Bali’s spiritual and cultural capital, Ubud offers a surplus of must-dos—both in the town itself, and scattered among the jungle and rice fields that surround it. With one day in Ubud, you can get an overview of its highlights: Visit ancient temples, enjoy a rice-field adventure on an ATV, bike, or raft, and discover Bali’s delicious cuisine. Here’s how.
Morning: Temple Touring
Start by visiting some of Ubud’s stone temples set amid ancient landscapes. Beat the crowds by heading out early to Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, where you’ll encounter lively grey macaques. If time permits, venture further to Tirta Empul, where you can have a Hindu water blessing. Stop by Ubud Palace, right across from Ubud Market, to soak up the regal atmosphere and shop for arts, crafts, and souvenirs.
Afternoon: Adventures in Nature
Head out of town to discover the rich landscapes of rice fields and gorges that surround Ubud. Take a whitewater rafting trip down the Ayung River, which races through a vertiginous valley complete with waterfalls, beaches, carvings, and lush forest. Most tours include a buffet lunch. Alternatively, roar through rice paddies, bamboo forest, and along rivers on an ATV 4-wheeler, hike through tropical green rice terraces, or pedal a bike (or e-bike) along country lanes and through tranquil villages.
Evening: Flavorful Feasts
Sample the tangy, herbal flavors of Balinese cuisine. Try a cooking class, some of which allow you to learn from locals in their home and eat with the family. You can also stroll the streets on a walking food tour, or feast on a 6-course tasting menu overlooking a racing river. Finally, you’d be remiss not to squeeze in one of Bali’s world-famous spa treatments. Unwind with a classic massage, a traditional flower bath, or an Indonesian “lulur” ritual.