Ubud, near Balia€™s cool central upland, is a treasure trove of cultural landmarks, ranging from ancient temples and majestic age-old royal palaces, to wonderful panoramas of green hillsides and rice terraces. The town and its outskirts within the Gianyar regency, is your holiday destination if you are also into the Balinese culture, arts and crafts, as it was where some of the worlda€™s notable artisans and collectors have visited, lived and worked, creating or compiling eclectic masterpieces that you can observe in local museums and art galleries.

While most of the museums and galleries are along the main Jalan Raya Ubud thoroughfare, some kilometres away from the centre are other worthy attractions to see and spend a whole day at, such as the Bali Safari & Marine Park, the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets, and the Bali Zoo.

Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave’

Goa Gajah is one of the islanda€™s most impressive archaeological sites, located south of the Bedulu village, a region famous for its collection of historical sites. The temple complex is within a six-kilometre drive south of central Ubud and an houra€™s drive northeast from the provincial capital of Denpasar. Down a flight of stairs, you will discover a relic-filled courtyard and the main 11th century a€˜cavea€™ in which you can enter to view rock-wall carvings and a meditational site, while out on the perimeter are a Hindu temple and an impressive bathing pool with fountains, excavated back in 1954.

Ubud Monkey Forest

Ubud Monkey Forest is one of Balia€™s several grey long-tailed macaque-inhabited forests, and perhaps the best known among the rest due to its community-based management, location and ease of access. It lies on the fringes of the Ubud main centre, and is overseen by the Padangtegal village. Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, and by its official designation as Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, Ubud Monkey Forest is a place of scientific research as well as a site of spiritual and cultural aspects with temples sanctified by the local villagers deep within its grounds.

 

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Balia€™s traditional, centuries-old cooperative irrigational system known as a€˜Subaka€™ has created among the most beautiful terraced landscapes in Southeast Asia. Several minutesa€™ drive north of the main Ubud centre is the cool upland area of Tegallalang, which has become famous for its scenic stopover where travellers to the northern region drop by for snapshots and souvenirs. The latter is provided by the many souvenir stalls that line the ledge. Another highlight nearby is the quaint village of Pakudui, where you can find an extraordinary variety of ornamental woodwork and various carvings. Amongst the many carved mythical figures the Garuda seems to be majestically ever present amongst the creations.

Puri Saren Royal Palace

Just a hop away from the Ubud Art Market is the palace of the Ubud royal family, referred to as Puri Saren Agung. The Ubud Royal Palace is one of the most prominent places in Ubud, as it is smack-dab on the main Jalan Raya Ubud road and intersection. The palace can also be regarded as the focal landmark of Ubud. The Ubud palace was built during the lordship of the late Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800-1823), and is well-kept by his successive heirs. A visit to the Puri Saren is on many of the itineraries to the Ubud area. It has well-preserved Balinese architecture and charming garden settings, and is best known among lovers of Balinese arts as one of the main sites to view dramatic evening dance performances.

 

Blanco Renaissance Museum
Blanco Renaissance Museum is an unofficial landmark in Ubud, the house and studio of the late flamboyant Philippine-born maestro, Don Antonio Blanco. Located on a hilltop overlooking the lush valley of Campuhan, it houses paintings, collages and illustrated poetry, together with lithographic artworks of his favourite subject: nude Balinese women. The private residence and lavish studio has guided tours of the facility, with the artista€™s family members hosting you if youa€™re lucky. The thought-provoking collections, lush garden surroundings and a fine restaurant established in the name of the artista€™s late wife and muse all provide a great stopover on your trips to Ubud.
Agung Rai Museum of Art

The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) is part of a gallery, cultural centre and accommodation venture in Pengosekan, Ubud, owned and founded by Balinese entrepreneur and art collector, Anak Agung Gde Rai. The museum features two main large buildings filled with exhibits displaying a large collection of artworks. The museum is located in Pengosekan, approximately three km south of the main Ubud centre and 25km north of the provincial capital of Denpasar, in the regency of Gianyar, central Bali.

Setia Darma House of Masks

The Setia Darma Masks & Puppets House is a unique museum with a mission to preserve some of Indonesiaa€™s most colourful heritage items. It serves as a great cultural and educational part of tours to central Bali, ideal for families and culture lovers, with its broad collection of items from around the globe. The site currently houses over a 1,000 masks and over 4,000 puppets from all over the Indonesian archipelago, Africa, China, Latin America and Europe. A courtyard comprises five traditional wooden Balinese pavilions and Javanese a€˜jogloa€™ and a€˜limasana€™ houses that each house vast collections in different categories. The houses are spread over 1.4 hectares of an undulating paddy landscape and surrounded by well-manicured tropical gardens.

Bali Bird & Reptile Park

Bali Bird Park & Reptile Park is a unique and educational attraction fit for the whole family. Two hectares of fine tropical gardens offer an interesting leisurely walk amidst the rich compilation of nearly a thousand exotic birds from the Indonesian archipelago and around the world. The Bali Bird Park is located in the village of Batubulan, Gianyar Regency, and serves as a fun and attractive playground for bird-lovers, as well as a convenient stopover for those on day tours en route to the central regions such as Ubud, Celuk and Mas.

Bali Zoo

Bali Zoo, locally referred to as a€˜Kebun Binatang Balia€™, is the only animal attraction in Bali using a€˜zooa€™ in its name. The zoo is set over 8ha of lush tropical gardens in the village of Singapadu, Gianyar regency. The zoo is a convenient stopover before Ubud on tours from the island’s south. Bali Zoo is home to various tropical plants and an extensive collection of fauna ranging from mammals, birds and reptiles. The zoo is shady and pleasant to walk through and also features a range of experiences, such as elephant and pony rides, photo sessions with animals, as well as outbound adventures.

Campuhan Ridge Walk
For a free and easy nature trek in Ubud, try the Campuhan Ridge Walk that offers you an escape from the bustles of the main Ubud streets to enjoy cool fresh air and probably the most gorgeous hillside vista in the region. It starts off from the scenic Gunung Lebah Temple, and there’s a chance you’ll meet a few fellow trekkers and joggers on their way back from their morning walks. However, most of the time youa€™ll have the path to your own.