Welcome to Ubud
Set in Bali's verdant central foothills amid sculpted rice terraces and swaths of rain forest, Ubud is the island's cultural and spiritual center. Modern Ubud is something of an international hotspot, with a dizzying variety of outdoor activities, shopping spots, day spas, and restaurants serving world cuisine. But its picturesque temples and traditions were luring expats and travelers long before the era of “Eat, Pray, Love,” and Ubud remains proudly Balinese at heart. A village tour will take you to the grand Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Palace), the striking Saraswati Temple, and Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary—where you must keep a tight hold on your belongings; the resident macaques have no fear. While these sights should not be missed, Ubud’s lasting charms are its people and traditional culture. This is the place to experience authentic Balinese life: Try out a woodcarving or ceramic-making class; learn Balinese cooking; chat with locals at the market; and make sure to catch a Barong or Keris dance performance—usually accompanied by live gamelan music and drumming. Just an hour north of Denpasar and the international airport, Ubud makes an ideal inland retreat and perfect base from which to explore the highlands. Sacred Hindu sites such as the magnificent Tirta Empul Temple and Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) are popular day-trip stops, along with Petulu Village, famous for its droves of Kokokan birds. Explore the valley's rich art and handicraft heritage with private tours to nearby artisan villages like Batuan, Batubulan, and Celuk.