Bali Part 2 – Things To Do

 

There is so much to do in Bali.. The 17 days I spent there weren’tnearly enough. That being said you can easily pass days or weeks just heading off to yoga, eating at an abundance of amazing cafés and restaurants (see my Bali Part 1 guide), browsing local craft shops, and walking, cycling or hiring a motorised scooter and admiring your beautiful surrounds. I was quite content to spend many days like this and still enjoy some touristy action which I will share with you below.

Baring in mind I was based in Ubud so everything shared here is from that area!

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Yoga

Ubud is yogi packed and having previously lived in NY where it was so affordable and accessible to practice regularly compared  to Dubai or Ireland, so I was eager to get back into the downward dog swing of things! On my second day I visited the Yoga Barn and bought a 20 class card which works out at the same cost as 10 classes – major saving. I’d really recommend this as it can be used anytime within six months whereas other studios only offer an unlimited weekly or monthly package which isn’t ideal if you plan on travelling around quite a bit during your time in Bali.

The Yoga Barn, Ubud

The facilities and instructors are excellent. There’s accomodation available on site as well as detox programmes, a healthy café, a spa and a colonic therapy clinic. I particularly loved the classes with Bex.

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Sights

Gitgit Waterfall

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A beautiful piece of art I picked up on the short walk to the waterfall. Bali, and particularly Ubud, is an artist hub!

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Banjar Hot Spring

These two attractions are only a short drive apart so can be enjoyed in the same day. I would recommend if visiting from Ubud just to take a day trip to do these sights.

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I stayed for two nights, one in Lovina and one in Singaraja. Lovina is pretty nice, I had a quaint hotel with excellent staff and a pool next to their well-known black sand beach but it is a quiet area with only a handful of tourists.

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Singaraja is very off the beaten track with very little to do and no other visible tourists to be seen outside of my small hotel. Most people stay here if planning on going dolphin watching in Lovina early the next morning.

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Monkey Forest

Be careful!! That’s all I can say. I had a great time (see picture below) but many people do get bitten and again, as can be seen, the monkeys will jump and climb all over you. Sometimes at random or if they feel threatened by your picture-taking but most definitely if you have food, drinks or even a plastic bag which they know may contain food!

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The forest is really beautiful to stroll around so perfect after a cooking lesson like I did after one of my Casa Luna lessons (see further down).

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Campuhan Ridge & Rice Paddy Fields

A beautiful sunrise or sunset walk through the rice paddy fields and Campuhan ridge for a look at traditional life and for great scenic views and pictures.

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En route you will meet a few cute Warung’s (restaurants) and art shops

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25K Eco Cycle Tour

This I think would be better called a bike tour rather than a cycle tour. You will use your brakes more than your pedals but it is really enjoyable and really good value for money! You can choose a more challenging 7km finish to the tour, ending at the restaurant for lunch, like I did if you wish or you can continue your downhill descent taking in the views at leisure!

Staff are very fun, friendly and well-informed & the tour includes pick-up and drop-off to your accommodation. Included in the tour is a visit to a tea, coffee, chocolate and herb garden with tea and coffee tasting.

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Traditional breakfast buffet with stunning views of Mount Batur and local musicians on arrival.

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Pictured are gluten-free pumpkin waffles with fresh mint and lemongrass tea, pineapple and Burbur Injin – a traditional Balinese black rice porridge made with coconut milk.

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A visit to a traditional Balinese home seeing their everyday life, rituals and work.

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A visit to a rice paddy field and finally an epic buffet lunch to finish off a great day!

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Cooking Lessons

I took part in a number of lessons/culinary experiences during my time in Ubud. Three of which were with the Casa Luna Cooking School and I would highly recommend. Each day is a different class or tour and make sure to book in advance as they are very popular. I did a two market tours – one in the morning including a cooking lesson, one in the evening in the neighboring town of Gianyar which doesn’t include a lesson & a vegetarian/vegan lesson.

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The food is traditional and truly amazing!

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I also splurged a bit and did a fine dining lesson in Mozaic hotel and restaurant. I would only recommend this for serious foodies. I was lucky that given my dietary requirements I had a private lesson with Chef Rey.

The lesson included two different homemade welcome drinks, a personalised menu for me, a Mozaic apron and recipe/information folder, a tour of the restaurants garden, hands-on preparation of the food and then enjoyment of the three prepared courses, plated by Chef Rey and served with a complimentary glass of vino!

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5 star, state of the art, kitchen and dining room for our lesson

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Welcome drinks and my menu guide

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Fresh vanilla pods from the garden & my 3 course meal below featuring confit salmon starter, rack of lamb main course and a ginger flower sorbet.

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Bali has so much to offer – Don’t forget about my 4-day visit to the Gili Islands also while I was there! Additionally, I didn’t visit the busy tourist areas of Kuta or Seminyak in the south so there is still plenty more exploring to do within this country or to the neighboring islands of Lombok and Java. One thing is for sure, whatever trip you take to this island is sure to be memorable and I am sure to be back!

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Bali Part 1 – A Guide to Eating Ubud

Where to even begin.

I died and went to Emma-heaven when I set foot in Ubud.

The phrase “eat, sleep, yoga, repeat” comes to mind.

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Let me share with you some of my fabulous eats during my time in Ubud…

Warning: Food Porn

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The Seeds of Life

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The pictures say it all.. There was multiple visits to this raw café and tonic bar and I was never disappointed. Their cakes were beautiful, plenty of options and not loaded with palm sugar or agave as is often the case with vegan desserts. Pictured from top left is their signature lasagne, a ‘tonic creamer’ with a mini raw brownie, ‘American Burger Day’ special – raw burger on onion flatbread with mayo and BBQ jicama “fries”, sugar free carrot cake, Mexican burrito with “cacao-mole” and chocolate mousse cake.

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Soma

I visited here a couple of times – there smoothies are good but the wait time is often very long regardless of how busy or quiet they are so don’t go already starving! This breakfast was my highlight there though.. Scrambled eggs with grilled Mediterranean veg, cashew pesto and capers served on a wheat-free Cassava (south American root veg) wrap. Deee-lissh.

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Kafé & Little K Garden Kafé at Yoga Barn

I often enjoyed breakfast at Kafé on Jalan Hannoman which was a short walk from my homestay and at Garden Café, it’s younger sibling ideally located in the Yoga Barn. I never had dinner at Kafé but the menu sounded good and below is the Thai Green Curry with brown rice from Garden Kafé.

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Dayu’s Warung

This was a great little discovery. Slightly off the main streets but only by 5 minute walk and definitely worth it for honest, tasty, traditional food and a selection of desserts and nibbles to eat in or take away.

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Down to Earth Bali

Well known in the area for it’s organic fare and health food store/market, this became a regular watering-hole for me.

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Clear Café

By far my favourite smoothie in Ubud was had here. They also have a great selection of crackers and raw bars to take away which I stocked up on for further travels.

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Atman

Great people watching spot plus they have free WiFi and plugs so it was a convenient blogging spot. Check out this sinless caramelised coconut bread with berry compote, a side of caramelised banana and mint tea.

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Bali Buda

My first meal in Ubud and I knew I was in for a great trip. Traditional vegetarian Nasi Campur which is rice with many accompanying dishes.

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Kokolato

Dairy-free ice-cream anyone?

Oh and they give free samples – many free samples. The cones are made from brown rice and they have so many cool flavours like Red Velvey, Mayan Chocolate Chili, Carrot Cake, superfood Moringa Mint and more!

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Warung Saya

This experience was arranged for me by head chef Rey of Mozaic restaurant who I met at a cooking lesson I had there (more on that soon). He said it was his favourite place to eat so he made me a reservation for my last night in Ubud. The owner, Amir, is a real character. Former fashion designer and current interior & dog’s dress’ designer, the restaurant is a past-time rather a full-time commitment so he only opens by reservation or for those willing to wait as everything is prepared fresh to order from scratch by Amir himself. On the night I visited I was the only diner (if you don’t count Amir’s poodle Princess who was tottering around!

Amir is Javanese but cooks Indonesian, Thai and Indian foods. Rey ordered for me upon booking so I had the Thai green chicken curry (a favourite of mine). It was perfectly balanced with spice, heat & creaminess from the coconut milk. (The pictures don’t do the flavours any justice but I can assure you they’re good!)

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Already stuffed – dessert of ‘banana soup’ arrived. Amir only makes this when he can find just the right bananas that will soften but not fall apart when boiled in the creamy coconut milk & coconut sugar. It was very sweet – maybe a tad so for my taste, but so nourishing and creamy it was hard to leave behind.

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If you are a foodie of any kind but particularly love good honest, healthy, organic or raw food you all adore Ubud.

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Final Note:

I stayed at Amel’s Homestay in Ubud with a warm Balinese family that truly made you feel at home. I went travelling to the North of Bali and the Gili islands for 1 week and when I returned it really was like coming home as they came rushing out to warmly greet me and bring me my case which I had left in their safe-keeping. Breakfast is included, all rooms have Wi-Fi and breakfast of fruit and omlettes or pancakes are served on your porch each morning. At 150,000IDR (approx. €10) per night it is standard Ubud guesthouse pricing and in an ideal location, 5 minutes walk to Jalan Hannoman, one of the main streets and 5-7 minutes walk to Yoga Barn studios.

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Anyone tempted to start planning a trip??

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