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About one hour from the main beaches is ‘real Bali’. Ubud is popular with visitors seeking to get away from the regular tourist trail, although it is far from being isolated. Centrally located on the island and sitting some 1,800 feet above sea level, it benefits from slightly cooler temperatures.
Spectacular rice terraces overlook river valleys, which wind through verdant tropical landscapes and the lush hill country provides a stunning backdrop for intricately carved ancient temples.
Whilst Ubud seems like one small town, it is actually 14 villages, which are renowned as the art centre of Bali. Woodcarving is a particularly important industry, whilst villages in the area are famed for their unique bamboo crafts and furniture as well as stone carving.
Culture is at the heart of Ubud with arts and crafts its main reason for existence. There are daily dance performances at a variety of locations around the town, offering an opportunity to view the spectacle and colour of this important Balinese tradition.
Located on the northeastern coast of Bali is the small village of Candi Dasa. Once a small fishing village, it is now developing rapidly as a resort. The black sandy beach, although not one of the best on the island, has a stunning backdrop of rice paddy fields and fascinating temples.
Although only around 50 miles from the airport, its location makes it quieter than some of the better known resorts, which holds an obvious attraction for those seeking peace and tranquillity.
Candi Dasa is close to a number of cultural treasures, not least of which is Bali’s holiest and most important temple – Pura Besakih – which dates back to 1007 AD and is the “mother” temple of the island. The massive peak of Gunung Agung is an impressive backdrop for the 35 temples of black pointed pagodas, which are built on terraces of granite. The temple is a place of pilgrimage for the Balinese Hindus. To truly appreciate its mystical quality, try to visit early in the morning before it gets busy.