Ubud is a town on the Indonesian island of Bali in Ubud District, located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency. One of Bali’s major arts and culture centres, it has developed a large tourism industry. Ubud has a population of about 30,000 people. Recently, it has become difficult to distinguish the town itself from the villages that surround it.The area surrounding the town is made up of small farms, rice paddies, and dense forest.
History of Ubud
Market scene in Ubud, around 1912 Eighth-century legend tells of a Javanese priest, Rsi Markendya, who meditated at the confluence of two rivers (an auspicious site for Hindus) at the Ubud locality of Campuan. Here he founded the Gunung Lebah Temple on the valley floor, the site of which remains a pilgrim destination.The town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants; Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word
In the late nineteenth century, Ubud became the seat of feudal lords who owed their allegiance to the king of Gianyar, at one time the most powerful of Bali’s southern states. The lords were members of the Balinese Kshatriya caste of Sukawati,and were significant supporters of the village’s increasingly renowned arts scene.
Ubud is culture, yes. It’s also home to good restaurants, cafes and streets of shops, many selling goods from the region’s artisans. There’s somewhere to stay for every budget, and no matter what the price you can enjoy lodgings that reflect the local Zeitgeist: artful, creative and serene. Ubud’s popularity continues to grow, adding on the hoopla created by the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love. Tour buses with day trippers can choke the main streets and cause traffic chaos. Fortunately Ubud adapts and a stroll away from the intersection of Jl Raya Ubud and Monkey Forest Rd, through the nearby verdant rice fields, can quickly make all right with the world. Spend a few days in Ubud to appreciate it properly. It’s one of those places where days can become weeks and weeks become months, as the noticeable expat community demonstrates.
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.
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.
What is Ubud?
Ubud is located 35 km northeast of Bali’s International Airport. It is attractive to tourists for a variety of reasons. On a relatively small island with a horde of attractions, Ubud is centrally located, There are plenty reasons why Ubud was voted in recently as the most fascinating city of Asia by Condé Nast Traveler.
The Ubud area is around two- to three hundred meters above sea level and surrounded by rice fields, which makes it noticeably cooler than then other tourist destinations in Bali. Neighbouring villages are well known for unique bamboo crafts and furniture, wood- and stone carving and many other crafts.
Ubud is famous for it’s regularly nightly traditional dance performances, which are part of the traditional culture and are arranged for tourists on a regular schedule. Hindu-Balinese ceremonies take place on a nearly daily basis, especially in the European summer, which is the driest and coolest season here.
Ubud is popular in part today because it is the best place in Bali to break out of the tourist mode and get off the beaten path, although far from undiscovered. Hotels are plentiful; home stays and Indonesian guesthouses (losmen) are easily available to the foreign tourist. Many tourists simply base their entire stay in the city and travel to other destinations from Ubud.
Accommodations in Ubud are also somewhat more reasonably priced than in the beach towns of Bali. But atmosphere is perhaps the major attractions. One visitor summed it up this way: Kuta is madness, Sanur is sterile, and Nusa Dua is culturally isolated; Ubud is the place to go.