This part of the series is going to tackle 2 different locations: The Menjangan + Ubud. The final entry of the Bali Series will be posted later this week. Hope you've enjoyed!
For the next portion of the trip we journeyed down, out of the cloud shrouded mountains to The Menjangan, a beachside resort on the north West coast of Bali. I was especially excited for this portion of the trip because the resort is located in 382 hectares of untouched wilderness that is called Bali Barat National Park.
Because The Menjangan is on such a large piece of land, with so much vegetation, the resort is split into 2 types of accommodations: the monsoon lodge in the heart of the forest and the beachside villas. When we arrived we expected to be staying in the forest (which looked amazing), but were ecstatic to hear we'd been upgraded to a beachside villa. To say these rooms were amazing would be the understatement of the century.
A series of boardwalks stretch over the sand and extend to each beautiful bungalow room. Inside is bright open and airy with a big beautiful white bed smack-dab in the centre. Looking forward from the bed are two large, glass doors that open onto your private deck with steps that led straight into the sand a few feet from the water's edge.
At night you could lie in bed and hear the waves lapping the shore and if you were lucky you could watch the ocean change tones as tropical lighting storms rolled in and out right before your eyes.
We had so many romantic meals on the beach looking at this incredible view. The location was just so quiet and secluded, perfect for a couple's retreat.
After a couple of nights it was sadly time to say goodbye to The Menjangan and move onto our next adventure.
I wish we'd made more time in our schedule for Ubud. We walked until our h\feet were blistered. We discovered the most amazing little shops and eateries and we slept like logs every night.
We stayed in Pertiwi Bisma II . It was really great for the price and had an amazing pool.
It's really important to get a hotel in a central location in Ubud. Some have mailboxes in the city area that show up on google maps, falsely leading you to believe they are more central then they are.
Ubud is a town in the midsection of Bali. It is full of yoga, spas, shops, restaurants and lots of Bali retreats take place in Ubud. I think Tyler & I both agree that Ubud was our favourite spot in Bali. There's tons of culture and hustle bustle. It's lush and beautiful and there are lots of alleys full of shops, markets to barter at and super healthy restaurants to try.
No picture for proof, but Nomad - across from the temple in town, was our favourite restaurant in Ubud. We ate there multiple times, trying lots of dishes - and we loved pretty much every single one. I believe the chef was an iron chef (?) and the food is incredibly high quality at a totally affordable price.
Market vendors call to your from every angle. They're sweet and endearing and make little jokes with you to try to get you to take a look "miss come look, come look... something for you? silks?" It's never obnoxious, and this is coming from a shy person that would normally feel uncomfortable in that situation. The local demeanour is just really welcoming and free of pressure.
So there is a market in the middle of the city. I have never bartered in my life and had no idea what to do. You always start at half of what you are wiling to pay and then you barter until you hit that middle ground. I thought I would feel bad haggling, but it soon became really fun because the people were so cute - mostly witty older women who ushered you into their space "I give you good price, good price"
Post-trip thoughts on Ubud markets and bartering:
- Don't be afraid to start low, they star high - you will find a middle ground
- Ikat handwoven textiles, silks, pashminas, vanilla beans, rompers (which I lived in), hippie pants and backpacker hammocks (expensive at home) were our best finds
- There is also great silver jewellery, but I'm more of a gold girl myself so that didn't work for me
- Be the first customer of the day and they are more willing to bargain because the first sale is indicative of the luck for the day
- Don't be afraid to walk away - that's when you find out whether they were offering you a good price or not, because they will usher you back in with lower if it wasn't
- Have fun and be respectful - always be willing to buy at the first price you offer. It's a really great way to strike up conversation and have fun with locals.
I loved Ubud and would head back in heartbeat. If you're going to Bali give time for this place, it's really worth it.
One more post in the Bali Series to come this week!