Ubud, a town located in central Bali with approximately 8000 inhabitants, is considered the cultural centre of Bali. Large parts of Ubud consist of artists galleries, studios and workshops, just like the neighboring villages. Ubud enjoys a comfortable climate thanks to its elevation at 200 m above sea level. Ubud is home to some extraordinary architectural and cultural scenes, friendly people and lovely surroundings.
Jalan Goa Gajah. The main attraction of this beautiful site with a waterfall, rice fields, pools and a number of Buddhist stupa fragments, is a cave with an entrance depicting a demons mouth. Goa Gajah is dating back to the ninth century and was nominated as an UNESCO World Heritage site. The entrance fee for Goa Gajah is Rp 15 000, including sarong rental.
Jl Sriwijaya. This temple, which was founded in 1206 and is one of the most attractive temples of whole Bali, is located in Bangli, a village 30 minutes from Ubud by car. This temple will not be as busy as the Goa Gajah and Bangli itself is a charming village and worth a visit too. The entrance fee is Rp 6000.
Tampaksiring. This is assumed to be the burial site of King Anak Wungsu and his wives. Gunung Kawi dates back from the eleventh century and is 18 kilometers from Ubud. The burial site, located in a steep valley, is quite astonishing. Gunung Kawi consists out of two complexes; one assumed to be for the many wives and the bigger complex for the king itself. If you go down the river which flows right next to the complexes, you will find several more other tomb cloisters. The entrance fee is Rp 15 000 including sarong and sash rental.
(across Jl Raya Ubud from Ubud Market). Prui Saren Agung used to be the palace of the kings of Ubud, until the 1940’s, but some royal descendants still live there. The entry to Puri Saren Agung is free, but some parts of the complex are off limits for visitors. Puri Saren Agung is the best place in Ubud to see some traditional Balinese dances.
(Tampaksiring). Tirta Empul is located 20 kilometers northeast of Ubud and is one of the holiest temples of Bali, locals come here to bathe in the hot springs that are still there in the courtyard. Even though the complex dates back to 960, most of the buildings are modern reconstructions. The entrance fee is Rp 15 000, including sarong and sash rental.
(Banjar Batulumbang, Bedulu nr Gianyar). Yeh Pulu is a complex made out of rock carvings set in a lovely rice field and also has a holy well with a priest who can bless you with the well water. Yeh Pulu is not visited a lot, even though it is located quite close to Goa Gajah. Yeh Pulu can be reached by foot from Goa Gajah, but a guide is definitely needed as you will walk 45 without a path. You will need to dress appropriately and the entrance fee is Rp 15 000.
Several museums can be found in Ubud, like the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), which exhibits artworks by famous Balinese artists as well as artworks from artists who have moved to Bali. The Agung Rai Museum of Art also offers thirteen different workshops. Entrance fee is Rp 40 000 including tea or coffee. Another museum worth visiting is the Museum Puri Lukisan, which was the first private museum of Bali when it opened. The carvings in this museum are quite spectacular, and a ticket costs Rp 50 000.
The area around Ubud is defined by the many rice terraces and rice fields. The south has many lovely rolling rice paddies and to the North are the more non-touristic rice fields. Campuhaun, Sanggingan, and Kedewatan areas are very different; they consist out of great gorges with the Ayung and Wos rivers flowing through them. Exploring in this area is a great thing to do, by foot or motor bike; the hills make exploring by bicycle a heavy trip. Lots of luxury hotels are set in these areas and they offer great views. The Indus restaurant in Sanggingan offers great views too and is more budget.
This two hectare park has more than 250 bird species flying around in it. The Bali Bird Park is a good, formal attraction and everything is set up in a modern way. The entrance fee is US $23,5 for adults and US $11,75 for children.
Monkey forest (Jl Monkey Forest), is a forest full of wild, greedy monkeys. Do not bring any food to this forest because you will risk bites from the monkeys and may even get rabies. Visit the first aid clinic near the entrance of the monkey forest if you are bitten. The monkeys in the Monkey Forest are also known to steal possessions like cameras, hats, glasses and sometimes even handbags. Try not to stare or make eye contact with the larger male monkeys as they then might see you as a rival and attack you. The young monkeys are very playful, however. Even though the monkeys might be a bit risky to walk through, walking in the Monkey Forest is enjoyable and also, Pura Dalem Agung Pdangtegal, a temple of the dead, hides in the Monkey Forest, of which the entrance fee is Rp 20 000.
Ubud offers some great art courses, like the ones in the Agung Rai Museum of Art and cooking classes, like the Payuk Bali Home Cooking class, where you will learn to cook some tasty Balinese dishes.
If you want to relax for a while, visit one of the many spas Bali and also Ubud has to offer, like Bali Healing (Jl Raya Ubud) and get a Balinese massage. Other spas in Ubud are Verona spa (Jl Monkey Forest) and Ubud Sari Health Resort (Jl Kajeng 35, a 10 minute walk from the center Ubud).f
Jl Monkey Forest offers a choice of restaurants, from western dishes to Balinese dishes. The true authentic Balinese dishes, however, are sold from the street stalls, the warungs, where the locals eat too. Some authentic delicious Balinese dishes are Saté Lilit, Nasi Kuning or Babi Guling.s
Art and jewelry shops are abundant in Ubud, with great variations in price and quality. The high-quality stores, with higher prices too, are to be found on Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud. When a bargain is more of the thing you opt for, head towards the Ubud market.
The Ubud market is located at the junction of Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud and all kinds of souvenirs can be found here. Although overpriced, a very good deal can be made here when you use your bargaining skills. Upstairs the vendors have less consumers, so bargaining here will be easier than downstairs, resulting in lower prices for the same quality product. From 11AM until 2PM it will be hard to bargain, however, as tourists arrive in massive groups from the tour busses.
The road from Ubud to Sanur passes through an area with several villages which are specialized in producing a particular craft. This area is often referred to as the ‘craft villages’. Mas is known for its wood carvings, Celuk for silver jewelry, Batuan for paintings and Batubulan/Singakerta for stone carvings.
The ‘craft villages’ is the place to be when you want to see and/or buy a lot of craftwork in a short period of time as it offers many showrooms which sale Balinese crafts and arts. Try to avoid the shops where many day-tour buses stop, as these shops offer high-priced products due to the commissions they have to pay the bus drivers.
Considering that central Ubud is a fairly small town, you can easily explore Ubud by foot or bike. Bear in mind however that the terrain is hilly so ask around which parts can be explored best by foot or bike. To get to some of the architectural or cultural sites located further from the center of Ubud, quite a great distance will be covered so a bemo, rental car, motor bike, shuttle bus or taxi will be a smart option.
Ubud is distanced 33 km (21 miles) from Kuta and 28 km (18 miles) from Denpasar and a car journey from the airport to Ubud will last for approximately 45 minutes.
A taxi ride to Ubud can be chartered at the airport and costs around Rp 150 000 from Denpasar airport and Rp 200 000 from Kuta. Chartering a round trip is a smart thing to do because otherwise you’ll have to pay 30% extra because you are going out of Ubud. Another way to get into Ubud is by bemo, which is cheaper than a taxi and should cost around Rp 8000, if the drivers starting price is quite high, try to bargain.
A sufficient amount of tourist buses commute between Denpasar and Ubud and are fairly inexpensive. These buses arrive at and leave directly from the Denpasar airport but they stop 2 kilometers (1.5 miles) outside of Ubud.
If you will be staying at a homestay and have a reservation, the owner might pick you up from the airport for around Rp 25 000.