Get ready for an immersion into the Balinese culture! From handicrafts to music and dance through gastronomy, you’ll encounter a mixture of all the traditions here. Ubud is a must-see during your travel in Bali.
The history of Ubud goes back to the 8th century. The legend tells how a Javanese Hindu priest named Rsi Markendya settled to meditate at the confluence of two rivers passing through the locality of Campuhan. The temple of Gunung Lebah was built in the bottom of the valley at his request.
Probably due to the abundance of medicinal plants growing on its lands, the area was called Ubud a derivative from ‘ubad’, which means medicine in Balinese language.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Ubud became the seat of feudal lords from a Balinese kshatriya caste of Sukawati. They contributed to boost the city’s artistic reputation.
In the nineteen twenties, the arrival of the German painter and musician Walter Spies inspired the evolution of secular arts outside the temples in Ubud. He taught painting, music and dance to the local population. His work had repercussions abroad drawing the attention of cultural figures likeCharlie Chaplin, Barbara Hutton and Margaret Mead. In the nineteen sixties, the rise of the Young Artist movement and the arrival of the Dutch painterArie Smit reinvigorated local creativity and Ubud became the cultural center of Bali.
Today, Ubud is the window of Balinese culture with countless art galleries presenting sculptures and painting in different styles. Collections of local and foreign artists exhibiting at the Puri Lukisan and Neka Museums are representative of the evolution of local art. All along Jalan Raya, the main street, fancy boutiques offer exclusive pieces of jewellery and very fashionable accessories. A large choice of bars and restaurants gives you unique opportunities to enhance your dining experience. It’s become a center for spiritual seekers as well, with many yoga classes and wellness centers offering a variety of treatments.
The city’s cultural and artistic scene offers a vast choice of activities. Although many hotels present night-time shows, the temple celebrations are a lot more captivating.
There are many ways to explore Ubud, either on foot or bicycle, just go and discover the valley. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of lush green hills carved with terraced paddy fields, and charming villages.
Even if it seems to be relatively small, the town comprises fourteen districts called Banjar, each with its own leaders. Accommodations are plentiful from luxurious villas to basic bamboo rooms.
Ubud’s climate is relatively cool all year round. The thermometer reaches 30°C during the day and falls to 20°C in the night. Always bring an umbrella as you never know when a shower will fall.
How to get there
From Ngurah Rai International airport it takes about one hour to reach Ubud. From Kuta forty kilometer away, it takes one and a half hours. You can rent a scooter or a car. Otherwise it’s easy to get on a bus or use Go-jek, Grab or Uber. Taxies are available from the airport as well.
How to move around?
Bicycles or motorcycles are the most convenient method of transport in Ubud and its vicinity. The region is also ideal for trekking.
What to do in Ubud?
Explore the surroundings by foot, bicycle or motor scooter
Stroll along the rice fields
Go rafting on Ayung river
Watch dance and music performances
Visit museums, galleries and temples
Enjoy local food in the numerous restaurants