Bali is certainly not a hidden gem in itself. It is one of the most iconic destinations in the world! Millions of people flock to Bali each year to soak up the most desirable locations and to get those Instagram-worthy shots.
One thing about Bali is that even though it is popular on the tourist trail, it is absolutely worth going to, even if you are more into secret spots and hidden gems.
One of the most famous places to go in Bali is none other than Ubud. Ubud is the epitome of Balinese culture and tradition with a plethora of stunning temples and architecture. Ubud is a natural delight as well, set amongst lush jungle, rice fields, world-famous waterfalls and volcano views. Throw in a thriving scene of restaurants, cafes and yoga centres and you have a very popular destination!
While going to a Keckak performance, braving the monkey forest, soaking up the views at the Tegalalang Rice Terraces and exploring Ubud Palace are all must-dos if you’re in Ubud, there is another side to this city and its surrounds.
In this post, we are spilling 13 of our favourite hidden gems in Ubud, Bali. All of these spots are off the typical itinerary and if you’ve never been to Bali or Ubud before you probably won’t of heard of most of them. Some of these secret spots in Ubud are just starting to become known and have previously been frequented mostly by locals.
We are covering everything from temples, restaurants, waterfalls, walks and so much more! Get Off the Map in Ubud!
Hidden Gems in Central Ubud
1. Rice Fields Walk
Central Ubud is sprawling with amazing walks through the rice fields. You don’t need to out to Tegalalang to see spectacular views you most likely just need to walk for 10-15 minutes!
One of our favourite rice field walks is located just to the northwest of Central Ubud. You can find the path by searching ‘Rice Fields Walk’ on Google Maps. Here is the link so you can find the right spot yourself!
Once you find this walkway, which is very narrow, you can just keep walking up as far as you can admiring the spectacular views of the rice fields and tropical plants. It is truly lush! The best part is, you will likely only bump into locals working on the rice fields, the odd scooter and dogs taking themselves for a walk.
The best time to do this walk is either at sunrise or just before sunset. We recommend stopping at Paddy Point restaurant on your way back to refuel. This is a local warung with incredible food and beautiful outdoor seating to admire the views.
2. Explore the walkways of Sayan
About a 20-minute walk to the west of Central Ubud, you will find the area known as Sayan. This beautiful location is home to a maze of winding walkways which house a treasure trove of hidden gems in Ubud.
When you are walking through these little streets through the jungle, you will feel miles away from the bustle of central Ubud. The best way to find these streets is to head to Penestanan Stairs. Note that you can’t take scooters or cars through this area!
We highly recommend finding accommodation in this area as well. Flora Natural Studios on Airbnb is a great option.
When making your way through this part of Sayan, we recommend making a trip to the following lesser-known places:
- Yellow Flower Cafe: Incredible food and decor that is run by locals. The views are incredible and there is plenty of space to relax the afternoon away.
- Intuitive Yoga Flow: This is a great yoga studio to attend which is smaller and less busy than the other establishments in Ubud. It is more authentic, humble and affordable too! We love it.
- Siddhi Ayu Massage & Spa: A tiny beauty centre run by a very experienced massage therapist and sound healer. You can only book via WhatsApp. We recommend trying out his facial massage or a full body massage with sound therapy.
Yellow Flower Cafe
3. Alchemy Cafe & Yoga Centre
Sticking to the Sayan area we have Alchemy which is located on a normal road (not the backstreets). Alchemy is made up of a cafe and restaurant and across the road, you will find an outstanding yoga and meditation centre.
Alchemy is well-known in Ubud but may be overlooked by other yoga centres such as Radiantly Alive or Ubud for most tourists. However, Alchemy’s Cafe and Yoga Centre are simply outstanding and not too overcrowded either.
The cafe serves healthy raw vegan food and the yoga and meditation centre offers multiple yoga classes a day that centre around the elements as well as events most nights. Their yoga shala and reception area are made out of the most incredible bamboo architecture and their clothing and accessory store is beautiful.
4. Sound healing at the Pyramids of Chi
The Pyramids of Chi offer an incredibly unique experience just outside of the heart of Ubud. Amongst the Ubudian jungle, you will find actual Pyramids!
The Pyramids of Chi is an innovation to the world through the combination of Pyramid Power, Sacred Geometry, Polar Alignment, Ancient Sounds, and the ever-present magical energy of Bali.
Inside these Pyramids, you will find a plethora of sound healing journeys to choose from each day. This is a unique experience and isn’t related to Balinese culture necessarily but nonetheless, it is worthwhile.
The pyramids create an incredible acoustic experience where you can be fully immersed in sound vibrations. They also offer sound healing experiences with custom-built sound healing beds equipped with powerful vibrational speakers that resonate sound through water mattresses deep into the body as physical sound vibration. An experience like no other!
5. Ubud Coffee Roastery
Ubud Coffee Roastery is the place to go if you love a hidden gem of a coffee shop. Located in an unassuming and relatively quiet part of Ubud you will find the hippest coffee shop in Ubud. Once you step inside, you may feel as if you have been transported back to Melbourne!
This is a great place to stop in for your daily fix before exploring the rest of what Ubud has to offer. If you went and did the Rice Fields Walk mentioned above for sunrise then grab a coffee from here on your way back to Ubud!
6. Tjampuhan Spa
Tjampuhan Spa is a beautiful place to spend the day relaxing close to nature. You can also stay here, but we recommend heading to the spa for a few hours or half a day.
Tjampuhan Spa is located at the base of a valley, nestled in the jungle with a natural river running through. This spa is dedicated to the healing properties of water. You can practice contrast therapy here by swimming in hot and cold water and using the sauna. Swim in the river, have a sauna, get massages and have an array of spa and beauty treatments.
Hidden gems just outside of Ubud
7. Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple
Tirta Empul is the iconic water temple in Ubud (which you definitely shouldn’t skip!). However, it is incredibly touristy and full of people! If you want a similar but more secluded experience, the Gunung Kawi Sebatu temple is an amazing option. Located just a 30-minute drive from Ubud, it is easy to get to on a scooter or with a driver.
This temple isn’t visited often by tourists even though is in an extensive temple complex. Locals frequent this temple to bathe in the holy spring waters for purification and healing which you can participate in as well.
There is also a Koi pond and beautiful stone carvings throughout. Everything you’d expect from a Balinese water temple just without all the crowds.
8. Bangkiang Djaran Waterfall
We all associate Ubud with waterfalls! And some of the more famous ones such as Tibumana and Tegenungan are often very crowded for this reason.
Bangkiang Djaran waterfall is located 45 minutes from Ubud and is lesser known and more off the beaten track. While it may not be as big as the other waterfalls, it is simply stunning and you may even have the waterfall to yourself. Once you are there, you can explore the area more discovering your own favourite hidden gems.
9. Tukad Cepung Waterfall
This waterfall is starting to gain popularity thanks to Instagram, however, it is still sort of a secret spot in Ubud and draws far fewer crowds than other waterfalls.
Tucked Cepung waterfall is located 45 minutes from Ubud and is a journey just to reach the waterfall itself. You need to make a precarious trek down to the bottom of the falls. The falls themselves are at the bottom of a narrow canyon with rivers and pools. You need to wade through water and crawl through cave-like canyons to find it!
This difficulty and adventure required just to see these falls is a deterrent enough for the masses. If you arrive at the right time of the morning you will get to see stunning light beams above the waterfall creating a mystical effect.
10. Tangkub Waterfall
Hidden in the rainforest about an hour out of Ubud you will find this secret spot! Tangkub Waterfall and the surrounding canyons are a hidden paradise that you need to add to your Ubud list!
To find this waterfall search “Tangkub Waterfall – Bukit Hijau” in google maps (not to be confused with Tangkup Waterfall). This will take you to the start of the 25-minute hike to get to the waterfall itself.
The trek will take you through rice fields and a remote village. This is a true secret spot in Bali and you’ll likely have the place to yourself!
11. Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
Goa Gajah Temple is in a cave with intricate carvings from the 9th century just 15 minutes from Ubud. Inside this glorious and ancient Hindu temple, you will find bathing pools, wall carvings, fountains and even a meditation cave.
12. Jatiluwih rice terraces
Instead of just stopping at the ultra-famous (and stunning) Tegalalang rice terraces, continue along to Jatiluwih rice terraces. These rice terraces are a real hidden gem in Ubud.
Here you can enjoy breathtaking views of rice terraces with mountains as a backdrop. You’ll also get a glimpse of traditional Balinese farming practices (without all the swings, birdcages and other staged Instagram spots at Tegalalang).
These rice terraces are a bit further away, taking 90 minutes to drive there from Ubud. However, the drive alone is spectacular enough to make the trip worthwhile. Plus there are many waterfalls you can explore in the area while you are there such as Leke Leke Waterfall.
13. Penglipuran Village
Located just under an hour from Ubud you will find the highland village of Penglipuran, a true hidden gem in Ubud. To visit this village, we recommend hiring a driver for the day and stopping here along with all of the other places outside of central Ubud, such as waterfalls, that you want to explore.
This traditional village is a place where tourists can come to experience the real traditional Balinese lifestyle minus all the modern influences in the touristy areas. Penglipuran is one of the most well-preserved traditional villages on the island.
Expect to find traditional bamboo houses, temples and plenty of offerings. You will also be able to buy handicrafts from locals (the best souvenirs!).