About the places
Situated near the islands centre and midway between Kuta and the Kintamani peaks, Ubud is by many considered to be much cooler than Kuta. Apart from being home to a vast array of modern art galleries, craft shops and studios, this charming conglomerate of villages is also the ‘royal centre’ of Bali with numerous palaces and temples to be visited.
It also offers some of Bali’s best dining experiences. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, try biking, walking, trekking, bird watching, herb gathering, kayaking and/or rafting amid the phosphorescent rice paddies, lush tropical gorges and palm waving rivers so characteristic of Ubud. Thus, with all that Ubud has to offer, visitors are recommended to stay at least 2-5 days. Many visitors make Ubud their home base as it is so centrally located and close to all the other attractions in Bali.
Over the centuries, Ubud has been influenced by numerous waves of invading armies. In 1343, the East Javanese Hindu Majapahit dynasty conquered Bali; their descendants still inhabit the palaces of Ubud today. After the fall of the Majapahit Empire in the 16th century (and as a result of the consequent Islamization of Java), many scholars, artists, intellectuals and priests migrated to Bali, and more specifically to the small kingdoms in and around Ubud. At the end of the l9th century, the Dutch occupation sparked an interest in Bali by Western artists and intellectuals (e.g. Walter Spies, Colin McPhee and Rudolf Bonnet), many of whom visited Bali and settled here during the 1930s. From the 1970s and onwards backpackers and artists started to arrive, many of whom fell in love with this hilly Shangri-la and still live in Ubud today.
A good start to your Ubud stay includes a visit to the Ubud Tourism Information Center (T. +62361 977 568) on Jalan Raya Ubud. There are also tourist agencies all over town, and the various excellent bookshops sell maps of Ubud