Free Things To Do In Ubud

Disgiovery.com | UBUD is well known as the cultural heart of Bali. Although some say it’s now become more touristy and expensive, but people are still attracted to come. I’m one of them. I love Ubud. Nothing can beat the natural beauty, the friendliness of local people, and the artistic way of life of it.

This post is dedicated to you, dear travelers, those who seek the other free & fun parts of Ubud. Those who are willing to spend some more time and get connected with the locals. Those who’d like to absorb the Ubudian atmosphere.

This is definitely for people who would pay some patience, commitment, and respect for some ultimate Ubudian experiences at the island of the Gods. Something that general cheap tourists cannot afford.

 

1. Enjoy the festivity

Ubud - street festivity
Women carrying offerings are marching to the temple.

The town center of Ubud is the main junction where Monkey Forest street and Jalan Raya Ubud intersect. This is where you can see the crowd and the hustle. It’s dynamic.

Take a look around, observe. Be unseen. The people, the foreign language spoken, the scent of burning incenses, the colorful flowers, the smile, the royal palace, the art market, and many others regarding to human interest. Including street fashion. Look how Japanese female tourists seem to love big hats, or some Caucasian male tourists try to look more local in white shirts and udeng (Balinese head-cloth).

I always love to see the parade of Balinese men & women in their ceremonial costumes marching to the temple. Balinese music playing in the background. It’s amazing how women carry huge offerings on top of their head. These offerings are called gebogan/pajegan, usually consists of fruits and combination of flowers, sweets, even cooked chicken.

Religious rituals are constantly being performed around town. Ask your host in Bali if there is one going on in Ubud. You are welcomed to attend the ceremony. The entrance is free, but make sure to follow temple etiquette.

 

2. Go see galleries

Ubud - street gallery1 Ubud - street gallery2

Take a stroll down Monkey Forest street (it will intersect with the streets of Dewi Sita and Hanoman, which is good because they are all worth to visit). These streets are particularly lined with small art galleries, shops, boutiques, and cafรฉs. Most of them have large glass displays that make window shopping a breeze. Some have unique exterior (and great interior design as well!). There are also some art studios/workshops for you to visit free of charge.

You better do it in the early day or late afternoon to avoid the heat. Just be careful not to step on canang sari (religious offerings consists of incense, rice, and flowers in a small basket) strewn along the sidewalk.

 

3. Explore the market

Ubud - market
Where’s Wally in Ubud Market? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Ubud - market2
Women sell bright colorful flowers usually used for daily offerings.

Ubud market is located next to the main intersection. An authentic Balinese market experience only happens early in the morning (or around breakfast hour). In fact, the first truck delivering fresh products always arrive before sunrise.

Fresh fruits, flowers, vegetables, and fresh smiles are guaranteed! First buyer of the day is the lucky charm for the sellers. Interact with locals, they love to talk and smile, you may even find out the best local food from them.

At around 9 AM, tourists begin to rush in. Traditional market slowly turns into art & craft market. Home dรฉcor & houseware, batiks & sarongs, incenses & fragrances, wall hangings & picture frames, you name it.

Decide to buy something? Since the price is rather high, you must have some bargaining power. Ask for the half of the given price. Usually it works.

 

4. Visit the royal palace and the temples

Ubud - pura Gunung Lebah
Pura Gunung Lebah
Ubud - pura Saraswati
Pura Taman Saraswati

With the ornate temples and intricate architecture, Ubud is the perfect place for the art lovers. There is this Ubud palace where the royal family lives, but you can still stroll the grounds and admire the buildings. Across the road there is Puri Saren Agung where dance performances usually take place in the evening (FYI it’s not a free show). But if you wander around in the late afternoon, there is a chance for you to stumble upon rehearsals in progress.

You can also visit the majestic Pura Taman Saraswati, a temple that is set within a beautiful water garden with thousands of lotus flowers (these flowers blossom from Dec to Feb).

Want to trace back the time? Pura Gunung Lebah will suit you. This temple is located on the banks of Campuhan river. Some say this is the oldest temple in Ubud, built by Rsi Markandya more than a thousand years ago. Yes, it’s about time to explore the history.

 

5. Stroll down Kajeng street

Ubud - Kajeng street by Ryan San
‘The walk of fame’ of Kajeng street.

This little street of Kajeng is unique yet beautiful. The road is made of cement tiles inscribed with names, signatures, and art work. It’s pretty much alike the walk of fame of Hollywood. You can also have your own name written down there just by donating some thousand hundreds rupiahs to the local community.

Kajeng street is quite fun to explore. You can challenge yourself (or your friends) with this ‘walk of game’. See how many western names can you find? Is there any local names? How many countries represented? Which quote is the best?

You can stroll Kajeng street down to the rice fields. Don’t worry, the walk is a loop that ends up back down in Jalan Raya Ubud.

 

6. Take a shortcut from Monkey Forest to Nyuh Kuning

Ubud - Monkey Forest
This little fellow is actually licking the moss on the wall. Probably thirsty, or craving for some fresh green salad ๐Ÿ˜‰

Visitors should pay some 20,000 rupiahs to enter Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Don’t worry, monkeys are free of charge! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย But if you want to experience the other side of Monkey Forest, just follow the motorbike path by the gate. Yes, it’s free for humans! Actually this is a shortcut from Monkey Forest street to Nyuh Kuning street.

Best time to walk the path:

– In the early morning, where the macaques are coming from the surrounding forest and sitting & playing by the sidewalk, grooming & preparing themselves before ‘officially’ enter the sanctuary. Just hold on to your belongings and don’t feed the monkeys.

– In the night, where you can challenge some adrenaline by walking down the path in total darkness. I don’t want to scare you, but just don’t go alone. I did this once before because our hotel was located in Nyuh Kuning, and we needed to take a shortcut from Monkey Forest street.

The track enters the village of Nyuh Kuning, a respected center for woodcarving and site of a few cafรฉs and small hotels. Nyuh Kuning street is also worth to take a stroll down.

 

7. Hike the hill of Campuhan

Ubud - Campuhan 1
Campuhan ridge walk as seen in the morning. You can catch the sunset in this beautiful spot as well.
Ubud - Campuhan 2
This view reminds me of some kind of a Windows wallpaper.

Campuhan ridge walk is nestled between two rivers. The trail starts at the right side of Pura Gunung Lebah. It will soon climb up onto grassy hill and offers stunning views of the ridge lines running parallel to the hill. Each side is dense with thatch grass, and as the wind blows it creates the waves of grass.

Ever dreamed about being in a beautiful landscape of your desktop wallpaper? This is the right place! The sky, the clouds, the thatch grass, all so rich in vivid colors.

The path ends after 1 km distance as it meets a village street at the crest of the hill. Welcome to Bangkiang Sidem, the artist’s village. This is an area of small villas, guest houses, private homes, and small art galleries before emerging into stunning terraced rice fields.

Backtracking the same trail to central Ubud is the quietest, most scenic route. Besides it’s an easy downhill stroll.

 

8. Go birdwatching

Two herons strike a pose [photo courtesy of Dedot Photography]
Two herons strike a pose.

Do you think birdwatching is some kind of boring activity? I did think so, until I came to Petulu. This village is located about 2.5 km north of Ubud, and famous for its white herons (Kokokan birds) habitat. And I was quite amazed seeing these birds could live peacefully near human population. Later I found out that Kokokan are considered sacred by the locals.

Every afternoon at around 5 pm there are thousands of herons arrive at the village after spending day in the rice fields. It is an impressive sight to watch the herons landing on top of the trees. Sometimes they walk on the ground too. These Kokokan birds are about the same size as adult cats so you don’t need to use binoculars to observe them.

 

9. Get lost to the countryside

Ubud - Tegallalang
This Ubud rice terrace is so popular so that I don’t need to mention where it is located, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Just step off any side street or alley to wander into Ubudโ€™s lovely countryside. Youโ€™ll first pass Balinese homes & villages, then eventually reach vast stretches of lush rice terraces that climb the steep hillside. ย The tropical rain forest in the river valleys provide a picturesque setting.

Tegallalang is the most famous rice paddies in the Ubud outskirts. If you think it’s too far away (especially when you go walking or biking) then another option is just to go exploring the rice paddies surrounding central Ubud. The nearest one is by following the path of Kajeng street.

It’s not only about rice terrace views, but you can also get another experience by wandering Ubud’s villages. Ryan Ver Bermoes, a Lonely Planetโ€™s coordinating author once said: “It’s a matter of just wandering around and going down these little dark lanes, then you’ll come to a public stage and hear beautiful Balinese music playing and come across people dancing and practicing. It’s really part of their livelihood and that’s just magical.

 

10. Become a volunteer for stray cats & dogs

Ubud - BAWA
Love me, love me, say that you love me!

Ubud warmly welcomes visiting volunteers. Actually, this is not for free. Because you have to pay with some commitment and fully attention.

There are some amazing non profit organisations that take care of the stray animals (especially dogs and cats). Duties include dog walking, bathing, playing, feeding, socializing, cleaning and also helping traumatized animals to trust humans once again.

Don’t have that much time? You can make a short visit to drop a few supplies off (such as rice or medical stuff), or spend some time playing with the kittens or puppies. ย Read more about volunteering in Ubudย here.

These are some non profit organisations you can contact:

BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association)

BARC (Bali Dog Adoption & Rehabilitation Centre)

Yayasan Villa Kitty Bali (a shelter for cats and kittens)

 

What about you, guys? Any additional free things to share?

Disgiovery yours!

 

photo credits:

Pura Taman Saraswati by Budiarto Rumekso
Two Herons byย Dedot Photography
Kajeng Street byย Ryan Sanย 
Flower Sellers At Ubud Market byย Vilondo

10 Free Things To Do In Ubud
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30 thoughts on “10 Free Things To Do In Ubud

  • January 22 at 11:40
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    Suka banget liat parade ibu2 dengan pakaian adat mau berangkat ke pura ๐Ÿ™‚ dan ubud selalu membuat saya merindu. Menikmati bebek nya atau nasi campur ibu OKA xixiix

    Reply
    • January 22 at 21:49
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      Sudah coba bebek betutu yang enak, kak Cumi?

      Penasaran sama nasi campur Bu Oka sih, tapi kayaknya gak bakal kesampean deh, hehehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  • January 22 at 15:21
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    Looks so fun and relaxing! Lovin’ this place? YES!! I also love your pictures! Thanks for this!

    Reply
  • January 22 at 20:45
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    I’d like to know about hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Ubud. What are the names of local dishes that are must-tries?

    Reply
    • January 22 at 22:38
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      Just to name a few: babi guling (suckling pig), bebek betutu (slow roasted, leaf-wrapped duck), sate lilit (minced seafood/chicken/pork satay), and many more.

      You should try at least one of them, Roch! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • January 22 at 22:29
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    gilllllaaaa.gue suka banget ma tuh campuhan ridge-nya..kangen bali deh kangen rafting di ubud lagi trus liatin batu-batu tebing yang dipahat..pengin

    Reply
    • January 22 at 22:41
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      Wah, malah belum kesampaian rafting di Ayung, next time musti! #tekad
      Kalo Campuhan ridge sih udah jadi menu wajib tiap ke Ubud, hehehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  • January 22 at 23:43
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    Always love this place, my first solo backpacking took place in here.. Sepedaan sampe ngos-ngosan ke tegal alang (ga sampeee tapii wkwkwk) morning walk di campuhaan dan banyak lagii. aaaaaaaii ubuud lama tak jumpa.. Thanks badai for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • January 23 at 10:03
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      Hahaha, I first found out about Campuhan ridge walk was from your post in FB. Thanks, Bud! ๐Ÿ™‚

      *lagian gila aja sepedaan nanjak ke Tegallalang, hehehe*

      Reply
  • January 23 at 00:16
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    Nah lho, saya orang Bali sendiri belum tahu Jalan Kajeng, perlu di coba neh, menarik bro.

    Reply
  • January 23 at 10:44
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    second home ๐Ÿ™‚ always welcoming everybody warmly hehe. jadi kangen pengen leyeh leyeh di art cafe duduk bengong baca buku sambil dgerin alunan instrumen gus teja.

    Reply
    • January 23 at 11:33
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      #toss ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Ever tried spending a romantic afternoon in Ronji Cafe? Pick a seat outdoor, you can catch a glimpse of sunset from Campuhan hill ๐Ÿ™‚ #lopelopediudara

      Reply
  • January 23 at 18:53
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    Kalo baca tulisan tentang Ubud entah kenapa pasti terbayang bebek bengil yang punya ukuran WOW hehehe… Meski ada sedikit sakit hati waktu dinyinyirin mbok-mbok di Ubud market gara-gara cuma lihat barang dagangan mereka tanpa beli ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • January 23 at 21:59
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      Emang bebek Bengil ukurannya wow ya? *gak merhatiin* *biasanya langsung lep aja, haha!*

      Btw mungkin mboknya lagi sindrom PMS, kak Hal ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply
  • January 24 at 17:31
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    Hey that Campuhan place looks nice! I think I’ve never been there before …

    And that Kajeng street haha, I’ve passed that street before, but didn’t know the street’s name until now … ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  • January 28 at 11:05
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    aaaakkk UBUD.. cinta mati sama Ubud. selalu ingin kesana lagi lagi lagi lagi

    Reply
  • September 8 at 14:03
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    Keren banget bro kayaknya kegiatannya..
    Lagi pengin ke Bali nih, khususnya ke Ubud. Kalau mau menikmati Ubud seperti aktivitas-aktivitas di atas butuh berapa hari bro? Apa harus nginep di Ubud?
    Kalau ke sana pengin sepedaan sama rafting juga sih..

    Reply
    • September 9 at 18:24
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      Halo bro, trims sudah mampir. Kalo mau ke Ubud baiknya sih nginep minimal satu malam supaya bisa menikmati sunrise walking di bukit Campuhan. Kalau mau sepedaan atau rafting juga seru! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • September 25 at 12:16
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    Gio !! Why did we not go to Petulu Village for #tripofwonders ? I would love to go there !!

    Reply
    • September 25 at 13:50
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      There are so many things to do in Ubud, KJ. You pick one you miss another, hehehe. Spend more time in Ubud is a must! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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