A giant smile spreads across my face at the mention of Ubud, Bali. I adore the place. The colours, the buildings, the smells, the people, the food. It’s truly magical and I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface. Despite only having four short days in Ubud during my trip to Bali, I found some places I can confidently call favourites that don’t cost you a penny! There’s so many things to do for free in Ubud. Take a look.
“There is a saying in Bali: “We have no art. We do everything as beautifully as possible.” This reflects my philosophy of practice. I try to remember daily what a gift it is to have the privilege of living in this wondrous world.” – Sam Keen
Pura Taman Saraswati Temple
Pura Taman Saraswati, also known as Ubud Water Temple, is a large temple located in the heart of Ubud. The temple is dedicated to Saraswati, Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. Although the explorable grounds are small, the temple’s special feature is its large lotus pond (I didn’t even know lotuses could grow this big!). The gates to the temple are also a great example of Balinese architecture and make a gorgeous backdrop for photos.
Puri Saren Agung Temple
Ubud Palace, or Puri Saren Agung Temple (frequently used to mislabel pictures of Pura Taman Saraswati), was once a frequent residence of the Balinese royal family. Now, some of the temple’s courtyards are open to viewing. Again, this temple is an excellent showcase of Balinese architecture, but, unlike the grandiosity of Pura Taman Saraswati, Puri Saren Agung has rooms, stages, carvings and statues that make it fascinating to explore.
Short traditional dances are shown in the temple at intervals throughout the day – performed by both children and adults. This is a good free alternative to the ticketed experience (although I have no doubt that that would be a memorable experience!) held in the evening.
Open daily from 8am-5pm
We actually stumbled across Ubud Market (sometimes Ubud Art Market) by accident. And honestly, that only made the experience even more magical. Ubud Market really gives you that ‘this is why I love to travel’ feeling. A mixture of incense, coloured cloth and hustling chatter. You could lose yourself here for hours, without spending a penny. Of course, this is a great place to visit with some spending money and I did make a few purchases (*stuffs another pair of hareem trousers into bag*), but we visited the market a couple of times quite content with window shopping.
The market is divided into two. The western block is the main market and the eastern block is a traditional market, selling groceries and necessities.
What can you find at Ubud Market?
- Spices and salts (Bali are particularly famous salt producers)
- Clothing (from your traditional rice hat to your traditional ‘I’ve been to Bali’ elephant pants)
- Wood, metal and stone carvings
- Fresh produce and general necessities
Haggling here is welcome and encouraged, but, of course, always do it with a smile. Some Balinese or Indonesian phrases will go a long way too.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
This is top (even if I’ve saved it for last) of my favourites list. For the nature lovers among you, this is Ubud’s pièce de résistance. Take a walk through the hills and rice fields behind Ubud.
The walk takes about 1 to 2 hours to complete (there and back). At the end, there are cafes to stop at, before making the return journey. You’ll start your walk at the Pura Gunung Lebah Temple and it’ll only get better.
The terrain is mostly flat and although a little bumpy, could be completed in flip-flops without much difficulty. The route is exposed to the elements so head out in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the intense midday heat.
Almost Landing Bali, a dedicated Bali blog, give great directions (with pictures!) to reach the start of the walk.
You can also check out my favourite restaurants in Ubud (that are vegan-friendly!) to complete your visit.
Happy travelling! Love Ella-Rose x