Ubud, Bali’s quaint, cultural town, is known for its tranquil vibes, organic cafes, yoga retreats, and culture attractions. From well-curated museums to mystical temples, here are eight must-see attractions you need to check off your Ubud itinerary:
Agung Rai Museum of Art
The galleries of Agung Rai Museum of Art are spread out across the picturesque grounds of the ARMA Museum & Resort. An extensive collection of artworks are displayed in three galleries.
The upper floor of the main gallery houses traditional Balinese paintings, while classical ‘wayang’ style works are displayed on the ground floor, alongside a mix of fabrics and modern art pieces. Explore the neighbouring gallery, and you’ll discover works by famous local and international artists, such as an exclusive collection of paintings by German artist Walter Spies.
The museum also doubles up as a centre for visual and performing arts, so stay on to catch a Balinese dance or music performance in the evening when you’re done with your tour.
Agung Rai Museum of Art is located at Jl. Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Bali, p. +62 361 976659. Open 9am-6pm daily.
Wander through the breathtaking grounds of Gunung Kawi, and you’ll feel that there’s something different about the vibes of this serene temple and funerary complex. Apart from the impressive structures of the 10 rock-cut shrines, the grounds also contain temples, offerings, flowing streams, fountains and abundant greenery.
Be prepared to conquer a staggering number of steps and steep pathways during your exploration; you’ll need to descend a whopping 270 steps to arrive at the entrance of the complex.
Gunung Kawi is located at Banjar Penaka, Tampaksiring, Bali, p. +62 878 6221 6435.
Blanco Renaissance Museum
The beautiful hilltop Blanco Renaissance Museum once served as the home and studio of flamboyant Spanish-American painter Antonio Blanco. Fascinated by the female body, Blanco painted numerous fantasy portraits of beautiful women, most of which are water colour transitions, collages and erotic sketches.
While the spacious gallery doesn’t house an extensive selection of his works, it is interesting to browse through the collection of family portraits in the adjoining studio. Two winding staircases lead from the second storey to the breezy rooftop terrace, where you can take in views out to the surrounding greenery.
Blanco Renaissance Museum is located at Jl. Raya Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, p. +62 361 975502. Open 9am-5pm daily.
Neka Art Museum
The Neka Art Museum features an extensive collection of artworks showcasing the different historical styles of Balinese painting. Pavilions, each housing a unique collection, are scattered across the well-manicured gardens.
Discover the works of local artists in the Contemporary Indonesian Art Hall, or explore the East-West Annexe to view the works of foreign artists who have influenced the local art scene. The expansive Arie Smit pavilion is dedicated to displaying the works of the Dutch-born artist and his students, while the Lempad Pavilion features one of the largest collections of paintings by the renowned Balinese artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.
Neka Art Museum is located at Jalan Raya Sanggingan Campuhan, Ubud, Bali, p. +62 361 975074. Open 9am-5pm daily.
Museum Puri Lukisan
The lush gardens of Museum Puri Lukisan, complete with sparkling lotus ponds offers a picture-perfect sight, but the highlight of this attraction is its impressive collection of traditional and contemporary Balinese artworks — some of which date back to the 1930s. Take an exploratory stroll through the four galleries to discover a fascinating curation of paintings, sculptures, works by Pitamaha artists, drawings by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and contemporary art pieces.
Museum Puri Lukisan is located at Jl. Raya Ubud, Ubud, Bali, p. +62 361 971159. Open 12am-6pm and 9pm-12am daily.
Ubud Water Palace
Also known as the Sarawasti Temple, the Ubud Water Palace is a skip away from the main road of Jalan Raya Ubud. While the grounds of the palace aren’t extensive, its lotus ponds and traditional architecture creates a scenic backdrop — one that lets you capture Instagram-worthy shots!
Stop by here during the evening, and don’t be in any hurry to leave. Stay for the nightly Balinese dance performance, which ranges from the energetic Joged dance, to the refined and elegant Legong dance.
Ubud Water Palace is located at Jl. Kajeng, Ubud, Bali.
Visitors to Goa Gajah — a spiritual site dating back to the 11th century — enter through a menacing entrance resembling the mouth of a demon framed by numerous faces. The cave splits into two passages; one contains a statue of Ganesh, while the other features a compact area for worship and prayers.
Step out to the courtyard and you’ll find numerous relics, as well as wall carvings, a meditation cave, bathing pools and fountains. The Goa Gajah is located close to Ubud central, with compact grounds that won’t need more than an hour to explore.
Goa Gajah is located at Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud, Bali. Open 8am-5pm daily.
Located near the town of Tampaksiring, Tirta Empul is a 30-minute drive from central Ubud. Its popular holy spring, discovered in AD 962, is believed to have magical powers. Admire the spectacular Balinese architecture as you explore the grounds, and partake in the spiritual bathing rituals by immersing yourself in one of the various purification baths. It’s best to hire a guide if you’re a first time visitor to the compound to gain an understanding of the meaning and processes of the rituals.
Tirta Empul is located at Jalan Tirta, Tampaksiring, Bali, p. +62 620 531098.