Traditional dancers performing in Ubud © Vincent
Set in the hills north of Denpasar, Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali. The major attractions of the town and its surrounding villages are the art museums and galleries, notably the Neka Museum, containing a huge collection of traditional and modern Balinese paintings. An enormous variety of Balinese art and crafts line the streets and crowd the marketplace of Ubud. Frequent performances of traditional dance and music, and restaurants offering some of the best food on the island, compel visitors to stay much longer than intended.
In response to the demand from visitors all sorts of interesting attractions and activities have sprung up and you can now do things like attend silver smithing classes, learn yoga, or watch locals perform the Kekac Fire and Trance Dance. Ubud is also close to several sites of interest, including the 'Mother Temple' of Besakih, majestically situated high on the slopes of the Agung Volcano, and the popular Monkey Forest, where you can feed the many macaques in the temple complex. Hiking in the scenic Batur region with its volcano and lake are popular excursions. Many adventure trips can be organised from Ubud including canyoning, hiking, bird watching tours and the like.