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12 Best Tours in Ubud that Made us Fall in Love with Bali!

12 Best Tours in Ubud that Made us Fall in Love with Bali!

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Without a doubt, one of our favorite places in the world to visit is Bali. Dan started visiting the island when he was a child and has been here more than 10 times. I’ve been here three times now and there are so many special parts of Bali that keep us coming back.

One of those places is Ubud! It’s famous for lush jungles, stunning waterfalls, rice terraces, and being a center of Balinese art and culture. It isn’t full of the beach clubs and surf breaks of Uluwatu or Canggu, but it has its own unique set of adventures from cooking classes to secret waterfalls to climbing a volcano at sunrise.

We lived in Bali for a few months and during our time here, we’ve done our fair share of tours around Ubud. We’ve done the work of narrowing it down to the best of the best! Whether you’re planning your first or fifth trip to Bali, here are some of the experiences in Ubud, you can’t miss. 

Best Tours in Ubud

1. Cooking class 

Bailey wraps food in banana leaves during a cooking class in Bali
Learning to cook with banana leaves!
Daniel learns to cook in Canggu, Bali
So many flavors to mix!

If you’re nervous about visiting Bali because it seems like a major tourist trap, this cooking class will help change your mind. You’ll spend three hours learning traditional Balinese cooking from Putu, a gem of a woman who opens up her home to you during this private experience. 

From your hotel in Ubud, you’ll be picked up and transported to Putu’s ancestral village, where you’ll learn how to cook just like she did from her grandmother!

Every family has their own spin on traditional recipes, and we loved learning Putu’s way of doing things. She’s a professional cook for two private villas, but you get a window into her life on the island as she introduces you to the different fruits and flavors that come from the area. Plus, the rice you’ll have is from her grandparents’ rice farm!

While the meal you’re preparing changes based on the season, expect to make anything from savory fish dishes to curry. Vegan and vegetarian options are available, but be sure to let Putu know about your dietary restrictions when you book. We made so much food that she even sent us home with yummy leftovers!

If you want to experience this quieter side of Bali, book your ticket as early as possible. The experience starts at $78 USD and sells out fast. 

2. ATV tour through rice fields, waterfalls, and caves

Daniel rides an ATV through the rice fields of Bali on a tour
Cruising the rice fields!
Daniel and Bailey on an ATV tour in front of a waterfall in Bali
So much fun!

While Bali is known for being a relaxing destination, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little excitement, too! That’s exactly what you’ll get when you take this ATV tour

Make sure to request pickup and dropoff services if you’re staying in Ubud, Kuta, Canggu, or other nearby places. Otherwise, you’ll have to find your own way to the meeting point. We had rented a scooter in Bali but still went with the pickup option so we didn’t have to worry about finding our way here.

Once we arrived, we got to sip on fresh lemonade and then get suited up for the ride. From there, it was off a journey to zoom through Bali with your guide on an 8-kilometer (5-mile) ride as passing rice fields and the Balinese jungle. We also got the chance to check out some waterfalls and rivers. My favorite part was the ride through a natural tunnel, which we had never done on an ATV ride before!

On our tour, the guides were so great at taking photos along the way while we stopped at waterfalls and caves. The tour lasted about 1.5 hours and it flew by! When we’re feeling particularly adventurous, this is one of our favorite things to do in Ubud.

The ATV experience costs $36 USD per person for a tandem ride without hotel transport. It will cost a bit more if you want your own ATV and private transport included.

3. Whitewater rafting 

Rafts float down the river on a White water rafting tour in Bali
It’s stunning!
Bailey smiles on a White water rafting tour in Bali
We even visited a waterfall!

This whitewater rafting tour is a thrilling way to spend the afternoon!

If you’ve never been rafting before, I think this is a perfect first-time experience. On our tour, we travelled down the Ayung River over 28 different rapids – past forests, rice paddies, stone carvings, and waterfalls. While you’ll definitely get a workout paddling down the river, we didn’t find it too strenuous.

When booking your trip, make sure to reserve hotel pickup and drop-off. Wayan is an incredible driver, and he helps make the logistics of the trip run as smoothly as possible. 

At the end of your tour, hop in a quick shower and enjoy an included lunch and drinks. This is a great time to chat with the people you just spent the past few hours rafting with, and we loved this part of the tour because it allowed us to meet people from all over the world. 

Rafting tickets cost $40 USD per person and spots are limited.

4. Ubud private sightseeing tour 

Two monkeys groom each other at the Ubud Monkey Forest
Monkey Forest!
Bailey poses for a photo at the Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud, Bali
Tegalalang Rice Terrace!

With so many incredible sights around Ubud, making sure you hit all of them can feel overwhelming. But this all-inclusive tour makes seeing the highlights a breeze.

We especially love this tour for first-time travelers to Bali, but it’s also a great option if you’ve been to Bali before. This tour starts at the Ubud Monkey Forest – which is nice as it’s the least busy first thing in the morning. This is a sacred place full of ancient temples and yes … lots of monkeys! Just hold tight to your belongings as these monkeys have been known to grab phones and sunglasses.

This tour also stops at Tegalalang Rice Terrace, which is an ancient irrigation system on a cliffside. We were able to get that famous Bali swing picture (I know you’ve seen it on Instagram!) where it looks like you’re flying over the jungle and also stop at the magnificent Tegenungan Waterfall.

All along the way, your guide is a local (shoutout to Gusti!) who knows the back roads and quickest ways to each stop, so we spent more time enjoying the sights of Ubud than being stuck in traffic.

The tour lasts all day and since it’s a private tour, you set the agenda. The tour costs $90 USD each for two people, but the price drops the more you book for. We aren’t alone in loving this tour either, it has over 9,000 5-star reviews!

Related Read: If you’re after some amazing travel photos, read our review (and see the photos you can get) on this Bali Instagram tour!

5. Bali holy water purification and palm reading

Daniel splashes himself with water at Pura Tirta Empul Temple in Ubud, Bali
Daniel splashing himself with water at Pura Tirta Empul Temple.
Daniel puts his head under the water at Pura Tirta Empul Temple in Ubud, Bali
Just don’t drink the water!

For a unique spiritual experience, we journeyed to Tirta Empul – a water temple 30 minutes from Ubud. This holy water and palm reading private tour got us the transportation to get here and helped guide us through the entire experience.

This ancient temple dates back to 926 AD and it’s still very much used by the locals today, but they welcome visitors, and even former US President Barack Obama and his family have come here. We were grateful for our guide, Ida, to help tell us the history and make sure we were comfortable. The tour even provided sarongs for us to wear while in the temple.

The temple itself is filled with holy springs that you can experience in one of the pools. The pool we went in had crystal-clear water coming out of dozens of waterspouts. To participate, you dip your head under the series of fountains – your guide will tell you which ones you can use. We also liked that this tour got us to the temple early, as often there’s a large line for the springs later in the day.

After taking part in the spiritual cleansing, there was a nice break to grab a coffee while having a palm reading. This tour gave us a little window into this part of the world I never would have discovered on my own and having a guide helped us immerse ourselves in the experience. You can book it for $79 USD.

6. Hidden waterfalls private tour 

Tukad Cepung Waterfall in Bali
Tukad Cepung Waterfall in Bali
Aling-Aling Waterfall in Bali
Just stunning!

It’s no secret Bali is full of natural beauty, but it can feel impossible to find a part of the island that hasn’t been completely overshared on Instagram. That all changes when on this hidden waterfalls tour, which took us off the normal tourist route.

Since this is a private tour, your group and guide will go deep into jungles and behind caves to see some of Ubud’s most beautiful waterfalls. We love that you visit not one, but THREE waterfalls: Tukad Cepung, Tibumana, and Tegenungan. We had about an hour at each, and even had a chance to swim at two of them. We generally prefer swimming at Tibumana, since Tegenungan is usually more crowded.

While this tour has postcard-worthy views, it’s important to note that some of the waterfalls aren’t the most accessible and the first two have some pretty steep stairs to walk down. The guides were great at getting everyone in our group to each place safely and they’re also great photographers for the day!

Lunch is included at a buffet restaurant overlooking rice terraces and a volcano and it has a swing that also makes for some nice photos (I can never get too many Bali swing pictures!).

This waterfall tour is our personal favorite and only costs $53 USD – which is a steal for a private tour. You can also add on snorkeling or visits to the Monkey Forest, or Heaven’s Gate if you choose. 

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

7. Mount Batur sunrise tour

Views from the summit of Mt. Batur in bali
Views from the summit of Mt. Batur in Bali

As much as we love Ubud, in our opinion, no trip to Bali is complete without venturing beyond the town. If you’ve got an eye for adventure and want to see the island from the best vantage point, we recommend taking this tour to Mount Batur

Mount Batur is an active volcano that sits about 1 hour and 15 minutes north of Ubud. We were picked up early (at 2 am!) from our hotel, but that meant we could reach the summit before sunrise. In exchange for giving up a bit of sleep, we had panoramic views of the island. So worth it in my opinion – we just fueled up with extra coffee at the bonus tour stop at a coffee plantation after our hike!

The view from the top is incredible and our guide even brought breakfast along (banana sandwiches!) so we got to sit and savor the view. It’s pretty cool to say you’ve had breakfast on a volcano in Bali – that was a first for me!

We especially love this hiking tour because you can choose to add on a trip to nearby natural hot springs after you climb the volcano. Nothing beats sinking into the therapeutic water after a long hike! If you’d like to book round-trip transportation, the hike, and a trip to the hot springs, it’ll cost you $63 USD.

8. Canyoning 

Canyoning in Ubud, Bali
Canyoning in Ubud, Bali

If you’re a thrill-seeker like us, you’ll love this canyoning tour. Spend the day descending into Maboya Canyon with picturesque views of the lush, green landscape and cascading waterfalls. 

While you need to be able to hike to the canyon to participate in this tour, I’d say you don’t need to be an expert canyoner – we definitely wouldn’t say we are experts! The team gets everyone set up with all the safety equipment and training you need before starting the descent. While I still had a bit of nerves to start, once we got going, I totally relaxed and had so much fun.

We especially recommend this tour to first-time visitors because it gives you a different perspective of Bali. This northern part of the island isn’t super crowded and this adventure made it feel like Bali was our own outdoor playground with natural waterslides, rock pools, ziplining, and abseiling.

Before you head back to your hotel, there’s a big, local lunch with your fellow travelers. We thought it was the perfect way to end an incredible experience in the jungle. Ticket prices start at $165 USD, and prices vary depending on the size of your group with tour sizes maxing out at 8 people.

9. Silver jewelry-making class in Ubud 

Silver jewelry in Bali
Silver jewelry in Bali

Even though Bali is mostly known for its dreamy jungles and unbeatable beaches, there are other places you can explore on the island. One of our most memorable experiences was venturing into a local village to learn about one of the area’s most lucrative industries and making our own pendants and rings.

We loved this silver jewelry-making class in Ubud because we got to meet Hanna, a silversmith from Delodsema Village. She grew up in a jewelry-making family and has been crafting beautiful pieces for years. We especially enjoyed hearing her story and learning about her experiences in the industry. 

Lessons take place in her home, which is a traditional Balinese house that’s been in her family for eight generations. If you want a non-traditional experience in Bali that helps you learn about the local culture and economy, this is a perfect way to spend a few hours. Plus, Hanna is the sweetest host!

This activity lasts five hours and costs $70 USD per person. When you arrive, you’ll receive 10 grams of silver to work with, and you’ll leave with fun memories and a piece of jewelry you can wear. 

10. Half-day electric cycling tour of Ubud 

A lady on a swing over the rice fields in Ubud, Bali
Tegalalang Rice Terrace is a popular place

This half-day biking tour is one of the best ways to get out of the town center and experience some of the natural wonders around Ubud. 

It starts with hotel pickup where you’re off to a meeting point to pick out your electric bike and helmet. We loved that this tour used ebikes instead of traditional ones. It made the ride a little easier and more relaxing!

The tour makes a few different stops, during which your guide will give you an informative overview of what you’re seeing. Our favorite stop was actually a UNESCO site, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. You’ve probably seen Instagram posts of these fields, but the pictures don’t do them justice. There’s also time at the famous Ubud jungle swing and a local coffee plantation to fuel up for the rest of your ride.

The ride felt easy to us, but the heat can be a lot – especially if you travel in April and May. A vehicle trails you throughout the ride in case you need a break, though. At the end of your ride, you’ll be treated to a traditional Balinese lunch before heading back to your hotel. 

This experience costs $47 USD, and you can choose a morning or afternoon tour – we recommend the morning to avoid the heat that arrives later in the day!

11. Authentic Bali farm cooking school & organic farm 

Fresh ingriedients we cooked at a cooking class in Bali
Fresh ingredients we cooked with!

If you want to spend the day learning a little more about Ubud and local cuisine, this cooking school and organic farm experience is the way to go. We love this part of Bali because the culinary scene is so rich, and this tour helps you get a taste of it!

We recommend taking this tour in the morning because you’ll start your day with a trip to the local market. We learned how the locals shop and what types of products are available before heading to the organic farm. 

From there, we got the chance to pick vegetables fresh from the garden. They grow many different items here, including corn, chili, and basil. We made six dishes, ranging from chicken curry to black rice pudding. Everything was delicious, and we were able to take the leftovers home with us! Our hosts also gave us a printed recipe book, which we still use to recreate these dishes.

This tour costs $38 USD per person with times available throughout the day and if you choose an evening class you can add on the chance to take part in a cultural tour and watch fireflies!

12. Mount Ijen blue fire tour from Ubud, Bali 

Mount Ijen, Indonesia
Mount Ijen, Indonesia

This Mount Ijen blue fire tour isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s absolutely an experience you need to add to your Bali bucket list. Clocking in at 22 hours in total, this trip takes nearly a day to complete. 

However, it’s more than worth it to see a natural phenomenon that’s unlike anything else I’ve seen in the world. Between 2-4 am when the conditions are just right, the appearance of “blue lava” runs down the Mount Ijen volcano, and it’s a sight to behold. It only occurs when the sulfur and atmospheric conditions are right, though, so it’s not guaranteed to happen on every trip. But when you can see it, it’s incredible.

On this tour, you’ll leave at night and travel six hours away to the nearby island, Java, which you’ll reach by a combination of van and ferry. From there, you’ll start your trek up Mount Ijen to view the crater. That’s where the real show begins.

This tour is definitely strenuous, but guides like Kadek are there to help you make it to the viewing point just before sunrise. Tickets start around $129 USD per traveler.

Where to Stay in Ubud

Abipraya hotel in Bali with views of the pool and the rice fields
Abipraya Hotel

Ubud is a great place to stay in Bali because of its stellar views. From luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels, it’s not hard to find a nice vacation spot. But it can be hard to choose! We’ve narrowed it down to our top picks for every budget, including the hotel we stayed at and loved (hint – it’s the Abipraya Hotel!).

TheWakanda Resort – A Prama Experience – $$$

If you’re looking for out-and-out luxury, TheWakanda Resort has luxe suites and standalone villas with rice field views that seem to stretch for miles, until they meet the jungle. We think that this would be perfect for a romantic stay in Ubud! There’s also an on-site spa and a yoga studio that hosts classes every other day, and the staff here are really willing to go the extra mile for you. 

Suites are typically around $300 USD, but we’ve seen closer to $200 USD outside of peak season. We’ve found the best deals booking in advance online.

Gynandha Ubud Cottage – $$

In Bali, staying at a mid-range place usually means you get a lot of bang for your buck, and Gynandha Ubud Cottage is a prime example of this. The rooms are big and beautifully decorated, the bathrooms will make you feel like you’re in a spa, and there’s a pretty, split-level waterfall pool for guests to use.

This property is just a few minutes’ walk from the town center, but is still super peaceful and offers beautiful rice field views for around $150-$200 USD per night. Reserve a room in advance with Booking.com.

Abipraya – $

We stayed at Abipraya, which was super quiet and nestled into a tropical garden, about 10 minutes’ walk from the main town. The location was ideal for us and we loved the big swimming pool overlooking the rice fields, as well as the open and airy feel that the rooms had.

Prices start at around $50 USD per night, which includes breakfast, so it was a really good budget option. Book Abipraya here!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at the Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud, Bali
Thanks for reading!

There are some seriously amazing tours available in Ubud, so hopefully you found a few to add to your Bali vacation. We adore visiting here and Ubud is always on our to-do list because the experiences feel so authentically Bali. Let us know if you have any questions and what tour made your bucket list!

If you need more help planning your next trip, check out our other blogs. We’ve traveled around Bali, Australia, and even Fiji! Here are a few related guides to get you started:

4 Types of Tours in Bali that Every Tourist Should Consider

28 BEST Things to do in Bali, Indonesia

Seventh Heaven vs Cloud 9 – My Honest Review of Fiji’s Floating Bars!

5 BEST Day Cruises in Fiji for an Ideal Day on the Water