Popular Natural Attractions In Ubud

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Looking for verdant treks? A quiet, dreamy lake to meditate? Or to stand under the shadow of a majestic mountain? When it comes to popular natural attractions, Ubud Bali has them in abundance. Which, rightfully, makes Ubud one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.


Not because Ubud offers a limitless skyline brimmed with square buildings or other man-made architectural offspring, but simply because we can actually see the skyline and all of nature’s glory. It’s no secret, of course, that most people flock to the island of Bali for its green landscape, sunny disposition, beachy escapades, earthy accommodations, and for the Balinese much maintained traditional way of life that, in the island’s remote corners, are still far from the madding crowd.

But in the quaint town of Ubud in Gianyar regency, people come to swim into its spiritual and verdant core in the hopes of coming out healed and restored. No wonder Ubud is also renowned for yoga enthusiasts, healthy lifestyle devotees, and nature lovers.

To travel is to experience. And here the experience leans towards the natural. If you’re into ecotourism (the kind of tourism that is defined by the book Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the wellbeing of local people”), you’ll love Ubud Bali.

There are many popular natural attractions in Ubud for you to bask in; pristine sites, relatively untouched, where the air is cool, the water is clear, and the calming cacophony of sounds emanates from wildlife.

So, ready to explore Ubud natural destination? Here are some of the popular natural attractions in Ubud.

A Terrace Terrain

The island of Bali is practically blanketed by rice fields. But only a few of them have become a magnet for global tourists, such as Jatiluwih in Tabanan and Tegalalang in Ubud.

Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Ubud is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is located only 13.4km north of Ubud. It is a marvelously grand representation of the sloping terrain of rice fields you’ll find in Bali, an ingenious design that promotes sustainability even though the word hasn’t popped up yet at the time it was built.

It is a system run by the subaka community organization consisting of farmers whose main job is to save and open the flow of water (from rainwater saved in man-made ponds or lakes) to rice fields that needs watering, especially in the hot and dry season. According to archeological findings, the ancient irrigation system in Bali has been employed since the late 9th century.

If you’re curious to know more about subak and how it works, we also suggest visiting Museum Subak in Tabanan to the west of Bali.

The rice terrace of Tegalalang (Jl Raya Tegalalang) has been one of the most popular natural attractions in Ubud. It is actually part of a trifecta of scenic rice terraces in Ubud, the other two being in Pejeng and Panempuhan, but Tegalalang is more popular since it’s more developed for (eco)tourism purposes.

Things to do in Tegalalang covers hiking up to the top of the terrace and just marveling at the surrounding lush greenery. It will only take about an hour to cover the whole ground, and we suggest early morning or late in the afternoon promenade.

Nearby Must-Check-Out Site:

It’s a bird! Located only 6min from central Ubud (and 17min before Tegalalang), hundreds of white storks roam freely in Petulu village. If one of your interests is bird sighting in Bali, then by all means head to Petulu. Between October-March, the locally named kokokan bird returns to the village to nest and lay eggs on the trees, and…just walk and fly around the village. Fortunately, the residents consider it a blessing as the arrival of the birds helps controls pest population on their farms (and you can often see them during harvest time anywhere in Bali), as well as to ward off evil spirits. It’s Bali, after all. It’s a one-of-a-kind sight for sure to stroll under these bird-decorated trees. Just watch out for the poop, though…

Go Go Chasing Waterfalls…

There’s something mesmerizing about waterfalls. The thunderous rumble as you approached, the force of cool air from the strength of the water as it falls from up above. Waterfalls in Bali, though the size might not be as sizable as in other countries, still hold a special allure, which is why waterfalls (or air terjun in Indonesian) remain one of the most popular natural attractions in Ubud Bali and its surrounding area.

Water is revered in Bali thus many ceremonial processions take place around waterfalls, and in some spots, like Kanto Lampo Waterfall, it is a source of drinking water living around Ubud.

Kanto Lampo waterfall (Jl. Kaliasem, Kelod Kangin, Gianyar) is probably one of the easiest waterfalls to reach as it flows above flat land. The difficult ones, like Tukad Cepung (Jl. Tembuku, Bangli) and Goa Rang Reng (Jl. Rang Reng, Bakbakan, Gianyar)require a bit of finesse to get to as the journey covers sloping terrain and can be quite slippery (it is advised to check the weather report before going). But, as they always say, the end will be more rewarding after a challenging trip. It must be highlighted that Goa Rang Reng waterfall (similar to Kanto Lampo) doesn’t shoot from a cliff high above, instead the water spread out covering large rocks, on top of which you can pose for social media purposes.

For a more commercial spot, Tegunungan Waterfall (Jl. Ir Sutami, Kemenuh, Gianyar)in Ubud, is easier to reach as a flight of stairs will take you to the source of rumbling underneath. It’s a majestic sight, too majestic that it’s advised you don’t approach the 15-meter waterfall and instead just take a dip or swim—if you dare—in the icy cold river that flows from it.

Other Popular Waterfalls in Bali: Gitgit Waterfall and Aling-Aling Waterfall in Buleleng.

A River Runs Through It

As you might expect from a town situated halfway to the mountainous region in Kintamani, Bangli, naturally a network of rivers run through Ubud Bali. Find the right spot and it’s a beautiful spot to unwind and hear the calming sound of flowing water.

One notable river is Ayung river, perhaps the most popular river attraction in Ubud, the longest river in Bali that spans 62.5km from the north to the south. It is a gorgeous river that twists and turns through forests, cliffs, and rice terraces, with crystal clear water that will lure you in to take a plunge. Careful, however, since the current can be quite intense as many small streams/rivers converge into Ayung. That’s why, Ayung river is also the most popular white water rafting spot in Ubud, in which you can start from Carangsari village in Petang (near Sangeh monkey forest) or higher up from Sayan, Ubud.

Other popular river attraction in BaliTelaga Waja river in Karangasem and Melangit River in Klungkung—both located to the east of Bali.

Hey Check out the Neighbors…

Recently the region of Kintamani is growing in popularity. To be clear, Kintamani has always been a popular tourist destination in Bali as it offers a picturesque view of two mountains—Batur and Abang—and the crater lake Batur. It is located northeast of Ubud and it’ll only take around 50min 2km) to get to Kintamani from the town of Ubud.

Thanks to the many coffee shops sprouting up along the cliffs with balconies overlooking the scenic greenery, the crowd just got bigger, not just tourists but also the office-less digital nomads and work-from-Bali troops.

But fret not—there are still many natural attractions in Kintamani for you to escape to. Mount Batur is probably the most hiked mountain in Bali as its 1,717 m height makes it easier to climb, as well as the taller Mount Abang at 2,152m. An important thing to note: the two mountains are active volcanoes, so be sure to check any activities before climbing them.

Batur Lake in Kintamani is also a sight to behold, a crescent-shaped lake in the secondary caldera of Mount Batur. You can either have a one-day excursion or try camping or staying at the lake-side cottages to enjoy the quiet of the mesmerizing lake.

Other natural attractions in Kintamani:

–  Orange picking: thanks to the cool weather, jeruk (orange) Kintamani grows in abundance, and you can pick them yourselves for a cost.

–  Hot water springs in Toya Bungkah Village. From pricey Toya de Vasya (100k++ entrance fee) to inexpensive smaller hot springs like Batur Natural Hot Spring (50k), Kintamani natural hot springs are one to try if you’re in the region. Definitely apropos in the cold region.

–  Trunyan Village: There is a village that lies at the eastern shore of Batur mountain, and it’s inhabited by the Bali Aga people, the original indigenous people in Bali. Like the people in Toraja in South Sulawesi, here the tribe puts the dead out in open space underneath the mystical Trunyan tree. It is advised to go with a guide to Trunyan so you know the proper ins and outs.

Authentic Bali

Bali is not immune to gentrification, as can be seen in the southern parts of Bali such as Canggu. To see one example of an authentic Balinese village you need to venture outside the south. Around 46 km of Ubud (or a 1,5-hour car ride) in Bangli region lies the village of Penglipuran, the so-called desa wisata or tourist village.

Penglipuran Village in Bangli is one of the regional government’s efforts to conserve the traditional way of living, including its architecture. If you saw the style of the local houses, then you notice that parts of the houses are divided—and it is spread out for specific purposes. Pamerajan is a sacred site to pray; umah menten is reserved for the elderly; bale tiang is to greet visitors; bale sakepat is to house the junior members of the family; bale dangin is for ceremonial purposes; paon is the kitchen; and lumbung is the barn.

This allocation goes by the philosophy of Asta Kosala Kosali, which builds according to the direction of the wind, such as the prayer site facing east to where the sun rises and the well faces the north towards the mountains. In short, the philosophy is a manifestation of the local people’s connection to nature.

Penglipuran Village, voted one of the top three cleanest villages in the world, is quite picturesque with manicured tropical gardens and bamboo-supported houses. It’s not very big as there is only one short brick road that slopes through the entire village. You can stop by at one of the houses to grab a bite of their local dishes (such as the steamed veggies with peanut sauce tipat cantok or the refreshing herbal drink loloh cem cem). And, as a perfect way to immerse yourself in the authentic way of living in Bali, you can stay at one of the houses.


Dirty Hands, Green Heart

Are you part of the green movement and want to learn more about permaculture or organic waste management such as composting? Ubud Bali is the perfect place for you. Ubud houses many community-based environmental organizations and foundations, places which you can visit to learn more about what they do and to learn what they do.

Best permaculture sites in Ubud include Yayasan Emas Hitam (IG @emas.hitam.indonesia) in Petulu village, a community garden run by the local owner which you can visit every Saturday and get your hands dirty by picking activities they have on offer (for free) such as planting veggies, harvesting, and making compost (or emas hitam i.e. black gold).

To find more black gold, visit Rumah Kompos Padangtegal located not far from Monkey Forest Street in Ubud. The locally owned company collects and turns organic waste from the village of Padangtegal into soil-nourishing compost. Just call or DM them first on IG (@rumahkompospadangtegal) if you want to visit and check how they process the organic waste.

A similar endeavor is Yayasan IDEP  (IG @idepfoundation) in Kemenuh Village (Kemenuh Village, Gianyar), an NGO whose primary mission is to promote permaculture and empower people through self-sustenance by growing their own food. Their visiting day is usually every Friday when you can check out their beautiful garden and learn about their permaculture practice.

The Purist villas Bali Ubud

Address: Jl. Tirta Tawar, Banjar Kutuh Kaja, Ubud, Petulu, Gianyar, Petulu, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571 | Tel: (0361) 974454|

Email: [email protected] | Website: Thepuristvillas.com


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