14 Great Arts Courses in Ubud, Bali

Set amid the rice fields, temples and river gorges of rural Bali, art comes naturally in Ubud. And it’s one of the easiest destinations in the world to get in touch with your artistic side, thanks to a myriad day, half-day or longer arts courses just waiting for the taking.

So it’s worth planning some time to be creative. Here’s just some of the arts you can learn in Ubud:

1: Silversmithing
The area around Ubud has been a centre for silvercraft since time immemorial. Sketch out your own design. Then cut, beat, shape, solder and polish silver into the style of your choice. Book classes at Pondok Pekak learning centre (+62 (0)361 976 194), Studio Perak, or with Ayu (+62 (0)3619245833) at WS Art Studio.

2: Wood Carving
In traditional Balinese culture, wood carvings decorate not only temples and palaces but private homes. ARMA Museum and Puri Lukisan Museum offer day classes; Pondok Pekak learning centre (+62 (0)361 976 194) has half-day introductory courses.

3: Painting
Learn classical Balinese court painting, traditional Balinese art or contemporary Balinese art styles at ARMA Museum and Puri Lukisan Museum. Or try Pranoto’s Gallery to develop your own style in oils.

4: Fruit Carving
If you’ve ever wondered how to create those elaborate fruit sculptures you see in Asian restaurants, or just want a bit of practice before turning your attentions to wood or stone, spend half a day at Pondok Pekak learning centre (+62 (0)361 976 194), creating a masterwork out of a watermelon.

5: Paper Making
Work with mulberry pulp, leaves, dyes and silk to create your own handmade papers at Lingsir Paperie (+62 (0)361 977 984).

6: Basket Weaving
Elaborate baskets, both for offerings and for mundane life, are a big part of life in Bali. Learn how to make them from palm leaf, bamboo and more at ARMA Museum and Puri Lukisan Museum.

7: Offering Making
Offerings crafted from bamboo, palm leaves, fruit, flowers, rice, incense and coloured dough are an essential part of Balinese Hinduism, decorating private homes and shops alike, and reaching their fulfilment in the gigantic offerings prepared for major ceremonies. Learn how to shape these beautiful, ephemeral items at ARMA Museum and Puri Lukisan Museum.

8: Batik
Batik textiles originate in Java, but there are plenty of artists working with batik in and around Ubud. Use hot wax to print designs and paint them in natural dyes, creating your very own piece with artist Nyoman Suradnya at Nirvana Batik or at textile specialists Threads of Life.

9: Dance
For the un-selfconscious, a host of venues offer training in classical Balinese dance, among them ARMA and Puri Lukisan. Or learn to tango with the Bali Tango Club — beginners classes are free on Mondays.

10: Ceramics
If wandering through the rice-fields won’t get you grubby enough, try working with clay at Sari Api Studio, 3km north of Ubud. Workshops cover everything from the basics of working with clay to advanced techniques, using wheel or hand.

11: Balinese Music
From bamboo flute to gamelans and gongs, Balinese instruments are complicated to master but simple enough to be rewarding for the beginner. ARMA, Pondok Pekak (+62 (0)361 976194) and Puri Lukisan offer short introductory courses in a range of instruments, or try Nyoman Warsa at Pondok Bamboo music shop (+62 (0)361 974 807).

12: Beadwork
If you’ve ever admired elaborate belts, bracelets and courtly decorations, or there’s a ten-year-old girl inside you itching to get out, beadwork is a rewarding way to spend the day. Puri Lukisan offers courses for 3 hours or 6 hours.

13: Kites, Puppets and Masks
Puri Lukisan offers courses in traditional Balinese crafts. Create a kite butterfly to take home, craft a traditional shadow puppet out of leather, or paint your own mask based on those used in traditional Balinese dance.

14: Life Drawing
Pranoto Gallery holds regular life-drawing classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am: bring your own materials.

And More…
A myriad venues across Ubud offer cooking classes, in styles from Balinese to Vietnamese. Yoga specialists such as Yoga Barn offer the full spectrum of yoga classes, up to teacher training level. Ketut Arsana’s Bodyworks offers training in Balinese massage, while Thai massage and reflexology are also available.

Ubud, with the dazzling ricefield landscapes around it, the colourful rituals and the dazzling dancers, is also an outstanding location to practise your photography. David Metcalf, who’s been taking photographs in Indonesia for almost 30 years, leads well-priced full-day and half-day photo tours out of his gallery in Monkey Forest Road, and will take you further afield too.

For more on Ubud in general, please do read about where to stay in Ubud, how to spend a weekend in Ubud and the best restaurants in Ubud.

Not found a place to stay yet? Agoda has great deals on Ubud hotels and guesthouses, from the indulgent COMO Shambhala Estate to great value central ricefield spots like Sri Bungalows and homestays like Tu Eka.

Thanks to Yves Picq for the lead image.

51 Responses

  1. One of the many reasons to love Ubud! We spent a lot of time at the library behind the football field taking painting classes and music lessons. I’m fairly confident we aged the music teacher 15 years though with the kids energetic bashing. I have a wonderful video that shows the exact moment they stopped listening and went wild, with the music teacher eventually giving up and walking off stage.

    • MummyT says:

      Oh god. That reminds me of the time that Z and his friends got barred from choir! “What happened?” “Well. She told us to stop laughing. So L pretended to be scared and fell into I, then F and I landed up on top of them.” I love the library too…

  2. Quentin Aublin says:


    I’m very interested in a wood carving course. Is it possible to get in contact with an instructor ?

    Thank you.


    Paris, France
    +33-6 11 73 42 61

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Quentin,

      Thanks for your comment. Pondok Pekak offers introductory level carving courses — half-days — and you can contact them by phone (not sure how good they are on email) at +62 (0)361 976 194. Be aware of the time change between Indonesia and France when you call them, as I believe they’re only open in their day time.

      You could also try the ARMA and Puri Lukisan museums, which both offer these courses: mpl-ubud.com and armabali.com have their contact details.

      If you’re looking for longer courses, I think your best bet would be to try out these and test instructors, or go to the village of Mas and find wood carvers, or look on the noticeboards outside Pizza Bagus, Bali Buddha and in Pondok Pekak itself for people who are offering to share skills.

      Good luck,


  3. Jed says:

    Are the komodo dragons in Ubud? i really like to see and experience the thrill… they are very magical creatures

    • Theodora says:

      No. They’re only found on the islands of Komodo and Rinca in Nusa Tenggara Timur: you do get giant monitors in other parts of Indonesia, but nothing on the scale of the dragons.

  4. Jan says:

    Thanks for posting this info, love it, we are coming to live in ubud for three months and you have just confirmed there is a lot of artistic pursuits for me cheers

  5. shaz says:

    wondering if you can help. read a book years ago called clearing sacret space. a English woman who lives in bali and teaches this technec. I would love to contact her and join a course.
    Cheers Shaz Australia

  6. Hello,

    My Name Ayu, the admin of Bali Sculpture Class @ Ubud – Bali. Just want to share maybe someone interesting in sculpting. Thank you.
    Mobile +62 81 734 7036

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Ayu, Thanks for sharing! That’s definitely a great addition. Would you mind letting people know how much courses cost, approximately? Theodora

  7. carole swarthof says:

    I am looking for sculpturing classes in Ubud. I would like to work in stone and to make abstract sculptures. I plan to stay in Ubud for 5 of 7 days and would like to follow a course for 5 days (October 2014).
    I have quite some experience in sculpturing in stone. Therefore I am looking for a possibility to enlarge my experience in stone carving, to learn from somebody else and to have a nice creative time in Ubud:-).

    I hope that you can give me some advice and give me some usefull adresses/emails so that I can contact them?

    Thank you very mucht!
    Carole Swarthof, the Netherlands

  8. Mandy bushe-jones says:

    Hi there, im trying to find an art class in ubud for my fathers. He’s mostly interested in abstract with oils or water colours. Can you recommend a one day course it would be much appreciated.
    kind regards

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Mandy,

      How would your father feel about learning classical Balinese painting, which is the indigenous tradition in Ubud? At ARMA, he could do a tour of the museum, explaining Balinese painting and the collection, and then have a workshop session doing water colours in the Balinese style.


  9. Shalini says:

    Is there any place that does ‘lost wax casting’ in bali?

    • Theodora says:

      As far as I know, there isn’t – not for courses, anyway. It’s not part of the Balinese sculptural tradition, and requires extensive investment in materials and equipment, so I’d be surprised if you’d find anyone offering courses in it. The Denpasar art university might have the facilities – http://www.isi-dps.ac.id/ – but they’d be for students only.

  10. Mariana says:

    Great article, made me miss the Bali days
    I would highly reccomend Nyoman Deking´s batik classes at the AMA museum or at his house, both of the places are beautiful and the batik is a great travel souvenir
    his website: http://batikbali.myartsonline.com/

  11. Zainab says:

    Dear concerened,

    I would like to know the cost for wood carving, batik, offering making, paper making and dance.
    Please advise me an economical accomodation in Ubud as I am a student in Malaysia.

    Thank you!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Zainab,

      What do you mean by an economical accommodation? What’s your budget in MYR?



  12. shari says:

    Hi I am looking for a good painting teacher in Ubud I am interested in doing portrait work. Appreciate your help.

  13. kaye says:

    Awesome article. I’m wondering if there are any factories or workshops for me to learn how to make print screens in Bali? Thanks a lot.

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Kaye, Screen-printing isn’t a traditional Balinese technique – textiles here are mainly about weaving and batik. That said, there are factories that do silk-screen printing, but I don’t think the environment would be the charming artisanal one that you’re probably after…

  14. Amy says:

    Hi, great info. I’m coming to Bali for a week and was hoping to do a bit of printing – Lino, woodcut or screen printing. Any contacts? Thanks, Amy

  15. Shana says:

    I am running a linocut workshop in Bali from the 5th -12 of January 2015 at the Arma Resort in Ubud check out the website http://www.ubudartworkshops.com still a couple of places left

  16. Jacci says:

    I want to learn a musical instrument with my 12 year old son. Many years ago I had a full day course in the tinglik but was thinking perhaps just a couple of hours. We would like to buy the traditional instrument to take home with us. Can you help?

    • Theodora says:

      I’m wondering whether suling – flute – might work as it’s portable. Puri Lukisan have hour-long courses – http://museumpurilukisan.com/workshop/ – and I’m sure they could create a longer course for you. There are tonnes of musical instruments shops in Ubud, but I’d ask the tutor who teaches you to recommend a good one.

  17. Eric Johnny says:

    I’m trying to find a start in carving silver. ..where are you located. ..how much is your carving course. ? is this a good place to start. .?

    • Theodora says:

      What do you mean by “carving” silver? Both Studio Perak – http://www.studioperak.com – and Pondok Pekak, and, I, believe, Ayu still, run silver-making classes. If you’re in Ubud, you could go and check out the work on display at Studio Perak and see if it’s the sort of thing you’d like to make.

  18. Hi Theodora, we have an amazing studio offering people a chance to really make something fantastic from silver. Our silver classes are complete with the whole experience from start to finish, with design and tuition help all the way, a beautiful surrounding of a big white joglo inside and out and delicious TAPAS food from a local tapas bar in Sanur. Please feel free to pass on our information to anyone you think might benefit or is looking for things to do in Bali that are cultural and learning experiences. We do the best!

  19. Rajendran says:

    My wife would like to have portrait painting class in Ubud or in Jimbaran since we will be spending 2 weeks in Bali. Could you recommed a class for an individual.

  20. Rajendran says:

    My wife would like to have individual portrait painting class in Ubud or in Jimbaran since we will be spending 2 weeks in Bali.

  21. Maria says:

    Coming for a week to Ubud with two children aged 11$13. Would love to be able to have them do a fun workshop in traditional arts, eg dancing, batik, etc. anything on offer like that? Thanks!

    • Theodora says:

      Hey Maria,

      I list a range of options up above but with kids, even older kids, I’d recommend the various courses at the library (Pondok Pekak), because that’s a laidback space where they’re most likely to meet other kids and young people. They do dance, Balinese painting, Balinese woodcarving, silver-smithing, fruit-carving and gamelan, and it’s very informal. So, unless the kids have very specific ideas about things that they’re into, that would be where I’d take them. Hope this helps!


  22. Bali Cargo says:

    Hi… this is good articles. Thanks for your good think about my island.
    In Bali many handicrafts and garments are beautiful. If you want to import something from Bali, we will be happy to help to handle it.

    Good luck,

  23. Angela says:

    Hi im in bali and want to go where i can learn or watch local craft of insence stick and cone made and rolled by hand. Is there a course in ubud? If not where in bali or java can you recommend …

    • Theodora says:

      I don’t know anywhere that does courses in these, I’m afraid. I’ll have a look and see if there’s a factory you can visit – I’d like to know.

  24. Angela says:

    Looking forward to your reply Theodora, i did find online a factory up north in the village of Banjarasem, but would be keen to know of others.

  25. Karen says:

    Hi I’m interested in basket making..did you ever find any more info about courses? Also any incent making courses ?


  26. Annette says:

    Hi Theodora! I saw a video of an artist painting with syringes. It’s called Bali Dot Painting? Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hst648gNiU8. Anyway, I am interested in learning more about how they paint with syringes. Do you know of anyone who teaches this? Thanks for your help!

    • Theodora says:

      Hi Annette,

      Dot painting is not a traditional art in Bali – it’s borrowed from Australian Indigenous people, and usually done in factories, so I don’t think you’ll find a formal class. These guys sell dot art:

      Ubud Painting Studio
      Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai No. 168 Sanur, Bali – Indonesia
      Phone: +62 361 7904001 Mobile: +62 812 397 4001
      [email protected]

      So you might try and contact them and see if they could put on a class for you, although I’m not sure whether they use syringes – there are other methods of making the dots.



  27. Kathy says:

    Which of these courses would interest children ages 5 and 8? or do they offer a family offer?
    -fruit carving
    – batik making
    – dance

    for the library comment above, please share the contact and/or webiste

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