Ubud is a remarkable town in the middle of the island of Bali. For more than a century, it has been the island’s pre-eminent centre for fine arts, dance and music. While it once was a haven for backpackers, cosmic seekers, artists and bohemians, Ubud is now a hot spot for literati, glitterati, art collectors and connoisseurs. Famous names walk its busy sidewalks everyday. Elegant five star hotels and sprawling mansions now stand on its outskirts, overlooking the most prized views in Bali . Nonetheless, Ubud is still popular with backpackers, mystics and all the finest fringe elements of global society. Ubud is not “ruined”. Its character is too strong to be destroyed. It still draws people who add something; people who are actively involved in art, nature, anthropology, music, dance, architecture, environmentalism, “alternative modalities,” and more.
The real Ubud is under the surface. There are plenty of interesting things on the main streets, but most of the magic of Ubud is hidden away. In the backstreets, backwaters, courtyards and cafes. In people’s hearts, minds, and dreams. This part of the Bali web site was built to show you how to go behind the facade and find the real Ubud, and the real Bali , without having to spend all your time searching for it. There’s no point in repeating what’s in the guidebooks, so we’ve tried not to. If you’re interested in Ubud, there are at least a dozen guidebooks on Bali available and they all provide information on Ubud. Use this web site before you go to guidebooks, to find out what makes Ubud so special. Then use it after the guidebooks for up-to-date information, news and features about our extra ordinary town.
The main temples in Ubud are the location for a tremendous variety of festivals, special prayers and observances of particular holy days. Following is a list of the some of the main temples and the dates of their odalans, beginning with the three main temples which are requisite to any Balinese desa. Before you attend any religious ceremony or enter a temple, read the “Etiquette and Dress Notice” in these web pages. Our advice is to find a Balinese friend or hotel employee who will take you to a ceremony, and advise you throughout about what is taking place, and how you can appreciate and participate in the ceremony without making a faux pas.
For millennia, Ubud and the areas immediately surrounding it have been “centre stage” for the fascinating drama of Balinese history. During the Bronze Age (from 300BC), the ubud was already a wellspring of culture. This is evidenced by numerous archeological finds in the area, including megalithic ruins and stepped pyramids, some of which are mow the foundations of active Hindu temples. Remarkable Bronze Age artifacts around Ubud include the enormous bronze gong known as “The Moon of Pejeng”. It is still displayed in Pura Panataran Sasih in Pejeng, east of Ubud. Nearby at the archaeological museum in Bedulu are a collection of stone sarcophagi unearthed in the area, which give mute testimony to the death rituals of the people’s ancestors.