We have a new destination for wood fired Italian style food. Say hello to DUMBO, the new sister to The Elephant restaurant, famous for clean, fresh, vegetarian fare.
Split over two levels, there’s a modern vibe, with a personal touch every step of the way. Downstairs is casual, kinda all day brunch food that you’re more likely to eat with your hands (under construction on my visit). Upstairs, there’s a breezy relaxed elegance. More knife and fork like.
I love grazing on small plates of food so I ordered the arancini alla dumbo – crunchy risotto balls with chilli jam & aioli, along with a chilled glass of white. Artfully yet simply presented, delicious, and that chilli jam… I nearly asked for a jar to take home.
What I loved most….. the friendly happy vibe.
A ginger coriander martini and a Giallo pizza – roasted pumpkin, zucchini flowers, nasturtium, pine nuts, dried chilli are top of list for my next visit.
Next up…. my fave place for heavenly, organic, affordable spa/body products.
Getting your glow on in Bali is easy. Being massaged, scrubbed with delicious herbal pastes and wrapped in banana leaves will do that for you.
When in Ubud you must allow time every day to work your way through the myriad of spa menus on offer. Your body, mind and soul will love you forever for the kindness.
But how to keep up the glow at home?
Pack a stash of spa goodies from Nadis Herbal into your bag and a promise to yourself to keep up the self care. My current “can’t live without” product list looks like this……
Coconut Oil, Lemongrass Bodywash, Sacred Scent Body Cream, Face Oil, Balinese Flowers Hair Tonic, Frangipani Shampoo and a citrus lip balm.
They also make wonderfully affordable gifts. Unless you’re buying bulk size, most products are under $5 and available in an airplane friendly 100ml size.
If you’re not keen on packing bottles of liquids stock up on the small packets of dried products. My faves are the seaweed facial mask, harmony salt body scrub, traditional boreh mix. The tins of body cream are hard to resist.
They are perfect gifts to appease anyone back home who may have glow envy.
The main store is on Jalan Suweta, 5 minutes walk from the palace. If nothing else stock up on the Mosquito spray. You’ll never spray yourself with chemicals again.
Nadis Herbal have their own organic gardens based on zero waste principles. The gardens are also a source of plants for medicinal treatments or ceremonies, which the give for free when needed. They also have a daily program of really interesting workshops and herbal walks. Its a really lovely local business.
Next up…. Where to stay in Ubud?
My most asked and most difficult to answer question. Everyone has a different idea on style, budget and location. There’s hundreds of choices from simple homestay to luxe resort. So with that disclaimer, here’s some of my faves:
Narasoma is one of those places you don’t expect to find at the end of a narrow lane. Expect ornate Balinese interiors, delicious organic spa treatments, pool, and friendly vibe. There’s a yoga retreat centre here as well. The website is really confusing and you have to email to get prices, but it’s worth it. Starts at $AUD60.
KajaNe Mua. Think modern Balinese style, everything looks effortless. Walking distance to everything you need in Ubud. Put this on the treat list. Prices vary from $AUD150 for a room to $270+ for private villa with pool.
If you love Kajane style but prefer to get 15 mins out of town, they have a new place that looks amazing. (I’m yet to visit) Kajane Yangloni
More homestay than villa vibe, I could stay at Nur Guest House just for the bathrooms! Family owned by the lovely Ibu Nur, the rooms, gardens, ponds and pool are meticulously kept. WiFi is ok, and food is homestay style. It’s a 15 min walk to the centre of town, so you’re away from the hustle. TIP: take the torch provided if you’re heading out at night. You need it just for a few minutes on the path close to the guest house. Around $AUD70 including breakfast.
BIG TIP: watch out for hotels listing themselves as Ubud location but in reality they’re nowhere near the centre of town. Check their map. If they say 10mins walk expect 20mins. If they are 10 mins or more drive away, budget time and $ for transport into town unless they have a shuttle service.
Finally…. get out of town for a sunrise adventure.
It’s worth getting up at 2am to see the sunrise from the summit of a volcano. I’ve done the climb 165+ times and every climb was memorable and worth the effort. Nothing beats the sense of achievement and the fresh perspectives on life enjoyed at the top. Soaking in the hot springs is your reward for the early wake up call.
Komang, a wonderful driver, along with our friends and guides at Mt. Batur will organize the tour for you.
Cantik, my Pomeranian, has been in charge at the village whilst I’ve been travelling the world.
If you have places you’d like me to check out or recommend, drop me an email (email@example.com) or a message on FB.
FYI. I do have limits… I’m a mountain and village gal so I don’t go south of Ubud unless I’m going to the airport or Nusa Lembongan and I don’t really do resorts.
Watch this space for the next monthly round up…..