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Best things to do in Ubud

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Where in the world: Asia  /  Indonesia  /  Bali  /  Gianyar Regency  /  Ubud
Visitors looking for a peaceful escape will find a plethora of unexpected things to do in Ubud, a city surrounded by a lush rainforest and terraced rice paddies. Ubud's markets are filled with handcrafted items--each one a possible gift or souvenir. Remember to reserve one afternoon for a visit to Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary--you'll find a 14th-century temple complex that houses hundreds of long-tailed Balinese macaques.

Ubud is best known for its World heritage site, Nature & Parks, and Spas.

Top 15 things to do in Ubud

1. Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Both a protected reserve and a temple complex, Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary shelters several hundred long-tailed Balinese macaques. The monkeys get their nourishment from the forest staff, which feeds them sweet potatoes several times a day. Though you can't give the monkeys peanuts, cookies, or other snacks, you can purchase bananas if you want to feed the little ones yourself--just be prepared for a lot of attention from these cheeky creatures, and stow away valuables and shiny objects. This jungle sanctuary contains three temples, allegedly constructed in the 14th century. Keep in mind you can enter sacred sections of the temples only if you wear traditional praying clothes. Stop by the forest office near the main entrance, which accepts donations and provides detailed information about the sanctuary's history and significance.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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2. Off-Road Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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3. Spas

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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4. Elephant Cave

Legend has it that the stunning rock facade at Elephant Cave was created by a giant from Balinese mythology. Historians actually know very little about the ancient cave's origins, except that it probably dates back to the 11th century. Despite its misleading name, no elephants live inside this cavern. A place built for meditation, the cave features a facade depicting a group of frightening creatures and demons--the main figure above the entrance somewhat resembles an elephant, which explains the cave's name. Walk through the menacing mouth of this creature to see a statue representing Ganesha, an elephant-headed god.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Waterbom Bali, Kuta

Swim, splash, and slide at Waterbom Bali, an entertainment complex catering to visitors of all ages. Situated just minutes from the area's international airport, this water park features slides, splash pools, circular tubes, half pipes, and lazy rivers. Nearly 4 hectares (9 acres) of landscaped gardens surround the complex, providing a tropical backdrop for family-friendly fun. Check the website for discounts on all-day passes, which allow unlimited reentry throughout the day. Once you get your fill of fun and excitement, explore the park's many eating options, serving traditional Balinese foods as well as Italian, French, and Indonesian favorites.
Suggested duration: 4h 30 min
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6. Campuhan Ridge Walk

One of the most rewarding free activities in Ubud, Campuhan Ridge Walk doubles as a picturesque and eco-friendly bicycle ride. This paved trail traverses some of Bali's prettiest landscapes and offers nature lovers a chance to get some fresh air, stretch their legs, and escape the more crowded southern sections of the island. The trek starts at an 8th-century shrine in Ubud and snakes across verdant hills for a little over 9 km (5 mi). Suitable for hikers and cyclists of all ages and fitness levels, the trail passes through tiny villages and right next to a cozy guesthouse, where you can rest and recharge before going back or charging onward.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Threads of Life

A fair-trade business, Threads of Life works to alleviate poverty in the rural areas of Indonesia. The shop commissions handicrafts from the local people--items are made with native materials and natural dyes. Proceeds go to the region's weavers, who have a chance to establish independent coops, manage their resources, and make a living in a sustainable way.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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8. Kuta Beach - Bali, Kuta

Surf your heart out at Kuta Beach - Bali, one of Bali's biggest tourist destinations. Equally appealing to foreign surfing enthusiasts and local families teaching their kids to swim, the beach offers easy access to a number of popular restaurants and clubs. A sandstone wall constructed in the style of traditional Balinese architecture protects the waterfront establishments from blowing sand. You can rent surfing gear, umbrellas, and lounge chairs right on the beach. If you visit during low tide, you'll be treated to a seemingly endless stretch of soft sand. Be aware that vendors walk the beach selling various things, and the bustling atmosphere does not exactly lend itself to a quiet stroll.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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9. Tanah Lot Temple, Beraban

Built onto a giant offshore rock, Tanah Lot Temple remains one of the more venerated Hindu structures with strong ties to Balinese mythology. One of seven significant sea temples spread across Bali's coastline, this shrine is allegedly the work of Dan Hyang Nirartha, a 16th-century religious figure and traveler who founded the island's Shaivite priesthood. Though you can walk to the rock during low tide, keep in mind that non-Balinese visitors cannot enter the temple itself. The site--one of the most photographed in Bali--draws huge crowds at sunset, when soft light bathes the area and creates a nearly magical atmosphere.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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11. Walking tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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12. Pantai Sanur, Sanur

Swim, sail, or simply bask on the warm sand at Pantai Sanur, located just a half hour's drive from the area's international airport. The beach curves for nearly 5 km (3.1 mi) along the southeastern section of the island and remains one of its more serene holiday destinations. During World War II, this part of the coastline provided the entry point for invading Japanese troops. Today, the beach and its surroundings contain several resort hotels and villas, drawing pleasure seekers from distant corners of the world. If you get antsy, take a walk to the nearby Hindu temple, one of Bali's oldest man-made structures.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
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13. Spas & Wellness

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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14. River Rafting & Tubing

Explore the pristine natural surroundings of the atmospheric town of Ubud on a river rafting or tubing tour. While paddling along your local guide on the whitewaters of the Ayung and Telaga Waja Rivers, you'll have a chance to soak in the scenic views of green rice paddies, gushing waterfalls, and luscious tropical jungle. Depending on the chosen tour, you can combine the rafting trip with trekking or cycling off-the-beaten paths, visiting a coffee plantation, or observing wild macaques at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Suitable for all ages and skill levels, this activity is ideal for families. The duration of the tour spans from 3 hours to 5 days.
Suggested duration: 4h 30 min
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