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The Cultural Capital Of Bali

The Balinese culture embraces the arts like no other culture in the world. Arts and crafts are instilled at a young age and are an integral part of the island’s fascinating culture. Ubud is the center of the arts and a magnet for those who appreciate Bali’s delightful arts and crafts. Batik, paintings, carvings, music and dance are all found in this hub of culture and crafts.

Ubud is a magical and spiritual place where traditional Balinese culture permeates every breath and every step. Colorful offerings to the gods line the streets and hypnotic chords of gamelan provide an enchanting soundtrack along the way.

As much of Bali has become overdeveloped and commercialized, Ubud is still a showcase of harmony, simplicity and elegance.

The Ubud Art Market (Pasar Ubud) is a good place to find your silk items, including scarves, shirts and sarongs. It’s also a place to shop for wooden statues, masks, kites, handmade woven bags, baskets, paintings and more. The market is open daily.

The famous market served was featured in the movie Eat. Pray. Love. It’s one of the most popular destinations on Bali. It’s a fascinating destination perched at a much higher elevation than the beachside communities below. It can be a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur. If you seek even cooler temperatures, just keep climbing even higher and be sure to pack a jacket or sweater.

Balinese art and culture

The Ubud Market offers exceptional Balinese arts and crafts. It also features the arts from other islands and even other exotic destinations around the world. Unlike the shops lining the Monkey Forest Road, most items on display at the Ubud Art Market have no set price. Haggling is expected as part of the fun of shopping, but do so politely. Shop around to get an idea of typical prices before you commit to making your first purchase. The market is open daily from 8 am to 5pm. Some of the stalls are open later. The market is divided into two main areas. The western block is the main art market and the eastern block is a traditional market serving daily groceries and necessities.

The surrounding rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes. Ancient holy sites include the intricately carved Goa Gajah (“Elephant Cave”) and Gunung Kawi, with its rock-cut shrines. A short drive outside Ubud will take you to Tegenungan Waterfall, Ubud Monkey Forest, and the photogenic Tegallalang rice terrace. Join a day trip to local villages like Campuhan, Penestanan, Peliatan and Batuan, where you can see locals making and selling authentic Balinese crafts. The pride and precision of the artisans will charm you and quite possibly change your life.

Ubud and Batuan are known for their paintings, Mas for its wood carvings, Celuk for gold and silversmiths, and Batubulan for stone carvings.

All are just a few miles part, which explains why Ubud is the center of activity. World-famous Balinese dance also is featured prominently across the community, especially in the evenings. Don’t miss your chance to see barong, lagong, kecak and the trance dance. They all are hypnotic and enchanting in their own way. Children often learn dance moves and hand gestures as soon as they can walk. Each gesture of the head, eyes, hands, and fingers are integral parts of storytelling.

Visit the island of the gods and don’t leave without experiencing the magic of Ubud.

Indonesia is the fourth-largest nation in the world with more than 267 million people. The country is comprised of more than 17,500 islands, including Bali, Borneo, Java, Lombok, Sumatra and Sulawesi. Learn more about Indonesia.

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Author: Gary Chandler