UBUD - In many ways, the historical, artistic and cultural heart of Bali.

Ubud has a known history back to the eighth century, when the Javanese Buddhist priest Rsi Marhandya came to Bali from Java, and meditated at the confluence of the two Wos rivers at Campuan, just west of the modern day town centre.
In 1900, Ubud became a Dutch protectorate at its own request, and the colonialists interfered little, allowing the traditional arts and culture of the area to remain relatively unchanged. The modern era of Ubud perhaps began in the 1930s, when foreign artists were encouraged by the royal family to take up presence in the town. From their Ubud base, the likes of Walter Spies and Rudolph Bonnet were instrumental in promoting an understanding of Balinese art and culture worldwide. From the 1960s onwards, travellers started to arrive in earnest, mostly intrepid types as the infrastructure was still very limited indeed. Since then, Ubud has developed rapildy into a high profile, top class international destination, whilst still maintaining its integrity as the centre of Balinese art and culture.

market Central Ubud has three main streets:

Jl Raya Ubud, Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Hanoman.

At the intersection of Jl Raya and Jl Monkey Forest are Ubud Market. Jl Monkey Forest, which runs south through town to the Monkey Forest, is a built-up area, and home to a wide array of accommodation, art galleries, and cafes. Jl Hanoman, which runs parallel to Jl Monkey Forest just to the east, is a bit quieter and makes for more pleasant walking. To the immediate west and northwest are the villages of Campuanand Kedewatan, with views over valleys sculpted by the Ayung and Wos rivers. Directly to the south, past the Monkey Forest and still within a twenty minute walk of the central market, is Padang Tegal which then runs into the southern villages of Nyuh Kuning and Pengosekan, about three km from central Ubud. Directly to the east is the village of Peliatan, and then Teges and Bedulu, home of the ninth century Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave). Due to its elevation at 600 m above sea level, Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast.

Museums and Galleries

  • Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), Jl Pengosekan,Showcases works by well known Balinese artists, as well as international artists who made Bali their home such as Walter Spies, Adrian Jean Le Mayeur, Rudolph Bonnet and Arie Smit. The only painting in Bali by renowned Javanese artist Radan Saleh is exhibited here. They also run workshops for thirteen different aspects of Balinese art and culture.
  • Blanco Renaissance Museum, Jl Raya Campuhan, Before he passed away in 1999, Spanish artist Antonio Blanco was an absolute fixture on the Ubud art scene. His former home is now a museum showcasing his sometimes bizarre but always interesting work. Think Salvador Dali transplanted to Asia. In the garden you can take pictures of the exotic birds flying around.
  • Museum Puri Lukisan (Museum of Fine Arts), Jl Raya Ubud . When it opened in 1954, this was the first private museum in Bali. Three buildings showcase traditional and modern Balinese art. Exhibits by noted artists I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and Rudolph Bonnet, amongst others.
  • Museum Rudana, Jl Cok Rai Pudak 44. A wide range of Balinese paintings is exhibited here, both traditional and modern. Run by its owner, artist Nyoman Rudana, who is often present.
  • Neka Art Museum, Jl Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan, This museum houses perhaps the most important art collection in the whole of Bali. Six pavilions house the various collections which include dedicated rooms for artists Arie Smit and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.
  • Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women, Jl Sriwedari . This gallery features art only by women; "Seni" is Indonesian for art and "Wati" means women.

The area around Ubud is characterised by gently rolling rice paddies, and these create an impression of greenness which can be quite startlingly beautiful.

Past Ubud town centre the land starts to become more undulating, and this is a good place to view Bali's classic rice terraces.

padisubud watertemple rice terraces

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