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Bali Proposes Huge Changes Ubud To Improve Tourist Experience

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Ubud is one of Bali’s most popular tourist destinations. Home to spectacular palaces, ancient temples, and some of the country’s best restaurants, it is easy to see why the town never goes out of fashion.

view of street in Bali

The topic of traffic and tourism has hit the headlines once again recently. Ubud, even in low season, feels busier than ever before. The intersecting one-way traffic system within the center of the town is feeling increasingly congested. Local leaders are proposing some drastic changes to ensure that tourists can make the most of their time in Ubud.

Local senator I Wayan Gede Sudarta has told reporters that he and his teams are looking to explore how to improve the conditions on the road as soon as possible. He is also calling on the provincial government to step in and provide resources to help ease congestion.

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Sudarta said, “It has become a classic problem. The government must come up with a short-term solution.” Noting that traffic jams at peak times can start in the center of town and sprawl back into the surrounding villages, Sudarta said, “It’s as if we’ve been surrounded by traffic jams.”

While locals, long-stay visitors, and traffic officers are beginning to tire of the rigmarole of long traffic jams in Ubud, hope is not lost. Sudarta and his teams are proposing a two-fold solution.

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Ubud traffic way more crazy than me

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Solution one; make the whole of central Ubud a flowing one-way traffic system instead of intersecting one-way systems as is the case now.

Solution two; establish open and closing hours for traffic so that peak flow traffic can be closely engineered and controlled.

He explained, “If necessary, only make one direction. The government must have the technical means so that traffic jams can be unraveled,”

Sudarta also echoed statements made by local leaders in Ubud earlier this month. He noted that more must be done to tackle illegal parking in central Ubud too.

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These solutions, if carefully designed and managed, would no doubt make a huge difference to tourists’ experience of Ubud. And let’s be fair.

It will make a huge difference to local people, too; although Ubud is a world-famous tourist destination, the town is also home to thousands of local residents who need to be able to access their community facilities and resources easily.


Sudarta concluded his statements to the press with a final plea. “Don’t let Ubud be abandoned just because tourists linger in traffic jams.”

Sudarta’s calls for action have been listened to. The Acting Head of the Gianyar Regency Transportation Office, I Wayan Suamba, said that traffic officers who stand at Ubud’s busiest junctions have also called for an urgent review of the situation.

Suamba revealed ‘as soon as noon, [officers] are allowed to pull over because of the scorching heat, provided the [roads] are under constant attention.”


When asked to respond to the changes proposed by Sudarta and his teams, Suamba said that all potential solutions would be reviewed.

The issue is being taken seriously, and we can expect to see changes sooner rather than later. In mid-February, local leaders in Ubud came together to design a solution for the issue of illegal parking in central Ubud that has a direct impact on the flow of traffic.

Speaking at the time, Police Chief Sejati said, “we are studying cooperation with the Department of Transportation…In the near future, we will definitely take action. [We will have] standby personnel from morning to night. The patrol team will comb the Ubud area in coordination with the [police].”


As the traffic issue is resolved in Ubud, tourists are still encouraged to visit. While it is true that the traffic is a bit of a hassle at times, it should not be a reason to miss out on a visit to Bali’s cultural capital.

As local leaders come together to restructure the traffic system, tourists can implement an easy solution of their own…just allow a little extra time to get about and enjoy the sights and sounds of this incredible Balinese town.

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Thursday 4th of July 2024

I'm currently in Ubud and can say with absolute certainty I will never come back and would not recommend it. There is absolutely no peace and quiet, anywhere. If you sit in any restaurant you are suffocated by the constant noise of roaring motorbike engines. It is non-stop. What an awful situation. Complete and utter chaos and I cannot wait to leave.


Thursday 6th of April 2023

Can people park outisde the city and walk in to work? They are so mamy fat arses these days, the excersize would do them good.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

The solution to the traffic situation in Ubud COULD be managed: MAKING AN EFFORT TO TRY! Back in February, authorities said they would address the issue, but not much has been done except for planting some blue suits on street corners. There are a few things that can done to help, at least worth trying.

First, we need to respect the no parking signs on Jl Monkey Forest Road and Jl Suweta. Many cars parked there are owned by drivers who are not even from Ubud and leave their cars overnight to save their spots. They then use motorbikes to get around and take up more space. These drivers often hassle tourists for rides and refuse to use GoJek or Grab because they want more money for themselves.

Secondly, there is a need to consider making certain streets one-way. Jl Suweta going north all the way to the bridge, while Jl Sri Widari could go south. Jalan Raya could be two-way and Hanoman as it is now, one-way south and Monkey Forest north, that could help the flow. We could also benefit from TRAINED traffic attendants at busy intersections.

Thirdly, walking a little before and after work would not hurt anyone, and staff should be able to park their motorbikes for free in designated areas (part of the football field and soon in the huge parking under the new market). Red buses could do a round just in Ubud with specific stops, and tourists in buses and private drivers could park in a designated lot, such as Padang Tegal. The red buses could be equipped with a GPS signal showing where the buses are.

Finally, we need to understand that it is difficult even impossible for Balinese families to move homes in Bali for cultural reasons, so we cannot rely on the idea of wider roads or roundabouts in a small town like Ubud.

Let's all make an effort to help the traffic situation in Ubud. I love Bali and call it home, but traffic is not just a problem in Bali. As a small community, we can try to make a difference.

Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts on how we can help.

Maybe someone higher up will hear our ideas! Kia Ora!


Thursday 6th of April 2023

@NZEXPAT, Some of your ideas make sense. Particularly Sri Wedari and Suweta unidirections. But there is no chance of getting Balinese to respect no parking. They actually couldn't care less. Also, the jams and dangers to everyone are made much worse by thoughtless, Balinese who deliberately drive the wrong way down every one way street. The government actually banned parking on Jl Monkey Forest during covid. There were no tourists here and it was completely unnecessary. How stupid is that? The major, bottle neck in Ubud is junction of Jl Monkey Forest with Jl Raya Ubud. The Government completely missed the opportunity to widen the road at that critical point when building the new, oversized "Art Market". Instead they have built a completely pointless huge terrace where road widening could have happened. Completely lacking in logic.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

Like in other SE Asian countries, more than bikes it's cars that cause traffic jams. We were in Ubud for 2 weeks over Christmas and New year and without a doubt cars were the main culprit both by numbers and often on double-parking.

These roads where not built for cars, simple as. The more cars you bring the worse it will get,no matter what solutions are implemented they are only patches to the real issue.

We moved around by bike, only using the main road in Ubud if absolutely needed as we saw the jams, and by avoiding the center if town we had minimal disruptions during the stay.

Then again, I live in HCMC I'm used to making my way through traffic, especially because in HCMC car drivers cannot drive, I found Bali drivers better, still, the only time I get a taxi or car in Bali is to and from the airport.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

Do like San Francisco USA and have electric Trolleys running in the middle of the street, but go one step further and ban all traffic except for business deliveries. Workers, shoppers and tourists can use these trolleys to get around. Make daily and/or weekly tickets for purchase available to be read by a box at the entrance in front of trolly. Turnstile will not open unless a valid ticket is inserted and read electronically. Motorcycle rentals will be relegated to the ends of town since they are not allowed in town anyway. There is plenty of space in the main thoroughfares for 2 tracks, one coming and one going, no need to tear down buildings. Trolleys to stop every 500 meters or so for 2 minutes to let people on in front and off in back. Trolleys will run from one end of town to other and parking spaces shall be provided at either end of the line for cars and motorcycles. Problem solved. Works in Portland,Oregon USA also, and it is a city 250 times larger than Ubud.