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On the Gallery and Temple Circuit

There are so many ways to spend your day in Ubud - visiting galleries and artists' studios, sipping drinks in garden cafes and enjoying long strolls through the countryside. Here are just a few of the "must sees."

The Ubud highlights

No visit to Ubud is complete without a visit to the Puri Saren palace at the main crossroads, with its maze of family compounds and richly carved doorways by Lempad. The royal family temple, Pura Pamerajaan Sari Cokorda Agung, is next door a storage place for the family pusaka (regalia).

To the west behind a lotus pond by the Puri Saraswati palace (now a hotel), lies the superbly chiseled Pura Saraswati temple of learning a clin d'oeil dedicated to Ubud's artistic past. From the crossroads here, walk north to Ubud's "navel" temple, Pura Puseh, with its delightful sculptures.

Next stop is the Puri Lukisan Museum to enjoy the paintings and sculptures and the peaceful garden. The museum was founded in 1953 by surviving members of Ubud's famed Pita Maha movement. Painted panels that Lempad executed 40 years ago depict the Balinese agrarian cycle.

There are numerous studios and shops in the center of town. Painter Han Snel has his up behind the Pura Saraswati. If it's lunchtime, pop into the Cafe Lotus for a fresh fettuccine and a chocolate cake. For some of the best coffee in Bali, stop by Angkasa, north of the village hall on JI. Suweta, or Tut Mak Warung Kopi, south of the soccer field on Jl. Dewi Sita.

Ubud has many museums, including Seniwati Gallery, which features women's art, on the main road east of the market. Suteja Neka, whose father was a painter, is the foremost dealer and collector on Bali founder also of the Neka Museum. The most famous artist of Ubud however was Lempad. His son, Made Semung, now runs the Lempad Gallery - ask him to show you some of the master's delicate erotic pen and ink drawings.

Mischievous monkeys

mongkey forestAnother of the major "sights" of Ubud is the so-called Monkey Forest Temple, 2 km to the south. Stroll down Monkey Forest Road to have a look at all the new shops and restaurants. Before entering the temple itself, however, keep all edibles, eyeglasses, earrings, etc., and hold on tight to your bags. These rapacious thieves are dangerous if provoked. The Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal itself is an extraordinary "temple for the dead," with a covered gate or candi kurung. For further explorations from here.

Having gone east and south, now travel west along the main road across the bridge to Campuan. Up to the left is eccentric Filipino American painter Antonio Blanco's, gallery of extravagant nudes and anecdotes. Farther up on the right is the Neka Museum housing the best collection of paintings on the island. For more contemporary art, visit the Sika Art Gallery in Sangginan, near the Neka Museum, and the Komaneka Gallery, halfway down JI. Monkey Forest.

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