Travelling to Bali in Indonesia is high on everyone’s priority checklist especially for its warm weather, endless black-sand beaches, mighty mountains, and expansive rice fields. There are plenty of towns one can consider when planning a trip to Bali; Seminyak, Canggu, Kuta, and Ubud being a few popular choices. Out of these, if you’re looking for something culturally rich, serene, relaxing, easy on the eyes, and definitely a novelty, Ubud is the clear winner. Whether you’re travelling with family or for a reunion with friends from school, Ubud has something for everyone, even children.
Known as the cultural and artistic hub of Bali, ‘Ubud’, is all about ancient temples, yoga barns, health cafes, and a massive serving of acai berry bowls with your favourite smoothie. The natural abundance is in clear contrast with other, trendier beach towns as they are more inclined to raucous parties till sundown than enjoying some downtime at your own languid pace.
There are so many things to do in Ubud and a few choice ones have been listed below to give you enough incentive to travel to the foothills of majestic mountains and amid vast stretches of paddy fields!
1. Ubud Monkey Forest
The monkeys in Ubud have their own sanctuary deep within the green meandering paths of the Monkey Forest. They are considered sacred and revered by the locals and the forest is, in fact, home to three ancient temples. You may just happen upon a religious ceremony taking place inside the grounds; a chance for you to learn more about the local religious sentiment and immerse yourself alongside their devotion. The rich flora, ravines, and trees that are hundreds of years old all constitute a home for over 700 monkeys. Of course, you have to be careful of your belongings, these monkeys mean business when it comes to food and drink.
2. Ubud Royal Palace
The Ubud Royal Palace or Puri Saren Agung was the residence of the Royal family of Ubud built in the early 19th-century. Ubud, in general, as the cultural hub of Bali hosts many festivals and international events commemorating the arts; one of which is the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and it is in the meeting halls of the Ubud Palace that these events are celebrated with aplomb. The front portion of the palace remains open to the public and once the sun sets over the horizon, you can witness many magnificent dance performances held here. The palace is as majestic a sight to behold as it is steeped in history; with ornate gateways, royal statues and sculptures, and saffron-hued facade, the palace is a must-visit when in Ubud.
3. Staying in a private villa
While in Ubud, the best form of accommodation to really milk the opportunity to live like you would in a local’s house is staying at a private villa. With amenities such as shuttles that take you to and from the city centre, options to book a villa further away amidst rice fields or more accessible from the city, and people to cater to your every need, a private villa is a more manageable and hassle-free way to assure yourself of a smooth holiday experience. You can easily look for villas in Ubud that suit your individual needs; whether you’re travelling with kids or with a group of friends, number of rooms you need, location preferences, and modern conveniences, find something suitable to you. Also, the management and property are inspected well before your arrival so everything is in order.
4. Shop from local artisans and craftsmen
Culture and art; two things Ubud is famous for and more so now than ever owing to the many local sellers showcasing their unique goods in street-corners and small shops. If you’ve come across the latest wicker bag trend, Ubud is easily the trend-setter with artisanal pieces being sold along the curb. Batik printing is another famed technique that is intrinsic to Balinese culture and Ubud is teeming with a variety of Batik prints as seen on fabric, ready-to-wear apparel, and other accessories. A rainbow of colours is clearly on display in any Ubud market and you will definitely be spoilt for choice when it comes to finally buying some things for back home.
5. Soak in the culture and be present in the moment
The essence of Ubud lies in its ability to make the most hurried traveller slowdown. With its cultural aspects also comes its reverence for nature in its most untamed, unexplored form; a rare sight in the modern world. Many travellers find themselves lost in the rice fields or riding their bikes along a ravine with no concept of time just soaking up the vastness of this small town. The health café culture is strong and mushrooming in Ubud as many flock to the town for yoga retreats and for the rejuvenation of their minds, bodies, and souls.