Have you thought of using Ubud as a base when you visit Bali?
If not you should consider it. Only 30 minutes from Denpasar, and with a slightly milder climate, Ubud is set in the lush green hills of rich rice-terraced country and is the cultural centre, the artistic heart of Bali. Fascinating to explore, this will be an unforgettable experience.
1. “Eat Pray Love” Factor
For better or worse, Ubud’s popularity continues to grow, adding on the hoopla created by the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love and subsequent Hollywood movie put Ubud on the “spiritual tourist” map, particularly for “women of a certain age”, and you can still find references to it all over town.
2. Walk Along the Main Street
Ubud contains hundreds of small workshops where Balinese people live and make many of the handicrafts you will see on display. Walk down main street, Jalan Raya, for a diverse cultural experience. Life comes onto the street to meet you. Exquisite shops have statues outside, beautifully intricate fresh flower arrangements, and floral offerings containing incense sticks. There are also hotels and bungalows restaurants, art galleries, shops, banks, Internet cafes, museums, and tour sellers. Take a cooking class or choose from lots of other cultural workshops.
Visit the market at the corner of Jalan Raya and Monkey Forest Road for an incredible array of locally made artworks, batik shirts, beads, handicrafts, carvings, jewelry, pottery, gold and silverware, spices, woodcarvings, wind chimes, colorful sarongs in traditional prints. Bargaining is expected and it’s good to go early as the first sale of the day brings good luck. Set in a two-storied square with an open
courtyard, the market is frequented by both tourists and local Balinese shoppers and is always colorful and lively.
Ubud is the place to learn and practice yoga, particularly with classes costing as little as 110,000 rupiah (about $10; even less if you buy a multi-day pass). The two main places to bliss out are the Yoga Barn and the more contemporary Radiantly Alive, whose classes include Fly High Yoga (using straps to hang from the ceiling) and Acro Yoga (a blend of acrobatics and Thai massage)
4. Food of All Varieties
Ubud is extremely well supplied with fine restaurants, cafes and foodstalls – Mexican, German, Italian and more. Taste a mouth-watering selection of some of the best Balinese food, which is appetizing and unique. Have a lovely breakfast or brunch for a very small price served by a smiling and charming waitress as you relax and watch the passers-by. Sauces may come to you in exotic containers made from fresh leaves.
5. Green School
Imagine a school with “eco” at its core. Now make the whole thing out of bamboo and design it to maximize holistic learning for body, mind, soul and spirit. That’s Green School, an international school that runs free public tours every weekday afternoon to promote green living, as well as green education. You can also visit Green Village, the neighboring community of architect-designed bamboo houses.
6. Spa Heaven
From fish-nibbling foot massages to five-star treatments, Ubud can pamper you like nowhere else. Bypass the back-alley “spa” centers off Monkey Forest Road (their massages are cheap but the therapists often untrained) and treat yourself to a volcanic ash mud-bath at Ubud Sari Health Resort or an Ayurvedic crown massage at Bali Botanica Day Spa. Or spend a day at Maya Ubud Resort’s award-winning spa.