Ubud is Bali’s cultural hub, a seductive town set amid terraced rice paddies and known for its talented classical dancers and musicians, and for its prolific painters and craftspeople. Tradition is particularly important here and temple festivals happen almost daily. However, although it’s fashionable to characterize Ubud as the real Bali, especially in contrast with Kuta, it’s a major tourist destination and bears little resemblance to a typical Balinese town.
Arty, high-minded Ubud has the best art museums and commercial galleries on the island and is also a recognized centre for spiritual tourism, with many opportunities to try out indigenous and imported healing therapies. Organic cafés, riverside bungalows and craft shops crowd its central marketplace, while the surrounding countryside is ideal for walks and cycle rides, and there’s easy access to the northern volcanoes.
There is major (mostly tasteful) development along the central Jalan Monkey Forest, and Ubud’s peripheries now encompass the neighbouring hamlets of Campuhan, Sanggingan, Penestanan, Nyuhkuning, Peliatan, Pengosekan and Padang Tegal.