Ubud, set in the middle of Bali, is one of those places that you fall in love with as soon as you arrive. Quirky boutique stores, delicious, healthy food and a relaxed, chilled out vibe that just soaks into your bones the moment you enter this buzzing little town. So, what should you do in this Indonesian epicentre for yoga, food, shopping and waterfall-hopping? We’ve put together what we think is the best Ubud 3 day itinerary right here.
Why go to Ubud?
So we’re assuming that you’ve already got your heart set on a trip to Bali, and if so, great choice! It is an amazing country with so much to offer. The likes of Canggu and Seminyak for digital nomads, the quieter Munduk, Lovina in the north for dolphin spotting, exclusive resorts in Uluwatu and the Nusa islands of Nusa Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan for the hottest Instagram spots and swimming with magnificent manta rays. But the bigger question is why should you choose Ubud Bali? And why dedicate 3 days to Ubud as part of your Bali itinerary?
- The hillside town of Ubud is much quieter than the south of Bali, meaning that within minutes of leaving Ubud center you are rewarded with quiet, beautiful countryside.
- If you’re looking for Instagram content, then there are some of the best rice paddies and waterfalls in the country within easy reach of Ubud.
- Ubud is all about healthy living, so if you’re looking somewhere detox and work on your yoga poses, then look no further.
- It’s a digital nomad haven, and for good reason: the internet speed is great but the accommodation isn’t as expensive as you’d find in the south of Bali. Plus there are some fantastic cafés and co-working spaces to boot.
What are the best things to do in Ubud?
So our top 10 things to do as part of your Ubud 3 day itinerary are:
- Get healthy and do some yoga
- Be amazed by the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
- Visit some amazing temples
- Make some new friends at the Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary
- Chase those waterfalls…
- Try your hand at some Balinese cuisine
- Take a sunset walk on Campuhan Ridge
- Drink coffee to your heart’s content
- Make some time for you and relax at one of the spas
- Explore the surrounding areas with awesome day trips
What does the ultimate Ubud Itinerary look like?
This is a tried and tested Ubud itinerary – actually we did it a few weeks ago! Aren’t we super helpful people…
- Day 1: Tegalalang Rice Terraces | Pura Tirta Empul | Pura Gunung Kawi | Sunset at Campuhan Ridge Walk
- Day 2: Yoga Class | Sacred Monkey Forest | Ubud Water Palace, Saraswati Temple | Shopping in Ubud | Cooking Course
- Day 3: Tegenungan waterfall | Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave | Kanto Lampo waterfall | Tibumana Waterfall | Tukad Cepung
However, if you have anything to add to our Ubud 3 day itinerary, and the best things to do in Ubud Bali, let us know in the comments below or get in contact with us here.
Is 3 days in Ubud enough?
It’s a great question… and in reality, it depends on how much you just want to chill and relax, or how much you’d want to get out and explore. If really the latter then yes, you can achieve so much in 3 days in Ubud. However, we also like to travel a little slower than many, so we actually stayed in Ubud for 5 days in October 2019. But we also spent a couple of those days just totally relaxing by the pool.
So, the simple answer is a definite yes! That said, we’ve added a few full and half day trip recommendations for you, in case you’re wanting to extend your Ubud 3 day itinerary further!
Where to stay in Ubud?
There are loads of amazing accommodation options in Ubud, from full on 5 star places, relaxing yoga retreats through to stunning villas – some at really affordable prices. So make sure you look around and check out the latest deals on Agoda. Or here are some of our own recommendations on the best places to stay in Ubud:
Budget: One of the most popular in Ubud is Puji Hostel, mainly for it’s location and beautiful pool overlooking the rice fields. Dorm rooms are clean and relatively spacious.
Mid-range: We were very happy with our stay at Kubu Rama Cottage, located about 5 minutes outside of Ubud. The property includes well-appointed rooms, a refreshing pool, delicious breakfast and we really enjoyed being out of the manic town centre, but also able to access it easily via bike.
Luxury: Top of the pops is the Goya Boutique Resort, a plush resort near the Monkey Forest which has an incredible pool, world-class spa and luxurious suites.
Day 1 – Ubud Itinerary
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Kick off your first day in Ubud with one of the most beautiful spots: the Tegalalang Rice Terraces! It’s one of our favourite places in Ubud and handily located only 20 minutes north of Ubud centre. We’d suggest you get their as early as possible to make sure you get the place when it’s empty and the lighting is spot on. We arrived at 7.30am and there were only a few other people around, although we’ve heard that by 9.00am it can get pretty busy.
The breath-taking rice fields stretch as far as the eye can see, and make for some beautiful photographs. What’s even better is that they are entirely free! There are extra charges (let’s call them donations) if you want to visit particular viewpoints, use one of the photo installations or take a turn on the Bali Swing. That said, without doing any of that, you can spend a good hour here exploring the walkways.
Insider tip: Be very careful of where you tread! Try to stay on the paved walkways or, if you are venturing off them, dip a toe in first to ensure it’s not just muddy water!
Pura Tirta Empul
Tirta Empul Temple is a Hindu water temple, just a little further on from Tegalalang, so the perfect next stop on your Ubud 3 day itinerary. The original temple was founded here over 1,000 years ago, built around a fresh water spring. The central section of the temple contains two bathing pools, which is famous for its holy spring water. And you are welcome to enter the water for ritual purification.
Entrance to the temple costs 15,000 IDR (1 USD / 0.80 GBP). This also includes the rental of a sarong, which is required to be worn by both men and women (even if wearing long trousers).
If you are keen to take part in the purification ritual, you will also need to rent an additional sarong, this costs another 25K IDR (1.75 USD / 1.40 GBP) incl. use of a locker, and expect to give a donation for guidance on the ritual and an offering (an important part of the ritual).
Pura Gunung Kawi
On your way back into Ubud from Pura Tirta Empul, you will drive past Pura Gunung Kawi, a stunning 1,000 year old temple complex and cemetery. The temple is most famous for the huge rock carvings that align the walls around the Hindu temple. Although it’s worth noting that it’s a decent climb down to this temple – over 350 steps stone steps. So prepare to get a little sweaty especially on the way back up!
Entrance fee for the temple is 15,000 IDR (1 USD / 0.80 GBP) and you also need to rent/borrow a sarong.
Sunset at Campuhan Ridge Walk
So, your final stop for today is to catch a sunset on the Campuhan Ridge Walk. This is without doubt one of the best sunset hikes in the region and what’s even better is that it’s right near the centre of Ubud.
The walk starts near the bridge, around a 5 minute moped ride from the town centre. Park up, and then first descend down to the bubbling stream and then up again on a paved path over the hills. The walk takes about 45 minutes and gives you panoramic views across Ubud, including rice fields, temples, palm trees and more.
Make sure that you wear comfy shoes (don’t make the mistake of wearing flip flops like us!), and pack some water since the climb isn’t that steep but can still get hot and sweaty, even at sunset.
There is no entrance fee and you can also buy some water or other drinks on the route if you need.
Day 1 Ubud itinerary map
Day 2 – Ubud Itinerary
Feel healthy with a yoga class
What crossfit is to Canggu, yoga is to Ubud. It’s the lifeblood of the tourist trade in the town and you’ll run into many a yogi while roaming the streets, or sipping on a latte in places like Sayuri Healing Food after their class. Whether you’re a yoga fanatic or even a novice, there is a class for you in Ubud – from power flows, to vinyasa and hatha.
The most famous is undoubtedly The Yoga Barn, an Ubud yoga retreat which has five yoga spaces, its own restaurant and even accommodation if you want to stay on-site. Other notable studios include Radiantly Alive, Ubud Yoga House and Taksu Yoga.
A few resorts like Sankara, Maya Ubud and the Four Seasons also offer free yoga, or you can go hardcore and book yourself into one of the many ashrams in the surrounding area, like Anand Ashram or the Blooming Lotus. Many of these properties also double as spa and health retreats.
Ubud Monkey Forest
People going to Ubud go absolutely bananas when visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, also known as Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana (yes – bad pun). But it’s definitely one of the biggest attractions in the town, with over 10,000 people wandering the complex each month, hoping to get close to these cute little critters.
The reserve not only includes hundreds of monkeys (five different types), but also three temples that you can visit; it’s a photographer’s dream! You can spend a few hours here, watching the monkeys, checking out the temples and walking the river bank.
A few words of caution though: hold on to your hats! No, really, the monkeys have been known to steal anything available (hats, keys, sunglasses, cameras!). You can also buy some bananas to feed them – these are sold outside the reserve – but we really wouldn’t recommend this. It means the monkeys will clamber all over you; an idea that sounds great in theory but can be very dangerous in real life, particularly as the monkeys carry herpes and possibly rabies. Keep your wits about you.
The entrance fee is 80,000 IDR (5.50 USD / 4.50 GBP) for adults and 60,000 IDR (4.25 USD / 3.25 GBP) for children.
Visit the Ubud Water Palace, Saraswati Temple
It’s not the most serene, or the most picturesque temple in Indonesia but the Saraswati temple is so conveniently located in Ubud town that you might as well pay it a quick visit. The temple is literally behind Starbucks, you’ll just wander behind the building and find it laid out before you. Generally there are quite a few people here but if you visit in the early morning or late afternoon you might not have hordes of tourists to contend with.
It’s a Hindu temple, built between 1951 and 1953, and dedicated to the worship of Hindu goddess, Saraswati. What’s nice about the temple is the gorgeous pink water lilies surrounding it, which make for some pretty epic photographs. Entrance is free although we noticed some vendors trying to extract a fee from unwitting tourists.
Shopping in Ubud
The circular woven bag, macramé dream catchers and floaty little dresses are all signature wares in Bali that have been perfected in Ubud. The town is absolutely crammed with quirky boutiques where you’ll definitely be able to walk away with a great bargain. We loved the jewellery here: intricate silver necklaces, statement rings and gem-studded ankle bracelets were displayed in many a storefront. It’s highly advised that you spend some time sauntering down the little side streets near the main street and take home a few mementos from your trip.
Like most of Bali, Ubud is well-known for it’s delicious fare, although much of this has become very westernized in recent years with smoothie bowls and smashed avocado toast on most menus in the city centre. That said, Indonesia food is at it’s best in the town and you can definitely dine out on Nasi Goreng for many a night. If you’re keen to take home the culinary skills of Balinese chefs, then why not book yourself into a local cooking class? We love this one which takes you to a fresh market to choose your ingredients and then into a nearby village to learn the trade. Alternatively, the Ubud Organic Farm cooking class also gets great reviews.
Day 2 Ubud itinerary interactive map
Day 3 – Ubud Itinerary
So Day 3 is all about waterfall chasing, make sure you’re up early and get out to Tegenungan waterfall to beat the crowds. We arrived at the waterfall at about 7.00am and there was literally no one else around!
Tegenungan is a short drive from Ubud, and it is so worth the early start – as we arrived, the sun was just peeking out from behind the top of the falls and with the water gushing down to the base and birds chirping in the nearby trees, we were overwhelmed by the lush, natural beauty and greenery of Tegenungan.
On your way down to the waterfall you’ll find 2-3 viewpoints including a viewing platform, the famous Bali bamboo ‘nest’ and a heart-shaped bamboo frame. These are ideal for getting photographs from above.
The waterfall has toilets, changing rooms, lockers and food and drinks available.
There is an entrance fee of 20,000 IDR per person (1.50 USD / 1 GBP).
Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave
On the drive between your first and second waterfall of the day, it’s worth a quick stop into the Goa Gajah Ubud temple – also known as the Elephant Cave temple. It’s thought to date back to the 11th century and most think that it was used as a sanctuary for Hindu priests.
The temple complex includes ancient bathing pools, Hindu relics and a small cave that you can access. Entrance for the temple is 50,000 IDR per person (3.50 USD / 2.75 GBP).
Kanto Lampo waterfall
So onto the second waterfall for the day. And Kanto Lampo waterfall is the place to go if you want that perfect Instagram pic.
The falls are set up so that you have to get into the rock pool to be able to see the waterfall properly, and to get a great photograph. Your ‘photographer’ needs to get into the water and you (and perhaps your friends or other half) scurry up into the waterfall itself, surrounding yourself in gushing spray.
It’s worth noting that it can get quite busy, so try and get here as early as you can, to ensure the perfect Insta shot. Cost for entry into Kanto Lampo is 20,000 IDR (1.50 USD / 1 GBP).
There are changing rooms and toilets available as you descend, and a few food and drinks stalls at the top.
And next onto James’ favourite waterfall around Ubud: Tibumana. Which is the perfect place to relax and take some time for a swim in the refreshing pool. What we also really liked is how well the walkway down to the waterfall had been maintained, it was like walking through a botanical garden!
Tibumana waterfall has a small toilet block (one for men, one for women) and lockers, although neither of these seemed in proper working order when we were there. There were some food and drinks stalls near the top of the stairs, next to the parking lot.
The cost for entry is 15, 000 IDR (1 USD / 0.80 GBP).
So onto the final stop of our Ubud 3 day itinerary, and also the last waterfall for the day (cue body-wracking sobs of agony).
This waterfall is another very instagrammable place on the itinerary and offers something a little different to the other waterfalls in the area: a waterfall set in a cave!
After taking a stroll through the forest you’ll wade through some shallow water into the cave and then see this incredible view of the waterfall water gushing down before you. It’s totally gorgeous, particularly if you time the lighting just right. It’s good to note that due to its recent Instagram fame, Tukad Cepung is getting quite a bit busier so you’ll need to be patient for your shot.
There are toilets near the parking area, and a small café on site. The entrance fee is 15K IDR (1 USD / 0.80 GBP).
Day 3 Ubud itinerary interactive map
There are a few more waterfall options around Ubud that you could also add to your 3 day Ubud itinerary – We’ve actually written an entire guide about the best waterfalls near Ubud here. So check it out in case you want to add a few more to the day or swap some of these out for some others that tickle your fancy.
Best day trips from Ubud
We also wanted to include a few other activities that you could add into your Ubud 3 day itinerary, and we are big fans of days trips! Here are a few of the best Ubud day trips:
We absolutely fell in love with Munduk, it’s really chilled out vibe, cooler climate and stunning scenery. And it’s no surprise that there are wonderful Munduk waterfalls to explore. There is actually a really great half day walk that you can do directly from Munduk village which is both easy and super rewarding. Have a read about our experiences of the Munduk waterfalls here. We’d also recommend that you book a driver for the day, especially if you’re not that experienced on a scooter, as it’s about 90 minutes drive (and the roads are a little hilly).
What better than to do a sunrise hike to this active volcano for some incredible views? Mount Batur is located in the north of Bali about 90 minutes from Ubud. It involves a super early pick up, a decent hike, but the views are so worth the effort. Literally, the experience of a lifetime.
This one, as James likes to say, is an absolute humdinger. Probably the best waterfall in Bali, you actually get to experience two amazing sets of waterfalls in this one trip, with both Fiji waterfalls (actually three separate falls that all meet in the same place) and Sekumpul waterfall being very close to each other.
It is located about 90 minutes from Ubud, so you’ll need at least half a day to get the most out of the trip.
Insider tip: use the back entrance to the falls, as you get phenomenal views of rice fields on your walk down to the waterfalls, plus you could shell out another 100,000 IDR (7 USD / 5.50 GBP) and go on a Bali swing!
Wanagiri Hidden Hills
Now if you like Instagram, Wanagiri Hidden Hills has to be on your Bali travel list! It’s about a 60 – 90 minute drive outside of Ubud. The ‘selfie park’ has a stunning backdrop of the Twin Lakes, Lake Tamblingan and Buyan Lake – providing you ample opportunities to create content for the next few months… we have a full travel guide on what to expect at Wanagiri Hidden Hills here.
Wanagiri Hidden Hills is set pretty close to Munduk so you could feasibly combine this with the Munduk waterfalls as part of a day trip. If you’re looking for a driver, check out Get Your Guide – they have some great priced options.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
If you didn’t get enough rice fields with your trip to Tegalalang Rice Terraces, then why not contemplate a day trip to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces?
These are considered to be the most beautiful in all of Bali, so well worth a trip to explore them separately! Over 600 hectares of rolling rice terraces, the name Jatiluwih actually translates as ‘real beautiful’ which it undoubtedly is!
This is a gorgeous place for hiking but also for taking photographs. The entrance fee is 40,000 IDR (2.75 USD / 2.25 GBP) per person.
Day trips from Ubud interactive map
What’s the best time of year to visit Ubud?
Ubud has a pretty consistent monthly high of around 30 degrees all year round (that’s close to 90F) – so it’s pretty warm. However due to Ubud being set at 200m above sea level, the temperature in the evenings and at night drops to around 20C (or 70 Fahrenheit), so not cold, but maybe a little cool, especially after the heat of the day.
There are two periods that we’d suggest you avoid: the classic summer months of July and August can be really busy, and then January and February is the rainy season, and it really does rain in Ubud. That said, there is always an upside to rainy season in Bali, so why not give that a whirl?
So we’d suggest the shoulder months of April – May or September – October as the best months to visit Ubud.
Having said that, it’s always hot and humid, so make sure you plan your activities as best you can around mornings and late afternoons, trekking the steps to waterfalls in the midday sun is tough work.
Getting around Ubud
When we first arrived in Ubud, we were quite surprised to see the number of signs stating that online taxi services (Bluebird, Gojek, Grab etc…) are not allowed to operate in town. It’s something that’s took us a bit of getting used to as all across Bali there are so many rules about which services you can and can’t use. However, you’ll also notice that numerous taxi drivers are waiting for you on the streets offering their services. Without the online services operating in the area, you need to negotiate the prices for trips.
Also, don’t worry as Gojek food deliveries are still allowed! These are a lifesaver if you’re too tired to head out for dinner after a big day exploring! Just download the app and find your food of choice.
Most people opt to get their own moped or scooter in Ubud. You can rent one from your accommodation for about 70,000 IDR (5 USD / 3.75 GBP) per day excluding fuel. Please just ensure that you have a valid international driver’s licence before heading out (if police stop you without one, you’ll likely get a fine) and be safe, wear a helmet!
If you’re not comfortable on a moped, you can also easily rent a private driver – find one here. Usually a private driver who speaks English, sets you back between 500,000 – 700,000 IDR (35 – 50 USD / 27.50 – 40 GBP) and includes 10 hours of travel, all fuel and insurance. This is especially great if you are heading to waterfalls, as you can leave your bag with the driver if you’re then going on to other places.
We’ve also found that the private drivers are really knowledgeable and almost act as your own tour guide.
Where are the best places to eat in Ubud?
Ubud is foodie heaven, particularly if you’re vegetarian or even vegan. You’re absolutely spoiled for choice and there are many good Ubud restaurant lists out there. That said, here are a few of our personal favourites:
If you’re looking for some great pastries and sandwiches, definitely try out The Daily Baguette – we particularly liked the sandwiches and cakes, and there is a cute little upstairs section where you can eat.
The best pizza that we had was from Fuzion, and they also get great reviews. For burgers try out BPL (Burgers Pizza Liquor) – the Aussie burger is a mean beast. If you’re looking for something local, you can’t go wrong with Sawah Terrace at Mandapa.
And if you’re looking for the best healthy café to work on that detox, try out Suka Espresso, located close to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Probably the best place for brunch in all of Ubud!
Travel tips for Bali
- Although Bali is the most relaxed part of Indonesia, and is majority Hindu (compared to majority Muslim in the rest of the country), you should still dress modestly, especially if you plan to visit any of the temples.
- Be a little cautious when using your credit or debit cards, it’s worth checking at ATMs for card swiping devices. We know a number of people who have been victims of card fraud in Bali.
- If you’re on the beach it’s worth checking with locals if the beaches have strong currents. Some of them do – and people do get dragged out to sea with terrible consequences.
- It’s worthwhile getting the rabies jabs before heading to Bali – if you are planning to visit the monkey sanctuary, there have been cases of a few people being bitten. There are also lots of stray dogs and cats on the island. Let’s be honest, the chances are so slim but rather safe than sorry!
- Speaking of safety, wear a helmet at all times when riding a motorbike. The number of tourists who have accidents is high. It’s cool to be safe.
- Don’t do drugs. The penalties are severe. Is it really worth it?
What camera equipment and other gear do we use?
We’re living proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear to travel the world and take good photos. Here are some of our must have items that make it into the packing list for all our travels.
- Main Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000
- Drone: DJI Mavic Air – Fly More Combo
- GoPro: Hero 7 Black
- GoPro Dive Case: Go Pro Housing
- GoPro Case: Smatree GoPro Carry Case – Small
- Packing Cubes: Eagle Creek Packing case
- Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 70
- Powerbank: Anker Powercore
- Phone: Xiaomi Mi 9
- Hard drive: Transcend Slim Storejet 2TB
- Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad 720s
- Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort 35
- Wifi Hotspot: GlocalMe G4
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