Famous for its painter’s community, Ubud is special in more ways than one. It has its own magic, and its particularly beautiful surrounding and gracious way of life have drawn celebrities and artists from all over the world in recent decades; some have even adopted Ubud as their own home. The magic is easy to find just take a walk south of the village through its terraced paddy fields to the monkey forest. Fresh water spouts out of the sheer rock at the ravine, and a bath in a secluded, shady spot is purifying.
The main street is Jalan Raya Ubud (Jl. Raya means main road), which runs east-west through the center of town. Two long roads, Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Hanoman, extend south from Jl. Raya Ubud. Puri Saren Agung is a large palace located at the intersection of Monkey Forest and Raya Ubud roads. The home of Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (1910-1978), the last “king” of Ubud, it is now occupied by his descendants and dance performances are held in its courtyard. It was also one of Ubud’s first hotels, dating back to the 1930s.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a sacred nature reserve located near the southern end of Jalan Monkey Forest. It houses a temple and approximately 340 Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys.
Ubud tourism focuses on culture, yoga and nature. In contrast to the main tourist area in southern Bali, the Ubud area has forests, rivers, cooler temperatures and less congestion although traffic has increased dramatically in the 21st century. A number of smaller “boutique”-style hotels are located in and around Ubud, which commonly offer spa treatments or treks up Ubud’s mountains.
The Moon of Pejeng, in nearby Pejeng, is the largest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world, dating from circa 300BC. It is a popular destination for tourists interested in local culture, as is the 11th century Goa Gajah, or ‘Elephant Cave’, temple complex.