What to do in Ubud in one day

(November 2016)

We leave Jogjakarta and we leave Java Island knowing that this island deserves a trip to itself to discover lots of things. But when you only have two weeks of holiday you must choose and we have chosen Bali Island to enjoy the next 5 days. First of all, we would like to say that Bali has exceeded our expectations. We had heard lots of different opinions and some were very negative, the island is too crowded, it has lost its touch… In our opinion: Bali is beautiful, of course, it has lots of tourists but it has thousands of places to visit (we would need another trip or to live there for a while). Bali is a lot more than surf, beaches, and parties. It has a rich culture and amazing nature sites. If what you look is to be by yourself, with very few tourist, it would be better if you look for another Indonesian island. There are so many.

And after this reflection, let’s talk about the first part of our Balinese adventure. We choose Ubud as our starting point and base to visit the island. Ubud is inland around an hour and a half from Denpasar airport. Although it has a lot of tourists, it preserves the charming Balinese architecture, its temple, and its rice terraces.


We arrive at Denpasar airport in the afternoon and organize the transfer to Ubud through the hotel. There is no public transport in Bali. There is another option, take a taxi from the airport and negotiate the price or from Kuta, every travel and activity agency organize shuttle buses to Ubud.

We got to Ubud around 8 in the evening, so after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we went to the center to get some dinner. Our hotel was outside of Ubud which means fewer people and better views but also the need of transport to the town center. Many hotels offer this transfer (you can also rent a motorbike). Our first impression can’t be better. This looks very good.

Waking up and have breakfast in the room terrace admiring the rice paddies is priceless, and in Ubud, there are  many hotels and very good deals. After breakfast, we rented a motorbike to move around Ubud the next three days. Make sure the bike you rent is in good condition.


And we start our day! This route is great for a day in Ubud with no need of taking a bike or organize an activity. First stop, Monkey Forest. This small and protected area is only 5 minutes by bike or 15 on foot from Ubud’s center and it hosts around 700 monkeys. An interesting visit, it allows you to wander around the forest and to see some monkeys moving freely. Avoid having food or any object sticking out your pockets because it is very possible the monkeys will take it.

Once we say goodbye to our new Balinese friends, the monkeys, we head to the center to visit Ubud Palace, the market, and Saraswati temple. All of them have free entrance and they are walking distance. At Ubud Palace, there is are Balinese dances shows almost every night for about 100,000 IDR (7 €). Although we didn’t go we believe it would be worth it. A cold coconut gave us our strength back, we head to the market to get our bargaining skills into practice and to get some presents (Christmas is coming) some cheap T-shirts and trousers.


We stop for lunch at Waroeng Bernadette (one of the best we tried). Delicious food and good price. Ideal to get back to today’s plans.

Saraswati temple, Hindu Goddess of knowledge and arts, is at Ubud’s main street, Jalan Raya Ubud, you can enter through Cafe Lotus. It is worth visit as it is quiet and peaceful. This is only our first day but Balinese architecture is leaving us speechless. Ubud is full of small temples. The best thing to do is to just wander around its streets and get ready to be surprised by any corner.


And of course, to end our first day, we treated ourselves with a Balinese massage. There are so many spas around and after an hour (or more) you are like brand new.

Transfer (private car) Denpasar – Ubud 300,000 IDR (21 €)

Hotel Ujung Ubud 270,000 IDR (19 €) per night, breakfast included

Motobike rent 60,000 IDR (4 €) per day

Monkey Temple entrance 40,000 IDR (3 €) per person

Lunch for two at Waroeng Bernadette 127,000 IDR (9 €)

1 hora Balinese massage 80,000 IDR (5’6 €) per person


*Note: The statues with long tongues are called leyak and they are supposed to be bad witches, some believe that they are the reason of illness and death.

This is our suggestion and experience to have a great day in Ubud. What would you add?

All our tour around the country in our section of Indonesia.

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26 comentarios

  1. I’m surprised to hear that so many people are saying that Bali has lost it’s touch. When I picture Bali in my mind it just seems so exotic! It seems like there is so much to do in Ubud that it would be hard to only spend a day there, however I know all too well how it feels to be pressed for time and it seems like you really made the most of it! I personally would love to visit the temples here and get a relaxing massage as well! What did you get to eat at Waroeng Bernadette? 🙂

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    • We went on low season so we didn’t find as much tourist as people who feel it has lost its touch might have found. I guess it depends on what your plan is. Ubud is great, and of course there are more things to do, but this only shows what it is IN Ubud, more to come next week 😉 At Bernadette we had Gado-Gado and Ketoprack and tasting for the first time some tempeh. It was just delicious

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    • It is great!! Be careful with the monkeys they are very used to humans around and they are cheeky but it is also their territory. We had such a lovely day. Absolutely worth it and you won’t be rushing around

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    • Everything we saw of Balinese architecture was mindblowing. We have a soft spot for carvings (wood or stone) and this type of architecture and sculptures are just what we needed to see!

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  2. Nice pictures! About Bali – yes we heard also quite many different opinions about this, some negative (too many tourists) but also good ones and some special tipps. Bit as you proved there are obviously still untouched and uncrowded places 🙂
    When I look at the prices, I sometimes cannot even believe how cheap it is. Imagine, 1 hour massage for 6 EUR…
    Great post, thanks for sharing!

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    • It was low season, of course there were more tourist than just the two of us but it is Bali! And as long as temples and nature stays the same it is worth a visit

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  3. I did my internship in Bali and loved it. Yes, there are many touristy places, but you can find peaceful spots with little or no tourists. I also liked the temples in Ubud and the fact that it was green all around. I hope you enjoyed the rest of the trip too 🙂

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  4. This article is extremely useful to me, given that I have plans to visit Indonesia early next year. I can’t wait to walk among the curious monkeys and enjoy all that Bali has to offer. I will keep this article as a reference for my next trip.

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  5. Bali sounds amazing! I haven’t been, but I wanna check it out. I definitely need to check out that temple, I really love churches/temples because they have such a unique, peaceful vibe to them. Great post!

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