Ubud is up the mountains of Bali and is home to the bulk of Bali’s tourist attractions, so we wanted to count down the 7 best things to do in Ubud for first timers!
This is at the top of the list of best things to do in Ubud for first timers for a reason. It’s epic and amazing! I want to preface this one by saying, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you are traveling on a tight budget, you will want to omit this one, but if you are like us and live according to the “when in Rome” philosophy, you have to stay at this hotel for a night!! Bali, on average, is very cost-effective, so if you spurge for one night, you can still come home under-budget, and it will still be a lot cheaper than other vacations. The Hanging Gardens of Bali is a little bit outside of Ubud, nestled in the hillside. It’s jungle luxury at its finest! The staff is extremely friendly and accommodating. They remembered Micah’s and my names and even our room number.
Each room is complete with its own infinity pool! The hotel also has one of most epic infinity pools that jets out over the jungle, complete with a view of a temple on the other side of the river. Our room was so amazing, we never left except for dinner! The second day, we stayed to enjoy the hotel pool for a bit longer after we checked out. I was skeptical of this place at first, given the cost, but after our stay I can confidently say it was SO worth it!! It was an experience I will never forget.
2. Rice Fields and Coffee Tasting:
I have grouped these two together since they are very close, so it just makes sense to do them at the same time. The coffee plantations offer free tastings of coffee and teas–even the Luwak coffee (google it!). They give you a short run-down on how they process the coffee before letting you taste it while taking in the views of the fields. Tegalalang rice fields is the next stop, and it’s truly breathtaking! You will need to pay to get a ticket, and as you go further down the terraces, you may be required to make a small donation. The land is privately-owned and farmed. It’s so green and beautiful! Give yourself plenty of time here to walk around and see the different views.
I think this was one of my favorite things we did in Bali! The monkeys run wild in there!! You pay for a ticket at the entrance and can stay for as long as you like. You can easily make your way through the whole forest in about an hour, but if you love monkeys, give yourself some more time! Watch your belongings in the forest since the monkeys are known to take hats, sunglasses, and cell phones! After the monkey forest, we headed across the street to the Bebk Bengil, also known as the dirty duck (featured on Andrew Zimmern’s Delicious Destinations), and while it was good, it was not anywhere close to the best food we had in Bali.
4. Dine at Bridges:
Bridges is located right at the bridge before you get into the city center of Ubud. The views are amazing! You will feel like you are eating dinner next to Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, only it’s real! The cuisine is French fusion, and while we were only planning on having wine and appetizers there, it was so good that we ended up staying for dinner, too.
We also had two bottles of wine and bought a few more for the rest of our trip at the wine shop! Micah and I both love wine but unfortunately Bali is not known for its wine, so we took the opportunity to stock up. With the views, the food, and the wine, this place is amazing! You may want to make a reservation because they often get booked up.
5. Yoga and Breakfast:
Ubud is a very spiritual, hippy town, so you can find lots of yoga and meditation studios there! We went to Yoga Barn and dropped in for a morning class. There was no reservation needed, but I suggest getting there a little early since the room fills up fast. Doing yoga to the sounds of the jungle was so amazing! We then headed off to breakfast. Bali has tons of vegan options for food, and my favorite breakfast item was the dragon bowl, which is a smoothie bowl topped with fruit and granola. So yummy! We had the best breakfast at Mudra Cafe.
6. River Rafting:
While this sounds pretty adventurous, the river rafting in Ubud is suitable for all ages. Just be ready to walk down lots of stairs to get to the river and back up when you are done. We paid around 500,000 RDI for both of us, which included lunch. You paddle through waterfalls and jungle walls. It really is the jungle cruise, minus the hippos and tigers (and if you are wondering, there are no tigers in Bali–I looked it up while we were there! They were unfortunately over-hunted many many years ago).
The water temple is a little bit outside of Ubud, so we did this stop on our way to another city. It’s very beautiful! If you are comfortable, you can go into the water for a blessing. We personally did not, as it was my time of the month and they have signs that ask you to not go into the water if you are on your cycle. I didn’t want to jinx the water with any sort of bad juju, so I opted to abide by the rules. But it was still beautiful and well worth the stop!
Ubud is magical and amazing!! Visiting was such a cool experience and we hope to return soon! These are just our seven best things to do in Ubud for first timers, but if you have gone and have any suggestions on what we can add to this list, please comment below!
You can read more about the rest of our time in Indonesia here!