Ubud, a town in central Bali, is far removed from the drunken bikini scene in Kuta, and is regarded as the cultural centre of Bali. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the town and nearby villages seems to consist of artists' workshops and galleries. There are some remarkable architectural sights, artistic gems to be found, and a general feeling of well being to be enjoyed, all thanks to the spirit, surroundings, and climate of the place.
While Ubud seems to outsiders like one small town, it is in fact fourteen villages, each run by its own banjar (village committee). Ubud has grown rapidly, and some central parts are creaking under the strain of coping with the number of visitors. That said, most development is sympathetic to the zeitgeist, if not designed specifically in the local style. Growth continues apace, but there are still terraced rice fields along the rivers, and away from the town centre, regular, quiet village life carries on relatively undisturbed.
In many ways, the history of the Ubud area (not so much the modern day town) is the very history of Bali itself.
Ubud has a known history back to the eighth century, when the Javanese Buddhist priest Rsi Marhandya came to Bali from Java, and meditated at the confluence of the two Wos rivers at Campuan, just west of the modern day town centre. A shrine was established and later expanded by Nirartha, the Javanese priest who is regarded as the founder of Bali's religious practices and rituals as we know them today. At this time the area was a centre of natural medicine and healing, and that is how the name Ubud originated: Ubad is ancient Balinese for medicine.
Further temples and monasteries were established over the next 400 hundred years or so. The temple complex at Gunung Kawi, and the cave temples at Goa Gajah (just east and northeast of Ubud), are architectural remains from this period. Many of the dances, drama and rituals still practised in Ubud today, originated at this time. King Airlangga ruled all of Java and Bali in this era, and his seat of government was located in what is now the village of Batuan, just southeast of Ubud.
The Javanese Majapahit kingdom conquered Bali in 1343, and the key final victory was against the Pejeng Dynasty centred at Bedulu, just to the east of Ubud. A great flowering of Balinese culture followed, and the ancestry of Ubud's current day aristocratic families can be traced back to this period. In the sixteenth Century, there was a total transplantation of the Majapahit Kingdom to Bali as the Islamisation of Java forced them eastwards. Power flip-flopped between various dynasties and feudal lords, but the Ubud area remained a very important cog in the various regencies which ruled the island.
In 1900, Ubud became a Dutch protectorate at its own request, and the colonialists intefered little, allowing the traditional arts and culture of the area to remain relatively unchanged. The modern era of Ubud perhaps began in the 1930s, when foreign artists were encouraged by the royal family to take up presence in the town. From their Ubud base, the likes of Walter Spies and Rudolph Bonnet were instrumental in promoting an understanding of Balinese art and culture worldwide. From the 1960s onwards, travellers started to arrive in earnest, mostly intrepid types as the infrastructure was still very limited indeed. Since then, Ubud has developed rapildy into a high profile, top class international destination, whilst still maintaining its integrity as the centre of Balinese art and culture.
Due to its elevation at 600 metres above sea level, Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast, and it is sometimes necessary to bring a pullover for the evening. The midday sun can still be scorching though and the humidity often relentless, a murderous combination for temple tramping which, in hilly Ubud, usually requires climbing up and down staircases. (Head out early to beat the heat and the crowds.) If there is a time to avoid, it would be the depths of the wet season in January and February — when it rains in Ubud, it really rains.
Orienting yourself in Ubud is fairly straightforward. The town sprawls for several kilometres in all directions, with all of the small villages within a five km radius of the central market being loosely referred to as "Ubud". If you choose a reasonably central place to stay, it is easy enough to get around on foot.
Central Ubud has three main streets: Jl Raya Ubud, Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Hanoman. At the intersection of Jl Raya and Jl Monkey Forest are Ubud Market, Ubud Palace, and the main bemo stop — unsurprisingly, there's also a near-permanent traffic jam here.
Jl Monkey Forest, which runs south through town to the Monkey Forest, is a built-up area, and home to a wide array of accommodation, art galleries, and cafes, as well a number of local services such as schools, a sports field, pharmacies, and travel agents. Jl Hanoman, which runs parallel to Jl Monkey Forest just to the east, is a bit quieter and makes for more pleasant walking.
To the immediate west and northwest are the villages of Campuan (Tjampuhan, Campuhan) and Kedewatan, home to some of the most upmarket hotels in the whole of Asia, with views over valleys sculpted by the Ayung and Wos rivers.
Directly to the south, past the Monkey Forest and still within a twenty minute walk of the central market, is Padang Tegal which then runs into the southern villages of Nyuh Kuning and Pengosekan, about three km from central Ubud. Directly to the east is the village of Peliatan, and then Teges and Bedulu, home of the ninth century Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).
There are regular public bemos from Denpasar's Batubulan terminal to Ubud which cost Rp 8,000, and take about an hour. Most bemos run in the early morning, and you will not find any after 4PM. In the opposite direction, bemos depart every morning from the central market (northern entrance) in Ubud.
If you want to take a taxi to Ubud from South Bali, it is best to charter the vehicle for a return trip, otherwise, you'll be hit with a 30% fee for going out-of-town. Metered fares, one-way and not including surcharge, are around Rp 100,000 from Denpasar and Rp 200,000 from Kuta.
Perama offers daily direct transfers to Ubud from Ngurah Rai International Airport, Sanur, Lovina, Kuta, Bedugul, Candidasa, and Padang Bai. These are convenient and inexpensive; e.g. four times per day from the airport for Rp 50,000. Rather less conveniently, the Perama terminal is not located in the centre of Ubud, but about two km south in Padang Tegal, on Jl Hanoman just south of the intersection with Jl Monkey Forest.
Central Ubud can be covered on foot, but you will need some form of transport to explore the extended vicinity.
Ubud is generally a little quieter, and the streets calmer than the more urbanised parts of Bali. So whilst traffic is slower than in downtown Kuta for example, the sidewalks are often blocked by motorbikes, or a collapsed section necessitates a step off the sidewalk potentially placing you in the path of traffic. That traffic could be a tricycle or a truck, so keep your wits about you.
Blame Elizabeth Gilbert. Those of you managed to make it through the turgid best-selling novel Eat, Pray, Love, might have an inkling of what is coming up. Ubud features quite heavily in our heroine's search for fulfilment, and the knock-on effect in the town has been huge. Acolytes have swarmed to Ubud looking for (and sometimes finding) places and people referenced in the book. The actual characters mentioned are surely sick and tired of rather desperate looking thirty-something single women turning up on their doorsteps. The economic benefits of the novel to the area ratcheted up a whole other notch in mid-2009, when the eponymously named movie was shot in and around Ubud, Julia Roberts and all. Just be aware though that Ubud cannot necessarily guarantee a remedy for every mid-life crisis.
Bemos ply the main routes in and around Ubud, and the main stop and gathering point is Ubud market at the junction of Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud. Most bemos stop running in the late afternoon, and are always more frequent in the morning.
No metered taxis operate in Ubud, and any you see will be dropping off passengers from further afield.
Most local transport comes in the form of SUVs or minivans that can be hired with a driver for specific trips. Look for the circular yellow "E" logo on the windshield certifying them as Ubud Transport Association members. You can (and should) haggle a bit over the price, and pay a touch less than for the equivalent journey in a metered taxi. A short trip is about Rp 20,000 to 30,000, and drivers will be glad to wait for you for a return fare.
Also, any guy with a motorbike is implicitly in the transport business and bike rides (ojek) are about half the price of those in a car.
Many hotels are located out of town, and are happy to offer regular, complimentary drop-off and pick-up services to central Ubud. Expect to pay higher than taxi prices if you are intending to go further afield.
As elsewhere in Bali, motorbike rental is widely available, and you will not be short of options. Expect to pay between Rp 50,000 and 80,000 per day. Look for rental agencies on all the main streets, or ask your hotel to organise for you. Navigation can be confusing, as signage is limited and all the roads look pretty much the same at first, but take it easy and stop to ask for directions if (when) you get lost.
You can rent bicycles for about Rp 20,000-30,000 per day. There is a large selection available at the corner of the football field on Jl Monkey Forest. Beware though: Ubud is very hilly, so cycling can be hard, sweaty work. Traffic on the main roads is heavy and drivers rarely pay heed to cyclists.
Ubud is so crammed with attractions it can almost seem like a visual assault at times. Try to make sure you allocate at least a week for your visit here, and take your time to explore properly. Visitors who jump up to Ubud for just two or three days of their Bali holiday, stand little chance of understanding much of what is going on around them.
The key historical sites are located out of town, some as far as 20km away, and you might find it worthwhile joining a tour to visit these. If you do visit attractions such as Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi, Pura Kehen and Tirta Empul under your own steam, try to find a knowledgeable guide when you get there. Whilst you will certainly appreciate the beauty of these places, their cultural and spiritual significance will be lost without a guide.
Gunung Kawi (Poet Mountain), 7AM-5PM daily, Tampaksiring, 18 km northeast from Ubud, Dating from the eleventh century, this is presumed to be the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his many wives. Reached by climbing down 371 steps, the location at the bottom of a steep valley lined with paddy fields, is quite stunning. The smaller complex on the south side of the river is presumed to have been built for the King's wives, while the larger complex is thought to have been the residence of the King himself, and perhaps his concubines. You must take off your shoes before entering into the central pura complex. About one km downstream there are further tomb cloisters. On the way back up, take a break at Cafe Kawi which has cold drinks for Rp 10,000 and up, and fresh breezes for free.
Pura Kehen (Kehen Temple), 8AM-5PM daily, Jl Sriwijaya, Bangli, just north of Bangli town centre, which itself is about 30 minutes north east from Ubud, One of the most attractive temples in the whole of Bali, and as it is slightly off the beaten path, one which receives relatively few visitors. The temple was founded in 1206, and has an especially impressive 11-tiered meru in the inner courtyard. When you visit here take a little extra time to look around Bangli. It is a quiet and attractive market town.
Puri Saren Agung (Royal Palace, Water Palace), 9AM-5PM daily, across Jl Raya Ubud from Ubud Market, This was the palace of the kings of Ubud until the 1940s, and some royal descendants live there to this day. Parts of the complex are off limits to the public, but entry to the rest is free, and this is Ubud's best setting for dance performances (see Do).
Tirta Empul, 8AM-6PM daily, Tampaksiring, 20 km northeast from Ubud, One of the holiest temples in Bali built around hot springs that still bubble in the central courtyard. The Balinese come here to bathe and purify themselves physically and spiritually, and during Galungan, the sacred **barong** masks are bathed here. The complex dates to 960, but the present buildings are largely modern reconstructions.
Yeh Pulu, 7AM-6PM daily, Banjar Batulumbang, Bedulu nr Gianyar, turn off the Ubud to Gianyar main road about 400 metres east of the entrance to the Goa Gajah complex. Drive through Banjar Batulumbang until the road comes to an end. From here walk down the track, This complex of rock carvings is close to Goa Gajah but far less well known. The carvings date from the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and are set in a very attractive rice field. You can reach Yeh Pulu on foot through the rice fields from Goa Gajah, but you will definitely need a guide for the 45 minute walk as there is no path to speak of. In addition to the carvings, there is a holy well here, and the attendant priest will be happy to bless you with the well water. Temple dress code applies. This is a much underrated and under-visited site, and is highly recommended.
Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) , +62 361 975742, +62 361 975742, 9AM-5PM daily, Jl Pengosekan, Showcases works by well known Balinese artists, as well as international artists who made Bali their home such as Walter Spies, Adrian Jean Le Mayeur, Rudolph Bonnet and Arie Smit. The only painting in Bali by renowned Javanese artist Radan Saleh is exhibited here. They also run workshops for thirteen different aspects of Balinese art and culture.
Blanco Renaissance Museum , +62 361 975502, 9AM-6PM daily, Jl Raya Campuhan, Before he passed away in 1999, Spanish artist Antonio Blanco was an absolute fixture on the Ubud art scene. His former home is now a museum showcasing his sometimes bizarre but always interesting work. Think Salvador Dali transplanted to Asia. In the garden you can take pictures of the exotic birds flying around.
Museum Puri Lukisan (Museum of Fine Arts) , , 8AM-4PM daily, Jl Raya Ubud, on the main road just west of the market, When it opened in 1954, this was the first private museum in Bali. Three buildings showcase traditional and modern Balinese art. The displays are a little musty and English labeling is spotty, but some of the works, particularly the carvings, are quite amazing. Exhibits by noted artists I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and Rudolph Bonnet, amongst others.
Museum Rudana , +62 361 975779, +62 361 975779, M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM, Jl Cok Rai Pudak 44, on the road to Mas, about a 10 min drive south of Ubud town centre, A wide range of Balinese paintings is exhibited here, both traditional and modern. Run by its owner, artist Nyoman Rudana, who is often present.
Neka Art Museum , +62 361 975074, +62 361 975074, M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM, Jl Raya Campuhan, Kedewatan, This museum houses perhaps the most important art collection in the whole of Bali. Six pavilions house the various collections which include dedicated rooms for artists Arie Smit and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.
The area around Ubud is characterised by gently rolling rice paddies, and these create an impression of greenness which can be quite startlingly beautiful. This is especially true to the south and southeast of the town. Any visitor approaching from the south will appreciate this and it is worth a stop just to absorb the gentle beauty of it all.
Northeast of Ubud town centre the land starts to become more undulating, and this is a good place to view Bali's classic rice terraces. The village of Tegallalang is very much a tourist trap, but it is worth braving the hordes of trinket peddlers to view the stunning terraces there. From the town centre, take Jl Raya as far east as you can go, and then turn north and continue about nine km until you reach Tegallalang. Look for the picture postcard rice terraces on you right-hand side. For those moving on north to the Kintamani area, this is on route and makes for an easy stop.
Far more off the beaten path is to explore the rice fields immediately north of town. A good route is to take Jl Raya eastwards from the town centre and turn north up the small road immediately adjacent to the BCA Bank building. Proceed up this road through the village of Kutuh and just keep going, turning where you feel like it. This is a very gentle, rural area with some lovely landscape. A great way to explore is by bicycle as there are no steep hills to negotiate here.
On the opposite side of town in the Campuhaun, Sanginnan, and Kedewatan areas, the landscape changes dramatically as great gorges have been carved out of the limestone land base by the Ayung and Wos rivers. It's no surprise that so many five star hotels have made their home in these lush, dramatic valleys. Opportunities for viewing these gorges are many. You can just find your own way and explore by motorbike (it is very hard work by bicycle as the hills are steep). Head west out of town over the Campuhan Bridge and just start exploring. The main road here is Jl Raya Sanginnan, and if you continue heading away from town you will reach the junction with Jl Raya Kedewatan. From that point you can turn in either direction and just keep exploring. Alternatively, you can stop into a hotel or restaurant, have a drink or lunch, and gaze out in very civilised surroundings. If your pockets are deep, the restaurant at the Four Seasons in Sayan probably has the best views of all of the Ayung Gorge. A more budget conscious option is the lovely Indus restaurant in Sanginnan, where the tables on the terrace have awesome views.
Bali Bird Park , +62 361 299352, +62 361 299352, 9:30AM-5:30PM daily, Jl Serma Cok Ngurah Gambir, Singapadu, A splendid two hectare aviary park with more than 250 species of birds in well thought out, attractive enclosures. The park has an enlightened, modern attitude to exhibiting animals, and this is obvious from the very open, walk-in aviaries, and the number of free range birds throughout the park. Also has a notably good cafe. One of Bali's best formal attractions.
Botanic Garden , 8AM-6PM daily, Kutuh Kaja, on the road to Kutuh Kaja village which runs north from Jl Raya Ubud close to BCA Bank, The recently opened Botanic Garden is a wonderful way to spend a few hours walking around and exploring the valley that it fills. It is best to go in the morning and avoid the afternoon heat.
Monkey Forest , +62 361 971304, +62 361 971304, Jl Monkey Forest, Ubud, A sacred forest full of ravenous monkeys, so don't bring any food or you will risk bites and rabies injections. Stroll through to find Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, a temple of the dead. A visit to the very informative website beforehand is highly recommended.
The White Herons of Petulu, Petulu, Every evening between 15,000 and 20,000 cattle egrets, known colloquially as white herons and in Balinese, **kokokan**, roost in the village of Petulu just ten minutes north of Ubud. It is quite a spectacle as these large, elegant white and rusty orange birds arrive in countless groups and tussle for the prime roosting spots. Each morning at dawn they leave en-masse to find feeding spots around the island. Some also breed in the area and nests can be seen in the roadside trees. The cattle egrets are joined by smaller numbers of little egrets and Javan pond herons. According to local legend, the egrets first appeared here in such large numbers after one of the worst massacres of suspected communists during the troubles of 1965. This led local villagers to believe that these birds are the souls of the slaughtered, and ceremonies to that effect are still held today. The village of Petulu is reached by heading east from Ubud town centre on Jl Raya Ubud until you meet the obvious junction with Jl Raya Andong. Turn left, and go up the hill for about two kilometres until you see the signposted left turning to Petulu village. Go into the village and you will see signs and warungs set up in the best places to view the spectacle. Get there by 5:30PM.
As a centre of the arts, Ubud has dance and shadow puppet performances every night. There are also plenty of spas for resynchronising your chakras.
Barong Dance, Batubulan, about fifteen minutes south of Ubud on the main road to Sanur, A Barong dance performance takes place here every day at 9:30AM, lasting about an hour. It is very much a performance for tourists, and the story is of the never ending battle between good and evil. There is actually not much dancing and a lot of talking in this performance. While buying a ticket, you will get a description of the forthcoming performance.
Pura Dalem, Jl Raya Ubud, One of the best kecak performances in Ubud, every Friday and Monday evening. Staged in beautiful surroundings outside under the banyan trees, and followed by a fire dance.
Puri Saren & Puri Saraswati (just east of Jl Monkey Forest), Jl Raya Ubud, Smack dab in the centre of town, dance performances are staged here almost nightly.
Bodyworks Healing Centre , +62 361 975720, 10AM-9PM, Jl Hanoman 25, Ubud Bodyworks Healing Centre was founded by Ketut Arsana 25 years ago, and it is still his family home. This was the very first such establishment in Ubud, and was a place where Balinese people would come for healing long before the tourist hordes arrived. There is a definite emphasis on the spiritual elements of healing.
Pertenin Body Care , +62 361 972834, 10AM-9PM, Jl Jatayu, Offers facial treatments and massage in a relaxing, modern environment. They allow the customer to select the oils and herbs for any treatment.
SANg Spa , +62 361 8631816, 9AM-9PM, Jl Jembawan 29B, at the bend in the southern part of Jl Jembawan, walk down a small side street, A small full-service day spa, owned and run by a young couple named Ngurah and Asti. Their location is simple and secluded but clean and nicely decorated. Very professional staff and affordable prices.
Ubud Sari Health Resort , +62 361 974393, 10AM-9PM, Jl Kajeng 35, a 10 minute walk northwards up Jl Kajeng from the centre of Ubud, A resort with emphasis on Balinese-style healing therapy. Offers alternative health care, a day spa, beauty salon, health massage, vegetarian restaurant and yoga.
Verona Spa , +62 361 970975, 9AM-9PM, Jl Monkey Forest, at the end of the alley by Yulia Hotel, Verona offers individual or coupled rooms that open onto a rice terrace, yet remain private because of strategically placed landscaping. Offers a four hour package called the Verona Spa Experience, complete with a massage, body scrub, flower bath, facial, manicure, pedicure, and the most divine hair creme bath (not to be missed if you like having your head massaged).
There is good rafting available on the Ayung River at Sayan, just west of Ubud. Almost as good as the rafting itself is the wonderful experience of being right down inside the Ayung gorge. This is the domain of high-end resorts like the Four Seasons and Amandari, and it is a very scenic area indeed. The rapids are Class II and Class III, and best during the rainy season as the river can run a bit dry from June to September. There are two well established operators, both with offices on the main road in Sayan, close to Amandari.
Sobek Bali Utama , +62 361 287059, +62 361 287059, Specialise in white-water rafting and cycling tours. Established in 1989, this was the first company of its type in Bali, and they are distinctly less package oriented than their main competitor.
Taman Hati Yoga and Meditation Center, +62 361 974739, +62 361 974739, Banjar Nyuh Kuning, This centre was founded in 2000 by two local men, both from families containing many generations of Hindu priests. Set up for both complete beginners, and those already experienced but wishing to broaden their horizons. Every Wednesday at 7:30PM, there is a free class entitled
Ubud Yoga Centre , +62 361 970460, +62 361 970460, Jl Raya Sanggingan, almost opposite Neka Museum, This expat-run centre offers everything from single attendance classes up to residential yoga instructor training courses.
The Yoga Barn , +62 361 970992, +62 361 970992, Jl Hanoman, Pengosekan, Lovely yoga centre with a range of classes, and an excellent set of teachers mostly in the Ashtanga/Vinnyasa school. Upper studio has great views of the surrounding rice terraces. Offers residential packages, multiple day classes and simple single entry classes. If you are a teacher, they offer the possibility of renting the centre to host your classes.
Ubud is renowned in Bali for its wide range of restaurants, and is probably second only to Seminyak in terms of the quality of the offerings — Ubud is home to some of the most creative eateries in Bali. At the other end of the scale, travellers on a budget will not be short of options, as there are many simple warungs serving up the standard Indonesian staples.
Dewa Warung, 10AM-9PM daily, Jl Goutama, Dewa's is one of the better cheap places to eat in town. Serves all the usual Balinese and Indonesian dishes. The most expensive item on the menu is Rp 20,000.
Ibu Oka Warung Babi Guling, 11AM-3PM daily, Jl Suweta, just north of the Jl Raya Ubud-Jl Suweta-Monkey Forest Rd crossroads, Eating at Ibu Oka is one of the ultimate Bali culinary experiences. The **babi guling** (spit-roasted pig) here is world-famous, and this humble eating place is virtually a place of pilgrimage. The roast pork is served with rice and spiced veggies, order the **special** (Rp 25,000) to get a bit of everything — including offal and blood sausage. There are normal tables and chairs but you can also sit on the floor at low tables inside the **bale** (pavilion). Ibu Oka also has a branch in Mas (tel: +62 361 976345) on the main Teges-Sukawati road, which makes it on the route between Ubud and the airport. Unlike the original, where hygiene and appearance are not strong points, this outlet is a two-storey restaurant which is spotless, airy and comfortable. And the food comes at no extra cost.
Warung Igelanc (Iggy's), +62 81 58943251, 11AM-10PM daily, Jl Raya Ubud, Cheap and cheerful Indonesian favorites like **nasi campur**, fried rice and noodles, plus (this being Ubud) a range of herbal drinks, such as Ginger Jive.
Warung Lada, 10AM-9PM daily, Jl Hanoman, Choose from the various Indonesian side dishes (nasi campur-style) that are displayed behind the counter. You can pick as many dishes as you like as you pay for each serving. A full plate is around Rp 30,000 including a fresh fruit juice. Be on time for lunch because it is usually packed.
Sari Bamboo, 8AM-9PM daily, Penestanan, A tourist class warung, with food freshly cooked to order, set amid tropical gardens on the main road to Penestanan village. Mainly Indonesian food flavoured to suit the taste of western visitors. The warung and bungalows are easily distinguishable by the display of modern art works by the resident artist. No hard sell though, just good food in beautiful surroundings at good prices. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Warung Aja, +62 361 973398, 9AM-10PM daily, Jl Monkey Forest, about halfway down Jl Monkey Forest, the warung is set back away from the road, on the right side if heading south towards the Monkey Forest, Cosy and friendly, Warung Aja is run by a couple from Java and is a good place to sample Indonesian food from Java, such as **nasi rawon**, **nasi kuning**, and **pecel**. There are also the usual Balinese food items on the menu like **sate lilit**.
Batan Waru , +62 361 977528, 8AM-midnight daily, Jl Dewi Sita, Long established Ubud institution. Excellent Balinese and other Indonesian food as well as western options, in a well designed space. Also serves top quality coffee, and has a dessert menu which includes an especially notable version of Balinese black rice pudding (**bubur injin**). Indoor and outdoor seating.
Babyface Resturant , +62 361 976127, 11AM-11PM daily, Jl Monkey Forest, Simple two-storey building with a wide choice of food with mains starting at Rp 30,000. This restaurant also has free WiFi and lovely staff. The downstairs has a restaurant feel but upstairs is more of a lounge, where you can relax and use your laptop. While the WiFi is free, if you need to use electricity, the first twenty mins free, then Rp 200 per min after that.
Cafe des Artistes , +62 361 972706, 11AM-midnight daily, Jl Bisma, This Belgian-owned eatery serves Indonesian dishes as well as a vast array of international classics. Famous for their grilled Tenderloin steaks. Extensive winelist, cocktails, Belgian beers and homemade desserts. Free WiFi from 11AM-6PM. To make sure you get a table for dinner, call ahead.
China Moon , 7AM-2PM daily, 8 Jl Monkey Forest, at the corner of Jl Hanoman and Jl Monkey Forest, While China Moon is not packed during lunch and dinner time, it does have some of the better Chinese cuisine available in Ubud. The owner of the restaurant comes from Taiwan and is really passionate about cooking and helping customers. Unsurprisingly, Taiwanese food is the big thing here, so you might want to try the mushroom pork soup or any other of stews and soups Taiwanese cuisine has to offer. They also serve food from other regions of China, as well as the typical Balinese dishes (or a fusion of both). De Ubud Villas & Spa is from the same owner at the backside.
Mojo's Flying Burritos , 10AM-10PM daily, Jl Raya Ubud, on the main road near Bank BCA, Mexican restaurant serving burritos, nachos, and tacos all completely handmade including handrolled tortillas and corn chips. At night, a good joint to hang out with expats drinking fresh margaritas and sangria by the pitcher.
Murni's Warung , +62 361 975233, +62 361 975233, 9AM-11PM daily, Jl Raya Campuan-Ubud, at the Campuan Bridge, Excellent Western and Balinese food in a stunning, gorge setting. Elegant lounge bar. Historic. First real restaurant in Ubud founded by Murni herself in 1974. Also a shop with interesting collectibles and the odd real antique.
Naughty Nuri's Warung and Grill, +62 361 977547, 10AM-11PM daily, Jl Raya Sangiggan, opposite the Neka Art Museum half way up the hill heading north out of Ubud, Laid back roadside watering hole that is a favorite of local expats. Microbrews, great martinis and slabs of BBQ ribs. This is very much a standard drop for any Korean or Japanese tours. Once a week they do amazing grilled tuna. Careful that the waitresses do not stick other peoples drinks on your bill. A few times a year they have parties where drinks are $10 for as much beer as you can handle, for example during USA elections and the Superbowl.
Nomad , +62 361 977169, 11AM-11PM daily, Jl Raya Ubud 35, A long-standing institution that serves up a good selection of Balinese, Indonesian, and western dishes, but deservedly popular is their version of a tapas selection, consisting of bite-sized portions of local flavors. Twelve pieces of tapas served with rice costs Rp 60,000 and feeds two. Also serves a wide-range of cocktails and spirits.
Tutmak, +62 361 975754, 8AM-11PM daily, Jl Dewi Sita, next to the football field, A favorite with the expat crowd, Tutmak offers an international menu, but is especially famous for its superb coffee made from local arabica fresh roasted daily by the owners.
Many of the five star hotels in and around Ubud have top class restaurants, with the Four Seasons Resort and Maya Ubud being of special note.
Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner) , +62 361 975489, 11AM-10PM daily, Jl Hanoman, Padang Tegal, An interesting restaurant with paddy field views and nice gardens. Famous for their crispy fried duck and some European-based menu items. They have a good selection of cakes as well. Been around a long time and many comments that it is nothing like as good as it used to be.
Mozaic , +62 361 975768, 11AM-11PM daily, Jl Raya Sanggingan, The brainchild of chef Chris Salans, this is one of the leading restaurants in the whole of Bali, and one which will please even the most jaded of foodies. Multi-award winning, including the coveted Les Grandes Tables du Monde award (the **only** restaurant in Bali ever to achieve that). Western prices, but worth it as a special treat. Try the degustation menu.
Ubud is emphatically not party town: there are a few places for a quiet drink, but the strictly enforced local regulation that all live performances and loud music must end by 10:30PM puts a bit of a clamp on the local nightlife. More often than not, visitors have a quiet drink with their evening meal, and call it a night.
Ary's Warung , +62 361 975959, 10:30AM-10PM daily, Jl Raya Ubud 35, opposite Puri Saraswati, Don't be fooled by the name, this is a stylish watering hole with a large bar downstairs, complete with sofas and cow-leather bar stools, and a rather less busy restaurant upstairs. Drinks are expensive but generously sized.
Flava Lounge , +62 361 972953, 11AM-midnight daily, Jl Pengosekan, A slightly curious cafe/bar, which has regular open mike nights, occasional karaoke bashes, and even hip-hop and R&B DJs. Sometimes it goes off a bit (at least by Ubud standards), and at others is deserted. Also throws occasional events supporting different causes.
Jazz Cafe , +62 361 976594, Tu-Su 5PM-midnight, Jl Sukma No 2, Tebesaya, Jazz bar with live bands nightly, which are sometimes local cover bands, not jazz. A limited food menu and a good selection of drinks (Rp 50,000 and up). Rp 85,000+ for a cocktail. Cover charge Rp 25,000.
Rendezvousdoux, +62 361 7470163, 10AM-11PM daily, Jl Raya Ubud 14, Worth a visit on Thursday evenings when there is often a jam session with local expat musos trying their hand at various forms of ethnic music. Otherwise it is a generally quiet cafe.
Ubud has a vast selection of lodging for all budgets. Many visitors prefer to stay out in nearby rural areas instead of in the town centre, ideally with views of the famous rice terraces, but this can make it a little difficult to get around. As in most of Bali, in all but the grandest of hotels, check-in and check-out times are a bit of a moveable feast. It is safe to assume about 2PM and 11AM.
Ubud has many homestays which are the cheapest form of lodging, a good way to meet the locals, and the natural replacement for hostels on the backpacker circuit.
Dewa Bungalows, +62 361 970475, Jln Hanuman 48, Padangtegal, Lovely family compound close to the center of town which currently has eight rooms but planning to double that soon. Family-run and gracious, it has nice little slate pool perfect for a dip in the heat of the day.
Dewi Antara Homestay, +62 0361 976072, +62 0361 976072, Jl Sugriwa, Padang Tegal, A humble Balinese family homestay. Quiet and clean bungalows in a garden setting. The father participates in cultural activities (he's a dancer), so it's fun to watch him in traditional dress. Mum prepares the breakfast of toast, fruit salad and coffee.
Family Guest House, +62 361 974054, +62 361 974054, Jl Sukma 39, Tebesaya, The superfriendly, devout Hindu family makes you feel right at home here. Rooms are placed in a lovely compound and includes a good breakfast.
Jati Home Stay , +62 361 977701, Jl Hanoman, Padang Tegal, Good rooms designed with natural, traditional materials of bamboo, marble and thatched roofs. You will feel the atmosphere of art and culture as all members of Jati's family are traditional Balinese artists. Learn Balinese painting and watch a group of children practice Balinese dancing.
Mawar Homestay , +62 361 975086, +62 361 975086, Jl Raya Ubud, Located in the heart of Ubud, only fifteen minutes walk from Monkey Forest and a five minute walk from Ubud Market. Just ten rooms. Room facilities include bathroom with hot and cold water, and ceiling fans. Breakfast included.
Melati Cottages , +62 361 974650, +62 361 974650, Jl Penestanan , Quack like a classic Ubud rice field duck as you stroll out to these traditional style rooms set around a cafe by a pool. You can walk in from north or south. After dark, listen to nature's night music wafting in from the fields.
Narasoma Homestay , +62 361 973404, Gang Beji off Jl Monkey Forest, Down a little lane off busy Jl Monkey Forest, Narasoma is a family home and accommodation surrounded by coconut palms. Experience a Balinese compound setting with traditional carved buildings. From the top floor you can see the central mountains, and on a clear day Mount Agung to the east. Rooms are clean and airy, and breakfast is included.
Rumah Roda Homestay and Restaurant , +62 361 975487, Jl Kajeng 24, Lovely family compound with rooms. The restaurant is also a treat, catch the Sunday evening buffet. The book **A Little Bit One O'Clock** is about this place and family.
Shana Homestay, +62 361 97481, Jl Goutama No7, Padang Tegal, very close to the traditional & art market and Nomad restaurant, Wake up in a serene garden-like bungalow with breakfast ready and greetings from all the family members. Total of three bungalows each with two beds.
Anom Cottages , +62 361 8528521, +62 361 8528521, Jl Raya Sanggingan, about 25 minutes walk south of the Monkey Forest Road-Jl Raya Ubud crossroads, Charming little bungalows with lovely views over the adjacent valley. Only three minutes rideaway away from the town centre and main cultural attractions. Recently re-furbished.
Bali T House Village , +62 812 3932000, Lodtunduh, One, two and three bedroom private villas in a traditional rice farming and carving village only five minutes from central Ubud. Daily maid and breakfast service included. Nice shared pool with rice-field views. This is an environmentally friendly and ecologically sustainable compound, which is also part of a Balinese village.
Oka Kartini , +62 361 975759, Jl Raya Ubud 35, just across the bridge in Peliatan, east of Ubud town centre, Quirky old Balinese house complex on the edge of town. The rooms here are a bit long in the tooth, but decorated with more carvings and gold paint than the average temple. Friendly staff watched over by the remarkable lady Oka Kartini herself. Has a large art gallery, a small but pleasant garden pool, and shadow puppet shows three days a week (extra charge).
Taman Indrakila, +62 361 975017, Jl Raya Sanggingan, A boutique hotel situated high above the Campuhan River Valley in Sangginan. Rooms are tastefully decorated, and all have their own private terrace.
Puri Asri Villa & Spa , +62 361 972550, Jl Nyuh Bulan, Nyuh Kuning, Located in a very quiet spot south of town. Offer a couple of scheduled shuttle rides to Jl Monkey Forest and back each day. Also within walking distance of town if you cut through the Monkey Forest. Villas have spacious rooms, air-conditioning, bath and shower (including outdoor showers), patio and breakfast delivered to your room each morning if you so choose. Great value for money, but take cash as their credit card facilities don't always work.
Sri Bungalows , +62 361 8528521, Jl Monkey Forest, Centrally located with sixteen bright bungalow-style rooms tucked into lush gardens. Only about 50 metres from the busy road, but very quiet except for the singing of birds. The rooms are simple but more than pleasant with bamboo furniture, western toilets and hot water. There's a large pool in the back, and rice paddies beyond the pool. An internet cafe is also on the premises.
Sri Ratih Cottages , +62 361 8528521, Jl Penestanan, Campuhan, Thirty rooms set in lush surroundings just west of the town centre. Large peaceful garden, good-sized pool, free WiFi for all guests, and 24 hour room service. Travelers on a tight budget and long staying guests will find good value here.
Taman Rahasia (Secret Garden) , +62 361 979395, +62 361 979395, Penestanan, Just seven rooms in this boutique hotel in a very quiet part of Penestanan. Rural rice-field setting with jacuzzi, spa, restaurant and good-sized pool. Free shuttle bus service into Ubud town centre.
Ubud Terrace, +62 361 975690, Jl Monkey Forest, about 10 minutes walk south of the Monkey Forest Road-Jl Raya Ubud crossroads, Refurbished in 2008. Breakfast included and has nice swimming pool. Very friendly staff and you can book all sorts of tours and shuttle buses from reception.
Villa Indah, +62 813 37255277, +62 813 37255277, Jl Suweta, Br Sakti, 2 km north from the tourist information centre, Huge breakfast included. Friendly Balinese family offering two rooms and one suite, all with terrace and bathroom (hot water and tub) in a standing stone villa in the middle of the rice fields. You can also use the self service kitchen. Motorbike for rent.
Several of the leading luxury resorts anywhere in Asia are located in Ubud. Expect superb standards, with prices to match.
Amandari , +62 361 975333, +62 361 975333, Jl Raya Kedewatan, Sayan, This was the first Aman hotel in Bali built 20 years ago, and it is getting a little bit tired. Still a most impressive property though as you would expect from this group. Amazing views, tennis court, spa, restaurant, and just about everything you could imagine in a luxury resort. As with all Aman Resorts though, no televisions.
Amori Villa , +62 81 23896114, Banjar Dukuh, Pejeng Kawan, A spa resort situated in the Petanu River Valley. Built and opened in June 2009 with the cooperation of the local village. Amori has just five private suites all with indoor/outdoor bathrooms, satellite TV, king beds, free broadband internet access plus shared facilities of an infinity pool.
Como Shambhala Estate (formerly Begawan Giri Estate) , +62 361 978 888, Payangan, This is one of Bali's most expensive places to stay, and more a collection of super homes than a mere hotel. Twenty minutes north of Ubud, close to the village of Payangan.
Four Seasons Resort at Sayan , +62 361 701010, Jl Raya Kedewatan, Sayan, One of Bali's truly **great** hotels, located in an impossibly beautiful spot over-looking the Sayan gorge. Accommodation ranges from suites in the main building to individual villas down by the river. Superb restaurant and in-house spa facilities. Free shuttle bus to Ubud town centre.
Komaneka at Bisma , +62 361 971933, Jl Bisma, The newest luxury property from the Komaneka group, run by a dream team couple of an architect and an art gallery owner. Only a short distance from town (walkable in a pinch) but feels like a world apart, lodged on a steep hillside with an infinity edge pool set amidst terraced rice paddies, a river rushing below and not a hint of central Ubud's sprawl in sight. Central hotel block with spacious, tastefully decorated suites plus private villas, a gorgeous wedding chapel and separate spa huts. Komaneka also has two other properties in Ubud, the central and slightly older **Monkey Forest** and the newer but rather remote **Tanggayuda**.
Maya Ubud , +62 361 977888, Jl Gunung Sari, Peliatan, about ten minutes east of Ubud town centre, Ten hectares of land with fine villas, excellent spa and a good restaurant. Architecturally, a most impressive resort. Free shuttle to centre of Ubud and two free form swimming pools.
Santi Mandala Villa and Spa , +62 361 297800, Banjar Bucuan, Batuan, about ten minutes drive south of Ubud, Located on the southern outskirts of Ubud, the resort has a spa centre, poolside sunken bar and large private villas.
The Viceroy Bali , +62 361 971777, +62 361 971777, Jl Lanyahan, Banjar Nagi, Laplapan, An all-villa boutique hotel with four different grades of villa, located in the Lembah valley between Ubud and Tampaksiring. A dramatic, pristine valley setting and great views from all the villas. You really do feel very close to nature here. In-house spa, good restaurant and full range of other services including shuttle buses into Ubud. Do not be put off by their website which looks like a very badly done beginner's blog – this is an impressive hotel. A member of **Small Leading Hotels of the World**.
Waka Di Ume , +62 361 973178, +62 361 973178, Jl Suweta, Lovely hotel in a very rural rice field setting just ten minutes north of Ubud town centre. It has been around a long time but the whole property has been well maintained. Good spa services and restaurant, and regular free shuttle buses into Ubud.
The following are private, individual villas which only take a single group of customers at a time.
Ubud has a vast assortment of art and jewelry shops. Head for the boutique type stores on Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud for higher quality goods (with appropriately higher prices), or down to the market for bulk-produced cheapies.
Located at the corner of Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud, this is a double storey warren of stalls bursting at the seams with wood carvings, batik shirts, sarongs, and all manner of other souvenirs aimed specifically at tourists. The merchants here haggle with tourists for a living, and think nothing of asking for ten times the going price, so try to establish a baseline before you go in to buy. Most of the merchants downstairs will lose interest if you try to get a reasonable price. It is better to try the shops upstairs where you will find the same products often for sell at lower prices. You will still need to use your best bargaining skills of course. Try to avoid the period from 11AM-2PM when tour buses from further afield tend to arrive en-masse.
If hiring a car for a day, it is worth to make a stop in the art markets of Sukawati and/or Tegallalang. Here you will find the wholesalers from whom the market merchants buy their products. Prices are usually much lower and you do not need to bargain as hard.
The road to Ubud from Sanur in the south passes through a series of small towns and villages which specialize in the production of particular arts and crafts. The towns are Batubulan/Singakerta for stone carvings, Celuk for silver jewelry, Batuan for paintings, and Mas for wood carvings. The whole area is sometimes referred to as the "craft villages" of Bali, although it is all a bit more built-up and congested than one might infer from the term "village."
This is the best area to see and buy a wide variety of Balinese craftwork in a short period of time. There are many large showrooms where arts and crafts in the Balinese style are offered for sale. Nearly all organised day-tours of central Bali stop at one or more of these showrooms (and the tour operators usually have a financial tie-up with the places where they stop, collecting a commission on purchases.) Even individual taxi drivers have their preferred stops.
Ganesha Bookstore , , 9AM-6PM daily, Jl Raya, The best second hand bookstore in Bali bar none. Also has great range of new books about Bali and Indonesia. Been around since 1986 and now has a second branch in Seminyak.
Pondok Pecak Library, +62 361 976194, 9AM-5PM daily, Jl Monkey Forest, on the opposite side of the football pitch from Jl Monkey Forest, This privately run community library often has decent fiction and other books for sale. By buying here you are supporting their mission to make free books available to Balinese schoolkids. When you visit, check to see if they have any cultural performances coming up. Also has a small cafe serving homemade light bites.
Sukawati Art Market, Sukawati, about twenty minutes south of Ubud on the main road to Sanur, This huge market is like a one-stop centre for all the craft villages between Sanur and Ubud. Many souvenir shop owners from around Bali wholesale purchase their items here, and prices are considerably lower than in the tourist centers like Kuta, Sanur, and Ubud town centre. For a taste of everyday, go to the food and produce market opposite the art market.
Threads of Life , +62 361 972187, +62 361 972187, 10AM-7PM daily, Jl Kajeng 24, A fair trade store that stocks the most exquisite traditional hand-woven textiles from Bali and all points east in Indonesia. These complicated traditional weaving methods are highly endangered, and the foundation that runs this operation is committed to their preservation. Buy a piece here and you will not only own a truly magnificent example of a traditional craft, but also be supporting noble cause.
Ubud does not have a fully fledged hospital and the nearest is about twenty km to the south in Denpasar. There are a number of reasonable clinics though which are used to treating typical traveller ailments.
Ubud is a safe town to visit and few problems will ever be encountered. If you are unlucky though the police station is on Jl Raya Andong, just east of the town centre. Follow Jl Raya Ubud east to the end, turn north and the police station is on your right hand side. Tel: +62 361 975316.
Be wary around the monkeys that occupy the Monkey Forest. They are experts at stealing possessions like glasses, cameras and even handbags, and have been known to attack people carrying food. Bali has the ocassional rabies scare, and the likelihood is that these monkeys could carry the disease. No matter how cute they look, feeding them is just asking for trouble.
Free WiFi for customers is increasingly widespread in cafes and restaurants. Otherwise, there are two notably excellent internet cafes, both of which were at the forefront of supplying fast, non-dial up services in the early days. Both establishments remain a cut above the rest in terms of service and facilities.
There is a refreshingly old-fashioned main post office at the Jl Raya Ubud end of Jl Jembawan. If you are staying in Ubud for any length of time, you can use this as a poste-restante office. Make sure you have your passport with you when you want to collect any mail or parcels.
The area code for Ubud is 0361. All of the major Indonesian mobile telephone networks have full coverage of the Ubud area. If you need to make an international landline call, there are many public phone shops (wartels) in the town.
Ubud is well located for moving on to other areas of Bali.
If you are heading east, the road to Candidasa and beyond via Klungkung is often busy with trucks, but a nice one hour drive nonetheless.
Bedugul has a traditional fruit market, botanical garden and the Ulun Danu Bratan temple, about one hour north by car.
The region around Tabanan has Mount Batukaru and the Batukaru Temple, as well as the rice fields around Jati Luwih, about one hour north by car.
Lovina is an easy-going black-sand beach, about two hours north by car.
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