Ubud Sights & Attractions

Bali’s centre for music, dance and fine arts offers the perfect opportunity to learn more about Balinese culture. Wander narrow streets crammed with arts and crafts shops, museums and art galleries.

Ubud Sightseeing

Pop into the Puri Lukisan gallery on Jalan Raya Ubud, the Neka Art Museum on Jalan Raya Camuhan – the best place to learn about the development of painting on Bali – and see excellent examples of all schools of Balinese art at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Browse market stalls, trinket stores and chic boutiques then cool-off with a cold drink at an open-air café and restaurant – try the beautifully sited Café Lotus, which sits in front of the Pura Taman Saraswati temple and water garden.

In the evening enjoy a dance performance in the dramatic setting of the elegant Puri Saren Agung (Royal Palace).

Away from town, take an elephant safari through dense jungle at the Elephant Safari Park, watch feisty tree-swinging monkeys at the Monkey Forest and photograph the stunning lush green rice terraces in the Sayan valley.

Surrounded by lush green rice fields, ancient temples and towering coconut trees, Ubud is easily reached on a day trip from the beach resorts south of Denpasar.

Compelling must-see attractions in Ubud and nearby, include the following temples and shrines…

Pura Taman Saraswati

Examine carvings that honour Dewi Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of art and learning, then catch one of weekly dance performances or simply admire the lotus blossoms in the lily pond from Café Lotus, which sits just in front of the temple.

he picturesque Pura Taman Saraswati was commissioned by the royal family and built at the end of the 19th century.

Inside the main shrine, you may admire giant barong masks, fine carvings and bale houses.

Location: Jalan Raya, Ubud. Admission: Free; Hours: Daily 7am-5pm.

Puri Saren Agung

Stroll around a series of elegant and well-preserved pavilions in the heart of Ubud and later enjoy an evening dance performance, held in the palace courtyard.

Ubud Palace and Puri Saren Agung share the same space in the heart of Ubud, and from the late 19th century to the mid-1940s, this was the seat for the local ruler. In fact, some royal descendants still live here.

If you wish, you can even stay in one of the six very basic rooms for around US$50 a night; but there are no facilities on the grounds.

Location: Jalan Raya, Ubud. Admission: Free; Hours: Daily 7am-5pm.

Pura Tirta Empul

Get an insight into Balinese spiritual life by visiting the sacred springs at Tirta Empul Temple. Watch as Balinese from every corner of the island purify themselves in these holy waters.

Tour the main temple courtyard, which contains shrines and pavilions: one for Brahma, Siva, and Krishna, one for Mt. Batur and one for Indra (Dewi Indra).

The temple was built in the 10th century during the Warmadewa Dynasty on the site of a large natural spring. Two Olympic-size pools are used for communal bathing, while 12 waterspouts pour holy water from the sacred springs.

Legend describes how the god Indra’s army had fallen ill after drinking from the nearby river that had been poisoned by the evil king Mayadanawa. To revive his sick troops, Indra pierced the ground to release a spring of pure and sacred water.

The spring was called Tirta Empul, and has been considered the holiest in Bali ever since. A temple was built around the springs and special bathing-pools constructed for devotees.

Location: Jl. Raya Penelokan, Tampaksirin, around 15km north of Ubud. Admission: Rp6,000; Hours: Daily 8am-6pm.

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)

Explore the grotto of elaborate stone carvings from the 9th century, with a ceremonial bathing pool nearby.

Ponder the impressive entranceway, a dramatic carved facade of what appears to be menacing creatures and demons, then enter into a small underground cave.

Inside, you can see fragmentary lingam and yoni statues including a statue of Ganesha as well as several small ledges possibly used by priests to meditate on or even sleep.

The primary carving at the entrance was once thought to be an elephant, hence the name Elephant Cave.

Stroll around the bathing pool decorated by six semi-clad female figures holding urns pouring water. Women bathe on one side and men on the other. The pools appear to have been built to ward off evil spirits; large, carved guards stand around pools near the entrance.

A small pathway leads to a waterfall, rice fields and some Buddhist stupa fragments.

The site is mentioned in the Javanese poem Desawarnana written in 1365.

Location: Bedulu Village, Blahbatu, around 18km northeast of Ubud. Admission: Rp6000 (includes sarong rental); Hours: Daily 7am-5:30pm.

Gunung Kawi

Explore one of Bali's oldest and largest ancient monuments.

Ponder the significance of the 10 candis or shrines that sit in 7m-high sheltered niches cut into the cliff face.

Gunung Kawi is believed to have been built in honour of the 11th century king Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens; an inscription dates the temple to A.D. 945.

Although there are no bones in the candis, inscriptions (most of them unreadable) thought to be names or titles can be seen above the doors.

This fascinating early Balinese religious site is accessed by descending (then ascending) 300 stone steps, which are cut into the steep slopes of a lush green river valley.

Gunung Kawi is located amidst picturesque rice paddies; and the site is less visited and somewhat more quiet than many others in Bali.

Location: Tampaksirin, around 15km north of Ubud. Admission: Rp6,000; Hours: Daily 7am-5pm.

Latest update: Ubud Attractions: 26 May, 2022