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Things to Do in Ubud

Set in Bali's verdant central foothills amid sculpted rice terraces and swaths of rain forest, Ubud is the island's cultural and spiritual center. Modern Ubud is something of an international hotspot, with a dizzying variety of outdoor activities, shopping spots, day spas, and restaurants serving world cuisine. But its picturesque temples and traditions were luring expats and travelers long before the era of “Eat, Pray, Love,” and Ubud remains proudly Balinese at heart. A village tour will take you to the grand Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Palace), the striking Saraswati Temple, and Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary—where you must keep a tight hold on your belongings; the resident macaques have no fear. While these sights should not be missed, Ubud’s lasting charms are its people and traditional culture. This is the place to experience authentic Balinese life: Try out a woodcarving or ceramic-making class; learn Balinese cooking; chat with locals at the market; and make sure to catch a Barong or Keris dance performance—usually accompanied by live gamelan music and drumming. Just an hour north of Denpasar and the international airport, Ubud makes an ideal inland retreat and perfect base from which to explore the highlands. Sacred Hindu sites such as the magnificent Tirta Empul Temple and Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) are popular day-trip stops, along with Petulu Village, famous for its droves of Kokokan birds. Explore the valley's rich art and handicraft heritage with private tours to nearby artisan villages like Batuan, Batubulan, and Celuk.
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Ubud Monkey Forest (Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary)
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789 Tours and Activities

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a Balinese Hindu site at the bottom of Monkey Forest Road and populated by cheeky long-tailed macaques. It's a popular site with visitors to Ubud who come to see the monkeys and the temples within the sanctuary.

There are hundreds of monkeys living in and around the monkey forest. You can purchase food for them at the entrance gate but be warned that the monkeys are aggresive opportunists - particularly in their pursuit of food. They will think nothing of climbing on you or raking through your bag in search of something edible.

There are 3 temples within the forest, Pura Dalem (death temple), the Holy Bathing Temple and Pura Prajapati (funerary or cremation temple). All 3 of these temples are sacred, as is the forest and the monkeys, who are believed to protect the area from evil spirits.

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Tegenungan Waterfall (Air Terjun Tegenungan)
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740 Tours and Activities
Not far from Ubud, Tegenungan Waterfall foams in a white cascade over black stone cliffs into a quiet pool. At around 66 feet (20 meters) high, it’s an impressive flow, and that’s not all the site has to offer. Besides climbable cliffs, a secret smaller waterfall, and simple food stalls, a charming grotto houses a sacred spring.
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Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Agung)
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Home of Ubud’s royal family since the late-19th century, Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Palace or Puri Saren Agung) sits in the heart of downtown Ubud near the traditional art market. Explore the pavilions and gardens. There are also traditional Balinese dance performances in the courtyard each evening, a must for any visitor to Indonesia.
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Campuhan Ridge Walk
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The classically Balinese combo of rice fields and river gorges is what makes Ubud’s landscapes so beloved, and the Campuhan Ridge Walk, the best-known walk in Ubud, is the perfect way to appreciate them. Starting at Pura Gunung Lebah, choose between a 2-hour circular route around Campuhan and Sanggingan or a longer hike to Keliki and Taro.
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Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah)
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One of Bali’s holiest Hindu sites (and one of its most popular attractions) is a grotto with a history dating back more than 1,000 years. Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) has uncertain origins, but it's believed that it once served as a sanctuary for Hindu priests to meditate or even sleep.

Goa Gajah's entrance makes a menacing first impression, carved in the likeness of a gaping mouth of a demonic creature. The façade of the cave entrance features several relief carvings of various mythological creatures, and while no one is sure what they represent, local lore says that an elephant was the protagonist of the drama depicted in the carvings; hence, the nickname Elephant Cave.

The courtyard just outside the cave has more recently excavated decorative bathing pools, adorned with carvings of partially clad females pouring water from urns. The cave itself is rather small, a T-shaped space with several small ledges and a statue of Ganesh, added after the cave was excavated.

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Saraswati Temple (Pura Taman Saraswati)
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Dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and art, Ubud’s Saraswati Temple is a beautiful spot for worshippers and visitors alike. Water gardens and lotus ponds flow up to the elegant structure, which is enriched with ornate carvings. The temple makes an atmospheric setting for Balinese dance performances.
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Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA)
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Ubud’s Agung Rai Museum of Art, or ARMA as it’s more popularly known, is a museum, gallery space and cultural center founded by Agung Rai, a Balinese entrepreneur who got exposed to the world of Balinese art while selling souvenirs in Kuta. Inspired by visits to the Puri Lukisan and Neka museums, Agung Rai began collecting paintings to which he felt a spiritual connection, including works by Balinese and international artists.

Today, that collection makes its home in ARMA, a series of traditional buildings in a vibrant garden setting. It is divided thematically into four sections: Kamasan, Pre-war, European Living in Bali and Modern Traditional. Of particular note is the collection by Russian-born German painter Walter Spies, who came to Bali in 1927 and greatly influenced the 1930s Balinese art movement with his primitivism-style paintings. Also on display are works by Raden Saleh, a pioneer of modern Balinese painting.

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Museum Puri Lukisan
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One of Ubud’s big three art galleries, Museum Puri Lukisan sits slap-bang in the heart of downtown Ubud. Collections cover not only Balinese paintings and drawings but also wood carvings and work by foreign artists. The Puri Lukisan gallery is also Ubud’s oldest art museum, founded in 1956 by a foundation established in 1936.
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Neka Art Museum
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In Bali’s cultural capital, Ubud, the Neka Art Museum is one of the town’s big three art galleries. Founded by Suteja Neka, its airy pavilions are home to a treasure trove of Balinese and Indonesian art, as well as a collection of wavy daggers known as “keris.” The Balinese Painting Hall is a good place to explore the work of local artists.
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Don Antonio Blanco Museum
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Ubud’s Don Antonio Blanco Museum celebrates the colorful life and baroque-erotic work of Philippine-born Spanish artist Antonio Blanco. Blanco arrived in Bali in 1952 and married a famous Balinese dancer. Set on a hill amid elaborate gardens and an aviary, the museum’s architecture, a hybrid of Spanish and Indonesian influences, is a highlight.
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More Things to Do in Ubud

Casa Luna Cooking School

Casa Luna Cooking School

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Tirta Empul Temple (Pura Tirta Empul)

Tirta Empul Temple (Pura Tirta Empul)

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627 Tours and Activities
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Celuk Village (Desa Celuk)

Celuk Village (Desa Celuk)

473 Tours and Activities
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Mas Village (Desa Mas)

Mas Village (Desa Mas)

258 Tours and Activities
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Bali Bird Park (Taman Burung Bali)

Bali Bird Park (Taman Burung Bali)

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The Bali Bird Park has a large collection of rare and unusual Indonesian birds and birds from other countries that roam free throughout the park or are contained within lush avaries. Located in the Batubulan stone carving village and next door to the reptile farm, the Park is a popular day trip from the surrounding tourist towns of Kuta, Sanur and Ubud. Divided into regions that attempt to recreate the birds natural habitats, the Bali Bird Park takes you on a trail through the Indonesian archipelago, Latin America and South Africa. The Bird Park plays a key role in protecting and conserving Indonesia’s endangered wildlife and has successfully bred many species, including the rare Pesquet’s Parrot, Birds of Paradise, Hornbills and Bali Starlings.

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Bali Zoo

Bali Zoo

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Bali Zoo’s collection of animal-friendly enclosures and interactive exhibits span over 20 acres (8 hectares) of tropical forest and gardens near the village of Singapadu. Zoo-goers can observe river otters from an underwater viewpoint, watch African lions enjoying an afternoon snack or ride atop a Sumatran elephant. A highlight, particularly for younger visitors, is the petting zoo where kids can touch and sometimes feed domestic and baby animals, including elephants, rabbits, Timor deer and sitatunga. At Night at the Zoo (separate ticket required), visitors get a glimpse of Bali’s nocturnal habitats before sitting down for a dinner under the stars next to the lion enclosure.

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