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4 Days in Ubud for Waterfalls, Monkeys & Sunrise Trekking

From yoga retreats to sunrise treks to the sacred monkey forest, Ubud has captured the hearts of millions of tourists worldwide. Like Canggu is to partying, Amed is to diving and Uluwatu is to surfing…Ubud is Bali’s relaxation and meditation capital. Although you could spend months exploring Ubud and truly getting to know this slice of Balinese heaven, I only had 4 days in Ubud to get my fill of temple exploring and waterfall adventures. 

If the Bali jungles are high on your bucket list, keep reading for my ultimate itinerary for 4 days in Ubud!

A waterfall we encountered during our white water rafting trip.

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Ubud

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Things to Do with 4 Days in Ubud

Whether your Ubud bucket list includes rice terraces, delicious Indonesian food, or traditional Balinese dance, there’s something for everyone on my Ubud travel itinerary. Keep reading for your perfect Ubud itinerary and the best places to visit in Ubud!

Take a Traditional Balinese Cooking Class

Since I love taking cooking classes in new destinations (like Hanoi), when my new friends suggested booking an Indonesian cooking class in Ubud, I jumped on the idea! 

After some quick research, we settled on Subak Cooking Class sold by Viator tours. For only 26 USD each, we learned to make tons of delicious Balinese favorites like chicken satay, grilled chicken in banana leaf, balinese fried chicken, mixed salad, mie goreng noodles, sweet klepon cake, sweet fried tempe and peanut sauce. Besides a teeny tiny earthquake in the middle of the class (that sadly scared my friend who had been on the ground during the Gili Trawangan earthquake in 2018), we all had a great time and learned a ton about Indonesian cuisine.

Fresh spices provided in our Indonesian cooking class in Ubud.
The finished product after our cooking class in Ubud. A cooking class is one of the best things to do with 4 days in Ubud.

Go White Water Rafting

If you’re looking for a little adrenaline during your time in Ubud, consider signing up for a white water rafting excursion on the Telaga Waja River! We booked a white water rafting tour with hotel pickup and dropoff and enjoyed a full day of fun and adventure learning how to navigate through the rapids and zipping down waterfalls in the Bali jungle. 

At only 20 USD per person, it was the perfect addition to our itinerary during our 4 days in Ubud. This was actually a very exciting day for me. It was the first day in four months I had been able to get my foot wet after injuring myself in Thailand back in April! 

Watch a Traditional Balinese Dance

Later that evening, we decided to attend a traditional Balinese dance show put on by the Chandra Mati at the Lotus Pond Ubud. With an entrance fee of only 100.000 IDR per person (or 6.50 USD), it was the perfect way to spend an evening in Ubud on a budget. 

The Chandra Mati put on the show every Tuesday night at 7:30PM and you can buy tickets at the entrance to the Saraswati Temple. 

A traditional Balinese dancer in the middle of a performance in Ubud.

Have a Spa Day

Spa days are one of my favorite activities in Southeast Asia, because they’re so freaking affordable! One lazy afternoon during my 4 days in Ubud, I wandered into a day spa for a body scrub/massage duo. An hour and a half later, I left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and only about $15 poorer. 

Remember to tip your massage therapist heartily! 

Explore the Tegallalang Rice Terraces

With only one day left in Ubud, I knew I needed to explore one of the region’s most famous attractions, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces.

Full disclosure, this place was HELLA touristy. The second you arrive, the staff tries to sell you on every photo op imaginable, from the Bali swing, to giant birds nests, to huge “Love Bali” signs with a rice terrace backdrop. 50.000 IDR buys you entrance to the rice terraces and 300.000 IDR gets you access to all the photo props.

I came armed with my trusty tripod, so I passed on all of the above and headed out to explore the terraces on my own. Although it would have been slightly more enjoyable on a less-rainy day, the views were just as gorgeous as they appeared online and it was a great way to spend an afternoon in Ubud. 

You can do the terraces on your own, like I did, or consider booking a package tour that includes a stop at the terraces to fit in the most during your 4 days in Ubud. 

Me at the Tegallalang Rice Terraces—I highly recommend stopping here during your 4 days in Ubud.

Try Babi Guling—Spit Roasted Pig

While other towns in Bali are full of western cuisine—like Canggu’s legendary brunch scene—Ubud’s restaurants tend to run more authentic. Babi Buling, or spit roasted pig, is one of Bali’s most famous dishes and Ubud is filled with traditional restaurants that serve it. After a recommendation from a friend, I settled on Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3, one of the best spots in Ubud town to try this scrumptious Balinese specialty. 

I ordered the Pisah, which included rice, pork, a large piece of crackling pork skin, black pudding and hearty soap. This delicious and incredibly filling meal only cost me 70.000 IDR or 4.50 USD. 

A delicious plate of Babi Guling that I tried during my 4 days in Ubud. The plate included rice, pork, crackling pork skin, black pudding, and soup.

And Bebek Betutu—Crispy Duck

Another tasty Balinese dish to try in Ubud, is Bebek Betutu, or crispy duck, from Bebek Bengil—The Dirty Duck Diner. This diner has been serving Bali’s original crispy duck since 1990, so you know they’ve perfected the recipe.

This half-duck is steamed in Indonesian spices and deep fried for that famous crispy finish. It’s served with steamed rice and Balinese vegetables. Everything was delicious and, if I’m lucky enough to get back to Ubud soon, I’ll definitely be heading back to Bebek Bengil for more crispy duck. 

A heaping plate of Bebek Betutu or crispy duck from The Dirty Duck Diner in Ubud.

Explore the Ubud Monkey Forest

Everyone and their mother who visits Ubud raves nonstop about the Monkey Forest Sanctuary. My opinion is unpopular but I’m going to voice it anyway—I HATE MONKEYS. They’re unpredictable, disease-carrying, kleptomaniacs and no photo opp is worth being anywhere near one. 

However, if you completely disagree with me, like many tourists do, then say a quick prayer, resarch the nearest clinic offering a Rabies vaccine and head out to explore the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.  

The park is open daily from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, although the ticketing offices close at 5:00 PM. An adult ticket costs 80.000 IDR on the weekdays and 100.000 on the weekends ($5 vs. $6.50). If you do stop by for a visit, I would strongly suggest reading their visitor guidelines about what to do if the monkeys become aggressive. 

Obviously, I did not go to the monkey forest myself. The photo you see below was donated to this blog post, courtesy of my lovely friend Svenja, who is clearly much braver than I am (or at least just more determined). 

My friend taking a selfie with a monkey at the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud.

Book a Mount Batur Sunrise Trek

Another one of Ubud’s most popular activities is the Mount Batur sunrise trek. Although every part of my body screamed in protest at the 2:00 AM wakeup time…it was one of my favorite activities I embarked on during my time in Indonesia (after scuba diving the Amed coast). 

For this hike, be sure to bring lots of water, a first aid kit, a snack and lots of layers. The beginning of the hike was very chilly, but as we climbed and the sun came out it became much warmer. Most tours include a flashlight, so you probably won’t need to bring your own. (Activities like this are why I love my LL Bean stowaway pack so much.)

Incredible views of Mount Batur at sunrise.
Pink and orange fog floating over the mountains during our Ubud sunrise trek.

Try Luwak Coffee at Bali Pulina

Have you heard of Luwak Coffee? I hadn’t before traveling to Ubud, but after a quick Google search, I knew I had to add it to my itinerary for 4 days in Ubud. 

The Asian palm civet is a small creature native to Southeast Asia that looks like a mix between a cat, a ferret and a possum. Bali’s famous Luwak Coffee is made from partially digested coffee cherries, eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. The coffee cherries are essentially “fermented” in the animal’s stomach, which gives the coffee it’s unique flavor. 

If you’re brave enough to try it, don’t stress. It honestly just tastes like a normal cup of coffee. What I enjoyed more than the Luwak Coffee was the coffee tour and beautiful scenery at Bali Pulina. It was the perfect setting to enjoy my coffee taster flight with a view! The tour costs 100.000 IDR and includes two items on the menu.

A luwak at Bali Pulina. Be sure to try Luwak Coffee during your 4 days in Ubud!
Coffee growing on a plant in Ubud.
A coffee tasting at Bali Pulina in Ubud.

Visit Goa Gajah The Elephant Cave

Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave, is a 9th century Hindu temple in Ubud. The inside of the cave, pictured below to the left, is about 15 meters deep and leads you down a dark corridor where you’ll find baskets of Hindu incense burning. 

The jungle around the cave is filled with massive banyan trees, small ponds and bridges. It’s a beautiful area to spend an hour wandering around and taking in the landscape and history. Goa Gajah is open 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM and adult entrance is 50.000 IDR (around $3). 

The front of Goa Gajah—the Elephant Cave.
Beautiful gardens at the Elephant Cave in Ubud.

More to Add to Your Ubud Itinerary

Although 4 days in Ubud was enough to try plenty of exhilarating activities, it wasn’t nearly enough time to see and do all the exciting things that Ubud has to offer. The Campuhan Ridge Walk was high on my Ubud bucket list, but sadly fell to the side in favor of the Mount Batur sunrise trek. I also would have loved to see the nearby Tibumana Waterfall and Tukad Cepung Waterfall, even though are are slightly outside Ubud. Pura Tirta Empul, the Hindu Balinese water temple, was another one that will have to be saved for my next trip to Ubud!

How to Get to Ubud

Since there’s currently only one airport in Bali, chances are you’ll be starting your Ubud 4 day itinerary from Denpasar International Airport. Once you arrive at DPS, the quickest and easiest way to get to Ubud is generally by Grab or Gojek Taxi. The hour-long drive from the airport to Ubud should only cost you around 160.000 – 250.000 IDR (10-16 USD), depending on the season and time of day. 

Alternatively, you could save yourself some rupiah and book a bus ride from Denpasar International Airport to Ubud. Booking a bus ride on 12Go will only set you back around 6 USD and will take around 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes. 

Where to Stay in Ubud

Bali is a hot spot for solo travelers and Ubud is no exception. If you’re visiting Ubud as a solo traveler, your best bet is to take advantage of Ubud’s awesome hostel scene!

Lagas Hostel is the perfect accommodation for your Ubud trip. Safe, clean, social and 100% budget friendly, it’s impossible NOT to make friends at Lagas. With comfortable rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, plenty of hostel activities and an ice-cold beer fridge directly next to check in…Lagas Hostel is clearly doing something right. Also, I was literally paying 6 USD per night. 

Although the location might seem a bit far outside the main stretch, Gojek bikes are abundant and scary cheap. I mean seriously…you can basically go anywhere in Ubud for 1 USD. Once you get to the center of town, Ubud is very walkable and it’s a very safe area to explore on foot. 

If you want a couple more (slightly bougie-er) options for your 4 day Ubud itinerary, you can also check out Puri Garden Hotel & Hostel (ranked the best hostel in Indonesia), Arya Wellness Female-Only Hostel, and Kuna Bali near the Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

The jungle views from the second floor of Lagas Hostel in Ubud.
The view from the second floor of Lagas Hostel.

If you’re looking for a lower to medium-priced resort in Bali, check out Betutu Bali Villas for your Ubud accommodation! These villas are centrally located (only around a 20-minute walk to Ubud Palace) and offer plenty of amenities for your comfort like an outdoor swimming pool, room service, and an included airport shuttle. Depending on the season, a room at Batutu Bali Villas will cost you around 60 USD/night.

For those looking for hotels in Ubud in the upper-mid price level, consider booking your stay with The Udaya Resort & Spa. This 4-star resort is located a bit further outside of downtown Ubud, but the remote jungle vibes only add to its relaxing charm. Guests can enjoy an on-site swimming pool, gym, spa, and organic restaurant serving delicious cuisine made with local ingredients. Additionally, if you’re hoping to secure the perfect flower-bath-Instagram-shot during your time in Ubud—this is the place.

If you’re going to splurge on your Ubud accommodation, then it might as well be eco-friendly!

Bambu Indah is a luxury, eco resort made up of 20 one-of-a-kind houses in the jungles of Bali. Many of the homes are made from bamboo and are designed to make you feel one with nature—although don’t worry, you will have air conditioning. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant serving food grown on-site in the resort’s garden. You can also relax and rejuvenate at Bambu Indah’s wellness center!

Is 4 Days Enough in Ubud?

You might be asking yourself how many days in Ubud is enough? Is 4 days enough in Ubud? 

If you’re trying to make the most of your limited time in Bali, I would say YES—4 days in Ubud is enough. Ideally, you’d spend a week or two in Ubud truly getting to know the area and the local culture. However, if you’re trying to fit the most into your Bali vacation, you can definitely see the highlights with 4 days in Ubud. 

Final Thoughts

My trip to Ubud was one of my favorite experiences during the entire four months I lived in Bali. Even though it is touristy, I loved living in Canggu. However, it was wonderful to get out of the hustle and bustle and relax in Bali’s beautiful jungles.

Ubud is such a wonderful destination because it offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in hiking through the jungle, taking selfies with monkeys (although I don’t know why anyone would be interested in that), learning how to cook authentic Indonesian cuisine, or getting your zen on at a yoga retreat—there’s plenty of activities to fill up your 4 days in Ubud. Happy travels!

Don’t forget to follow along for the adventure on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps!

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