Bali is awesome for beach lovers, but if you are like me and get bored after a few hours of lounging in the sand, no worries! There are so many amazing day trips you can take from Ubud or Canggu. These are the two most popular spots for tourists, and also the places I’ve stayed in before. If you’re staying in Kuta or Seminyak, you should know that it takes a bit more time to get to central or east Bali. Here are 10 wonderful places to visit during your holiday in Canggu or Ubud, Bali.
Good to know: traffic
Traffic can be pretty crazy in touristy areas like Ubud, Denpasar, Kuta, and Seminyak, so be prepared for delays. The good news is that traveling by scooter is the quickest way to get around. Just keep in mind, it can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to riding one! I have zero experience with riding scooters, so I used the Grab app to book a taxi scooter which is super convenient.
Day trips south Bali
1. Sunset at Uluwatu temple with a fire dance show
The number one place to visit in Bali is the Uluwatu Temple, located in the southern part of the island. It’s a bit of a drive, but in my opinion, you shouldn’t miss it. Like most tourists, we combined our visit to this temple with the Kecak sunset performance. Waiting for the show to start does mean sitting in the scorching sun, but luckily the actual show takes place in the much cooler golden light with the fire part after the sun has set. I recommend booking tickets online because it can sell out at the door fast. Another point to note: Uluwatu Temple is infamous for its monkeys. Indeed, there are many monkeys running around. If you stay calm, don’t laugh or stare at the monkeys, and don’t show them any snacks or drinks, they will leave you alone.
Entry fee: 30,000 IDR per person for the temple, the show is an additional 150,000 IDR per person. Best visited from Canggu (1 -1.5 hours).
2. Standing on the seabed at Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot is not just any Hindu temple. It is one of the seven sea temples in Bali, built for the sea god Dewa Baruna. For most of the day, it is surrounded by water. Only at low tide (early morning or late afternoon) it is possible to walk to the island. Entering the temple is strictly reserved for believers, the rest can view the temple island from a distance. In addition to the island temple, there are seven other smaller temples on the premises. Tip: if you use Grab to get here, consider asking the driver to wait to take you back. We found it difficult to order a new Grab for the return journey.
Entry fee: 60,000 IDR per person. Best visited from Canggu (30 min).
3. Visit the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
On our drive to the Uluwatu Temple, we saw a massive statue emerging on the horizon. You can also spot it on your flight descent to the airport. It’s the Hindu god Wisnu, the mythical warrior on the back of an eagle. This 122-meter-tall statue is part of a cultural park that opened its doors in 2018 to showcase the island’s culture and history. There are two other mega statues there and perhaps more will follow. In my opinion, the park is an extra when you have run out of things to do.
Entry fee: 80,000 IDR per person. Best visited from Canggu (1 hour).
4. Go beach hopping on Nusa Penida
Set aside some time for a day trip (or a multi-day trip) to Bali’s neighboring island of Nusa Penida. We visited the island’s west coast and saw Crystal Bay, Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong, and Kelingking Bay in one day. The trip was perfect, with beautiful Kelingking as the very last. This popular bay is visited from above, offering a panoramic view. It is possible to get down to the beach, but make sure you have enough time to do this. The path is challenging with uneven dirt steps, taking 45 minutes to get down and an hour to go back up. Another point: Nusa Penida may look like a tiny island, but getting around takes some time. The roads are narrow and hilly. Start your day trip early because the island roads fill up.
Day tour including a private driver, boat from Sanur to Nusa Penida, lunch, and hotel pick-up and drop-off: 750,000 IDR per person. Travel time from Ubud or Canggu to Sanur Port is the same (40-55 min).
Day trips central Bali
5. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan: seeing the floating temple
This temple also has a floating theme with its location in the middle of Lake Beratan. When I arrived here, I was pleasantly surprised by the coolness. The temple is quite high in the mountains, which is a break from Bali’s usual heat. It is a tribute to Dewa Danu, the goddess of water, rivers, and lakes. The lake also serves as an important irrigation source for agriculture in central Bali.
Entry fee: 75,000 IDR per person. Travel time from Ubud or Canggu is about the same (1 hour and 15 min).
6. Hiking in the valley of Jatiluwih rice terraces
In my Ubud blog post, I already talked about the Tegalalang rice fields or Ceking rice terraces. Very beautiful but very touristy. For a more authentic experience (meaning, without the Instagram swings), I recommend the Jatiluwih rice terraces. A UNESCO World Heritage protected rice harvest area with Mount Batukuru as the backdrop. There are various clearly marked hiking routes, both short and long, so there’s something for everyone. I followed a section of the yellow route, but if I had more time, I would have definitely explored other routes as well.
Entry fee: 40,000 IDR per person. Travel time from Ubud or Canggu is the same (1 hour and 15 min).
7. Enjoy the green oasis at Leke Leke Waterfall
Although Leke Leke Waterfall also became famous through Instagram, I was surprised to see that it was not busy at all. We arrived after 4 pm and there were only four or five other tourists there. Leke Leke is very photogenic due to the green valley through which the water falls down. Compared to other Bali waterfalls, it’s a smaller one, but still beautiful. You’ll find larger waterfalls in northern Bali, such as Munduk Waterfall and Sekumpul Waterfalls.
Entry fee: 50,000 IDR per person. Travel time from Ubud or Canggu is the same (about 1 hour).
Day trips east Bali
8. Pura Besakih, the mother temple of Bali
In Bali, you see temples everywhere, but there can be only one that’s the most important, and that is Pura Besakih. It’s a centuries-old temple situated at around 1,000 meters on the slope of the active volcano Mount Agung. This is one of the most sacred places for the Balinese people. It was beautiful to see entire families coming to the complex with food offerings for the gods. Tip: when buying the ticket, there’s an option for a shuttle bus. In my opinion, it’s unnecessary since the entrance is just a 10-minute walk away. The ticket automatically includes a local guide, which is not obligatory but can be helpful given the vast history.
Entry fee: 60,000 IDR per person (including a sarong and a local guide). With the shuttle, it’s 90,000 IDR. Best visited from Ubud (1 hour and 15 min).
9. Taman Tirtagangga, strolling in the water palace
Compared to other tourist attractions in Bali, Taman Tirtagangga is quite new. The last king of Bali built this complex in 1948 as a kind of bathhouse. Tirtagangga means “water of the holy Ganges river.” The location was not chosen by chance, as there is also a sacred water spring here. Nowadays, it’s a water park with fountains and ponds. It’s nice to walk around, but unfortunately, it can get quite crowded due to the Instagram-famous stepping stones. The idea is to stand on the stepping stone and have a photo taken with huge koi fish swimming around you. It’s anything but spontaneous as people line up to stand on the stepping stones. Plus, the fish are lured with food.
Entry fee: 50,000 IDR per person. Best visited from Ubud (1.5 – 2 hours).
10. Lempuyang Gate of Heaven: an Instagram hotspot
The mother of all Instagram spots in Bali is the Lempuyang Gate of Heaven, famous for a photography trick that makes the gate appear to float on water. This illusion is created with a mirror, but it has certainly worked. I made the mistake of underestimating the popularity of this place. We visited in the spring of 2023, still post-COVID period, thinking that tourism wouldn’t be at its peak. I was wrong. The square in front of the gate was filled with tourists, and the waiting time was over 3 hours to take the perfect photo. It did not help that I arrived quite late. I heard it is better to go just before opening.
How it works:
The process is quite professional: you report for a photo and receive a number. When your number is called, you give your phone to someone who takes four photos (couples get more photos – four together and four individually). Fortunately, our guide told us that on the other side of the gate, the same ritual takes place, but the line is shorter because the gate there doesn’t have a heaven view. Good to know: Lempuyang can mean two things. The gate and the temple. Higher up the mountain, there are seven temples collectively called Lempuyang.
Entry fee: 100,000 IDR per person, plus 50,000 IDR for a return shuttle (the hike up to the gate can be tough) and 10,000 IDR for a rental sarong. Best visited from Ubud (2 hours).
How to visit these places in Bali?
Places like Uluwatu Temple or Pura Tanah Lot are easy to get to with Grab. For trips that are less than an hour, you can use a Grab scooter, but if you’re going further, it’s best to book a car. Personally, I’m not into scooters, so I don’t rent them. If you’re looking to see places in central or east Bali, it’s best to combine them in a day tour. I created my own tours via WhatsApp and I highly recommend drivers Agus (+62 858-5869-5331 or via Instagram) and Yande (+62 881-3639-848). For example, I did a trip to Tirtaganggu, Lempuyang, and Pura Besakih in one day for the East Bali trip, which cost 750K IDR per person, cash payment only. I also combined Jatiluwih, Leke Leke, and Pura Ulun Danu in one day for the Central Bali trip, which cost €650K IDR per person, cash payment only.
And that is my list of 10 great places to visit in Bali from Canggu or Ubud. In itself also interesting places to explore (go surfing in Batu Bolong Canggu or explore the palaces or rice terraces in Ubud). What are your recommendations for Bali?
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