DAY 1: TUBAN to UBUD
I had a really early flight! It was at 4am so I went straight from work to the airport. I didn’t wait that long before check-in opened. Immigration, however, was a different story. They opened at 2am. So while waiting, I went to McDo and ate truffle fries – I loved it! 🙂 Good thing immigration was a breeze. I also slept through the flight. However, going through immigration at the Bali airport was the exact opposite. There was a really long line. Ohmygoodness. I think I was in line for an hour. Once done, I had some money exchanged at the airport. The rate was actually pretty good. It wasn’t that much different from the rates in Ubud, but Kuta had the best rate out of the 3.
My problem though was how to get out of the airport. My initial plan was to get a Bluebird taxi at the departure area, go to Kura Kura bus at DFS Galleria and take a bus to Ubud. I had it all planned, but the execution was quite difficult. I didn’t even know how to get to the departure area. (I think it was upstairs. Only figured it out when I left. LOL.) Good thing, I met some Filipina friends and asked them where they were going and how they were going to get there. Luckily, they were also on their way to Ubud. Score! They booked a car service via Klook – thank you guys for introducing me to Klook. LOL! I asked if I could go with them and I will just pay my share of the expense. They agreed and they became my new friends in Bali. We traveled to Ubud from the airport and that took at least an hour and a half. Our driver was pretty talkative and told us a lot of stuff about Bali and himself. Maan was also talking to the driver, while Eden was asleep – I envy her!
Our drop-off was their hostel, I did check how far it was from my homestay and it was just two streets away so I can totally walk. I stayed in their room for a while, just to chat and take some rest. Then we went out to have lunch and so I can go check in at my homestay. I was super sleepy! They had plans to watch a dance somewhere on the main street in the early evening and they asked me to come, however, I booked a meditation class at 6pm. That’s only one of the two things I booked for this trip. LOL!
I arrived at the KT Kuaya Homestay a little after 2pm. The first order of business after checking in was to sleep. Oh my goodness, I was super tired. I had a shift until 12mn and went straight to the airport from work since the flight was at 4am. Even if I was able to sleep through the flight, I still wanted to sleep on a bed for a few hours. I took a nap for about 2 hrs and got ready for my meditation class at Ubud Yoga House at 6pm. I walked from my homestay to the yoga house, located in the middle of the fields for about 25 minutes. In all fairness, the directions on the internet were pretty accurate. I didn’t have a hard time looking for it! I paid IDR130,000 for the class and I booked through their website a few months before. It’s only every Tuesday at 6pm so I decided to try it. I checked their website just today but unfortunately, they no longer have it on the calendar. I was pretty early for my class so I had time to explore the area first and took photos of the sunset in the fields. The class wasn’t in the upstairs area though where you have a nice view of the field. It was in the other yoga area, which I think is perfect for meditation. It was my first time to do mindfulness meditation and I felt pretty relaxed after. I really enjoyed the Tibetan bowl music part. My takeaway from this class is that you really have to live in the present and let go of heavy thoughts of the past and the future. (The past and future suitcases!) I am an overthinker so this really helped me let go. Let it go~ Don’t be in the past. Don’t be in the future. Be here now. When I got back to Manila, the first thing I did was download a meditation app called Headspace. Although, I have been having difficulty finding time to meditate. That’s something I will need to work on.
After the class, I walked back to my homestay so I got to enjoy the stretch of Jalan Raya Ubud for the first time. (Not so much on my way to the yoga house as I had to get there as fast as my feet can take me!) There’s a lot to see on this road, and the restaurants alternate with temples and museum, which I think is pretty cool. Once I got to my homestay, I changed out of my yoga clothes and met up with Maan and Eden for dinner. They came from a kecak dance at the Water Temple. I was just right on time when I passed by that area (behind Starbucks), they were just coming out of the temple.
We decided to explore the small town of Ubud and we actually got lost along the way. We got quite tired as the map provided by my homestay wasn’t so helpful. But at least we were able to take some good photos along the way! We were also choosy when it comes to where we wanted to have dinner but in the end, we were able to have a really nice dinner at Cafe Jaya on Jalan Monkey Forest. The food was really good and I love that it’s open until very late.
We then walked back to the main streets, appreciated street art and walked back to our respective homestays. My first day in Bali was over by 11pm.
DAY 2: UBUD
I slept late the previous night but had to wake up early for my morning walk! My first activity for the day was Campuhan Ridge Walk. This is one of my favorite places I went to during this trip. I initially planned to walk until Karsa Kafe / Spa but then when I got to the area where there were some residential houses and I was already passed the grassy area, I decided to turn back. Also, it was getting hot and it’s going to be tiring to walk under the heat of the sun. I think it took me almost 2 hours going there and back to my homestay. I had ice cream on the way back cause it was too hot.
I had breakfast at the homestay before leaving for the spa. I must say that I am really satisfied with the breakfast at the homestay! I only stayed for 2 days and they had different breakfast meals on both days. This is why I prefer small homestays over hotels. It’s more intimate and the family who owns it really takes care of everyone. Unlike in some hotels, sure there are a lot of amenities and it’s more beautiful but customer service gets sacrificed at times because there are too many guests. I can say that I felt really taken care of at this homestay. They lent me an umbrella on my last day of stay cause it was raining and they let me stay in my room until I got picked up by my van going to Kuta.
On with the rest of my second day, Bali Botanica Day Spa was farther than I expected! I think it was a 45-minute walk, good thing I left the homestay at around 9am so I was still early for my appointment. Ok, my experience at this spa was amazing. From the time that I booked the appointment on their website until the email they sent me after my appointment. Their service was really good, the guy at the reception offered water while I waited for my therapist and he did a great job at explaining the process. You can even choose the oil you want to use, they have samples that you can smell first before ticking your option on the form you need to fill out before your massage. My therapist was also really nice, she tried her best to communicate with me in English and even told me I look Indonesian as well. But from Jakarta, not Bali (it basically means I’m a city girl). My package was the Green Tea Bath, which includes a 65-minute body massage, green tea scrub and flower bath. The whole treatment lasted almost 2 hrs. My favorite part, of course, was the flower bath! They also served ginger tea while I was soaked in the bath. I totally loved it! The package cost me IDR240,000 (roughly PHP900) and I thought that was really cheap. I have looked for similar packages in the Philippines and the price range is around PHP2500-4000 so I thought this was really worth it.
Plus points for featuring me on the Facebook page 3 months after my Bali trip! Imagine scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and seeing your back on “Page Stories you may like”. HAHAHA. I never thought of sharing that photo on Facebook (only on Instagram) but it was sooo cool so I shared the photo on Facebook. ^^
After my 2-hr spa treatment, I walked back to the main road and there’s a lot of interesting things to see. Ubud is the center of culture after all.
It was already lunchtime so I went straight to Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka, which was right across Ubud Palace. Surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of people, considering that it was lunchtime. I think it helped that they now have 3 branches in Ubud and they’re not too far from each other. I ordered the special so I can have a taste of everything that they have on the menu. This meal includes rice, fresh vegetables, pork roll, fried meat and sausage with pork skin for only IDR45,000. Babi guling is like their version of lechon and tastes a lot like Cebu lechon. I liked it, except that the sausage and the vegetables were too spicy for me. I just tasted some of it and then left it on my plate. Totally not their fault, I’m a bit of a picky eater.
After lunch, I walked back to my homestay and had an afternoon nap. Afternoon naps are a necessity! Hahaha! I think this is what I loved the most about traveling solo, I have control of my own schedule and I don’t have to think about resting when I want to cause I only have me to worry about. That is quite hard to do when you are traveling with a group cause you need to think about them, too.
I went out again at around 4pm to continue with my city tour. I dropped by a bike rental place first near my homestay to ask about renting a bike for tomorrow morning since I plan on biking to Tegallalang Rice Terraces. The guy at the store told me that I could just get the bike right then and there and return it at 8:30am the next day. Anyway, I planned on going there really early and I should be back in town by then. Instead of taking the bike home, I biked going to the places I planned on visiting that afternoon. I went to visit the Ubud Royal Palace and the Ubud Water Palace. I parked my bike right outside Ubud Palace, took some photos and then walked to the Water Palace, took some photos as well. I then took my bike and cycled towards Cafe Pomegranate. It’s in the same area as Ubud Yoga House. Ok, not very advisable to bike here cause there are slopes and the roads are not so good. I really had a hard time and at some point, I left my bike at a spot where a lady is selling souvenirs and just walked to the cafe. I was really sweaty and I ripped my skirt. Hahahaha. I know, super bad idea to wear that skirt while biking but I didn’t know I was going to get the bike immediately when I went out that afternoon.
Anyway, Cafe Pomegranate is this tent cafe located in the middle of the fields. There’s a really good view of the sunset here while getting some drinks and just relaxing. I ordered some Japanese dessert and a Bintang beer. Bintang beer was so good, I had two. It was a really nice, relaxing afternoon while taking in an amazing view of the sunset. When it was getting dark, I went back to the spot where I parked my bike and cycled back to my homestay.
It was still early so I decided to try the homestay’s pool. It was a little creepy in the beginning cause there were no lights. I didn’t know where the switch was! A little later, there were 2 guests who checked in at the room in front of the pool so the staff turned the light on. Yay! I had a blast just floating on the water (since I just learned how to a few weeks prior ^^) for a few minutes. I was alone so it was a bit sad and so I went back to my room not too long after.
I became sleepy after swimming so I just waited for my hair to dry and then went to bed. I really wanted to try the bathtub but I forgot to check if I could buy some bath bomb somewhere. Sayang! Maan sent me a message inviting me to their room so we can have dinner and drink beer. But I was so sleepy! (And I already had two beers LOL) So I had to say no and went to sleep.