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Why Every Visitor To Bali Should Head To Ubud!


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Sonni Pickett



Bali, the tropical paradise of Indonesia, is a destination that delights visitors with its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and serene spirituality. While many tourists flock to the coastal areas to soak in the sun and surf, there is one hidden gem in the heart of Bali that deserves special attention – Ubud.


Ubud is a small town nestled amidst lush green rice terraces and towering palm trees. It exudes a certain magical charm that captivates the hearts of those who visit. Known as the cultural and spiritual center of Bali, Ubud offers a unique blend of traditional Balinese culture, breathtaking natural beauty, and a thriving arts scene.


While it may not have sandy beaches like the coastal towns, Ubud more than makes up for it with its rich cultural heritage and soul-nourishing experiences. Whether you are an art lover, a nature enthusiast, a yoga aficionado, or a foodie, Ubud has something for everyone.


In this article, we will delve into the reasons why every visitor to Bali should make their way to Ubud. From its vibrant arts and crafts scene to its stunning natural landscapes, from its thriving yoga and wellness community to its delectable culinary delights, from its ancient temples to its bustling markets and cultural events, Ubud offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience.


Ubud: A Cultural Haven

Ubud is often referred to as the cultural heart of Bali, and for good reason. It is a place where traditional Balinese arts, dance, and music thrive, making it a haven for art enthusiasts and cultural explorers.


One of the highlights of Ubud’s cultural scene is the traditional Balinese dance performances that take place regularly. These performances showcase ancient stories and myths through intricate and mesmerizing dance movements accompanied by gamelan music. Visitors have the opportunity to witness these enchanting performances at various venues around Ubud, such as the Ubud Palace and the Ubud Royal Court.


In addition to dance, Ubud is also home to numerous art galleries and museums that showcase the works of talented local artists. From traditional paintings depicting scenes of daily life in Bali to contemporary artwork that pushes the boundaries of creativity, there is no shortage of artistic inspiration in Ubud. Art lovers can spend hours exploring the different galleries and immersing themselves in the vibrant art scene that the town has to offer.


Besides visual arts, Ubud also celebrates traditional Balinese music. The sounds of gamelan, a traditional Indonesian ensemble consisting of percussion instruments, can be heard in various temples and cultural events around town. Visitors can even try their hand at playing gamelan instruments through workshops and classes offered in Ubud.


To truly immerse yourself in Ubud’s cultural heritage, consider joining a traditional Balinese cooking class. These classes not only teach you the techniques of preparing delicious Balinese dishes but also educate you about the unique spices and ingredients used in Balinese cuisine. It’s a great way to not only taste the flavors of Bali but also gain a deeper understanding of the local culture.


From its vibrant dance performances to its renowned art galleries, from the rhythmic sounds of gamelan to the scent of aromatic spices, Ubud truly is a cultural haven. It offers a chance to connect with the rich traditions and artistic expressions of the Balinese people, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Bali’s cultural heritage.


Ubud’s Art and Crafts Scene

Ubud is the artistic hub of Bali, attracting artists and craftsmen from all over the island and beyond. The town is known for its thriving art and crafts scene, offering visitors a chance to witness and even participate in the creation of traditional Balinese crafts.


One of the most iconic forms of art in Ubud is traditional painting. Ubud is home to numerous art studios and galleries where you can admire the intricate brushwork and vivid colors of Balinese paintings. These paintings often depict scenes from mythology, nature, or daily Balinese life and are created using traditional techniques passed down through generations.


For those interested in learning the art of painting, Ubud offers workshops where skilled artists provide guidance and teach the techniques and symbolism behind Balinese painting. It’s an incredible opportunity to not only create your own artwork but also gain insights into the cultural significance of each brushstroke.


Besides painting, Ubud is known for its skilled craftsmen who specialize in various arts and crafts. Wood carving is a prominent craft in Ubud, with intricate carvings showcased in temples, galleries, and even on the doors and walls of traditional Balinese houses. You can visit workshops and witness the talented artisans transform blocks of wood into stunning sculptures and intricate decorative pieces.


Another craft that Ubud is famous for is silver and gold jewelry making. The town is dotted with jewelry shops and workshops where you can find beautifully crafted pieces, ranging from intricate filigree designs to modern and minimalist styles. Many of these shops also offer jewelry-making classes, allowing you to create your own unique piece of wearable art under the guidance of expert jewelers.


Ubud is also a treasure trove for textile enthusiasts. The town is known for its batik and ikat fabrics, which are created using traditional dyeing and weaving techniques. Visitors can explore local markets and boutique stores to find a wide range of handmade textiles, including scarves, sarongs, and traditional Balinese clothing called “kebaya.” These textiles beautifully showcase the intricate patterns and vibrant colors that represent Balinese culture.


Whether you’re a passionate art collector or simply appreciate the beauty of handmade crafts, Ubud’s art and crafts scene will leave you in awe. It’s a place where creativity flourishes, and you can witness the skill and dedication of the talented artisans who bring Balinese art and culture to life.


Ubud’s Stunning Natural Beauty

While Ubud may be known for its cultural attractions, its natural beauty is equally captivating. Nestled among lush green rice terraces, dense forests, and gently flowing rivers, Ubud offers a serene and picturesque setting that enchants visitors.


The iconic rice terraces of Ubud are a sight to behold. These emerald green terraces, sculpted by the hands of local farmers, create a stunning landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. Taking a leisurely stroll through the rice fields or cycling along the narrow paths surrounding them allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the countryside and witness the traditional agricultural practices that have been passed down for generations.


For those seeking a closer encounter with Ubud’s natural beauty, exploring the lush jungles and cascading waterfalls is a must. Ubud is surrounded by dense forests that are home to diverse flora and fauna. The Campuhan Ridge Walk is a popular hiking trail that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and allows you to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature.


Ubud is also known for its sacred Monkey Forest, a sanctuary that is home to hundreds of Balinese long-tailed macaques. Walking through the forest, you’ll encounter ancient temples and lush greenery, with playful monkeys swinging from tree to tree. It’s an enchanting experience that allows you to connect with nature and observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.


Just a short drive from Ubud, you’ll find Tegalalang Rice Terrace, one of Bali’s most iconic landscapes. The terraces here are even more dramatic, with steep slopes and cascading layers that create a truly mesmerizing sight. Take a moment to absorb the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and capture stunning photos that will forever preserve the memory of your time in Ubud.


Whether you’re wandering through rice fields, hiking through jungles, or exploring the Monkey Forest, Ubud’s natural beauty will leave you in awe. It’s a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the serenity and tranquility of Bali’s lush landscapes.


Ubud: The Yoga and Wellness Capital

Ubud has established itself as the yoga and wellness capital of Bali, attracting yoga enthusiasts and wellness seekers from around the world. The town offers a plethora of yoga studios, wellness retreats, and holistic healing centers, making it the perfect destination for rejuvenation and self-discovery.


Yoga practitioners of all levels will find themselves spoiled for choice in Ubud. The town boasts a wide array of yoga studios, each offering unique classes and styles of yoga. From traditional Hatha and Vinyasa to more specialized practices like Yin and Kundalini, there is a yoga class to suit every individual’s preferences and needs.


Immersing yourself in a yoga retreat is a popular choice for those seeking a deeper yoga experience. Ubud is home to numerous retreat centers that offer immersive programs aimed at nourishing the mind, body, and spirit. These retreats often include daily yoga and meditation sessions, healthy meals, therapeutic treatments, and workshops on yoga philosophy and holistic healing practices.


Aside from yoga, Ubud is renowned for its wellness and spa offerings. The town is dotted with luxurious spas and wellness centers that offer a range of traditional Balinese treatments, such as massages, body scrubs, and traditional healing therapies. Balinese massage, with its combination of gentle stretching, long strokes, and deep tissue work, is a popular choice for relaxation and rejuvenation.


For those interested in holistic healing, Ubud provides a haven for alternative therapies and spiritual practices. You can find practitioners of Reiki, acupuncture, sound healing, and other modalities that aim to restore balance and promote well-being. Ubud is also known for its traditional Balinese healers, known as “balian,” who use ancient healing techniques and natural remedies to address physical and spiritual ailments.


The serene and peaceful atmosphere of Ubud, coupled with its offerings in yoga and wellness, creates the perfect environment for self-reflection and personal growth. It’s a place where you can disconnect from the outside world, reconnect with your inner self, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.


Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or simply seeking a moment of relaxation and rejuvenation, Ubud’s yoga and wellness scene provides a sanctuary for holistic healing and self-care. Explore the various options available, nourish your body and soul, and leave Ubud feeling refreshed, renewed, and in harmony with yourself.


Ubud’s Delicious Food and Culinary Delights

Ubud’s vibrant food scene is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Bali. The town offers a wide range of dining options, from traditional Balinese cuisine to international flavors, making it a paradise for food lovers.


One of the highlights of Ubud’s culinary scene is its emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients. The town is home to numerous organic farms and sustainable restaurants that prioritize locally sourced produce. Feast on farm-to-table meals that burst with flavors and are packed with nutritious goodness.


Ubud is known for its traditional Balinese cuisine, which showcases the unique flavors of the island. Indulge in dishes such as babi guling (suckling pig), ayam betutu (slow-cooked spiced chicken), and sate lilit (grilled minced meat on lemongrass skewers). These authentic Balinese dishes offer a tantalizing blend of spices and herbs that will take your taste buds on a culinary journey.


In addition to Balinese cuisine, Ubud also offers a diverse range of international dining options. You’ll find restaurants offering Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, and Western cuisines, to name just a few. With such a wide variety of choices, you can satisfy any craving that arises during your stay in Ubud.


For those seeking unique culinary experiences, Ubud also hosts cooking classes and food tours. Joining a cooking class allows you to learn the secrets of Balinese cooking from expert chefs, enabling you to recreate the flavors of Ubud back home. Food tours take you on a gastronomic adventure, exploring local markets, street food stalls, and hidden eateries, where you can sample a wide array of Balinese delicacies.


Ubud is also home to a vibrant café culture, with charming coffee shops scattered throughout the town. Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Balinese coffee or indulge in a colorful smoothie bowl made with tropical fruits. These cozy cafés provide a relaxing atmosphere where you can unwind, read a book, or simply savor the flavors of Ubud.


During your visit to Ubud, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in its delicious food and culinary delights. Dive into the vibrant flavors of Balinese cuisine, sample international dishes, sip on aromatic coffee, and embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you with memories and flavors to savor long after you leave.


Exploring the Sacred Temples of Ubud

Ubud is home to an array of ancient temples that hold deep spiritual significance for the Balinese people. Exploring these sacred sites not only offers a glimpse into the rich religious heritage of Bali but also provides a serene and immersive experience for visitors.


One of the most prominent temples in Ubud is the Ubud Royal Palace, also known as Puri Saren Agung. Located in the heart of Ubud, this palace serves as a spiritual and cultural center for the local community. Visitors can admire the intricately carved gates, stunning architecture, and traditional Balinese elements that adorn the palace. This is also a venue for traditional dance performances that showcase the region’s rich cultural traditions.


Another notable temple in Ubud is the Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave. This ancient Hindu temple dates back to the 9th century and is adorned with intricate stone carvings and bathing pools. The highlight of this temple is a cave entrance featuring a carved stone face, reminiscent of an elephant. Exploring the temple grounds and venturing into the cave provides a unique and mystical experience.


The Saraswati Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess of knowledge and arts, is another must-visit temple in Ubud. It is renowned for its exquisite lotus pond, where blooming lotus flowers create a serene and picturesque setting. The temple architecture is a sight to behold, with intricate stone carvings and Balinese elements that reflect the region’s cultural and spiritual traditions.


Visitors to Ubud also have the opportunity to witness traditional Balinese ceremonies and rituals at the temples. These ceremonies offer a glimpse into the deeply spiritual and colorful world of Balinese Hinduism. Balinese people believe that temples are the physical abodes of deities, and attending these ceremonies allows visitors to witness the devotion and reverence of the local community.


When visiting the temples in Ubud, it is important to dress respectfully, covering your shoulders and knees, and to follow proper temple etiquette. Balinese people are welcoming and appreciative of visitors who show respect for their customs and traditions.


Exploring the sacred temples of Ubud provides a unique insight into the spiritual heart of Bali. It offers an opportunity to connect with the ancient rituals, traditions, and beliefs that shape Balinese culture and to experience a sense of tranquility and reverence in these sacred spaces.


Ubud’s Vibrant Markets and Shopping Experience

Ubud is renowned for its vibrant markets and shopping scene, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the colors, scents, and flavors of Balinese culture. From traditional handicrafts to stylish clothing, Ubud has a wide range of offerings that cater to all tastes and preferences.


One of the most popular markets in Ubud is the Ubud Art Market, also known as Pasar Seni Ubud. Located in the heart of the town, this bustling market is a treasure trove of arts, crafts, and souvenirs. Here, you can find an array of traditional Balinese handicrafts, including intricately carved wooden sculptures, colorful paintings, handwoven textiles, batik fabrics, and handmade jewelry. Exploring the market is an opportunity to interact with local artisans and discover unique pieces that reflect the rich cultural heritage of Bali.


For those seeking a more boutique shopping experience, Ubud is home to numerous stylish boutiques and galleries. These chic establishments showcase contemporary clothing, accessories, homeware, and artwork, created by both local and international designers. Whether you’re looking for an elegant dress, a handcrafted piece of jewelry, or a piece of artwork to adorn your walls, Ubud’s boutique shops offer unique and one-of-a-kind finds.


Ubud is also famous for its vibrant and lively night market, known as the Ubud Night Market or Pasar Senggol. Open in the evenings, this market is a food lover’s paradise. Stroll through the market and indulge in a variety of delicious street food, from traditional Balinese specialties to mouthwatering snacks. It’s an opportunity to savor the flavors of Bali and experience the lively atmosphere of a bustling night market.


Aside from traditional markets, Ubud boasts a thriving community of local craftsmen and artisans. Many of them have their studios or workshops throughout the town, offering unique and handmade products. Visitors can explore these studios and witness the crafting process of items such as ceramics, batik, silver jewelry, and woodcarvings. It’s a chance to not only purchase authentic handicrafts but also engage with the talented artisans and gain insights into their creative processes.


Whether you’re hunting for traditional handicrafts or seeking contemporary designs, Ubud’s markets and shopping experiences are sure to leave you spoilt for choice. Take your time to browse through colorful displays, haggle with friendly vendors, and bring home a piece of Bali’s vibrant culture and craftsmanship.


Ubud’s Festivals and Cultural Events

Ubud is a town that comes alive with vibrant festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Immersing yourself in these celebrations offers a unique opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage of Bali and experience the joyous spirit of the local community.


One of the most renowned festivals in Ubud is the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. This annual event brings together writers, thinkers, and creatives from around the world for a week-long celebration of literature and ideas. Attendees can participate in panel discussions, workshops, book launches, and cultural performances, creating a melting pot of literary exploration and cross-cultural exchange.


A highlight of the festival calendar in Ubud is the Ubud Food Festival, which showcases the diverse culinary traditions of Indonesia. This three-day event features cooking demonstrations, workshops, and food tastings by renowned local and international chefs. Visitors can dive into the flavors of Indonesian cuisine, learn about traditional cooking techniques, and appreciate the cultural significance of food in Balinese society.


For art enthusiasts, the Ubud Artisan Festival is a must-visit. This festival celebrates the mastery of traditional crafts and showcases the work of talented artisans. From wood carving to batik making, visitors can witness live demonstrations, engage in hands-on workshops, and immerse themselves in the intricate techniques and cultural importance of these traditional art forms.


Another significant cultural event in Ubud is Saraswati Day, a celebration dedicated to the Hindu goddess of knowledge and arts. On this day, Balinese people offer prayers at temples and adorn themselves in traditional attire. The streets and temples of Ubud are beautifully decorated, and local communities gather to perform dance and music ceremonies to honor the goddess.


The Bali Spirit Festival is another popular event that takes place in Ubud. This international yoga, dance, and music festival offers a holistic experience, featuring yoga classes taught by renowned instructors, live music performances, and cultural workshops. It’s a time for individuals to reconnect with their mind, body, and spirit while embracing the multicultural unity of the festival.


Throughout the year, Ubud also hosts smaller-scale ceremonies and temple festivals, where locals gather to pay homage to their deities and celebrate their cultural traditions. These events provide a fascinating insight into Balinese spirituality and showcase the intricate rituals, vibrant costumes, and traditional music and dance performances.


Attending festivals and cultural events in Ubud allows visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant traditions and artistic expressions of the local community. It’s an opportunity to witness the beauty and diversity of Balinese culture firsthand, fostering a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of the island.



Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, offers a truly enchanting experience for every visitor. From its vibrant arts and crafts scene to its stunning natural landscapes, from its thriving yoga and wellness community to its delectable culinary delights, from its ancient temples to its bustling markets and cultural events, Ubud embodies the essence of Bali’s rich heritage and spiritual traditions.


In Ubud, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, exploring art galleries, witnessing traditional dance performances, and even trying your hand at creating your own masterpiece. The town’s stunning natural beauty invites you to explore lush rice terraces, hike through jungle trails, and encounter playful monkeys in sacred forests.


Ubud is also a place for healing and rejuvenation, with its yoga studios, wellness retreats, and holistic healing centers. Embrace tranquility and discover a sense of inner peace as you engage in yoga, meditation, and indulge in soothing spa treatments.


The culinary delights of Ubud are a treat for the senses. Sample traditional Balinese dishes bursting with flavors, savor international cuisine from world-class chefs, and explore the bustling markets to experience the vibrant street food culture.


Ubud’s ancient temples provide a spiritual sanctuary, allowing you to connect with the rich traditions and rituals of Balinese Hinduism. Explore intricately carved temples, witness traditional ceremonies, and experience the profound sense of serenity that permeates these sacred spaces.


Lastly, Ubud’s festivals and cultural events offer a chance to immerse yourself in the joyous spirit of Balinese celebrations. From literary festivals showcasing the power of words to food festivals that tantalize the taste buds, these events capture the vibrant energy and artistic expression of the town.


Ubud truly is a destination that captivates the heart, nourishes the soul, and sparks a sense of wonder. Whether you seek cultural exploration, natural beauty, spiritual awakening, or simply a rejuvenating escape, Ubud offers a place where you can immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Balinese culture and experience the essence of Bali’s truest spirit.