirit at the water temple

Be aware that you cannot wear just a swimsuit as it’s perceived as disrespectful to the Hindu culture, but they will lend you a sarong at the temple entrance, included in the entrance fee of 50k IDR (~$3 USD).

Saraswati Temple

Though prohibiting visitors due to religious reasons, the Saraswati Temple of Ubud is a great place to snap a few pictures and admire the design and surroundings of this Hindu temple.

It is most popular for its lotus pond found just outside the temple, and this natural beauty sitting before the stunning architecture of the temple behind it will leave you with some great pictures that showcase the essence of Balinese culture. This attraction is also free to visit, but best visited in the morning following Pura Tirta Empul since it’s located in Ubud and can become crowded as the day goes on.

Sacred Monkey Forest

You may see them lingering around the town, but the Sacred Monkey Forest allows you to enter the forest dominated by these tiny but mischievous creatures. 

This forest is BIG, and there are tons of places to explore and see how these monkeys live in their natural habitat. It’s home to over 700 gray long-tailed macaques, and you’re sure to see plenty of them bouncing around the forest. 

It typically takes about 1.5-2 hours to get through the monkey forest based on how long you spend taking photos and watching the monkeys, but it’s always entertaining to be immersed in their jungle home and see how they live. 

Wandering Words of Wisdom: You may notice that there are spots around the park to get a selfie with one of the monkeys, but beware that this is not an ethical practice and should be avoided.

This attraction is a bit controversial, as some have had bad experiences with the monkeys in the past. This is why it’s extremely important to follow all of the rules stated around the park as to not inspire the monkeys’ aggression. Rules like not making eye contact with the monkeys, not bringing in plastic bags or valuables, and refraining from touching or grabbing the monkeys is the best way to ensure that your experience will be positive. 

The entrance fee for adults is 80k IDR (~$5 USD) on the weekdays, and 100k IDR (~$6 USD) on the weekends.

Lunch (Laka Leke)

Following the Sacred Monkey Forest, it’ll be time to grab lunch. There are many local eateries and popular restaurants in Ubud, but I’d recommend one of my favorite hidden eateries: Laka Leke!

A decorative rock labeled Laka Leke sitting in a lily pond at the restaurant
Laka Leke: a hideaway restaurant!

Tucked away in a nature diverse environment, Laka Leke is a few minutes walking distance from the entrance of the monkey forest, and it’s a great choice to recharge before moving on to the other attractions of day 2. 

With a jungle atmosphere, unique seating, and insta-worthy photo spots, this restaurant has an extensive menu; they offer several vegan/vegetarian options, which makes it a great choice for everyone. They also have Balinese dancing shows at night and offer cooking classes.

Goa Gajah Temple

Goa Gajah is an ancient Hindu temple located just about 10 minutes outside of Ubud center. Also known as the Elephant Cave Temple, the cave entrance has been carved into a menacing looking face in which all visitors enter the cave through the mouth. 

There are small temples and Hindu relics around the temple, as well as huge banyan trees surrounding the sacred area, but all can be explored here within a half hour. 

There is a 50k IDR (~$3 USD) entrance fee here, which includes a sarong.

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Stroll along a stunning pathway surrounded by the lush greenery of Ubud on the Campuhan Ridge Walk. This walk is popular for its panoramic views of the tropical foliage that is abundant in areas around Ubud.

It’s best to visit this walk in the afternoon or closer to sunset, as the sunlight beginning to set will set the tone for the golden spot along the stroll. You can find the walk on google maps just west of Ubud center.

The path from the Campuhan Ridge Walk leading to a sole palm tree
A gorgeous capture from the scenic walk

Day Three: Waterfall Tour

Our third day will be spent touring the waterfalls of Ubud! You can catch a Grab or Gojek to each location, but it is easier to hire a private driver to take you by car or scooter for the day.

Coffee Plantation

Visit an authentic Balinese coffee plantation and sample all of the handmade teas and coffees available, all freshly made in-house!

All of the samples here are free, as they only aim to sell a larger package of their coffee and teas in the gift shop. The only exception is the Luwak coffee, which is typically around 50k IDR (~$3 USD) for a taste of one of the most exotic and tasty coffees in the world. 

Wandering Words of Wisdom: Luwak Coffee is made by feeding coffee cherries to a luwak (mongoose), which ferments the cherries as they are digested. They are then collected following defecation, and made into coffee. This unique coffee type is most popular in Southeast Asia.

From traditional Bali coffee to the popular ginger tea to rosella tea (a personal favorite of mine), these samples are a great start to a third day of Ubud exploration, and will wake you up before beginning the rest of your journey!

A delicious array of coffees and tea testers
The array of coffees and teas offered at the plantation

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

The first of the waterfalls we’ll be exploring is Tukad Cepung, a unique hideaway falls that can be accessed via a steep hike down to the base. It’s found at the back of a natural cave-like structure, and there are 2 smaller falls located in the opposite direction that can also be viewed not far from the main attraction. 

Laynie looking up at Tukad Cepung waterfall
Looking up at stunning Tukad Cepung falls

There’s a few restaurants and shops at the parking lot and on the way down to the falls as well if you want to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.

The entrance fee is 15k (~$1 USD) to visit the waterfall, and this can be paid at the entrance to the path.

Tibumana Waterfall

Tibumana falls surrounded by the greenery of the Balinese jungle
A standalone fall surrounded by greenery

Tibumana waterfall is one of the most visited falls in the Ubud area, but for good reason. The waterfall is a simple but powerful sight to see. It flows alone surrounded by the wild jungle around it. Many people also swim at the falls since it flows into a pool at the bottom.

The entrance fee is 10k IDR (~$1 USD) which can be paid on arrival – bring your swimsuit!

Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Kanto Lampo is a unique waterfall found, like many others, at the bottom of a steep path leading you down through the jungle to its base. This waterfall is widely-set and stretches across a unique structure of black rocks that many people climb on to get the perfect photo in the waterfall!

Be prepared to get wet here, as the only way to access the waterfall is by wading through the water, which remains about 3 feet deep in the dry season. You’ll find a long line of people waiting in the water to take photos at the center of the falls, but because of the size of it, you can get great pictures in the surrounding areas. 

I’d recommend taking a photo in the water in front of the waterfall or in the small area at the base of the path to avoid waiting an hour or more to get a photo in the classic spot. 

You may also notice signage pointing to a nearby hidden cave or take a dip in the natural pool that you’ll pass on the way. 

The entrance fee is 10k IDR (~$<1 USD) which can be paid on arrival.

Tegenungan Waterfall

Along with Tibumana, Tegenungan waterfall is another of the most popular waterfalls in the Ubud area. With tons of shops leading up to the path down to the fall, it’s also a great opportunity to support the locals selling goods here- and you can leave with a cute new outfit or souvenir!

Wandering Words of Wisdom: Many sellers here are not firm on their prices, so you’re likely to be able to haggle them down to a lower price. 

There are a few props and areas set up on the path down to the waterfall designed for taking insta-worthy photos before the main attraction. You’ll also find several humorous signs to the left of the falls that you can use (for a donation of your choice) to get a silly photo.

Laynie holding up a "God Bless Me" sign in front of Tegenungan Waterfall
Posing with one of the signs at Tegenungan!

The entrance fee is 20k IDR (~$1.30 USD) which can be paid on arrival at the parking area.

You’ll also find the Omma Beach Club overlooking the waterfall, which is a great option if you prefer to hang out in the area after a long day of traveling to several waterfalls. Otherwise, you can head back to the Ubud area to chill out at Cretya.

Cretya Beach Club

Back in Ubud, find the popular Cretya Beach Club overlooking the rice terraces renowned to the area. With several social pools to choose from, bring a swimsuit and prepare to get some pictures in front of the famous rice fields.

The beach club is a great hangout after a long day of exploring the beautiful sights of Ubud, and they also offer more attractions at an additional cost such as a jungle swing, coffee tasting, or walking through the rice fields.

There is an entrance fee of 50k IDR (~$3 USD), regardless of if you decide to dine there or not.

Day Four: Rice Terraces

Aloha Ubud Photography Session

Start the day off with a photography session!

Aloha Ubud is a popular attraction known best for their several photo spots and multiple jungle swings overlooking the rice fields. Their staff is trained in the ultimate photo and video-taking skills, just hand them your phone and they’ll get great shots of you!

Laynie seen hanging from a jungle swing in Bali
Get a great view of the tropical landscape from a jungle swing!

They also offer flying dress rentals with dozens of colors to choose from if you want to upgrade your outfit!

A full session with access to all of the spots is 400k (~$25 USD), and you can also pay for a professional photography package after your session.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces

An icon of Southeast Asia and especially Bali itself, the rice terraces are a beautiful sight to see when visiting Ubud, and you will very quickly fall in love with them.

This is a must-visit for Ubud- and it won’t disappoint! When walking along the Tegalalang Rice Terraces, you can become engulfed in the lush green surroundings, and feel as though you’re in a movie.

Laynie seen posing in front of the Ubud rice terraces
Hands up if you love the rice terraces!

To explore every corner of the rice fields, you should set aside at least 60-90 minutes for your visit. There are several different entrances to the rice fields with varying entrance fees, but they range from 10k IDR (~$<1 USD) to 50k IDR (~$3 USD).

Yoga Barn

Embrace the eat, pray, love lifestyle by attending a yoga class at an Ubud favorite- Yoga Barn! A great way to recenter and reconnect to your body through guided breathing and movement, yoga is very prominent in Bali and especially Ubud today. 

‘Yoga Barn’ hosts several classes each day of varying types of yoga including morning, power, and aerial flows, for example. They also offer other classes that delve deeper into the wellness of the mind and body that will have you leaving Ubud fulfilled and ready for your next adventure.

You can find the full schedule of all of their classes on their website here.

How to Save on Experiences

  • Booking tours! There are so many ways to find great tours in Ubud that will take you to one or a multitude of sights around the town. The best way that I was able to find great tours was through GetyourGuide– an online platform used for booking tours around the world. You can find the best Ubud experiences and book them through here.
  • Hiring a private driver! Since hiring a scooter for every ride along the way can be costly and inefficient, and driving on the roads of Ubud is an acquired skill (trust me, you’ll be much more relaxed ditching the rental scooter), it’s oftentimes more favorable to hire a private driver/scooter for the day. You can find private drivers that allow you to customize your itinerary through an Airbnb Experience like this one, try booking a private driver through your hotel/hostel, or even find a Grab/Gojek driver who you can hire for the day! I personally have a great scooter driver recommendation- send me a message for their info!
  • Eat and shop local! While Bali is increasing in tourism numbers every year and new western businesses are popping up everywhere, it’s important to still support the locals in Ubud. This can also save you tons of money, as many shops aimed at tourists can be overpriced and generic, while you can get quality items at a fraction of the cost when shopping locally. The same applies with local eateries, and it allows you to immerse yourself further into Balinese culture by trying some classic tastes of Ubud. 

More of the best things to do in Ubud!

There are so many activities to be found in Bali’s cultural center of Ubud, so if you’re still looking to fill out your itinerary, check out some of the activities below:

  • ATV Quad Bike and White Water Rafting: For the adventurous spirit, consider this tour that combines two thrilling attractions in one! 
  • Snorkeling Day Trip to Nusa Islands: Explore the underwater paradise of Nusa Penida and Lembongan on a day trip from Ubud.
  • Ubud Art Market: Shop the local art market and marvel at the diverse goods to be found here, located just around the corner from the Campuhan Ridge Walk
  • Balinese Cooking Class: Learn to cook your own meal Bali-style at an organic farm in Ubud
  • Chill Out with the Cats: Visit Ubud’s Cat Cafe right in town and hang out with the resident kitties
  • Ubud Palace Show: Admire a cultural classic at Ubud Palace’s Traditional Balinese Dance Performance.
Two Balinese dancers performing at a traditional dance ceremony
A moment from a traditional Balinese dance ceremony

And with that, your blissful Ubud experience is complete. From the tranquil rice terraces to vibrant cultural relics, this itinerary aimed not only to showcase the beauty of this region but also to emphasize sustainable and responsible travel practices.

The magic of Ubud lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its rich culture and warm-hearted people. Take this feeling with you as you go on to discover more of Bali’s rich and diverse islands or as you begin your journey home.

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