What to do on a day-trip in Ubud, Bali

This little piece of heaven in Bali is a perfect getaway from the busy and crowded mainland into a serene, picturesque place that is so lush green that it is the perfect treat for the eyes and rejuvenation for the soul. Ubud is often referred to as the spiritual and cultural capital of Bali and is home to many yoga retreats. It is about a 1.5-hour drive from the mainland (Kuta or Seminyak) and although I recommend that you spend a night here to make the most of your visit if you’re unable to spare the time, do at least make a day trip to cover some of the most amazing spots.

Here are a few places I recommend you to visit in Ubud on a day trip:

Teggalalang Rice Terraces

This is the #1 place to visit in Ubud. Many artists and painters often spend hours here, capturing the breathtaking lush fields of rice plantations. These intricately designed terraces have a stone path that visitors can walk on and the entrance to the place is free of charge. However, if you do plan to trek a bit further down the terraces, there are a few areas where locals have built bridges and trails and they would request for a small donation to maintain these. In some places, the path can be a bit steep, narrow or even muddy so be careful and choose to traverse it only if you’re wearing shoes and are geared up for a slightly difficult walk.  If you’re not a fan of walking, you can sit at one of the cafes overlooking the rice terraces and enjoy the lovely panoramic views while sipping on a cup of coffee.

Goa Gajah Temple

One of the oldest temples in Bali, Goa Gajah is a cave temple located amidst tall green trees and the compound has some superb walking paths and trails through ponds, rocks, and lush plants. The actual temple itself, which is inside a cave, the entrance to which is a menacing creature’s face with its mouth open, is quite small. On one end, you’ll see a symbolic representation of the Hindu god Shiva and on the other, his son with the elephant trunk called Ganesha. Many say that this is the reason for the name of the temple, which translated into Elephant Cave.

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Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple

This is one of the lesser popular temples in Ubud but a beautiful one nevertheless. A statue of Hindu goddess Sarasvati stands in the middle of the green pools, the water of which is known to be fed by fresh springs. The approach to the temple from the winding road down to the valley offers some fantastic views of the temple. The temple has beautifully landscaped gardens and water bodies surrounding it, making for a very tranquil place to visit. The temple is locally also known as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu. The temple complex itself is not very big as compared to Goa Gajah’s and the lovely lotuses floating in the ponds are a highlight of its verdant magnificence.

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Monkey Forest

Visit this place only if you’re not hassled by monkeys who love to snatch your belongings. One of the most popular places to see in Ubud, the forest is considered to be a holy sanctuary. The forest grounds are home to three Hindu temples as well but the highlight is the free-roaming wild monkeys which the humans are allowed to interact with but cautiously. Park rangers are usually around to ensure that the monkeys do not get aggressive or attack human beings. There have been incidents in the past when monkeys have bitten visitors. So unless you’re really fond of monkeys, you may want to skip this place.

Got more than a day? Here are some more places to see in Ubud.

Ubud Art Market

I absolutely loved this hustling bustling market which has inexpensive and traditional souvenirs of Bali. From clothes to earrings, soaps, flip flops, statues, paintings, etc, this is a colourful market where you can strike some amazing bargains. Do not forget to haggle, sometimes the sellers will come down to a third of the price they originally quoted.

If I had more time, I would've loved to visit the Tukad Cepung Waterfall and Bali Swing. I strongly urge you to spend at least 2 days in Ubud (if not more) to be able to enjoy the best it has to offer.

Suggested read: 10 things I wish I knew BEFORE visiting Bali

112 thoughts on “What to do on a day-trip in Ubud, Bali”

  1. After seeing this blog, I can plan my honeymoon to this place ..love the way you narrated this.

  2. Rice terrace is one of the items in my bucket list . As a kid I used to have access to the rice paddy fields and now I don’t think they are that easy to see any where . I did not know that we could walk through that . Thanks for that as it helps to be prepared with the right shoes ?

    1. It can be a little mushy too, because of the water in the fields so you’ve to be careful if you choose to walk through 🙂

  3. I stayed in Ubad Bali for my honeymoon 9years ago and loved the place. I wished that we were in Bali longer than 10 days though, as we didn’t realise that there was so much to do there. I remember going to the Monkey Forest and the monkey putting its hand up my nose 🙂 We didn’t make it to the Teggalalang Rice Terraces but I wished we had, as your pictures look so pretty.

    1. Wow 9 years is a long time! I agree, Bali requires more than 10 days, there’s too much to see and do. I think I will also go back there someday 🙂

  4. I recently watched a video about Bali and it introduced this place as well. Oh my, this place looks like a paradise! I would love to see the Teggalalang Rice Terraces in real life, and also the temples. I think I’ll visit Monkey Forest as well! Love seeing them haha 😀

    1. Haha yeah if you don’t mind them, you should. It is one of the top things to do in Ubud 🙂

  5. It’s funny what you said about the monkeys! Out of your recommendations, that’s the place I want to go the most. They are annoying yes but in a cute way! Now we know where the saying “Cheeky Monkey” comes from haha thanks for the valuable information 🙂

    1. Haha good to know that you don’t mind the cheekiness of the monkeys 😉 You will love the Monkey Forest then, for sure.

  6. I keep hearing a lot about Bali lately! It must be a sign ?? this article is perfect for those of us who want to see as many things as possible in as little time. I love the Hindu temples. They appear to give off such a good vibe. And I think that you won’t be able to pull me away from that market. I am an absolute fan of these things!! Safe travels!

    1. Haha yes, I think Bali is going to be the destination of the year 2018 for a lot of people 🙂

  7. Bali is such a beautiful country, I really must get it on the list of must-dos. And I’ll admit to wanting the cliche rice paddy shot, so it’s nice to know there are places to go to get it. I would totally have to do the Monkey Forrest just for the experience.

    1. Haha I don’t blame you for wanting the cliche rice paddy shot..I run after such shots too 😉

  8. Ohh, I’ve heard of the Teggalalang Rice Terraces, but have never had the pleasure of visiting in person. I’ve had to settle with living vicariously though pictures like yours. 🙂
    I’m not a huge fan of monkeys, so I’d probably just wave at the entrance and then continue on to discover a new temple. Love your pictures!

  9. No wonder that Teggalalang Rice Terraces is number one on your list and in any guide for what to see in Ubud, they are gorgeous! I am definitely the type of person that would walk around, and try to get the perfect photo. 🙂 I don’t think I would go to the Monkey Forest to be honest as I don’t like them at all. They are nice to look at from a distance but they do look scary when they come towards you with the intention of steeling or getting into your bags. That’s scary! Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is surely a must to see, it looks so peaceful with its lotus ponds.

  10. I smiled as I read this, it bought back some nice memories from when I lived in Bali. Love how you say go to the monkey forest only if you’re not hassled by monkeys. You’re so right they love to snatch everything. I remember seeing one who stole and was eating somebody’s yogurt pot. Ubud for me though was too full of pretentious hipsters, it was great for the occasional day visits but I preferred places along the coast.

    1. Oh usually people say they preferred Ubud over the touristy Bali areas 🙂 I did love Ubud myself and would’ve loved to have spent a couple of more days there but personally, I loved the coast slightly more and that’s why chose to spend the majority of my time there 🙂

  11. There’s something particularly beautiful and enchanting about these kind of views of rice paddy terraces, especially for those of us who grew up in Europe where they don’t exist. To be able to soak in such views, as well as visit cultural temples and a great market, all look like perfect reasons to visit Ubud.

  12. Oh I totally loved Ubud, and this post brings me back! I’d definitely recommend doing a bit of yoga as well there, and checking out the restaurants who emphasize sourcing locally!

    1. Yes, it’s a haven for yoga enthusiasts. A good tip for trying our restaurants that source ingredients locally, thanks!

  13. Beautiful pictures and this lush greenery is everything and more . This rice terrace is such an j stage am worthy place .. Love it totally

  14. I would love to sit at a cafe overlooking the rice terraces and enjoy the views! Exploring the many temples would also be incredible — so many intricate details and interesting history. And finally, checking out the art market? That sounds like lots of fun! I’ll have to improve my haggling skills!

    1. Haha, I’m not that great at haggling myself but when you see that they’re ready to sell at one third the price they initially quoted, you have to!

  15. Bali is one of our favorite places on the planet. There’s so much in and around Ubud that one day isn’t enough, but I like what you’ve highlighted especially the Monkey Forest, good advice.

  16. Looks like your experience in Ubud was great. I personally found the rice terrasse experience fristrating. Lots of tourists everywhere and tourist scams of course. People selling non needed tickets to access the site and even people blocking the way and ask for a small donation to access the following portion. Luckily, the rest of my experience there including the coffee farm and water temple was awesome.

    1. Hi James, the small donations are asked by the private owners who are managing certain parts of the terraces and it is not mandatory, it can be given as per one’s convenience. I didn’t feel the pinch, considering that the country itself was so inexpensive and also that it IS a tourist place, you expect to be charged for entrance anyway. Thankfully I did not encounter a lot of tourists, most of them were sitting at the cafes and enjoying the views, only a few were walking around the area. Overall, there are of course a lot of tourist scams in Bali, and that’s something you have to navigate through, it’s pretty much like that throughout Asia.

  17. This post takes me back to the time we visited this amazing place! Unfortunately we have only seen the monkey forest as we had loads of problems with several drivers 🙁 The Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple looks so peaceful. I’d love to visit it especially because there are not many people. You captured the place beautifully with your camera 🙂

  18. I would love to spend time in the Monkey Forest. I find them cute, although of course, it’s a nuisance if they snatch my stuff. Would you recommend doing some of these together in one day? Or one day per destination?

    1. These are all recommended for a single day in Ubud, they’re not too far from each other and require 1-2 hours each. If you have more time, there’s a lot more to do in Ubud!

  19. I am thinking about traveling to Bali next year and if I do I will definitely visit Ubud. I am not a fan on monkeys, so I will probably avoid the Monkey Forest, but I will do everything else on your list. The rice terraces are amazing!

  20. Whenever we go to Bali, a trip to Ubud will be on our agenda. In fact, as you mentioned, we plan to stay at Ubud (maybe one of those dreamy rainforest resorts). Looking forward to coffee at a cafes overlooking the rice terraces.

    1. A day isn’t enough Agness, I’d suggest spending at least 2, if not more. But many of us have time restrictions and I hardly a week for Bali so had to cut down on my time.

  21. Ubud is definitely the place that always comes highly recommended in Indonesia and a great place to visit other than the ubiquitous visits to Bali. The monkeys would be the first place I would head to, even though I’ve seen some behaving quite badly 🙂 The rice terraces would also be of interest. I’ve had several friends go and they loved it.

  22. Goa Gajah and Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temples look stunning, would love to visit these. Being an outdoor junkie, hightlight for me would be the Teggalalang Rice Terraces, they look beautiful. Thank you for sharing your highlights!

  23. I have heard that Ubud is the place to go if you want to get away from the crazy Bali scene – and honestly I would probably stay here because it sounds like there’s so much to do, and I’m not a fan of the party scene anyway. Top of my list are the Teggalalang Rice Terraces – I’ve always wanted to see them. And then the monkey forest, as I love wildlife. I was in a wildlife sanctuary in Costa Rica though and the monkeys ripped an earing right out of this girls ear – no no dangling jewelery!!

    1. Staying in Ubud would be a fantastic idea! That’s what I plan to do on my next trip, divide my time and spend a few nights in Ubud 🙂

    1. All these places are IN Ubud, they can be done as a day trip from the centre of Bali, where most people choose to stay 🙂

  24. ah I love Ubud so much, we spent 3 nights there and it was wonderful! despite being there for 3 nights we didn’t even visit the Goa Gajah temple.. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t even heard of it! guess it means I need to return though 😉

    1. I did not because I have had some bad experiences with monkeys in the past and I am not fond of them at all! There are monkeys even in the temples in Bali, and there have been instances when they’ve snatched personal belongings and run away 🙂 It’s common, I won’t say they’re mean, they’re mostly mischevious.

  25. The rice terraces and the monkey forest are my top picks for Ubud. I like the temples that are hidden beneath the tree canopies too – but my favourite thing to do is actually to explore the waterfalls in the Ubud area. It’s such an amazing part of the world!

  26. This place looks beautiful and amazing! I’ve never been to Bali but this place looks like somewhere I need to go!

  27. I’ve visited Bali twice and absolutely love Ubud – the lush green rice terraces and the many beautiful temples. The Ubud market is great for finding a souvenir!

  28. Teggalalang was awesome when we were there in September – we couldn’t face the crowds though, so decided to get there for 7am to avoid them!

  29. I love the rice terraces and the Hindu temple with the green background, it is just so relaxing to look at! I have heard the beauty of Bali and is worth a visit!

  30. Bali has been one of my favourite spots ever since I visited there. Though famous for the beaches, as you say Ubud rice fields are not far behind!

  31. I love Ubud, and was there again last year. It’s getting more busier now than a few years ago, but still so interesting. I love the temples and all the green there too. A must see for sure.

    1. I think Bali overall has started getting very busy in the last couple of years with so many people visiting!

  32. Lovely images. I also liked the Ubud Palace and Pura Taman Saraswati. Did you get a chance to see the Ramayana performance in Ubud – it is just awesome.

    1. I didn’t see the Ramayana performance in Ubud but I did see the Kecak performance in Uluwatu Temple in Bali. Is it the same?

  33. I love each picture you have shared it is such a green place especially Teggalalang Rice Terraces , I have been there once for rafting but I want to live there for a month now 🙂

    1. Living there for a month would be a fantastic experience for sure. Do let me know if you end up doing it 🙂

  34. The Teggalalang Rice Terraces do look fascinating. Does it ever get really busy and do you have tips about the best time of day to visit? Your pictures give the impression of somewhere quite peaceful and tranquil

    1. The earlier you go in the day the better it is…the area is so big, even if it is crowded, you don’t see a lot of people at one place. Also since it requires some kind of climbing up and down, a lot of people just sit in a cafe and enjoy the views rather than actually going inside the terraces 🙂

  35. You’ve beautifully described each of the spots. I would definitely not visit the monkey forest as you mentioned it can be skipped if you’re not fond of them. Haha I’m not really fond of them. And I’ll love to visit the temple Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple as it’s not very popular. Those are my kinda places. Thanks for all the info 😀

  36. The terraces and the coconut plantations look so much like those in the Philippines! Hehehe! We plan to climb Mt. Rinjani next year, and we’re thinking of including Ubud as a side trip. 🙂

  37. I’m hearing so much about Bali recently, it’s really piquing my interest. I would love to sit in a cafe at the rice terraces and visit the monkeys. And a good market is fun to wander through.

  38. I can’t wait to visit Bali, it looks absolutely incredible! Question though: how “touristic” is it? I feel like it’s becoming one of the most popular destinations and i’m wondering if it still has that authentic feel?

    1. It definitely is touristy, especially certain areas. But you will find enough places to avoid the crowds, if that’s what you’re looking for 🙂

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