Ubud is a town in central Bali, Indonesia. Ubud is a favourite traveler’s destination in Bali and is famous as a centre of Balinese culture, arts and crafts.
Ubud can be described as a magical, wonderful, cultural center. Above all, it is famous as an arts and crafts hub. Much of the town and nearby villages seems to consist of artists’ workshops and galleries, mostly retailing cheap reproductions for tourists. There are some remarkable architectural sights, artistic gems to be found and a general feeling of well being to be enjoyed thanks to the spirit, surroundings and climate.
While Ubud seems to outsiders like one small town, it is in fact 14 villages, each run by its own banjar. Ubud has grown rapidly and some central parts are coping less well with the influx of tourists than others. That said, most development is sympathetic to the zeitgeist, if not designed specifically in the local style. Growth is continuing but there are still terraced rice fields along the rivers and regular, quiet village life carries on relatively undisturbed.
Due to its location 600 metres above sea level, Ubud enjoys somewhat cooler temperatures than the coast (sometimes necessary to bring a pullover for the evening), although the midday sun can still be scorching, and the humidity usually relentless.
Orienting yourself in Ubud is fairly straightforward. The town sprawls for several kilometres in all directions, with all of the small villages within a 5km radius of the central market being loosely referred to as “Ubud.” If you choose a reasonably central place to stay, it is easy enough to get around on foot.
Central Ubud has three main streets: Jl Raya Ubud (the main road) Ubud), Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Hanoman. At the intersection of Jl Raya and Jl Monkey Forest is the Ubud Market, the Ubud Palace and the main bemo stop.
Jl Monkey Forest which runs south through town to the Monkey Forest is the most built up area and home to a wide array of accommodation, art galleries, cafes, restaurants and cafes as well a number of local services (schools, sports field, pharmacies, travel agents, etc). Jl Hanoman, which runs parallel to Jl Monkey Forest, is a bit quieter and makes for more pleasant walking.
To the immediate west and northwest are the villages of Campuhan and Kedewatan, home to some of the most upmarket hotels in the whole of Bali with views over the valleys sculpted by the the Ayung and Wos rivers.
Directly to the south, past the Monkey Forest and still within a half hour walk of the central market, is Padang Tegal which then runs into the southern villages of Nyuh Kuning and Pengosekan, about 3 km from central Ubud. Directly to the east is the village of Peliatan and then Teges and Bedulu, home of Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).