A Beauty Blogger in Indonesia: Ubud, Bali.

Day 9: Travelling to Ubud and staying at the Kamandalu Resort

Our taxi was prompt, 10 minutes early in fact and I was a little surprised when the driver told us it would be an hour and a half journey if there wasn’t much traffic ( should have done my research I know but I guesting it was around 45-50 mins).
When we arrived at our hotel villa, the staff took us too our room which was absolutely huge. I was very, very pleased with it. Little did I know, Carl had other thoughts. When we decided to take a tour around the villas, he did a disappearing act for around 10 minutes and when he came back he said we were changing villas. I’m glad we did change as there was a lot more light (there was a lot more shade by the pool area in the first villa) and a much better layout.
We grabbed lunch at the resort restaurant. I had watermelon and feta salad whilst Carl had a nasi goreng (fried rice) which he deemed as the best ever fried rice dish he’s ever had. We spent the rest of afternoon chilling in our villa by the pool. In the evening we thought it would be nice to treat ourselves to a Balinese massage in the spa at the resort so we booked ourselves in. The massage was great and just what we needed. It cost us around $60 which is just under £40 for an hour and a half full body massage each. Now that might sound expensive for Bali but we were in a 5* resort spa afterall. It would easily be double that back home in London.

Day 10: Ubud- Dinner at Bridges

We had been chilling by the pool all morning and in the mid afternoon we had a little surprise. After being distracted by the largest, most vibrant green stick insect we’ve both ever seen and deciding what to do with it, we spotted a monkey outside the window by the pool area. As Carl went to grab the camera, another two appeared from over the wall! I think they were looking for food and luckily we hadn’t left anything out by the pool area. As soon as we opened the door to go outside, they scrabbled into the bush and over the wall. Little did we know, the monkeys live in the trees surrounding our villa which is actually situated above a valley. We spent the rest of afternoon watching monkeys from our pool, climbing one tree to the next. So surreal.
In the evening we took the shuttle bus from hotel into Ubud central. There we walked around the busy streets taking more photos before stopping off at the Bridges restaurant. This restaurant is a must if you’re visiting Ubud. There were amazing views of the river down below so be sure to arrive when it is light (we found the sun sets around 6pm in May so by 7pm it’s pitch black). I skipped the starters whilst Carl ordered rare seared lamb which was absolutely divine. For mains, I ordered the Thai inspired Barramunde which was encrusted in sesame seed,  and Carl went for the twice cooked duck breast. Both were equally good but the icing on the cake was their apple-tamarillo crumble dessert, with creme anglaise and vanilla ice cream. It was easily the best dessert I have had in a long, long time. The price was reasonable, not cheap but not expensive either.

Day 11: Ubud- Market trip, cookery class and dining at the Cascades restaurant at the Viceroy Bali.

We had an early start as we had booked a cookery class with the hotel and as part of it we would go and explore the market. The market was busy despite being not even 9am but we were told that the food market starts really early and by 9.30am they close up and are off while the next lot of traders move in and set up their stalls selling products geared towards tourists.
We were then driven to one of the plantations which grows a variety of things like coffee, cloves, cacao and runner-beans (be warned, there are loads of mosquitos on these plantations so repellant is a must) before heading back to our villa for breakfast.
Our cooking class commenced at 11am and took place in the grounds of the resort. Our chef introduced himself and proceeded with our starter of Balinese chicken soup. Delish! We then had to make it ourselves which was pretty easy but that’s having the paste/marinades already prepared for us. All we had to do was throw everything in, stir, and wait for it to cook. Whilst we sat down to enjoy our culinary delight, the chef went on to prepare the ingrediants for our main course ( fish skewers with peanut sauce). I wasn’t too keen on the fish skewers as I found the mushy texture of it a bit strange although the flavour was great. For dessert, we whipped up some bananas and pineapple fritters with palm sugar syrup. All in all it was a fun way to spend the morning. You get to keep the recipe also should you wish to recreate the dishes back home and we even got a certificate!
After an afternoon of lazing around pool, we decided to head out to dinner at the Cascades Restaurant at the 5- star Viceroy hotel next door. We knew it would be a meal on the more expensive side but we hadn’t realised at how pricey it would be. I skipped the starter and just as well, whilst Carl ordered the duck fois gras which was extremely rich. We both went for the lamb rack, cooked medium rare which looked decievingly small in size but was more than enough. The lamb was cooked to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.  We had both ordered the caramel crunch for dessert although good, it was on the small side in terms of portion size. The bill came to around £90 and this was without alcohol. Although we did enjoy of meal, I think there is much better food to be had at the fraction of the cost but if you like fine dining with fine decor and ambience then this place won’t disappoint.

Day 12: Ubud- Cycling tour through the paddy fields, Luwak coffee tasting and snakes!

We woke up early for brekkie before heading out for cycling tour (which we booked through the hotel). I can’t pretend that I wasn’t nervous because I’ve never really ridden a bike properly. The last time involved me hitting the curb and taking a tumble on the Boris bikes at our local park (epic fail). First up, our guide took us to another plantation where we had a coffee tasting session including the Luwak coffee (where the bean is excreted by Indonesian palm civets which are small, mongoose-like creatures). Interesting. 
We were then introduced to our bikes where we initially started on the quiets roads before going off road, across the paddy fields and down a lot of bumpy paths. It was almost inevitable that I’d fall off my bike but for someone who doesn’t ride, I’m amazed that it was just the once! Luckily it wasn’t too serious and with the adrenalin (and embarassment) pumping through my body, I quickly got up and mounted the bike again. We saw workers in the field and kids running around. It was beautiful. It then started to rain quite heavily on the way back where we took shelter before setting off again all way back to our hotel. The whole trip took 2.5hours (cycling time is around 1.5 hours) which is so worth it at $2o per person. We came across some amazing views and places we would probably not come across otherwise. I would highly recommend a cycling tour if you are in Ubud. The hour and a half session is fine for even bicycle nubes like myself as most of the journey is downhill. The hotel also had a 3 hour option for around $45, so if you’re a confidant biker and want to see the sights then this is a good option.
We headed back out to Ubud in the afternoon where we lunched at Cafe Lotus overlooking a huge lily pond. The food was cheap but nothing to shout about as the lunch menu was very small. Carl ordered a ham and cheese toastie (when in doubt…) whilst I ordered a tuna steak burger with salad. I’d definitely recommend this place for a quick pit stop to refuel if you’re out exploring the town.
Then we headed to a salon a few doors down called Funny Monkey where we both booked in for an hours full body Balinese massage with two masseuses each (whoa!!!). Then whilst Carl had a first ever facial ( so relaxing that he fell asleep!) I had a mani-pedi (naturally).  The total cost of our treatments came to around £30. Bargain! There are loads of cheap massage places along that strip if you’re not fussy about your surroundings.
Back at the villa, we thought we could chill for a couple hours by the pool. However, as I approached the steps to the pool, I spotted a snake just by the edge of it. It scarpered as soon as it heard me. I rushed in and called the hotel and two men (actually more like a teenage boy and a man) came by and scoured the whole garden and pool area but the snake was was long gone. We felt a bit nervous being by the pool afterwards, even though they apparently don’t get dangerous snakes in the area, so we chilled in the shaded day bed. Dinner time came round not long after and we decided to stay in and have dinner at the hotel. I was shattered from the cycling earlier and was beginning to feel the bruises from my tumble earlier. Ouch!

Day 13: Final day in Ubud, and finally getting to eat at Restaurant Locavore.

After failing to secure a table for dinner at the Locavore restaurant  (tables were fully booked for the whole duration of our stay in Ubud-unbelievable), we decided to take a visit during lunch time when the restaurant wasn’t as busy. Now after eating at the restaurant, I know why it was so hard to get a table. The food is utterly fabulous!

We arrived not long after the restaurant had just opened for the day at around midday. There were only two tables occupied; a family of asian tourists that spent most of the time in silence and preoccupied with their phones, and a young loved-up couple oblivious to the world. We chose to sit by the window as the restaurant was quite dark even though it was the middle of the day. Carl quickly occupied himself by admiring the furniture and taking photos. As it was an open kitchen, Carl got talking to the chefs and mentioned how difficult it had been to get a table for dinner so we had to come for lunch instead.

The menu was quite small but there seem to be an option to cater for everyone; fish, chicken, rabbit, vegetarian etc. We ordered the pork terrine as a starter to share but as a lovely gesture for not being able to get a dinner booking, they brought out a complimentary starter of octopus and chorizo salad. How nice of them! We then tucked into our mains. Carl opted for the rabbit cooked three ways whilst I had the Barramunde with oxtail (say what?). It was hands down the BEST main meal I had in the whole of my stay in Indonesia and easy to see why the Locavore is ranked no.1 in Ubud. Despite being stuffed to the brim, we just had to have a dessert but decided to share the chocolate semi-freddo and passion fruit sorbet. They knew we ordered it to share so gave us another scoop of passion fruit sorbet for free! We were being seriously spoilt,hey have definitely redeemed themselves (and then some).

Just when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore, after asking for the bill the waiter bought over two freshly baked madeleines accompanied with some creme anglaise. I am not even sure where I put it but they were devoured as quickly as they were put down on the table. The service was just as good as the food which was served.

We took a stroll around the busy centre before stopping off for a drink and then catching the shuttle bus back to our villa. All that walking around got our limbs all achy and tired so we booked in for a 90 minute massage at the spa on the resort. After having such a big lunch, we stayed in on our  last night and ordered a few snacks from room service. It was sad to think that it would be our last night in Indonesia.

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