Ubud, The Cultural Destination Of Bali
Ubud is a haven for those wanting to retreat from the busy destinations of Kuta and Seminyak. The town itself couldn’t be further removed from Bali’s most popular destination of Kuta. In Ubud you won’t find scantily clad girls or boys walking the narrow streets in search of waves and bars. It is here where you will most likely find a deeper sense of belonging in yourself.
This rings true as far back as the eighth century when a Buddhist priest named Rsi Marhandya arrived in Bali from neighboring Java and meditated at the confluence of two rivers at campuan. A shrine was soon erected in this place and it has very much remained a place of Hindu worship for pilgrims. This was also a centre of natural medicine and healing. Ubad means in ancient Balinese “Medicine and Healing” hence the name we all know today Ubud.
Medicine aside Ubud really is a popular destination for those wanting to focus on Yoga, Massage, Spas and Art. It has become the cultural hub of Bali ever since Walter Spies, an ethnic German, born in Russia and taught painting, music and dabbled in dance. Foreign painter Willem Hofker entertained celebrities including Charlie Chaplin and H.G. Wells. This brought in some of the greatest artists from all over the world to teach and train the Balinese in arts, helping Ubud become the cultural centre of Bali.
Ubud is surrounded by picturesque rice terraces, jungle ravines and untamed rainforest that will enchant every tourist. It has a much cooler climate than the southern coast as it has a slightly higher altitude at 600 metres above sea level. This can be very pleasing especially in the evening when temperatures can drop to a cool 18 degrees centigrade.
Ubud is easy to navigate as there are only two main streets that serve the centre, those being Jalan Raya Ubud which runs east to west and Jalan Monkey Forest: North to South. At the sourthern most tip of Jalan Monkey Forest you will find a nature reserve that is the home to around 350 Crab Eating Macaque Monkeys. This nature reserve is definitely worth a visit, however, be careful with your belongings as the resident monkeys have a tendency to steal from the unsuspecting tourist. It is allowed to feed the monkeys and you almost get the feeling that the monkeys will be upset with you if you don’t bring along the standard bunch of bananas. A small fee of around Rp 15, 000 is charged at the entrance so the reserve can be maintained.
With it being the artistic centre of Bali you can expect to find countless art galleries all offering pieces of work by local and sometimes even international artists. These galleries have been selling pieces of work to tourists for many years and are experts in shipping and packing. Make sure you enquire about all costs if you are to purchase.
The real beauty of Ubud is being able to roam around the countryside admiring the spectacular views that it has to offer. There are numerous walks that you can take; it is recommended that you hire a guide to make the most of the scenery. Another popular activity is renting a bicycle and exploring the area yourself. There are also organized bike tours from the centre.
It isn’t difficult to find a bite to eat here and you will experience some of the best Balinese food on the Island. A favorite among travelers is Café Wayan on Jalan Monkey Forest. This café is set in a beautiful garden surrounded by exquisite tropical plant life and the sound of constant trickling water. You can even take cooking classes from the chef herself!
If you are a bookworm then Ubud is definitely the place for you with several very high quality second hand bookshops. Some of these book shops have also become cafes where you can grab a bite to eat and pass away the days in a lazy story.
Hotels are plentiful and it is surprising when you visit them because they truly are hidden away from the main road and you can find yourself relaxing by the pool with magnificent views of the rice paddies. A number of smaller “boutique”- style hotels are located in and around Ubud, which commonly offer spa treatments or treks up Ubud’s mountains.
Getting to Ubud is not a problem. If you are going direct from the Denpasar International airport, you can take a taxi. You will be asked to pay a fixed price direct to your Hotel the usual cost is around Rp 150,000. Most people travel north to Ubud from Kuta or Legian and it is very easy to organise transport from any destination in Bali.
Ubud is a place where you will want to stay forever. It gives you such a sense of freedom and rejuvenation.
A highly recommended Hotel in Ubud. A slice of your very own Paradise.
The Payogan Villa Resort & Spa embraces 15 hectares of timeless landscape that is traversed by two separate river flows. It is just a 10 minute drive by car from downtown Ubud. Enveloped by hinterland greenery, this secluded property celebrates nature’s precious bounty and the gift of each new day.
This spiritually charged hillside retreat is a composition of just 23 traditionally styled private villas. Architecturally, the entire property has been designed to harmonise with the surrounding environment and pays tribute to Bali’s artistic legacy.
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