Booking an Ubud Day Tour is a must-do while on holiday in Bali. The picturesque village in the hills has its own unique vibe being away from the tourist enclaves on the South Bali coastline and the surrounding areas are full of outstanding tourist attractions, from temples and natural parks to rice terraces and adventure activities.
The departure time is completely up to you, but I recommend heading off as early as possible to beat most of the traffic. The streets around Ubud are one-way, so I’ve designed these itineraries to make the most of your time and tick off the attractions in a logical order.
Remember, you can modify the destinations you want to visit on the day, so if there is somewhere you want to stay longer or skip an attraction in favour of another, my drivers are flexible and it’s entirely up to you.
Itinerary 1: Ubud + Temples + Rice Terraces
If you’re looking to maximise your time visiting the most wonderfully unique and exceptional temples along with other attractions around Ubud then this itinerary is for you.
Itinerary 3: Ubud + Temples + Rice Terraces + Tanah Lot
- Pick-up from hotel or villa
- Goa Gajah
- Tirta Empul
- Gunung Kawi
- Tegallalang Rice Terraces
- Ubud Royal Palace
- Ubud Monkey Forest
- Tanah Lot
- Drop-off back to hotel or villa
Ubud Day Tour Guide Map
It takes just over an hour to Ubud from Seminyak.
That was an awesome day!!!
Wow! We couldn't have asked for more, from the time Putu picked us up to the time we got back to the hotel it was an epic day! There is SO MUCH to see in and around Ubud...and thankfully Putu knew which were the one-ways so we didn't waste time going round and round like some other people we talked to over lunch. And thank you so much for the tips about where to have lunch and Putu is an absolute gem!! Thank you Michael, that was a day to remember...
Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest is extremely popular because, well monkeys are just so damn cute. They have also earned a well-deserved reputation for being masterful thieves. It’s best to leave sunglasses, handbags and anything you don’t want to part with inside the tour vehicle, as the monkeys have a well-earned reputation for stealing pretty much anything they can get their hands on.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is very accessible and is an easy walk through the sanctuary grounds over well-paved walkways. It is visited by more than 10,000 tourists a month, making it one of the most popular attractions in Bali.
Entrance Fee: Rp 80k
Location: Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar
Opening Hours: Mo-Su 08:30-17:30
Ubud Royal Palace
Puri Saren Agung, more commonly known as the Ubud Royal Palace is located in the centre of Ubud and used to be the official residence of the Ubud royal family.
The Ubud Royal Palace is located 1.4 km straight up the western side of Ubud from the Monkey Forest. Because it’s located in the centre of Ubud it’s a popular tourist attraction and makes an excellent stop before exploring other parts of Ubud Village by foot. The traffic around this part of Ubud can be pretty intense, so it’s a good base to get your driver to park close-by while visiting the other attractions before heading off again.
Like all Balinese temples, the Ubud Royal Palace has spectacular entrance gates and beautiful grounds. It’s not a large complex, and you’ll be able to get a good look around within an hour.
Address: Jl. Raya Ubud No.8, Ubud
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-7pm
Entrance Fee: Free
The Elephant Cave as it’s known – Goa Gajah in Balinese – is an ancient temple on the outskirts of Ubud. While the steps down to the temple complex are fairly steep, it’s only a 5-minute walk and not difficult for average fitness levels.
The Elephant Cave temple is located 5 km from Ubud, 31 km from Seminyak and 58 km from Nusa Dua.
You can read more about Goa Gajah including day tours, location and entrance fees.
Pura Tirta Empul
Pura Tirta Empul is a Hindu Balinese water temple dating back to the 10th century and is one of the holiest in Bali, located near the town of Tampaksiring, around a half-hour drive (15 km) north of Ubud. The temple pond has a spring which gushes fresh water regularly, which Balinese Hindus consider to be holy – Tirta Empul means Holy Spring in Balinese.
You can bathe in the springs alongside locals if you observe a few simple courtesies and protocols. Start from the left, and if there is someone praying alongside to the right, simply join in the queue (or start one) and be patient.
Work your way right until you get to the end of the first pool, and hop up and across into the second one. It’s an extraordinary experience, and one I highly recommend with two provisos.
One, there was an outbreak of e.coli in 2017 due to contaminated water leaking into the water table upstream from the springs in. The water has been cleaned up since then, but if another outbreak happens I’ll send word through the email newsletter, which you will want to sign up for.
Two, the facilities for changing beforehand and washing afterwards are rudimentary at best, and very unhygienic at worst. You are best off getting changed into your swimsuit in your car beforehand and having a towel and a change of clothes for afterwards.
Regardless of the poor changing facilities I highly recommend bathing in the temple. It’s a unique and enlightening experience and well worth the effort to plan ahead.
Pura Tirta Empul is only 1.3 km from Gunung Kawi, so it makes sense to visit them both on the same trip or a day tour.
Read more about Tirta Empul including day tours, location and entrance fees.
Gunung Kawi Temple is an 11th-century temple complex that sits on either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut shrines (candi in Balinese) that are carved into 7-metre-high sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face.
These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. The temple overlooks the Pakerisan River, which also flows past Pura Tirta Empul, a kilometre to the north.
Read more about Gunung Kawi including day tours, location and entrance fees.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
The Tegalalang Rice Terraces is one of the most accessible and beautiful rice terraces in Bali. Lining the main road in the small village of Tegalalang are a number of hillside cafes where you can relax, try the local Luwak coffee and get some Instagram-worthy photos.
If you’re feeling physically fit and adventurous you can descend the steep incline and walk up through the valley to the other side. There are several well-trodden paths around the terraces although the going can be tough.
Trekking down the very steep slopes and through the rice terraces to get there is half the adventure. Be careful though, as when it’s raining the slopes are very slippery and shouldn’t be attempted unless you are physically fit with decent footwear. The wet slopes are responsible for a lot of sprained ankles.
You can read more about Tegallalang Rice Terraces.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace Swings
Probably the most easily recognisable stand-alone Bali swings are the ones at Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Tegalalang has been a very popular tourist destination for many years, thanks to its terraced rice fields spread throughout a valley 9 km north of Ubud and 40 km from Seminyak.
A few steps down from the roadside at Tegalalang village is the most accessible swing. It’s pretty easy to find. As you enter Tegalalang village with the souvenir shops on the left and the cafes on the downward side of the valley is the first swing just as you see rice terraces come into view.
Across the far side of the valley are two more swings with a very different experience, as they are situated over a much steeper part of the valley, making for some quite dramatic photos to feed the Instagram account.
The hike is worth it though, as the view from the far side of the terraces is magnificent. It was only a few months ago before the swings were constructed that hiking through the rice terraces was the main attraction at Tegalalang.
You get strapped into a harness before swinging out across the valley and be sure not to underestimate the heights you reach — the local guides can be pretty enthusiastic with the energy in which they propel you out for maximum
Entrance fee: IDR 350k
Location: Jl. Raya Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8am-5pm
Bebek Tepi Sawah
One of my favourite restaurants in Ubud, and one of the best places on the island to try the Balinese speciality – Bebek Goreng, or fried duck. The restaurant is set among its own small private ricefields, so depending on the cycle of the harvest, you may be lucky enough to dine among newly planted of mature emerald-green rice paddies.
The restaurant also has an extensive menu so it’s sure to have something to please everyone, and makes a relaxing stop during what can be a hectic day sightseeing. The location is very close to Goa Gaja on the quieter outskirts of Ubud township, making an easy stop to get to, either before or after a tour through the Elephant Cave.
Address: Jalan Yaya Goa Gajah, Peliatan, Ubud
Opening Hours: Mo-Su 10:00am- 10:00pm
Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA)
A much-overlooked, but a well worthwhile attraction in Ubud is the Agung Rai Art Museum. Sponsored by a long-standing Ubud family for generations, it is an extraordinary museum of Balinese fine art and paintings. I have been many times, and even for those not usually interested in paintings, it is a cultural highlight and deeply moving.
The museum makes a great finish to a days sightseeing. The grounds are beautiful, serene and worth a walk around by themselves. There is a great little cafe at the back and the location makes it quite easy to get back on the road south, rather than battling the end-of-day traffic around Ubud Village.
The complex is also home to a resort with excellent accommodation for those looking for something quiet but close to the action of Ubud Village.
There are two entrances. The main museum entrance is on the main road leading into Ubud Village and on the way to the Sacred Monkey Forest. The other is the resort entrance on a feeder road that is very close to Goa Gajah, making a stop here after visiting the Elephant Cave very easy.
Address: Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud
Opening Hours: Mo-Su 09:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: IDR 80.000 per person (includes coffee or tea in the cafe)
Tanah Lot Temple is a must-visit for anyone holidaying in Bali. Tanah Lot, which means “Land in the Sea” in Balinese, is the most visited tourist attraction in Bali for a reason. It really is one of the most iconic images of Bali and makes for a spectacular day tour.
The surrounding car park, markets and parks make it quite a large area, with the main attraction being a path leading down to the rocks where you can walk out to the temple itself during low tide. When the tide is coming in the local guides sometimes have to convince swathes of tourists to get off the rocks, which can be covered by water quite quickly.
Along the way, there is a large market where some of the best souvenir shopping and deals can be had on the island. Surprisingly, perhaps because of the competition and the sheer number of tourists visiting, the prices can be much better than other markets in the tourist enclaves of Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua, so I recommend taking the time to go shopping instead of rushing through the complex.
As you approach the gates leading to the temple, I recommend taking a right turn around the parks surrounding the oceanfront to get a look at Tanah Lot from a higher perspective. From there you can also get a decent view of the rocks and check the tide before venturing down.
The incoming tide can catch unwary visitors on the rocks between the land and the temple.
Looking at the temple from the land there is a pathway up to the left which provides spectacular views of the temple, especially at sunset. There are around a dozen cafes with outside seating overlooking the temple, with the best views towards the top.
I recommend doing the right side first, then down to the rocks, tide permitting, before going up the pathway for another view of Tanah Lot, which is stunning at sunset.
Entrance Fee: IDR 60.000
Location: Beraban, Kediri, Kabupaten Tabanan
Opening Hours: Mo-Su 07:00-19:00
- Toyota Avanza/Xenia or similar 6-seater SUV w/ air-con.
- English speaking driver.
- Up to 10 hours of driving time.
- The driver waits at all attractions for you.
- Flexible itinerary – make changes during the day.
- Entrance fees or event tickets.
- Meals and refreshments at own cost.
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I’m a technology entrepreneur and traveller and began Bali Holiday Secrets as a guide for friends and family who came to visit after I moved to Bali, and has grown to 80,000+ visitors a month.
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