Ubud gets its name from ubad, meaning medicine in Balinese, and it's certainly a place of wellness. It is located in the hills amongst the rice paddies and steep ravens which creates a rather hot climate all year long with the wet season being overcast and the dry season partly cloudy boxing the heat in. We usually make sure to pack a lot of lightweight linen when we travel there!
The district of 74,800 is considered the arts and cultural centre of Bali and a place of ‘holy inspiration.’ It has developed a large tourism industry (with tourists at times out populating the locals) based around visits to its many temples, ceremonies and the wearing of traditional costumes.
One of the features that attracts so many people to the region is the strong focus on having a sustainable economy in the many local shops with many of the artwork, crafts, carvings and jewellery being made of renewable or up-cycled materials found throughout Indonesia. In fact, the past king of Ubud co-founded the Pitamaha Artists Cooperative in 1936, which combined traditional Balinese art and Western art and created many inroads into making the industry into what it is today. Many famous artists have visited Ubud for inspiration including Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Colin Macphee, Noel Coward and Antionio Blanco, the movie adaptation of Eat, Love, Pray starring Julie Roberts was shot in Ubud.
As you walk through the main village centre of Ubud desa (village) down one of the main promenades Jl Raya Ubud, Jl Hanoman, or Jl Monkey Forest where you will pass a monkey sanctuary called the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal with over 700 Balinese long tailed monkeys at home in the tropical forest and overgrown temples.
You may want to visit the kings former residence and palace to see the Ramayana Ballet which is performed on the palace grounds nightly and features Hindu-inspired dancers performing scenes from the ballet.
As the sun prepares to set, walk up the twokilometer trail to the top of Campuhan ridge to watch the sunset over the spot where two the rivers Tukad Yeh Wos Kiwa and Tukad Yeh Wos Tengen merge.
Once you have had your fill of the delights of ancient temples, crafty artisans, rich history and hot weather it is time to leave but hopefully changed for a lifetime like the founders of the Bazaar, Paul and Evelyn Gervan when they saw the magic there long before the tourists outnumbered the locals.