Ubud- The Cultural Heartland of Bali.
Many people come to Bali for some sand and surf, but if you want something a little different then consider making the trip up to Ubud, where you will find rugged scenery mixed with a strong dedication to the arts. Popular with families as well as couples and solo traveler, Ubud offers a change of pace compared with frenetic areas of the island like Kuta, so if you want to slow down then this is a good spot to spend a few days.
Ubud is known for being the cultural capital of Bali, and was also recently made famous for being the Balinese location of the film Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts. With that in mind, people flock to this part of the island to take part in spiritual retreats, yoga sessions, or simply to enjoy the gorgeous scenery nestled among the abundant emerald green rice paddies that abound here. The emphasis in Ubud is on relaxation as well as an appreciation of the arts and a trip here provides visitors with a look at a more authentic side of Bali other than the tourist areas such as Seminyak and Kuta. That said, you can still expect it to be busy, but rather than all night parties you can look forward to wellness retreats, historical landmarks, and art galleries in abundance.
One of the premium destinations in Ubud is Monkey Forest, a Hindu temple complex has over 500 loveable primates in residence. Just outside of Ubud itself lies Tirta Empul, which was made famous in the film Eat, Pray Love as Julia Roberts bathed in the sacred waters here. As Ubud is the arts center of Bali, there are a range of art galleries and museums here as well as the Ubud Traditional Art Market.
Read more on Attractions in Ubud in our Attractions Section…
You can easily get to Ubud from Ngurah Rai Airport by taking a taxi as public transport is not particularly comprehensive on Bali. The journey takes around one hour during non-peak times but can take longer during the rush hour. There are also some buses that run to Ubud from areas like Kuta, although bus schedules are flexible and they are not the safest or most road-worthy vehicles to use.
You will find international access ATMs all over Ubud and money changers are plentiful. However, some ATMs can be rigged to take your bank details and money changers may not charge the best rate. See the safety and scams section for more details.
Bali has a monsoonal climate and the seasons can be classified as either wet or dry. Despite this, it will be hot whenever you visit as Bali is close to the equator. High Season takes place in July and August and there will be crowds and accommodation is often booked out in advance. Low Season runs from October to April, in line with the rainy season and it can rain every single day. Optimum times to visit are in the Shoulder Season in May, June, or September as the weather is pleasant, it is less crowded, and prices come down.
You can walk around the central area of Ubud on foot, and this is actually one of the nicer areas of Bali to explore in this way. That said, this only really applies to the central area, and if you want to go further afield such as out to attractions like Tirta Empul, then you will need to hire a car and driver or take a taxi. Some public buses run in Ubud, however these are difficult to navigate and can be rather uncomfortable.
When it comes to food, Ubud is most famous for being a healthy eating destination, and you will find a huge range of cafes and restaurants that serve vegan or vegetarian food. Some of the most famous of these include venues such as Alchemy on Jalan Penestanan Kelod which even has a vegan chocolaterie attached to it.
If you don’t mind the fact that there is no beach in Ubud, then this can be a good choice for anyone wanting to get away from it all and spend some time communing with nature among the rice paddies. Ubud is popular with all kinds of travelers, and if you want to attend an event such as a yoga retreat or other holistic practice then this is definitely the place to come.