Perched on the highlands of Bali and famously known as the island’s art and cultural hub, Ubud is an amazing blend of old and new with something to offer for everyone. But Ubud isn’t necessarily the kind of place where you need a long to-do list. If all you did during your stay was eat, walk through the rice fields, and perhaps get a massage or take a yoga class, then that’s already considered a successful Ubud visit in our opinions.
If you are one of those who plans their holidays in detail, then Ubud is stocked with options for you. With scenic landscapes, a lively art scene, rich cultural atmosphere, and a myriad of excellent restaurants, there are no limits to the things you can do in this charming town. Here are some of our favorite ways to have a fun, relaxing, and rewarding time in Ubud:
1. Cycle around Ubud
When the outdoors are too beautiful to ignore — rich greeneries, blue skies, with a dose of tropical sun — it would be a shame to get around town in an air-conditioned car. Cycling will not only set a more relaxed pace to immerse in the tranquil nature atmosphere, it’ll also be an enjoyable exercise to help burn some of that holiday weight from eating too much satay or that pitcher of beer you finished . You can rent a bicycle and figure your own route through the rice fields and villages or sign up for an organized cycling tour in Ubud.
2. Visit the rice terraces
The scenic stretch of rice terraces of Ubud has become one of the most iconic sights of Bali. Clear blue skies, tall palm trees, and lush tropical greeneries surrounding different levels of rice fields are surely a breathtaking sight to behold, but Ubud’s rice terraces are more than just a postcard-worthy view. It is a manifestation of an ancient Balinese Hindu philosophy organized by a local social unit called ‘subak’. Tourists can also explore the villages nearby to hear fascinating local stories and observe the customs and lifestyles of people who built and now maintain the glorious rice terraces.
3. Eat well
One thing that you will definitely do when you’re in Ubud is eat well. In the past several years, Ubud has become a buzzing culinary center, with some top restaurants claiming international acclaim and recognition such as Restaurant Locavore (reservations are mandatory). Aside from healthy vegan food and local delicacies like babi guling crowding the town, there are multiple international restaurants as well that warrants your visit. Just make sure to follow up your eating binge with some exercise!
Another way to embrace Ubud’s tranquil surroundings and quirky vibe is to get on the yoga mat and hit some poses. The cool air, warm sunshine, chirping of birds, and shady trees will definitely craft a remarkable and unforgettable zen experience. There are numerous reputable yoga studios in Ubud, many of which offer an all-round wellness rejuvenation programs such as Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive. But if you’re feeling adventurous, head to Ambar Ashram and try their intriguing laughter yoga.
5. Museum hopping
6. Learn traditional crafts
It’s always fun to observe and shop traditional Balinese arts and crafts, but it’s much more eye-opening to learn how to do or make them yourself. Ubud has various workshops with passionate locals who will show you how to perform a Balinese dance, make pottery, play the gamelan instruments, and all those things that have been fascinating you ever since you got to the neighborhood. Most of them also have one-day programs and special classes for kids. As the saying “do as the Romans do” goes, you might as well be as immersive as possible when you’re in Ubud, right?