Part museum, part gallery, part cultural space, Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) is the liveliest and most diverse of Ubud’s big three art galleries. Set in a vibrant garden, rooms of note include owner Agung Rai’s modern Balinese art collection and works by German artist Walter Spies and Dutch painter Rudolf Bonnet.
Near the heart of downtown Ubud, ARMA is easy enough to visit independently, whether on foot, by driving, or with a professional driver or tour guide. Tours typically bundle it with other Ubud cultural attractions—the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary or alternative Indonesian galleries, such as Neka Art Museum and Puri Lukisan Museum. The traditional Balinese dance performances held here on many evenings are some of Ubud’s best and worth arranging tickets for in advance.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Founder Agung Rai and members of his family still sometimes roam the museum.
- Out of Ubud's big three museums—the others are Neka and Puri Lukisan—ARMA is the No. 1 pick for the thoughtful traveler.
- The ARMA museum complex includes a cafe, a store, and resort.
- The “kecak” dance held here on full and new moons is one of Bali’s best.
How to Get There
Set on sprawling grounds in Pengosekan, not far from the bottom of Monkey Forest Road, the Agung Rai Museum of Art is walking distance from central Ubud and other Ubud attractions. From south Bali, the Kura-Kura tourist bus provides the most cost-effective route to Ubud, although many travelers choose to self-drive or hire a driver.
When to Get There
The ARMA museum and cultural center is open year-round, with the exception of the Nyepi "Day of Silence" closure and national holidays. The pavilions are large, as are the grounds, so it’s rarely crowded. Visit during the day to experience the spectacular Balinese painting collection; come by during the evenings for traditional Balinese dance performances in one of Ubud’s most striking settings.
The Art of Walter Spies
ARMA is the best place in Indonesia to see the work of Walter Spies. Prewar Russian-born German painter Walter Spies arrived in Ubud in 1927. His primitivist style and topics, such as rice terraces, had a huge influence on Balinese painting. He also helped Balinese artists form associations and guilds to promote their work to Indonesia and the world.