Ubud: This town in Bali is known for its art, culture, and wellness scene

Nestled amidst the lush landscapes of Bali, Ubud emerges as a cultural jewel, celebrated for its enchanting blend of art, culture, and wellness. This town, situated away from Bali’s bustling shores, unfolds as a serene sanctuary where traditional Balinese painting, vibrant galleries, and spiritual retreats converge seamlessly.

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Ubud’s allure extends beyond mere aesthetics, inviting visitors to explore the rich tapestry of its cultural wonders, from historical palaces to sacred monkey sanctuaries. Renowned globally as a yoga destination, Ubud weaves a holistic living experience through its wellness practices and farm-to-table cuisine.

Join us on a journey through Ubud’s picturesque streets, where every step immerses you in the town’s vibrant creativity and spiritual harmony.

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Brief Overview of Ubud

Ubud, a charming town nestled in the heart of Bali, Indonesia, captivates visitors with its enchanting blend of art, culture, and wellness. Far removed from the bustling beaches, Ubud offers a serene retreat surrounded by lush greenery and a tranquil atmosphere. This town has become a haven for those seeking a harmonious balance between creativity, tradition, and well-being.

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Teaser Highlighting the Unique Blend of Art, Culture, and Wellness

In Ubud, every cobblestone pathway unveils a masterpiece, every temple resonates with ancient tales, and every spa exudes a sense of rejuvenation. This town is a canvas where vibrant paintings come to life, Balinese dances tell stories of centuries past, and wellness practices seamlessly intertwine with nature’s embrace.

Get ready to immerse yourself in a tapestry of experiences where art, culture, and wellness converge, creating a distinctive allure that sets Ubud apart as a sanctuary for the soul. Explore the town’s artistic treasures, witness cultural performances that breathe life into tradition, and embrace the holistic serenity that defines Ubud’s wellness scene.

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Ubud’s Artistic Heritage

Traditional Balinese Arts

Overview of Traditional Balinese Painting

Ubud stands as a custodian of Bali’s rich artistic legacy, especially in the realm of traditional Balinese painting. These intricate artworks are a testament to the island’s cultural vibrancy and spiritual depth. The paintings often depict mythological stories, religious motifs, and scenes inspired by Bali’s lush landscapes. Ubud serves as a living canvas where these traditional art forms continue to thrive, preserving the essence of Balinese aesthetics.

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Influential Artists and Their Contributions

Within the realm of traditional Balinese painting, Ubud has produced influential artists whose brushstrokes have left an indelible mark. Icons like I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and Ida Bagus Made are celebrated for their contributions to Balinese art, shaping its evolution and inspiring generations. Their works not only reflect mastery in technique but also serve as a bridge between tradition and contemporary expression.

Ubud’s Art Galleries

Exploration of Popular Art Galleries

Ubud’s streets are adorned with a myriad of art galleries, each offering a unique window into the town’s creative spirit. From the renowned Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) to the eclectic offerings of the Neka Art Museum, visitors can embark on a visual journey through time and artistic diversity. These galleries showcase a spectrum of Balinese and international art, providing a comprehensive experience for art enthusiasts.

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Emerging Artists and Contemporary Trends

In addition to the stalwarts, Ubud’s art scene is a dynamic tapestry woven with the threads of emerging talent and contemporary trends. Local galleries and art spaces nurture a new generation of artists experimenting with innovative forms, pushing the boundaries of tradition. As Ubud continues to evolve, so does its artistic landscape, making it an exciting hub for those seeking to witness the fusion of heritage and modernity in the world of visual arts.

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Cultural Wonders of Ubud

The Ubud Palace

Historical Significance

Nestled in the heart of Ubud, the Ubud Palace, also known as Puri Saren Agung, stands as a living testament to the town’s royal heritage. Built in the 19th century, the palace was the residence of the ruling Ubud kings. It holds historical significance as a center for governance and a hub for cultural activities, including traditional dance performances and ceremonies. The Ubud Palace remains an iconic symbol of Bali’s regal past.

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Architectural Features and Design

The architectural splendor of the Ubud Palace reflects a harmonious blend of Balinese and European influences. Intricately carved wooden structures, ornate gates, and sprawling courtyards showcase the island’s traditional craftsmanship. The palace’s layout incorporates open spaces that seamlessly connect with the natural surroundings, providing a serene backdrop for cultural events and ceremonies. Visiting the Ubud Palace offers a glimpse into the architectural mastery that defines Balinese royal residences.

Ubud Monkey Forest

Sacred Monkey Sanctuary

The Ubud Monkey Forest, known locally as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, is a captivating blend of nature and spirituality. Home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques, this lush forest is considered sacred, with ancient temples dotting its landscape. The monkeys, regarded as protectors of the temples, add a sense of enchantment to the surroundings. The Monkey Forest is not only a natural haven but also a sacred site where cultural and ecological elements coalesce.

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2. Interaction and Conservation Efforts

Visitors to the Monkey Forest can engage in a unique interaction with the resident macaques, observing their playful antics and social behaviors. Efforts are in place to conserve both the natural habitat and the cultural significance of the site. Conservation programs focus on preserving the biodiversity of the forest and promoting responsible tourism. The town Monkey Forest stands as a testament to the delicate balance between human culture and the natural world, offering an immersive experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional sightseeing.

Ubud’s Spiritual Retreats

Introduction to Spiritual Tourism

Ubud as a Spiritual Hub

Ubud’s allure extends beyond its artistic and cultural facets; it is also a magnetic center for spiritual seekers. The town’s serene landscapes and tranquil atmosphere make it an ideal destination for those on a spiritual journey. Ubud has earned a reputation as a sanctuary where individuals can explore their inner selves, seeking solace and enlightenment amidst the natural beauty that surrounds them.

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Popular Spiritual Practices

Spiritual tourism in Ubud encompasses a variety of practices that cater to the mind, body, and soul. From meditation and mindfulness to holistic healing modalities, visitors can embark on a transformative journey guided by ancient wisdom and modern holistic approaches. The spiritual tapestry of the town weaves together traditional Balinese rituals, yoga, and alternative therapies, creating a unique and immersive experience for seekers of inner peace.

Yoga in Ubud

Overview of Ubud’s Yoga Scene

Ubud has emerged as a global yoga destination, attracting practitioners from all corners of the world. The town’s serene ambiance and lush surroundings provide an idyllic setting for yoga enthusiasts to deepen their practice. Ubud’s yoga scene is diverse, offering a spectrum of styles and approaches, from traditional Hatha and Vinyasa to more specialized forms like Kundalini and Yin yoga.

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Noteworthy Yoga Studios and Retreats

Numerous yoga studios and retreat centers dot Ubud’s landscape, each offering a unique approach to the practice. The Yoga Barn, Radiantly Alive, and the town Yoga House are just a few of the well-known establishments that provide a space for both beginners and seasoned yogis to explore and nurture their practice. These venues often host workshops, teacher training, and retreats, creating a vibrant community that fosters growth and well-being.

In Ubud, the spiritual retreat experience extends beyond the physical postures of yoga, inviting individuals to connect with their inner selves and embrace a holistic approach to well-being. Whether a seasoned yogi or a novice explorer of spiritual realms, the town offers a sanctuary for self-discovery and rejuvenation.

Wellness and Holistic Living

Ubud’s Healing Practices

Traditional Balinese Healing Methods

Ubud is a haven for those seeking holistic well-being, deeply rooted in traditional Balinese healing methods. Balians, traditional healers, practice ancient techniques such as Usada Bali, a form of traditional Balinese herbal medicine. The town embraces the Balinese concept of Tri Hita Karana, focusing on the harmony between humans, nature, and the divine. Visitors can experience traditional healing ceremonies, energy balancing, and herbal remedies that have been passed down through generations.

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Integration of Holistic Wellness

Ubud’s wellness scene extends beyond traditional healing to incorporate a holistic approach that addresses the mind, body, and spirit. Spa and wellness centers in the town offer a diverse range of treatments, including Ayurvedic therapies, sound healing, and meditation sessions. The integration of holistic practices into daily life reflects the town’s commitment to nurturing overall well-being, providing a sanctuary for relaxation, rejuvenation, and self-discovery.

Healthy Cuisine

Ubud’s Farm-to-Table Dining Options

Ubud’s culinary landscape is a reflection of its commitment to holistic living, with an abundance of farm-to-table dining options. Restaurants and cafes source fresh, local ingredients, often from the surrounding lush landscapes. This commitment to sustainability not only supports local farmers but also ensures that visitors can indulge in nutritious and flavorful meals that align with the principles of conscious and healthy eating.

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Plant-Based and Organic Food Culture

Ubud has embraced a thriving plant-based and organic food culture, catering to those with dietary preferences and health-conscious lifestyles. Restaurants and eateries in the town craft menus that celebrate the richness of organic produce, offering a variety of vegan and vegetarian options. The town’s commitment to mindful eating aligns with its holistic living ethos, creating a culinary experience that nourishes the body while respecting the environment.

In Ubud, the intertwining of traditional healing practices, holistic wellness, and a commitment to healthy cuisine creates a harmonious environment that encourages individuals to embrace a lifestyle centered around well-being and balance. Whether seeking ancient healing rituals or indulging in nourishing cuisine, the town provides a sanctuary for those on a journey toward holistic living.

Ubud’s Vibrant Markets

Ubud Traditional Market

Market Layout and Atmosphere

The Ubud Traditional Market, a bustling hub at the heart of the town, is a vibrant tapestry of colors and aromas. Divided into two main sections, the market offers a dynamic atmosphere where locals and visitors alike engage in the age-old tradition of bartering. The market’s layout, with narrow lanes and stalls overflowing with goods, creates a sensory-rich experience that immerses visitors in the lively energy of Ubud.

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Local Crafts and Products

Ubud Traditional Market is a treasure trove of local crafts and products. From handcrafted textiles and intricate woodcarvings to traditional Balinese jewelry, the market showcases the skilled artistry of local craftsmen. Visitors can explore stalls filled with batik clothing, vibrant sarongs, and unique souvenirs, providing an authentic glimpse into Bali’s artistic heritage. The market’s offerings embody the spirit of Ubud’s creative community.

Organic Farmers’ Markets

Showcasing Organic Produce

In harmony with Ubud’s commitment to wellness and sustainable living, the town hosts vibrant Organic Farmers’ Markets. These markets shine a spotlight on locally grown, organic produce, providing a direct link between farmers and consumers. Visitors can explore stalls brimming with fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, each harvested with a commitment to environmental stewardship. The Organic Farmers’ Markets are a celebration of Bali’s fertile land and the community’s dedication to healthy living.

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Sustainable Living Initiatives

Ubud’s Organic Farmers’ Markets go beyond merely showcasing organic produce; they serve as platforms for sustainable living initiatives. Farmers and vendors often embrace eco-friendly practices, including minimal packaging, reusable containers, and compostable materials. These markets contribute to the town’s broader efforts to promote environmental consciousness, creating a space where mindful consumer choices intersect with sustainable agriculture.

In the vibrant markets of Ubud, tradition and modernity converge, offering a rich tapestry of local crafts, organic delights, and sustainable living practices. Whether exploring the lively stalls of the town’s Traditional Market or supporting eco-conscious initiatives at the Organic Farmers’ Markets, visitors are immersed in the cultural and sustainable heartbeat of this enchanting Balinese town.

Festivals and Events

Overview of Ubud’s Annual Events

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival stands as a literary celebration that transforms Ubud into a global hub for the exchange of ideas and stories. Held annually, this festival attracts acclaimed authors, thinkers, and literary enthusiasts from around the world. Through panel discussions, book launches, and interactive sessions, the festival nurtures a vibrant intellectual atmosphere, fostering a dialogue that transcends borders and cultures. The enchanting setting of Ubud provides an inspiring backdrop for the exploration of literature’s transformative power.

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Bali Spirit Festival and Other Cultural Events

The Bali Spirit Festival is a dynamic gathering that harmonizes the diverse threads of wellness, yoga, music, and dance. This festival encapsulates Ubud’s holistic ethos, bringing together practitioners and performers for a week of immersive experiences. Participants engage in yoga classes, dance workshops, and musical performances, creating a vibrant tapestry of cultural exchange and self-discovery.

Beyond these, Ubud hosts a myriad of other cultural events that showcase the town’s artistic prowess. From traditional dance performances to art exhibitions, each event contributes to the lively cultural landscape of the town. These gatherings not only celebrate the rich heritage of Bali but also serve as platforms for contemporary expression and creative exploration.

In Ubud, the annual festivals and cultural events weave a colorful narrative that reflects the town’s commitment to fostering creativity, intellectual discourse, and holistic well-being. Whether immersed in the world of literature at the Writers & Readers Festival or dancing to the rhythm of Bali Spirit, visitors find themselves embraced by the vibrant spirit of Ubud’s cultural festivities.

Accommodation Options

Boutique Resorts in Ubud

Unique Features of Boutique Accommodations

Ubud offers a plethora of boutique resorts that redefine the art of hospitality. These establishments are characterized by their intimate settings, personalized service, and a commitment to providing a unique and memorable experience. Boutique resorts in the town often feature distinctive architecture, lush gardens, and artistic interiors that blend seamlessly with the town’s natural beauty. Guests can expect an immersive stay, surrounded by the charm and character that makes each boutique accommodation a destination in itself.

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Recommendations for a Memorable Stay

For a truly memorable stay in Ubud, consider boutique resorts like Viceroy Bali or Bisma Eight, known for their luxurious amenities and attention to detail. These resorts often offer private villas with stunning views, exclusive spa services, and gourmet dining experiences. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature while enjoying the personalized service that boutique resorts are renowned for, creating lasting memories of your time in Ubud.

Budget-Friendly Stays

Guesthouses and Homestays

Ubud caters to budget-conscious travelers with a range of charming guesthouses and homestays. These accommodations provide an authentic Balinese experience, often run by friendly local hosts. The simplicity of guesthouses and homestays contributes to a more immersive cultural encounter, allowing visitors to connect with the warmth of Balinese hospitality. Rooms are clean and comfortable, offering a cozy retreat after a day of exploring Ubud’s treasures.

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Balancing Comfort and Affordability

To strike a balance between comfort and affordability, consider budget-friendly stays like Pertiwi Bisma 2 or Ubud Tropical Garden. These accommodations offer comfortable rooms, basic amenities, and a central location without compromising on the unique charm that defines Ubud. Travelers can enjoy the town’s attractions while appreciating the value and warmth that budget-friendly stays bring to their town experience.

In Ubud, accommodation options cater to a diverse range of preferences and budgets. Whether indulging in the luxury of boutique resorts or opting for the charm of budget-friendly guesthouses, visitors can find accommodations that enhance their stay and contribute to the overall enchantment of this cultural haven.

Exploring Ubud’s Surroundings

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Iconic Landscape and Agricultural Practices

A short journey from the town brings you to the breathtaking Tegallalang Rice Terraces, a landscape that captures the essence of Bali’s agricultural heritage. Cascading emerald-green rice paddies create a visual masterpiece, reflecting the intricate Subak irrigation system. This iconic landscape not only showcases the ingenuity of traditional farming but also provides a serene backdrop for visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of rural Bali.

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Activities and Tours in the Area

Exploring the Tegallalang Rice Terraces offers more than just a scenic view. Visitors can engage in activities such as guided trekking through the terraced fields, gaining insights into traditional farming practices. Adrenaline seekers may opt for exhilarating activities like ziplining, providing a unique perspective of the lush landscape. Additionally, local artisans sell their crafts along the terraces, offering handmade souvenirs that reflect the creativity inspired by the stunning surroundings.

Sacred Water Temples

Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi

Embark on a spiritual journey by visiting two of Bali’s revered water temples, Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi. Tirta Empul is known for its holy spring water, believed to possess purifying properties. Devotees and visitors alike participate in ritual bathing at the sacred pools. Gunung Kawi, on the other hand, is an ancient temple and funerary complex nestled in lush surroundings. Magnificent shrines carved into rock faces pay homage to Balinese royalty from centuries past.

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Spiritual Significance and Rituals

These sacred water temples hold deep spiritual significance in Balinese Hinduism. At Tirta Empul, the purification ritual involves a sequence of bathing at different fountains, symbolizing spiritual cleansing. Witnessing or participating in these rituals provides a profound cultural experience. At Gunung Kawi, the towering shrines evoke a sense of awe, and the site’s historical importance invites contemplation on Bali’s rich tapestry of spirituality.

Exploring Ubud’s surroundings unveils a tapestry of natural wonders and cultural treasures. From the awe-inspiring Tegallalang Rice Terraces to the sacred ambiance of Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi, these sites offer a holistic experience that complements the cultural richness found within the heart of the town.

Transportation Tips

Getting to Ubud

Transportation Options from Major Hubs

Ubud, nestled in the heart of Bali, is easily accessible from major hubs on the island. Here are the primary transportation options:

  • Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS): The main gateway to Bali, the Ngurah Rai International Airport is approximately 37 kilometers from Ubud. Travelers can hire taxis, use ride-sharing services, or arrange private transfers for a comfortable journey to the town.
  • Denpasar: Ubud is about an hour’s drive from Denpasar, Bali’s capital. Taxis, private drivers, and shuttle services are readily available for transportation to the town.
  • South Bali (Kuta, Seminyak): If you’re in South Bali, you can hire a taxi, use ride-sharing apps, or take advantage of shuttle services to reach the town. The journey typically takes around 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Public Buses and Shuttle Services: Budget-conscious travelers can opt for public buses or shuttle services that connect major tourist areas to Ubud.
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Local Transportation within Ubud

Ubud itself is a compact town that can be explored on foot, but for longer distances or more convenience, consider the following options:

  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis and ride-sharing services are available in Ubud and can be hailed on the streets or booked through apps. Ensure that the driver uses a meter or agrees on a fare before starting the journey.
  • Scooter Rental: Ubud’s narrow streets make scooters a popular and convenient mode of transportation. Many rental agencies offer scooters for daily or weekly rates, but be sure to wear a helmet and adhere to local traffic rules.
  • Bicycles: Explore the town at a leisurely pace by renting a bicycle. This eco-friendly option allows you to navigate the town’s surroundings while enjoying the scenic landscapes.
  • Walking: Ubud’s central area is pedestrian-friendly, with narrow streets lined with shops, cafes, and cultural attractions. Stroll through the town center to soak in its charm and discover hidden gems.

Navigating Ubud is relatively straightforward, and the diverse transportation options cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you choose the convenience of taxis, the flexibility of scooters, or the leisurely pace of walking, transportation in the town is designed to complement the town’s relaxed and cultural ambiance.

Insider’s Tips for a Memorable Visit

Best Times to Visit Ubud

Seasonal Considerations

  • Dry Season (May to September): This period is ideal for visiting Ubud as the weather is generally dry, and outdoor activities are more enjoyable. The months of June to August experience cooler temperatures, making it a popular time for tourists.
  • Wet Season (October to April): While the wet season brings lush green landscapes, occasional heavy rainfall may limit outdoor activities. However, the rainy season also means fewer crowds, providing a more serene and intimate experience.
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Avoiding Crowds and Maximizing Experiences

  • Early Mornings: Explore popular attractions like the Ubud Monkey Forest or Tegallalang Rice Terraces early in the morning to avoid crowds and enjoy a tranquil experience.
  • Midweek Visits: If possible, plan your visit midweek rather than on weekends. This can help you enjoy cultural sites, markets, and restaurants with fewer tourists.

B. Cultural Etiquette

1. Respecting Local Customs

  • Modest Attire: When visiting temples or participating in cultural events, dress modestly. Wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
  • Balinese Greetings: Learn and practice the Balinese greetings, such as the traditional “om swastikas,” to show respect to the locals.

2. Responsible Tourism Practices

  • Environmentally Conscious Activities: Engage in activities that promote sustainable and responsible tourism. Support businesses that prioritize eco-friendly practices and contribute positively to the local community.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of your behavior during religious ceremonies or traditional performances. Avoid disrupting proceedings, and always ask for permission before taking photographs, especially in sacred places.

By aligning your visit with the best times for weather and crowd avoidance, and by respecting local customs and practicing responsible tourism, you can ensure a more immersive and memorable experience in the town. Embrace the cultural richness of the town while leaving a positive impact on the environment and the community.


Ubud, nestled in the heart of Bali, unfolds as a captivating destination with a rich tapestry of unique offerings. From its enchanting traditional arts and vibrant cultural festivals to the tranquil wellness retreats, the town stands as a sanctuary that seamlessly intertwines art, culture, and well-being.

The town’s traditional Balinese painting heritage, coupled with the influence of iconic artists, creates an artistic haven. Ubud’s galleries showcase the convergence of tradition and contemporary trends, making it a dynamic hub for art enthusiasts.

Cultural wonders abound, from the historical significance of the Ubud Palace to the sacred ambiance of the Monkey Forest. These landmarks embody the spiritual essence that permeates through every corner of the town.

The town’s commitment to spiritual tourism is evident in its yoga scene, inviting visitors to explore their inner selves and embrace holistic well-being. Ubud’s diverse wellness practices, coupled with its farm-to-table cuisine, contribute to a holistic living experience that nurtures mind, body, and soul.

the town’s vibrant markets, whether the bustling Traditional Market or the eco-conscious Organic Farmers’ Markets, showcase the town’s commitment to sustaining its cultural heritage and embracing sustainable living practices.

Venturing beyond the town borders reveals scenic wonders like the Tegallalang Rice Terraces and sacred water temples, adding depth to the cultural and natural splendor of the area.

For those planning a visit, strategic considerations, such as choosing the right time to explore and embracing cultural etiquette, enhance the experience. By respecting local customs and adopting responsible tourism practices, visitors can contribute to the preservation of the town’s unique charm.

In essence, the town beckons travelers to immerse themselves in its captivating blend of art, culture, and wellness. The town’s allure lies not just in its picturesque landscapes but in the spirit of its people, the richness of its traditions, and the transformative experiences it offers. As you plan your journey, consider the town not just as a destination but as an invitation to explore the depths of creativity, spirituality, and well-being that make this cultural haven truly extraordinary. Embrace town, let it inspire you, and allow its unique offerings to create lasting memories of a truly enriching journey.

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