Goa Gajah Elephant Cave Ubud
Goa Gajah is one of the most interesting archeological sites on the island, within a six kilometer drive of central Ubud. Going down a flight of stairs, visitors come to a courtyard filled with relics, and a carved cave entrance, inside of which you can view carvings on the walls, and outside see a Hindu temple and meditation site, besides a bathing pool and fountains. The site was first discovered in 1954, and the fountain features five of the original seven statues of Hindu angels (called apsaras) holding vases that act as fountains.
Agung Rai Museum Of Art (ARMA)
The Agung Rai Museum of Art forms part of the display gallery, cultural center and holiday stay of Balinese entrepreneur Anak Agung Gde Rai. The collection is housed in two buildings and covers over five hectares, displaying the work of Balinese art legends such as Indonesian artist Raden Saleh and other painters like Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and more. The artwork spans other regions of Indonesia as well, and is a place for visitors to learn more about Balinese and Indonesian culture as a whole.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace Walk
Bali is a mountaineous region and the hillsides have been used to cultivate rice for centuries. The region depends on rainfall, and over time, the concept of terraced fields has ensured that the rainfall washing off the mountains is channeled and used most effectively for irrigation. The terraced fields also make a wonderful sight to view, and are a great learning experience. The place is now a sightseeing destination, and the nearby village of Pakudui has some great local craftsmen who work on woodcarving.
Setia Darma Mask & Puppet House
A unique museum dedicated to the ancient art of Balinese puppetry, the Setia Darma house has some of the most colorful heritage items from Indonesia and abroad. A collection of over 1,000 masks and 4,000 puppets from different parts of the globe resides inside the house, separated into five sections spread across 1.4 acres surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.
Pura Taman Saraswati
This temple honors the Hindu goddess Saraswati, who is the goddess of wisdom and the arts. The pond in front of the temple is fed by waters coming from the back of the temple, and is filled with lotus blooms through the year. Regular dance performances also take place here, making it real must for any budding culture vulture in the town.
Museum Puri Lukisan
This is a museum dedicated to the ancient Balinese dance forms, and documents the evolution of dance from the religious and court subjects to their transition towards covering everyday life. Set up by Rudolf Bonnet, the museum enjoys the support of Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (prince of the royal family of Ubud) and well-known artist Walter Spies. The museum has samples of art work from the ancient Wayang (shadow puppets) to more modern forms of the art, such as ink drawings, with a good bookshop and café set in a lush green landscaped garden. The latter alone makes it worth the visit.
Museum Puri Lukisan, Raya Ubud, Kab. Gianyar, Indonesia, +62 361 971159
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
This place is actually known as Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana, and houses three ancient temples. The entire area is populated by grey-haired long-tailed Balinese macaques, numbering over 400 at any given point. Be careful not to leave anything lying around, and definitely avoid looking at them directly, which might be considered a sign of aggression. The ruins are nice to look at and the whole place has an Indiana Jones-esque feel to it. The sanctuary is maintained by the local village and is a prime example of population-supported conservation.
Catch A Dance Performance At The Palace
Bali being the heart of Indonesian dance, Ubud too has regular dance performances held in various venues. There are three main styles, Kecak, Legong and Barong, not to mention the intricate shadow puppet play of Wayang Kulit. Do try and catch one when possible, it is an enlightening and enchanting experience. The Ubud palace courtyard is usually a venue for these performances and you can find out when one is scheduled by checking with your hosts or , usually, at your hotel.
Stay At Bambu Indah
The Bambu Indah is a set of eco-friendly holiday homes built entirely of local teak and bamboo, where visitors can stay in luxury and experience the best that nature has to offer. Rent the Udang House if you can afford it, it has a glass floor and is situated directly above a shrimp pond. Or, take a shower in a bamboo-latticed bathroom that’s set under the stars.
Learn To Make Jewelry At Studio Perak
This locally-owned and run jewellery business teaches visitors how to make jewellery from silver and semi-precious stones. Take away a great memento of your stay in Ubud by making your own jewelry. Your children will love the opportunity to learn something new as well. Designer Tom Hardy has a similar workshop where traditional designs are given a contemporary look. Drop in to both if you have the time.