Ubud is a town on the Indonesian island of Bali in Ubud District, located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency. Promoted as an arts and culture centre, it has developed a large tourism industry.
Ubud’s, often mistaken for a small city, is an administrative division (kecamatan) with a population of 71,331 and 44km2, and central ubud desa (village) has a population of 11,971 and an area of 6.76 km2 (per kemendagri yearend 2020 tabulation), and receives more than 3 million foreign tourists each year. The area surrounding the town is made up of small farms, rice paddies, agroforestry plantations, and tourist accommodations. As of 2018, more tourists visited Ubud than Denpasar in southern Bali.
Eighth-century legend tells of a Javanese priest, Rsi Markendya, who meditated at the confluence of two rivers (an auspicious site for Hindus) at the Ubud locality of Campuhan. Here he founded the Gunung Lebah Temple on the valley floor, the site of which remains a pilgrim destination.
In the late nineteenth century, Ubud became the seat of feudal lords who owed their allegiance to the king of Gianyar, at one time the most powerful of Bali’s southern states. The lords were members of the Balinese Kshatriya caste of Suk, and were significant supporters of the village’s increasingly renowned arts scene.
Tourism on the island developed after the arrival of Walter Spies, an ethnic German born in Russia who taught painting and music, and dabbled in dance. Spies and foreign painters Willem Hofker and Rudolf Bonnet entertained celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward, Barbara Hutton, H.G. Wells and Vicki Baum. They brought in some of the greatest artists from all over Bali to teach and train the Balinese in arts, helping Ubud become the cultural centre of Bali.
Another foreign artist Han Snel was a dutch soldier who discovered Ubud after his military service building a studio with his new wife Siti, his painting captured the imagination of both foreigners and Balinese alike with his invigorating synthesis of both cultures.
A new burst of creative energy came in the 1960s after the arrival of Dutch painter Arie Smit (b. 1916) and the development of the Young Artists Movement.
The Bali tourist boom since the late 1960s has seen much development in the town; however, it remains a centre of artistic pursuit.
In 2002, terrorist bombings caused a decline in tourism throughout Bali including Ubud. In response to this a writer’s festival was created, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival to help revive tourism, the island’s main economic lifeline.
Travel is the movement of people between relatively distant geographical locations, and can involve travel by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat, bus, airplane, or other means, with or without luggage, and can be one way or round trip. Travel can also include relatively short stays between successive movements.
The origin of the word “travel” is most likely lost to history. The term “travel” may originate from the Old French word travail, which means ‘work’. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the first known use of the word travel was in the 14th century.
It also states that the word comes from Middle English travailen, travelen (which means to torment, labor, strive, journey) and earlier from Old French travailler (which means to work strenuously, toil). In English we still occasionally use the words “travail”, which means struggle. According to Simon Winchester in his book The Best Travelers’ Tales (2004), the words “travel” and “travail” both share an even more ancient root: a Roman instrument of torture called the tripalium (in Latin it means “three stakes”, as in to impale).