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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2018
Headline for Four Ways to Spend your Time at Ubud – Explore the Cultural Heart of Bali
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Four Ways to Spend your Time at Ubud – Explore the Cultural Heart of Bali

A goldmine of cultural monuments, it is of little wonder that Ubud is frequently referred to as the cultural heart of Bali. Here we take a look at the best of them.

1

Ubud Monkey Forest

Ubud has plenty of forests that are inhabited by grey long tailed macaques but none of them get more famous than the Ubud Monkey Forest. Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, this jungle sanctuary is kept in a near original condition due to the community based managing process. Other than admiring these primates in their natural ecosystem, you can also walk through the forest and explore the moss-covered ruins of ancient temples hidden deep within the forest. The Monkey Forest is located close to the Ubud Town Center, making it easy to access from any resort in Ubud, Bali.

2

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

A view that regularly appears on travel sites, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces are some of the most eye catching terraced lands on the continent. The outcome of Subak, Bali's ancient irrigation system, Tegallalang is frequently visited by tourists who drop by for Instagram worthy pictures and the souvenirs. A short distance away is the sleepy village of Pakudui whose locals are well known for their skill in crafting. You can view a multitude of crafted woodwork among many other carvings. Tegallalang is roughly thirty minutes from Ubud and many hotels such as Alila Ubud can help you organize a tour to the location.

3

Goa Gajah 'Elephant Cave'

You would be forgiven for being misled by the name, but the Goa Gajah 'Elephant Cave' has nothing to do with elephants and instead is one of the most well preserved caves in Bali, making it totally worth a visit. Present in the Bedulu Village, which is six kilometres from Ubud, the descent into the caves take less than an hour. The main grounds have souvenir shops and an array of stone carvings, some of which have been restored to their original form. There is also an excavated pool in this 10th century building which holds five Hindu angels. The caves display a mixture of Hindu influence as well as Buddhist influence, making it a curious structure overall.

4

Puri Saren Royal Palace

Possibly the most iconic of landmarks in Ubud, the Puri Saren Royal Palace is one of the finest examples of traditional Balinese architecture. Only the front of the palace is open for visitors and one can walk through the palace and take pictures during the day. If you do require a guide, you can find one in the area close to the wantilan pavilions. Built in the 1800s, it is also the site for the daily evening dances that portray the best of Bali's arts. Taking place in a beautiful stage that has mythical Bali figures as statues on the background, these performances take place in the late evenings along with gamelan orchestras. The palace tends to further enhance the surroundings. If you wish to visit this show, you need to get tickets which are usually sold during the mornings.