18 Artsy Things to Do in Ubud to Wake up your Creativity !

When you just arrived in Ubud, this quaint but busy village can pull you in different directions. Once a small and sleepy artistic enclave comprising mainly of local artists, Ubud has morphed into a bit of a celebrity status thanks to a Hollywood movie.  She since has been receiving bus loads of tourists jamming its tiny streets and the mad rush towards commercialism is evident in the traffic jams.
We have compiled a list of creative & artsy things to do in Ubud to put you in sync with the creative energy and the eat-pray-love vibe.

1- Homemade beauty workshop: Explore nature’s recipe to youthfulness.

The rich volcanic soils of Bali have produced a colourful variety of fresh tropical fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs. Some of the most potent lotions and potions are made from plants and we learn during this workshop about their properties and benefits. The morning rooster, the emerald green rice fields, fragrance of tropical incense of Bali often reminds us to get connected with nature in a more authentic way.
Join a homemade beauty products workshop and create your own face creams, scrubs and beauty masks from ingredients grown directly from the organic garden. Finish off with a refreshing organic facial treatment that will leave you radiant and ready to receive Ubud.

Book your Homemade Beauty Product Workshop, right here.

Homemade beauty products workshops in Ubud, Bali
Homemade beauty products workshop

2- Balinese batik painting: bring home an Indonesian masterpiece

Batik is the traditional fabric of Indonesia, and it is almost impossible to visit this country without bringing home a piece of this beautiful wearable art form dating back to 1500 years.
If you are curious about this intricate art form or is about to do some batik shopping, you could visit a batik maker and learn to custom make one for yourself. Sarongs are such excellent gifts for both men and women, not only because of its unique prints but also for its so versatility.

Book your Balinese Painting Workshop in Ubud, right here.

Balinese Batik Painting Workshop In Ubud
Balinese Batik Painting Workshop

3- Immerse into the art of meditation: the new age gateway to peace and balance

Truth seekers and spiritualists  had long been flocking  into Ubud searching  of inner peace, tranquility or simply finding an answer to life.
If you feel a calling to slow down, find that peace within or simply to appreciate present moment joy, you could start off by learning to breathe properly in  a guided meditation class conducted by many yoga retreats in Ubud
In these classes, you practise how to tame your monkey minds, practice yogic breathing techniques that helps declutter your crowded mental faculties. What an authentic way to de-stress and detox your mind, accompanied by the swish of the coconut trees, the fragrance of incense and the unyieldingly joyful harmony of the insects.

We recommend Taksu Yoga or Yoga Barn for a good initiation to meditation in Ubud.

Meditation session in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Meditation session in the Jungle – credit to Kayumanis

4- Learn to make a canang – the sacred Balinese offering

One way to understand the Balinese approach to respect and gratitude is to learn to make the canang and understand the meaning behind it. Bali is the only Indonesia island that is predominantly Hindu. She has preserved well her rich culture and tradition based on the belief of giving thanks to nature, the living, the dead, the seen and the unseen. Big and small ceremonies are regularly conducted honouring this belief. Living in harmony with your surroundings is the basis of this gentle culture, the Balinese are peace-loving and contented people. To make the canang is a great mindfulness practise – as thoughts and intentions are put into the offering while you are making it. What a beautiful experience to make an offering from the heart.

Book your Balinese Offering Workshop in Ubud, right here.

Balinese offerings in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Canang Sari – Balinese offerings

5- Combine the contemporary & traditional during a unique & creative cooking class in Ubud

Mosaic is a popular restaurant and has certainly won great reviews from customers for its French and Balinese fusion cuisine prepared with finesse.
This Ubud cooking class is stylish and contemporary as you start off with a welcome drink. Conducted by internationally acclaimed chef, expect to pay more for picking up modern cooking skills in a Miele-equipped kitchen. You learn how to make roast lamb, for example, and you can always improvise your version using local ingredients back home. This class also includes a lovely garden tour and a souvenir apron for keeps. You also share your meal and exchange ideas with the Mosaic chef while enjoying the fruits of your labour after the class.

More Cooking Classes in Ubud, right here

Mozaic cooking class in Ubud Bali Indonesia
Mozaic cooking class

6- Develop your musical spirit by learning the traditional Balinese instrument: gamelan

Gamelan is a form of Indonesian classical music, which is a percussion dominated musical ensemble using materials like bronze, iron, bamboo, or wooden bars. Balinese gamelan has its characteristics which include more metallophones and xylophones than gongs; hence they produces tones that sound brighter and more energetic.
Learning to play the gamelan is probably the most direct immersion you can get yourself into this traditional music form. Allow the rhythmic and ethereal melody of the gamelan to transport you to a whole new realm in this beautiful island of the gods.

Gamelan instrument lesson in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Gamelan instrument lesson

7-  Experience the different modalities of healing, starting with a yoga class

Ubud and her exceptional energy have long attracted many yogis arriving here for an alternative lifestyle of yoga, spiritualism and veganism. This is a place where aspiring and experienced yoga teachers congregate for training and workshops. Many chose to call Ubud their home. The yearly major yoga event  Balispirit festival attracts thousands of yoga enthusiasts from all over the world to Ubud. Village healers, medicine man, fortune tellers, alternative therapists  are aplenty here and if you do not know where to start – perhaps a yoga class could kickstart your spiritual journey.
Yoga for beginners is a good way to start as it comprises of gentle and simple postures. it is also important to let the teacher know this is your first attempt and make known your medical conditions if any. There are many studios offering different styles of yoga classes in Ubud. Drop in classes is around 100k Rp.
We recommend Intuitive Flow, Yoga Barn, or Taksu.
Yoga at Intuitive Flow, Ubud, Bali
Yoga Class at Intuitive Flow, Ubud, Bali

8- Wander around the colourful traditional Balinese markets of Ubud

As a traveller, one of the best ways to understand the culture of the locals is to visit their traditional markets. Ubud market is certainly an explosion of sights, smells and senses, where you can buy anything from local fruits, vegetables to village chickens to paintings, ceramic bowls, ukulele, and sarongs. What is important in all local markets flooded with tourist is your ability to bargain and get a reasonable deal.

Read our Bahasa Indonesia traveler dictionary for more local tips.

Ubud Market, Bali, Indonesia
Flowers sellers in Ubud Market

9 -Take an off the beaten path walk to discover the hidden gem Sari Organic cafe

There are many coffee shops in Ubud, and one that offers a unique experience is Sari Organik. Sari Organik serves up a fresh organic fare, but the whole experience starts when you have to take an off the beaten path to arrive at the cafe. Sari Organik is tucked away in a small village not accessible by car. And by walking through the small village you will arrive to a yoga studio in the rice fields, quaint homestays, small painters galleries, Balinese homes, roaming roosters and ducks. After approximately 20 minutes walk you will find Sari Organik with the rolling rice field views and wonderfully prepared organic fare to greet you. One of the best scenery in Ubud!

9. Sari_Organik_Ricefields - Photo Credit to Delhidaze

 

10- Have a meal at a magical retreat perched above the Ayung ravines

Como Shambhala Estate is perched atop the ravines of sacred river Ayung and is situated at Payagan, approximately 20 minutes from Ubud centre. During the magical hours of dusk and dawn, this place will simply take your breath away, as you marvel at the exquisite beauty of the Ayung Valley before your eyes. Having breakfast or dinner at restaurant Kudus or Fresh is a whole new different experience. A deep sense of peace and tranquility envelope you as you eat slowly, talk softly and smile gently, soak up to this unexplainable Balinese energy that permeates the crisp fresh air….

Como Shambalah Ubud
Lunch at Como Shambalah Ubud

11 – Participate in Ubud writers and readers festival – write your own version of the novel Eat Pray Love

Take note of this date in your travel schedule if you intend to attend the writers festival held in Ubud every year in October, for the 11th year. This festival gathers speakers and writers from all over the world and offers a program filled with literary workshops, book launches, youth programs, community and arts highlights. During this year 2015, it will be held on October 28 – November 1 in the various venues around Ubud.

Ubud Writer Festival 2014
Ubud Writer Festival 2014 – Image Credit- Matt Oldfield

12 – Volunteer for a charity

When we travel, the schedule can be so hectic that finding time to give back to the local people for hosting us is simply not in our agenda. You can donate your time, experience or money to help those who are in need. Mother Theresa said- in our lives we may not do great things all the time, but we can do small things with a great heart.Here is a list of NGOs with different causes that you may want to help out :
– Yayasan widya sari is  supporting underprivileged Balinese children.
– Bali regreens composting and seeding bamboo development, controlling irrigation and empowering the local community and farmers
The Bali children project , helps children escape poverty through education
Yayasan gelombang udara segar aims to clean up Bali natural environment that has been heavily polluted by tourism and lack of education
Bali pet crusaders is a non profit sterilisation for Bali street dogs
BAWA Bali animal welfare association
Fair Future Foundation – helps the poor people to have a free healthcare. It is also home a “social warung” where you can taste delicious Balinese dishes in the heart of Ubud.

Bawa_Bali_Volunteer_Charity Ubud
Bawa Bali – Volunteer Charity Ubud

13 – Visit the home of Ketut liyer featured in Eat PRay Love movie

One cannot underestimate the influence of a Hollywood movie. Hollywood blockbuster Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts has put Ubud on the world map as the Mecca for new age spirituality. The grand master Ketut Liyer, however, had passed way some months back and his son to continues his legacy with the revelations of universe intentions to path seekers. Juxtapose to the concept of living-in-the-now mantra, Ketut liyer little compound is now receiving steady streams of tourist hoping to have a glimpse to their future. Its even complete with a homestay where you could book online. Make a visit if you are curious, or simply just to have a Julia Roberts moment.

Meet Ketut Liyer in Ubud
Meet Ketut Liyer in Ubud

14 -Hand make a unique piece of silver jewelry for your loved one

Ubud is a popular destination for artists, dancers and musicians. Balinese are natural born craftsmen, and you can see that from its beautiful architecture, the detailed teak depicting Balinese gods, intricate Buddha  statues carved from volcanic stones, beautiful silver works with exquisite embellish. You are spoilt for choices if you want to pick a creative workshop and on this island of amazing energy you want to express yourself in one of these artistic workshops. Learn the art of silver making which dates more than a century old and bring home a beautiful piece of handmade jewellery for your loved ones.

Interested in created your own silver jewelry during your next visit of Bali? Find more information here.

Silver Jewellery Workshop Ubud
Silver Jewellery Workshop Ubud

15 – Plan your trip to coincide and observe Nyepi, the silent day

Nyepi day is Bali new year’s celebration that completely different to how we are used to celebrating our new year. It is truly a humbling experience, when the whole island falls into silence, and everyone stays home, with all commercial and street activities coming to a halt. Folklore has it that the new year monster is out in the streets, and everyone must avoid him in order to escape misfortune. It’s interesting to note how this is similar to the Chinese New Year. Compared to the soft spoken Balinese, the Chinese are more explicitly battling this monster with colourful lion and dragon dance accompanied by loud gongs and drums intending to scare the monster away.
On a spiritual level, Nyepi day is an excellent way for us to manage stillness, search the peace within, and see how our monkey mind settle once we are stripped of external stimulants and senses. Put that in your travel dairy , nyepi 2016 falls on 9th March .

Nyepi Festival Photo
Nyepi Festival Photo – Credit to Flick User : I-Nengah-Januartha

16- Visit Ubud organic cafes and weekend market

Ubud is home to a large group of vegetarians and vegans who are practising yogis or yoga teachers undergoing training. Naturally many vegan and organic cafes have sprouted over the years, offering healthy concoctions of juices, tonics, salads and superfoods. There is a few well-known ones like Down to Earth, Bali Buda, Alchemy, Soma, and Sari organik. If you feel like some Sunday marketing pasar experience, head for the pasar pasaran art market at Hubud, the hip co-working space for digital nomads and entrepreneurs in Ubud. For those coffee lovers, do not miss this coffee workshop nestled in the heart of Ubud, Latte Art, Coffee Classes & more!

Soma Cafe - Photo Credit to Baliandbeyond 2

17 – Join the Ubud contact dance jam and connect with the energy there

After a few days in Ubud, as you begin to go with its flow albeit traffic jams and street touts, there seem to be an undercurrent of hidden energy waiting to be tapped beneath its ground. Contact jam dance is a physical expression of total surrender. It aesthetically non-judgemental because there isn’t a fixed dance routine that you need to learn. Let your body melt into the rhythm and vibrations of the music, allowing your inner child to be playful..at the end of the session,besides a good workout at you somewhat feel liberated from the confinements of your own mind, and step out of the class feeling a lot lighter. And if you are into serious immersion there’s even a yearly Bali contact festival in April!

Join one of these classes at Taksu.

Contact Jam Dance in Ubud, Bali
Contact Jam Dance in Ubud, Bali

18- How about picking up the techniques of healing massage?

No one really leaves Bali without at least trying out one massage. If you enjoy the sensation of touch and want to pick up a healing art form, consider taking up a massage course. From one day workshops to detailed courses chose from traditional Balinese massage to intuitive healing like the touch essence developed by Ellen Watson. These classes will equip you with the techniques and know-how of working with the body, and allow you to help others in promoting deep relaxation and sense of well-being.

Massage courses are offered at Murni Spa, Esalen Massage, & Bodyworks Ubud.

Lastly, Do not miss this treetop massage overlooking the Ayung River in Ubud.

Treetop Massage Spa in Ubud
Treetop Massage Spa in Ubud

More Workshops & Creative Things to do in Ubud, Right here!

So, when are you planning to visit Ubud? We hope that this article will help you plan your trip to this creative little town that we all fell in love with! We believe that no other places in the world offer such choices of artsy and creative things to do and it makes it a great escape from the busy Bali, & other busy cities of Asia. It is ideal just for a weekend, or even one or two weeks. Do you have any other suggestions of cool things to do in Ubud? Please drop us a note 🙂

By Ivee Lo

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5 thoughts on “18 Artsy Things to Do in Ubud to Wake up your Creativity !

  1. …and don’t forget about attending one or some of the many artistic events at Paradiso Ubud!

  2. I recently volunteered with Yayasan Widya Sari at Program Ubud Village in Bali, Indonesia for 4 weeks and had a totally wonderful experience. The non-profit learning center is set in a jungle location with traditional open air bamboo classrooms. The children were such dedicated students, each turning up for their free english classes with great enthusiasm, teaching them all was a complete joy. Novia, the Balinese female founder, was a wonderful support as well as Mega, the local teacher’s aid. They were there to assist in each class and make sure we all understood each other perfectly. Volunteering at Program Ubud was one of the best decisions I have ever made on my travels. Teaching was a complete rewarding experience, with the knowledge that I also gave a little back to the wonderful people of Bali.
    Further details: http://www.volunteerinbali.org

  3. You missed out on a Life Drawing class at Pranoto studio in Tegus 🙁 Cheap, fun and supports the artists in Bali

    1. Dear Angel Villa,
      Thank you for your recommendation.

      We will definitely have a look at it and include in a next listing 🙂

      The eOasia Team

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