Ubud, Bali - 3 day itinerary and travel guide

Ubud (Bali) 3 day itinerary – What to see and do

Ubud is Bali’s hotspot for travellers and holiday seekers from all walks of life. Being such as popular place to visit, there are numerous hotels for all budgets, with some of the most luxurious accommodations you can find. Activity-wise, 3-4 days is a good amount of time to see Ubud and the surrounding area and enjoy an action packed itinerary, but you’ll need to stay for longer to see absolutely everything.

We visited Ubud for 3 days and felt that it was a good amount of time to see the main sites. Read on for our suggested 3/4 day itinerary and our recommendations on where to eat, where to stay and how to live your Ubud lifestyle to the fullest!

 

Day 1 – Morning:

Day tour:

Bike tour of rice fields – As with many of our guides and itineraries, we’re recommending that you take a bike tour to explore the luscious green hills and fields of Ubud with the fresh air rushing through your hair. Bike tours are a great way to see lots of sites in a short period of time and you feel closer to nature compared to sitting in the back seat of a tour van. The Ubud area has a number of top-rated bike tours, each with similar itineraries and prices. Although the itinerary of your tour will depend on the company you go with, most tours generally include:

  • Coffee plantation visit – taste freshly ground local coffee, including the famous ‘cat poo’ coffee from the intriguing Lewak animal. You’ll see how the coffee is made and enjoy a walk around tropical gardens.
  • Amazing mountain and volcano views – the tour will take you up the nearby hills and geothermal parks, where you’ll capture some amazing photographs and memories to last a lifetime.
  • Jungles and rivers – the area is rich in deep jungle terrain that you can explore on a dirt path or from the hills above.
  • Temples – explore small local temples as stop off-points throughout your ride, each of them baring a distinguished Hindu-Balinese stone-work and style.
  • Rice fields – visit the towering rice fields of Ubud, whether it’s the popular Tegalalang rice paddy or smaller ‘less touristic’ locations.
  • Local villages and cafes – stop for lunch in a local village and feast on homemade Balinese dishes. You’ll get to meet some the locals and see where they live and work.

 

Personally, we recommend Green Bike Tour and their E-bikes for an adventurous trip around central Bali’s key natural attractions. Prices are around £25 per person and the tour takes 7 hours. Check out their E-bike tour here. You’ll need to book in advance to secure a space.

 

Ubud bike tour of rice fields

 

Afternoon:

Shopping – After returning from your epic bike adventure you may be a little tired. Take this time to relax or stroll down Ubud’s main shopping streets to look for gifts for those back at home or treat yourself. There are countless souvenir, art, accessory, jewellery and clothing stores, all bearing the unique ‘traveller hippie’ vibe that’s common in Ubud. Check out some of our favourite stores below!

  • Ubud Traditional Art Market
  • Threads of Life – speciality gifts and souvenirs
  • Shivaloka – a quirky jewellery shop
  • Ubud Raw Chocolate – an eco-friendly and wide variety of chocolate treats and gifts.

Dinner – If you love fresh ingredients and healthy food, Ubud can’t be beaten. The streets are filled with a collection of quirky smoothie and superfood cafes, alongside traditionally lean local food restaurants, known as ‘Warung’s’. Due to Ubud’s popularity with tourists, you’ll find cuisines across all nationalities, for both cheap eats and something a little more special. Personally, we’d recommend checking out Warung Titi for authentic and cheap Indonesian food or visiting Kubu at the Ritz Carlton hotel for a memorable (but expensive) private dinner overlooking the rice fields. See all of our restaurant recommendations at the bottom of this article.

Ubud shopping street
Photo by Michelle Maria CC

Day 2 – Morning:

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple – Start your day in Ubud with a trip to one of most iconic sites in the town – Saraswati Temple. This intricate temple is noted for its lotus pond and water garden and hosts a traditional Balinese dance on an evening. It’s located just off the main Jalan Raya Road and is the perfect first stop on your itinerary. Browse the temple grounds at your leisure and make a brief stop in the palace next door, which is also open to visitors. Entry is free but you’re required to cover your legs and shoulders.

Museum Puri Lukisan – As you walk through the streets of Ubud, you’ll see that the town is alive with vibrant paintings, colours and traditional design. See the best of Ubud artwork at the top-rated Puri Lukisan Museum, located right next to Saraswati Temple. The museum is set in a decorated and tranquil location with tall stone walls and a water garden. In the main museum you’ll find paintings from Ubud and the surrounding area, wood carvings and a history of Balinese art.

Ubud Market – Ubud’s central street market is a busy array of food, gift and apparel stalls that operates from morning to sunset. This is the perfect place to shop for the latest Ubud ‘hippie’ fashion and collect some gifts for those back at home. Browse the market at your leisure with a fresh coconut and take in the busy Asian market chaos that we all know and love. You may have already shopped the day before, but you’ll find that the market offers a completely different range of goods at cheaper prices.

Bali Ubud tours and temple tours

 

Afternoon:

Campuhan Ridge Walk – Ubud’s main street is a bustling collection of travellers and tourism, however if you take a short walk north-west of the main road, you’ll find the path to Campuhan Ridge Walk, a scenic hiking path that overlooks a valley of forests and rice fields. The entrance to the walking trail also has a temple with a quaint river and crossing bridge. Spend 1-2 hours leisurely walking the path, where you’ll capture some great pictures. You can also stop off at mountain hut cafes on the trail, where you can enjoy a fruit shake whilst checking out amazing views. It’s a great escape from sometimes hectic central Ubud!

Hotel relaxation / Spa – Take the rest of your afternoon off to wind down and relax. Spend time by your hotel pool or indulge in a treatment at one of Ubud’s many spas.

Spa relaxation in a tropical environment is one of the main things to do here and those that love massages or facial treatments will be thrilled. You’ll find a full list of Ubud’s top spas on Tripadvisor here. We can personally recommend Kayumanis Spa on the Kayumanis Resort. Here you can enjoy traditional Balinese treatment in an outdoor jungle hut, with a tranquil background noise of birds, wind breeze and running water…

Ubud 3 day itinerary - Campuhan Trail

 

Evening:

Attend a cooking class/dinner – Get a taste of Balinese culinary flavours by making your own authentic meal. Cooking classes are another popular activity to experience in the town and there are plenty of options to choose from. Choose a restaurant dining experience or cook in the comfort of a local homestay with a ‘hands-on’ explosion of flavours and a little bit of hard work. It’s a great activity for couples, families and groups alike. Check out the best classes to try on Tripadvisor here. We recommend Paon Bali’s late afternoon class.

 

Day 3 – Morning:

Early morning Yoga – Ubud is a Yoga lover’s paradise and locals, expats and tourists alike come together every morning and evening to practice this popular well-being activity. Even if you’ve never experienced Yoga before, Ubud is the perfect place to try it for the first time and there are classes for all levels of experience. The Yoga Barn is the place to go! It’s located in the centre of town and offers classes throughout the day, across many styles and health benefits.

We’d recommend arriving for ‘Morning Flow’ and enjoying breakfast and a smoothie in their café afterwards. You’ll get to meet interesting ‘like-minded’ people and enjoy the activity in a peaceful, tropical environment.

 

Monkey Forest – Monkey Forest is simply a must-see when staying in Ubud. It’s centrally located to the south-west of the town so it’s easy to get to from the main street. Spend your morning wandering the forest, crossing intricate stone bridges, looking at temples, and of course, checking out over 700 cheeky monkeys. The monkeys here are from a range of different species and they’ll go crazy for your food and belongings. Take pictures with them, feed them and watch them fool around, but remember to tuck away any cameras, food, water and any loose items. They’re very clever and will whisk your possessions off into the trees in an instant! The entrance fee is a very cheap ~£3 per person.

For those worried about the ethics of the forest, Animal encounter sanctuaries such as this are seen as a more ethical alternative to zoos. The monkeys are left free to roam their natural habits and generally only interact with humans for food. Feel free to do your own research before arrival!

Ubud 3 day itinerary - Monkey Forest

Bali monkey forest meeting

Afternoon:

You’ve seen a lot of what Ubud and the surrounding area has to offer but today is the day for the insanely impressive temples you’ve probably seen pictures of on Instagram – Ubud is perfectly located for some of them! Hire a private driver for a cheap price (view our recommendations in our Bali Tours guide here) and ask them to take you on an afternoon of mini adventures.

Elephant Temple (Goa Gajah) – The first stop on your tour should be Elephant Cave, an old Hindu cave and collection of temple grounds and gardens, located only 10 minutes east of Ubud town. Cover your arms and legs with one of the supplied garments, buy and ticket for ~£1 and spend an hour or so walking around the pretty gardens and temples, taking pictures and watching monks praying inside the Elephant Cave opening.

Goa Rang Reng & Timbumana waterfalls – Bali has countless waterfalls, some more impressive than others. As your time is limited in the area, we’d recommend seeing some of the falls close to Ubud. Goa Rang Reng & Timbumana waterfalls are located right next to each other and are only 20 minutes from Goa Gajah, paving a perfect tour route of the area. Spend your time bathing under the falls, exploring the creek and taking pictures of this scenic area. Walk or drive up the river to see a collection of other waterfalls on the way to Timbumana.

Pura Gunung Kawi & Pura Tirta Empul temples – In our opinion, Pura Tirta is the best temple to see in Ubud. The large temple grounds are built over serene water gardens and it’s a very peaceful and cultural place to wander and learn about. It’s an active area of prayer for the local population and tourists flock here to see the amazing buildings and lily ponds. It is also sure to feature in some of your best Bali pictures, particularly at sunset when the temples have a bright orange glow. Stop at the smaller but equally as exciting Pura Gunung Kawi temple on the way to Pura Tirta, which is only a few minutes down the road.

Traditional Balinese dance – End your day of cultural exploration with a traditional Balinese Fire Dance. This energetic performance originated in the 1930’s in Bali and has been a tradition ever since. Watch local performers dress up and present a dramatic show of fire throwing, dancing and singing. It’s a great way to end your evening in Ubud! Pura Dalem Taman Kaja is regarded as one of the best shows to see and its located right in the centre of Ubud town.

Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave and Temple

Ubud 3 day itinerary - waterfalls of Ubud

 

Day 4: Optional

If you’re lucky enough to spend an extra day in Ubud, there are a number of other activities you should check out, our favourites being white-water rafting (half day) and taking part in a cooking class (half day). An excellent alternative is joining an early morning trek to Mount Agung volcano (8-9 hours). It’s a challenging activity that will leave you tired, but is well worth doing for the amazing sunrise views. Plus you can relax by the pool for the remainder of the day – you’ll probably need a rest after all of your Ubud adventures!

We believe our main 3 day itinerary covers the top things to do in the city, gives you a varied range of things to do and works well from a timing point of view, however feel free to substitute some of the below activities into your plan.

 

Other top Ubud activities if you’re staying for longer:

  • Mount Agung sunrise trek – we recommend booking in Ubud at your hotel or a street-side travel agent
  • White-water rafting – view our Bali Tours guide for our recommendations
  • Bali Zoo Night Safari
  • Fruit plantation
  • Visit the amazing temples of the north-east – find out more in our Bali holiday guide here
  • Take a Batik fabric class
  • Take an art class
  • Relax in a luxury hotel
  • Go on an ATV adventure around the nearby rice fields and forests

 

Nightlife in Ubud

After visiting the vibrant beaches of Kuta and Seminyak, we were surprised by how quiet Ubud was on an evening. Ubud is the type of place where everyone is active in exploration during the day and night-times are for winding down in the hotel, going out for a nice dinner and retiring to bed for an early morning start – at least that was our impression.

Although Ubud doesn’t have the party atmosphere of elsewhere in Bali, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great night out and check out some cool bars, it just all depends on the evening and time of year for how busy it will be. All bars are located on the main two streets within walking distance of each other. Most are open until 1am depending on how busy it is, however some are open until 3am+ on busy weekends.

Here are some of our nightlife recommendations:

  • No Mas No Mas is a classy cocktail bar with a great selection of drinks. It has an open rooftop where you can watch the sunset and daily live Latino music.
  • Laughing Buddha Bar The Laughing Buddha is one of the most popular bars in Ubud and it can have a different atmosphere depending on how busy it is. Arrive around 9pm for live Salsa and Latino music or visit later on a weekend for an eclectic mix of dance music and a busy dance floor.
  • The Melting Pot SaloonIf you love sports bars and fancy a game or two of pool, The Melting Pot Saloon is great. The entire bar is located inside a hangar style building with lots of pool tables and an American ‘saloon’ theme. Choose from tasty craft New Zealand beers or local Bintang.

Ubud nightlife isn’t all just about parties and bars. Go out for a romantic dinner overlooking the rice fields, attend a traditional Kecak Fire Dance or sing songs with the locals outside a restaurant. It’s completely up to your and the vibe you’re feeling (or how tired you are after all that sightseeing!).

 

Our favourite places to eat:

Kubu Ritz Carlton - Ubud restaurant recommendations
Photo by Ritz Carlton Ubud

Lemongrass Warung Out of all the traditional Balinese restaurants, this was our favourite. It’s cheap and a nice atmosphere to enjoy dinner in a home-style environment. The best thing about this place is the food – the flavours are delicious! Try the chicken satay and spring rolls as starters.

Kubu at the Ritz Carlton Hotel If you want a simply amazing and romantic place to eat, this is where to go. You’ll dine in a private hut overlooking the rice fields. As expected, it’s expensive so keep this one for a special occasion.

Roots Although you’re in the centre of Bali, the tourist nature and popularity of the area has drawn a number of international cuisines. Roots is a Korean restaurant located just down the road from Ubud’s main street and market. The food on offer is healthy and delicious and the setting of the restaurant is nice and peaceful.

Cantina Taco Bar At first we were sceptical (un-rightly so) about eating at a Mexican restaurant in the middle of Bali. This unassuming cantina style restaurant is a busy and lively eatery with excellent versions of the usual Taco, Fajita, Burrito and Quesadilla Mexican dishes we all love. It’s cheap, tasty and was one of the best Mexican meals we’ve ever had.

View a list of the top Ubud restaurants on Tripadvisor here. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurants-g297701-Ubud_Bali.html

 

Where to stay

Ubud is no stranger for amazing places to stay. Accommodation can have views of the rice fields, infinity pools to die for and luxurious treehouse and bungalow rooms, but there are also cheap and friendly homestays and hostels where you can meet other travellers and live well for less. Whatever your budget, browse our recommended accommodation options below.

We’d recommend choosing a luxury hotel for an extended stay in Ubud, so you get the chance to use the facilities. For action packed itineraries where you won’t spend much time in the hotel, mid-range or cheaper accommodations are best suited.

 

Super luxurious:

A luxurious hotel was a tough choice as there’s so many to choose from, however our stay in the Komeneka Monkey Forest Hotel provided the best value for money and superb luxury for our stay.

Of course, the famous Kayon Resort is also a must-mention. Although it’s located slightly outside of Ubud, it’s an amazing place to stay for a pro-longed Ubud visit. Both hotels average around £150 – 200 per night.

Mid-range:

Ubud has many hotels in the £50 to £100 price bracket that are brilliant value and tipping towards the luxury scale. You’ll find the same infinity pools and intricate décor of more expensive hotels, just with fewer facilities. Our go-to hotels are D’Legon Luxury Villas (can be found for less than £100 per night) and Junjungan Ubud Hotel & Spa for around ~£70 per night.

D'Legon Villas - Ubud accommodation guide

 

Cheap but excellent:

Puri Garden Hotel and Hostel was one of the best hostels we’ve ever stayed in. It’s located on the main Ubud road and provides a friendly and excellent value place to stay. Private rooms are quaint and comfortable, whilst hostel dorms have large beds and easy access to facilities. Laze by the pool, meet other travellers in the on-site restaurant or embark on their daily tour of Ubud in this quirky and fun hostel. Dorm room beds average around ~£15 per night, whilst private rooms are £40 – 50.

Cheap Ubud accommodation - Puri Garden and Hostel

 

These are our own favourites and there are plenty more hotels to choose from, particularly of the luxury variety. Browse Ubud’s other top hotels on Tripadvisor here.

All of the above prices are quoted as averages at the time of review and are subject to change depending on your dates and availability. Contact us for help on finding the best rates! **insert link**

 

Travel tips for visiting Ubud:

  • As there’s so much to do in Ubud, make sure you research your activities and plan out an itinerary so you don’t miss the key things to do. 3 days is a short time and you want to see as much as possible.
  • On a completely different note, Ubud is also a great place for luxury hotels and relaxation. Balance your itinerary with the top things you want to see, but leave at least a couple of hours each day for enjoying your hotel.
  • Wake up early and go to bed early to make the most out of your days. Nightlife isn’t as apparent as other areas of Bali so it’s recommended to make your days ‘action-packed’.
  • We’d recommend booking tours online before you arrive to secure a space and make good use of your time. Check out the tours on our Bali tour guide here.
  • You’ll find taxi drivers on every corner and many of them are private due to a controlled taxi company not existing on this area of the island. Negotiate all prices in advance and define exactly where you want to visit. An alternative to street taxis is an organised private driver. You can find a range of top reviewed drivers on Tripadvisor here.
  • You’ll do a lot of walking in and around Ubud. Pack a bag with water, sun cream and other supplies and wear a good pair of walking shoes or trainers.

 

We hope you liked our Ubud itinerary. Although it’s particularly action packed, there’s so much to do in the area and you don’t want to miss out! 3-4 days is also the usual amount of time to stay here as there’s a lot to see in other parts of the island. Although you may seem busy during the day, you can use your evenings to relax and wind down.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or suggestions for us, get in touch with us in the comment section below or on social media. We’ll be happy to help plan your perfect Ubud trip!

 


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