Our drive to Ubud, a small village about 1.5 hours from Denpasar had many stops along the way as we were very keen to look at the local handicrafts which are located around this region. Woodworkers, stonemasons and metal workers who make carvings, furniture, statues, wall murals, lights, massive timber slab tables etc……we had particular interest in the creative reuse of timber from old fishing boats and buildings turned into furniture. Ubud is very much the cultural centre of Bali and has expanded heaps since we were last here (2009), more of everything that makes it a great place to visit. There are endless galleries, a gorgeous Lotus garden, many boutiques stocking some great finds from Balinese designers and every second shopfront is a spa! We stayed in a resort hotel about 10 minutes out of Ubud, surrounded by rainforest and rice paddies which made it a peaceful escape at the end of the day. On our return trip to Seminyak we stopped at a coffee plantation and had the chance to sample Luwak coffee, famous for its uniqueness which makes it the most expensive coffee in the world. The high price is driven by the uncommon method of producing the coffee as it has been made from the coffee beans digested by a civet, (looks like a cross between a cat and a ferret!), yes the droppings (coffee beans) are collected and processed to make the coffee…..An interesting stop and really great coffee. The smallest bag available for purchase cost around $35 for 100g.
We found another lovely retreat in Seminyak, staying at the beautiful Villa Blubambu, quiet boutique accommodation just back from the beach and five minutes walk from the busy shopping and eating strips.
Our Friday flight was cancelled and with no indication on when we would be able to leave here, we decided to cancel our Myanmar trip 😩 and continue to make the most of our time in Bali until we were able to get a flight home….and promise ourselves to travel to Myanmar sometime soon. So ….. more time to explore Bali whilst we wait for our flight home 🙂
Our evenings in Seminyak began with a walk on the beach, people watching and playing the usual games with the street ‘beach’ vendors. Local bars along the beachfront set up beach bags and umbrellas to entice to tourists to sit and enjoy the sunset. Bintang is the best choice here as the cocktails tend to be weak and expensive. It doesn’t take long to find something to observe….selfie sticks abound with tourists, instead of enjoying the scenery and the awesome sunsets selfie bandits look at themselves in a little screen snapping away to find that perfect shot ….
Looking for new places to explore during the next few days we decided to go to Lovina, a small seaside village on the north side of Bali. A great scenic drive across a very high mountain or two and down to a beautiful beachside village barely touched by the mainstream tourist route. Along the way our driver, who spoke great english, explained Bali customs, religion and lifestyle to us and we really enjoyed the insights to local life. Our stops along the way included temples, gardens, lakes, local markets and amazing waterfalls. [Transport here is either via a metered taxi or a negotiated price with a private driver. The drive from the south to the north coast takes around 3 hours, we agreed a price with our driver = to 60 AUD, he also offered to stop for us so we could see the local sights along the way, the trip there took us 6 hours, our driver then turned around and drove 3 hours to get home! He also asked us to call him when we were ready to return south. We called him the day before and he came to collect us the next morning and then drove the 3 hours back again, all for another $60!]
Once in Lovina we enjoyed peaceful days by the pool and the black sand beach, early morning dolphin watching in the bay (which sounds serene, but we just felt sorry for the dolphins watching the local fishing boats chase them!), walks along the beach to the village, and chatting to beautiful local kids playing on the beach all keen to practice their English and make friends. We read a review on a restaurant here called ‘The Secret Garden’, this restaurant was set up by a local couple in their backyard, she cooks, he serves and they only have 4 x tables! The food and service were outstanding and we ate there 2 of our 3 nights in Lovina. The restaurant only opened in April and is located in a residential area, so not one you would find by strolling and looking for somewhere to eat. Just over 3 months ago they listed it on Trip Advisor and it is now rated as number 1 in Lovina – such a great success story!
Our last 3 x nights in Seminyak were spent in the beautiful Uma Sapna villas, we were upgraded to a private pool villa and we seriously didn’t have a lot of motivation to go too far, especially as the awesome onsite spa was right next to our room! Great breakfasts here also, cooked to order from the fabulous Kilo restaurant next door.
We caught up with Wendy and Alan for lunch on the beach in Sanur on our last day, so great to see them again and share more of what’s going on in their world, we shall return to visit them again soon! By this time you may understand that we are and have been totally relaxed and have enjoyed our unplanned time here. We have an overnight flight departing this evening and will be back in our Eudlo paradise for a morning coffee on Sunday. Already planning on rebooking our trip to Myanmar :).