Decided to write this vacation in its chronological order this time – for ease in picture uploading, timeline recollection and explanation sake. Photos were taken with a Go-Pro (Hero 4) and iPhone7. All locations are linked to their respective websites for addresses and contacts.
(Read Part 2 here.)
We finally embarked on our long-awaited Bali trip on 1st September (took advantage of the Hari Raya public holiday and that weekend) for a 5 day holiday to Ubud, Bali. It was a wonderful experience. The culture, food, art and laid-back vibes were everything. Despite the lack of beaches and ocean views, it’s a place rich in tradition and warm hospitality.
We booked an Airbnb for our stay (hotels and resorts are way more expensive) considering that the plane tickets already costed a bomb. The owners (Ayu and Ketut) was extremely helpful with transport. They arranged drivers for both pick up and drop off to and from the airport (at around SGD 35 per trip). It takes approximately an hour and half to get from Denpasar airport to Ubud (2-2.5 hours if there is traffic). The ride was pretty smooth aside from some slight traffic. Our driver recommended for us to try Luwak coffee (more commonly known as “cat pooped coffee”) from a small coffee establishment on route- which we did. The coffee was alright in my opinion, slightly acidic for my taste. We ended up with a bag of traditional Balinese coffee to take home instead.
Our Airbnb was lovely – not the best equipped (the lack of a hairdryer was slightly troublesome), but sufficiently stocked with basic necessities required for those few days. The most interesting is probably it’s shower – taking alfresco experiences to a whole new level!
Since we arrived late that evening, we scrapped our initial plans to visit Ubud market and took a quick coffee break at Seniman Coffee Studio instead, before heading to Copper Kitchen and Bar for our first dinner reservation.
Copper is one of the most beautiful rooftop dining venues i’ve ever experienced. Perhaps it was the feeling of finally being able to soak in the Bali vibes, but everything looked much prettier than anticipated.
We ordered quite a few things since we only managed breakfast before our flight that day – their appetisers were good (we had their scallops and shellfish ravioli) , but their mains were the stars of the entire evening. Ikan Bakar made with spices, chopped beans and onion relish, and a blue swimmer crab pappardelle topped with a generous amount of parmesan cheese – I have never had such good fish and homemade pasta until this.
Dessert was an interesting one – a contemporary take on the traditional indonesian dessert, Es Teler. It contained atap chee seeds, guava jelly, a variety of nuts, topped with a drizzling of condensed milk and star anise sorbet. One of those where once you start, it piques your interest in discovering more until its all gone.
Random #ootd for Day 1.
Day 2 began with some picture taking by our very blue pool.
We made our way to Gaya Ceramics bright and early- a place that the bf was too excited about (admittedly, so was i). We arrived at a timely moment where they were in the midst performing a ceremony – Tumpek Landep. It is a ceremony held in Bali every 6 months of the Balinese Puwakon calendar, where the people make offerings for objects that are made of metal. We were lucky enough to be invited to witness this enlightening experience. Held in the warehouse of Gaya, it was a stunning sight of sun rays shining through the parchment roof, filling the entire room with a beautiful golden glow.
The Gaya store itself carried a variety of handmade, glazed and exquisitely designed ceramics. We would have taken one of everything if we had the space (and the money). It’s not the most affordable place in Bali to get your ceramics, but it’s definitely worth a visit simply based on the gorgeous store interiors and fine craftmanship. We ended up with 2 bowls for the bf, and a cup and saucer set for myself (a gift from the bf hehe).
Locavore was a meal not to be forgotten. A heads up if you are looking to dine at this restaurant – make a reservation at least a month or two in advance, or you might be disappointed. I made a reservation a month before and even then, only a lunch seating was available. Yes, they are that popular.
They gave us a beautiful table by the window (YAY good lighting!), with a great view of the entire kitchen and restaurant. We decided to pass on the alcohol for the afternoon, and went with some refreshing mocktail concoctions – my ginger, mint and lemon mocktail was delicious.
They have a non-vegetarian and vegetarian menu available. We went ahead with 2 non-vegetarian menus. The meal started with 2 complimentary glasses of sparkling wine, a sweet gesture from the bar manager who knew we were celebrating our anniversary. Then came the amuse bouche, or rather, the many amuse bouche. We devoured 6 delectable starters of a betal stuffed leaf with rock salt, tempura spinach leaves, kimchi mushroom otah, black rice bellini, tomato sorbet consomme and homemade coconut bread (wasn’t that a mouthful) even before the first course.
1st course – Indonesian ceviche made with emperor fish and peanut sauce.
2nd course: Steak tartare with a fermented garlic puree and pickled mushroom
3rd course: Baby squid, squid ink, onions and daun hujan
4th course: Creamy risotto with cured duck egg yolk, puffed rice and homemade white miso
5th course: Sop kaki kambing – goat leg, tomato, celery, potato, melinjo
6th course: Gule Ikan – Fish of the day, lontong
7th course: Pandan ice cream, coconut brioche, mango, coconut powder
8th course + petit fours: Pandan cream, sweet potato balls filled with chocolate, hibiscus and roselle tea
It was an amazing gourmet experience. Needless to say, we were absolutely stuffed after the 3 hour meal.
Of course we had a bit more shopping, visiting of markets and locale hunting in between the many food stops we made. Having a scooter in Bali is no doubt, the most convenient way to travel around (lucky for the bf who knows how to bike). We unveiled some hidden gems while riding around too. Another plus point if you are able to speak Bahasa – the bf really surprised me with his fluency in this, all i could manage was Terima kasih, heh!
This rounds up the first half of our Bali adventure – part 2 coming up next!