Surrounded by mountains, rainforests and rice paddies, Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali. The town centre is lined with boutiques, marketplaces and studios selling local art, as well as a wide range of places to eat, drink and party. Ubud's lush scenery is a draw for hikers, while yogis flock to the town for its all-inclusive retreats based around stretching and meditation. If you head into the surrounding countryside you'll find plenty of sacred Hindu temples – some with monkeys roaming free.
Hostels in Ubud make the most of Bali's tropical climate with their amazing outdoor spaces. Most have verandas, balconies and lush gardens with swimming pools where you can lounge around during your downtime. Décor is often very traditional in Ubud hostels, with carved wooden artworks and furniture. Ubud hostel buildings themselves are usually quaint – you can stay in traditional Balinese houses, classic wooden villas and private bungalows overlooking the lush green rice paddies.
The best place to base yourself in Ubud is the city centre. This is the main hub for entertainment, with attractions like Ubud Palace and Ubud Market within walking distance. This area also has a huge range of places to eat – from traditional Indonesian restaurants to gelato shops and third wave coffee spots. Another popular area is the artist village of Penestanan, just outside Ubud. This is a bit more rural, but still has a good range of boutiques and art spaces to visit.
While you're in Ubud it's worth seeing a Gamelan dance or shadow puppet performance at Ubud Royal Palace, where traditional architecture gives the perfect backdrop. There are lots of Hindu temples near Ubud and one of the most impressive is Goa Gajah, a sanctuary dating back to the 9th Century, with intricately carved faces carved into the outside. Hiking is a popular pastime in Ubud, and the Campuhan Ridge Walk is free and easy to reach from the town centre.
Bali's only airport is Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar – just over 37 km from Ubud. There's no direct bus from the airport to Ubud, so the easiest option is to hop in a taxi. Taxis from the airport have a fixed price, and you pre-pay at the desk in the arrivals hall. The journey into Ubud by taxi should take just over an hour. Ubud itself is small and easy to wander around on foot.