Ubud, together with its surrounding villages, is Bali's cultural hub; home to the island's most accomplished painters, dancers, musicians, wood carvers, stone sculptors and silversmiths. Ever since the German painter, Walter Spies, settled here in the 1930s, the town has been a haven for both local and foreign artists and writers, and is now a magnet for people involved in art, anthropology, music, dance, architecture, environmentalism, mysticism, and alternative healing. Ubud offers wonderful shopping, together with pampering spas and enchanting restaurants nestled in breathtakingly beautiful locations. The town is surrounded by terraced rice fields and dramatic river gorges. In fact, some of Bali's best-known and most expensive boutique hotels and private villas are located just outside the town on the Sayan Ridge overlooking the picturesque Ayung River valley.