Things to Do in Ubud
Ubud is known worldwide as a centre for Balinese culture, arts and crafts, and harbours a number of palaces, ancient temples, museums and art galleries. Antonio Blanco, Auke Sonnega, Rudolf Bonnet, Walter Spies, C.L. Dake, Donald Friend, Louise G. Koke, Frida Holleman, Flip Hamers, Han Snel, and Maria and Willem Gerard Hofker are just some of the artisans and collectors who have visited, lived and worked in Bali, creating or compiling eclectic masterpieces that you can observe in local museums and art galleries.
Those museums and galleries are situated on Jalan Raya Ubud (Ubud’s main road), Jalan Hanoman (which runs parallel to Jalan Monkey Forest and runs east-west through the centre of town), Jalan Pengosekan (positioned three kilometres from central Ubud), and Campuhan (a small village on the west and northwest of Ubud’s main road). The other viewing pleasures you can enjoy in Ubud are the lush and verdant rice paddies, prehistoric temples and palaces spread throughout 14 neighbouring villages.
All Attractions in Ubud
The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) is part of a gallery, cultural centre and accommodation venture in Pengosekan, Ubud, owned and founded by Balinese entrepreneur and art collector, Anak Agung Gde Rai. The museum features two main large buildings filled with exhibits displaying a large collection of artworks. The museum is located in Pengosekan, approximately three km south of the main Ubud centre and 25km north of the provincial capital of Denpasar, in the regency of Gianyar, central Bali. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud
- Tel: +62(0)361 976 659
Bali Agung is a theatrical art performance combining a Balinese legend, lively dance choreography, vibrant costumes, dramatic music compositions, state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, luxurious seating, roomy lounges and modern facilities.
The show is at the Bali Theatre, located within the Bali Safari & Marine Park in Gianyar. The theatre brings a whole new dimension to theatrical art performances by presenting a combination of traditional and contemporary dance, modern puppetry, and features the animals of the Bali Safari Marine Park as co-stars of the show. Read More...
- Location: Bali Safari & Marine Park, Jalan Bypass Ida Bagus Mantra, Gianyar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 950-000
Bali Bird Park & Reptile Park is a unique and educational attraction fit for the whole family. Two hectares of fine tropical gardens offer an interesting leisurely walk amidst the rich compilation of nearly a thousand exotic birds from the Indonesian archipelago and around the world. The Bali Bird Park is located in the village of Batubulan, Gianyar Regency, is a fun and attractive playground for bird lovers and a convenient stopover for those on day tours and en route to the central regions such as Ubud as well as the gold and silversmith’s villages of Celuk and Mas. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Jalan Serma Cok Ngurah Gambir, Singapadu, Batubulan, Gianyar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 299 352
- How to get there: Bali Bird & Reptile Park is reachable from the island’s capital of Denpasar via the main Singapadu thoroughfare, 20 minutes from the Sanur bypass. It is an approximate five kilometres from the Bali Zoo, another animal attraction park in the Gianyar vicinity, and 30 minutes prior to reaching Ubud.
Bali Bird Walk offers fun birdwatching tours around the lush countryside of Ubud. It is easily one of the most well-established operators on the island offering tours of its kind. Set up by ornithologist Victor Mason in 1990, who is well-known for his books on exotic birds and butterflies in Bali, the walk takes you on a day out through some of the highland area’s most beautiful nature trails. The insightful walks are great for adults and kids alike, and carry a mission of ‘conservation through education’.
Various walks are available, which include a 5km (approximately 3.5-hour) ramble through the Ubud environs, as well as tours to far-flung regions all over the island, such as the mangrove forests on Bali’s south, the highlands of Mount Batukaru (with lunch stops at the scenic Jatiluwih rice terraces), and the forested lakesides of central Bali, with a stopover at the botanical gardens of Bedugul. Through any Bali Bird Walk trail, you will get to learn about the diverse variety of tropical birds in the area. Read More...
- Location: Penestanan Kelod, Ubud
- Tel: +62 (0)361 975 009
Bali Eco Adventure is a village ecotourism initiative in the Bayad community of the Tegallalang village, several minutes’ transfer northeast from the main Ubud hub. It serves as a great option for nature lovers and those looking beyond rice field and valley vistas common to this central Bali region. Here you can combine sightseeing with a sense of discovery, as guided treks lead you through a dense forest, local plantations and an 11th Century-old labyrinth carved into the base of a hill. Read More...
- Location: Jalan Sentanu No. 9, Bayad, Tegallalang, Ubud
- Tel: +62 (0)361) 901-874
Bali Zoo, locally referred to as ‘Kebun Binatang Bali’, is the only animal attraction in Bali using ‘zoo’ in its name. The zoo is set over 8ha of lush tropical gardens in the village of Singapadu, Gianyar regency. The zoo is a convenient stopover before Ubud on tours from the island's south. Bali Zoo is home to various tropical plants and an extensive collection of fauna ranging from mammals, birds and reptiles. The zoo is shady and pleasant to walk through and also features a range of experiences, such as elephant and pony rides, photo sessions with animals, as well as outbound adventures. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Jalan Raya Singapadu, Gianyar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 294 357
- How to get there: on the way to Ubud north from the Batubulan main road, turn right at the Singapadu communal meeting hall. The zoo is only 15 minutes from Ubud, 45-60 minutes from the southern main tourist areas.
Lots of Balinese say that if you want to see what Bali looked like in the old days, visit Batuan Village. The village comprises traditional Balinese compounds and natural surroundings, and you’ll be fascinated by the residents who enthusiastically embrace the traditions and rituals observed in every facet of their life: most of them work as traditional craftsmen or artists. The name ‘Batuan’ or ‘Baturan’ can be translated as ‘tough as stone’ or ‘eating rocks’, but actually it refers to an ancient megalithic tradition in which standing stones (many of which have been found in this village) served as meeting places and ceremonial sites for the worship of ancestral spirits. So, be sure to put it on your holiday outing agenda.
- Location: About 10 kilometres south of Ubud and about 15 kilometres northeast of Denpasar
Blanco Renaissance Museum is an unofficial landmark in Ubud, the house and studio of the late flamboyant Philippine-born maestro, Don Antonio Blanco. Located on a hilltop overlooking the lush valley of Campuhan, it houses paintings, collages and illustrated poetry, together with lithographic artworks of his favourite subject: nude Balinese women. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: Jalan Campuhan, Ubud
- Tel: +62 (0)361 975 502
Botanic Garden Ubud
This five hectares of tranquil greenery sits at an elevation of between 320 and 400 metres above sea level and features a range of micro-climates with ravines, groves, meadows, a river, waterfalls and a natural forest setting. The Garden's paths and stairways lead you on a journey of exploration through the three orchid houses, Islamic Garden, Fern Garden, Chocolate Grove, Herbal Plants Garden, a Titan and Rafflesia and Bali’s first maze.
Watched over by an ancient banyan tree, a meditation court provides a place of stillness and is guarded by carved stone Buddhas.
- Location: Just 1.2 kilometres from Ubud on the main road towards Kutuh Kaja Village and facing the bird village of Petulu, home of the famous white egret
Campuhan Ridge Walk is a free and easy nature trek, popular among repeat visitors to the central highland town of Ubud. The area provides a great retreat from the more hectic southern parts of the island, but this trail presents an even more pristine outback to escape from the contemporary boutique, guesthouse and restaurant-lined Jalan Raya Ubud. While the hike lets you enjoy cool fresh air and probably the most gorgeous hillside vista in the region, it also allows you to shed off some calories too with its nine-kilometre hill track. Read More...
- Location: Campuhan, Ubud, Gianyar
Gedong Arca Archeological Museum
Located about seven kilometres out of Ubud’s centre, towards Gianyar, the museum houses numerous items ranging from simple Paleolithic artefacts, stone tools and blades from the pre-Hindu Bronze Age to the golden era of Balinese Hindu-Buddhism and beyond, gained from Indian and Chinese traders who pre-dated the Dutch by centuries.
- Location: On the Tampak Siring main street, between Pejeng and Bedulu village
Goa Gajah’s name is slightly misleading, lending the impression that it’s a gigantic dwelling full of elephants. Nevertheless, Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave’ is an archaeological site of significant historical value that makes it a special place to visit. Located on the cool western edge of Bedulu Village, six kilometres out of central Ubud, you do not need more than an hour to descend to its relic-filled courtyard and view the rock-wall carvings, a central meditational cave, bathing pools and fountains. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon – Sun, 08:00 - 16.00
- Location: Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Blahbatuh, Gianyar
- How to get there: Go east from Ubud approximately 3km towards Jalan Raya Goa Gajah
Gunung Kawi (meaning ‘carving in the mount’) is a 10th century Hindu temple complex located in Gianyar regency. To explore the entire site, descend the 300-step stone stairway leading to a beautiful valley where you will find ten seven-metre-high memorials carved into the rock face.
Four can be found on the west side and five on the east side of the river, while to the south across the valley lies another. According to legend, these ruined temples are the memorial shrines of the king's concubines and his family. These days, Gunung Kawi sanctuary is still used for ritual ceremonies and locals gather periodically to offer the usual gifts and to pay homage to God, the ancient king, and his family. Read More...
- Location: Tampaksiring north east of Ubud
Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, locally referred to as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu, is a special find for visitors to East Bali. It is one of the least visited temple complexes on the island Bali, yet is one of the most beautiful and tranquil. It features verdant gardens around ponds filled with carp and blooming lotuses, and ancient shrines surrounded by crystal clear pools fed by natural springs. The temple complex is located within the highland village of Sebatu in Tegallalang, Gianyar, approximately 12km northeast from the main Ubud hub. Tickets are IDR 15,000 for adults and half for children. Read More...
- Location: Sebatu Village, Tegallalang, Gianyar (12.8km north of Ubud)
Museum Puri Lukisan (or Palace of Paintings) houses paintings and woodcarvings. The Museum is located within easy walking distance of the main road of Raya Ubud and was opened to the public in January 1956 by the first Indonesian Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs, Mrs. Mohammad Yamin. Here, you will discover a series of Rudolf Bonnet’s artwork, the son of an Amsterdam baker who fought hard to become an artist, then travelled to Bali and called it home.
Besides his collection, there are several other series you can observe: those of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, the Painters’ Association founded in 1936 called ‘Pita Maha’ and Ida Bagus Made Poleng - one of Rudolf Bonnet’s students. Nowadays the museum is also active in organising exhibitions of local artists’ work. Read More...
- Location: Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud
Make a visit to Museum Rudana to see a fine collection of classical and contemporary Balinese paintings. The museum was established in 1995 by Balinese art collector Nyoman Rudana, and now features two floors showcasing modern Indonesian fine arts. Works of famous artists featured include Affandi, Gunarsa, Wianta, and young talented artists, such as Boyke Aditya, Nyoman Erawan, and Made Budhiana. The museum also keeps several great artworks of the late Antonio Blanco. Read More...
- Location: 44 Jl. Cok Rai Pudak, Peliatan, Ubud
Neka Art Museum is an art gallery and museum established by Balinese art lover Wayan Suteja Neka. The museum was built in 1976 and inaugurated by then Ministry of Culture & Education in 1982. Inside are collections of paintings and sculptures displayed through six different buildings in a Balinese-style garden compound. The museum is located on Jalan Raya Campuhan, in the village of Kedewatan, northwest of the main Ubud centre. Read More...
- Location: Jalan Raya Camphuan, Kedewatan, Ubud
- Tel: +62 (0)361 975 074
Pura Penataran Sasih
Pura Penataran Sasih is situated six kilometres northwest of Gianyar and two kilometres north of Pejeng. It is also known as ‘The Moon Temple’ and derived its name from an ancient bronze kettle drum (or nekara) called ‘Moon of Pejeng’ which is now kept in its inner chamber. It is the largest bronze kettle in Southeast Asia at about two metres in length and allegedly dates from 300 BC. The design is associated with the Dong Son culture of Southern China and Northern Vietnam of around 1500 BC. This highly valued and ornate gong is in the shape of an hourglass and is beautifully engraved: it is regarded as Indonesia’s most important Bronze-Age antique.
- Location: East of Ubud in Gianyar Regency
Pura Samuan Tiga
Samuan Tiga Temple is strategically located set back a little from the main road between Ubud and Tampaksiring, and used to be one of the most popular tourist destinations. This sacred temple was the royal temple of the Udayana Warmadewa dynasty (a Balinese King who ruled in the 10th century). Samuan Tiga means three (tiga) meetings (samuan) and the temple is assumed to be the venue for the great meeting between Gods, deities and saints. Pura Samuan Tiga offers unique architecture and a stunning view, flanked by two rivers, the Pande and Tegending, on the east side and the remains of an ancient pool on the west side, with sacred Banyan, Pule and Curiga trees growing around the site. The temple has seven courtyards separated by walls and split gates, but connected by stairs leading up to the innermost courtyard, believed to be the meeting hall of three holy spirits.
This stunning architecture and history provides the annual stage for the oldest Balinese Hindu ritual. Siat Sampian (Sampian War) takes place during the 10th full moon (in Balinese called Purnama Kadasa, it falls every April) and normally lasts from 06:00 to approximately 13:00. The 'war' is performed by over 200 males and dozens of females, who attack each other using young-coconut leaf arrangements called sampian. Make sure you don’t miss this unique amazing ritual while you’re here for holiday in April.
- Location: Between Ubud and Tampaksiring
You can make a brief stopover at this beautiful temple along your leisure walks through the main hub of Ubud town. Pura Taman Saraswati boasts classical Balinese architecture and is surrounded by blooming lotuses in ponds. The water temple is accessible right in from the Jalan Kajeng side street, just off the main Jalan Raya Ubud road. Alternatively, you can also opt for a table in the evenings at Café Lotus, to enjoy the best views to the temple’s open stage, where regular traditional Balinese dance performances are held to accompany your dinner. Visiting the temple by day lets you admire sandstone bas reliefs honouring the Hindu goddess Saraswati up close. Read More...
- Location: Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud
Pura Tirta Empul
The name 'Tirta Empul' refers to a crystal-clear stream which is used as holy water for various religious ceremonies. Legend has it that the God Indra, to revive his forces who had been poisoned by Mayadanawa (a powerful evil King from Blingkang, a region north of Lake Batur), created this sacred spring. Entering the main courtyard, the only spot tourists are allowed to enter, you can enjoy the exquisite twin shrines and split gate. Inside the inner sanctum, you can see a number of rectangular bathing pools where for more than 1,000 years the Balinese have come to bathe for healing and spiritual merit.
- Location: Tampak Siring, between Ubud and Kintamani
Blessed by cooler air and its geographic location, Ubud has become famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving ‘subak’ (the traditional Balinese irrigation system), which according to history was taught by a revered holy man from India named Rsi Markaneya in the eighth century. To explore some of the most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud, peddle or trek to some of the villages around Ubud such as Pejeng, Tegallalang and Campuhan, where you will enjoy the perfect frame of amazing rice paddies overlooking the hills and river. Read More...
- Location: Around Ubud
- Tour Available: Bali East Coast Discovery Tour
Sangeh Monkey Forest or ‘Obyek Wisata Bukit Sari Sangeh’ is a sanctuary of grey long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in the village of the same name, located approximately 20km north of the island’s capital city of Denpasar. The monkey forest boasts six hectares of fertile forestland with primordial, giant nutmeg trees which grow to a height of 40m.
The sanctuary is considered sacred, where the macaques inhabit both the woods and the 17th century Pura Bukit Sari, a temple located deep within the greens. Among the many monkey forests scattered across the island, Sangeh can be considered best known among locals as the first to open as an attraction, hence the village name’s close association to the playful primates. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 07:30 - 18:00
- Location: Sangeh village, Abiansemal, Badung regency, about 20 km north of Denpasar.
- How to get there: Sangeh Monkey Forest is located approximately 20km north of Denpasar, an estimate 30min drive via the main Denpasar-Pelaga route.
Seniwati Art Gallery
This gallery was established in 1991 by Mary Northmore, the very personable wife of famous painter Abdul Azis; with the aim of helping Balinese women to be accepted as artists; and also to expose the long hidden and unrecognised brilliance of women artists in Bali. The gallery also serves to motivate, train and encourage young talented Balinese girls achieve their full potential in the world of arts.
- Location: Jalan Sriwedari 2B, Banjar Taman, Ubud
The Setia Darma Masks & Puppets House is a unique museum with a mission to preserve some of Indonesia’s most colourful heritage items. It serves as a great cultural and educational part of tours to central Bali, ideal for families and culture lovers, with its broad collection of items from around the globe. The house currently houses over a 1,000 masks and over 4,000 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Africa, China, Latin America and Europe. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 08:00–16:00
- Location: Jalan Tegal Bingin, Banjar Tengkulak Tengah, Kemenuh, Sukawati
- Tel: +62 (0)361 898 749 3
Taman Nusa Cultural Park is one of Bali’s most unique cultural attractions, offering an inspiring and educational day out for the whole family throughout its 15-hectare site in Gianyar filled with Indonesia heritage. The park’s vast grounds are filled with enclosed and open-air displays, comprising a collection of 60 authentic traditional houses in their recreated compound settings, together with a variety of exhibits from islands across the Indonesian archipelago.
Not only will visitors get a broader sense of the nation’s history, they will also get a fascinating glimpse into the way of lives on the many disparate islands that is nowadays collectively called Indonesia. The park is located within the local community of Banjar Blahpane Kelod in Gianyar’s Sidan village, only a 45-minute transfer east from the main Ubud area, or an hour from Denpasar. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: Jalan Taman Bali, Banjar Blahpane Kelod, Sidan Village, Gianyar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 952 952
Tampaksiring Presidential Palace
Istana Tampaksiring or Tampaksiring Palace is located on the hill top of 700 meters above the sea level in Tampaksiring Village, just next to Tirta Empul complex. The palace was gradually constructed from 1957 and completed in 1963 initiated by Ir. Soekarno – the first Indonesian president. The architecture is gorgeously beautiful comprises five main buildings where the two of them are separated by fissure in the hill but connected by a bridge of forty kilometres long and one pendopo (a conference space). This palace used to be the first Indonesian president rest house, nowadays it’s functioned as president and vice president official programs in the manner of governmental and state events. Furthermore, it’s also a venue for president and vice president together with their families as well as for the state guests to rest.
- Location: In Tampaksiring Village, just next to Tirta Empul complex
Taro Elephant Park
Acclaimed as the world’s best elephant park since its opening in 1996, Taro Elephant Safari Park is set in 3.5 hectares of pristine tropical parklands and unspoiled national forest, and houses 27 indigenous Sumatran elephants. You can exclusively interact with these beautiful mammals: feeding, riding, learning and observing the daily elephant talent shows. You can also stay in their unique lodge for an overnight experience.
Beside the parkland, you will find the world’s most unique memorabilia in the Elephant Museum including a 15,000 year-old mammoth skeleton – the only one in Southeast Asia. After strolling through the Taro forest, satisfy your appetite at the Park Restaurant located just beside the bathing lake then head to the Elephant Shop for elephant-themed souvenirs before you leave the park.
- Location: Taro, north east of Ubud
Ubud is famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving subak (the traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system) which, according to history, was taught by a revered holy man from India named Rsi Markandeya in the eighth century. The most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud's shared region are in Pejeng, Campuhan and Tegallalang. Tegallang alone has an outlook that spreads down before you and away to the rice terraces on the slopes across the valley. The high roadside location is cool and breezy and it is a well-known spot for tourists to stop and take photos. Painters and nature lovers also enjoy visiting this spot. Read More...
- Location: north of Ubud
- How to get there: Tegallalang is half an hour's drive north of Ubud. From the main Ubud art market, head east to the large statue intersection and head further up north.
Tegenungan Waterfall is a great stopover for nature lovers who happen to be staying in Ubud or have neighbouring Sukawati among their tour itineraries. The falls are conveniently located halfway between Ubud and Bali’s provincial capital of Denpasar, and is considered the closest natural attraction of its kind that you can reach within only a half-hour transfer southeast from Ubud town. Getting to the falls is a pleasant drive down paved village roads lined with stretches of green rice fields on both sides. Read More...
- Location: Kemenuh, Sukawati, Gianyar
Tirta Empul is an important temple complex and holy mountain spring, located in the village of Manukaya in central Bali. The site serves as a legendary setting of a traditional tale about good versus evil. It is also a national cultural heritage site.
The complex, built circa 960 AD, is also a silent witness to the old Balinese kingdom years, particularly at the time of the Warmadewa Dynasty. Another nearby and prominent site on top of a hill is the presidential palace, Istana Tampaksiring, built during the years of the nation’s first president, Soekarno. Read More...
- Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
- Location: Manukaya village, district of Tampaksiring, Gianyar, central Bali.
Ubud Monkey Forest is one of Bali’s several grey long-tailed macaque-inhabited forests, and perhaps the best known among the rest due to its community-based management, location and ease of access. It lies on the fringes of the Ubud main centre, and is overseen by the Padangtegal village. Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, and by its official designation as Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, the Ubud Monkey Forest is a place of scientific research as well as a site of spiritual and cultural aspects with temples sanctified by the local villagers deep within its grounds. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon - Sun 08:00 - 18:00
- Location: Jalan Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud
- Tel: +62 (0)361 971 304
- How to get there: Start from the Ubud main road and enter south into Jalan Hanoman, which leads you to a right turn to Jalan Monkey Forest and the sanctuary.
The Ubud Royal Palace is one of the most prominent places in Ubud, as it is smack-dab on the main Jalan Raya Ubud road and intersection. The palace can also be regarded as the focal landmark of Ubud. The Ubud palace was built during the lordship of the late Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800-1823), and is well-kept by his successive heirs.
A visit to the Puri Saren is on many of the itineraries to the Ubud area. It has well-preserved Balinese architecture and charming garden settings, and is best known among lovers of Balinese arts as one of the main sites to view dramatic evening dance performances. Read More...
Lying between Petanu and Pakerisan Rivers and just few minutes drive from the Elephant Cave, Yeh Pulu is a 14th century site you shouldn’t miss. 'Yeh' means 'water' or 'spring', and 'pulu' is a Balinese name for a stone water container. It’s an ancient complex of rock carvings of various images of Wayang characters (shadow puppets) and common people, which form a scene of Balinese village life in the early days, and include Lord Ganesha, horsemen, an ascetic, and a seated woman. You will also find that two hundred metres north lies a sacred bathing place decorated with naturalistic reliefs.
- Location: Near Ubud between Petanu and Pakerisan Rivers, a few minutes drive from the Elephant Cave