The Charm of Ubud in Bali

Evocatively inspiring temples, picturesque terraced paddy fields and a laid-back, artsy vibe, Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali. An incredible rural setting in Bali’s rainforest-clad uplands, Ubud’s cool mountain location is just an hour’s drive up from the airport and close to the famed resorts to the South. The scenery is mesmerizing, the people are utterly charming, and the art scene defines Ubud as possibly one of the must-stay destinations in Bali; offering a fascinating slice of Balinese local life and some luxury stays that are just stunning.

Gorgeous boutique shops and market stalls brimming with truly exceptional local handicrafts; fine-dining restaurants and impressive art galleries; Ubud is a wonderfully unique creative hub that seduces visitors who immediately fall in love with this charismatic country town’s authentic charm. From jewelry to textiles, paintings to wood carvings, Ubud, and the lovely surrounding villages are a treasure trove of artisans’ skills.

The magical landscape of Ubud is a beautiful vacation destination for luxury travelers looking for the heartland of Bali away from the surfers’ paradises and dive hotspots. The traditional home of royalty and dotted with shrines cut from rock and holy sites Ubud beckons visitors to discover its real, heartfelt beauty and those who explore Ubud often see a part of their inner being too.

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is a jungle in Ubud that is an ecological reserve for the conservation of the Balinese long-tailed macaque. With a forest temple too, the monkeys are free to roam and, right in the middle of the town, this is one of the top attractions in Ubud.

Puri Saren Agung Palace is still home to the local royal family, but visitors can explore a lot of the grounds and gardens with their stone carvings, temple, and royal buildings. You can watch a dance performance most evenings in the palace courtyard too. In the center of town, Ubud Palace is free and an interesting history hour.

Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave is a 9th Century sanctuary and worthy of a stop on any Ubud temple-hopping tour. Named after the ornate elephant-like, demonic-style carvings at the entrance, the cave leads to a courtyard with sculptures, bathing pools which were only discovered a few decades ago, and fountains; just outside of Ubud.

Neka Art Museum portrays the history of Balinese art from classical artists to more contemporary works along with artists who have depicted or been influenced by Bali. With lovely gardens too, the setting is peaceful and relaxing.

Agung Rai Museum of Art also gives a visual insight into Balinese and Indonesian culture through art. The museum space with a permanent exhibition is also part of a broader center with theater performances, artistic classes, a bookshop, and other events supportive of the Arts in Bali.

Campuhan Ridge Walk is a great 9 km paved walk through scenic Ubud with forest and greenery all around. The best time to hike is sunrise or sunset for magnificent views and photo opportunities, otherwise the cooler part of the morning.

Tegenungan Waterfall and the surrounding rice paddies are real beauty spots just outside of Ubud. A little trek is needed to reach the falls, but it is worth the trek. This beautiful place allows you to swim, have fun, and relax after visiting Ubud’s cultural hotspots.