Hi all. My holiday was awesome, I had a great time. Since I got back on Saturday, I’ve been tidying up a few things and getting others sorted. My placement starts next week in Paediatrics (yay!!) after all.
For the holiday, we stayed in Ubud in a villa there – Kano Sari. Our suite was lovely, and the place had a pool, massage facilities, and a common area with things to do. Plus aircon and free wifi. 😉 Breakfast was provided each day on a rotating menu; it was very yummy, with fresh fruit, muesli, fresh juice and different hot options. Our suite was near a river that ran next to the villa, which was nice. The one downside was the number of stairs we had to climb to go between the common area (pool, dining, lounge room) to our suite.
Ubud is located in the “uplands” of Bali. Nearly everyone keeps chickens – we were woken by the roosters most mornings (who then proceeded to crow all day – “up at cockcrow” should really be “up at first cockcrow”…). The surrounding area has lots of rainforests as well as terraced rice paddies, and Hindu religious practices are a big part of life and the local culture.
We fell into a pattern of doing things around Ubud in the morning, then coming back to the villa after lunch and spending the afternoon relaxing. A nice balance of seeing the sights (it was, after all, my first trip to Bali) and having some chill-out time. Bliss!
Apart from activities around the villa, which included reading, swimming, and a couples massage (highly recommend getting the traditional Balinese one – so relaxing!), our activities including local exploration on foot and, via a hired driver arranged through Kano Sari, a few activities further afield.
I’m glad we arranged this, because the traffic and driving conditions are best navigated by a local. Most locals travel by motorbike due to the narrow roads – the main cars are chartered vehicles and taxis. About the latter – unlike Australia, in Bali it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable for drivers to ask if you want a ride. Get used to saying, “No.” very firmly as you walk past the calls of, “Taxi?” (they tend to leave the “you want a…” bit out – faster that way. 😉 ).
In Ubud, we visited places such as:
The Sacred Monkey Forest, where macaques live – bold enough to steal anything interesting right out of your hands! We saw a macaque investigating a stolen bottle of hand sanitiser…wonder what he thought of the taste! Very curious animals.
The Ubud Central Market – come before 09:00 for the local market, and from 09:00-17:00 for the tourist one. We got a couple of souvenirs here – mine were earrings and a packet of rosella tea. I also spied Luwak coffee for sale here too! (If interested, check out this blog post of another tourist pair’s trip to the local market.)
The Ubud Palace and Saraswati Temple – both largely closed on the day we went there, but still interesting to look at. There are particular rules about visiting the temple – if it’d been open, I’d have had to wear a “temple sarong” and also would have been obliged to avoid visiting under certain circumstances.
The Neka Gallery, a collection of art from notable Balinese artists, Indonesian artists, and international artists, with paintings “inspired by the people and culture of Bali”. We were followed through the gallery by the caretaker, who made sure all the lights were on as we explored its two levels. It’s got a bit of an indoor-outdoor feel, with the rooms structured around an open courtyard.
On the last day, we walked around Ubud again to see parts of the town we hadn’t seen before, before checking out of the villa and going exploring further afield.
Further afield, we visited:
Petulu village (on Thursday evening) where the white herons roost each night (quite the spectacle). We sat in a little rooftop family-run cafe/bar and watched the herons come into roost on a nearby tree.
The Rice Terraces, which one could walk along and through using special paths, paying “upkeep payments” along the way. The walk was fun, though at times you had to watch your step!
At the terraces, they had a giant swing which swung you (in a harness) over the fields!
On our way to the airport to go home, we stopped by Seminyak Beach for a look. Nice sunset, but not much else for us. (Plenty of stalls selling booze, but no ice-cream!)
We ate out for lunch and dinner during our stay, meaning we got to try a few different places, and dishes. Sometimes we planned where we’d eat, other times we found them when hungry. We usually ate in warungs (“small eateries” or “general stores”, depending on context) or occasionally at restaurants.
Hands down the best place, in my opinion, was the Wild Ginger Warung, where we had our first dinner in Bali. A true family-run restaurant.
I had Ayam Goreng Kecap – “Chicken cooked in Putu’s Special Sauce with White Rice” as a main and a Pisang Goreng – “Fried Banana with Coconut and Brown Sugar” for dessert. Also, I had a Ginger Fizz – “Lemon, Honey, 7Up, and Ginger” to drink.
Another place I enjoyed was called Bebek Bengil. This was a restaurant that was the priciest of the trip, because it specialised in the Balinese speciality “bebek bengil”, which translates to “crispy duck”. It was lunch on our first day.
I ended up having a very spicy Nasi Campur Bebek (“mix of everything”): “Balinese Nasi Campur with Crispy Duck, Boiled Egg, Fish Satay, Balinese Vegetables and lot more”.
My partner had the actual Bebek Bengil: “Half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices and deep fried for a crispy finish … served with steamed rice and Balinese vegetables”.
For a drink, we had a fresh coconut each.
Other food places included the following:
Casa Luna, which was dinner on Thursday evening. I had a special vegetarian dish of tofu and Cassava, Moringa and other green things, accompanied by black rice and a spicy sambal dressing.
To accompany it, I had a glass of brem, Balinese rice wine. Quite potent – I drank it “straight”, but there were options for adding fruit to it to turn it into a cocktail-style drink. It was closer to a spirit than a wine in a sense.
Warung Semesta was lunch on our last day, at a vegetarian “eco-friendly” place. I had Gado Gado and a strawberry milkshake/ smoothie.
Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka was our destination for lunch on Wednesday. I can’t remember exactly what I had – maybe nasi babi guling, which is rice with pork. “Babi guling” is a special Balinese dish made with suckling pig. It wasn’t as nice as the Bebek Bengil, in my opinion. (No photo for this one – my phone must have had a low battery.)
Nomad was where we had lunch on Thursday. It was clearly geared towards tourists, but still yummy. My partner wanted pasta and we ended up there. I had Tagliatelle A’la Nomad – “Homemade tomato tagliatelle with chicken, spinach and red onion… in a creamy white wine sauce and parmesan cheese.” I had a delicious mango drink that literally tasted as if fresh mango had been liquefied into a drink. I really like the freshness of Balinese juices and drinks!
Jaya Fried Chicken was where we had dinner on Wednesday. My partner spotted it on our travels and suggested we try it. It’s the Indonesian version of KFC. We had a special of theirs and due to a language barrier, it ended up being slightly different to what we’d imagined. But still an interesting experience. Plus iced tea, so yay!
Maccas: included because we got this as an easy dinner on the way to the airport, to compare Indonesian Maccas to other countries. I had a McSpicy, which had nice chicken in it. Indonesian Maccas provides a complimentary chilli sauce with their orders.