Ubud

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Ubud, a town in central Bali, is far removed from the drunken bikini scene in Kuta, and is regarded as the cultural centre of Bali. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the town and nearby villages seems to consist of artists' workshops and galleries. There are some remarkable architectural and other sights to be found, and a general feeling of well being to be enjoyed, all thanks to the spirit, surroundings, and climate of the place.

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Points of Interest in Ubud

Ubud is so crammed with attractions it can almost seem like a visual assault at times. Try to make sure you allocate at least a week for your visit here, and take your time to explore properly. Visitors who jump up to Ubud for just two or three days of their Bali holiday, stand little chance of understanding much of what is going on around them.

The key historical sites are located out of town, some as far as 20 km away, and you might find it worthwhile joining a tour to visit these. If you do visit attractions such as Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi, Pura Kehen and Tirta Empul under your own steam, try to find a knowledgeable guide when you get there. Whilst you will certainly appreciate the beauty of these places, their cultural and spiritual significance may be lost without a guide.

Temples and historical sites

  • Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), Jalan Goa Gajah. 8AM-6PM daily. The centerpiece here is a cave dating back to the ninth century, the entrance to which is an ornately carved demon's mouth. Inside are some fragmentary lingam and yoni statues, as well as a statue of Ganesha. Large, carved guards stand around pools near the entrance, and a little path leads to a waterfall, rice fields, and some Buddhist stupa fragments. Some parts of the Goa Gajah complex were not excavated until the 1950s. Nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rp 15,000, including sarong rental.
  • Gunung Kawi (Poet Mountain), Tampaksiring (18 km northeast from Ubud). 7AM-5PM daily. Dating from the eleventh century, this is presumed to be the burial complex of King Anak Wungsu and his many wives. Reached by climbing down 371 steps, the location at the bottom of a steep valley lined with paddy fields, is quite stunning. The smaller complex on the south side of the river is presumed to have been built for the King's wives, while the larger complex is thought to have been the residence of the King himself, and perhaps his concubines. The structures are carved into the sides of a steep river valley, and the river crossed by twisting trees and vines. You must take off your shoes before entering into the central pura complex. About 1 km downstream there are further tomb cloisters. On the way back up, take a break at Cafe Kawi which has cold drinks for Rp 10,000 and up. If you haggle for a taxi from Ubud, it should cost no more than Rp 150,000 to get there and back, with the driver waiting for you while you make the visit. Rp 15,000 including sarong and sash rental.
  • Pura Kehen (Kehen Temple), Jl Sriwijaya, Bangli (just north of Bangli town centre, which itself is about 30 minutes north east from Ubud). 8AM-5PM daily. One of the most attractive temples in the whole of Bali, and as it is slightly off the beaten path, one which receives relatively few visitors. The temple was founded in 1206, and has an especially impressive 11-tiered meru in the inner courtyard. When you visit here take a little extra time to look around Bangli. It is a quiet and attractive market town. Rp 6,000.
  • Puri Saren Agung (Royal Palace, Water Palace) (across Jl Raya Ubud from Ubud Market). 9AM-5PM daily. This was the palace of the kings of Ubud until the 1940s, and some royal descendants live there to this day. Parts of the complex are off limits to the public, but entry to the rest is free, and this is Ubud's best setting for dance performances (see Do).
  • Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring (20 km northeast from Ubud). 8AM-6PM daily. One of the holiest temples in Bali built around hot springs that still bubble in the central courtyard. The Balinese come here to bathe and purify themselves physically and spiritually, and during Galungan, the sacred barong masks are bathed here. The complex dates to 960, but the present buildings are largely modern reconstructions. Rp 15,000, including sarong and sash rental.
  • Yeh Pulu, Banjar Batulumbang, Bedulu nr Gianyar (turn off the Ubud to Gianyar main road about 400 metres east of the entrance to the Goa Gajah complex. Drive through Banjar Batulumbang until the road comes to an end. From here walk down the track). 7AM-6PM daily. This complex of rock carvings is close to Goa Gajah but far less well known. The carvings date from the fourteenth or fifteenth century, and are set in a very attractive rice field. You can reach Yeh Pulu on foot through the rice fields from Goa Gajah, but you will definitely need a guide for the 45 minute walk as there is no path to speak of. In addition to the carvings, there is a holy well here, and the attendant priest will be happy to bless you with the well water. Temple dress code applies. This is a much underrated and under-visited site, and is highly recommended. Rp 15,000.
  • Chapel of Mother Goddess, Rajarajeshwari Tripurasundari, Jl. Sri Wedari Km 3 (3 km north from the main Ubud street),  +62 818 701658, e-mail: ubud@anandashram.asia. A modern chapel dedicated to the feminine aspect of the divine, such as Kuan Shih Yin, Mary Magdalene, Mother Mary, Lakshmi, Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Gayatri and others. Free, but donations are accepted.

Museums and galleries

  • Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), Jl Pengosekan,  +62 361 975742, e-mail: info@armamuseum.com. 9AM-5PM. Showcases works by well known Balinese artists, as well as international artists who made Bali their home such as Walter Spies, Adrian Jean Le Mayeur, Rudolph Bonnet and Arie Smit. The only painting in Bali by renowned Javanese artist Radan Saleh is exhibited here. They also run workshops for thirteen different aspects of Balinese art and culture. Cafe with tea and coffee. Price includes tea or coffee (hot or cold). Rp 40,000.
  • Blanco Renaissance Museum, Jl Raya Campuhan,  +62 361 975502. 9AM-6PM daily. Before he passed away in 1999, Spanish artist Antonio Blanco was an absolute fixture on the Ubud art scene. His former home is now a museum showcasing his sometimes bizarre but always interesting work. Think Salvador Dali transplanted to Asia. In the garden you can take pictures of the exotic birds flying around. Rp 50,000.
  • Infinity Gallery, Jl Monkey Forest,  +62 (0)361 972 500, e-mail: office@liquid-art-gallery.com. Open 24/7. A small, free museum displaying the work of Stephan Max Reinhold, namely his "Liquid Art", a collection of photos depicting reflections in drops of water. Paintings for sale. Entry is free.
  • Museum Puri Lukisan (Museum of Fine Arts), Jl Raya Ubud (on the main road just west of the market), e-mail: info@mpl-ubud.com. 8AM-4PM daily. When it opened in 1954, this was the first private museum in Bali. Three buildings showcase traditional and modern Balinese art. The displays are a little musty and English labeling is spotty, but some of the works, particularly the carvings, are quite amazing. Exhibits by noted artists I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and Rudolph Bonnet, among others. Rp 40,000.
  • Museum Rudana, Jl Cok Rai Pudak 44 (on the road to Mas, about a 10 min drive south of Ubud town centre),  +62 361 975779, e-mail: rudana@senatorrudana.com. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. A wide range of Balinese paintings is exhibited here, both traditional and modern. Run by its owner, artist Nyoman Rudana, who is often present. Rp 20,000, under 12yo is free.
  • Neka Art Museum, Jl Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan,  +62 361 975074, e-mail: info@museumneka.com. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. This museum houses perhaps the most important art collection in the whole of Bali. Six pavilions house the various collections which include dedicated rooms for artists Arie Smit and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. Rp 40,000.
  • Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women, Jl Sriwedari 2B,  +62 361 975485. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. This gallery features art only by women; "Seni" is Indonesian for art and "Wati" means women.

Landscape

The area around Ubud is characterised by gently rolling rice paddies, and these create an impression of greenness which can be quite startlingly beautiful. This is especially true to the south and southeast of the town. Any visitor approaching from the south will appreciate this and it is worth a stop just to absorb the gentle beauty of it all.

Northeast of Ubud town centre the land starts to become more undulating, and this is a good place to view Bali's classic rice terraces. The village of Tegallalang is very much a tourist trap, but it is worth braving the hordes of trinket peddlers to view the stunning terraces there. From the town centre, take Jl Raya as far east as you can go, and then turn north and continue about nine km until you reach Tegallalang. Look for the picture postcard rice terraces on you right-hand side. For those moving on north to the Kintamani area, this is on route and makes for an easy stop.

Far more off the beaten path is to explore the rice fields immediately north of town. A good route is to take Jl Raya eastwards from the town centre and turn north up the small road immediately adjacent to the BCA Bank building. Proceed up this road through the village of Kutuh and just keep going, turning where you feel like it. This is a very gentle, rural area with some lovely landscape. A great way to explore is by bicycle as there are no steep hills to negotiate here.

On the opposite side of town in the Campuhaun, Sanggingan, and Kedewatan areas, the landscape changes dramatically as great gorges have been carved out of the limestone land base by the Ayung and Wos rivers. It's no surprise that so many five star hotels have made their home in these lush, dramatic valleys. Opportunities for viewing these gorges are many. You can just find your own way and explore by motorbike (it is very hard work by bicycle as the hills are steep). Head west out of town over the Campuhan Bridge and just start exploring. The main road here is Jl Raya Sanggingan, and if you continue heading away from town you will reach the junction with Jl Raya Kedewatan. From that point you can turn in either direction and just keep exploring. Alternatively, you can stop into a hotel or restaurant, have a drink or lunch, and gaze out in very civilised surroundings. If your pockets are deep, the restaurant at the Four Seasons in Sayan probably has the best views of all of the Ayung Gorge. A more budget conscious option is the lovely Indus restaurant in Sanginngan, with tables facing out to the Wos River.

Others

  • Bali Bird Park, Jl Serma Cok Ngurah Gambir, Singapadu,  +62 361 299352, e-mail: sales@bali-bird-park.com. 9:30AM-5:30PM daily. A splendid 2-hectare aviary park with more than 250 species of birds in well thought out, attractive enclosures. The park has an enlightened, modern attitude to exhibiting animals, and this is obvious from the very open, walk-in aviaries, and the number of free range birds throughout the park. Also has a notably good cafe. One of Bali's best formal attractions. Adults US$23.5, children US$10.
  • Botanic Garden, Kutuh Kaja (on the road to Kutuh Kaja village which runs north from Jl Raya Ubud close to BCA Bank). 8AM-6PM daily. The recently opened Botanic Garden is a wonderful way to spend a few hours walking around and exploring the valley that it fills. It is best to go in the morning and avoid the afternoon heat. Rp 50,000.
  • Monkey Forest, Jl Monkey Forest, Ubud,  +62 361 971304, e-mail: info@monkeyforestubud.com. A sacred forest full of ravenous monkeys, so don't bring any food or you will risk bites and a need for rabies injections. If you are bitten, visit the first aid clinic near the entrance at the bottom of Jalan Monkey Forest. Stroll through to find Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, a temple of the dead. A visit to the very informative website beforehand is highly recommended. Entrance 20,000 Rp for adults.
  •    The White Herons of Petulu, Petulu. Every evening between 15,000 and 20,000 cattle egrets, known colloquially as white herons and in Balinese, kokokan, roost in the village of Petulu just ten minutes north of Ubud. It is quite a spectacle as these large, elegant white and rusty orange birds arrive in countless groups and tussle for the prime roosting spots. Each morning at dawn they leave en-masse to find feeding spots around the island. Some also breed in the area and nests can be seen in the roadside trees. The cattle egrets are joined by smaller numbers of little egrets and Javan pond herons.

According to local legend, the egrets first appeared here in such large numbers after one of the worst massacres of suspected communists during the troubles of 1965. This led local villagers to believe that these birds are the souls of the slaughtered, and ceremonies to that effect are still held today.

The village of Petulu is reached by heading east from Ubud town centre on Jl Raya Ubud until you meet the obvious junction with Jl Raya Andong. Turn left, and go up the hill for about 2 km until you see the sign posted left turning on Jalan Kintamani to Petulu village. Go into the village and you will see signs and warungs set up in the best places to view the spectacle. Get there by 5:30PM. 15,000 per adult.

Puri Lukisan Museum

Ubud Market

Ubud Royal Palace

Ubud Monkey Forest

Pura Taman Saraswati

Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal

Komaneka Fine Art Gallery

Blanco Museum

Neka Art Museum

Elephant Cave

Gajah Mas Gallery

Puser Tasik Temple

Gaya Art Space

Rudana Museum

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About Ubud

History

In many ways, the history of the Ubud area (not so much the modern day town) is the very history of Bali itself.

Ubud has a known history back to the eighth century, when the Javanese Buddhist priest Rsi Marhandya came to Bali from Java, and meditated at the confluence of the two Wos rivers at Campuan, just west of the modern day town centre. A shrine was established and later expanded by Nirartha, the Javanese priest who is regarded as the founder of Bali's religious practices and rituals as we know them today. At this time the area was a centre of natural medicine and healing, and that is how the name Ubud originated: Ubad is ancient Balinese for medicine.

Further temples and monasteries were established over the next 400 years or so. The temple complex at Gunung Kawi, and the cave temples at Goa Gajah (just east and northeast of Ubud), are architectural remains from this period. Many of the dances, drama and rituals still practised in Ubud today, originated at this time. King Airlangga ruled all of Java and Bali in this era, and his seat of government was located in what is now the village of Batuan, just southeast of Ubud.

The Javanese Majapahit kingdom conquered Bali in 1343, and the key final victory was against the Pejeng Dynasty centred at Bedulu, just to the east of Ubud. A great flowering of Balinese culture followed, and the ancestry of Ubud's current day aristocratic families can be traced back to this period. In the sixteenth Century, there was a total transplantation of the Majapahit Kingdom to Bali as the Islamisation of Java forced them eastwards. Power flip-flopped between various dynasties and feudal lords, but the Ubud area remained a very important cog in the various regencies which ruled the island.

In 1900, Ubud became a Dutch protectorate at its own request, and the colonialists interfered little, allowing the traditional arts and culture of the area to remain relatively unchanged. The modern era of Ubud perhaps began in the 1930s, when foreign artists were encouraged by the royal family to take up presence in the town. From their Ubud base, the likes of Walter Spies and Rudolph Bonnet were instrumental in promoting an understanding of Balinese art and culture worldwide. From the 1960s onwards, travellers started to arrive in earnest, mostly intrepid types as the infrastructure was still very limited indeed. Since then, Ubud has developed rapildy into a high profile, top class international destination, whilst still maintaining its integrity as the centre of Balinese art and culture.

Climate

Due to its elevation at 600 m above sea level, Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast, and it is sometimes necessary to bring a pullover for the evening. The midday sun can still be scorching though and the humidity often relentless; a murderous combination for an outing of 'temple tramping' which, in hilly Ubud, usually requires climbing up and down staircases. (Head out early to beat the heat and the crowds.) If there is a time to avoid, it would be the depths of the wet season in January and February — when it rains in Ubud, it really rains.

Activities

As a centre of the arts, Ubud has dance and shadow puppet performances every night. There are also plenty of spas for resynchronising your chakras, and all manner of spiritual classes and treatments, some distinctly less genuine than others.

Art courses

  • Bali Center for Artistic Creativity (BCAC) (Nyoman Art Gallery), Jl Raya Petulu, Ubud,  +62 361 970034, e-mail: brcerobert@yahoo.com. Art studio nestled in beautiful grounds and galleries offering art classes from beginners to teachers, and internationally accredited courses run by Bruce Sherratt.

Cooking classes

  •    Payuk Bali Home Cooking Class, Banjar Laplapan Ubud Bali,  +62 361 8987854, e-mail: info@payukbali.com. Traditional Balinese cooking such sate lilit, Balinese salad, and nasi kuning.
  • Paon Bali Cooking Class, Laplapan Village,  +62 813 37939095. Traditional Balinese cooking class in the home of a very hospitable family. They offer a pick-up in Ubud.

Cultural performances

  • Barong Dance, Batubulan (about fifteen minutes south of Ubud on the main road to Sanur). A Barong dance performance takes place here every day at 9:30AM, lasting about an hour. It is very much a performance for tourists, and the story is of the never ending battle between good and evil. There is actually not much dancing and a lot of talking in this performance. While buying a ticket, you will get a description of the forthcoming performance. Rp 80,000.
  • Pura Dalem, Jl Raya Ubud. One of the best kecak performances in Ubud, every Friday and Monday evening. Staged in beautiful surroundings outside under the banyan trees, and followed by a fire dance. Excellent ambiance and the fire dance at the end is impressive. However, parts of the performance can get repetitive. Rp 80,000.
  • Puri Saren & Puri Saraswati (just east of Jl Monkey Forest), Jl Raya Ubud. Smack dab in the centre of town, dance performances are staged here almost nightly. Rp 75,000+.

Spas

  • Bali Healing, Jl Hanoman 43, Padang Tegal,  +62 361 7911104. 10AM-10PM. Even for the experienced massage consumer, this six bed massage centre is an experience. A 1 hs massage is about Rp 80,000. Magic warm stone massage for Rp 120,000. Several other deep tissue and reflexology treatments are available
  • Bodyworks Healing Centre, Jl Hanoman 25,  +62 361 975720. 10AM-9PM. Ubud Bodyworks Healing Centre was founded by Ketut Arsana 25 years ago, and it is still his family home. The 1st such establishment in Ubud, and was a place where Balinese people would come for healing long before the tourist hordes arrived. There is a definite emphasis on the spiritual elements of healing.
  • Pertenin Body Care, Jl Jatayu,  +62 361 972834. 10AM-9PM. Facial treatments and massage in a relaxing, modern environment. Customer may select the oils and herbs for any treatment. From Rp 85,000, free pick-up.
  • SANg Spa, Jl Jembawan 29B (at the bend in the southern part of Jl Jembawan, walk down a small side street),  +62 361 8631816. 9AM-9PM. Small full-service day spa, owned and run by a young couple named Ngurah and Asti. Simple, secluded, clean and nicely decorated. Very professional staff. From Rp 90,000.
  • Spa Hati, Jl Raya Andong 14, Peliatan,  +62 361 974 672, e-mail: spahati@balihati.org. Prices start at Rp 110,000. The grounds are lovely and there is a pool and jacuzzi. This spa is a non-profit organisation which uses its income for charity programs. They offer pick up from your hotel.
  • Ubud Sari Health Resort, Jl Kajeng 35 (a 10 minute walk northwards up Jl Kajeng from the centre of Ubud),  +62 361 974393. 10AM-9PM. Emphasis on Balinese-style healing therapy. Offers alternative health care, a day spa, beauty salon, health massage, vegetarian restaurant and yoga. From US$15.
  • Verona Spa, Jl Monkey Forest (at the end of the alley by Yulia Hotel),  +62 361 970975. 9AM-9PM. Private individual or coupled rooms that open onto a rice terrace. 4 hour package called the Verona Spa Experience has a massage, body scrub, flower bath, facial, manicure, pedicure, and hair creme bath (not to be missed if you like having your head massaged). From Rp 150,000.

Canyoning activities

  • Adventure & Spirit, Jl Raya Mas - Ubud,  +62 85 333 88 55 98, e-mail: canyon@adventureandspirit.com. 9AM-9PM. Canyoning is an ultimate outdoor adventure and sport using a variety of techniques that may include walking, abseiling, jumping, sliding down natural slopes and swimming in white water for aquatic canyons. And of course discover beautiful and hidden places at the heart of Balinese nature.

Whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities

There is good rafting available on the Ayung River at Sayan, just west of Ubud. Almost as good as the rafting itself is the wonderful experience of being right down inside the Ayung gorge. This is the domain of high-end resorts like the Four Seasons and Amandari, and it is a very scenic area indeed. The rapids are Class II and Class III, and best during the rainy season as the river can run a bit dry from June to September. There are two well established operators, both with offices on the main road in Sayan, close to Amandari, however other operators have sprung up recently as well.

Cycle tours are an increasingly widespread and popular option.

  • Bali Budaya Eco Tours, Jl Raya Pengosekan,  +62 361 975557, e-mail: baliecocycling@gmail.com. The original cycling tour. Free pickup from hotel, breakfast with a view of Mount Batur, visit to coffee plantation, downhill cycling through rice paddies and villages, visit to Balinese family compound, optional flat/uphill cycling and a generous buffet lunch. Two guides per group, bikes in good condition, helmets, water also included. Also do volcano climbs, jungle treks etc. Rp 360,000/person all inclusive.
  • Bali Bike Adventures, Laplapan Village,  +62 361 9234 627, fax: +62 361 898 7934, e-mail: info@balibikeadventures.com. Includes return hotel transfer, mountain bike with safety helmet, breakfast, towel and mineral water, all entrance fees, professional guide, buffet lunch, insurance covered for each participant. Rp 350,000/person all inclusive.
  • Bali Hai Adventures Specialist, Jl Raya Astina Timur, Gianyar,  +62 878 62331333, e-mail: balihaitour@gmail.com. See the Bali countryside at a leisurely pace on a bicycle. Includes private A/C van (min 2 pax booking), mountain bike and safety helmet, breakfast and lunch, fruit and mineral water on tour, entrance fees and personal insurance coverage to US$25,000 (from the age of 1 to 65 years). Rp 370,000/person.
  • Bali Adventure Tours +62 361 721480, e-mail: info@baliadventuretours.com. Established in 1989, one of the first whitewater rafting adventures in Bali. They offer packages that include their elephant safari park & lodge, cycling, rafting and an elephant safari. Free pickup from hotel. US$100,000 insurance is provided. About US$60.
  • Sobek Bali Utama +62 361 287059, e-mail: sales@balisobek.com. Specialise in white-water rafting and cycling tours. Established in 1989, this was the first company of its type in Bali, and they are distinctly less package oriented than their main competitor. About US$60.

Yoga and meditation

  • Taman Hati Yoga and Meditation Center, Banjar Nyuh Kuning,  +62 361 974739, e-mail: tamanhati2000@yahoo.com. This centre was founded in 2000 by two local men, both from families containing many generations of Hindu priests. Set up for both complete beginners, and those already experienced but wishing to broaden their horizons. Every Wednesday at 7:30PM, there is a free class entitled "World Peace Meditation". From about Rp 90,000.
  • Ubud Yoga Centre, Jl Raya Sanggingan (almost opposite Neka Museum),  +62 361 970460, e-mail: julie@baliyogahealing.com. Expat-run centre offers everything from single attendance classes up to residential yoga instructor training courses. From Rp 90,000 per session. Good value ten class pass for Rp 550,000..
  • The Yoga Barn, Jl Hanoman, Pengosekan,  +62 361 970992, e-mail: info@theyogabarn.com. Range of classes and an excellent set of teachers mostly in the Ashtanga/Vinnyasa school. Upper studio has great views of the surrounding rice terraces. Residential packages, multiple day classes and simple single entry classes. If you are a teacher, they offer the possibility of renting the centre to host your classes. From about Rp 100,000.
  • Anand Ashram@Ubud, Jl. Sriwedari Km 3,  +62 818 701658, e-mail: ubud@anandashram.asia. Non-profit institution offering yoga, meditation, satsang, kirtan, bed and breakfast. Visiting teachers and students are welcome to use the space for their programs and stay on donation basis.

Food

Ubud is renowned in Bali for its wide range of restaurants, and is probably second only to Seminyak in terms of the quality of the offerings. Travelers on a budget will not be short of options, as there are many simple warungs serving up the standard Indonesian staples.

Budget

  • Bubu Warung, Jl Penestanan Kelod, e-mail: bubus_annasari@yahoo.co.id. 8AM-10PM daily. Healthy and delicious Balinese cuisine with plenty of choices on the menu. If you have any special requests, Ibu Made will be happy to cater for you.
  • Dewa Warung, Jl Goutama. 10AM-9PM daily. Dewa's is one of the better cheap places to eat in town. Serves all the usual Balinese and Indonesian dishes. The most expensive item on the menu is Rp 20,000.
  • Ibu Oka Warung Babi Guling, Jl Suweta (around 200 m north of the Jl Raya Ubud-Jl Suweta-Monkey Forest Rd crossroads turn right into a side street and follow a small gang about 100 m ahead. There are lots of signs). 11AM-3PM daily. A Bali culinary experience. The babi guling (spit-roasted pig) here is world-famous, and this humble eating place is virtually a place of pilgrimage. The roast pork is served with rice and spiced veggies, order the special (Rp 30,000) to get a bit of everything — including offal and blood sausage. There are normal tables and chairs but you can also sit on the floor at low tables inside the bale (pavilion). Oka also has a branch in Mas ☎ +62 361 976345 on the main Teges-Sukawati road on the route between Ubud and the airport. Unlike the original, where comfort and appearance are not strong points, this outlet is a two-storey restaurant which is spotless, airy and comfortable. From Rp 25,000.
  • Pizza Bagus, Jl. Raya Pengosekan (500 m south of the Monkey Forest Rd.),  +62 361 978520. 9AM-10:30PM. Provides fresh made to order pizzas, pasta and other Italian style meals. Italian gelato and a full deli are also available. Eat-in, take-out or delivery. Organic market held every Saturday morning. Games and TV are provided to entertain children. Free wifi. Main course from Rp 22,000-50,000.
  • Sawah Indah Warung Ikan Bakar, Jl. Raya Goa Gajah (Peliatan),  +62 361 785 8080. 9AM-10PM. Lunch or dinner with a rice field view. Fish pond. Relaxing and good for a family or group. Rp 50,000.
  • Sari Bamboo, Penestanan. 8AM-9PM daily. A tourist class warung, with food freshly cooked to order, set amid tropical gardens on the main road to Penestanan village. Mainly Indonesian food flavoured to suit the taste of western visitors. The warung and bungalows are easily distinguishable by the display of modern art works by the resident artist. No hard sell though, just good food in beautiful surroundings at good prices. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rp 15,000-25,000.
  • Warung Aja, Jl Monkey Forest (about halfway down Jl Monkey Forest, the warung is set back away from the road, on the right side if heading south towards the Monkey Forest),  +62 361 973398. 9AM-10PM daily. Cosy and friendly, Warung Aja is run by a couple from Java and is a good place to sample Indonesian food from Java, such as nasi rawon, nasi kuning, and pecel. There are also the usual Balinese food items on the menu like sate lilit. Mains from Rp 20,000.
  • Warung Igelanca (Iggy's), Jl Raya Ubud,  +62 815 8943251. 11AM-10PM daily. Cheap and cheerful Indonesian favorites like nasi campur, fried rice and noodles, plus (this being Ubud) a range of herbal drinks, such as Ginger Jive.
  • Warung Lada, Jl Hanoman. 10AM-9PM daily. Choose from the various Indonesian side dishes (nasi campur-style) that are displayed behind the counter. You can pick as many dishes as you like as you pay for each serving. A full plate is around Rp 30,000 including a fresh fruit juice. Be on time for lunch because it is usually packed.
  •    Dapur Bunda, Jalan Sriwedari (off Jalan Raya Ubud). Indonesian and western "buffet" style eaterie with the style and quality of a mid-range restaurant. Offers tapas-sized portions from Rp 4,000 to Rp 14,000 on saffron, brown or plain rice.

Mid-range

  • Batan Waru, Jl Dewi Sita,  +62 361 977528. 8AM-midnight daily. Long established Ubud institution. Excellent Balinese and other Indonesian food as well as western options, in a well designed space. Also serves top quality coffee, and has a dessert menu which includes an especially notable version of Balinese black rice pudding (bubur injin). Indoor and outdoor seating. Most mains Rp 40,000-60,000.
  • Babyface Restaurant, Jl Monkey Forest,  +62 361 976127. 11AM-11PM daily. Simple 2 storey building with a wide choice of food with mains starting at Rp 30,000. This restaurant also has free wifi and lovely staff. The downstairs has a restaurant feel but upstairs is more of a lounge, where you can relax and use your laptop. While the wifi is free, if you need to use electricity, the first 20 mins free, then Rp 200 per min after that.
  • Clear Cafe, 8 Jalan Hanoman,  +62 361 8894437. An organic cafe with a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and raw food-friendly selections. Free Wi-Fi. Try free samples from their bakery at the front of the restaurant! Mains about Rp 25,000-70,000.
  • Cafe des Artistes (Jl Bisma),  +62 361 972706. 11AM-midnight daily. This Belgian-owned eatery serves Indonesian dishes as well as a vast array of international classics. Famous for their grilled tenderloin steaks. Extensive winelist, cocktails, Belgian beers and homemade desserts. Free wifi from 11AM-6PM. To make sure you get a table for dinner, call ahead. About Rp 50,000 per head.
  • Casa Luna, Jl Raya Ubud,  +62 361 973282. 8AM-10PM daily. Large, long-established restaurant serving western and local dishes, and plenty that fall somewhere in between. Mains about Rp 30,000-50,000.
  • China Moon, 8 Jl Monkey Forest (at the corner of Jl Hanoman and Jl Monkey Forest). 7AM-2PM daily. While China Moon is not packed during lunch and dinner time, it does have some of the better Chinese cuisine available in Ubud. The owner of the restaurant comes from Taiwan and is really passionate about cooking and helping customers. Unsurprisingly, Taiwanese food is the big thing here, so you might want to try the mushroom pork soup or any other of stews and soups Taiwanese cuisine has to offer. They also serve food from other regions of China, as well as the typical Balinese dishes (or a fusion of both). De Ubud Villas & Spa is from the same owner at the backside. Mains Rp 30,000-50,000.
  • Mojo's Flying Burritos, Jl Raya Ubud (on the main road near Bank BCA). 10AM-10PM daily. Mexican restaurant serving burritos, nachos, and tacos all completely handmade including handrolled tortillas and corn chips. At night, a good joint to hang out with expats drinking fresh margaritas and sangria by the pitcher. Mains Rp 20,000-35,000.
  • Murni's Warung, Jl Raya Campuan-Ubud (at the Campuan Bridge),  +62 361 975233, fax: +62 361 972146, e-mail: murni@murnis.com. 9AM-11PM daily. Excellent western and Balinese food in a stunning, gorge setting. Elegant lounge bar. Historic, being the 1st real restaurant in Ubud founded by Murni herself in 1974. Also a shop with interesting collectibles and the odd real antique. Mains Rp 20,000-70,000.
  • Naughty Nuri's Warung and Grill, Jl Raya Sangiggan (opposite the Neka Art Museum half way up the hill heading north out of Ubud),  +62 361 977547. 10AM-11PM daily. Crowded roadside watering hole. Microbrews, great martinis and slabs of BBQ ribs. This is very much a standard stop for Korean or Japanese tour buses. Once a week they do amazing grilled tuna. Careful that the waitresses do not stick other peoples drinks on your bill. A few times a year they have parties where drinks are US$10 for as much beer as you can handle, for example during USA elections and the Superbowl. Mains Rp 20,000-70,000.
  • Nomad, Jl Raya Ubud 35,  +62 361 977169. 11AM-11PM daily. A long-standing institution that serves up a good selection of Balinese, Indonesian, and western dishes, but deservedly popular is their version of a tapas selection, consisting of bite-sized portions of local flavors. 12 pieces of tapas served with rice costs Rp 90,000 and feeds two. Also serves a wide range of cocktails and spirits.
  • Taco Casa 'n Grill (Mexican Restaurant), Jl Raya Pengosekan (next to Alana's California Dreaming),  +62 361 2123818, e-mail: info@tacocasabali.com. 11AM-10PM daily. Open kitchen, simple and fresh tacos (soft and crispy), nachos, 8-layer burrito, fajitas, cheesy enchiladas, quesadillas and taco salad bowl. Fresh blended tropical fruit juices or lassies, milkshakes, freshly prepared lemonade, pure juices, mineral water, hot drink, margarita, mojito, sangria and soft drinks. Mains Rp 22,000-45,000.
  • Tutmak, Jl Dewi Sita (next to the football field),  +62 361 975754. 8AM-11PM daily. A favorite with the expat crowd, Tutmak offers an international menu, but is especially famous for its superb coffee made from local arabica fresh roasted daily by the owners. Mains about Rp 25,000-50,000.
  • Havana, Jl Dewi Sita (right next to Tutmak after you cross the football field.). Very tasty Cuban food. Excellent paella and chorizo meatballs. There is also a good Latino band which plays there most evenings accompanied by local salsa dancers. Overall good fun. Mains about Rp 25,000-50,000.

Splurge

Many of the five star hotels in and around Ubud have top class restaurants, with the Four Seasons Resort and Maya Ubud being of special note.

  • Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner), Jl Hanoman, Padang Tegal,  +62 361 975489. 11AM-10PM daily. An interesting restaurant with paddy field views and nice gardens. Famous for their crispy fried duck and some European-based menu items. They have a good selection of cakes as well. Free wifi in the area closest to the street. About Rp 100,000 per head.
  • Cascades Restaurant, Jl Lanyahan, Br Nagi,  +62 361 972111, fax: +62 361 970777, e-mail: resv@cascadesbali.com. A fine dining restaurant with French inspired menus mixed with Asian influences. Good views and hushed atmosphere. Has a large wine list.
  • Mozaic, Jl Raya Sanggingan,  +62 361 975768. 11AM-11PM daily. The brainchild of chef Chris Salans, this is one of the leading restaurants in the whole of Bali, and one which will please even the most jaded of foodies. Multi-award winning, including the coveted Les Grandes Tables du Monde award (the only restaurant in Bali ever to achieve that). Western prices, but worth it as a special treat. Try the degustation menu.
  • Terazo, Jl Suweta (just north of the junction with Jl Raya Ubud),  +62 361 977528, e-mail: info@baligoodfood.com. 10AM-midnight. High quality fusion cuisine in a restaurant environment with a Mediterranean colonial feel. Notably excellent desserts. Owned and run by the same people as Batan Waru. Rp 100,000+ per head.

Drinks

Ubud is emphatically not party town: there are a few places for a quiet drink, but the strictly enforced local regulation that all live performances and loud music must end by 10:30PM puts a bit of a clamp on the local nightlife. More often than not, visitors have a quiet drink with their evening meal, and call it a night.

  • Ary's Warung, Jl Raya Ubud 35 (opposite Puri Saraswati),  +62 361 975959. 10:30AM-10PM daily. Don't be fooled by the name, this is a stylish watering hole with a large bar downstairs, complete with sofas and cow-leather bar stools, and a rather less busy restaurant upstairs. Drinks are expensive but generously sized.
  • Flava Lounge, Jl Pengosekan,  +62 361 972953. 11AM-midnight daily. A slightly curious cafe/bar, which has regular open mike nights, occasional karaoke bashes, and even hip-hop and R&B DJs. Sometimes it goes off a bit (at least by Ubud standards), and at others is deserted. Also throws occasional events supporting various causes.
  • Jazz Cafe, Jl Sukma No 2, Tebesaya,  +62 361 976594. Tu-Su 5PM-midnight. Jazz bar with live bands nightly, which are sometimes local cover bands, not jazz. A limited food menu and a good selection of drinks. Cover charge Rp 25,000, drinks Rp 50,000 and up, Rp 85,000+ for a cocktail.
  • The Melting Pot Game Room and Pub, Jl. Pengosekan (across from The Pond restaurant and behind Delta Dewata),  +62 815 7689113. 11AM till last man out. Pool hall and games room with full bar. Every nation is represented with a flag and customers are encouraged to sign their country’s flag. Food, music, table tennis, darts, foosball, video games, pool tables and general atmosphere make it a place where locals, expats and tourists often congregate. 8 Ball tournament every Tuesday night and 10 ball tournament on Fridays are open to all.
  • Rendezvousdoux, Jl Raya Ubud 14,  +62 361 7470163. 10AM-11PM daily. On Thursday evenings there is often a jam session with local expat musos trying their hand at various forms of ethnic music. Otherwise it is a generally quiet cafe.

Shopping

Ubud has a vast assortment of art and jewelry shops. Head for the boutique type stores on Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud for higher quality goods (with appropriately higher prices), or down to the market for bulk-produced cheapies.

Ubud Market

Located at the corner of Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud, this is a double storey warren of stalls bursting at the seams with wood carvings, batik shirts, sarongs, and all manner of other souvenirs aimed specifically at tourists. The merchants here haggle with tourists for a living, and think nothing of asking for ten times the going price, so try to establish a baseline before you go in to buy. Most of the merchants downstairs will lose interest if you try to get a reasonable price. It is better to try the shops upstairs where you will find the same products often for sell at lower prices. You will still need to use your best bargaining skills of course. Try to avoid the period from 11AM-2PM when tour buses from further afield tend to arrive en-masse.

If hiring a car for a day, it might be worth it to make a stop in Tegallalang, where they are geared more towards wholesale buyers. The Sukawati Market is crowded and sells trinkets in bulk as well, but quality is dubious.

Craft villages between Ubud and Sanur

The road to Ubud from Sanur in the south passes through a series of small towns and villages which specialize in the production of particular arts and crafts. The towns are Batubulan/Singakerta for stone carvings, Celuk for silver jewellery, Batuan for paintings, and Mas for wood carvings. The whole area is sometimes referred to as the "craft villages" of Bali, although it is all a bit more built-up and congested than one might infer from the term "village."

This is the best area to see and buy a wide variety of Balinese craftwork in a short period of time. There are many large showrooms where arts and crafts in the Balinese style are offered for sale. Nearly all organised day-tours of central Bali stop at one or more of these showrooms (and the tour operators usually have a financial tie-up with the places where they stop, collecting a commission on purchases.) Be careful, many of these shops specialise in pricing based on huge commissions to the drivers and tour busses.

Other shops & markets

  • Ganesha Bookstore, Jl Raya, e-mail: info@ganeshabooksbali.com. 9AM-6PM daily. Second hand bookstore. Also has great range of new books about Bali and Indonesia. Been around since 1986 and now has a second branch in Seminyak.
  • Pondok Pecak Library, Jl Monkey Forest (on the opposite side of the football pitch from Jl Monkey Forest),  +62 361 976194. 9AM-5PM daily. This privately run community library often has decent fiction and other books for sale. By buying here you are supporting their mission to make free books available to Balinese schoolkids. When you visit, check to see if they have any cultural performances coming up. Also has a small cafe serving home-made snacks.
  • Sukawati Art Market, Sukawati (about twenty minutes south of Ubud on the main road to Sanur). This huge market is like a one-stop centre for all the craft villages between Sanur and Ubud. Many souvenir shop owners from around Bali wholesale purchase their items here, and prices are considerably lower than in the tourist centers like Kuta, Sanur, and Ubud town centre. For a taste of everyday, go to the food and produce market opposite the art market.
  • Threads of Life, Jl Kajeng 24,  +62 361 972187, e-mail: tac@threadsoflife.com. 10AM-7PM daily. A fair trade store that stocks commercially made, traditional hand-woven textiles from Bali and all points east in Indonesia. Or better yet, go to the shops that are actually from the villages and outer islands like Timor and Flores, and specialize in traditional weavings.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Ubud on Wikivoyage.

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