Located in central Bali, Ubud has changed from an artists' colony and backpackers' hideaway in a sleepy backwater to a sophisticated town with fantastic museums, traditional mansions and stunning architecture and is Bali's centre for fine arts, crafts, dance and music, all set among beautiful landscapes.
In the early part of the 20th century Westerners such as Walter Spies and Willem Hofker collected together the best Balinese artists in an informal training academy and thus created Ubud as an article centre.
Their legacy lives on in the many museums here, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Sneiwati Gallery of Art by Women and the Museum Rudana, and in the thriving artistic tradition of the town and the surrounding area.
Many of the villages around Ubud are home to specialist art and craft communities, set among traditional rice terraces, ancient temples and idyllic landscapes. A particular feature of the area is the palaces - puris - which housed the local princes.
One of the best is the Puri Saren Agung, once the home of Tjokorde Gede. Agung Sukawati, the last King of Ubud: his family still live here and host dance performances.
Other buildings and monuments here include many beautiful temples including the Pura Taman Saraswati.
At Pejeng, just outside the town, temples include the Goa Gaja, Pura Kebo Edan, Pura Pusering Jagat and Pura Agung Batan Bingin. The 14th-century reliefs of Yeh Pulu are among the vest to be found.
The many artistic activities here give the town and surrounding area a unique character and when combined with the vibrant colours of the surrounding landscape Ubud ticks all the boxes.
When to go:
May to October for better views
- The Museums
- The musical and night dance performances
- The food, which is some of the best in Indonesia
You Should know:
Ubud is often called the cultural heart of Bali.