Ubud City Guide Bali
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EXPLORE BALI: Ubud Travel Guide

Out of all of the places I’ve visited, the one destination people are ALWAYS emailing me about is Bali. To be honest, I’m not surprised because it’s one of the most amazing places I’ve visited – but it can also be super intimidating to plan when you’re in the early stages of researching. Where to stay, where to go, how to get there, etc. How can you fit everything you dream to do in one trip? While I’ll touch more on this another day, today I want to share the #1 place that MUST be on your Bali travel list: Ubud.

Ubud Rice Terrace Travel Guide

Ubud is often recognized as the cultural heart of Bali. It’s the place you envision when you think of Bali. From the architecture to the culture, Ubud really captures the spirit of Bali and is an unforgettable experience. Unlike some of the lively southern coastal towns, you won’t find a thriving nightlife scene here. Ubud embodies a peaceful and spiritual essence that radiates through all aspects of the town.

Ubud Temple Travel Blogger


Getting to Ubud is relatively easy. When I landed at the Denpasar airport, I ordered a cab from the airport taxi counter (very professional staff) and had the driver take me directly to my hotel in Ubud. The drive was around an hour from start to finish, but it was only $30! All of the taxi drivers I had during my vacation were very honest and I never felt unsafe – which isn’t always the case when traveling internationally. I highly recommend using the taxi service when you land in Denpasar, but if you prefer to have a set plan upon arrival, most hotels could provide a shuttle for your travels.

While you can call a taxi or take hotel shuttles during your stay, I highly recommend renting a motorbike. This was the highlight of my entire trip, plus it allowed me to explore so many different areas. They are EXTREMELY affordable – My rental was $2.50/day and the gas refill was 50 cents. You’ll find rentals all over the city, so just ask a local or your hotel concierge to direct you to the nearest spot.

Ubud City Guide
Ubud Aerial Drone Photo


Out of every city I visited in Bali, Ubud definitely had the most to do. I could’ve stayed here for two weeks and still left feeling like there was so much more to experience. There are so many different ways to “do” Ubud, so it’s best to do the most of what YOU enjoy. For example, I’m not too much of a yogi – so while I crossed it off my list, I didn’t dive into the yoga culture like other visitors. (Trust me, there’s a reason why people travel from all over to do yoga here – dive in if that’s your thing). If you’re a foodie, you will love sampling all of the cuisine. If you’re like me and want to dabble in a bit of everything, these are the activities you need to cross off your bucket list:

  • Visit The Rice Terraces – There’s nothing quite like the rice terraces in Ubud. One of my favorite afternoon activities was stopping by Alon-Alon in the afternoon for a couple Bintangs and spring rolls overlooking the Tegalalang rice terraces.

Alon Alon Tegalalang Rice Terraces

  • Visit Sacred Monkey Forest – I don’t care if you’re an “animal lover” or not, the Sacred Monkey Forest is a must. It’s a quick and easy drive from town, very inexpensive, and you can stop by or stay as long as you want. Monkeys are roaming around freely EVERYWHERE. Such a unique experience. Bring a little cash so you can buy bananas to feed the monkeys and they’ll jump all over you! It’s a ton of fun. Warning: they can be a bit handsy and may try to steal sunglasses and such, so hold on to your belongings.

Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud Blogger
What to know about Sacred Monkey Forest Ubud

  • Explore The Town – Downtown Ubud was a bit more developed than what I was expecting (case in point: a Starbucks and imitation Ralph Lauren stores), however there are so many gems to find downtown. There are temples scattered throughout, plus lots of delicious restaurants, markets, art galleries, and coffee shops.
  • Do Some Yoga – Yoga is huge in Ubud, and it’s no surprise people travel from all over to experience yoga here OR become certified instructors. The Yoga Barn is one of the largest studios in Ubud, but you can find smaller classes or workshops scattered throughout the city or in your hotel.

Best Bali Swing

  • Swing Over The Rice Terraces – Some people may say it’s a little cliche, but you can’t go to Ubud without swinging over the rice terraces. It’s actually a lot of fun, plus you’ll have the quintessential Bali Swing Instagram photo. There are a few swings throughout the area, but I stumbled on this one in Tegalalang at a local coffee plantation.
  • Visit A Coffee Plantation – Seriously, who is visiting Bali and buying coffee at Starbucks? If you’re a coffee drinker, I definitely recommend touring one of the local coffee plantation. Most plantations offer tastings of different coffee varieties, so it’s a fun and highly caffeinated way to learn more about the local coffee. If you’re feeling adventurous, the Kopi Luwak coffee is a local delicacy. It may be the most expensive coffee you’ll ever order since the prep work is less than desirable (passed through animal digestion…), but that is up to you. Safe to say I passed.
  • Take A Cooking Class – Whether you’re a whiz in the kitchen or a total amateur, I highly recommend checking out a local cooking class while you’re in Ubud. A lot of the cooking classes begin with a tour/trip to the local market where you can shop for your own ingredients and then head back to your hotel for a hands on class with a private chef. Not only will you learn how to cook new dishes, it’s a great way to learn more about the ingredients and what makes Balinese cuisine so unique.

Purist Villas Ubud Bali
What to pack for Ubud


One thing that makes Bali so unique is how you can experience it on any budget. The accommodations are actually very affordable, so if you decide to spend a bit more on a luxury hotel – you really get a lot of bang for your buck (pardon the expression) as compared to what you would find in the states. I highly recommend booking a private villa during your stay.

  • Purist Villas – This is where I stayed during my trip and I highly recommend it! I prefer smaller, boutique hotels when I travel, and The Purist Villas was absolutely perfect. It was about a quick 5 minute drive into town and the hotel offers shuttles throughout the day. I stayed in a Jungle Suite for the first part of the trip and switched into a Pool Villa for the second part of the trip. Aside from the gorgeous accommodations, the service was impeccable! Highly recommend this hotel. (Click here to read more about The Purist Villas)

Best private villas Ubud
Ubud Luxury Hotels Purist Villas Bathroom

  • Bisma Eight – This is where I hope to stay on my next trip! The luxury boutique hotel is beautiful, and I could spend all day relaxing by their gorgeous pool! Plus it’s a quick 10 minutes from town.

If you’re planning a romantic getaway or honeymoon, I highly recommend emailing the hotel in advance to ask about their romantic packages. One of my hotels set up an elaborate bathtub filled with flowers, champagne, and candles. It was amazing! (click here to see the video!)

Ubud Aerial Shot


Can I just say how awesome it was to have fried rice and spring rolls with every meal – including breakfast?! Balinese cuisine is definitely my cup of tea – especially with all of the delicious vegetarian options on every menu. You’ll find some of the best acai bowls ever in Ubud. Also, Bintang is the local beer of choice here and it’s oh-so-delightful.

where to eat in Bali

There are so many delicious dive restaurants to explore downtown, so I recommend strolling through the streets and popping in the cafes for local cuisine. I loved visiting some of the larger/luxury resorts in Ubud for fine dining, plus it’s a fun way to see some of the other popular resorts – and you can guarantee the food will be amazing. If you’re feeling something a bit more touristy, some restaurants offer views of the kecak fire dance performances.

Be sure to add Liap Liap to your dining list when you visit! This modern Indonesian Grill Restaurant was recently opened by the Bisma Eight Hotel Group, and is located on the Monkey Forest Road – which you HAVE to visit as well! Chef Mandif Warokka’s resume includes Banyan Tree, Dubai, Desert Palm, and Michelin-cast restaurants, so you KNOW this cuisine (and presentation) will be absolutely divine!

Where to eat Tegalalang Alon Alon


Bali is actually very small, so going from city to city doesn’t take very long. Ubud is located in the center of Bali, so there are tons of day trip options! I didn’t schedule any tours, but explored on my own by motorbike. Be sure to plan a trip to one of the nearby waterfalls, as well as a sunrise hike to one of the volcanos. I visited Mt. Batur and stopped by one of the local healing spas after. Definitely recommend it.

how to get to Mt Batur


It’s no surprise I’m a bit of an over-packer, but I REALLY overpacked for my Bali trip. If there was one place I would backpack, this would be it. Unless you’re dressing for your resort, Ubud is a very casual place. I packed six pairs of heels for the trip, but never wore one! Breezy dresses and sandals are all you need for evening, and my daytime outfit consisted of casual dresses, yoga wear, or bikinis. Whatever you plan to pack for the trip, cut it in half and you will be golden.

Mt Batur Healing Hot Springs Bali


  • Keep cash on hand – Though some places take credit cards, a lot of the places I visited only accepted cash. It was an inconvenience at times, so be sure to visit the ATM as soon as you arrive to be prepared.
  • Ubud is NOT a party town – If you’re looking for a lively nightlife scene or day parties, head down to Seminyak or Kuta (I prefer Seminyak over Kuta, FYI)
  • Ubud is a very religious place – Most of the locals practice Balinese Hinduism, and you will see the daily offerings to the gods almost everywhere you go.
  • Eat. Pray. Love. was filmed here

Ubud Spiritual Statue Offering
Tegalalang Rice Terraces Bali Travel Guide

So whether you’re planning your first trip to Bali or simply looking to learn more about the area, I highly recommend visiting Ubud. It was one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited and should be #1 on your Bali bucket list.  I’ll be sharing my full itinerary soon – but I recommend adding nearby towns, Jimbaran and Seminyak, to your journey as well!

Read more about Bali:
The Purist Villas// The Kayumanis Jimbaran

While this post was in partnership with Purist Villas, the opinions expressed are my own.

Tegalalang Rice Terraces Aerial Photography


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