Why You Should Visit Ubud When You’re In Bali
You are in Bali, and you are fed up with the beaches and party. Or you just want to stay away from the crowd for a while. Where should you go? I would recommend you to visit Ubud, a small town, located in the uplands of Bali which is surrounded by the small farms, rice paddies, agroforestry plantation, and of course tourist accommodation. There is nowhere else in Bali where you could find more art shops, galleries, crafts and painting workshops than Ubud. Once you entered the neighborhood, you can not help but spot that most of homes provide art workshops along with mini shops to sell their stuffs. The town has been a source of inspiration for all kinds of people around the globe. Elizabeth Gilbert, for example, has found her inner peace and love in this place. Her life story later was filmed by the famous actor Julia Robert through the movie, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
During my stay in Bali, I took some days to stay in Ubud. During this time, I stayed at Pande Permai Bungalow, a hotel located at Monkey Forest Street which is densely populated by tourists. I did not expect this. Before coming, I thought that I would be in quite neighborhood, but I was not. The street is crowded by tourist, cars, and motorbike drivers who try to attract travelers to use their service. According to my friend Keith, who is now residing in Ubud, walking at the Monkey Forest Street is like walking at one of the streets in Jakarta. Nonetheless, the best thing about staying in this area is the the chance to get around by foot. When I looked for cafes and restaurants, there are plenty of them along the street. Moreover, Ubud is also famous for its healthy food spots and tremendous vegan restaurants. Coffee houses could be found at each corner. In addition, abundant art workshops and galleries are found throughout the street, make the walks are much enjoyable.
Since I did not stay too long in Ubud, I definitely could not visit all tourist attractions in the area. Nonetheless, what I did / visited below could represent about what you can see in the town.
So, here are the things I did when I was in Ubud.
1. Visit The Ubud Monkey Forest.
Located only couple of steps from the bungalow where I stayed in. This forest is a home for around seven hundred monkeys and three of Hindu temples. I had specifically wrote about this forest at my previous post. You may check the post HERE.
2. Visit Ubud Palace.
Officially called as Puri Saren Agung, the place was the official residence of the Ubud Royal Family. The palace could also be assumed as the main landmark of Ubud. It was built in the 1800s under the rule of the late Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel. The palace has well-preserved Baliness architecture and ravishing garden arrangement. In the evening, it becomes the venue of Balinese evening dance performance.
3. Visit Pura Taman Saraswati
It is a Balinese Hindu Temple, located within walking distance from Ubud palace. Built in 1951, the temple is dedicated to the goddess, Saraswati. The most notable feature of the temple is the lotus ponds and water garden, bordering the outer area of the temple.
4. Do shopping at The Ubud Art Market
Referred as ‘Pasar Seni Ubud’ by the locals, the Ubud Art market is a handicraft market located in the center of Ubud. The market is open everyday, from 6 am to 6 pm (some could be longer). I will recommend to come early in the morning, when the shops has just opened. The people will be less, and you’ll get the better price. There is a local superstition in Bali (and other parts of Indonesia) that the sellers should not reject their first customer which is believed to bring the luck for the entire day. Make sure you negotiate the price. Ask the seller how much the price is, and bargain around 30% – 50% less than the mentioned price.
5. Walk at the Paddy Field
Monkey Forest Street could be a hassle. But, if you walk or drive a little bit far, you will find a total different atmosphere. As I said, Ubud is still surrounded by paddy field. It could be found easily within the neighborhood. My friend Keith, he lives at Penestanan area with the paddy field next to his house. If you want to go a little bit longer, you may find Tegalalang Paddy Field, which is famous with its rice field terraces.
6. Go to Elephant Cave
The cave was built as a place for meditation. The exact built date is unknown, but examining its style, the sanctuary is predicted from the 11th century Bali Kingdom. The temple is characterized by threatening face carved into the stone. The face is purposed to keep the evil spirit away from the sanctuary. The cave is known after the stone statue of Hindu God Ganesh, described by having head of elephant, located inside the cave. The temple itself is small, and visitors are expected to wear sarong before entering the courtyard.
7. Watch Balinese Dance
There are many venues where you can watch Balinese Dance Performance. It is an ancient dance tradition, where most of them are connected to Hindu rituals. The dance is dynamic where the dancers will express the stories of dance-drama through the body gestures, including fingers, hands, head and eyes.
8. Walk Around
I came with the same time of many Balinese Public Celebration, such as Hari Raya Galungan and Hari Raya Kuningan. During these two great days, the streets were filled with many decoration, made walking around became more pleasing.
Ubud is also famous with its yoga barns. I did not take the chance to visit one of them. If you are interested, just ask the hotel staffs where you stay in, they would be glad to assist.