Over the years, Ubud has become a hub for those seeking exploration and adventure. No longer does Ubud sleep in the shadows as tourists and locals flock to the little “Town of the Artists “area. Trekking trips, through the rice fields or deeper still into the dense forests, are perhaps one of the best ways to get stuck into the serene experiences Ubud’s natural environment has to offer.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Another popular spot internationally known for scenes of steeps cascading rice paddies, showcasing the traditional Balinese irrigation system. Tegallalang is one of the most magical terraced landscapes in the Ubud region due to the 360 degrees view of greenery. Along the road that faces towards the valley you’ll find plenty of local cafes serving up local and international food, coconut and gorgeous views. They make a perfect resting place after your climb up and down the terraces. Good footwear is recommended.
Gunung Kawi Royal Tombs
What few visitors know, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of the tombs of Gunung Kawi near the city of Ubud One of Bali’s most remarkable sights set amongst rice terraces and the Pakersian River. There is even a waterfall within this stunning temple complex. Your walk to the temple begins by following the scenic steps down to the river passing the surrounding rice terraces. There are small shops enroute where the locals sell drinks, clothing and souvenirs. Upon arrival, at the bottom of the lush green river valley you will be amazed at the ten brilliant ancient shrines that has been hand carved into the rock cliff face. The shrines dating back to the 11th century, have aged exceptionally well due to the sheltered location. Up to 8 metres in height they were constructed by King Anak Wungsu in honor of his father and brother. Since no bodies were found in the graves they are more memorial stones that graves. Just a few meters away from the rock temples is an old monastery with narrow passageways and narrow stone chambers carved out of the rocks. The monk’s sanctuary dates from the 9th century and is considered a testimony to Balinese early history. Visitors are only allowed to enter the historic facility barefoot.
This is a sight not to be missed. Visitors should allow at least two hours to visit Gunung Kawi. Wearing a sarong and temple scarves is mandatory.
Tirta Empul (Holy Spring Temple)
In Balinese language Tirta is holy water and Empul is spring or fountain, Hindu people believe that a visit to this 11th century temple can clear chakras and bad energy via water blessing and purification. The clearing of the mind and soul helps follow the hindu belief of creating good karma for a better life. There are many areas to this temple complex – fish ponds, many beautiful goddess statuse, areas for prayer and reflection, pavilions for special ceremonies plus the ponds where you can see the springs coming from the ground. The holy springs fill a bathing area where the water blessing ritual takes place. There are 13 beautiful fountains in three separate pond each having a special purpose. When following the ritual you begin cleansing your body in the pond representing past life, followed by present life and finishing with future life.
During the Bisma Cottages full day around Ubud Tour we include the water blessing ritual assisted by our Manager who is from this area and very knowledgeable.
Tegenungan Water Fall
Only a 20 minute drive from Ubud you will find the impressive Tegenungan Water Fall. There are a few cafés that you can sit enjoy the view whilst sipping on a cool drink or coconut or you can be more adventurous and take a walk to get up close with the waterfalls beauty. There is quite a number of stairs so bring your walking shoes and swimwear if you want to want to cool off after the walk. The first stage will take you to the base of the waterfall and you can continue to climb to the top of the fall to get a closer view of the water cascading into the river. There are Holy water springs also which promise to keep you looking young. The waterfall now is a popular tour inclusion so we recommend you visit in the morning before 11am or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
There are many coffee plantations and agro organic farms on the outskirts of Ubud. Our preferred place also grows chocolate, traditional healing herbs and fruits that you can see during the free guided tour. After the tour you are escorted to the rustic restaurant where the magic happens. The view of rice terraces and tropical forest is breathtaking. Tea and coffee sliders are served complimentary. Luwak Coffee is available also for a small charge. We highly recommended you accompany your coffee and tea with the banana fritters. Lightly battered and fried these are to die for – many of our guest cannot stop at just one serve!
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
Located close to Ubud and dating back to the 11th century. There is actually more to see here than the cave so we recommend taking one of the knowledgeable guides to gain a full understanding of the site. The entrance to the cave has stone sculptures of dangerous creatures and demons with wide open, threatening mouths to scare away bad spirits. Originally it was thought this suggested an elephant’s mouth. Hence the name Elephant Cave.
The cave has a 13 meter long hallway that leads to a T-junction. Inside it is dark, but a lamp is burning. At the end of the left hallway is a picture (1 m high) with four arms of Ganesha (the Hindu god with an elephant) In the hallway are three other linga and yoni (phallus & vagina), this in honor of Lord Shiva.
Just before the entrance is a statue of the Buddhist goddess Hariti. Opposite the cave is a fountain and bathing area with six statues of women. There are still many relics uncovered in the surrounding gardens and river area due to the earthquake due to the last earthquake.
It seems this temple has been lost since the moss and vines have decided to take over. Vegetation has engulfed this place of worship and pure water baths and springs. Mengening was built during the time of King Anak Wungsu (the son of Udayana) in the 11th century and is also in Tampaksiring area. It is one of the least known temples compared to the others frequented by tourists. A cool breeze and serenity will greet you as you go down the steps into the temple’s courtyard – you may just be the only tourist there. From the courtyard, you can gaze upon the greenery that surrounds the premises, taking in the natural beauty serenaded by the harmonious sounds of water running into different pools below.
The site is not so large but still has many interesting sights and ruins to see. You are welcome to take a dip in the male or female pools, given that prayer and offering first at the shrine are completed. A big, holy banyan tree stands majestically near the women’s pool. It is believed that the pools have a special taksu, a spiritual power to cleanse one’s soul.
Goa Garba, a 12th-century temple located in Tampaksiring’s Pejeng village. Located quite deep in the village, on a road less traveled by visitors, Goa Garba exudes calmness and is believed to be the meditation site of the giant Kebo Iwa, an ancient Balinese Hindu military leader. Kebo Iwa came here to meditate and acquire power when he aspired to be the military leader of the ancient kingdom of Bedahulu. He got the job and became so powerful that even the powerful prime minister of the kingdom, Ki Pasung Grigis, couldn’t defeat him. Based on this story, Goa Gajah today is still used as a meditation site especially for those seeking power. Upon entering the cave, you will find several large rocks. On one of these stones lies a footprint larger than that of an average adult, which the locals believe as the footprint of Kebo Iwa. There is a small area where water runs from a nearby spring. The dripping water symbolises the God Vishnu.
Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
One of the most famous rice terrace views is approximately 1 hour drive from Ubud. The area has been appointed as one of the UESCO World Heritages since the rice terraces maintain the traditional water irrigation system called Subak. The views are very beautiful which explains why the area was named Jati (really) Luwih (special, good, beautiful) There is a number of interesting walking and cycling tracks throughout the rice terraces and other agriculture. Afterward you can enjoy a drink or meal at one of the cafes that have amazing views and great photo opportunities.
Visit this chocolate factory close to Ubud to learn about traditional chocolate making. Ripe seed pods containing two to five dozen beans are harvested from cacao trees. A few days of fermentation under giant banana leaves produces the famous bitter flavor. The beans are sundried roasted and shelled and then coarsely ground into cocoa nibs. These nibs are heated until liquid and pressed until only the cocoa solid remains. This is then mixed with other ingredients to make different varieties of chocolate. Apart from elevating your mood chocolate contains calcium, magnesium, copper and phosphorous. Visit to learn more first hand, try and buy some delicious samples.
Tukad Cepung Waterfall
Tukad Cepung Waterfall has mesmerised everyone who have managed to find it. Well-guarded by the cliffs, this waterfall is difficult to locate for the first time visitor. The several hundred steps down the cliff is worth the effort once you arrive at the destination. The circular cliffs give you the feeling of being in a cave, while the open sky right from where the waterfall emerges, gives you the most enchanting view. The sunlight falls on the glistering waterfall creating a rainbow, which feels as though it is projected right up to you. If you have never seen water flowing from the sky, then this would be your chance. Unlike any other waterfall in Bali, Tukad Cepung does not flow directly into a river, stream or lake, but flows gently down the cliffs. The source can be seen from up above, but the waterfall can only be viewed once you walk down the stairs and into the cliffs.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
One of waterfalls in Bali’s latest hit list is Kanto Lampo Waterfall. Whats makes this waterfall different to other is the jumbled black rocks making splashes of water from all sides so as to produce fascinating beauty. The waterfall is surrounded by cool natural forest. The water is mostly clear and clean (except after a big rain).
Near the parking area, there are vendors selling drinks and snacks. Friendly youths man a simple bale to help provide information to visitors and take special effect photos.