The best tours in Ubud let you discover a highlight or more of the island’s hub of arts and culture. Ubud is Bali’s popular central highland destination, offering magnificent scenery from green rice terraces and valleys to art galleries, age-old temples and palaces. Depending on what you wish to see, tours can take between half and a full day to enjoy.

    These most recommended Ubud tours include many of the area’s highlights in a single excursion, with the likes of Ubud Monkey Forest, Ubud’s Puri Saren Royal Palace and holy water springs, museums and Ubud Art Market often included. Some trips can take you further beyond and to the mountains for panoramic views.


    Kintamani volcano, Ubud and Barong dance performance

    As one of the most popular packages in our list of the best tours in Ubud, this option offers you a full day out to discover Bali's unique cultural heritage and scenic natural attractions. After your hotel pickup, enjoy the glimpses of Bali’s central region on the drive through the countryside.

    Stops at some of the island’s most famous artisan villages include Batubulan, where a lively Barong dance performance is regularly shown. You'll also stop at Mas, which is Bali’s wood-sculpturing hub. Before heading up to Mount Batur in the Kintamani highlands, visit the mysterious archaeological site of the Goa Gajah temple, nicknamed ‘the elephant cave’. Allow 8 hours for this tour.


    Full-day tour to Ubud and Kintamani highlands

    This tour lets you learn about the island and its people with stories told by a knowledgeable guide as you find temples, handicrafts and grand volcanic vistas along the way. From your hotel, journey first to some of the renowned artistic villages, where you can meet the master craftsmen behind the impressive handicrafts.

    Then, on your way towards the Kintamani highlands, drop by the lush rice terraces of Tegallalang, just north of the central Ubud. In Kintamani, take in the magnificent panoramic views of the volcanic caldera lake of Batur. On your trip back, visit the Tirta Empul temple and its soothing holy springs before stopping by the Ubud Monkey Forest and local market. Allow 9 hours for this tour.


    Enchanting Ubud excursion

    This guided tour of Ubud takes you to see traditional Balinese homes in the countryside, some of which showcase different structures and architectural styles. It also includes visits to some of Ubud’s renowned museums, such as the Puri Lukisan, which houses some of the best works by famous Balinese painters and sculptors.

    Nearby is the Puri Saren Agung royal palace in the town’s centre. Just across the road is Ubud Art Market, where you can browse through the wealth of arts and crafts and practice your haggling skills. In the afternoon, head north to Petulu village, where thousands of white herons cover the skies as they flock back to their treetop nests. Allow 6 hours for this tour.


    Private handicrafts of Ubud half-day tour

    If you’re into arts and crafts and interested in social responsibility programmes, this Ubud tour might be your best choice. You’ll be able to try your hand at the traditional process of dyeing cloth through a textile workshop. You'll also gain an insight into the island’s arts and culture at Ubud’s galleries, such as the Threads of Life, which aims to preserve rare and traditional textiles from Bali and across 11 Indonesian islands.

    Next, visit a local jeweller and learn how the proceeds from sales of the gold- and silver-plated items provides aid to vital community resources such as clinics, scholarships and even prisoner rehabilitation. Allow 5 hours for this tour.


    Private traditional Mas Village experience and lunch

    Enjoy an exciting day out in the gold and silversmith’s village of Mas and learn more about the community of craftsmen’s rich traditions, culture and way of life. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the village priest for blessings, then you can meet up with friendly villagers and learn about their crafts. You'll get a personal appointment with a local astrologer before learning how to prepare your own authentic traditional Balinese dishes for lunch.

    This is a great tour option in Ubud if you’re looking for a more personal encounter with local communities. Allow 6 hours for this tour.


    Private island highlights: Ubud to Kintamani full-day tour

    This private tour takes you on a full day of discovery in the central Bali highlands with stopovers at spectacular sites between Ubud and Kintamani. Among the famous temples that are included in the itinerary are Gunung Kawi, which is known for its impressive ancient shrines that are carved into a rock face.

    There’s also Tirta Empul, which is one of Bali’s most renowned holy water springs. The tour takes you to the breathtaking caldera lake of Batur, with beautiful countryside landscapes with rice fields and lush clove and vanilla plantations along the way. Allow 9 hours for this tour.


    Evening Ubud tour with cultural performances

    Choose this tour option if you’re looking of something to do in the evenings in Bali’s cool upland destination of Ubud. If escaping the crowds of Bali’s south is particularly high on your list of holidaying priorities, this is definitely for you.

    Stroll around Ubud's art galleries and craft shops and browse for souvenirs from local sellers, then conclude your evening with a cultural highlight: a Legong Dance. This composition of 5 or 6 short dances typically includes a prominent dramatic warrior dance. Performances are held on Mondays at Ubud Palace and Saturdays at Pura Dalem Puri. Allow 5.5 hours for this tour.


    Ubud private art and culture full-day tour

    Gain insights into the artistic wonders of Ubud with visits to some of the area’s renowned museums. First stop is the Rudana Museum, which houses artworks of some of Bali’s famous maestros. Then, continue to Blanco Renaissance Museum, the former home studio of the late Don Antonio Blanco, whose galleries are filled with elaborate and mostly erotic works.

    Lunch is then served at a local restaurant with views over verdant rice paddies and flowing waterways. ARMA Museum is the next stop, with its collection of graceful sculptures, famous paintings and dance workshops. At Njana Tilem Gallery, witness a masterpiece wooden sculpture in the making, then conclude your tour with a visit to the famous Ubud Art Market to find great items for your own collection. Allow 9 hours for this tour.


    Balinese cooking lesson in Ubud

    This gastronomic tour of Ubud lets you explore the secret techniques and traditions behind local Balinese cuisine. Sip on a cup of hot tea or coffee as you hear about the itinerary for the day and the dishes on the menu. Head out into a buzzing local market and hear about the intricacies of regional Balinese cuisine while watching the local trade of exotic fruits, vegetables and spices.

    Ride past rice paddies on your way to the kitchen, where you jump into the preparation of a meal under the guidance of an expert chef. Roll up your sleeves for this hands-on experience, then gather around the table and enjoy your creations for lunch. Allow 6 hours for this experience.

    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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