Welcome to Part II of my recap of my trip to Bali with my mom! I was really excited to share Part I because it was all about our wedding plans.
But I’m equally as excited to share Part II because Ubud is very special to me. I spent three months there in 2015. It was the first time I traveled solo and my first time in Bali. I didn’t know a single person when I arrived. But I had had an amazing experience – from the food, to the people, to my own personal growth during those three months.
Since then, I kept Bali, and Ubud, close to my heart, and when the question arose with Logan about where we wanted to get married, it didn’t take long for me to toss out Bali.
Four years later, almost to the day, my mom and I flew back to Bali. I was feeling all the feels on the plane ride there, and when we first drove into Ubud, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I want to tell everyone just how special Bali is, although I kind of want to keep it to myself so it doesn’t get overrun with people. Selfish, I know. 😉
My mom and I spent the second half of our trip in Ubud. My mom LOVED seeing me so excited to show her around. It was fun how easily everything came back to me, and I felt really comfortable leading her around!
Here’s the final recap of our Bali trip! I am soooo excited to show Logan around in October!!!!!!
Picking up where I left off in Part I, we had a driver pick us up in Canggu and take us over to Ubud. It was about an hour’s drive mid-day, and it was so beautiful. You really get to see the quiet in between the bustle of the cities. There are so many stunning rice fields along the way.
Though the AC was nice, I kinda wished I’d been on a scooter. That was one of my favorite things about living in Bali years ago. I loved cruising around on the scooter and adventuring around with the wind on my face.
Honestly, though, I’m a little scared to drive one. I did it for the last month of my trip, but I felt much more comfortable riding on the back. And somehow I never got in an accident while I lived there! A small miracle, really.
We arrived in Ubud and checked into our Airbnb which was right in the center of town. If you are looking for a convenient location where you can walk to the main sites, I’d highly recommend Maria’s place.
Her staff, Ketut and Komang, were so incredibly kind and helpful. They always greeted us when we came home and asked if we needed anything. They also made us breakfast each morning.
As I mentioned in Part I, my mom and I don’t typically eat breakfast as we do intermittent fasting, but a couple days we made an exception for their omelets and fresh fruit. They were so good.
After we checked in, we headed straight to Clear Cafe. Same as with Part I, I’m not going to go into too much detail about the restaurants we went to because I posted separate blogs about restaurants in Canggu and Ubud.
But I will say that we loved this place – so much that we went there twice. It’s such a gorgeous spot and you take your shoes off at the entrance. It’s one of my absolute faves in Ubud.
After we ate pancakes and eggs, I led my mom on an tour of the central part of Ubud. It’s all very walkable in this area.
We started at Ubud market and picked up sarongs for our planned trip the next day to the Tirta Empul, a temple for sacred cleansing. I find this market overwhelming, and I’m not very much into “trinket” shopping when I travel.
So after we got our sarongs (definitely recommend negotiating for the best price), we walked a short distance to Ubud palace. Honestly, it’s not what I would consider a “palace.” It’s a small space that you can walk around in 5 minutes, but definitely worth seeing as it’s a well-known attraction.
Afterwards, we went to Saraswati temple, also known as the lotus temple because there’s a huge pond filled with lotuses right at the entrance. It’s sooo pretty.
We went to Taco Casa for dinner which is a place that I ate at a bunch when I lived there. It’s as close to authentic Mexican food as you can get in Asia. Highly recommend this spot. We had margaritas too and then walked back to our villa and went to bed early because we planned to get up early the next morning.
We got up really early this morning to get to Tegalalang Rice Terraces to beat the crowds…and the heat. While it’s a very touristy spot, it’s also iconic, and a must-see in Ubud (though it’s a little outside of central Ubud).
My mom and I walked around for probably close to an hour. Then our driver took us to another spot that is apparently much less known than the main spot of Tegalalang and we could have walked around there, but decided only to use the swing. I’d seen the swing all over Instagram and I had to get on one.
Afterwards, we continued on to Tirta Empul, which is a temple for sacred cleansing. You have to buy sarongs at the entrance (unless you brought your own which we did) and pay an entrance fee.
If you want to go in the pool, be aware that you will have to rent another sarong because you can’t wear the one you got at the entrance into the pool. For this reason, I recommend bringing a sarong with you because you can wear it around the temple and into the water.
You also have to cover your body – so no bikini tops. I wore a one piece swimsuit and then a t-shirt over it along with my sarong.
The temple area is pretty small so you can walk around in 10-15 minutes.
At the pool, you can go in wherever you want, or you can go under each water spout and do a ritual (locals are there to help with that).
The water is freeeezing, and it was so early in the morning that it wasn’t even super refreshing, just cold haha. But a really cool experience.
Afterwards, we’d planned to go to a waterfall, but we were exhausted from getting up so early and we headed back to our place. We took a rest and then went to coffee shop to chat and hang out.
For dinner that night, we went to the Onion which is where I stayed when I lived in Ubud. I didn’t give the owner, Mark, a heads up that I’d be in town – just popped in and he happened to be there!
He recognized me right away which made me feel so happy! He hung out with us while we ate dinner.
The food at his place is so yummy. The menu had been largely redone, so it was really cool to try new food.
We had gado gado (peanut sauce dish with lots of veggies) and jackfruit rendang which if you haven’t tried it you should! So good! It’s used as a meat substitute with vegan food and it’s incredible.
We walked home after dinner and started to watch Eat, Pray, Love (very fitting, right) but we both fell asleep early haha. That’s how it often is for me when I travel – it’s so tiring!
We had a mellow morning at the villa. We talked with my dad and Logan, and then we walked to the Onion to meet with Mark. He drove us to this other property which had been built since I was last in Bali. It’s a beautiful property and would be perfect for a retreat.
His staff had prepared a vegan lunch for us. This is not at all how I eat at home, but it’s sooo easy to eat this way in Bali. The food is so fresh and full of flavor. There was a curry dish that I couldn’t stop eating.
His driver took us back to our place then. We wanted a chill afternoon so we spent some time at our place and went into the pool for a bit.
We ventured out for an early dinner at a nearby spot that I’d never been but got good reviews online. We weren’t very impressed though, and I wouldn’t recommend.
We walked around then and got some gelato. There are tons of gelato places all around Ubud.
We were searching for a bracelet that we’d seen previously that my mom wanted to send to my sister to let her know we were thinking of her. It’s really hard not to have her involved in the wedding planning.
Anyway, we did find the place and my mom got matching bracelets with my sister’s birthstone, amethyst, on it.
We went back to our place then and called it an early night.
This was the start of the longest day ever. It was the day before Nyepi which is Bali’s silent day. The whole island shuts down, even the airport.
We’d heard that we should leave for the airport in the morning because Ogoh-Ogoh happens the day before Nyepi which is when these scary statutes are carried around town in kind of parade.
But we didn’t want to sit at the airport all day since our flight wasn’t until 1:30 AM – yes you read that right.
Unfortunately, because of the holy day, the villa we were staying at couldn’t keep our bags because their staff was heading home. Fortunately, our driver was willing to stop by in the morning and keep them all day.
We planned to walk around during the day and then experience the parade once it started later in the afternoon. But it started to rain in the early afternoon. And when I say rain, I mean absolutely pour – for hours.
We hung out at Kafe until it closed at 3 and then went to Clear Cafe.
We stayed there until it closed at about 5 and then had to venture out into the rain. We thought we were going to be homeless because it seemed like all restaurants were closed. But we found one that was open and hung out there. Yay!
The rain let up around 7 and the parade started. At that time, I connected to the wifi just to see if our driver had texted us an update. He had and wanted to leave then because the parade started later and he worried that the roads would be closed.
So we headed through the crowds to our meeting spot.
It took us an hour and a half to get to the airport with all of the road closures for the various parades in each village, so we were there about 9 which was HOURS before our flight but at least we made it. We couldn’t even check in until 11.
So we waited even longer.
Finally we boarded our flight after 1 AM. It was a 3 and a half hour flight to Manila so we arrived at like 5 AM. And then we had a six hour layover.
If I had to do this all over again, I wouldn’t have booked this flight. Because of the holiday and that semi-wasted day, it felt like we were traveling home for two days.
I started to feel sick in the Manila airport and it was a miserable flight home to LAX. Luckily the flight wasn’t full so I was able to lie down across several seats.
Once we got to LA, we still had to get back to San Diego. Another 2 hours in the car.
It was the longest two days ever.
It felt soooo good to be home!!!!
The trip was amazing, but nothing feels as good as your own bed after being away – at least for me.
And I was so excited to see Logan.
Overall, the trip was incredible, and I’m so glad that I got to experience it with my mom. And I’m REALLY looking forward to being able to be there with Logan in October.
Ahhh can’t wait!
Hope you enjoyed reading about my trip with my mom. If you have any questions at all, comment below!