Ubud Tourist Attractions
By road: from Denpasar north-east via Kesiman and Sukawati.Bus: several services daily from Denpasar-Kereneng.Bemo: not recommended from Denpasar.
Ubud, Bali's "artistic heart", lies 25 km (15 mi.) north-north-east of Denpasar on the southern edge of the central Balinese heartland, in a region of charming tropical landscape.The well watered soil, irrigated by an intricate network of canals, enabled the population for many centuries to prosper on the proceeds of agriculture; nowadays an increasing proportion of their income comes from the tourist trade.Arts and crafts Ubud is regarded as the artistic and cultural center of Bali. Many artists still live here, finding their inspiration in the beautiful country around the town. Some of them - painters, sculptors, woodcarvers, etc. - have formed artistic communities.Ubud and the surrounding area are a good "shopping center" for traditional Balinese handicrafts; and with luck you may come upon some genuine antique - remembering that you require an export permit to take it home.Although Ubud has little in the way of tourist sights to back up its attraction as an artistic center, it is well provided with accommodation for visitors and makes a good base from which to explore the surrounding country.Ubud has a number of charming temples, and there are a variety of temple festivals and other ceremonies throughout the year.
A visit to the Neka Museum, named after the Balinese painter Suteja Neka (b. 1939), can be recommended particularly to those interested in the development of painting on Bali. Neka inherited his talent in part from his father, a gifted sculptor and an active member of Bali's first artistic society who gained a certain reputation only in his later years. Suteja Neka's breakthrough came in 1966, when there was an exhibition of his and his father's works at the opening of a new hotel. Thereafter he devoted himself to teaching young Balinese the rudiments of painting. He was also an active collector of works of art created on Bali, including pictures by Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and Miguel Covarrubias and many works by Balinese artists.The Neka Museum has a total exhibition area of 6900 sq. m (74,300 sq. ft) in four buildings set in a beautiful garden. A fifth building is used for temporary exhibitions.A profusely illustrated guide to the museum, which gives biographies of the artists as well as information about the works on show, can be bought at the ticket office.
Antonio Blanco House
A short distance west of the town center, in a splendid tropical garden, is the house and studio of one of the best known painters on Bali, Antonio María Blanco. The pictures displayed in the house - many of them for sale - give an excellent overview of Blanco's varied artistic activity. The house, which was presented to the artist by the son of a Balinese prince, is now the headquarters of the Blanco Art Foundation.
10 minutes' walk south of the town center is the Monkey Forest, which is considerably smaller than the one at Sangeh but has a more beautiful setting.After running the gauntlet of the inevitable peanut and souvenir sellers, visitors come to a gigantic waringin tree, under which is a stone figure of a monkey.A temple on the west side of the Monkey Forest, the Pura Dalem Agung Padang Tegal, is the haunt of hundreds of little monkeys, which as a rule are happy to take food from visitors but can on occasion become unpleasantly aggressive. The temple itself is a good example of southern Balinese religious architecture: note particularly the covered gate (candi korung) and the bell-tower (kulkul), set on a stepped base and richly decorated with reliefs, with a striker in the form of a phallus.
There are a couple of attractions within a short distance of Ubud.
Bird-watchers will find it well worth while to make a detour to Petulu, only 3 km (2 mi.) north of Ubud. In the evening great flocks of white herons - a bird which to the Balinese is sacred - swoop down and settle on the trees around the village.
4 km (21/2 mi.) south of Ubud is the little village of Mas, which is famed for the skill of its craftsmen. The main street of the village is lined with the shops and showrooms of woodcarvers, sculptors and other artists. Their workshops are often close by, enabling visitors to watch the craftsmen at work. Some woodcarvers runs courses for beginners and at a more advanced level.Near the end of the village are the furniture-makers, who make tables, chairs and other items of bamboo and rattan.
Ubud Pictures View All