Ubud and its surroundings have many different things to offer. The city center of Ubud is bustling and very crowded. Just outside the city center, though, you can find peaceful places among the rice fields. Here’s what we did during our stay in Ubud.
Pura Taman Saraswati
Pura Taman Saraswati (or Ubud Water Palace) is a temple along the main road of Ubud. It’s a beautiful structure, and because it’s so easy to reach, it’s absolutely worth visiting. There’s a lotus pond in front of the temple and if you’re lucky the lotuses might be blooming. The temple is hidden behind the Starbucks. So, it’s a good excuse to grab a coffee after exploring the temple grounds. The entrance to the temple is on the left side of the Starbucks. There’s no entrance fee to access the temple. There’s a ticket booth selling tickets for a Balinese dance show at the entrance of the temple.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is just minutes away from the city center of Ubud. To get there you have to walk west on the Jalan Raya Ubud. When you see the Warwick IBAH (luxury villas and spa) sign on your right hand, turn right into the IBAH driveway. You’ll come at a crossing with a large IBAH sign and a small sign saying: “Going to the Hill” with an arrow to the left. Take that left turn. There will be another crossing with a bridge on the left and stairs on the right. There will be a sign indicating that the Campuhan Ridge Walk is to the right, so go down the stairs.
You’ll walk past a temple wall, a spot you might recognize from Instagram.
Just walk straight ahead and eventually you’ll get to the famous Campuhan Ridge Walk spot: a walkway through the greenery with a few lonely tall palm trees.
Following the path, you will eventually get to Karsa Kafe, a perfect spot to have a refreshing drink after a walk in the heat. The café offers a beautiful view of the rice fields. We ordered some lunch and the food was decent, and very welcome after a walk in the heat.
After our lunch we decided to not walk the same way back, but to take another route. We don’t recommend this because large parts of that route there weren’t pedestrian-friendly at all, and so the walk back wasn’t as nice and relaxing as the Campuhan Ridge Walk. It would have been better to have taken the same way back.
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is 2km long to the Karsa Kafe (one way). It is always recommended to do the walk in the early morning or in the late afternoon as it’ll be too hot otherwise. We did the hike in the middle of the day around 13:00, when the sun was very high. Even though it was hot, there were hardly any people around which we liked a lot. It wasn’t too hot for us, we would walk outside anyway during that time, but if you’re sensitive for it, go in the early morning or late afternoon (be prepared for crowds though).
Pont de Campuhan
When walking along the Jalan Raya Ubud on our way back from the Campuhan Ridge Walk, we crossed a bridge. Looking down to the river, its banks seemed pretty cool. We saw spotted some stairs leading down and we felt like we just stepped into the jungle. Apparently, this is a well-known photo spot, but we accidently stumbled upon it. It doesn’t feel like you’re in the bustling center of Ubud at all, even though it’s just a few steps away. It’s absolutely worth stopping by this place on your way to the Campuhan Ridge Walk (or on the way back).
Tegallalang rice terraces
As the Tegallalang rice terraces are such a major tourist spot, we decided to go there early. We rented a scooter and left our hotel around 05:15 to arrive at the rice terraces before sunrise. From our hotel in Ubud the drive took us around 30-40 minutes, including stops to check the route.
If you’re getting to the terraces as early as us, you don’t need to pay an entrance fee nor a parking fee as there is no one around collecting the fees. We parked our scooter somewhere along the street where it was illegal to park after 07:00. We had some trouble finding the entrance to the terraces. Along the road there are many stairs but most of them lead to the restaurants. We managed to find an entrance that led to the “I Love Bali” sign and then all the way down into the rice terraces.
We weren’t the only ones that arrived around 06:00 and many people were already flying their drones. Even though we weren’t the only ones, it wasn’t crowded, and we could easily take plenty of photos without anyone photobombing us.
When we got back to our scooter around 07:30 we saw some more locals around the rice terraces. Though, we didn’t see anyone collecting entrance fees yet. Go early to avoid the crowds, save some money and to avoid the heat (it gets very hot and humid during the day).
Opening hours: 24/7 accessible
General entrance: 10,000 IDR
Parking: 2,000 IDR (scooter)
Sometimes donations are required when asked by locals.
If you go around sunrise, there are no fees.
The Handara Gate is one of those iconic Instagrammable spots in Bali. The Gate is an entrance gate to the Handara Golf & Resort Bali. As this place can get really crowded with huge lines to take a photo with the gate, we decided to go before sunrise again. We left our hotel in Ubud around 04:30 and arrived a little before 06:00 at the gate. Luckily, we had the gate all to ourselves. Around 06:30 two other people arrived when we were just finishing our last shots.
When you don’t go ridiculously early but at a ‘normal’ time (around 09:00-10:00 we guess), you’ll have to buy a selfie ticket and stand in a line to take a picture.
Opening hours: 24/7 accessible
Selfie ticket fee: 10,000 IDR
If you go early (around sunrise), there is no fee.
Ulun Danu Beratan
When we were done at the Handara Gate we went to the Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, or also known as Floating Temple. The Handara Gate and the Floating Temple are close to each other so it’s easy to combine both visits. As we were early, we didn’t know for sure whether the temple would be open for visitors already. We arrived at the temple before 07:00 and we were able to purchase a ticket and go inside.
We wanted to rent a boat, but of course the boat rental office was still closed. We wandered around the area for a bit looking whether we could find someone who could help us or at what time the boat rental would open. Suddenly, a man climbed over the wall and asked us if we wanted to rent a boat. After collecting the money from us, he untied the boat and helped us aboard. So, it was kind of a weird situation, but we were happy we were able to rent a boat that early at all and we were the only ones in the water too! We got the boat for half an hour, so we took our shots and headed back to the boat dock where the same man helped us.
After that, we wandered around the temple grounds and rested a bit before we had to get back on our 1,5-hour scooter ride back to Ubud.
Opening hours: 07:00-19:00 (according to Google, but this is debatable as we got in before 07:00 and there are stories online of people who got in around 06:00)
Entrance fee: 50,000 IDR (adult)
Parking fee: 2,000 IDR (scooter)
Book yourself an Instagrammable hotel
In Ubud (and in Bali in general) you can find many good-looking hotels in different kinds of price ranges. We stayed in Bertiwi Bisma 2 and chose this hotel for its infinity pool overlooking the jungle (click here to get a 10% cashback reward on Booking.com). This hotel isn’t too expensive and the rooms are clean and tidy. Even though we booked this hotel because of the pool, we didn’t spend much time at the pool as it wasn’t that big, and it was often crowded. We did get up at sunrise one day to get a few killer shots.
There are also a few things we didn’t do in Ubud. The Monkey Forest and the Ubud Market are well-known tourist spot. We didn’t go there as it was always very crowded and therefore, we didn’t feel like going. There are a few waterfalls in the area of Ubud as well. Goa Rang-Reng Waterfalls, Tegenungan Waterfall, Kanto Lampo Waterfall and Beji Guwang are a few of them. Spending a week in Ubud and experiencing how insanely crowded the town is and how early you have to get up to enjoy the beautiful places around, we didn’t feel like visiting more crowded places like the waterfalls. Ubud was just way too touristic for our taste.
Is any of these places on your bucket list or have you been there already? Let us know in the comments below!
Planning your stay in Ubud? Click here to get a 10% cashback reward on Booking.com!
Be sure to check out more of our visual experiences on Instagram!