Researched by Ariel & Molly

Ubud is a town that is sandwiched between the rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency. It is located 35 km northeast of Bali's International Airport and only 15 minutes away from the beach (although most travelers do not recommend it as a beach going spot). Because of its location at the base of the mountains temperatures are slightly lower than in the lowlands, and year-round rain showers help to grow lush tropical vegetation. Ubud is the epicenter of art in Bali. It is a place where the most accomplished dancers, musicians, painters, weavers and carvers live and work. As such there are a multitude of museums and art galleries throughout the town. While it was once a haven for cosmic seekers, backpackers, artists and bohemians (sort of like the hippies of Ithaca!), Ubud is now a hot spot for "literati, glitterati, art collectors and connoisseurs."1 Famous names walk its busy sidewalks everyday. The town has a modest population of about 8,000 people, and there are many who claim that the towns rising expansion is making it more difficult to distinguish the town itself from the villages that surround it. This development has come in the form of art, souvenir and handicraft shops that line the road, as well as many restaurants and cafes. Yet, there are others who contend that the culture of Ubud is too strong to be masked under the new additions and expansions. This location will give us a unique opportunity to truly see the art and cultural legacy of Bali in a relaxed and less chaotic atmosphere in comparison to some of the other cities in Bali.

Location in Bali

Map Source: http://en.wikipedia.org

Ubud History

Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word “Ubad”, which is a kind of medicine. Originally, the town was famous for providing medicinal herbs and plants. Legend tells that Ubud’s important religion role originated in 8th century, when a Javanese priest founded the Gunung Lehab temple on the valley floor (where Ubud is now), and it still remains a pilgrim destination. In the late nineteenth century, the lord who owned Ubud supported the village’s increasingly renowned arts scene. Later, Walter Spies and other painters such as Willem Hofker arrived in Ubud, they not only taught painting, music and dance by themselves, but also brought in some of the greatest artists from all over Bali to teach and train the Balinese in arts. After that, Ubud became the cultural centre of Bali and the tourism developed gradually. In 1960s, Butch painter Arie Smit made great contribution to the new development of Ubud’s arts development. In the development of the Young Artists movement, many museums such as Museum Puri Lukisan and the Agung Rai Museum of Art were founded around that time.

Tell me More about Ubud history

Role of Religion & Culture

Balinese Hinduism permeates life throughout the town, even more so than some of the other villages. Ubud is recognized as one the more traditional towns in terms of maintaining the manifold and tenants of Agama Hindu Bali. According to one visitor, “Everywhere you look, every single day, you will see ceremony, ritual and sacred offerings. All of this is carried out in Ubud with a level of devout attention and meticulous care that is rarely exceeded elsewhere.” It is supposed to be a very enlightening experience to be able to witness or participate in one of these ceremonies, so we may want to consider visiting one of the following temples while in Ubud:

Pura Desa Ubud - The main "town temple" in the centre, across from Ary's Warung.

Pura Puseh - The "temple of origin" devoted to Ubud's honoured ancestors.

Pura Dalem Ubud - The temple for the dark side of things. On the north side of Jalan Raya before the road descends to Campuan.

Pura Taman Saraswati - Part of the Puri Saraswati complex, devoted to Dewi Saraswati the goddess of learning, literature and the arts, Features a fine padmasana (lotus throne). Beyond the lotus pond in back of Cafe Lotus.

List of Ubud Temples

Art & Where to Find It!

There will be plenty of opportunities here to purchase the local crafts. Prices are typically extremely flexible, meaning it is acceptable and encouraged to barter and haggle over a price. Each town in Ubud is uniquely known for different types of crafts. Notably, the road from Peliatan to Pujung, which is dotted with woodcarving galleries and other craft shops. In Tegallalang and surrounding villages you will find Bali's best Garuda and Singga carvers, among the cheesy pop-art wooden souvenirs. Small woodcarvings of every sort are widely available in Ubud, Tegallalang, Pujung, Nyuh Kuning, Mas, Teges, and in abundance at the Sukawati art market, about twenty minutes south of Ubud. You can get pieces in naturally-finished woods representing animals, religious figures, people and so forth. Throughout the Ubud area, you can pick up inexpensive small paintings which make excellent decorative accents back home. Other crafts in the towns surrounding Ubud include weaving (Gianyar area), stone carving (Batubulan), basket making (Bona), bamboo and rattan work (Sakah and Bona), jewellery (Celuk), bone and coconut carving (Tampaksiring), batik, furniture making, bronze casting, and, decorative metalwork. The entire Gianyar district is densely populated with craftspeople in every imaginable medium. The majority of them love to create and design a piece specifically for you, so start planning now if you want something personalized made. Simply bring along a sketch, sample, or magazine clipping. Alternatively, if you like what you see in a showroom, but have an idea how it could be improved, explain what variation you have in mind. Don't forget to agree on a price in advance. At the main crossroads we'll find the Ubud market, a conglomerations of stalls and shops that sells everything from paperclips and papayas to saffron and sarongs. Mornings are the best time to catch the market buzz, as locals buy all the components for the daily meal and daily offerings. Afternoons are calmer, but hotter. The "official' market day for Ubud falls on "Pasah" which occurs every three days. I tried looking this up online, but had no luck… so perhaps we can find someone who can tell us when we arrive. On "Pasah" in the morning, there are more local shoppers and heaps of fresh produce and other foodstuffs.

List of Ubud Museums and Galleries

Popular Tourist Destinations:

The Ubud Monkey Forest, which is approximately 27 acres (10 square kilometer), is home of 340 Crab-eating Macaque monkeys and 115 different species of trees. It locates near the southern end of Jalan Monkey forest. The forest is also a temple complex including Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple, a "Holy Spring" bathing temple and another temple used for cremation ceremonies.

The Museum Puri Lukisan, opened in 1957, is the oldest art museum in Ubud. It’s the home to the finest collection of modern traditional Balinese paining and wood carving on the island. Its collection includes important examp

les of all the artistic styles in Bali from 1930 and afterwards.

List of Palaces

Below is a shopping walking tour that I found online, which if we have the time could be a lot of fun! I’m posting it here so it doesn’t get lost and so we can decide if it is worth the time to do!2

Tour the Best of Monkey Forest Road - Walking South from the Main Crossroads by the Market

After a random mix of shops, you'll find Toko Lagi on the west side of the street, with no sign, just a cryptic object hanging from its rafters, and pale blue-green stones in front. It sells hand-selected museum-quality antiques and textiles from around Indonesia, as well as custom-designed useful objects made by traditional craftspeople, It's owned by the architect of Ibah Hotel, who also runs Toko, a few paces further down the street. Toko has interesting clothes, carefully chosen ikat fabrics, and a large collection of extremely well designed and made original jewellery. Walk on, to Sakti to see a hand-picked collection of primitive artefacts, clothing, essential oils, bath products and incense by Utama Spice. Next stop is Le Chat, across the street, with very wearable and tasteful men's and women's clothing, charming gifts and decorative objects. Displays feature wittily worded cards by the manager, Oka d'Putra, an alarmingly literate and cultured young man. Great music. Continue on to visit Bead 'n' Bali, with its huge selection of beads of all kinds, and materials to make your own bead jewellery, You can do beads for hours if you like. Also sells pieces already made up. Across the street is Wardani Textiles, Ubud's best textile emporium, with thousands of fabrics for sale by the metre, sarongs, sashes and casualwear. Check out their fine ikat, Balinese cotton chambray in endless colours and patterns, cotton and silk batik, plus silk and linen fashion fabrics. Stroll further to Kamar Sutra, an elegant boutique with original designs in gorgeous double silk. Also handmade silk batik worked in powerful and deeply traditional motifs. Further down, and across the road is Senang-Senang, a stylish little clothing boutique with boldly simple designs for women, which are sexy and at the same time demure. Next is Casa Alam, an exquisitely designed shop in a beautiful building set back a little from the street (which in itself is a relief). Fine goods from natural materials, including baskets, stationery, decorative, and useful objects. Also very fine clothing in natural materials and high quality hand made batik. Gross to the west side again, and continue walking south to Argasoka Gallery. This place is worth walking all the way from the market to visit. A marvellous collection of antique (really) batiks from Java, including fine Pekalongan, Cirebon and (of course) Solo and Yogya pieces, Perhaps even more exciting is the collection of new batiks, handworked in silk and cotton, the clothes made up from their original batiks in clear, natural colours, are works of fine art.

Find more information about Ubud:

The following websites provide a thorough background information of Ubud, and suggestions of where and how to enjoy Ubud’s Palaces, Museums, Spas, Cultural performances, Yoga, Rafting and nightlife…






[1] http://www.indo.com/active/ubud.htm

[2] excerpted from http://www.indo.com/active/ubud10-1.html#market


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