Things to Do in Ubud

Visit The ARMA Museum

The ARMA museum is a large  Art Gallery spanning two buildings set in beautiful gardens. The buildings are a good example of traditional Balinese architecture. One building houses an extensive collection of traditional Balinese art from historical times to the present showing the way Balinese drawing and painting has changed over the years. The second  houses a collection of contemporary Balinese art and some work by western artists who have been influenced and inspired by Bali. Entry fee is INR 80 000 but when you do my Linocut retreat in Bali, you get free entry . The surrounding gardens are also beautiful and you can stop at the ARMA kafe or the ARMA Thai restaurant for lunch.

Arma Museum Gardens

The word ARMA stands for Agung Rai Museum of Art and Mr Agung Rai built the resort to fund the Museum and the ARMA’s cultural projects. The museum holds the families’ impressive private collection of artwork – mostly paintings and drawings. Mr Agung Rai built his fortune selling Balinese Art to foriengers in the 1970’s and has even bought significant historical Balinese artworks from the Dutch, so he could bring them back to Bali, a legacy of the time when the Dutch were a colonial power in Indonesia.

Bridge from The ARMA Museum Lobby to the gardens

The ARMA museum is important to the cultural fabric of Ubud, offering free dance lessons to local children, you can often see them practicing on Sunday mornings in the museum lobby. This is the venue where I run my linocut workshop, but the ARMA also runs art classes in traditional Balinese arts. Many people who have attended my workshop have done  a Batik or Balinese painting class on the free day. I really enjoyed the Batik there. This is a great place to go for a day trip  if you are staying elsewhere, go to the museum, have lunch and wander around the gardens, then afterwards go into Ubud town and do some shopping. To book one of the ARMA classes you need to give them 2 days notice, classes are not run at set times but  are organised when booked, you often get a private lesson if no one else wants a class at that time. See the link here

The ARMA Museum is set in 5 Hectares of Beautiful Gardens

Do A Jewellery Workshop at Chez Monique in Ubud

Tracey Black at the Chez Monique jewellery workshop on the free day

Many of the people who have come to my linocut workshop have done this jewellery workshop in Ubud on the free day. It is owned by Wayan Sunarta and his wife Monik . They run the classes from the family home, so you also get to see a bit of Balinese life. Everyone I know who has done it has really enjoyed the process and I must say they have made some beautiful looking pieces. People have made some lovely pendants and rings. You can also commission them to make a special piece for you if you want something made to order.  You can see more images and information here on their website.

Sound Healing Session at the Pyramids of Chi

I have done this sound healing twice now, and I think I will do it every time I go to Ubud. I had never tried before this  and I didn’t really know what to expect. They offer a free shuttle bus from the Ubud town, as the bus climbs the hill the landscape gets greener. And when we arrived we found a beautiful cafe and two large metal pyramids set in a lovely garden.

Inside the pyramid the floors are covered with mattresses to lie down on and room for lots

Pyramids of Chi

of people. There are a lot of instruments in the center.  One time I went and it was full, the other time there was lots of space,  how many people were there didn’t seem to affect the experience. Each time I have been there was a different healer, each had their own style; they talked a bit about their background and what to expect at the beginning. I enjoyed listening to them both.

You lie down with your eyes closed and the sounds begin. It is not music, as such in a western sense (but that could be debated). It seems to me like they have combined the sound healing of many different cultures and traditional instruments including didgeridoo, gongs, chimes, shakers etc into one experience, with voice too. It was an absolutely mesmerizing. Excuse my lack of knowledge in the area of traditional instruments and there use in healing but I think the point is that you don’t need to understand any of it to experience it, and in some ways its probably better not to.   One time I had tears flowing without sadness and I felt a huge emotional release. The other time was less dramatic and more peaceful but no less profound. I would absolutely recommend it. Even if you aren’t into this kind of stuff -try it,  just lie down and rest, if you you come out feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and peaceful all the better. I was so blissed out I didn’t take a photo, I’ll get one next time!

They have daily group healing sessions and other events, see their website for details, I would suggest book before you make the trip


Downhill Bike Ride from Kintamani to Ubud

This is a great way to see parts of Bali you wouldn’t normally see, you notice things from a bike you wouldn’t see in a car and you are right there in the landscape. Its a fantastic experience riding through villages and rice fields. Several people from my workshops have done this bike ride on the free day and I did it a few years ago with my family. I went with Biak Bike,( whoever you choose make sure you book directly with the tour operator rather than a third party.) Biak Bike is a family run business but there are other businesses offering what is essentially a very similar trip. See trip advisor for reviews.

First you get picked up from you accommodation (8:30 am from Ubud but earlier from other parts of Bali) and bused up the hill to Kintamani to have breakfast, we went to a restaurant which had a view of the Kintamani Volcano it was quite spectacular, looking at the Biak Bike itinery however this may have changed and you now have breakfast in the traditional Balinese home of the owner.

Everyone is measured for a mountain bike that will be the right size and after breakfast the down hill ride begins. The staff were incredibly helpful and it is a very relaxed ride which continues on a gentle downhill slope so its not at all taxing, you use your breaks more than the pedals. Some of the views are incredible and you get to see snippets of daily life; we were lucky enough to see a duck man bringing his ducks into the rice field to eat the insects and pests. There are plenty of photo opportunities and other short stops and explanations of cultural practices along the way.  The tour finishes with a late lunch of traditional home cooked food in a Balinese family compound, so you get to see how the extended family live together in traditional Balinese society too. By the way, our lunch was amazingly good too. A great day out (from 8am to 4pm).


The Campuhan Ridge Walk

View from the Campuhan Ridge Walk
View from the Campuhan Ridge Walk

The Campuhan Ridge Walk is really amazing.

When you are in Ubud and you’ve had enough of gourmet food and shopping this walk is a great way to see the type of scenery Bali is famous for. And as you can see from the photos the views are well worth it.

But it’s not like an Australian bush walking experience, a lot of the track is paved, which is not really what I expected. We also passed a few houses and accommodation places along the way, and other walkers too, apparently there are some less known walks if you prefer something off the beaten track (literally).

Also as the name suggests you are up on the ridge, looking out at the scenery, so there’s not much shade. Several of my students did it before me so I was told wear a hat and sunscreen and go early before it gets too hot. This is good advice, bring a water bottle too. Even though it is not a very difficult walk, a lot of it is uphill on a gentle slope; which is great as coming back is downhill 😁

Also if you’re into art like me , you will want to get some good reference photos to make images from later; which I must admit was part of my motivation for going. At the end there is this cool little cafe, called Karsa Kafe which has this lovely water garden, when we went the water lilies were in flower, which make for some great photos, (see the pink water lilies below).

We stopped and had a delicious mango smoothie before walking back (downhill) which was lucky because it was starting to get hotter. It’s worth packing your sneakers when you go to Ubud, this walk is pretty well known, next time I go I’d like to try one of the other less known ones around Ubud.  The signs vary as to how long the walk is safe to say between 4 and 6 km return.

The easy thing about this was that you can walk there directly from the town. So please do not pay money for a guided tour, it really isn’t necessary as the start is easy to find and it’s a very obvious track. Besides part of the enjoyment is having some quiet time to yourself while you soak up the scenery.




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