The scenic town of Ubud in central Bali is a treasure chest of natural beauty, home to a layered landscape of historic monuments, sculptured temples, traditional Ubud villas and breathtaking views. Famous for its strong, colourful and religious culture, Ubud is the ideal sightseeing destination for well rounded tourists, keen to absorb the best of its exciting heritage.
- Tour the topography
Exploring Ubud’s stunning countryside is a must for seasoned travellers. Cycling enthusiasts may enjoy one of the many bike tours on offer, venturing out to the northern peaks and paddy fields. Suitable for all fitness levels, the three hour downhill adventure starts from your hotel, with a drive to the steaming crater at Kintamani, overlooking Lake Batur. Cycle down the mountain through patterned paddy fields, interact with the friendly locals, learn farming secrets and sample home grown cuisine. Led by skilled tour guides, this outdoors experience is a great insight into local life, and a perfect opportunity to photograph the suburban landscape.
- Marvel at the monuments
Famed for being the spiritual centre of Bali, Ubud is home to some of the oldest and most prized ancient architecture on the island. A number of ancient temples in the area date back to the eighth century, the most famous of which is Pura Besakih. One of the biggest and most sacred temples in Bali, this holy place, also known as the Mother Temple, comprises of 22 temples located in seven separate terraces. As you climb the steps through a maze of courtyards, keep your eye out for hidden altars and shrines, devoted to Hindu gods. Reach the temple’s peak on the Mount Agung, absorb the idyllic countryside views and map your route through the complex below.
- Feel the rhythm
Complete your cultural education in Ubud by watching one of their incredible traditional dances, taking place in temples and villages across the town. The Kecak (Monkey) Dance is the most popular and dramatic dance, telling the story of Prince Rama and his heroic rescue of Princess Sita from the evil King of Lanka. The show features a chorus of over 50 bare-chested men dancing circles around fiery bamboo torches, chanting and waving to create the mood of the scene. The traditional values of the dance are apparent by the man made music, made simply by the sounds of hands hitting chests, rhythmical clapping and powerful shouts. The Kecak dance performed at The Amphitheatre at the luxury hotel Bali ‘The Chedi Club’ is certainly a must see for an unforgettable, enchanting and stimulating experience.
- Museum secrets
Ubud’s diverse art culture can be seen all over the town, through intricate temple features, market offerings and even the lay of the land. To find the most prized collections of Indonesian art, you must take a stroll around the local galleries museums. Puri Lukisan, known to the Balinese as the ‘Palace of Paintings’, is the perfect place to start. This private museum is the first of its kind to showcase local art in the country since 1954. The collections of paintings and wood carvings, depicting the beauty of the island, were all personally chosen by Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet while he was curator. A number of workshops are available for visitors, who can learn to paint, carve, dance or make music with the guidance of professional Balinese artists in the tranquil museum gardens.
With such a diverse myriad of sightseeing attractions and activities to sample, both new and well seasoned travellers will find little excuse not to revisit this Balinese haven and discover more hidden secrets of its natural beauty, religious monuments and intriguing history.