Bucket List – The Must See Highlights of Ubud
Ubud is Bali’s cultural centre; the core of traditional artwork in the country and a historical landmark of Indonesia. With countless attractions, ranging from awe-inspiring architecture, to untouched landscapes, this once sleepy eighth century village is certainly worth taking time to appreciate. The luxury hotels available in the area are exquisite, so here’s our recommended activities worth leaving your hotel for, ensuring you enjoy during your time in Ubud.
Turn back time in the temples
Although Ubud has transformed itself for the pleasure and entertainment of travellers, there are still large areas of preserved ancient history hidden within walking distance. To experience the spiritual powers of Ubud’s ancient land, visit Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring, a quick drive northeast from the centre.
Famed as one of the holiest temples in Bali, these grounds will surprise with bubbling hot springs. Witness locals purifying their souls in the waters and revel at the true age of this stunning work of architecture, thought to date back to 960. This temple is a must-see on your bucket list during the Balinese festival Galungan, when sacred barong masks are brought here for bathing.
A stone’s throw away from Tirta Empul sits the temple complex at Gunung Kawi. Dating back to the 11th century and also know as ‘Poet Mountain’, these aged burial grounds are thought to have been the resting place of King Anak Wungsu and his numerous wives. Lose yourself in wonder as you climb down the 371 steps to the valley floor, where paddy fields dominate the horizon. Look for the temple structures, carved meticulously into the river valley and see the free growing vines twist around the currents. This temple is a bucket list must for stunning scenery and a wondrous tale.
Tour on two wheels
Ubud is a very accessible destination for travellers wanting to explore by foot, or via bicycle. To discover the full pleasures of the Balinese countryside, join the Bali Bintang Bike Tour. This three to four hour excursion will see you ride through the quiet suburbs and terraced rice paddies, witness local life and bond with warm hearted villagers.
The multilingual tour guides feel safety is top priority, providing the best, well maintained equipment for all cyclists, and all are fully trained first aiders. Special features of the tour include powerful views of the active volcano, Mount Batur, ancient temple ceremonies and a taster of the best Balinese cuisine. Bali Bintang Bike Tour will pick you up from your hotel and its downhill route makes it the perfect bucket list activity for all ages.
See the monkeys swing
Ubud is a perfect destination for wild animal lovers. With the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary just a stones throw away in Padangtegal, this is a must see location on your bucket list. Like most sanctuaries in Bali, this forest is located in a sacred village, demonstrating the harmony between humans and nature.
Feel the spiritual culture as you explore the tall tropical trees and witness over 600 long-tailed macaques. Find your way through the forest to discover the beauty of one of its many holy buildings; the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple, also known as the Hindu Great Temple of Death.
Discover your artistic flare
Your bucket list experience in Ubud cannot emit its abundance of traditional artwork, waiting for your discovery. Ubud offers a great number of museums, displaying both indigenous and international artwork, including paintings by Rudolf Bonnet, who became a prominent figure in the growth of traditional art in Ubud in the 1900s.
Arma museum, located in Jalan Hanoman, features modern collections, right back to pre war pieces, emphasising the strength of culture through the ages. After a few hours pondering over intriguing paintings, try your hand at a range of artistic classes on offer, like Balinese Batik and wood carving. Allow skilled instructors to demonstrate basic techniques and explain their history, while you produce your very own cultural piece to take home.