Ubud Royal Palace (Puri Saren Palace)

Located in the middle of Ubud, just across the road from the famous local art market, the Ubud Palace has long been the centre of art and culture of the village.

Built during the reign of Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800 – 1823), the palace is now inhabited by his many heirs.

It is possible to visit the Ubud Palace, and explore the many areas of this traditional Balinese compound, although the back section is set aside as private living area.

The palace hosts many traditional cultural events, including the opening ceremony of the Ubud Writers Festival.

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Things to see and do at Ubud Royal Palace

The Palace

The Ubud Palace is an ideal location to see some of the more authentic and traditional styles of Balinese compounds in the area.

Unlike many modern compounds, which have been built in the last 50 years and are fairly well maintained on a semi-regular basis, the Ubud Palace is several hundred years old.

Despite renovations to some structures, it has maintained the authenticity of architecture that is expected of a Balinese building, particularly one of such importance.

Visitors will be able to wander among the many bale structures, see the lush gardens and admire a full set of Balinese gamelan instruments.

In addition to this, the grounds are decorated with traditionally styled stoneworks, including statues, that embody Bali’s artistic heritage.

Dance Performances

The Ubud Palace is a regular host for a variety of performances, from literature to music and dance, in the village.

Attendance is usually tourists only, except during the Ubud Writer’s Festival which attracts a larger and more diverse audience.

The dance performances, particularly barong dances, are an ideal way to experience the unique setting of the Ubud Palace in a culturally relevant fashion.

These performances are held most evenings in the courtyard of a Ubud Palace, and span a number of traditional Hindu stories from the Legong to the Ramayana.

Dance Performance Schedule

Most of the performances at the Ubud Palace begin at 7:30pm, but it is recommended that you arrive early if you want to get good seats.

There aren’t any class separations on the seating, and the courtyard does fill up fast.

If you want to sit in the mid-ground, try and arrive about 15 minutes early, but if you want to sit at the front you’ll need to arrive around 25 minutes before it begins, particularly for weekend performances.

Feel free to bring a camera or video camera.

Staying in the Palace 

The Ubud Palace is unusual among most royal residences as it allows visitors to stay overnight within one of the inner courtyards of the palace.

Although not in the same area as the royal residences, the Ubud Palace has five guest bungalows where visitors can experience life inside a traditional Balinese compound, amidst the Palace’s sprawling garden and grounds.

Rooms are in the form of separate bungalow accommodation, or bale, which are common in Balinese compounds.

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Entrance Fees

The Ubud Palace is free to enter but those wishing to attend a dance performance will need to purchase a ticket.

Depending on the event and the day, these are available at various tour agencies and cost between Rp. 50,000 and Rp. 100,000.

Tours

There are no guides at the Ubud Palace to show visitors around, even for a fee.

If you’re interested in the architecture and history of the palace it might make more sense to look into hiring a local driver/guide to get you around as well as educate you on the unique nature of the Ubud Palace.

Without this information, and along with the lack of printed information on site, some of the best aspects of the Ubud Palace are easy to miss.

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Nearby Attractions

Located in the centre of Ubud, there are a number of things to see and do around the Ubud Palace.

These include walking down to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, exploring Goa Gajah, viewing the vast array of art at the local art market opposite the Ubud Palace, or seeing some of Bali’s best art at Museum Puri Lukisan.

Transport

Car/Motorcycle

Ubud Palace is located in the middle of Ubud, on the main road just opposite the Ubud Art Market.

The market is well signed, but you can also access the area by travelling up the street away from the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Some street parking is available for motorcycles for a small fee charged by uniformed parking attendants (Rp. 2000 is standard).

You can see Ubud Palace on a full day trip, most of which include other cultural and artistic landmarks in the area.

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History

Residence of the Raja (King) or Ubud and the royal family, Puri Saren or the Ubud Palace was first built around 1640, and extended into the building it is today by Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel between 1800 and 1823.

Several decades later, around 1896 the warlord Tjokorda Gede Sukawati modified the building after the kingdom of Sukawati and the kingdom of Gianyar separated.

The kingdoms were reunited again in 1906, following the colonisation of Bali and its inclusion into what was then known as the Dutch East Indies.

A 1917 earthquake saw areas of the Ubud Palace suffer significant damage, but its position as a royal residence meant that it was promptly restored, before being open to foreign guests in 1928.

The Ubud Palace is considered to be the location where Ubud’s tradition of home stays began more than 80 years ago.

It was during this time that many bohemian artists relocated to Ubud, and spent time entertaining the royal family with their art, while staying in the compound.

This in turn sprouted a style of home stay travel in Ubud that has remained to this day.

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