Going to Ubud – 5 Unique Activities For a Perfect Day
Ubud is one of the most fascinating and picturesque villages in Bali. It seems that the traditional Balinese lifestyle has been able to coincide with the many tourists visiting the little village. While travelers walk around amazed about Ubud’s beauty, the local people are still able to do their daily tasks such as placing offerings along the roads and on the paths, or going to the many ceremonies that are held to honor the gods.
I can imagine that once you arrive in this village and you have little time, you will find it difficult to decide what to do; there are just too many sights to see. So to ensure you will experience the wonders that Ubud offers, here are the 5 activities that you can do during a full day there. So go to bed early to prepare for a full day of cultural overdose…
Morning activity: Morning market
First of all, a thing that should be seen and experienced is the morning market. Early in the morning local people head to the market to buy the things they need for the day. This can include fruit and vegetables, but also flowers and flower petals for their decorations and offerings. It is even possible to buy a full bag of ready made offerings, so no hassle with that anymore.
To see this colorful spectacle you do need to wake up early. If you are there by 6.30am the market is already out and about, so you will see enough action that will wake you up immediately. At the market you can buy delicious cakes and fruits too. This will be a good addition to your breakfast at the hotel.
The Monkey Forest
Once you have returned to your hotel and have enjoyed your breakfast, head to the Monkey Forest where you can meet the 300 macaque monkeys up close. The forest is located on the south part of Monkey Forest Road. At the entrance you can buy peanuts or bananas for the monkeys. These monkeys will eagerly wait for their treat, so be careful if they jump on you once they have spotted the goodies.
You can walk all around the forest and across an ancient looking bridge supported by a big banyan tree. There are several temples located there as well which are used during cremation ceremonies. Each village in Bali has their own temple of the death. Here it is located in the Monkey forest. Common characteristics of such temples are statues of the Rangda, the goddess of the death. Her statues show Rangda with bulging eyes, sharp fangs, long finger nails and her lolling tongue.
Afternoon activity: ARMA-museum
From the Monkey Forest you can head over to the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA). This beautifully set museum exhibits a wide range of Balinese paintings from the past till present. Here you are given the opportunity to see the many different styles and their changes through time.
In the past painters made paintings for the temples only. This style is known as Kamasan style and is characterized by long canvases covered with paintings about religious stories and myths. With the influence of foreigners, especially Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet who settled in this inspiring village, the style of painting changed. Balinese started to paint the Balinese daily life. This is known as the Ubud style.
Other influences followed which resulted into the Young Artist style. This style is known for its childish and colorful way of painting.
Rice field walk around Campuan area
In the Northern part of the village, around the Campuan area you can find the rice fields which Bali is famous for. The best time to see stunning views of the rice fields is in the late afternoon. There is an ideal path to walk on that starts at the end of the narrow road Jln. Kajeng and ends at the Campuan temple.
During the 1.5 hour walk you will be able to see many rice farmers at work, men and women enjoying the shade, children flying the kite and many ducks wobbling along the narrow paths. These animals are part of the scene as their droppings provide fertilizers and they eat the pests found in the fields. You will also notice many shrines standing in the field. These are used by the farmers, who place offerings for the rice-goddess Dewi Sri to ensure a successful rice yield.
Evening activity: Performances
Every evening there are many cultural performances. Often, a specific location has another program each day. So if one location does not have the performance planned which you are hoping to see, there are many others that might have it scheduled that day.
The ticket sellers, who are found along the streets all over Ubud, always know when and where the performances are. In their bag they have all the tickets of the performances for that night, so you can just choose on the spot and pay. There are also tickets for sale at the tourist information office at Jalan Raya, who put out signs about the performances every day.
The tickets for the performances are usually Rp.50.000 each but some performance can be slightly more expensive. The performances start at 19.00 and 20.00 at the latest.
The most regular dances that you can choose from are: Legong Dances, Kecak Fire Dance, Women Gamelan and Dance Group, Barong and Keris, Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet) and Jegog (Bamboo Gamelan). One thing that is worth mentioning is that ARMA museum is the only place to see the Topeng Jimat performance. ARMA also has Kecak performances but only during every full moon and new moon making the setting even more appropriate.
Ubud has many restaurants and cafés that are beautifully decorated and some even have an amazing tropical garden. So to finish the day, stroll to one of these many restaurants, sit, relax and recollect all the amazing things of your day.