I walked into the hotel room, dropped my suitcase on the floor and proceeded to cry.
My husband looked at me, half-worried, half-confused, full of love:
“I don’t know. They (the hotel staff) are just so beautiful. It’s all so beautiful.” (sound of husband’s brain exploding goes here.)
This is what Ubud does to you.
Well, let me elaborate on that. I can’t actually guarantee this lush cultural heartland-slash-haven for spiritual seekers will literally bring you to tears… but there’s no denying there’s a special something woven into the fabric of this town.
While my tears were born out of an intense sense of love and oneness and joy and connection, I’ll admit there was something else going on too. A handful of them were born out of good ol’ fashioned frustration.
I’d been battling with a strained neck for two days before we arrvied in Ubud (and by strained, I mean, completely, painfully locked up) and it seemed a cruel twist of fate to be staying in a hotel next door to the famed Yoga Barn – a spot at least 20 people had said I ‘MUST!’ visit.
Active holidays are my bag. Movement is my bag. Yoga has over the past while, become a soul essential.
But – as is the exquisite nature of life – we’re always given what we need, and just because I couldn’t practice yoga physically didn’t mean I couldn’t practice yoga.
Conscious observation of the wandering mind.
Detachment. Surrender. Releasing the binds of self-judgement.
Yes. Yes. And yes.
And so it was that in a town where it seems every second sweat-gleaming, mat-toting person wandering the streets was either going to or coming from a yoga class, I wiped away a few tears and found my peace sitting on a hotel bed gazing out at the rice fields doing absolutely nothing at all.
Ubud serves up a whole lotta vegetarian and organic options (hurrah!) and we loved:
Kafe: Home to the yoga crowd, Meg’s salad bowl and super tasty buckweat pancakes. Add it to your Ubud list, my friend. (there’s also one at The Yoga Barn.)
Clear Cafe: we got hydration crazy here with juices, tonics and smoothies. Such a gorgeous rainforest-y setting (sitting upstairs is the best).
On the list for next time:
We stayed at Alaya Resort and you can probably read between the lines here to deduce it was absolutely DIVINE. Love love love. The decor had me swooning as much as the staff did.
A spa treatment at the beautiful on-site Dala Spa is also blissfully recommended.
[Photos: Wandering the streets of Ubud x 3; Kafe x 2; on our balcony at Alaya; Dala Spa, Alaya; Clear Cafe.]
THE BUKIT PENINSULA
Our stay in Ubud was (way too) short this time around and before we knew it, our driver had arrived to take us back to the beach. Destination: the Bukit Peninsula.
More specifically: Bingin.
The theme of our stay on the Bukit was ‘chill.’
And chill we did.
Reading by the pool. Lazy lunches lounging on the day beds at The Cashew Tree. Beach hangs. Creative sessions snapping photos. Beach walks. Rock climbing. Giggling at monkeys ‘surfing’ down the sloping concrete support beams underneath the bridge at Padang Padang.
It was total bliss.
The Cashew Tree. This café/ restaurant/ bar was our main hang out when we we stayed on the Bukit Peninsula – in fact, we could usually be found here twice a day ordering green juices, salads and Mexican munchies. Thursday night is all about The Par-tay and scores of surf-bronzed babes and dudes seem to wriggle out of the Bukit woodwork (where are these peeps hiding during the day? Oh, right. The surf. Gotcha.) As the sun went down, this sleepy café came alive with tunes and cheap drinks.
CIRE restaurant at Alila. A spectacular location for a special anniversary dinner. Contemporary, pristine and unbelievably stylish and the food? OH EM GEE. Two small suggestions from me to you if you’re going to check it out: the night we were there the restaurant was super quiet so it would be best to experience it at full capacity on a weekend. Also, arrive earlier in the afternoon to take in a sunset over the cliffs. We’re kicking ourselves we missed it.
Single Fin. Whether you go here for a night out, a bite to eat or simply to snap a sunset pic from the huge outside deck, Single Fin is an Uluwatu mainstay and THE place to be on a Sunday night.
We stayed at The Shack and adored it. Check it out here. (and ps: Bali Retreats is fantastic for booking accom in the Bukit area.)
[Photos: Bingin x 3; Padang Padang; Uluwatu x 2; our villa; Buddha Soul; Bingin x 2]
RANDOM SIDE NOTE: Looking to get a leather jacket/ boots/ bag made in Bali? Look no further than @thebalitailor on Instagram. I got a fab jacket made over there and the whole process was so effortless!
There you go, beauty, Part One and Part Two of our Bali trip! I hope you enjoyed these little insights into our island adventure.
As always, I encourage you to jump on in to the comments and share/ ask away – if there’s anything I can help with, you betcha I will.
And before I go, don’t forget to share this post around the webs using the buttons below. Terima Kasih!