Ubud is brimming with Balinese culture. So much so that we’re not quite sure how it has all come to fit in. Art, dance, music, food, temples, handicrafts, and museums are all available in abundance—and if you’re still not satisfied with the variety on offer, you can venture a little outside of the town to visit a monkey reserve or wander amongst rice paddies. On top of this, courses are available in the town to immerse you in whichever aspect of the local culture takes your interest. How about attending a cookery school and learning how to make up a traditional Nasi Goreng? If this sounds exhausting, don’t fear: once your cultural side has been worked to overdrive, you can unwind at one of Asia’s top spa destinations and enjoy massages, reflexology, aromatherapy, and other relaxing treatments. What more could you ask for?
Location: Tucked away but easily reached
Ubud is situated on the Indonesian island of Bali. It is a little north of the island’s capital Denpasar, on the slopes leading up to the central mountain area. It can be reached by Bemo, the typical open-air minibuses, from the capital. The journey takes around 1 hour and should cost around Rp 8,000. From Denpasar, inexpensive and frequent flight connections are available to a range of national and international destinations, including Singapore, Australia, China, and Japan.
Culture: A town oozing with cultural attractions
Ubud is oozing with cultural attractions, and a walk through the town is sure to present you with many opportunities to get to know local history and tradition. The Agung Rai Museum of Art is one of the top galleries in the area, with a variety of contemporary art offering insights into Balinese culture and religion. The Saraswati Temple is another ‘must visit’ attraction. Carvings here honour the goddess of wisdom and the arts Dewi Saraswati, and the temple is surrounded by ponds filled with beautiful lotus flowers. In the evenings, it is possible to catch traditional dance performances here.
Activities: An exciting range of cultural and creative courses
If browsing and buying local crafts from the various shops and stalls in the town and nearby villages doesn’t quite satisfy, consider enrolling on one of the many courses available and learn how to do it yourself. From watermelon carving to basket weaving and silver-smithing, your creative side will delight in trying activities that you might never have considered elsewhere. And if craft isn’t quite your thing, there are plenty of cookery and dance schools ready to teach you new skills as well. Afterwards, you can enjoy watching the experts at one of the many dance and music shows.