Ubud –Bali’s peaceful cultural hub
Perched in the center of the island of Bali, Ubud is a charming town, a spiritual place that draws you in and keeps you here long after you intended to move on. It has long formed the hub of Bali’s cultural scene. Home to temples and ancient sites, it morphed into a Mecca for travelers and artists before being adopted by the rich and famous as a five-star resort destination.
Yet despite its popularity Ubud has retained much of its bohemian feel and is a delightful destination for a Digital Nomad to rest a while and be immersed in Balinese culture.
Things to see and do
Despite its appearance as one town Ubud is in fact a cohesive collection of fourteen individual small villages, each boasting an array of temples and ancient sites and joined together as much through rice paddies and winding paths as the sprawling resort developments that radiate out for some 5km in each direction from the central market.
The streets of Ubud offer a more tranquil alternative to the more urbanized areas of the island. The center of the town is easily explored on foot but many of its key attractions are some way out so you will need to hire bicycles or mopeds to get the most out of your time here. Ubud has established itself as a center for decorative arts and there are several excellent collections amongst its art museums, which also offer workshops if you are interested in Balinese art and culture.
Don’t visit Ubud without seeing the Goa Gajah Elephant Cave that dates back to the Ninth Century and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Poet Mountain is another must-see destination located at Tampaksiring, some 18 kilometers Northeast of the town. Here, nestled at the bottom of a steep valley swathed with paddy fields and in almost eye-wateringly beautiful setting is the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his many wives, with further tombs located another kilometer downstream.
If water sports are you thing, head to the Ayung River close to town for a spot of rafting deep inside the majestic Ayung gorge. The rapids are best during the rainy season and trips can be organized through well-established operators located on the main road at nearby Sayan.
Like Seminyak, Ubud has an excellent reputation for its restaurants, offering a variety and quality that rivals major worldwide destinations. Yet despite its culinary finesse there are plenty of options for budget travelers happy to survive on the delicious Indonesian staples.
The town operates 10.30 pm curfew on music that is strictly enforced so if you are looking for busy nightlife, this is not the place for you. If on the other hand you are looking for a place to relax over some fine food and a drink or two, you will be well catered for in Ubud.
Good to know
This is a delightfully safe destination where the only trouble you are likely to encounter is petty theft by the monkeys in the nearby Monkey forest. They are experts at snatching handbags and just about anything that glistens!
Internet coverage is widely available though speeds are still relatively low, to match the town’s relaxed pace of life. Ubud has many options for accommodation, ranging from five-star luxury to low budget. If you are planning on staying a while, head out to one of the nearby rural areas for a low cost room and a feel for what Ubud is all about.