Wednesday, March 26, 2014

10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN UBUD- BALI

Ubud is famous as an arts center in Bali. European artist Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet settled here in the 1930's. Since then artists from around the world have come to Ubud to create works of art in the beautiful surroundings. Ubud is now one of the major tourist destinations in Bali. Ubud is 1 hour and 30 minutes from the airport. The main intersection is the junction of Monkey Forest Road and Ubud's main road, Jalan Raya Ubud. Beautiful rice terraces climb the steep hillside and the tropical rain forest in the river valleys provide a picturesque setting.

1. Visit a Balinese School. One of my favorite things to do in Ubud is to go by a Balinese School. There isn't a better way to get the famous Balinese smiles and hear the children's laughter.

2. Visit a dance Studio in Ubud. My best friends Anom and Ayu havw a home dance studio at his home compound on 25 Jalan Kajeng in Ubud. As you walk down the small street in Ubud you can usually hear the gamelan music. Tell them Om Jim (me) said to come by and say hello. If you're lucky you may catch a dance or music lesson or take one yourself. (not free)

3. Hike Tjamupan Ridge nestled between two rivers . Here is a picture of my daughter and in the background my Bali house, built in 1975 that overlooks the ridge. Every morning we used to walk the ridge. The sunrises just behind Gunung Agung, Bali's largest volcano and the birds and peace of the early morning venture takes you back in time. One side you see the many houses that now occupy the ridge above the river. (mine was the first), but as you look east you catch Bali as it was decades ago, peaceful and natural, not a house in site. The walk is about 1 hr up and back.

4 Visit Ubud's Pasar (Market) In the early morning you will see the market over flow with sellers and buyers. Located at the main intersection in Ubud, this is actually two markets at the same location. At the traditional market the locals come early to buy fruit and vegetables and other everyday items. This market starts at dawn, sometimes earlier and has great photo opportunities as well as a chance to shop like the Balinese. The artistic market west of the food Market opens at 8:00 am until about 6:00 pm with some stalls open into the night. Here you can buy sarongs, baskets, woven place mats, wooden bowls and a selection of other Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs.

5. RICE FIELD WALK Walk down Jalan Kajeng to the rice fields and take the rice field loop back to Ubud. My friend Anom and I often take this walk, usually in silence or laughter . The walk is a loop that ends up back in Ubud down by the Pura Dalem. Don't want to say too much about this. I will let the experience speak for itself.

6. Visit the Galleries of Balinese Artists. Ubud is packed full of galleries and artist's studios. Spend and afternoon wandering Ubud's small streets and look for those small home art studios and watch the Balinese Artist. Some of the better known galleries:

  • Seniwati Gallery
  • Jalan Sriwedari, Ubud, Bali The only gallery in Ubud which exhibits only paintings created by women. Styles vary between traditional Balinese and modern.
  • Komaneka Gallery
  • Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali
  • Unique gallery displaying the works of artists coming from all over the world as well as those Indonesian, that have often been educated in other countries. Works featured show visions of artists on lifestyles of contemporary connoisseurs.
  • Penestanan
  • A village near Ubud where a popular Young Artist movement had started. Here you can find both more contemporary and traditional paintings. This area is filled with art studios most commonly located in Balinese compounds. Feel free to ask for permission and come inside to check them out.

7.The Monkey Forest of Ubud is a very sacred Balinese Hindu site with a Balinese temple. One of the most popular tourist spots in Ubud if you like monkeys, but hold on to your belongings and don't feed them. I have heard of tourists getting bite out of your finger as well as a banana. Hey but its free.

8. Visit Pura Gunung Lebah: This serene temple is located in a beautiful valley between the Ceirik and Wos rivars. This temple is considered the birth place of Ubud and is 1.5 km west from the Ubud Market. In the 8th century a high priest from Java named Rsi Markendya meditated on the ground between the rivers and his followers built the temple. The surround hills were filled with medical herbs. Thus the name "Ubad" which means medicine.

9. Walking down Monkey forest road and see all the shops. Looking is free and the handicrafts are beautiful. Go early am or late afternoon to avoid the heat. Stop at one of the many restaurants for a refreshing cup of coffee or drink.

10.Visit a Temple Festival. Bali is the "Island of the Gods" with thousands of temple and temple festival happening every day some where on the island. Ask you host in Bali if there is one going on in Ubud. The entrance is free, but sure to follow temple etiquette. http://www.baliadvisor.com/bali-temple-etiquette.html

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