Bali, Day One

It’s January. You know, that time of year when we’re all dreaming of a warm day at the beach under the sun. It’s been nine months since Nishan and I returned from our honeymoon, but memories of Bali run deep. We took a red eye flight to Hong Kong and after a quick lunch of duck noodle soup at the airport, we got on a plane to Denpasar, Bali’s hot and hectic airport. After an hour in a taxi, we arrived at what would be our home base for the next week: Ubud.

Komaneka at Bisma

Our lingering jet lag meant that we woke up before sunrise, but who can complain with this view? After a delicious breakfast of rice dumplings stuffed with banana and drizzled with palm sugar syrup, we were off to explore the town of Ubud.

Rice dumplings

We wandered through Ubud Market, brimming with the most delicious fruits you can imagine — but only if you get there early enough. After nine in the morning, the market reinvents itself as a kitschy souvenir market, but still bustling.

Batan Waru

Afterwards we stopped at Kafe Batan Waru for lunch. Batan Waru would become one of our favorite haunts during our stay. The outdoor seating, the charming street, but most of all the food made the place an easy choice. We feasted on lemper ayam (sticky rice and shredded chicken grilled in banana leaves), kangung tumis (Asian watercress with shallots, garlic, and soy sauce), and skewers of sate ayam madura. All washed down with sugary, icy cendol, of course!

Jalan Kajeng

Jalan Kajeng

It was time for our massage appointment next. Don’t get me wrong. We had no interest in the Eat, Pray, Love narrative, but we couldn’t pass up Bali without a massage. So we took the stroll down beautiful Jalan Kajeng, stopping along the way to admire Bali’s stunning stone carvings and larger-than-life architecture. We got caught in a rainstorm, which was fine, because really, anything in Bali is fine. Yes siree, you’ll find me in Bali being phased by just about nothing.

Pura Taman Saraswati

Pura Taman Saraswati

Relaxed, kneaded, and slightly sleepy, we made our way back to downtown Ubud to check out Pura Taman Saraswati. This temple honors Dewi Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and the arts, and it’s a bit incredible that the temple sits literally in downtown Ubud, just a stone’s throw away from a Starbucks.

Tea time

We headed back to our hotel after that excursion, just in time for tea. If you are staying in Ubud, I cannot recommend Komaneka at Bisma enough. It it is by and far the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at, not only for the wonderfully appointed rooms and grounds, but especially for the incredible warmth of the staff. I’ll write more on that later, but for now, I’ll say that our trip in Ubud was marked by one constant: our daily excitement at what deliciously home-cooked snacks and sweets each afternoon tea would bring. It’s been almost a year and I’m still craving the lemongrass tea and irresistibly fragrant honey.

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