How To Spend 48 Hours in Ubud, Bali

Tirta Empul Temple in Bali
Tirta Empul Temple in Bali | © Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Edira Putri
30 April 2018

Beyond idyllic coastline and hip beach clubs, the soul of Bali lies up the highland of Ubud, with all its natural, artistic, and cultural charms. From the iconic rice terrace to contemporary art museums, discover how to spend 48 hours in Ubud.

Day 1

Sunrise at Tegalalang

One of the best times to visit the iconic rice terrace of Ubud is during the first rays of the day. The warm hues of the sunlight add a dramatic effect to the already scenic view. Moreover, Tegalalang is a very popular and touristy spot that can get crowded during the day. If you’re feeling active and adventurous, you can go beyond the photo-taking spot and walk around the rice fields or even neighboring villages—don’t forget to say hi to the local farmers at work!

Tegalalang rice terraces | © DeGe Photo / Alamy Stock Photo

Morning: Breakfast with a view

There are no ordinary meals when you’re in Ubud. While you’re near the scenic rice fields, pick one of the local warungs lining up the streets for a breakfast with a view. Boni Bali Restaurant and Cafe Dewi are among the most popular with tourists, serving Indonesian and Western menus for every taste.

Mid-morning: Tirta Empul Temple

This water temple gushes holy water believed to have healing and sanctifying powers due to the legend that encircles the place. During ceremonies, tourists can observe Balinese Hindu doing cleansing processions through the stone-carved spouts that pour water into the purification pool. Tourists can even sign up for a special healing or purification program by local elders or shaman. But even if you don’t get to experience or observe ritual bathing, the temple itself is a breathtaking sight to behold, embellished with exquisite carvings and figures with a touch of nature.

Holy spring water in Tirta Empul temple | © Iryna Rasko / Alamy Stock Photo

Afternoon: Ubud Monkey Forest

This lush forest and habitat for hundreds of friendly monkeys is an unmissable attraction while in Ubud. Towering trees, tropical greeneries and carved statues fill in the 12.5-hectares open area, where you can spend the afternoon strolling around, immersing in the serene tropical atmosphere and observing and perhaps interacting with the loveable macaques roaming freely. The forest is also home to three sacred temples you can only observe from outside.

Late afternoon: Ubud Palace

Adored for the stunning traditional Balinese architecture, Ubud Palace or Puri Saren Agung is one of Ubud’s most representative landmarks. As the dwelling place of the Ubud royals, this palace reflects Balinese architecture at its finest, with beautiful gardens, ornate statues and carvings, as well as grand gates that have become one of Bali’s iconic sights. But beyond silent design and construction, the vibrant culture comes to life in this palace as various traditional performances take place in the outer yard during the evening.

Puri Saren Agung Palace Temple | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

Late evening: Hit the bars

After a mindful day of cultural and natural spots, it’s time to see the other side of Ubud, a lively town reverberating with live music, dancing, and youthful creative crowd. Being the art and culture capital of Bali, many of the island’s best musical talents have set up camp in Ubud, performing at its many bars lining the main streets. From jazz and blues at Laughing Buddha Bar, eclectic world music at Bali Bohemia, to pool and classic video games at Melting Pot, Ubud has the nightlife for every taste.

Day 2

Early morning: Hiking at Campuhan Ridge Walk

Start your day right with a good amount of tropical sunlight, fresh air, and physical activity with a mesmerizing view. That said, Campuhan is a gorgeous hill to hike or cycle through; imagine a stretch of lush greenery on either side while you immerse in the first ray of sunlight during the glorious sunrise. You can go for a short walk up to the Karsa Kafe and go back, or continue for another nine kilometres to the nearest villages on the other side of the hill.

People walking on Campuhan Ridge Walk | © Leonid Serebrennikov / Alamy Stock Photo

Mid-morning: Coffee at Seniman Coffee Studio

This artisan coffee place is one of the best spots to get your caffeine fix in Bali. A self-proclaimed fourth wave in coffee production, Seniman serves high quality and authentic coffee sourced from across Indonesia, Africa, and the Americas. Moreover, the lovely, laidback ambiance goes well with the energizing cup of joe to kick off your day.

Noon: Eat raw for lunch

Even if you’re not hardcore vegans or earth-loving hippies, eating raw is one of the most-sought experiences in Ubud. The Seeds of Life serves unimaginably scrumptious raw food you wouldn’t believe, from appetizers to tasty cakes for dessert. Clear Cafe is also one of the best in the neighborhood, with an extensive healthy menu, raw or otherwise.

Afternoon: Visit Blanco Renaissance Museum

This museum of Don Antonio Blanco’s artworks is perched on a gorgeous hilltop in Ubud, on the artists’ own European-style mansion. Cherishing his years living and creatively flourishing in Ubud, the artists’ collections of paintings, illustrated poetry, and erotic artworks are now showcased in this museum. Even the building is a wonderful sight in itself, a baroque mansion with a touch of renaissance grandeur, creating a unique and authentic mix of European charms and Balinese muses.

Meru at the entrance of the Antonio Blanco renaissance museum in Ubud, Bali. | © QUANTUM PICTURES / Alamy Stock Photo

Mid-Afternoon: Visit Agung Rai Museum of Art

One art museum to another, Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) houses a vast range of artworks from classics to contemporary, from legendary artists to emerging local talents. The impressive collections can be found on several exquisite traditional buildings among beautiful Balinese gardens, creating a mindful and serene atmosphere to enjoy culture and arts in Ubud at its best. The museum complex also hosts art classes, cultural events or performances. Be sure to check their schedule so you won’t miss your chance.

Evening: On the mat

An excellent culmination for your Ubud exploration, The Yoga Barn will conclude your cultural and spiritual experience in the most sophisticated way. From Tibetan Bowl Meditation to Yin Yang Yoga or dance classes, The Yoga Barn has a wide range of classes to choose from that runs until 9pm. One of the most popular and reputable yoga studios in Bali, no matter what classes you choose, you’re definitely in good, professional hands.

Young woman practicing yoga | © Kristina Kokhanova / Alamy Stock Photo

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