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. Do take some of our walks and tours in the area.
There are plenty of activities to do, and some remarkable architectural and other sights to be found. The general feeling of well being can only be enjoyed, all thanks to the spirit, surroundings, and climate of the place.
While Ubud seems to outsiders like one small town, it is in fact fourteen villages, each run by its own banjar(village committee).
Ubud has grown rapidly, and some central parts are creaking under the strain of coping with the number of visitors. That said, most development is sympathetic to the zeitgeist, if not designed specifically in the local style. Growth continues apace, but there are still terraced rice fields along the rivers, and away from the town centre, regular, quiet village life carries on relatively undisturbed.
Orienting yourself in Ubud is fairly straightforward. The town sprawls for several kilometres in all directions, with all of the small villages within a five km 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, Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Hanoman. At the intersection of Jl Raya and Jl Monkey Forest are Ubud Market, Ubud Palace, and the main bemo stop — unsurprisingly, there's also a near-permanent traffic jam here.
Jl Monkey Forest, which runs south through town to the Monkey Forest, is a built-up area, and home to a wide array of accommodation, art galleries, and cafes, as well a number of local services such as schools, a sports field, pharmacies, and travel agents. Jl Hanoman, which runs parallel to Jl Monkey Forest just to the east, is a bit quieter and makes for more pleasant walking.
To the immediate west and northwest are the villages of Campuan (Tjampuhan, Campuhan) and Kedewatan, home to some of the most upmarket hotels in the whole of Asia, with views over valleys sculpted by the Ayung and Wos rivers.
Directly to the south, past the Monkey Forest and still within a twenty minute walk of the central market, is Padang Tegal which then runs into the southern villages of Nyuh Kuning and Pengosekan, about three km from central Ubud. Directly to the east is the village of Peliatan, and then Tegesand Bedulu, home of the ninth century Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).