The best of Ubud: From trekking Mount Batur, practising yoga to cooking Balinese dishes alongside locals, here is a curated 3D2N Ubud itinerary.
Ubud is located about an hour drive from Bali’s main airport – Denpasar International Airport – and the Balinese town is best known for its rice paddy fields, organic cafes and yogi community.
Pronounced as oo-bood, Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali and comprises a total of 14 villages. The serenity it offers is unrivalled – and that by no means imply that it is a boring destination.
We visited Ubud twice in the span of a year and spent a total of 12 days exploring the Indonesian villages’ best experiences. If you wish to escape from the hectic city, Ubud is the ideal respite.
From trekking Mount Batur before sunrise, practising yoga to cooking Balinese dishes alongside locals, we have curated a 3D2N Ubud itinerary for travellers who wish to experience it all.
Day 1 In Ubud | Saturday
1. Alchemy– A multi-concept health food specialty store
Ubud’s sheer number of cafes will leave you spoilt rotten for choice and we aren’t complaining! We have visited a dozen too many cafes in Ubud over the past two trips and we hereby conclude: Ubud is indeed a leader in Southeast Asia when it comes to the health food scene.
One of the most popular cafes in Ubud would be the instagram-worthy Alchemy. It also happens to be Bali’s very first raw vegan cafe. Today, Alchemy is almost an institution in Ubud. A health store and holistic clinic are located within the same compound.
Admittedly, prices are a bit steep compared to other cafes in Ubud. Expect to pay approximately IDR47,000 / SGD5 for a salad bowl.
2. Campuhan Ridge Walk– Reconnect with nature with an easy hike
We discovered Campuhan Ridge Walk via Instagram when we were sourcing ideas for our trip. The scenic nature walk is easy and a return journey could be easily completed within an hour. Alright, it actually depends how much time you spend taking photos.
Directions On How To Get To Campuhan Ridge Walk:
- Locate Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas & Spa’s signboard along the main road aka Jalan Raya Ubud. Look out for the word ‘IBAH’ and proceed in upon finding it.
- There are two diverging pathways, but follow the route that says “Going To The Hill”.
- There are signs indicating ‘Campuhan Ridge’ which will ensure you are on the right track.
- Your endpoint would be Karsa Kafe and Karsa Spa (which are about two kilometres away).
P.s. We have placed the GPS coordinates in the Google Map under ‘Campuhan Ridge Walk Starting Point’ to help you locate the trail’s starting point.
Tip: Do slather sunscreen lotion and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Address: Jalan Raya Ubud No. 35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
3. Karsa Spa – Rejuvenate your tired soul with a full-body massage
Massages in Bali are considered cheap – when compared to other first-world cities – and there are many parlours in Ubud itself. We recommend Karsa Spa which is located directly beside Karsa Kafe. Both Karsa Spa and Karsa Kafe mark the endpoint of your Campuhan Ridge Walk.
Over at Karsa Spa, a 30-minute foot reflexology and a 60-minute Traditional Balinese Massage costs IDR 85,000 / SGD9 and IDR 160,000 / SGD17.10 respectively.
Head over to Karsa Spa’s official website to view the full menu of its services and to make an online booking.
Tip: Both cash and card are accepted, but a 3% transaction fee will be charged on your card.
Address: Jl. Markandia, Banyar Bangkiang Sidem, Keliki, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
4. Ibu Oka – Anthony Bourdain’s favourite, but not ours
Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, Ibu Oka is so famous that it can too be considered an attraction. Indeed, travellers based in different parts of Bali would travel all the way to Ubud just to eat these so-called legendary Babi Guling. Babi Guling refers to suckling pig stuffed with a myriad of spices.It is then slow-roasted on a spit for up to five or six hours.
For more bang for your buck, order the Special (IDR55,000/SGD5.90). The dish comprises a portion of rice topped with blood sausage, crispy pork skin, fried pork, roast pork and vegetables..
Honestly speaking, Ibu Oka did not live up to our expectations. However, the tourists seem to really love it. Perhaps things were done better before Anthony Bourdain made it world-famous.. Try them and decide for yourself!
Today, there are three Ibu Oka in Ubud and there is one outlet situated right across Ubud Palace.
Tip: Order the Special, where you will get to try pork done in multi ways
Address: Jl. Suweta No.2, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
5. Tukies Coconut Shop – Refreshing coconut ice-cream awaits
There is no way you can resist Tukies Coconut Shop, especially if you are a coconut fan like us. The tiny shopfront is filled with large whole coconuts piled atop each other.
Do not leave Tukies Coconut Shop without trying their heaveny Coconut Ice-cream (IDR25,000 / SGD2.70). The smooth vegan coconut ice-cream is topped with sweet roasted coconut brittle – hands down the best coconut ice-cream we ever had.
Can’t get enough of coconut? You can purchase nicely packaged Coconut Butter (IDR50,000 / SGD 5.35) and Virgin Coconut Oil (IDR40,000 / SGD 4.30) back home as souvenirs.
Tip: This cute coconut shop is located along the main road of Jalan Raya Ubud.
Address: Jl. Raya Ubud No.14, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
6. Ubud Monkey Forest – An unbelievable number of wild monkeys
It costs IDR20,000 / SGD2.15 per pax to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. What ensues after could turn out to be either an enjoyable or traumatic experience.
In fact, the exact opposite could be true… As seen in the image above, our GoPro camera was attacked. And if you thought that was bad, our friend was peed on. Not even kidding!
The monkeys roam freely around and they are clearly not afraid of humans. These furry creatures may look adorable, but do be extremely cautious when approaching them. In worst case scenarios, the monkeys might bite or chase after you. This is usually the case if you have food with you, so make sure you have none.
There are three temples located within the sanctuary. Look out for Pura Dalem Agung – a Hindu temple which features Rangda figures eating up kids.
Caution: These wild monkeys may bite!
Address: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia
7. Yoga Barn – It Offers Yoga Classes Of All Levels
Yoga Barn – a reputable full-service yoga studio in Ubud – offers 90-minute classes throughout the day. Check the updated schedule and types of classes on Yoga Barn’s official website.
A yoga class starts at IDR130,000 / SGD13.90. Note that the availability is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Yoga Barn provides yoga mats for all students, so you do not have to worry about packing one into your luggage.
Tip: Registration opens half an hour before a class.
Address: l. Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
8. Bebek Bengil Restaurant – Order the signature crispy duck
Bebek Bengil Restaurant – also known as Dirty Duck Diner – has been serving The Original Crispy Duck since 1990. Unsurprisingly, prices have soared with its popularity. This famed dish now sets you back IDR125,000 / SGD13.40 – quite pricey for a casual meal in Bali!
So what do you actually get? A half duck is steamed in aromatic Indonesian spices then deep-fried till crisp. The crispy duck is then served with white rice and Balinese vegetables.
If we have to make a comparison, it is Bebek Bengik Restaurant that we prefer to Ibu Oka.
Address: Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal, Ubud, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Day 2 In Ubud | Sunday
9(a). Mount Batur – Commence your climb before sunrise in the dark
Climbing Mount Batur was on the top of our to-do list and after comparing several tour companies’ online rates and reviews, we decided to proceed with Bali Eco Cycling.
We opted for their package ‘Mount Batur Pre-Dawn Trek to Sunrise Point’ and we each paid USD32 (early bird booking). The fee covers everything i.e. pick-up, tour guide, breakfast, drop-off.
|2.30am: Pick up from Ubud hotel
3am: Light breakfast at The Lakeview
4am: Commence climb from base
6am: Reach Sunrise Point
|6.30am: Reach summit (optional)
7.30am: Commence descend
9am: Breakfast at The Lakeview
10.30am: Drop-off at Ubud centre
The climb up Mount Batur is not easy! A certain level of stamina is required for one to reach the summit and boy, it is tiring. But the mesmerising view made it worthwhile.
Each trekker is given a torchlight before the hike up Mount Batur begins. Do test the torch several times before leaving the base, it is going to be your only beacon of light for the next two hours! You will also be given bottles of mineral water, so do bring along a backpack to store these items.
While it is hot in Ubud all-year round, temperatures do surprisingly dip at pre-dawn.We were told to bring a lightweight jacket should – but you really do NOT need it. The cold is considered negligible the minute you commence your climb. It will be incredibly tempting when the tour guides offer to loan/sell jackets, but save the money and say no because you WILL perspire while going uphill.
We would like to think of ourselves as fit, but we did struggle. The ascent was indeed challenging. Do look up during short water breaks – a galaxy of stars await!
9(b). Mount Batur – Arrive Sunrise Point and hike further To Summit
Upon arriving Mount Batur’s Sunrise Point at 6am, you are given the option to further hike up to the summit. Go for it! It will take about another 20 to 30 minutes.
Note that there are many routes to descend Mount Batur so follow your local tour guides closely.
P.s. One of our friends – mind you, she’s fit – gave up midway and retreated to the base. So yes, people do give up during the hike up Mt Batur and do know that it is perfectly fine if you do so.
Do wear long comfy pants. Sports shoes is a must. The entire route is unpaved and many of us tripped and slid whilst making our way down the steep, slippery slope of Mount Batur.
Loose rock fragments are aplenty so watch your footing or risk falling! We were all thankful that our legs were covered by leggings – it sure did minimise the bruises.
Do have an early night the day before, since you will be picked up at an unearthly 2.15am.
After the descend, we were driven back to The Lakeview Restaurant in Kintamani for a buffet breakfast. The food was subpar, but the panoramic views from The Lakeview were so damn beautiful! You could probably trick someone that you are in Switzerland instead…
Everyone is then chauffeured back to Ubud’s town centre via the same mini van. You can inform the driver that you would like to be dropped off somewhere else in Ubud instead of the hotel.
The overall experience was exhilarating and if given a choice, we would do it again.
10. Seniman Coffee Studio– The best specialty coffee shop in Ubud
Ask anyone where the best coffee shop in Ubud is and they will all direct you to Seniman Coffee Studio. We actually visited Seniman Coffee Studio on a daily basis during our first trip – yes, it’s that good! The cafe offers free wifi. P.s. Most cafes in Ubud offer complimentary internet anyway.
Seniman Coffee Studio boasts a hearty selection of coffee beans and Indonesian delicacies. We love the presentation of their coffee; each beverage is served with an Indonesian kueh on the side. All espressos here are double ristrettos, hence you can expect a richer coffee.
You can also shop for coffee equipment, purchase in-house blends and even attend coffee workshops here. A must-visit for all coffee enthusiasts!
11. Ubud Market – Check out local artists’ handicrafts
Ubud Market is admittedly touristy – which is totally unsurprising given its strategic location. Furthermore, the market also starred in Hollywood movie Eat, Pray, Love, where actress Julia Roberts was seen strolling through the bustling market.
Despite being a tourist attraction, Ubud Market actually still serves the locals and vendors sell a plethora of fresh produce – but only before 9am. The hawkers then switch their goods to a splendid array of clothing, handicrafts and other souvenirs after to cater to the touristy crowd.
Address: Jl. Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
12. Ubud Palace – Check out Balinese historical architecture
There are several free things to do in Ubud and one of these activities includes visiting the magnificent Ubud Palace aka Puri Saren.
The local royal family actually still lives here, which explains why you are only granted access to the front section of Ubud Palace. Entrance is complimentary and this historically rich architecture is regarded as one of Ubud’s focal landmarks.
Cultural dance performances are held at Puri Saren on a nightly basis. However, do note that it would be a ticketed event and admission fees start from IDR80,000 / SGD8.55 per pax.
Address: Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
13. Saraswati Temple – A hidden beautiful water temple
Pura Taman Saraswati is a Hindu Temple located in the heart of Ubud’s town centre. However, it isn’t as prominent as the Ubud Palace as the infrastructure is blocked by Lotus Cafe & Starbucks. There is only one Starbucks in the whole of Ubud, so finding Saraswati Temple isn’t hard at all.
The water temple offers fantastic photo opportunities – we mean, just look at how gorgeous it is! The walkway leading you to the temple is surrounded by a lotus pond. Entrance is free for all.
Tip: Enjoy the best view from the back of Starbucks.
Address: Jl. Kajeng, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
14. Kou Cuisine – Shop For Gourmet Souvenirs
Kou Cuisine caught our eye with its beautiful decors – talk about visiting Pinterest in real life! The cute little shop specialises in artisanal jams and salt. From From Apple Cinnamon, Mango to Milk Caramel the variety of flavours is pretty extensive. You can sample these homemade goodness for free!
We love how Kou Cuisine’s condiments are packaged so prettily and we reckon they will make the perfect souvenirs.
15. Kismet Lounge – Dinner
We chanced upon Kismet Lounge by accident and it is by far, one of our favourite gourmet discoveries in Ubud. The restaurant showcases an exhaustive vegetarian menu and we have to say – it proved to us that healthy food can taste just as delicious.
We had their Dragon Bowl (IDR85,000) which includes either organic red rice or chilled rice noodles with avocado, broccoli, mushrooms, red pepper, roasted pumpkin, lemongrass-tahini dressing and five skewers of your choice (grilled vegetables, mushroom, tempe, tofu and vegan satay). P.s. Choose all five!
Tip: Get their salad bowl with skewers.
Address: Jalan Goutama Selatan No.#17, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
16. Caramel Patisserie – Adorable Artisanal Specialty Dessert Cafe
Ranked as the top bakery in Ubud on Trip Advisor, CarameL Patisserie & Cafe specialises in cakes and macarons.
End your night on a sugary high with their macarons – there are up to 20 flavours to choose from. Sample their unique flavours such as Chilli Choco, Java Tea Choco and Nutella Coconut. Otherwise, stick to safer options i.e. Salted Caramel and Passionfruit.
Day 3 In Ubud | Sunday
17. Jambangan Bali Cooking Class – Learn to cook Balinese dishes from a local family
Cooking classes are exceptionally popular in Ubud, so do make a booking way in advance to avoid disappointment. Truth be told, we were rejected by almost every recommended cooking class then.
Back then, Jambangan Bali Cooking Class was almost unheard of as it had only just started out; we are glad we gave it a shot because it turned out to be one of our best travel experiences.
We suggest you register for the morning class so that you get to visit a local market and visit a kopi luwak plantation before your cooking class. It costs only IDR350,000 per pax but what you get in return is a private hands-on cooking class taught by a local Balinese family, two-way transfer and a feast whipped up by yourselves.
You will learn to prepare eight traditional dishes, think Gado-Gado, Sate Empols, Tempe Manis and Kolak Ubi etc – and eat all of them after. Oh you will also learn to carve vegetables and weave bamboo mats.
The entire process (including a short trip to the market and plantation) takes approximately four hours. Read about our detailed experience with Jambangan Bali Cooking Class here.
18. Tegalalang Rice Terrace – A stunning landscape you must not miss
Last but not least, do make a special trip to the picturesque Tegalalang Rice Terrace before leaving Ubud. The landscape is a highly sought-after destination amongst photographers and we attribute that to its spellbindingly beautiful panoramic scenery.
You can pay an entrance fee of IDR5,000 to stroll around the layering terraces.
How To Get To Ubud From Denpasar Airport
There are various modes of airport transfers between Ubud and Bali’s Denpasar Airport, but we will recommend hiring PT Ubud Taxi. The one-way journey is approximately an hour, but it ultimately depends on traffic conditions. Do remember to give some leeway so you don’t miss your flight!
You can contact Ubud Taxi via their official website’s contact form and enquire about their rates after providing information about your pick-up time and destination etc. We were charged a flat rate (for one car, not per pax) of IDR270,000 for a one-way journey. Note that you only pay the driver in cash after you have arrived your destination.
If you are booking your accommodation in Ubud through Airbnb, your host might also offer pick-up services at either a cheaper/pricier rate.
Accommodation in Ubud
Ubud is essentially a small countryside town and there are no skyscrapers in sight. Some hotels and airbnb accommodation might be located away from the main roads and situated within rice fields… Which brings to our next point – some lodging in Ubud might be inaccessible via car. Yep, that happened to us during our stay at Masia Villa Ubud.
The hotel staff of Masia Villa Ubud were however incredibly kind and offered to drive us to & fro the main streets daily throughout our stay. So our advice is to perhaps contact your airbnb host or hotel staff and enquire about the accommodation’s accessibility.
You can download our Ubud itinerary in word document or pdf file.
Here is a Google map of all the places we listed in this Ubud itinerary:
Jambangan Bali Cooking Class was the highlight of our vacation in Ubud. It was more than just a cooking lesson.
Below is a quick 33-second video on our overall experience with Jambangan Bali Cooking Class. The cooking day class also included a trip to a local market and an optional visit to Kopi Luwak Coffee Plantation.
Here is an overall itinerary of our experience at Jambangan Bali Cooking Class from 8.30am – 12.30pm:
|1. Pick up from hotel||2. Visit Luwak Coffee (optional)||3. Welcome drinks at Rakesh’s|
|4. Weave bamboo mats||5. Cook eight dishes & eat them!||6. Drop off at hotel|
Cooking classes in Ubud are very popular. Do try to secure a booking at least two days in advance to avoid disappointment.
We honestly had nowhere in mind when looking for a cooking class in Ubud. We looked up the internet and called up a few recommended places but to no avail. Cooking classes turn out to be really popular in Ubud! Most cooking classes in Ubud are conducted either in the morning or afternoon, and morning classes usually include a guided tour to a local market (or the paddy fields).
Right when we were about to give up, we chanced upon Jambangan Bali Cooking Class. We called Rakesh up and enquired for two slots the following morning. He confirmed our booking and asked for our pick up address.
Rakesh picked us up from our hotel at 8.30am and we were surprised that we were the only participants for the morning class! We were driven to a local wet market (nothing like the touristy Ubud market across Ubud Palace) called Pasar Umum Tegalalang where Rakesh introduced several ingredients to us.
We walked around the busy market, learnt about their fresh produce and watched the locals mingle. Please do not expect to browse through any souvenirs as the market is solely catered for the locals. It was a refreshing change compared to Ubud’s town centre, where foreigners usually make up to over 95% of any eatery’s patrons.
Rakesh then asked if we have visited any Kopi Luwak plantations and offered to drive us there. We have been meaning to drop by one of these interesting coffee plantations after seeing many pictures on Instagram, so we accepted his kind invitation immediately.
You can choose to skip Kopi Luwak if you have already been there or are simply uninterested. There are several Kopi Luwak places across Ubud and the one we visited was near Tegalalang Rice Terraces called Alas Arum Coffee Tegallalang.
Upon arrival, a local guide took us around and briefed us about their unique coffee. Civets, otherwise known as luwaks, are cat-like nocturnal creatures that feed on coffee cherries. Coffee beans are then found in civets’ droppings due to the animals’ inability to digest the seeds. The beans manage to take on a special taste and smell after going through the luwaks’ digestive tracts.
After a thorough cleaning process, the coffee beans are sold at a higher price (as opposed other coffee beans) for its quirky novelty. Visitors have to pay an additional SGD 5 to sample this special coffee. We gave the prized coffee a miss and proceeded with the free sampling of 14 other coffees and teas. We left the shop with packets of mangosteen tea and grounded ginseng coffee. Those two were our favourite flavours from the lot.
Jambangan Bali Cooking Class takes place at Rakesh’s home, hence providing guests maximum privacy and undivided attention.
Finally, our next destination was the long-awaited cooking class at Rakesh’s lovely home. Unlike most other cooking classes that are held in hotels or restaurants, participants of Jambangan Bali Class would be invited to learn Balinese culinary skills right in the comforts of a local’s house.
We were warmly welcomed by the Jambagan Bali family who greeted us with fresh coconuts. As we slurped away to cool ourselves down, Rakesh talked to us about their Balinese culture. Orientation is very important in Balinese tradition and his house was a perfect example on how the cultural belief has influenced them. The North-East is believed to be an auspicious direction and it is where Balinese families will locate their ancestral shrine and master bedroom.
We learnt how to weave bamboo mats and carve vegetables into different sculptures. These hands-on activities actually require a lot of patience and skills! We found ourselves giggling over wrong moves that resulted in collapsing vegetable flowers.
Mrs. Rakesh, our enthusiastic teacher, offered us numerous bottles of mineral water throughout the lesson to ensure that we were well hydrated. She is such a joy to be around, guiding us through every step with her contagious laughter.
P.s. Jamnbangan Bali Class is definitely suitable for beginners.
We were taught to make the following delicious Balinese dishes in non-chronological order:
Basic yellow sauce, otherwise known as basic genep is the first thing we learnt to make. It is a complex fragrant paste used in many classic Balinese dishes and lasts up to two weeks when refrigerated. Ingredients were prepared beforehand and displayed neatly on the table to speed up the cooking process.
Palm sugar is also a staple ingredient in Balinese dishes and Mrs. Rakesh would always say “one more for good luck” when adding tablespoons of it to the pot. Her son and other members of the family soon joined in to assist us in carving cucumber crabs, grilling the sate empols and whatnot.
We tried to document our experience whenever possible but our hands were constantly busy slicing, marinating and frying. Time flies when you are having fun! Soon enough, we ended up with a table filled with delicious Balinese food. There was so much food and no way we could finish everything.
Jambangan Bali Cooking Class ended at about 12.30pm and we were driven back to the hotel. And here’s the thing – We almost forgot to pay for our class! Thankfully Mrs. Rakesh reminded us and we felt so terrible. She even apologised for reminding when it was clearly our fault, not hers. The hospitality of Balinese people is truly remarkable; everyone we met were very friendly and helpful.
It costs about IDR 350,000 (which is equivalent to approximately SGD 36) per pax for a Jambangan Bali class. For all that has been included, we felt that we got way more in return and would highly recommend it to anyone.
Here are some personal tips and advice from us before you head off for Jambangan Bali Cooking Class:
- You might want to either skip breakfast or have a very light one to prepare for a feast!
- Afternoon classes are also available but you will probably not get to visit the local market.
Disclaimer: This trip was prior to our knowledge of certain coffee plantations capturing Luwaks and cruelly force feeding them for commercial purposes. We did see a few caged luwaks but are uncertain about Alas Arum Coffee Tegalalang’s practices in obtaining luwak coffee. Hence we remain neutral towards other travellers’ decisions of visiting Alas Aram Coffee Taglalang and/or purchasing luwak coffee from them.