The author swimming at Cretya Pool, overlooking the Tegalallang rice paddies.
Canggu, Seminyak, Ulu and the islands all have their beaches and clifftop bars. If you're looking for something similar in Ubud, there are plenty of options for pool bars.
If you don't have a good pool at your villa and/or would like a day of lounging as someone brings you drinks and food, these places are your go-to! They are delightful and sometimes pretty great value. Bring your laptop, a book or just yourself and enjoy the atmosphere and, often, an amazing view.
Many of these used to have a minimum spend prior to the pandemic but opened their doors more cheaply during Covid. Some may change these policies when the tourists return in numbers, so check their social media and websites. The majority are free entry with a purchase. For afternoons and evenings, make sure you look up the happy hour(s) for the 2-for-1 cocktail option.
Apart from this list, there are loads more hotels with day passes or use of their pool with purchase. If you see a gorgeous hotel with a pool just pop onto their Instagram page to check pool use for non guests. If you've visited a gorgeous pool please let me know view the comments and I'll check it out!
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Right in the middle of town, but hidden down a little alley, lurks the surprising Folk pool bar. There is free entry and complimentary towels, and the menu is good value for money. For a sun lounger it costs a rather steep 250,000 (A$25) with no F&B credit, but there are plenty of other places to sit. The pool is large and refreshing and the lychee martini is perfect for after your swim. Folk is open from midday, has film nights on Sundays and Thursdays, and offers 2-for-1 cocktails all the time. NEW: Folk now has a charge to use the pool: R75,000 including towel.
Good Day Resto and Pool Bar
Opening in January 2022, this large venue is surrounded by rice paddies between Ubud central and the suburb of Sayan. You need a scooter (or Gojek Scooter) to get there; however, there is a complimentary bemo/tuk-tuk, which you can book to pick you up and drop you off in town. Good Day is open all day and is free to enter. Towels are R15,000 or you can bring your own. The menu is fairly standard, with loads of vegan options, and the pool is large although not particularly deep. There is even a swim-up bar. This pool bar opens at 8 am, so it is great for a morning swim and breakfast. The coffee could be better. Grab a beanbag under the shade and have a Good Day. Free entry with purchase
Titi Batu is a posh club designed for expats, but you can go to the gym and stay to use the pool (R175,000 including 25,000 food credit). There is also a standard entry with no gym access for slightly less. It's a gorgeous spot in Mas, just south of Ubud, with loads of facilities. The towels are included, and the food is excellent but more expensive than most places on this list. Still, it's about half Sydney cafe prices, and the small gym is great; there is also a sauna and a steam room. The coffee is a little hit and miss depending on the barista.
The huge infinity pool at Jungle Fish looks over the jungle valley and is quite breathtaking. This is part of a fancy hotel, but the pool remains free to enter and use if you order something. Bring your own towel or pay R25,000 for one of theirs. HOWEVER, the sofas now have a minimum spend of R500,000 (~US$35) for two people. With a couple of cocktails this is fairly easy to do. The coffee is excellent and the food and drinks menu is very, very good and surprisingly reasonable for a 5-star hotel. Share plates are particularly good value and there are often other food and drinks deals. Jungle Fish is stunning, but one problem I have is the lack of shaded areas for lounges. You sort of have to keep moving around to avoid the sun. However, it's still very Insta-worthy. It opens at 10 am and is about 15 minutes from central Ubud through a pretty forested road. Free entry with purchase.
Ubud Sunset Pool
A gorgeous spot that looks out over the rice paddies, Sunset is about 15 minutes north of Ubud. The entry is free, and you get a free towel, and, even better, the food is among the cheapest on this list. If you don't buy anything, swimming in the pool alone costs just R20,000 (~US$1.20). The pool is smaller than most of those on this list, so it's probably good for small kids as there are lots of fun places to sit. The view alone is worth a visit as is the pleasant drive up through villages and rice paddies. Facing west, this is also the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset over the jungle. It opens every day at 10 am and 9 am on the weekends.
This hidden gem is in the weirdly modern hotel of the same name on busy Jl. Cok Rai Pudak. The setting is not as spectacular as some of the others on this list, but it's very quiet for such a busy area and backs onto a little jungle-y garden. Titik Dua offers free entry and free towel — assuming you purchase something. Their coffee is excellent, and the menu is also very good and inexpensive. The pool is good for laps, but due to the shade of the building, the water is quite cold early in the morning. It doesn't warm up until the sun hits at 9:30 - 10 am. Cocktails here in the evening are high quality and creative, and there is the bonus of a small gallery showing mostly contemporary Indonesian artists. Free entry with purchase.
I went here once during the pandemic to support my friend at an open mic event. It was an interminably unpleasant experience where I had to pay to listen to amateurs spill their hearts out so I didn't go back until recently. That was dumb of me. Soulshine, despite its wanky name, is a lovely spot with an excellent menu and a gorgeous outlook.
The brunch is amazing - possibly one of the best in Ubud - and the menu in general is high quality. There is a minimum R150,000 per person charge for the restaurant which is easy enough, and worth it for the view and comfy lounges.
The pool is stunning although not big enough for laps, and this is a great sunset spot as it looks west and is nice and high. To use the pool, the minimum spend is:
- R400,000 for a lounger
- R1,000,000 for a floating daybed
- R1,500,000 for a cabana
Sunkissed Pool & Bar
Strikingly overlooking the jungle river valley, Sunkissed Pool & Bar is about 10 minutes, in a round-about sort of way, north of Central Ubud. It's R50,000 (about US $3.50) to use the pool, and this includes a towel and iced tea. There are loads of super comfy, well-shaded day beds, and the infinity pool is large and has an amazing view. Since it faces east, the water warms up early in the sunshine, so the pool is not quite as coolly refreshing as other places. The coffee is terrible, but the menu is inexpensive if less than innovative. However, they offer a cute high tea for just R150,000 for 2 people, and the cocktails look amazing.
Insider's Tip: You could easily do the Campuhan Ridge Walk to get here (about 40 minutes) and then take a Gojek back to Ubud after your refreshing swim.
Kabana Jungle Pool and Bar
The brand new and very fun Kabana is in Tegallalang about 20 minutes north of Ubud centre. Located in the K-Club hotel complex, you are taken down to the facility in a nifty golf cart, and the service is equally as good from there. The view is lovely although not quite as spectacular as the Cretya Pool (listed below) but the food and drinks are far superior, while still being fairly reasonably priced. For our vegetarian and vegan friends there are a lot more options here than many on this list and, being in a hotel, they have the resources to do almost anything you want anyway. It's free to enter, the towels are included and there are loads of places to sit. The big day beds on the lower level will have a minimum spend when they start getting busy. General Manager Julien tells me they will have guest DJs and night shows on the weekends when they open fully in late August 2022.
The name means Lion Pool, and this lovely spot in Celuk village is a lovely addition to the jungle pool bars in central Bali. The outlook over the jungle is delightful ad if you swim to the edge of one of the two infinity pools you can peer down to the river running beneath. I found the food and drinks quick high quality for a reasonable price. Entrance is R150,000 per person including a towel and one of the house cocktails. There are kids prices and packages for families. You can also book a 4-person cabana from R400,000 if you want, but there are plenty of places to sit if you get there early enough. The other great thing about this spot is the lack of loud doof-doof music we often find intruding on our enjoyment at literally every pool bar in Bali, even in the morning. The music is there but its pleasant and not intrusive. Celuk is about 15 minutes south of Bali, and a fun little place to cool off.
Affordable and comfortable with a glorious ricefield view, this pool is in Peliatan, slightly east of Ubud centre. This is a charming spot barely five minutes from town (east of the statue). The food is delicious - not as high end as others, but tasty and with a huge range. The coffee is single origin (Tampaksiring, Bali) and a 50:50 blend that makes it smoother and milder than most of the roasts in Bali. Go for a double if you need more of a punch in the face with your coffee.
The pool is a decent size and gorgeous, although not suitable for laps. The grounds are very pretty and would be amazing for kids with its playground and swing. Because of this I would avoid weekends and school holidays here. The music is blessedly quiet, but there are no loungers, only beanbags, so it's not a place to camp for hours on end. Nevetheless, the charming staff, great value food and beautiful surrounds (and free entry with no minimum spend), make this a lovely brunch or lunch spot. There is also happy hour between 4-6pm with 2-for-1 cocktails.
Wanna Jungle Pool and Bar
Before Covid, I wouldn't have been able to afford to stay at the fancy Kayon Jungle resort. But at the time of writing, suites started at a pandemic discounted price of US$130 - not eye-watering for a luxury hotel. You can also visit their breathtaking Wanna Jungle pool bar on a day trip to the north of Ubud and sigh in wonder at the three-tiered infinity pool overlooking the emerald green warmth of the surrounding jungle and paddies.
I'm not a fan of the three-tiered entry system, which is embarrassingly classist, but the 'silver' ticket is not unreasonable at R175,000 including food credit. Don't bother with the bronze ticket as you have to stay indoors on the uncomfortable hard chairs. The Gold ticket is R450,000 for two, which is actually good value (∼US$38). You might find deals on all these tickets, so keep an eye on their website. The menu is quite good and surprisingly inexpensive, the cocktails are a little on the weak side so try for the happy hour deal if its on. Wanna is a 30 minutes drive north of Ubud and opens at 11 am.
Up in Tegallalang at Alas Harum, you will find everything that's wrong with mass tourism. Overpriced coffee, fake rice fields, expensive swings and flying foxes out over the jungle, and caged luwaks. Along with the kick-back for your driver for bringing you here and the ugly cement Luwak (civet) at the front, everything in this place screams TOURIST TRAP. It is.
However, within the site is the new and stunning Cretya restaurant with its amazing pools overlooking the actual Tegallang rice fields, around 15 minutes north of Ubud. The menu is a fairly standard Bali-western mix with a reasonable pricing (nothing special and not much for vegans). The coffee here is terrible. But it's worth it for the view. There is now a minimum spend starting from R125,000, and the sun loungers are R1,000,000. You can also eat at the restaurant with no minimum spend of course. Now I originally went during Covid, just showed up; no-one was there and I could sit by the pool for the price of a coffee. Now you should book or get there just on opening - especially on the weekends. The Sunday we went in high season was pretty crowded even with three pools! However the pools are that beautiful, and the view is that spectacular.
If you have the money, Alas Harum would be pretty fun for kids for a day, and the extreme swing is actually amusing — just stupidly expensive! $15! For a minute! And that's the cheap one.
I've been meaning to see the spectacular Tembungan waterfall, about 20 minute south east of Ubud. Then I found out there was a new pool bar and just had to try it out. This position is actually the best place to view the waterfall AND there is an elevator so you don't have to walk up and down those interminable stairs! You can still access the waterfall directly from the pool bar, the food and drinks are good and inexpensive, and there is a fun swing (R50k). There is no entrance fee but the lounges have a minimum charge of a very steep R1.5m - 2m which you get in food credit along with a free towel. There are also plenty of other places to sit and take in the view as long as you purchase at least a drink. In this case there will be a charge for towels.
Dtukad River Club
On the other side of the waterfall from the more modern, expensive Omma is Dtukad River Club. There are three pools to lounge in with amazing views above the waterfall. There is no minimum spend here, and the food and drinks are inexpensive. Its not as fancy as Omma, with a more local feel, but a great way to see the waterfall. Unfortunately you'll need to go right down the bottom to get away from the unpleasantly loud and insistent lounge music that seems ubiquitous with these pool bars. Throbbing beats competing with the rush of the glorious waterfall is not necessary at 11am.
Ubud's only real nightclub, CP Lounge now has a gorgeous sand-filled pool bar area. It's free entry as long as you buy something to eat or drink, and the menu is reasonable and substantial. The bar becomes quite lively later in the afternoon and evening, and there is often an excellent live band. The nightclub is fun, and the DJ music is surprisingly good for someone of my vintage, with some classics mixed with newer reggaeton, hip hop and heavier 2020s dance number. During the week, this spot is perfect for an evening swim and a short walk from anywhere in central Ubud. At the time of writing, CP opens until 5 pm, and the pool is closed for the duration of the pandemic.
Other Pool Bars
Taroo Paddy Pool Bar - new spot with a delightful view, Taroo is more a restaurant with a pool, which is free to use with purchase. The food is delicious but the portion sizes are less than generous.
Look Bee Coffee and Eatery - Very cute but basic pool. Free use of the pool with a purchase. Adidarma - Fun, free and for kids! Go during the week to avoid the crowds. Free entry with purchase
Wedja Restaurant - Cheap and cheerful little spot in the rice paddies just south of Ubud. Free entry with purchase
Hotels with Pool Access for outside guests
Hanging Gardens - Very beautiful, very expensive. Check their website and look for the day pass. It's currently R1m for two people with F&B credit.
The Mansion - In Ubud's hippy expat suburb, Penestanen. R150,000 day pass including R75,000 in F&B.
Bambu Indah - this stunning eco resort and on the river with its spring-fed pool has a day pass for 600,000 including 500k food and beverage.
Kaamala - There is free use of the pool if you eat at their excellent and gorgeous restaurant in this upmarket hotel on Jl. Bisma, close to town. The view is stunning and the coffee is good.
Padma Resort - Reasonable day passes available (check Insta) at this stunning resort. This is only available in low season for non-guests.
Amatara Royal Ganesha - Just south of Ubud surrounded by rice paddies and jungle. Pool access for R49,000.
Parq - Enormous pool in a titanic enclosed area in north Ubud. I find the space weird and otherworldly, and it’s allegedly a Russian money laundry, but the 100m pool is good for laps. It costs R90k including towel.
Puri Sebali Resort - Day pass of R130,000 including towel. This has a gorgeous view and a high quality menu.
Samaya Ubud - You have to eat at the restaurant and spend a minimum of R500,000 per person here, OR get a spa treatment and complimentary pool entry. Its a stunning resort and the food is excellent.
Kamandalu - Super luxurious resort in gorgeous grounds with a couple of pools for outside guests. The day pass is 300,000 for two including towels, a juice and a little cake.
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