Considered the cultural area of Bali (Indonesia) Ubud is a little village in the centre of the island, 20 Km away from Denpasar. The town spreads for several kilometres and includes small villages and unspoiled green forest.
The centre of the town has a constant traffic from the passage of locals and tourists and has three main streets with souvenir shops and cafes. Visitors can find unique guesthouses and hotels in traditional balinese style. Moreover, Ubud has a lot art galleries and the Traditional Art Market. A double story building, that is open every day selling statues, batik and other hand-crafted goods.
Evidenced by numerous archaeological ruins, the history of Ubud dates back to 300BC. In the 8th century a Buddhist priest, Rsi Marhandya, came to Bali from Java on pilgrimage and transformed the area into a centre of natural medicine. Therefore, the town was named Ubud, meaning medicine in ancient Balinese. From the 10th Century diverse temples and monasteries were build to celebrate the Hindu-Buddhist culture. For example, Gunung Kawi and Goa Gajah, two sanctuaries with unique rock structures.
Many of the dances, performances and rituals still in use today, originated during this time. The first Europeans to arrive in Bali were the Portuguese in 1585. After that, from 1600 the Dutch Indian arrived in Ubud. In 1900 it became a Dutch protectorate maintaining its traditional culture. In the 1930s foreign artists were encouraged to stay here. Therefore, this part of Bali became the art and culture centre.
Ubud is in a hill territory, with gentle fields and breathtaking rice terraces like Tegalalang. This is one of the island’s attractions, with green fields and a breathtaking landscape. In addition, travellers can visit the Monkey Forest of Padangtegal a natural reserve. They can experience Hindu temples, from the 17th century, stone statues and hundreds of monkeys.
In addition, every year around October takes place the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, a Southeast Asia cultural event that celebrates writers, artists and performers from Indonesia and all over the world.
Photo credit: ©Matt Oldfield, Ulrike Reinhold and Vifick, somewhere-unique, Ubud writers & readers festival