Set among the gentle slopes that lead up towards the central mountains, Ubud is the heartland of Balinese culture.
A hive of artistic activity, it offers endless rows of craft shops and workshops, excellent art galleries, nightly dance shows, a central market and numerous temples and museums.
While the centre of town is a great place to base yourself, Ubud's verdant backdrop of shelving rice paddies and towering palm trees accommodates a number of world-class retreats where those looking to escape can eat, pray and love.
There are wonderful restaurants in all parts of town and a number of courses in dance, music, cooking and art that let those with the time embrace Balinese culture in all its rich forms.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
A must in Ubud is a stroll through the temple-dotted Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, so named for the 300 or so long-tailed macaques that inhabit the forest.
The most interesting of the temples is Pura Dalem Agung, the Temple of Death, whose inner sanctuary depicts a demon queen devouring children.
Paved trails lead through the forest, which contains more than a hundred different species of tree - including the Pule Bandak, which is used in the making of masks.
Arts & crafts
Ubud has been home to a vibrant arts scene ever since the German artist Walter Spies arrived in 1928.
International artists continue to visit and Ubud is dotted with galleries and craft shops selling woodcarvings, fine art, jewellery, batik, sculptures and textiles.
Besides the street-side stalls, Neka Gallery, Adi's Studio and Ketut Rudi Gallery are all well worth browsing.
Rice paddy tours
The area around Ubud is largely characterised by the rice paddy terraces carved into the sides of the surrounding slopes and valleys.
These emerald-green farmlands produce the staple ingredient of Balinese cuisine, and taking a tour of the paddies on foot allows visitors to walk among picture-postcard views while gaining an insight into local farming life.