Bali is a paradisiacal holiday destination filled with unbelievable sights; gushing waterfalls, palm-tree-lined beaches, and luxurious resorts.
Ubud, the spiritual capital of the island, is a popular place to visit in Bali. While there are many activities to do in Ubud, holidayers should also get out of Ubud to see some of the more untouched regions of Bali. Its central location makes it perfect for epic Bali day trips!
So make like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love and make Ubud your base for day trips in Bali. Here are the 12 best day trips from Ubud.
Best Day Trips From Ubud
Tegallalang Rice Terraces and Tirta Empul
Tagallalang Rice Terraces are a must-see in Bali and the perfect place to visit if you’re an avid Instagrammer. The terraces are filled with lush greenery and palm trees which create a picturesque backdrop to your photos.
There is a cafe here which is a great spot to stop at for some specialty coffees. Entry into the terraces is 15,000 IDR.
Tegallalang is home to the infamous Bali swings. Take part in this unique experience swinging into the canyon. There are also massive bird nests to fit groups of people for photo opportunities. Entry into the terraces and to ride the swing will cost 500,000 IDR.
Batu Bolong Beach and Tanah Lot
Canggu is one of my favorite places in Bali, and in recent years, has gained recognition as the place for expats, surfers, and budget travelers. The two most popular things to do in Canggu are hanging out on Batu Bolong Beach and visiting Tanah Lot Temple.
Batu Bolong Beach is the place to go if you want to surf. There are calmer parts of Batu Bolong Beach, making it a very popular spot to learn how to surf. Lining the beach, you’ll see many surfboard hire stalls, most of which will offer lessons for all abilities.
If surfing isn’t quite your thing, Finn’s Beach Club is a relaxing way to spend your time in Canggu. This top spot has four pools, luxurious sun loungers, and the best cocktails.
If you get hungry, there are some great restaurants in Canggu – the food scene in Canggu is top-notch. There is a huge selection of smoothie bowls, plant-based foods, warungs (traditional casual Indonesian restaurants), and more.
Tanah Lot Temple is one of the best places to view the sunset on the island. This sacred temple is perched atop a small mountain, surrounded by the sea. Entry is 60,000 IDR, which is only possible during low tide.
The Aling-Aling Waterfalls is one of the best places to visit in Bali for adrenaline junkies, and it’s one of the hidden gems in Bali if you want to avoid crowds. The waterfalls are seen on a half-day hike which will take you to up to seven waterfalls.
Cliff jumpers drop up to 35 meters in the water! If this seems a little too daring for you, there are a couple of lower drops, at five and 15 meters. It is recommended to take a guide with you to show you the safer places to jump, but the waterfalls are commonly done as a self-guided tour as there are adequate sign-posting and pathways.
The easiest way to visit Aling-Aling is to book a shared tour online which will include return transport and a guide at the waterfalls.
Munduk Waterfalls and Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Munduk is an underrated region of Bali. Munduk contrasts the popular hotspots in Bali in the number of tourists – in the few days we stayed here, we barely saw any tourists!
There are plenty of exciting things to do in Munduk. The best attractions in Munduk are their waterfalls. There’s a half-day trek to explore their four waterfalls, either guided or self-guided through averagely marked paths.
The best place to start is at Melanting Cottages. First, you’ll come across Labuhan Kebo Waterfall which will be deep enough to swim in during the wet season. Then, head to Red Coral and Melanting (my favourite of the four). The last waterfall on the hike is Golden Valley Waterfall, where you can dine at a cafe with a view.
After your hike, head to the neighbouring town of Bedugul for one of the most spectacular temples in Bali. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is commonly photographed and is used by Bali tourism board to promote tourism to the island.
The temple ‘floats’ in Beratan Lake surrounded by gorgeous red flowers and manicured gardens. Entrance into the temple grounds will cost 50,000 IDR.
Mt Batur Sunrise Trek
Trekking Mt Batur was my favorite Bali experience. The views at the summit of the active volcano were breathtaking, and it was such a rewarding morning. We were picked up from Ubud at 2:30 am, then at around 4 am we started climbing the mountain with our guide. It took us around 70 minutes to climb to the top.
When we reached the summit, our guide even made us sandwiches, a hot drink, and a banana. The sandwiches contained egg which had been boiled in volcanic steam! After that climb, the warm drink and food were all we needed.
As for the difficulty of the hike, this would be suitable for almost anyone. We saw people of all ages hiking. The hike, albeit challenging, isn’t too long. The part that makes the hike difficult is that it is steep and rocky, which may not fare well with those nursing lower limb injuries.
If you’re lucky like we were, the sky may be clear enough for you to see Mt Rinjani on Lombok, the neighboring island to Bali.
Sekumpul is another set of waterfalls perfect for cliff jumping. It is located in Northern Bali, relatively close to Aling-Aling. These waterfalls are grand and absolutely massive. As well as cliff jumping, there are areas where you can go rock sliding too.
There are tours that visit both Sekumpul and Aling-Aling waterfalls in one day, but I would recommend choosing one of the two. The treks and times at the waterfalls will feel quite rushed in order to fit in both waterfalls, including transport time in between.
Nusa Penida Island
Some of the most stunning views in Bali can be seen from Nusa Penida Island.
The most common route is the west coast of the island. The first stop will be Kelingking Beach, with the iconic view of the cliff shaped like a t-rex. Then, make your way to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach which are both within walking distance of each other. The last stop of the day will be Crystal Bay for snorkelling, swimming, and relaxing on the beach with a cold beer.
Either hire a driver for the day or hire a scooter if you’re a confident driver. This will allow you to see the sights of the island.
To get to Nusa Penida, head to the port in Sanur. The port at Sanur Beach will feature a row of stalls with all the ferry companies. Choose a reputable company and buy your tickets there. Doing so will save you money – a return ticket should cost 300,000 IDR, whereas online, you could pay up to double this amount.
Bear in mind Nusa Penida gets very crowded from 10:30 am onwards. For this reason, take the earliest ferry possible. Some companies leave as early as 7:30 am.
Tukad Cepung and Sidemen
As if a waterfall wasn’t spectacular enough, Tukad Cepung is a waterfall inside a cave, with sunlight passing through to create light shafts. Located less than an hour away from Ubud, it’s definitely worth a trip.
If you’re looking for a waterfall to swim in, this one definitely isn’t for you. We made this mistake as the water is only mid-calf deep, but it did make for a great photo spot.
The walk to get to the waterfall doesn’t take too long at around 10 minutes. There are steps and a small river to cross, so bring sandals or water shoes.
Time your visit between 9 am and 10 am, as this is when you’ll find see the sunlight peeking into the cave. It also isn’t so busy at this time, you’ll only have to wait five minutes or so for a photo.
Sidemen is a town just 30 mins further from the waterfall. This is another hidden gem with a rice field, vibrant markets and some great Indonesian cuisine. You could easily spend a few hours here exploring the town in a less touristed part of Bali.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bali: Pakerisan Valley, Taman Ayun Temple, and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located in central Bali, in between Ubud and Munduk.
The rice fields are impressive, extending as far as the eye can see, and the mountains backdrop the rice fields perfectly. There are multiple walking tracks at Jatiluwih, all of varying distances. The shortest walk is just over one kilometre, where the longest of the walk is around five kilometres.
My favorite part of visiting Jatiluwih is the lack of people. Due to its location, Jatiluwih isn’t a huge tourist attraction, which means you can walk through the terraces almost without seeing another soul.
Entry costs 40,000 IDR.
Taman Ayun and Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest
Taman Ayun Temple is another one of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is located just half an hour from Ubud Town. Built in the 17th Century, there are similarities in the buildings to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, which was completed around the same time period. The temple belongs to the Mengwi Royalty.
A moat and trimmed gardens encircle the temple, which make for a great place to go on a walk. Like all Hindu temples in Bali, make sure to dress appropriately, covering your knees and shoulders. Sarongs are available at the entrance if needed.
Entry into the temple is 20,000 IDR.
Drive further west for 20 minutes to reach Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. This monkey forest is similar to that in Ubud Town, but a lot less touristed. The forest also contains a temple named Pura Dalem Kahyangan Kedaton.
You’ll find the long-tailed macaques there. They’re quite docile here, but they still have a spark of cheekiness. Remember to keep your belongings secure. If possible, put your sunglasses, hats, and drink bottles in your bag.
Entrance into the monkey forest will cost you 50,000 IDR.
Tegenungan Waterfall and Hidden Canyon
Tegenungan Waterfall is one of the closest waterfalls to Ubud, at only 30 minutes from the main town. It’s a great place for a dip. The water is a little murkier than some of the waterfalls in Northern Bali, but it’s still a perfectly safe place to swim. There will usually be a guard on duty to ensure you don’t get too close to the waterfall itself which is quite powerful.
The walk down to the waterfall will only take around five minutes. There is an iconic Bali swing here, as well as a cafe for food.
Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang is only around 15 minutes from Tegenungan, so visiting these locations in one day works well. It isn’t quite a hidden gem of Bali anymore, but it is much less busy than some of the major tourist attractions.
You’ll be doing a lot of climbing, walking and wading through water, so bring appropriate shoes. Water shoes are your best bet but sandals with grip should suffice. A local guide will accompany you to guide you around the canyon.
Entrance fees start at 200,000 IDR, but are heavily discounted with the more people there are in your group.
Bias Tugel Beach
Located just one hour away from Ubud is a little piece of paradise. Bias Tugel Beach features turquoise waters, white sand, and black volcanic rock.
This small stretch of beach is an excellent place to go for a day-long getaway. It’ll only take a couple of minutes to walk down to the bay, which is a nice change from some of the beaches in Bali like Suluban Beach and Tegal Wangi Beach.
The water is crystal clear for snorkelling and exploring the marine life. The calmer the water on the day, the more fish you will see.
Head to the local warungs nearby for an authentic Balinese lunch.
About the Author
Allison Green is a former educator turned travel blogger. She holds a Masters in Teaching and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing. Her blog posts merge her educational background and her experience traveling to 60+ countries to encourage thoughtful travel experiences that both educate and entertain. She has been a speaker at the World Travel Writers Conference and her writing, photography, and podcasting work has appeared in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, CBC Canada, and Forbes, amongst others. Now based in the San Francisco Bay Area where she grew up, she has also lived in Prague, Sofia, and New York City.