Rabu, 04 November 2009

Ubud: A Place of Serenity and Peace

You either come to Bali to be entertained or to relax. For the romantic atmosphere and fabulous nightlife, beaches in Bali offer a mixture of excitement, adventure and pleasure. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, then Ubud is the place for you.

Enriched with culture and verdant vista, Ubud offers a respite from humdrum of your busy life. In the past it was just a small village, but now this place has grown bigger. Ubud seeks to pamper the visitors—in body and soul. Fine dining restaurants and spas here will delight and relax the senses. A walk near the paddy fields will leave a lasting impression, and the sight is fantastic enough to make you want to hold your breath.

The best way to observe traditions and culture of Balinese is through mingling with the locals and watching their day to day routine. In this relatively small place, you can visit the temples and villages, relatively unchanged. Shown on the upper left is a traditional ritual you can find almost daily. (Image source: Yves Picq, Wikimedia Commons.)

Art galleries are also abundant. Pieces of art are waiting to be explored and appreciated, who knows you might find the perfect painting or statue to grace the blank spot in your living room?

Getting There

Various transportations from all over Bali are available. If you decide to visit Ubud right from the airport, you can hail a prepaid cab but the fee might be quite hefty. You can take a regular taxi or rental car to this place. Public transportation like bus can also take you here.

Getting Around

Since Ubud is relatively small, you can explore it on foot or hire a bicycle/motorcycle. Bear in mind that due to hilly terrain, you should ask locals first which places are more comfortable explored on foot, by bicycle, motorcycle or even car.

Taxis are available but they are considered somewhat of a rare species. If you prefer traveling by car, use “taxis” in the shape of private vehicles with drivers, they usually can be found in the street corner.

On the right: entrance to Ubud. (Image credit: っ, Wikimedia Commons)

To Do

This region is filled with history and culture. Many remnants from the old kingdom of Bali can be found here, and unique crafts and arts are waiting to be discovered. Known for its tranquility, Ubud offers several natural retreats. The lush, green view and cool atmosphere makes morning and afternoon stroll pleasant.

You might be interested in doing some sightseeing in the remnants of Bali kingdom. Tirta Empul is nearby, only 15 km away. Here you can see Tirta Empul temple. About 8 km away is Pejeng, here you can visit the museum and temples. When you’re around why not complete your trip by visiting archeological sites in Bedulu? It’s only 3 km away.

Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), shown on the upper right (credit: China Crisis, Wikimedia Commons), is also worth visiting. Located about 1 km from Teges, legend says that it was created from a giant’s fingernail. It probably was first utilized in 11th century, during Majapahit occupation of Bali. Dutch archaeologist rediscovered this place in the 1920s but the bathing area was not found until in the 1950s.

It’s interesting to note that the entrance of this cave is carved in the shape of a demon-like creature. Statue of Ganesh adorns the inside. Bathing pools with water still gushing out can be found nearby, and some say the water will help you look younger.

Ubud is the perfect place to indulge in watching cultural events and performances. Kecak, Legong and Barong dances are performed weekly. Ramayana and Mahabharata ballets, gamelan (orchestra made of traditional music instruments) and wayang kulit (traditional Indonesian puppets from leather). The picture on the right (source: Jack Merridew, Wikimedia Commons) shows Ngaben, the traditional way of cremating the departed. 

Too tense and caught up in everyday world? Indulge yourself in the spas around Ubud, with exotic spices to tease your senses and relaxation is the ultimate goal.

Adventurous folks might want to try white water rafting in Sungai Ayung. Many outdoor activities are available as well, contact the local tour agencies. While your spouse relaxes in the spa, you can pump your adrenaline and enjoy a different way to relieve your stress!

The artist in you just yearns to come out of the surface—so take some art classes and courses in Ubud! Ever wondered how batik is done, and how rare masterpieces can be created? Or perhaps you’d love to design and create your own silver jewelry? Learn them here. For those who are more interested in culinary skills, cooking classes are also available.

Ubud is the home of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival ( where book enthusiasts, namely writers and readers around the world gather and share their experiences and of course, stories. It’s usually held in October every year.

To Stay

Many inns to star hotels can easily be found here. Posh accommodations are available who prefer luxury above all else. Modest inns or even homestays are available to the ones who would live to view Balinese daily life.

To Eat

The Monkey Forest Street and Jalan Hanoman provides many choices of restaurants, from western cuisine to Balinese dishes.

To Buy

For keepsakes, make sure to visit South of Ubud. You can find hundreds of craft shops offering art products and handmade souvenirs, especially from stone and wood. If you’re planning to stay for a while you can ask the artists to custom made your order. If shopping is your middle name, then Pasar Seni (Art Market), Jalan Raya Ubud, Monkey Forest Street, Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Dewi Sita must be included into your itinerary.

While there, why not visit Monkey Forest Sanctuary? The sanctuary's home to hundreds of long-tailed monkeys, with a beautiful temple at its center.

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