Hotels in Ubud (Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia)
Hotels in Ubud
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Ubud: Bali’s cultural nucleus
Often mentioned as the cultural centre of Bali, Ubud is inland from the beach resorts and offers a vastly different experience. Although arguably equally as hectic with tourists, Ubud is focused around history and culture as opposed to surfing and nightlife. International appeal for the region increased greatly after the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and its consequent blockbuster film adaptation. The memoirs depict Ubud in an idyllic light and although it is not as glamourous as the film suggests, the majority of visitors to Ubud and its surroundings fall in love with its intense culture and exotic atmosphere.
Finding your bearings in Ubud
Ubud, although referred to as if it were a single town, is actually a collection of small villages and as a result is spread across a large area with multiple focal points. Many of the reference points are religious or cultural buildings such as the Ubud Royal Palace which intersects two major roads: Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud. These two streets are home to dozens of shops, restaurants and cafes, forming the core commercial centre of Ubud and often extremely busy. Many visitors are shocked at the intensity of this part of the town especially given Ubud’s reputation as the peaceful and religious region of Bali, however not all of Ubud is this chaotic. Following the streets away from this central intersection, it is possible to discover smaller side streets featuring hotels in Ubud which look out onto vast fields and forest. Although the network of winding streets, and one-way systems may seem baffling upon first impression, after a few days most visitors find themselves easily navigating the area using various familiar reference points to avoid being lost.
Indulge in fine cuisine
The history of Ubud is of course an essential dimension of the region, however the modern day culture which has been formed as a consequence, presents an exotic array of local cuisine. There are dining options to suit all budgets, with fine high-class restaurants in modern buildings sat next to grassroots street food stalls, all providing a variety of Balinese cuisine. Food is a huge part of the Indonesian lifestyle and Ubud truly spoils its visitors with such an extensive mix of restaurants waiting to be explored. It is not simply local cuisine represented, particularly along Jl Monkey Forest and the surrounding streets, there has been an influx of international cuisine with Italian, Mexican and American styles available amongst others. This adds to Ubud’s universal appeal and ensures that those staying in an Ubud hotel can experience a blend of culture whilst having the reassurance of home comforts. Furthermore, there are dozens of restaurants which also provide cooking lessons for visitors with the desire to learn about the local cuisine in depth.
Take a piece of Ubud home
Ubud is also home to dozens of souvenir shops and markets offering a multitude of local art and crafts. Tourists browse through lively market stalls and creative boutiques for everything from small quaint nick-nacks to huge statues and sculptures. Ubud Market at the intersection of Monkey Forest and Raya Ubud is the epicentre of this and the stalls expand outwards into the surrounding streets. Away from the market there are specialist stores selling more individual products, here visitors can find unique made-to-order crafts as well as workshops, presenting a chance to get involved and learn the creative process. There are countless examples of these shops across the centre, ensuring that most Ubud hotels are within walking distance. For those looking to shop in a quieter environment, many of the smaller villages in the Bali countryside contain independent craft stores with a variety of local jewellery, paintings and carvings. After a day exploring the markets, a popular way to unwind is to take in one of the many traditional dance performances extended to tourists, usually performed open-air in a temple.
Explore the stunning scenery
Despite its dense central area, many of Ubud’s highlights lie further away from urbanisation. In terms of accessing the lesser frequented spots, the most convenient method of transport is to rent a scooter, a very common option especially with younger tourists. One of the quintessential Balinese scenes is the rice terraces and to the north of Ubud, the village of Tegallalang is home to the most iconic terraces. However visitors can venture into remote neighbourhoods to find more peaceful rice paddies without the hoards of tourists and consequent market sellers. The outskirts of Ubud also present additional examples of Balinese architecture, with several significant temples frequently explored by visitors. These include Gunung Kawi, a stunning temple dating back to the eleventh century and set in a lush green valley; a most archetypal Bali landscape. Visitors looking to experience the tranquil side of the Ubud have the choice of many hotels set away from the hustle and bustle, often offering spa treatments and yoga classes amongst other relaxing facilities. For those seeking a more adventurous outdoors, there are also a host of activities available in rural Bali. Tours offer rafting, quad-biking, and off-road cycling amongst others, and give a true opportunity to get far off the beaten track.