Complementing the ancient temples and palaces is the unspoiled countryside that offers picturesque rice paddies, rivers and gorgeous scenery. There are many wonderful walks in every direction from Ubud, through the rice terraces, villages, jungle gorges and grassy hilltops. Organised walks cover a variety of themes including birdwatching and exploration of historic and cultural sites. Ubud’s beautiful surroundings and gracious way of life have drawn artists from all over the globe in recent decades, some of whom have even adopted Ubud as their home.
The main gallery areas are Jalan Raya, running from the Peliatan crossroads in the east all the way up to Sayan in the west; the main street through Peliatan; Pengosekan Village; Batuan Village; Penestanan Village; and the town of Mas, where the big-name woodcarvers have palatial galleries with impressive facades and enormous signs. Ubud is also known for its selection of Batik fabrics, carvings, jewellery and paintings.
Ubud also has several art museums. To gain a true appreciation of Balinese art, visit Museum Neka which features mostly modern works by Balinese, Indonesian and Western artists who have worked in Bali, and also take time to see Museum Puri Lukisan – Ubud’s “Palace of Art”. Founded around 40 years ago by a group of artists and patrons from the Ubud royal palaces, it is set in a peaceful garden with fountains, statues and pools.
The main crossroads in front of the Puri Saren palace is the ‘navel’ of Ubud – its cultural and historical focal point. Away from the main streets, Ubud is a quiet place featuring small lanes lined with homestays, warungs and Balinese compounds extending north and south from the main road.