UBUD GUIDE – Bali
Ubud is known for…
- Unique culture
- Nature: Rice terrace, waterfall, forest
- Dance shows
- Local culinary
- Spiritual tours
How is Ubud in general?
Ubud is a cultural hub as beautiful as the nature that surrounds it
Ubud is a major centre of the Balinese culture and local spirituality that has attracted artists and travelers for nearly a century. Although its ever-increasing popularity means that this area is now sometimes as busy as Bali’s southern neighborhoods, the development of Ubud has been more focused on maintaining traditional culture.
It is still one of the best places to visit temples, see Balinese art, observe cultural dances and performances, and practice yoga and a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps take an interest in spiritual healers and traditional medicine, or purchase local handicrafts. Ubud’s cooler climate and lush vegetation also make it ideal for an escape from the heat of Bali’s beaches. Just watch out for the mischievous monkeys that inhabit the forests surrounding Ubud.
Ubud – Guide & Insights
Ubud has many guest houses run by friendly local families, some of which have been open for generations, as well as a variety of elegant and well-priced mid-range hotels. The mountainous countryside just outside Ubud is home to some breathtaking five-star hotels and luxurious serviced villas. Some of these amazing crown jewels of hospitality are up to 30min away from the center of Ubud nestled within nature and river valleys. Whether you are trying to stretch every penny or spend like there’s no tomorrow, you will be able to find a place in Ubud surrounded by forest and jungle to be one with nature.Hotels & Resorts
Seeing as Ubud runs as a cultural hub for creative and spiritual people, you’ll find many retreats to stay at for those on a journey. Even though the hotels and resorts are inland, and the beaches aren’t as easily accessible, forest and jungle are present instead. If you’re looking for tranquility surrounded by blissful nature, then the lush villas and bamboo huts available in this area will provide you just that with a private pool and hospitable service on hand.Accommodation
Some of Ubud’s traditional dishes have gained so much popularity that entire restaurants have been built around them. Members of the large expatriates’ community in Ubud have also opened restaurants serving food from around the world. Healthy foods are all the rage in Ubud; almost all restaurants have vegetarian, vegan and organic options available, as well as dishes for people with dietary restrictions.Going Out
Ubud has a growing nightlife, mostly centred on live music. Drinking and dancing are not uncommon, as most heavy partying happens on the west side of the island. However, you’ll find that Ubud offers a relaxed and quieter experience as nightlife here ends much earlier than in Kuta or Seminyak, compared to their younger counterparts. That doesn’t mean you won’t find fancy bars and lounges in the area to wind down for the night with a cocktail or two in hand.Going Out
The palace of Ubud’s royal family is in the centre of town and able to be visited. Just next door to it is a large traditional market selling goods of every kind. At the south of the Ubud centre is a monkey forest where a tribe of monkeys runs wild among moss-covered statues and shrines. Also within Ubud are many museums showcasing the lives and works of local artists and expatriates who have settled there, some of which date back 50 years or more. Dances and performances are regularly held in several venues. Around Ubud are several animal parks, as well as many historical sites and temples. These can be visited in tours, either by car or bike.
The area around Ubud is ideal for hiking and biking, and whitewater rafting on mountain rivers is also an option. Walking around the town itself can be entertaining, preferably in the cooler and drier mornings and late afternoons. Many meditation and yoga classes are available, as are courses in Balinese dance and cooking. Ubud is home to regular festivals for authors, artists, musicians, and the spiritually inclined, and these can be great fun if they happen while you are visiting. Ubud also has fantastic spas and is a great place to pamper yourself with a traditional massage or herbal treatment.
Ubud is known to be well over 1,000 years old, and for much of that time, it has been a centre for monasteries and shrines. The royal families grew strong during Bali’s Majapahit era, and in the 20th century, they welcomed in Dutch colonialists, unlike the rulers of other parts of Bali. Between the 1930s and 1970s, Ubud began to attract artists, filmmakers, and musicians, many of whom settled there and made it their home, interacting with local artists and dancers and contributing to Bali’s cultural development. In the 1970s, Ubud began to become a popular tourist destination, and it has grown since then, always at an increasing rate. Today, it is a fully developed tourist centre but is still highly focused on spiritual principles.
Ubud’s local communities are very strict on managing transportation in their territories. That’s why online taxis like Grab and GoJek (our version of Uber) don’t operate here, or only allowed to drop guests when they come from outside of Ubud. Many local taxi groups have an agreement with hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, to cater guests exclusively. Many hotels offer free shuttles to drop and pick up their guests in the center a few times a day. The Bali government has started an eco-friendly public transportation recently, the proposed electric buses are expected to hit the roads in Sanur, Kuta, Denpasar and Ubud soon. Still, if you want to have a smooth experience for your holiday, consider hiring a car rental with a driver for half or full day. Renting a scooter is also a great idea; but only if you have experience riding two-wheelers.