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  • Countryside Jungle valleys, rice paddies
  • Country life Spiritual souls, artistic adventurers

Verdant rice terraces surround a thriving community of painters, mask-makers, musicians and monkeys in rustic inland Ubud. Spend your days wandering art galleries, markets and boutiques, before watching fire dancers and puppet performances after dark.

Even before Elizabeth Gilbert drew global attention to Bali’s cultural heartland in her bestselling autobiography Eat, Pray, Love, the one-time farming village swarmed with enlightenment-seekers, including A-listers Mick Jagger, Julia Roberts and Donna Karan. These days, this bustling town’s charm is increasingly felt on its fringes – stroll through the jaw-dropping rural landscapes, explore the shaded jungle and witness the serene Balinese at work and play.

Do go/Don’t go

Ubud’s higher elevation may take the edge off the equatorial swelter, but the annual average rainfall is higher here, too. July to September is high season, when the climate is most appealing, but August is also the busiest time of year.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Touch down at Ngurah Rai International Airport (www.baliairport.com), just south of capital Denpasar.
  • Automobiles The 30km drive north to Ubud will cost you about RP195,000 in an official airport taxi, but if you’re feeling feisty you can haggle with one of the loitering cabbies beyond the airport perimeter. For a hassle-free transfer, however, organise a car ahead of time through your hotel.