Back in April a friend from the UK got in touch and shared that she needed some adventure in her life and could she stop by Singapore to see us. Of course I’m always excited to see friends from home and this time round we spiced her trip up by adding in a girls weekend in Bali.
Now this is the first time I’d left my munchkins to go abroad. But a few hours on booking.com and a two-bed villa reservation in Ubud later I was feeling surprisingly ok about it. We used Scoot to book the early Saturday am flights out of Singapore, its a short 2-hour flight from Changi so I can live with the lack of leg room for the cheaper flight.
We’d booked into a boutique villa near Ubud called Adiwana Arya Villas and through them arranged for one of their drivers to pick us up from the airport. It ended up being a bit of a longer drive in rush hour traffic up to Ubud and I could see the Facebook friend request coming from the moment we got in the car. (We actually swapped drivers the next day and our new guy was amazing for the whole trip, do message me if you’d like his details.)
The villa totally surpassed all our expectations. It was a short ten min drive from the centre of Ubud in the middle of the most serene rice fields. The entrance was through a hidden gate into a stunning private walled garden… We had a two bed with open air kitchen, dining and living areas. The highlight, apart from the sumptuous outdoor bathrooms, having our very own private pool.
Tip: the hotel ran a shuttle car to the centre of town every hour or so throughout the day free of charge, we were quite often the only ones travelling.
Just across from our villa was the restaurant and then the main pool, both with views out over the miles of rice fields. There can be up to four rice harvests a year and we were lucky enough to be there for one of those. We spent one morning watching from the edge of the field, chatting to the ladies and watching them go about their mesmerising work. It really was one of my favourite parts of the trip.
If you wanted to see some larger scale rice fields the top tourist spot near Ubud is Tegallalang Rice Fields (good luck pronouncing that after a few local Bintan beers). Now I’d seen the photos of this place all over Instagram looking quiet and laid back so I totally wasn’t prepared for the sheer volume of people.
My advise would be to go at the crack of dawn but we didn’t and had to pay to enter the area. Then as you explore further down the rice fields terraces you have to pay each individual farmer to enter/cross their plot, depending on how far you want to venture. I think we went three farms in… make sure you have cash ready. It wasn’t a lot maybe $5 each. We also had our driver with us to show us the way.
Tip: If you’re feeling lucky stop by the road-side street vendors and see if they have any Rambutan fruit. It’s similar to a lychee but more delicious, in my opinion.
Just down the road from the Tegallalang are a bunch of these big swings. Now again from my research they looked very gentle and slow… haha how wrong was I’ve, never screamed so loud in my life. Now they don’t really have names, but we went to the one called Bali Swing, with the lemak coffee and tea tasting. (Here is a good blog I found about the swings) We had a lovely tour around the farm, they showed us what herbs grew there and I loved learning what a pepper plant looks like, easily pleased.
I jumped up first to get a photo, I wasn’t quite prepared to be strapped in and hoiked up backwards and pushed off a platform over the sprawling jungle below. Now I don’t think I could ever do a bungee jump but it was quite good fun once the initial shock wore off. You can also climb up into their birds nests for a few fun photos too. The guide and tea tasting were free here, you just pay for the swings, but we did tip our guide as she was so patient taking photos for us.
Tip: If you want to get a good photo wear something which contrasts green, like red or white, not blue like I did. The girl after us totally nailed her outfit choice in a floaty red dress.
After the rice fields we stopped for lunch and then went over to Pura Tirta Empul Holy Waters. As you enter you’ll be asked to wear a sarong (men too), they do provide them there or you can take your own. I was also surprised to see a sign requesting that all ladies have their hair tied up to enter the back part of the temple.
Tip: if you want to enter the holy waters you’ll need a bathing suit and a sarong to cover yourself up with. But also a separate dry sarong for afterwards.
Ubud market blew us both away… it’s not somewhere two ladies without kids (or husbands) in tow should be set free. We had a ball bartering with stall holders and picking up beautiful homewares and nick nacks for the kids. They love to tell you about the ‘early morning price’. It’s a good time to get a deal.
Tip: walk away from a sale and watch the stall holders half the price.
We ate in our hotel a few evenings which was really tasty, but one of our favourite meals was in Clear Cafe otherwise know as the round door cafe. Which is surprising as they didn’t serve alcohol but they did have Kombucha. We almost didn’t go after looking on trip adviser but glad we ignored the one bad review and went anyways. The service was lovely, you walk in and leave your shoes at the street door. We were seated upstairs so it was nice and cool. We both ate gloriously tasty buddha bowls.
One of the other treats was being so close to the Yoga Barn, a world famous yoga studio. You don’t have to book, you can look up the class times on their website and just show up before the class. We did the evening relaxation class with live music, we were floating in a class with about 50 other people, it was really magical and just what I’d needed. My friend made it back for a more active class after I left Bali and raved at how good that was too.
Tip: I saw that they have a massage centre upstairs at the back if you’re in for some extra relaxation.
I only really had 2.5 days in Ubud but I had the best time relaxing and laughing with my lovely friend. I’m already planning a return trip with the family. This time we’re eyeing up Sadat Glamping Tents as we’ve stayed at their sister resort Glamping Canonici Di San Marco near Venice and we were blown away.