Unreal Ubud Attractions: Things to Do on a Day Trip

In the centre of Bali, high in the mountains is the hippy artist town of Ubud known for beautiful handcrafted paintings, metalwork and ceramics. However, if handcrafts are not your thing, you may wonder if taking an Ubud day trip is really worth the effort. Well, Ubud is where you will discover the real Bali with its cultural temples, terraced rice fields, speciality coffees, local animals, gorgeous waterfalls and formidable volcanoes. There are so many things to do in Ubud.

So hire a driver, car or motorbike and let’s start exploring Ubud with this one-day itinerary.

In this Article You Will Learn About Things to See in Ubud


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green Ubud rice terraces
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What to See on the Way to Ubud

Coffee Plantation

There are many Bali coffee plantations on the way to Ubud that you can poke a stick at; everywhere along the main road, you will see signs for the famous Kopi Luwak Coffee.  This is some of the most expensive coffee in the world.

We stop at Ubud MeSari Luwak Coffee Agrotourism during a Bali cycling tour where we learn all about the coffee.  Essentially the coffee beans are eaten by the Luak or Asian Palm Civet – a cat-like animal that eats the coffee beans and then poops them.  The beans are then dried and roasted.  We have a go at grinding the coffee beans and watching them being roasted.

Balinese lady sitting as she roasts Luwak coffee over an open flame
Roasting Luwak coffee

Then it’s time for tasting, overlooking the lush jungle ravine.

Coffee tasting at the Bali agrotourism overlooking the jungle
Luwak coffee tasting

You are provided with a free tray of 12 different flavoured coffees (if you have kids they get a hot chocolate.)  Now beware the tray of coffees doesn’t include the Kuwak Coffee, which costs an additional 100 000 IDR per cup.  I told you it was expensive and it’s very very strong!

Spice Garden

At the same coffee plantation, you can wander through the spice garden consisting of vanilla, chilli, cacao, coffee trees and more.   These spices are used to flavour the various coffees and make fragrant oils and soaps.  Which of course are all for sale.

walking through the Bali agrotourism spice gardens which are fenced with bamboo
Bali agrotourism spice garden

The only negative about this place is the animal cages dotted throughout the spice garden.  I felt quite sorry for the poor Asian Palm Civets kept in such small cages.  But as I mentioned earlier there are so many coffee plantations on the way to Ubud, you really can pick and choose.

Top Trip Tip: ONLY order one cup of Kuwak Coffee between your friends.  It is a large cup of strong coffee and you want be able to enjoy the other more subtle coffee tasters

Ubud Tourist Attractions

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

A popular tourist attraction in Ubud is the Monkey Forest.  So much so that our driver asks along the way up if we want to visit.

Straight away we answer “No!”

We have heard from so many people about how the monkeys attack people, sometimes even being bitten – now you have to get a Rabbis shot.  Or at the very least having their phone, glasses or wallet stolen by these what look like cute creatures.

Don’t believe me?  Check this out.

I wish to thank Alexander Travelbum for allowing me to use his video

Top Trip Tip: If you do decide to go to the monkey forest hold on tight to your valuables

Ubud Artists

In Ubud town, you will see stores and stores of artists’ products to purchase from paintings to intricate wood carvings, beautiful silverware and shimmering blown glass.

We stop at Dewa Putu Toris Gallery.  Upon entering we see a couple of artists in the process of creating their next masterpiece.

Balinese artist sitting on floor with low table painting
Balinese artists

Once we start to wander further into the ornate Balinese building there are thousands of paintings to view (and purchase); pretty sceneries of Bali, abstracts, nudes and traditional Balinese arts.  There is so much choice.

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ornate paths, lush trees and open aired bali buildings inside the artist studio
Inside the studio

The sales rep follows us throughout the gallery never once pressuring us to buy – it feels more as if she is there just to ensure the paintings aren’t touched or photos taken of the artwork than to take make a sale.

Top Trip Tip: You cannot take photos of the artwork

Tegenungan Waterfall

Our next stop is a very popular tourist attraction, Tegenungan Waterfall.  This is one of many Bali waterfalls.

The views looking across to the waterfall from the top of the small ravine are pretty but it is well worth walking down the steep steps to fully appreciate the 15m high waterfall from the ground.

looking out over the gree ravine to the waterfall
Tegenungan Waterfall

If you want, pack your swimmers to take a dip in the pool of water at the bottom of the falls.  Remember: “it’s OK to be sexy but no naked.”

people swimming at the base of the waterfall and sign reading "it's ok to be sexy but no naked"
At the base of the waterfall

The cost to enter the waterfall is 20 000IDR/person

Top Trip Tip: The steps to the waterfall are a little precarious so be careful

Butterfly Parks

There are two butterfly parks in the Ubud region Kemenuh Butterfly Park and Bali Butterfly Park, we visit the Kemenuh Park

A few minutes’ drive away from the waterfall is the Kemenuh Butterfly Park.  Included in the entrance fee is a refreshingly cool cordial welcome drink.

Having previously visited the Penang Butterfly Farm we found this butterfly park a bit of a disappointment – it just doesn’t quite compare.

However, if you haven’t previously visited a Butterfly park you will enjoy the short stroll through the netted lush and colourful tropical gardens with pretty butterflies fluttering about.

a water feature within the Bali butterfly park surrond by green plants
The gardens within the Bali Butterfly Park

The highlight of this butterfly park is the breeding (pupa/chrysalis) enclosure with hundreds of cocoons hanging along the trellis and the large mottled brown butterflies – which you even get to hold.

me holding a large brown butterfly
Holding the butterfly

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)

“You’ll get a sarong at the entrance,” our driver calls to us as we exit the car at our next stop.  This plays in my mind constantly as we walk past a myriad of stalls selling souvenirs and sarongs.  Each owner chants the same message, “you need a sarong to enter the temple, buy my sarong”.  But I hold fast to the driver’s words for the next 500m.

Finally, we reach the entrance to the Goa Gajah Temple also known as Elephant Cave that dates back to the 9th century.  We pay the small entrance cost and over to the side are the free orange sarongs included with the ticket.

Tickets are checked before you descend down the steps into the temple surrounded by tropical forest.

We easily find the googly eyes and gaping wide mouth carved into the stone wall at the front of the cave.  Inside the cave, it forks into two chambers.  The one to the left has the elephant shrine to which Hindu people pray.

Whilst the elephant shrine is quite small the surrounding grounds are not.  Take your time to wander along the pathways through the lush grounds passing by the ornate bathing place that was excavated in the 1950’s where fish are now swimming in the pools.

koi pond with three lady water spouts
A water feature within Goa Gajah

The tropical garden walking trails also reveal hidden temples where you can be blessed.

Whilst there are a number of tourists wandering the temple grounds it still feels tranquil and calm as we meander through the colourful foliage.

tropical gardens with paths winding through
The grounds surrounding Elephant Cave

The cost to enter Elephant cave is 50 000IDR/adult and 25 000IDR/child

Top Trip Tip: Be courteous with other tourists – everyone wants a photo of the Elephant Cave entrance

Tirta Empul (Holy Spring Water Temple)

At the next temple Tirta Empul we are not hounded upon entering the temple grounds, easily making our way to the ticket counter, then paying a small fee to borrow a sarong.

The Holy Springs bathing area is the first temple you come across.  Many tourists join the locals in the ritual of walking under each fountain one by one, from left to right to be cleansed.

people bathing under the row of Tirta Empul holy springs
Tirta Empul holy water temple

But there is so much more to see than just the hot springs.  Intricate stone carvings and small temples adorn the grounds of Tirta Empul.

Individual open aired pavillions with Tirta Empul temple
Inside Tirta Empul water temple

To leave you don’t exit via the entrance, but instead, follow the signs through a labyrinth of stalls selling yet more Balinese souvenirs and sarongs.  The maze of stalls is endless.  With each corner, we turn there is another alley of shops.  We laugh and comment “it is like being in Ikea” you do not miss one product for sale.

The cost to enter Tirta Empul is 50 000IDR/adult and 10 000IDR to borrow a sarong

Top Trip Tip: If you want to join in the cleansing, stop to watch the process before joining in – please remember this is a Hindu religious experience, not a tourist fun park

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

After a winding drive, we arrive at the very crowded road overlooking the famous Tegallalang Rice Terraces.  Not far from the main road is a small booth where we pay the entrance fee.

It takes a little bit to find the right entrance point down into the rice terraces.  There are many cafes along the ridge overlooking the terraces with their own entrance gates.  After a couple of tries, we find the inconspicuous cement archway leading deep down to the river below.

We cross the rickety wooden bridge and then begin to make our way back up the other side of the valley.  We pass a family coming back down who advise not to go that way as you have to pay more.  So we try the other way, we come across a landowner who asks for more money to help pay for the upkeep of the paths.  I don’t think that’s where the money goes as the steps, bridges, and handrails are all a bit treacherous, but I’m sure she needs the money to feed the family.

people walking up and down throught Ubud rice terraces
Walking through the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Looking around us we can see that it will be a good two hours of gingerly making our way up and down the rice terraces.   After a day filled with stair climbing – first down to the bottom of the Teganungan Waterfall, descending into Goa Gajah, coupled with the lengthy walks around Dewa Putu Toris artist studio, the Kemenuh Butterfly Park and Tirta Empul we feel as though we have had a full day exploring Ubud, we opt to give this walk a miss.

The cost to explore the rice terraces is 20 000IDR/adult and free for kids

Top Trip Tip: Take extra money with you to explore the terraces as landowners will ask you for additional entrance fees

Other Day Trips Near Ubud

There are a couple more tourist attractions near or on the way to Ubud.  But they each really a need their own full-day (or half-day) to explore:

  • Bali Safari and Marine Park
    • I have to say I really enjoyed our day here
    • COMING SOON: What to Expect at Bali Safari
  • Bali Zoo
  • Bali Bird Park

What You Need to Know About Visiting Ubud

Location

Ubud is located roughly in the lower middle of the island of Bali, Indonesia.  The only way to access the area is by car or motorbike, whether that be hiring a motor vehicle or hiring a driver for the day*.

To learn the location of all the places mentioned, check out this Ubud attractions map.

Exchange rate

The currency for Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah.  The exchange rate is approximate:

  • 10 000IDR = $1.04AUD
  • 10 000IDR = $0.71USD

Check out currency converter for today’s rate.

What to Take to Ubud

Must-have to include in your day trip bag are:

  • Good walking/hiking shoes or sandals
  • You will need a sarong or long pants to enter the temples
  • Take swimmers and a towel if you wish to swim at the waterfalls and the holy water temple
  • Money to pay entrance fees and for lunch

More on Bali

The island of Bali offers so much variety of things to do.  Discover all about Bali HERE (accommodation and attractions) including these articles:

Posts on these and more will be COMING SOONSign up for the e-newsletter or follow us on Facebook to learn when it’s published.

In the meantime, you may find these Bali travel guides* useful.

PS. Don’t forget to organise your travel insurance – we use Cover-More*

four things to see in Bali, the rice terraces, waterfalls, artists and Tirta Empul temple with text overlay things to see in Ubud Bali
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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and raised travel tips blogger/writer with over 20 years of experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism, along with a lifetime of varied travel exploits.
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