Ubud Itinerary: 4 Days in Ubud for First-Timers

a white house and palm tress by ubud rice fields
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a white house among palm trees and rice field
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Hustling, bustling, and full of culture, Ubud is a must on any Bali itinerary. Whether you come for its Eat, Pray, Love connections of just to experience something new, this Ubud itinerary has a little something for everyone!

While Ubud isn’t necessarily the kind of place where you need a long to-do list to enjoy yourself (you could just walk among the rice terraces and eat all day and be happy), there are a ton of things to do in the area. And if you only have a few days, then you’ll want to be organized and have at least some idea of what you’re going to do! Here’s my suggested Ubud itinerary for 4 days.

Ubud Itinerary: travel guide

How to get to Ubud

The closest airpot to Ubud (and the only airport on the Island of Bali) is Denpasar International Airport. From there it’s about an hour’s drive from the airport to Ubud.

The best (and cheapest) way to get from the airport is to ask your hotel or guesthouse if they provide pickup service. As basically everyone in Bali is a driver, it’s highly likely that they do. Not only will a driver from your hotel know exactly where to go, but it will also likely be cheaper than the other option!

If your hotel doesn’t offer pickup service from the airport, then you can also get a driver at the airport to get from Denpasar to Ubud.

If you’re coming from elsewhere in Bali, you can either book a driver through your hotel or grab a Grab Car. If you have a scooter, then Ubud is easy to drive to from anywhere in Bali!

Where to Stay in Ubud

I stayed at Tu Sandat Homestay for my 4 days in Ubud and really loved it. It’s super budget-friendly (rooms start at just $22/night) and the family that run it are some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met! In addition to a huge room and comfortable bed, I also got breakfast on my terrace every morning, which felt like pure luxury.

The only complaint I would have is that I might have made a bit of a mistake by choosing to stay in the center of Ubud. It’s noisy, dirty, and traffic-congested – so not exactly the image that I had in mind when I thought of Ubud. If you’re looking for a more quiet stay, here are a few nice-looking guesthouses and hotels on the outskirts of Ubud:

Sahadewa House – $ – This traditional Balinese homestay is less than 2 miles from the center of Ubud and looks like an amazing little retreat!

Wayan Garden – $ – Another great option set among the rice fields and in walking distance from Ubud. This one has a pool as well!

Mana Boutique – $$ – This jungle oasis features traditional Javanese-style buildings and delicious breakfast.

Green Field Resort Ubud – $$ – For a larger hotel with international dining options and a huge pool, Green Field Resort is the place to go.

The Sankara Resort – $$$ – A great luxury option for a classic Bali villa stay.

COMO Uma Ubud – $$$$ – This place is absolute luxury. Featuring free guided morning walks and yoga classes overlooking Tjampuhan Valley, you definitely won’t go wanting if you stay here.

For more ideas about different places to stay in Bali, be sure to check out this post about where to stay in Bali!

4 Days in Ubud itinerary

4 Days in Ubud is the perfect amount of time to tick off all the must-dos and do a few more adventurous and off-the-beaten-path things as well! Here is my suggested 4 day Ubud itinerary.

Day 1

On your first day in Ubud, you’ll want to get a taste of the downtown area in order to orient yourself. I also highly recommend adding the Campuhan Ridge Walk to your day 1 Ubud itinerary!

Explore Downtown Ubud

Ubud palace in downtown Ubud, Bali
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Downtown Ubud is hustling and bustling, to say the least. And while I don’t recommend staying in the center for very long, it is home to a few of the must-dos on any Ubud itinerary, so it’s a good place to start off.

During your time in Downtown Ubud, here are a few things you should do:

  • Ubud Art Market – Phenomenally touristy and a bit overwhelming, but a great place to find good deals on things like sarongs and whicker bags, if you’re interested.
  • Ubud Palace – Right across the road from Ubud Art Market and a landmark in downtown Ubud. The palace used to be the home of the royal family of Ubud, and now hosts cultural dance performances in the evening. During the day, you can wander around for free.
  • Taman Saraswati Temple – An absolutely beautiful water temple in Ubud, right next to Ubud Palace and Art Market. The perfect place for a little bit of peace and quiet among the crowds.
  • Ubud Monkey Forest – You’ve definitely seen pictures of people in Bali with monkeys on their shoulders before, and this is where the attacks magic happens. Read this post for a complete guide on visiting the Monkey Forest.

Hike the Campuhan Ridge Walk

campuhan ridge walk in ubud, bali
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The Campuhan Ridge Walk is sometimes described as a short hike, but really… it’s a walk. But an absolutely beautiful walk all the same.

Filled with rolling hills and gorgeous greenery, it’s an absolute must on any Ubud itinerary. While you won’t see rice fields, like you will on most other hikes/walks, it’s still a great choice – especially around golden hour!

To get to the Campuhan Ridge Walk, head slightly out of town from the Ubud Palace and Art Market area. It’s a little bit hard to find, but this is a great guide! There’s also scooter parking near the beginning of the walk if you have a scooter.

Although the first part of the walk is simply paved and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, after about 30-45 minutes (depending on how often you stop), you’ll come across a small village of sorts. There, you’ll find the Karsa Cafe, which is the perfect place to take a short break and grab a refreshing drink!

Karsa Kafe along the Campuhan ridge walk
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Then, you can turn around and head back to where you came from.

Day 2

Go on an Ubud Temples Tour

Addie walking down the steps of a temple near Ubud
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For the second day of your Ubud itinerary, I highly suggest going on an Ubud temples tour.

Hiring a private driver is a cheap and popular thing to do, and they can take you to many different temples on an Ubud day trip. Two of the most popular temples near Ubud are Goa Gajah (the Elephant Cave), and Pura Titra Empul (one of Bali’s most famous water temples).

If you only wish to visit these two temples, you can combine it with a few other sites around Ubud. Here’s an example of a day tour from Ubud that you might do.

Alternatively, if you’re super interested in the temples of Bali or just want to get a bit more off-the-beaten-path, I highly recommend taking this tour, which brings you to 6 different temples in the area as well as Penglipuran Traditional Village. I took it while I was in Ubud and had a great time!

Besakih Temple
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temple towers in bali
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Day 3

On day 3 of your Bali itinerary, I suggest taking it a little bit more chill. Instead of rushing around to even more sites, which can really take it out of you, use this day to immerse yourself in Balinese culture by taking a cooking class and watching a traditional dance!

Take an Ubud Cooking Class

Ubud cooking class
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Taking a Balinese cooking class while you’re in Ubud is an absolutely must-do. Chances are that if you spend more than a few days on Bali, you’re going to absolutely fall in love with the food (it’s just so delicious and cheap!) and so taking a cooking class is a great idea because it will allow you to take that food home with you!

I took Ketut’s Bali Cooking Class and seriously had the greatest day ever. I was picked up from my accommodation in Ubud and then we went on a short tour of the local market which – fun fact – is actually in the same location as the Ubud Art Market! In the morning, it’s a food market for locals before the tourists get up, and then it’s turned into the Art Market later in the morning.

Food at the market in Ubud
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The local food market in Ubud

Having the opportunity to walk around the market with a local and learn all about the different fruits, spices, and more that were sold there was so much fun!

After the market, we were driven to Ketut’s family’s house, where we started to learn how to cook with a demonstration from Ketut on how to make coconut oil. And man, this guy was seriously the cutest, cheeriest man I’ve ever met. There’s a video of the demonstration on my Instagram highlights that’s honestly a must-watch!

Then, it was on to the actual cooking! We were split up into pairs and over the course of a few hours managed to cook all this:

  • Soto Ayam (Chicken Soup)
  • Sauce Kacang (Peanut sauce)
  • Bumbu Bali (Balinese spice paste)
  • Sambal Ulek (Spicy sauce)
  • Ayam Bumbu Bali ( Balinese Fried Chicken)
  • Sate Ayam Sauce Kacang (Chicken Sate with peanut sauce)
  • Pepes Ikan (Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf)
  • Mie Goreng (Fried Noodle)

(There’s also a vegetarian menu!)

Food at an Ubud cooking class
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Satay with peanut sauce made at a cooking class, one of the best things to do on your Ubud Itinerary!
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After everything was cooked, we sat down to a veritable feast, where we stuffed ourselves silly. And then, of course, they brought out a dessert of Kolak Pisang (Braised banana saba in palm sugar gravy) and we had to open up our dessert stomachs.

a table filled with food after my Ubud cooking class
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You can book your cooking class with Ketut on his website, here.

Watch a traditional dance

Although you’ll get back from your cooking class in the early afternoon, you’ll likely want to take a nap after eating so much food (that’s exactly what I did), so don’t try to schedule in anything before the evening.

That makes day 3 of your Ubud itinerary the perfect day to watch a traditional dance! Balinese dances incorporate Hindu traditions with dramatic dance. There are many different kinds of Balinese traditional dances, but no matter which one you go to, it’s sure to be an absolutely stunning experience.

The most popular traditional dance in Ubud is at Ubud Palace. This dance happens every night, so you’re sure to be able to make it.

There are also a bunch of other traditional dances in the area. You can see a calendar here.

I would definitely suggest double-checking the schedule, though! I scootered all the way out to Junjungan Village to watch their more off-the-beaten-path Kecak dance, but it turned out to not be on that night!

Day 4

On your final day in Ubud, go full stereotypical Bali – with a twist.

Bike through Rice Fields near Ubud

Addie with a bike in front of Ubud rice fields
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Although the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are splashed all over Instagram and are certainly beautiful, they’re also crazy crowded these days. So instead of following the crowds, why not join a crazy fun biking tour AND get off-the-beaten-path while you’re at it?

Start at the top of the Kintamani volcano and enjoy a leisurely downhill bike ride through rice terraces and small villages. You’ll make a few stops along the way to learn more about Balinese culture and rice farming, which I found to be invaluable. Many tours also include lunch at a local warung at the end of the tour!

I took this rice fields bike tour and had a really great time. Although it did involve a stop at a coffee plantation which produced Luwak coffee (which is an industry with animal abuse at its center, so I definitely didn’t want to try any), this seems to be pretty impossible to avoid on any set-itinerary tours in the area. After that stop (which was at the very beginning) I had a great time. Actual Luwak coffee is not included in the cost of the tour, and you can just say no when asked if you want to try it.

Head to the Spa

After a long, hard day of biking downhill, you’ll probably be wanting a massage. And, let’s be real, there’s no better place in the world to get a massage than Bali.

You can find a great massage for relatively cheap in Ubud (starting at $10 for an hour) and there are loads of spas in the area to choose from.

I went to Sang Spa in Ubud and bought a 2-hour long package which included a 1-hour massage, body scrub, body mask, and flower bath. And it all cost just RP 410,000 (about $30). Pure luxury!

Final thoughts on this Ubud Itinerary

4 days in Ubud really is the perfect amount of time to explore AND get a little bit of relaxation in. From biking through rice fields to learning how to cook Balinese food and even getting a massage, this Ubud itinerary is a great way to go!

Pin it for later!

Looking for things to do in Ubud, Bali? This 4 day Ubud itinerary has all of the must-dos and off-the-beaten-path sights in Ubud, including the Monkey Forest, rice terraces, and a cooking class! Eat the best food and learn about the best accommodation/where to stay in Ubud as well! #ubud #bali #travel
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MY FAVORITE TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

Booking Flights: The first place I turn when I’m searching for flights is actually just Google Flights - it’s great to figure out what sort of routes are available. Then, I check Skyscanner and Kiwi for deals. I also love Kiwi for its destination: anywhere feature!

Transportation: I love Omio for figuring out the cheapest way to get from one place to another, and Trainline for booking train tickets within Europe.

Accommodations: I absolutely love Booking.com for finding great hotel deals. After you stay a certain number of nights, you get Genius discounts! For hostels, Hostelworld is my go-to, and I use Airbnb occasionally as well (click here for $40 off your first booking!)

Travel Insurance: I knew that I shouldn’t travel without insurance for the longest time, but I really learned my lesson when I got an infected cut in Bali. Thank goodness I had travel insurance! I use and love World Nomads for their extremely comprehensive coverage.

Travel Insurance: I knew that I shouldn’t travel without insurance for the longest time, but I really learned my lesson when I got an infected cut in Bali. Thank goodness I had travel insurance! I use and love World Nomads for their extremely comprehensive coverage.

Tours: I always check Urban Adventures for great day tours of cities first–I’m obsessed with them! GetYourGuide and Viator are also great options. For multi-day tours, I highly recommend Intrepid.

Camera Gear: I use a Sony Alpha A6300 camera with an 18-105 mm lens and a 35 mm lens. My tripod is the MeFoto Backpacker Air and I loooooove it! I also use a DJI Mavic Air and a GoPro and which allow me to capture everything my regular camera can’t.

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