Ubud, in the middle of Bali, has been the island`s preeminent centre of fine arts, crafts, dance and music for more than a century. Once it was a royal town, and the traditional palaces, called ‘puris’, still dot the countryside. For decades, Ubud was a popular hangout for bohemians and backpackers, but recently, the town has grown into rather an elegant resort filled with galleries and mansions, and a destination popular with art collectors and nature lovers.
The town is bursting with colour and light, and perhaps it is the profusion of plants, flowers, palms and rice paddies that inspire the creative minds of the population. Anyhow, Ubud is Bali`s most attractive tourist hotspot with a huge variety of attractions for any type of traveller.
UBUD`S QUIRKY CHARACTER
Ubud`s alternative lifestyle is clearly visible on every corner – endless therapies to try out, yoga and meditation retreats, vegan taverns, organic cafes, unconventional-designer stores, tastefully arranged craft workshops, museums, art galleries, displays of Balinese furniture, handmade fabrics and Balinese lace.
This vibrant place attracts many artisans, natural healers, tailors, fashion designers, hippies, writers and musicians, with numerous beguiling festivals and events held annually in Ubud.
CULTURE HIGHLIGHTS: Puri Lukisan Museum, Agung Rai Art Museum, Neka Art Museum, Blanco Renaissance Museum, Museum, Rudana, Bali Classic Centre, Alit Arty Gallery, Komaneka Fine Art Gallery, Traditional Art Market, Ubud International Writers and Readers Festival, Ubud Jazz Festival
TASTE OF SERENITY
While most of the visitors of Bali would head straight to its sophisticated beach locations, many others are finding peace and serenity in the lush, verdant interior. Ubud is definitely the favourite..
The town teems with peaceful yoga and meditation retreats, rice-field resorts, delightful massage and spa centres, and the whole ambience is a medicine for the soul.
RELAXATION HIGHLIGHTS: Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre, Anand Ashram Studio, White Lotus Yoga and Meditation Centre, The Yoga Barn Classes, Ubud Yoga House, Karsa Spa, Sang Spa, Jaens Spa, Tamarind Spa, Bali Vegan Festival, Bali Spirit & Yoga Festival.
‘BALI-CIOUS’ FUSION OF CUISINES
Another “magnet” of Bali, tempting and attracting travellers is its cookery. Different religions bring diverse foods and habits and Bali is a perfect example of the world`s cuisine fusion, combining four distinct culinary traditions. Ubud is a wonderful spot to try the Bali-signature dishes in idyllic surroundings – most of them are exclusively built amidst rice fields or rainforest.
The Spicy Balinese dishes, all cooked with fresh ingredients and prepared with love and passion – just as the local people are. Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur, Mie Goreng, Gado Gado, Bebek Betutu, Babi Guling, are typically served on a banana leaf in any ‘warung’ in Ubud.
Bumbu, Bakso or Satay are common street food and night market snacks. Balinese rice wine and Bintang beer are well-liked by both, locals and foreigners, and the legendary Balinese Luwak coffee, of course.
DINING HIGHLIGHTS: Abe-Do Organic Warung, Bali Buda Café, Sari Organic Restaurant, Bebek Tepi Sawah, Secret Garden Village, Terracotta Restaurant, Indus Restaurant, Kampung Café, Murni`s Warung, Paon Bali Cooking Classes & Ubud Food Festival
Balinese people are considered to be one of the friendliest nations in the world; kind, peaceful, polite and happy land of always smiling faces. Balinese society is deeply religious, community orientated and devoted.
Ubud is one of the best locations in Bali where to encounter the authentic spiritual lifestyle of the locals. Daily offerings and regularly held religious ceremonies are filled with joy, food and prayers. Dance, art and craft play an extremely important role in everyday life and reflect Balinese culture, which is dedicated to their own beliefs but very respectful to others.
SPIRITUAL HIGHLIGHTS: Goa Gajah sacred cave, Pura Dalem Agung temple, Ubud Palace, Sarawasti Temple Ubud, Nyepi & Galangan (the most important religious celebrations), frequent local ceremonies throughout a year
Nature admirers will find their heaven in Ubud`s jungles and waterfalls that cover the majority of the area. Picturesque rice paddies, chilli, coffee and flower plantations only amplify the spectacle. There are numerous scenic walks through the paddy fields and eco-cycling has recently become very popular, as well.
Wild rivers, rapids and waterfalls create perfect conditions for some adventure and thrill, such as white-water rafting, river kayaking and jungle trekking.
NATURE HIGHLIGHTS: Tjampuhan`s Sacred Hill`s Hike, Campuhan Ridge Walk, Kajeng Rice Fields Walk, Tegalalang Rice Fields, Ayung River Rafting, Tegenungan Waterfall
SECLUSION IN LUXURY
Ubud is not only unconventional but it also offers grand luxury – luxury one of a kind. ‘Hanging Gardens Resort’ is probably the best example of what ‘Ubud in Style’ means. The world`s famous infinity pools in the middle of jungle speak for themselves.
One can choose from a wide variety of elegant resorts, eco-lodges, private pool villas, tree houses and secluded estates – all built in Balinese design amid rice fields or rainforest.
LUXURY HIGHLIGHTS: Hanging Gardens of Bali (USD 6oo+/night), Viceroy Bali (USD 5oo+/night), Four Seasons Ubud (USD 5oo+/night), Samaya Resort Ubud (USD 5oo+/night)
Eventually, whether you like it or not, you will surely make it to the Monkey Forest. The major attraction of Ubud is surely touristy but it has its own charm. It offers a nice walk through a verdant park area covered with cheeky apes.
These cute little creatures might seem friendly but one is never careful enough; avoid feeding them or showing them eye-catching objects and watch your sunglasses, handbags, phones and jewellery – they are also very clever thieves!
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The best time to visit Ubud is generally considered to be between May and October, in the dry season. However, Ubud is as enjoyable during the wet season provided you travel for relaxation, yoga and meditation.
With lower prices and pleasant temperatures, the rainy months (Dec-Feb) will definitely not prevent you from enjoying the magical Bali vibes.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Denpasar.
To get to Ubud you can either use the reliable Bluebird Taxi services from the airport or Perama Shuttle Bus from Kuta to Ubud (1 hr drive). Most of the hotels and resorts provide pick-up services from the airport.
For all international flights check out www.skyscanner.com or www.momondo.com
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