Bali is a perennial bucket-list destination for travelers, and it’s time to check it off your list. While there, be sure to visit the town of Ubud. From strolling the art market to being one with nature, this community’s zen appeal wins it a spot on our Where To Travel In 2020 list.
Known for its thriving artist community, Ubud is a bustling town on the Indonesian island of Bali. The town center is a lively spot, but a few short minutes out of town you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush vegetation, beautiful vistas, and quiet meditation spots.
1. Ubud Is Home To A Sacred Monkey Sanctuary
The Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal is a sanctuary for 700 Balinese long-tailed monkeys. Spend the morning wandering the tropical forest’s twisting paths and observing the monkeys in their natural habitat. The sanctuary is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entry fee is about $6 per person.
2. Protecting The Avian Population Is A Priority
Bali Bird Park focuses on the conservation and protection of endangered avian wildlife. With 250 species from several continents, you will see many birds that are difficult to locate in the wild. With bird exhibits from South America, South Africa, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Papua, and Bali, it is an ornithologist’s paradise. Entry fees start at $25 per person and the park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a full-day adventure.
Bali Bird Walks take you on a hunt for some 100 species of birds in the Ubud area. The tour fee is just under $40 and includes lunch. Join the walk Monday, Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday at 9 a.m.
3. Ubud Is The Cultural Center In Bali
The lines between new and old blend here as rare Indonesian artworks are juxtaposed with contemporary artists’ works.
Ubud Art Market is the place to shop for local goods. Balinese artisans display their wares at this city center market.
An unusual collection of over 1,300 masks and 5,700 puppets await you at Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets. Collected from Indonesia and around the world, these weird and wonderful pieces will inspire and entertain you.
The Agung Rai Museum of Art is a showcase for exquisite Balinese art, plus a luxury resort with exquisite amenities.
4. You Can Find Your Zen On A Jungle Forest Walk
A picturesque walk through the jungle forest is the best way to find your center. The Campuhan Ridge path is five gentle miles of paved walkway that passes Gunung Lebah Temple and the valley of the Sungai Wos River. Finding the perfect spot to meditate in this panoramic countryside is a path to true inner peace.
Then stop at the Karsa Kafe in the village of Bangkiang Sidem, for a cool, refreshing drink.
5. Ancient Rock Carved Shrines Preside Over The Pakerisan River
Eleventh-century shrines carved into the rock cliffs overlooking the Pakerisan River form Bali’s Gunung Kawi Temple. As you follow the ancient paths surrounding the carvings, you will see the Pakerisan River, archeological sites, rhythmically situated rice terraces, and lush scenic valleys.
6. The Ramayana Ballet Is Performed On The Palace Grounds Nightly
The ultimate in Indonesian ornate carvings adorn the facade of Ubud Palace. Built in the early 1800s as a home for the Ubud royal family, the palace is open daily from 8 a.m to 7 p.m.
A traditional dance is performed nightly on the palace grounds. It features Hindu-inspired Balinese dancers performing scenes from the Ramayana Ballet, a stylized performance that combines music, drama, and dance. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and costs less than $10 per person.
7. There’s An Elephant Cave (Minus The Elephants)
Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, is an abandoned archaeological dig. Enter the cave through the mouth of a rock-carved demon to find a statue of the elephant-headed god Ganesha. The temple is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Plan an hour for your visit, which requires a small entrance fee.
If you’re up for it, you can climb the many stone stairs to the valley below, where the remnants of a Buddhist temple and a small waterfall are waiting for your discovery.
8. Ubud’s Climate Is Warm Year-Round
Ubud is warm and humid year-round. It’s best to start early in the morning, have some quiet time in the midday heat, and carry a sweater in the cool evenings.
Ubud’s tourist season is July through September while December through March is the rainy season.
9. How To Get To Ubud
Ubud is just over an hour from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. The best way to get to Ubud from Bali is by taxi or private driver.
While you are in Ubud, you can walk almost everywhere. For some eco-friendly freedom, rent a bike.
Want more Balinese adventure? Read up on climbing Bali’s Mount Batur: everything you should know.