Bali, Indonesia, Travel

Travelling Solo to Ubud, Bali – Day 1 : Ibu Oka, Jangrik Homestay and Eve Spa

Travelling Solo to Ubud, Bali – Day 1 : Ibu Oka, Jangrik Homestay and Eve Spa
A few hours after countdown at Marina Bay, I went back home to do some last minute packing before I headed out again to Changi Airport. This time, I didn’t went jet setting with my family or friends. This time, I travelled alone to Bali, Indonesia.

Well, it wasn’t my first time travelling on a plane alone but this is my first time travelling solo and exploring a place where I knew no one there. It certainly was a great way to spent the first day of 2013 in one of the most beautiful place on earth with an adventurous and crazy journey ahead of me. This marks my new beginning for the new year.

“Are you travelling alone?” The lady, probably in her late twenties, asked me. I was at immigration Check counter at Ngurah Rai Airport, waiting for my passport to be stamped.

I’ve been reading travel blogs lately and I’ve read so much about the freedom and adventure you get to enjoy while travelling solo. As an avid traveller, all I was yearning for was a trip with some elements of risk, fun, excitement and adventure. In addition to that, I was a big fan of the movie and book, “Eat, Pray, Love” which was written by Elizabeth Gilbert who visited Italy, India and Bali in Indonesia to embark on a soul-searching and soul-discovering journey.

“You must be so brave to travel alone.” She further added.

“Please come back in one piece and have a pleasant trip in Bali!” She said with a smile. And I laughed, sheepishly.

I could only say that it was nice to be engaging in a conversation with another fellow Singaporean at the start of this trip. Especially when I was feeling rather anxious about setting foot on my own and the fact that I realised I’ve forgotten to bring my memory card for the camera had got me feeling rather down, in the doldrums.

Imagine this : I’ve brought my bulky DSLR along during this trip in hope to take beautiful pictures of Bali and then at Changi Airport, I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve got no memory card to store the photos! Fortunately, my camera function in my phone works as well as any digital camera though I wish I had use my DSLR to photograph that places I’ve visited during my Bali trip instead. Oh well, I just got to make do with what I already have.

In preparation for this trip, I’ve made arrangements for transport from the airport to the guesthouse in Ubud which I would be staying for 3 nights. I managed to calm my nerves down and then prepare my heart to embrace this popular tourist destination, Bali, which was also listed as one of the top 10 places to visit  on Tripadvisor. There must be something magical about this place which entice travellers to visit this place countless of times.

At the arrival hall, I spotted this man, dressed in T-shirts and bermudas,with a sheet of paper that has my name written on it. Selamat Tahun Bahru and welcome to Bali.

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It was about one and half hours ride from the aiport at Denpasar to Ubud and during the long car ride, I had a friendly conversation with the driver who shared with me about his life and some cultural aspects of the Balinese. Since it was close to lunch time, he offered to drive me to Ibu Oka in Ubud for lunch before going to the guesthouse. Ibu Oka was one of places which I’ve included in my travel itinerary. This eatery,which serves the famous Babi Guling or suckling pork in Bali, was one of the must-go places for any tourist who is visiting Ubud,Bali. Others raved about their tender suckling pork while others simply said it was mediocre. Whether it’s delicious or not, I’ve at least go to try this Bali signature dish which is also the local’s favourite!

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Ubud Palace

Ibu Oka is located right a street across the Ubud Palace. Since it was rather crowded at Ibu Oka, I requested for a take-away. I’ve ordered two packets of Babi guling for myself and the driver. It costs me  about 60,000 Rupiah, which was about SGD 8.
The driver, Made instantly become my tour guide for the afternoon as he brought me to the palace to take pictures and gave a brief explanation of the compound. He’s a really dedicated driver who is genuinely nice. Made, is one of the many taxi drivers, working in Ubud, ferrying tourists within and outside of Ubud. He could speak Japanese very well as he has studied Japanese language in school before and he picks up the English language from tourists. Currently, he is working under a company owned by Japanese batik artist. If you wish to hire him as your driver in Bali, here’s his details :

Original Bali Sarasa
I Made Arsa’s Mobile: 081 337 781 114
Office: Jalan Raya Bukit Jati No.7 Gianyar – Bali – Indonesia
Email: made_muda@hotmail.com

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Jangkrik Home Stay at  Jalan Haloman 60, Ubud, Bali

Jangkrik Homestay on Tripadvisor
Jangkrik Homestay Website

I did extensive research on accomodation in Ubud prior to this trip and I’m so glad that I’ve found a perfect accomodation which is very affordable, clean and conveniently located near the various attractions in Bali.  Since I will be out exploring Ubud most of the time, all I needed was a place where I could feel at home,rest and sleep comfortably in. And as a social media junkie and a blogger, I couldn’t live without the internet. I was worried that the Wifi connection here might be slow but I was amazed by how fast the Wifi connection works here. It works as fast as it is here in Singapore.
For 150,000 RP a night, I get a double room with a queen size bed and free homemade breakfast which was prepared by Kadek, the wife of the owner of the guesthouse.

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I’ve stayed here in Jangkrik for three nights,from 1 Jan to 4 Jan 2013.

I was told that Jangkrik in Bahasa Indonesia meant cricket. But not to worry, it isn’t a house full of crickets. I don’t even think I ever saw one here.

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 It’s clean and tidy.

What’s in the room?

Double bed, bedside cabinet,wardrobe,ceiling fan, toilet with shower, towels and a bamboo rack.

Life’s simple and idllyic here. It felt like you’re living in a Balinese home. 
The typical Balinese home compound is rather big and Jangrik guesthouse is located right deep inside the compound. When you first step into the compound, you will be greeted by other Balinese families who were living in the same compound and as you walk further in, that’s where you will find the guesthouse which is guarding by this dog which barks at strangers.

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 According to the staff at Jangkrik, it wouldn’t bite but it just barks. It’s one fierce doggie that sometimes I got a little scared but at least, I know that it’s safe to live here. With that doggie, I’m certain there will be no intruders or thieves trying to come in.

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The view from my balcony.

Right outside my room, there’s a coffee table with chairs, a rubbish bin and a clothes rack for you to hang your laundry. At around 7 am, a thermoflask with hot water and a teacup will be placed on the coffee table where you would also have breakfast. I love their breakfast and Kakek serves a different breakfast set every morning. Read my next post for pictures of the breakfast meals served here!

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I love the intricate wood carving designs on the door.

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Stepping on the cold marble floorings made me really felt at home.

Well, I’m not going to lie that there are bugs here especially mosquitoes. I had a few mosquito bites on the first day so I had to apply some mosquito repellent before I go to bed. Even though my windows and doors were close at night, the room was well-ventilated with the openings near the ceiling and the ceiling fan. In fact, it was rather cooling in the evening.

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My Ibu Oka Lunch.

It’s lovely sitting outside at the balcony while having my packed lunch.

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The portion was huge! I could only finish eating half a packet. I’m not a meat lover but I like the spices and sauce which was served with the pork meat and rice. There’s also a slice of pork blood sausage which I didn’t really like the taste of it. I wouldn’t say it was delicious but I essentially had a true authentic taste of Balinese food. The experience of eating some new and different is what matters to me as a traveller and foodie, not much of how tasty or delicious it is.
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At Eve Spa Bali – Enjoying the tranquility
After lunch and an afternoon nap, the driver from Eve Spa Bali picked me up from the guesthouse to drove me over to Eve Spa. I’ve made a booking online which includes two-way free transport from the guesthouse to Eve Spa Bali.
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I had the 2 hour body scrub and flower bath spa treatment which costs Rp. 180,000.

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First, I had an one-hour balinese massage, then a green tea body scrub which smells really good! The scrub used here is nothing like the usual body scrub sold in the market. It’s like body clay mask combines with salt scrub. The masseuse will apply a layer of the body scrub mask and you will need to leave the mask on the skin for about 10 minutes before the masseuse will rub in the salt to scrub away the dead skin cells. Then this is followed by a shower to rinse the body and after which the masseuse will apply yoghurt on your body. Finally, you will get to enjoy a flower bath where you get to enjoy a cup of ginger tea and a plate of tropical fruits as you soak in the tub for about 15 to 20 minutes.
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Red, pink and purple flower petals with a couple of frangipanis.
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I wish I could soak in longer! But 2 hours is up and I had to leave as the driver comes to pick me up.

Back at Jangrik Homestay.

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Balinese offerings – Canang Sari
These little baskets of flowers are offering to the Hindu God and they are often placed at sidewalks or entrances everyday.
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Steps leading to the second floor.
I was the only guests staying at Jangrik then so I had the liberty to choose which rooms I want to stay.
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If you’re a quiet sleeper, then you will be irked by these roosters which were found almost everywhere, at entrances of the Baliese home compounds or at the backyard or gardens in the home compound. At around 5 am, when the sky starts to brighten, they will go crowing non-stop. It didn’t really bothers me as it surprisingly didn’t sound irritating or noisy to my ears. In fact, I find it quite soothing to hear them the cuckcoos along with the sweet chirpings from the birds, which signal the start of a brand new day.
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This hypermart is about 10 minutes walk from Jangkrik homestay, which is also very close to Bengil Bebek restaurant which sells the famous roasted duck.
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There’s a rice paddy adjacent to the supermarket. Ubud is an art and cultural centre in Bali and in addition to that, it is also a place where you get to see terraced rice fields. It just gives you this rural but peaceful feel.
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Have you tried Bali’s luwak coffee?
You could get almost everything from this supermarket- from their local product, fresh vegetables, bath amenities to clothes and shoes. 
After doing some grocery shopping, I headed back to the guest house to rest for the night.
Read about the second day of my trip in the next post 🙂

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