25 Nov Ubud Art & Culture
Made famous by the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud is also the epicenter of Balinese art and culture. This is where the modern Balinese art movement was born, with the surrounding royal palaces and temples acting as the main patrons.
Today, several excellent local museums and galleries celebrate its evolution and traditions. Art gazing is particularly rewarding here, as many collections are housed in traditional Balinese buildings surrounded by serene tropical gardens.
For an overview of Balinese art, your first stops should be Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) and the Neka Art Museum, which lie within a short stroll of the Ubud Monkey Forest. Collections at both include works ranging from traditional to contemporary, including kris (ceremonial daggers), photography, and classical wayang (puppet-figure) paintings.
Other art galleries and museums in the Ubud area that might be of interest to art lovers include Setia Darma House of Masks & Puppets featuring ceremonial masks from Asia and beyond; Museum Puri Lukisan, spanning a range of Balinese artistic styles; and the Don Antonio Blanco Museum, at the artist's former home and studio.
If shopping for art is more your style, don't miss the Ubud Art Market. This labyrinth of stalls brims with carvings, sculptures, jewelry, sarongs, paintings, and homewares and is one of the top tourist attractions in town. Bargaining is essential, and a good rule of thumb is to counter with half the asking price and barter upwards from there, always with a smile.
Opposite the market, the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace is also worth a visit. Attending a traditional Balinese dance performance during the evening here is one of the top things to do in Bali at night — especially for families.
If you’re a budding artist or have children in tow, you can sign up for an art workshop at a local village, which can include traditional painting, mask-making, and jewelry making. This is one of the popular things to do in Bali with kids.