It was 2010 when I watched “Eat, Pray, Love” together with my soul sisters Karen and Beth. Since then, we’ve contemplated many times to do our own version of ELP. But due to family and career commitments, it didn’t happen (or maybe, it’s not yet time). Fast forward to 2016, as I am turning 40, I persuaded Alvin to let me plan a trip to Bali to pursue a family version of EPL. This trip will be for us; for Alvin to reflect about his career path, and of course for myself: EAT – to try Balinese food, PRAY – to meditate every morning in a peaceful environment, to have time for myself to relax, rejuvenate, refresh and renew, and lastly, LOVE – to spend BIG quality time and intimate moments with Alvin and Albert.
Through skyscanner.com, I’ve gotten a great promo ticket via KLM. I booked our accommodation via Airbnb.com as we wanted to stay in a villa type accommodation in a remote village near Ubud for 7 days. Our accommodation in Ubud is a cluster of villas located 15 minutes away from Ubud Central.
Ubud is one of the famous places in Bali. It’s a complete package for Balinese arts and culture and great place for relaxation. Even though we stayed there for a whole week, the place still enchants me until now.
Ubud centre is home to many good restaurants, cafés, gelateria and bakeshops that serve good croissants. You’ll have a variety of options and you can compare the prices easily, just don’t be lazy to walk. I always love food and I think it’s part of my soul. The people are warm and kind. They always smile.
Babi Guling at Ibu Oka
They serve Balinese style roasted pork. We’ve tried this when we first visited Bali in 2009. It has a different taste from Philippines roasted pork or lechon. I am a Filipino and love roasted pork so this food won’t go wrong.
Fair Warung Bale is highly recommended by TripAdvisor. It’s known for serving good food for a good cause. It’s probably true that good tasting food is a product of people who work from the heart. For every order, the company will give free two medical consultations for Balinese people.
This is our hotel drop-off and pick-up point. That’s how we got to know this place. During dinner, the stair foyer is decorated with Balinese flowers and every guest is welcomed with a flower worn on one of the ears, all done by one of the waitresses. The restaurant can be very busy at night. The staff here are attentive. Ambiance is great, each table has lit candles and flowers in a vase. We were given a seat along the street so we had a good view of Ubud’s busiest road.
Warung Bendega Ubud
This is the last restaurant that we’d dined in during our visit. This is not in my list. As I ran out of places to try, we just came across this restaurant while walking and checking prices. Normally, we like to choose a restaurant based on price and the number of customers. Though their price is competitive, we were hesitant because the restaurant only had one customer drinking beer at that time. Agung came and smiled at us so I asked him about their food. He said “very good”. Told him I trust what he said and will later comment in Tripadvisor about how good or bad is your food. He just smiled and he even remembered Albert’s name. Surprisingly, the food was great and it was the best we had during our one-week stay in Bali. Agung is great at his job. He’s very happy person.
This is the most economical food we had in Bali. This is basically an eatery so the food is already cooked and you just point which one you like to try. They serve home-cooked food. Not too commercial. We ate here twice because of the price 🙂 and the food is also not bad. Just be careful of spicy food, if you are not used to it. During our first visit, Albert’s chicken was too spicy for him.
We went to Paon Seafood for lunch and had a delectable meal after our spa. The restaurant has a relaxing ambiance with wooden tables and chairs. I just noticed that parts of the plates weren’t that clean because they just overlaid banana leaves on the serving plate and it didn’t really cover the entire plate.
We had coffee here once after lunch. They serve great bread. Their price is lower than the other cafes in Ubud. They have great Bali coffee, cappuccino and freshly baked cakes and bread. One of the great deals of this café is that they sell their day old bread for 50% off. Since we’ve gotten tired of the hotel breakfast, we bought some croissants and scones to have variety on our breakfast the next day.
Another good coffee shop along the main road in Ubud. Good cappuccino and hot chocolate. You can also try their almond croissant.
We had our gelato after my Ubud Market shopping afternoon. This is cloud nine for Albert as he was so exhausted after walking hours at the Ubud market. They have many flavors to choose from. It was a refreshing moment for us.
We had snacks here after our walk along Capuhan Ridge, and before continuing to the rice paddies. The view of the restaurant is spectacular. We tried their Sweet Potato Fries and Balinese bubur ketan hitam.
We attend mass every Sunday and we pray every night as a family. However, due to our frantic city life, we hardly have time to slow down and reflect. In this trip, I had time to reflect deeper, like sort of detoxing or cleansing my mind from bothersome thoughts and to release negativity. Every morning, I woke up early, almost the same time as when the roosters started to crow. I could hear the beautiful sound of nature. It was serene.
I meditated in different spots…
In front of the lotus pond
Beside the pool
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” ~ Oscar Wilde
Walking at the rice paddies
Mt Batur Trek
We started our hike before dawn at 3am in pitch black surroundings. At the start of our journey, we already noticed the beautiful sky filled with stars. It was a very clear moonless night so we had a good glimpse of the Milky Way. The sight was breathtaking. In a well-lit city like Singapore, we would be lucky if we could see more than 10 stars in the night sky.
We trekked for 3 hours to the summit using torch lights (flashlights). It was way harder than I thought. We made it to the peak just before sunrise! The sight at the top was glorious. I didn’t ever imagine I can see such spectacular creation of God.
We still couldn’t believe that we made it to the summit of Mt Batur, which is 1,717 m from sea leave. The reward was truly A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! This trek made us realize that age is not a barrier to achieving our goals! We just have to keep on going and never ever give up!
After the challenging Mt Batur Trek, we wanted to have a leisurely nature walk. So after our early breakfast, we headed to the start of Capuhan Ridge trail. The weather was perfect and the sceneries along the trail was just as gorgeous.
It doesn’t matter where you go in life…It’s who you have beside you! ~Author Unknown
As there’s a saying: Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.
Bali is a spa haven. We didn’t want to leave the place without experiencing Balinese spa and massage so Alvin and I had a traditional Balinese massage followed by a full body scrub using coffee and green tea. After the massage and scrub, we enjoyed a relaxing flower bath. The place was quiet and the background music was soothing and relaxing.
Nobody until very recently would have thought that their husband was supposed to be their best friend, confidante, intellectual soul mate, co-parent, inspiration. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert