A Budget Traveller’s Guide To Ubud, Bali

We absolutely loved Ubud, so much so that after staying a month and leaving the country we flew back to stay another month! If you plan to travel here (which we recommend you do) then our list of things you must experience in Ubud is for you + a few extra tips to ensure you have a good time…

Ubud Rice Terraces

Ubud is a small city in the central mountainous area of Bali. It’s known to be the cultural heart of Bali in comparison to many areas purely built for tourism (ahem, Kuta!) However Ubud city can sometimes be confused with the area of Ubud known for it’s waterfalls, temples, secluded hotels (the ones with infinity pools that you see all over Instagram), etc. When planning to visit Ubud you’ll more than likely need transport to get around to these places unless you choose to only stay in the city centre. That’s why I’ve divided this post into things to do in the city and must-see places nearby, so I hope it helps with planning your Ubud itinerary!

Ubud City

Monkey Forest

First of all the Sacred Monkey Forest is probably the number one attraction in Ubud city. It’s a nature reserve within a Hindu temple complex where you’ll find hundreds of monkeys. Do be careful though as this is not a zoo, so the monkeys are wild and are notorious for stealing your things, especially if they smell food. They are not shy and even know how to unzip bags! The entry only costs IDR40k ($4AUD) which you pay on arrival and the Sacred Monkey Forest is open between 8:30am-6pm.

Monkey love 🙈

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Tip: If you want them to climb on you for a photo then presenting a banana will do the trick.

Ubud Monkey Forest

(This cheeky monkey tried to steal Will’s crystal necklace!)

Ubud Palace

Ubud Palace is located on the big main road, Jalan Raya Ubud, and is definitely a must see while you’re passing through. It’s not as magnificent as we expected due to it’s name, but it’s free to enter so worth checking out.

Ubud Palace

Ubud Markets

The place to go for all your cheap Bali shopping is the Ubud Markets. Pretty much every stall sells the same thing so be sure to barter down prices. A Balinese woman tried to sell me earrings for IDR500k ($50AUD) claiming they were real silver (obviously not) and as I walked away she accepted IDR50k ($5AUD).

Ubud Markets

Tip for bartering: keep little change in different pockets, the seller will likely agree to selling for a small sum than risk losing the sale. Don’t feel like a tight-ass, otherwise you’ll end up paying 3-4 times more than the next person for the same thing 😉

Puri Saraswati Temple

An impressive temple you don’t need to leave the city to see is the Puri Saraswati Temple. It’s easy to miss though, the small entrance is right next to Starbucks on the main street in Ubud.

Tip: Entry is free and there’s a really nice cafe called Cafe Lotus that looks over the temple.

The Yoga Barn

If you’re into yoga then The Yoga Barn will feel like a true paradise. There are other yoga places but the yoga barn really is amazing, I came here every day and highly recommend it! There are many different kinds of classes, workshops, retreats and even beginner classes if you’re a first-timer.

Ubud Yoga Barn

Tip: Classes at the Yoga Barn range from IDR130k ($13AUD) for a single class to IDR2600k ($260AUD) for a 30 day limited pass. For up to date details visit the Yoga Barn website.

Ubud Yoga Barn Coconut

See a Balinese Dance Show

You can’t claim you experienced Balinese culture without seeing a Balinese Dance Show. It was so cool to see the traditional Balinese costumes and music, although it did get a little boring watching for a full hour. There are ticket sellers that hang around the Main Street near the Ubud Palace and sell 2-3 different tickets ranging from IDR75k-IDR10k ($7.50-$10AUD).

Tip: The locals will try to sell you the more expensive ticket until you start walking away when they tell you about the cheaper one (to see the same show), so don’t accept the first offer.

Ubud Balinese Dance Show

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Not far from The Elephant restaurant, you’ll find this pretty pathway that leads to a walk through the jungle to another temple. We found it when searching for the Campuhan Ridge Walk via Google maps and were certain we had found the walk. It wasn’t until later that we discovered Instagram photos of the Campuhan Ridge Walk that didn’t look like the same place, oops!

For anyone that’s done the famous Campuhan Ridge Walk before, do you know if we took a wrong turn? Leave us a comment below…

Ubud Campuhan Ridge Walk

Other things To Do In Ubud City

Other things to do in Ubud could be to get a Fish Foot Spa (where the fish eat the dead skin off your feet!), a Balinese massage (they’re usually under $10AUD for an hour), or if you’ve always wanted a tattoo it’s pretty cheap in Bali. A tattoo artist we highly recommend from experience is from Golden Hand Tattoo.

Ubud Frangipani Pond

Activities Near Ubud Centre

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are a must see when travelling to Ubud, but don’t get caught paying for a pricey tour because it’s free to see (you just need transport). We hired a motorbike for IDR50k ($5AUD) for the day and put one litre of petrol in it for IDR10k ($1AUD), which lasted the whole day.

Wow so picturesque! Exploring the rice fields in Bali 🙌🏼😍 #tegallalang #thebalibible #balidaily #ubudhood

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Tip: Allow about half an hour to drive to the Rice Terraces from Ubud city and have IDR10k cash ($1AUD) ready for parking.

Ubud Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Tegenungan Waterfall

This places is FULL of tourists, which was a little shock at first as we were expecting to be surrounded by nature, although the Tegenungan Waterfall is pretty amazing! It’s a bit of a hike to get from the main entrance to the park so be prepared (there are a lot of stairs!) You can swim at the bottom of the waterfall although it’s very rough. The best way to get in is from the right side where there’s sand, otherwise you’ll uncomfortably have to walk over all the rocks.

Ubud Tegenungan Waterfall

Tips: It’s IDR10k ($1AUD) to get in to see the waterfall and another IDR10k ($1AUD) to go up to the very top, which is worth it! Also, surprisingly the restaurants at the entrance are very cheap considering how many tourists come through, we got our usual Mi Goreng dish for just IDR25k ($2.50AUD).

Ubud Waterfalls

Mount Batur Volcano Hike

Climbing Mount Batur was by far one of our favourite experiences in Ubud and we highly recommend taking the challenge on your visit to Bali. Unless you’re a pro hiker and know exactly where to go, for this activity you will need a tour guide. For all the details and stunning photography see our post on Conquering Mount Batur and to receive 10% off your tour follow this link.

Mount Batur Sunrise

Ubud Mout Batur Monkeys

(It’s not every day you get to hang out with monkeys at the top of an active volcano!)

Luwak Coffee Plantation

You may have heard that Bali is home to the ‘best’ coffee in the world Luwak Coffee, which was featured in the famous film The Bucketlist. Being a coffee enthusiast I had to see what the fuss was about so we hopped on our scooter and half an hour later were pulling up to the official Luwak Coffee Plantation. Entry is free although you’ll probably be met with a guide who will walk you in to the plantation and tell you a bit about it, then ask for a tip (we gave him IDR10k ($1AUD) and he was happy with that). Then someone will show you the whole process of how the coffee is made (spoiler: it comes from Luwak poo!)

Ubud Coffee

A Luwak is cat-like animal that lives in the jungle of Bali, who’s diets consist of good quality coffee beans that grow there. When the Luwak digests the coffee beans some of the caffeine turns into protein which apparently makes the beans really tasty. So the Balinese collect Luwak poo, wash it well (obviously) and then roast the coffee beans they find to make the ‘most expensive coffee beans in the world’. When visiting the plantation you get to try many different complimentary teas and coffee they make there and to try Luwak Coffee it’s IDR50k ($5AUD).

Ubud Luwak Coffee

The verdict? Strong! But overall I didn’t think Luwak Coffee tasted very good at all.

White Water Rafting

Another popular activity to do in Ubud is White Water Rafting. We did this and unfortunately had a horrible experience which you can read about here.

Ubud White Water Rafting

Big Tree Farms Bamboo Chocolate Factory

10km South of Ubud Centre you’ll find Big Tree Farms Bamboo Chocolate Factory.  As soon as we heard there was a chocolate factory nearby we had to visit! However, the day we did happened to be the first day of a few that they weren’t doing tours for tourists, as production was slowing down. But a really nice lady who works there gave us a private tour anyway. The chocolate made here is 100% organic and they make all their ingredients from scratch to ensure this. The only ingredients used to make the chocolate are raw cacao nibs, cocoa butter, coconut sugar and sea salt so you know that you are getting all the good stuff!

Ubud Chocolate

Tip: Bars of chocolate here cost IDR25k ($2.50AUD) and you can also buy this brand in Ubud City at ‘Bali Buddha’ and ‘Kafe’ restaurants.

Ubud Big Tree Farms Bamboo Chocolate Factory

Watch The Herons At Petulu Return Home

Petulu is a small village located about 2.5km north of Ubud. Every afternoon at around 5pm you can watch thousands of herons arrive at their home in Petulu after a day in the rice fields. It’s an impressive sight to watch. We didn’t realise this small village didn’t cater for hungry tourists like us until we arrived, but luckily a local offered to cook us a special dish. Unfortunately though this was where Will ended up getting Bali Bally (which is a whole different story).

Ubud Petulu

Tips: #1 – To enter the village you must pay IDR20k ($2AUD). #2 – Eat before you get here.

Temples Outside Of Ubud Centre

Pura Tirta

Pura Tirta Empul (Temple of Holy Water) was probably the nicest temple we went to in Ubud. Here we found the biggest gold fish we’ve ever seen, and bathing pools where locals come to pray.

Ubud Pura Tirta

Tip: Parking is free and it’s IDR15k ($1.50AUD) to enter the temple.

Ubud Pura Tirta Empul

Gunung Kawi

Gunung Kawi is located 18km North-East of Ubud City and consists of 10 impressive rock-carved shrines. It’s good to visit this temple on the same day as visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terraces as it’s not far from there.

Ubud Gunung Kawi

Tips: Don’t buy a sarong from the ladies out the front, they will tell you that you need to buy one to enter the temple but you actually get free sarong hire inside, which is included in the entry price IDR15k ($1.50AUD). Another tip is that parking is free so just ignore anyone who asks you for cash.

Ubud Gunung Kawi Temple

Yeh Pulu

Yeh Pulu was a beautiful temple we visited with lots of rice fields and greenery around the scared area.

Ubud Yeh Pulu

Tip: Bring cash for entry which is IDR15k ($1.50AUD) each and IDR2k ($0.20AUD) for parking.

Ubud Yeh Pulu Temple

Goa Gajah

At Goa Gajah you’ll find an elephant cave, temples and bathing ponds. And there are plenty of photo opportunities here!

Ubud Goa Gajah

Tip: Entry fee IDR15k ($1.50AUD) includes sarong hire so don’t get fooled by the ladies selling them out the front. Motorbike parking is IDR2k ($0.20AUD).

Ubud Goa Gajah Temple

Relax By The Pool

Once you’ve seen all the cultural sites and done all the activities that Ubud is most famous for, why not sit back relax and enjoy paradise by the pool. Our AirBnB didn’t have a pool so we found hotels that let us use their pool if we bought a drink – a handy budget-travel trick so you can stay in cheap accommodation but still experience the luxury. The Elephant pool (below) and Kamandalu Hotel’s infinity pool  were our favourites.

A few helpful tips to know before travelling to Ubud…

When is the best time to go to Ubud?

You can go at any time of year but note that in rainy season October-April, Ubud can get a lot of rain (and I mean a lot!) compared to the coastal parts of the island at the same time of year. But the good news is that you know when to expect it…every afternoon. If you plan to travel here in rainy season, plan all your activities in the morning to give you the best chance for good weather.

How to get to Ubud?

Firstly you’ve got to fly in to Denpasar International Airport, Bali’s main airport. {I’m not aware of any other ways to get to Bali but if you know please comment below} Ubud is about 1.5hour drive from the airport and you’ll easily find Balinese drivers waiting at the exit, fighting over who will take you there. IDR300k ($30AUD) is a reasonable price to pay for transport to Ubud, if you pay more then the driver is probably taking their chances to rip you off. Also some Balinese may ask if you want your bags carried to the car but be aware that they’re not just being friendly, they will ask for a tip afterwards even if was only 20 metres away, and it can be a little awkward if you only have big notes on you.

Ubud Transport

Another tip: There is no public transport system so a cheap way to get around Ubud is to hire a motorbike for approx. IDR50k ($5AUD) for the day, or alternatively catch taxis (they are available everywhere).

How long should you stay in Ubud?

This really depends on you and how you like to travel. If you’re a slow traveller who works online/works on projects while you travel then I’d suggest staying in Ubud for at least a month. That way you can get to know the local culture, get into a routine: yoga every day, go site seeing and still set aside time each day to get things done. If you’re just coming on a short holiday then 2-3 days is probably enough to see everything, fit in some relaxation and try all the best restaurants in Ubud.

Where to stay in Ubud?

Again, this depends on what kind of trip you’re wanting to have. If you plan to hang around for a while you could try AirBnB which is what we did to start with. Most places offer a great discount if you stay a month {Get $40 off your first AirBnB stay here} If you’re already familiar with Bali just book your first night somewhere and then walk around town to find a good deal at home-stays (there are signs for them everywhere). After getting to know our AirBnB hosts during our first month, they gave us a better deal privately for our second month, so it worked out around $15-$20 per night in a private room including breakfast!

Ubud Accommodation

(The stairs to our beautiful AirBnB home we stayed in for 2 months)

If you’re travelling alone and on a tight-budget then hostels are a great way to meet people, just search on hostelworld.com for availability. However if you’re on a holiday and want to go all out, then there are some amazing hotels in and around Ubud: Four Seasons Resort, SenS Hotel {Get 20% off here}, and Kamandalu just to name a few.

I hope you found this article useful and are inspired to visit Ubud on your next trip to Bali!

Be sure to also check out my guide to restaurants in Ubud for all my recommendations from budget eateries, coffee shops, where to get cold coconuts to fine dining restaurants.

Sandy x

For those of you who have been to Ubud already have I missed anything? Leave a comment below…

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A Budget Traveller's Guide To Ubud, Bali

Read Next: Conquering Mount Batur In Bali

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14 thoughts on “A Budget Traveller’s Guide To Ubud, Bali

  1. Thank you for sharing this informative post! I have visited Ubud back in the days so this post brought back plenty of great memories. I am planning to revisit Bali within a year, will save this post for future reference.

  2. You article is amazing! So many useful things and very accurate! I’m planning my trip to Bali and I’ve just discover so many new things! thank you for sharing your experience 🙂

  3. I really want to travel to Bali and this post intensified my desire to visit. Ubud seems beautiful and not too overpriced. I love your tips on bargaining and not getting ripped off. Will save this info for later!

  4. Great post I have saved since you posted it in FTB:)) wrote down many of your suggestions. Our plan is to directly to Ubud and do maybe a week mainly in the north. We thought about taking the scooter around and find accommodation on the way but spend some days in Ubud where we will rent the scooter. Really looking forward to experience Bali myself! Thanks for sharing, kr Nana

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