Category Archives: eBooks

Walking the Streets of Yangon

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WALKING THE STREETS OF YANGONWALKING THE STREETS OF YANGON

The people, stories and hidden treasures of downtown cosmopolitan Yangon (Rangoon)

by Bob Percival and Jonathan Copeland

Ebook: US$4.99




My Balinese partner Murni and I first met Bob shortly after he left China and moved to Yangon. He had set up his successful walking tours of local streets around the neighbourhood where he lived on 29th Street. The streets were amazingly contrasted, colourful and pulsating with life. At the same time everything was crumbling and paint peeled off the mildewed walls. It was a photographer’s paradise. Bob seemed to know everyone. He was excited to be living there in a time of transition, in a place that was changing before his eyes.

We met in his office, the Shangri-La Hotel reception. It had the best wifi and best breakfasts in the city and was the perfect starting point for his tours. We hit it off immediately and got together for meals and drinks and breakfasts after that. He came to Bali with his daughter Gina a few months later.

I suggested that he write a book about his walks and he said that he was already thinking of that. I told him that I’d be delighted to come back and take the photographs.

We kept in touch and the next time I visited he’d finished the book and had printed it himself. It was doing well. The photographs were his own, in black and white.

We talked about an ebook, so that the streets and their stories could reach a wider audience, with photographs in colour to bring the streets to life. I came back a month later and met him in his Shangri-La office, the day before his return to Australia. He had to go back and live there for two years to establish residence to claim his pension and also to see his doctors. Some years earlier he had had a heart attack in Amsterdam.

I spent a week walking up and down Bob’s streets, book in hand, going into as many of the buildings and chatting to as many of the people he describes as I could. I accomplished the whole thing with a day to spare, which I used to photograph the colonial side of Rangoon, which is totally different and gave rise to the accompanying ebook Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings.

Bob was back in Sydney, catching up with friends and doctors. I’m pleased to say that he approved the photographs and added another five streets to the book. The book is a real contribution to the history of Yangon, a unique and valuable record of real life in the city. We’ve kept his black and white photographs for Local Products, Local People, Odds and Ends.

Unfortunately Bob did not live to see the book although he knew what it would look like. He died of a heart attack on a flight to New York to attend his son’s 40th birthday party.

Jonathan Copeland

Bob Percival Bob Percival

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

 

Colour photographs
Bibliography

 

What they said about


WALKING THE STREETS OF YANGON

The people, stories and hidden treasures of downtown cosmopolitan Yangon (Rangoon)

 

“An authoritative and poetic insight into the streets of Yangon. If there was ever one book that purportedly held the magical secret of downtown Yangon, we may have discovered it, at last.”

Sondang Grace Sirait, MYANMORE, 12 September 2016

“Bob Percival’s Walking the Streets of Yangon, a collection of vignettes on downtown blocks, local restaurants and random shops.”

Coconuts Yangon, 21 September 2016

“Whether new to the city or a Yangon veteran, the book makes one feel as if Yangon is full of nooks and crannies begging to be explored.”

R.J. Vogt, Myanmar Times, 9 December 2016

 WALKING THE STREETS OF YANGON

 

Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon

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Cover-Strolling-Down-the-Streets-of-Old-RangoonStrolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon: The History and the Buildings
by Jonathan Copeland

Ebook: US$4.99


I first went to Rangoon in 1981. It was called Rangoon then before the military government changed the name to Yangon in 1989. They also changed the name of the country to Myanmar, but most people preferred to use the old, poetic, evocative names, partly to make a political statement.

I was immediately struck by the time warp that the city was languishing in. Old-fashioned limousines cruised around the city. Old British fire engines languidly poked out from the old British Fire Station. It was as if time had stopped still at the very moment that the British had sailed away in 1948.

Since then I have become even more enchanted, but even more concerned by the endangered condition of the colonial buildings. Hence I determined to photograph thirty-five of my favourites and place them in their historical context, because each one of them has a fascinating story to tell and is best understood and appreciated as a milestone in the history of Rangoon.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

190 pages
Colour photographs
Bibliography

What they said about
 Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon, The History and the Buildings

“Take a leisurely stroll through Old Rangoon and be mesmerized by the fin-de-siècle architecture—a unique time capsule of a bygone age.”

San Tin Lun, Yangon writer and author of ten books, including The Legendary Heroes of Myanmar, Ancient Myanmar Heroes, and Reading A George Orwell Novel in A Myanmar Teashop and Other Essays

“Follow in the footsteps of Somerset Maugham and Noël Coward: high tea at the Strand Hotel—five-star history at its best.”

Ni Wayan Murni, owner of Murni’s Warung, Murni’s Warung Shop, Murni’s Houses and Tamarind Spa, Ubud, Bali

“The highest number of colonial buildings in one square mile—a fascinating glimpse of a distant corner of the British Empire.”

Audrey Pipe, Anglo-Burmese, resident of the United Kingdom

Strolling down the Streets of Old Rangoon: The History and the Buildings

Walking Tour of Rye

Walking Tour of Rye, the Most Beautiful Town in England

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Walking-Tour-of-RyeWalking Tour of Rye, the Most Beautiful Town in England
by
Jonathan Copeland

 

 

 

Rye, 70 miles south of London, is a small town, rich in history, and numerous well-preserved historical buildings. The town is just the right size to go on a walking tour. This guide takes you to every important building and explains it and directs you to the next one.

There are stories of French raids, piracy, murder, plague and Royal visits.

The historical background is set out in brief history lessons to read on the tour or at home.

77 landmarks described.

There are over 100 photographs.

Published: August 2012

Bibliography

161 pages

US$7.85

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read it as a pdf file, and either way you can read the first 10% as a free sample on the Kindle Store on Amazon.

Start reading Walking Tour of Rye, the most beautiful town in England in under a minute.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

RYE MAP

 

Reviews

A guidebook that makes you wish to visit the place!!!

June 25, 2015

A delightful book about a delightful town! We literally used the book step by step!

What I especially liked were the short “history lessons”, spiked with saucy, little scandal tales! I wish my history professor in school was like that, it would have made me like history much more!

I usually do not like guidebooks that are written endlessly long. this one was so interesting, that I was sorry when I finished it!

Cornelia Bock

 

Just like being there

11 September 2012

In reading Jonathan Copeland’s “Walking Tour of Rye, the most beautiful town in England,” I felt as though I was right there rather than sitting at my desk in Australia. It came as a surprise to me that this town should have accumulated such a big slice of the history of England over the years. Well done!

Quince D

 

A Walk Around Rye

Walking Tour of Rye, the Most Beautiful Town in England

The Bangkok Story

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The_Bangkok_StoryThe Bangkok Story, an Historical Guide to the Most Exciting City in the World
by Jonathan Copeland

 

 

 

The Bangkok Story traces the history of Bangkok up to the present day, and describes and places the main buildings in the city in context, to explain to the visitor their meaning and relevance, something that the usual guide books do not cover. There are a lot of places not mentioned in other books. There are directions on how to find them and their opening hours.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

483 pages
Over 400 colour photographs
Glossary
Bibliography

“Jonathan Copeland lifts the lid on the planet’s most captivating metropolis – every page offers the reader a highly delicious serving that will keep you coming back for more and more!”

Vinder Balbir, owner of Mrs Balbir’s Indian Restaurant, Bangkok

“The Bangkok Story tells the story of the most interesting city in the World – brought to life by more than four hundred glorious photographs.”

Marc Pettibone, art collector and dealer and long-time resident of Thailand

“My favourite book about my favourite city”

Stephanie Brookes, Travel Writer

“When I step out the door, The Bangkok Story is my constant companion.”

Gavin Gough, freelance travel photographer based in Bangkok

“The Bangkok Story – like the great city itself – is irresistible.”

Dr Rob Goodfellow, author, journalist, researcher and academic

The Bangkok Story

 

Secrets of Bali

Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World

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Secrets Of BaliSecrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World

by Jonathan Copeland
with
Ni Wayan MurniPublished by Orchid Books

 

The magical isle of Bali has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions, ever since visitors from the West began to arrive in the early 20th century.

Incredibly, ancient Balinese cultural traditions remain richly intact today, in the face of, and alongside, 21st century modernity and a highly developed tourist industry. Yet few visitors ever really begin to understand the colourful pageantry that surrounds them virtually everywhere they travel on the island.

Unpretentious and easily readable in its approach and encyclopaedic in its coverage, Secrets of Bali is the key to this understanding. From Balinese life, religion, festivals and offerings, architecture, music, dance, textiles, dress, carvings and paintings, masks, manuscripts, meals and much, much more, this is the book to which the visitor can turn for the answers.

Each chapter is written both as a part of the overall narrative, and as a ‘stand alone’ reference on the topic addressed.

If you buy only one book in addition to a standard travel guide, this is the volume for you. Simply a ‘must read’ for foreign visitors, residents, and those everywhere who have fallen under the spell of ‘The Morning of the World’.

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

Ni Wayan MurniNi Wayan Murni

  • 424 pages
  • 110 line drawings
  • 1 map
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography

“In Secrets of Bali Jonathan Copeland and Ibu Murni present a wonderfully fast moving account of Bali – from the outside in and from the inside out. Secrets of Bali places Bali into the warp and weft of the rich tapestry of historical context and ever changing contemporary life. It generously offers us a feast of rare and passionate insights from a man who has so obviously fallen in love with Bali and from a woman who, in so many ways, is Bali.”

Dr Rob Goodfellow
Author, journalist and academic, Australia

“From Balinese Gods to Balinese gamelan, difficult subjects are simply explained in this beautifully written and illustrated work.”

Bill Dalton
Author of Bali Handbook, USA

“Eloquent, enthusiastic, and jargon-free.”

Dr Angela Hobart
Visiting Reader at Goldsmiths College, University of London and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London

“Fortunately for the reader, the author of Secrets of Bali is not in the slightest bit secretive. The outcome is an accessible and wide ranging guide to the island’s culture and history. The casual reader can dip into it to answer specific questions, whereas the enthusiast can read with equal pleasure from cover to cover.”

Professor Michael Hitchcock
Deputy Dean (Research and External Relations)
Faculty of Business, Arts and Humanities,
University of Chichester, England

“In Bali they say…when the durians come down, the sarongs go up.”

Julia Suryakusuma
Author of Sex, Power and Nation

Secrets of Bali is the best book about the island written and published since 1990 …”

Roy Thompson
The Bali Times, 18-24 June 2010

“This book will definitely go with me on my next trip to Bali.”

Michael Clugston
South China Morning Post, 22 August 2010

“This 412-page book tries to summarize every aspect of Bali. Starting from the creation of the universe from a Hindu approach (the major religion in Bali), Balinese architecture, rituals, and the arts and up to the paradigm shift among the modern Balinese. All are explained in the 60 chapters.”

Ni Luh Dian Purniawati
Bali & Beyond, January 2011

“I feel that Secrets of Bali will join the ranks of the definitive and authoritative volumes of reference books for lovers of Bali everywhere.”

Andrew Charles
Tropical Life, September – December 2011

“One of the most readable books about Bali, its people and its traditions.”

Lonely Planet Guide to Bali & Lombok, 2015

 

GLOSSARY OF BALINESE EXPRESSIONS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Go the book’s web site for

About the Authors

Reviews

To order the paperback

US$30

Email: murni (at) murnis.com

 

Special offer

Free surface mail anywhere in the world.

US$6 air mail anywhere in the world.

Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World

Murni’s Bali Tours

Murni’s Bali Tours, Where to go, What to do and How to do it

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MurnisBaliTours-2016Murni’s Bali Tours, Where to go, What to do and How to do it

by Ni Wayan Murni
and Jonathan Copeland

 

 

ABOUT MY TOURS

Tours of Bali routinely offered by travel agents and drivers haven’t really changed for decades, at least not since I was a girl. But there are now a lot of exciting new places to visit and I want my guests at Murni’s Houses to see them all.

I would also like my guests to have helpful and accurate information about these fresh destinations, so I’ve put together a whole new set of trips and ebook, which you can carry along as an easy-to-read guide.

As well as including the classic jewels in the Balinese crown, my tours cover off the beaten track destinations too, special places away from the mainstream. We have covered a range of interests in each new tour, so whether you are a temple lover, an art aficionado or a history buff, there will be something special just for you.

We’ve also included some wonderful short walks, such as a trek through a cool tropical bamboo forest or a walk along the beautifully terraced rice paddies, or even a refreshing dip in a towering waterfall.

As far as possible our drivers will keep off the main roads and personally accompany you to the sites (unless you don’t want them to). Bear in mind that in some places this is not allowed and local guides are required.

Remember that almost every place has a small entrance charge of a few dollars or a donation. This is needed by local people for expenses such as basic maintenance of the buildings and sites.

Food and meals outside the main tourist areas are not usually of the highest standard and sometimes restaurants are hard to find. Please discuss with the driver what time you would like to eat and he will give you the options and an idea of the price you might expect to pay.

Bring sun cream, a hat and your camera. Above all, be ready for adventure and have fun. The great thing about Bali is to expect the unexpected. You never know when you may come across something really important and exciting, like a religious procession winding down the road with a gamelan orchestra or even a temple ceremony with Balinese dancers. That’s why, like me, you need to be ready to change your plans at the drop of a hat and enjoy the moment.

TOUR 1

Goa Gajah the Elephant Cave – Yeh Pulu Rock-Cut Carvings – Sukarno Center – Gunung Kawi “Valley of the Queens“ – Tirta Empul Holy Water Spring Temple – Mount Batur – Lake Batur – Hot Springs – Tegalalang Rice Terraces – Coffee Plantation and Tea, Coffee and Chocolate Tasting

TOUR 2

Bongkasa – Chocolate Factory – Bedugul – Lake Bratan – Bali Botanic Garden – Candikuning Market – Strawberry Farms – Jatiluwi – Pura Taman Ayun Temple, Mengwi

TOUR 3

Gianyar Market – Nyoman Gunarsa Museum of Classical and Contemporary Balinese Painting – Palace of Klungkung – Kerta Gosa – Semarajaya Museum – Kusamba Beach and Salt Makers – Bat Cave – Candi Dasa – Tenganan

TOUR 4

Margarana War Memorial – Bali Butterfly Park –Ceramic Factory and Showroom – Tanah Lot Temple – Kecak and Fire Trance Dance

TOUR 5

Pejeng Market – Moon Drum Temple, Pura Panataran Sasih – Archaeological Museum – Water Blessing by Bali’s Youngest High Priestess – Kehen Temple – Penglipuran Village – Walk in a Bamboo Forest

TOUR 6

Woodcarvers in Teges – Nyana Tilem Gallery in Mas – Museum Rudana – House of Masks and Puppets – Big Baby Statue – Pura Puseh Desa Batuan – Art Museum Batuan – Take a Dip in a Waterfall

TOUR 7

Taro – Sacred White Cows – Pura Gunung Raung – Gunung Kawi Sebatu – Garuda Village – Ceking Rice Terraces – Chocolate Factory – Petulu, the Heron Village – Walk through the Rice Paddies

TOUR 8

Design Your Own Tour

The tours above are tours that we have designed and love, but feel free to design your own and we will be happy to advise, work out a route and take you there.

 

What they said about Murni’s Bali Tours, Where to go, What to do and How to do it

 

“I fell for the waterfall.”
David Metcalf, New Zealand, author, photographer and activist

 

“A must take guide, on a must do tour, on a must see island… detailed descriptions, insightful observations, and stunning photography.”

Dr Rob Goodfellow, Australia, author, journalist, cultural consultant and historian

 

“Everything I love about a great vacation on this gem of an island … picturesque scenery, priestesses, and piles of chocolate.”

Rupert Pullee, Wales, Proprietor Pen y Gwryd Hotel

 

“This wonderful guide validates my oft-repeated assertion that there can never be too much Bali in one’s life.”

Lennard Thal, New York City, Rabbi, traveller and after-dinner speaker

 

“Murni reveals some special Balinese treats … very highly recommended.”

Claudia Auger, Bali, long-term Bali resident

Murni’s Bali Tours, Where to go, What to do and How to do it

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

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Murnis-Very-Personal-Guide-to-UbudMurni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud
by

Ni Wayan Murni (author)

Jonathan Copeland (photographer)

 

 

Roy Thompson said “Secrets of Bali is the best book about the island written and published since 1990 …”.  That was our last book. This time we decided to concentrate just on Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, which is a must for most visitors to Bali. I’ve lived all my life in Ubud and for most of it I have been involved in tourism: restaurant, shops, textiles, art, accommodation and spa, so it was right that I should share some of my knowledge. I’ve travelled the world, so I’ve also added some pitfalls and traps and a few warnings.

Ni Wayan MurniNi Wayan Murni

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

Stephanie Brookes, Travel Writer wrote “This is all you need to experience the best of Ubud written by Murni, a legendary local insider and cultural expert.”

Published: 24 October 2011

44 Chapters

Bibliography

Words: 23,646

US$2.99

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read it as a pdf file, and either way you can read the first 10% as a free sample on the Kindle Store on Amazon.

Start reading Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud in under a minute.

 

“This is all you need to experience the best of Ubud written by Murni, a legendary local insider and cultural expert.”

Stephanie Brookes, Travel Writer

 

“I loved this guide to Ubud by Ni Wayan Murni with photos by Jonathan Copeland. I have been to Ubud many times, but found new secrets in Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud. It’s true that she toots her own horn a bit, but she has every reason to do that since the places she owns are well worth checking out. And she doesn’t only give information about her own businesses – she also shares so much information about Ubud that it definitely gives travelers many reasons to go there. Well done..”

Kate Benzin

Author of HowTo Find The Heart Of Bali

 

A Little Gem

“Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud is to the point and for that reason I love it. Instead of having to wade through the more traditional guides, for those wanting to get to the heart of Ubud quickly, grab this one first.

If you do pop into Murni’s Warung, ask if she is about, or to their spa. She is one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and if it wasn’t for this book, I would never have known of her. However, she is famous in Ubud for her entrepreneurial life and the prosperity she has brought to her village.

I have read the previous review and must say I can’t agree that it is true for all people. If you want to read lots of information to try and work out what to do, and you want to spend hours doing it, sure, pick up the wordy Lonely Planet. To say that Murni has just plucked all of this from the Internet is absurd. She has lived in Ubud all her life!

I really value the information in this, it helped me immensely when I first went to Ubud to research it for my own book, there is likely no-one who knows Ubud as well as Murni and Jonathan. For $2.99, this is a little gem and if you want the easy and informative guide to get your head around a city that literally sprawls over mountains and vales, this guide is perfect.”

Clare McAlaney

Author of Things You Need to Know About Bali

 

Written with the simple traveler in mind

“When I travel, I try to find everything I can about the place in the internet. Sometimes, it gets too confusing when you have to browse through several web sites to get the basic information you need. Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud gave me most of the information I needed on Ubud. Sure, it is subjective but the writer did put a caveat from the start. I’m just a simple traveler who wants to know the mode of transport in Ubud, what are the places I can see in the area, should I activate my roaming or just get a local sim card, etc. The book is very helpful guide for travelers like me and you can’t go wrong with a price equivalent to a cup of coffee in your local coffee shop.”

Jay Rodriguez

 

Very Enriching

“Who else but Murni to write a guide about Ubud. Anyone who sees Ubud, indeed Bali without any depth of knowledge is missing out on a lot. I first went to Ubud in early 1980, and still go regularly. And I have tramped dusty paths in the evenings to eat at Murni’s over the years. The best places are the places I go on my FEET, and not in a car. Murni, over so many years has gone from being a girl with a simple food stall to writing an app about Ubud. She is all class.”

Janice Brown

 

Thank You, Murni

“Thank you Murni! You have certainly filled this Ubud guide with information and insights that I have not found revealed elsewhere. I just finished my 3rd visit and was still using your guide to explore this very special area.”

Sharon J. Larson

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

From Tattoos to Textiles

From Tattoos to Textiles, Murni’s Guide to Asian Textiles, All You Need to Know … And More

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From-Tattoos-to-Textiles-2013From Tattoos to Textiles, Murni’s Guide to Asian Textiles, All You Need to Know … And More

by Ni Wayan Murni
and
Jonathan Copeland 

 

From Tattoos to Textiles, Murni’s Guide to Asian Textiles, All You Need to Know … And More unravels the mysteries inherent in the ancient culture of textile making in an easy to read narrative from one of Bali’s most famous textile collectors.

  • 357 pages
  • Over 270 colour photographs
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography

Ni Wayan MurniNi Wayan Murni

Jonathan CopelandJonathan Copeland

From Tattoos to Textiles binds together the colourful threads of an extraordinary human story.”

Dr Fiona Kerlogue
Deputy Keeper of Anthropology with responsibility for the Asian and European collections at the Horniman Museum, London, Author of Arts of Southeast Asia and
Batik: Design, Style and History

 

“What a treat to read such a beautiful, flowing, informative and passionate treatise on Indonesian textiles.”

Peter O’Neill OAM
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

 

From Tattoos to Textiles is both easy-to-read and informative.”

Professor Michael Hitchcock
Dean, Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Macau University of Science and Technology, Author of Indonesian Textiles

 

“This extraordinary book will not only enthral and enlighten readers but also energize the tradition of hand-woven textiles in Southeast Asia.”

Dr Linda McIntosh
Curator for The Jim Thompson House, Bangkok and Curator of The Tilleke & Gibbins Southeast Asian Textile Collection, Bangkok, Author of Ritual Thai Textiles, Status, Myth and the Supernatural and
Art of Southeast Asian Textiles: The Tilleke and Gibbins Collection

 

From Tattoos to Textiles tells a tale as old as Adam and Eve, as mysterious as Neith the Egyptian goddess, as intriguing as General George Washington, the first President of the United States, making his own clothes, and certainly a great deal more colourful than Chairman Mao’s cotton boiler suits.”

Stephanie Brookes
Travel Writer

 

“The 357 page eBook From Tattoos to Textiles with 270 color photos, is an informative guide to identifying hand woven ethnic textiles of Indonesia and how to tell the authentic from the fake.”

Bill Dalton
The Frugal Balinist, Bali Advertiser
23 July 2014

From Tattoos to Textiles, Murni’s Guide to Asian Textiles, All You Need to Know … And More

Forty Delicious Years – 1974 – 2014

Forty Delicious Years – 1974-2014, Murni’s Warung, Ubud, Bali, From Toasted Sandwiches to Balinese Smoked Duck

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Forty-Delicious-Years-Forty Delicious Years – 1974-2014, Murni’s Warung, Ubud, Bali, From Toasted Sandwiches to Balinese Smoked Duck

Jonathan Copeland
Rob Goodfellow
Peter O’Neill

 

Email: murni (at) murnis.com
You can also buy it at Murni’s Warung Shop.
Website: www.fortydeliciousyears.com

Forty Delicious Years is the story of Bali’s most enduring culinary landmark – Murni’s Warung in Ubud. Narrated by some of the Warung’s most intriguing patrons, with a Preface by Murni herself, the book tells the story of how a humble roadside stall became an institution – in fact a must visit on a magical must visit island.

This easy to read and immensely enjoyable collection of vignettes was published to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Murni’s Warung in February 2014.

“It’s an institution. It’s a favourite, and a hive of memories and friendships. It’s Murni’s Warung.”

Jero Asri Kerthyasa

“It’s not just food and a good time that you get at Murni’s Warung, but a complete sensual experience.”

Professor Michael Hitchcock

“Murni’s Warung … the best clubhouse in the Universe.”

Karen Goodman

“Murni is and always will be one of my favourite mothers in town.”

Janet de Neefe

“For forty delicious years Murni’s Warung has been somewhere to relish life, excellent service, good food, and the company of friends.”

José in den Kleef

Bring your copy to dinner at Murni’s Warung and if Murni is there she will sign it.

If she is not there … then there is still a wonderful menu, which deserves to be worked through course by course by course by course.

Book Reviews

murni-dec-2014

Forty Forte

Murni’s Warung,

Hello Bali, Editor’s Finds, February 2015

 

If you have been living in Bali for some time, chances are you know and love Murni’s Warung in Ubud. Dating back to the 1970s, Murni’s Warung is
 a treasured food joint with authentic Balinese food and Campuhan River views. Furthermore, Ibu Murni herself is a beloved figure whose hospitality has earned her many friends and loves over the years. However, if you don’t yet know who Ibu Murni is or where
 to find Murni’s Warung, it’s high time you do. One of the best ways to do that is to read Forty Delicious Years, a compilation of stories about the warung and the namesake founder told by the warung’s eclectic patrons. It’s an interesting insight into what it’s like to be among the island’s insiders.

Ubud Icon Murni’s Warung Turns Forty

Katrin Figge
Jakarta Globe
4 April 2014

Murni's Warung remains an Ubud icon 40 years since it was established, with fans crediting its founder as the heart of the place and even of Ubud. (Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Copeland)Murni’s Warung remains an Ubud icon 40 years since it was established, with fans crediting its founder as the heart of the place and even of Ubud. (Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Copeland)

She is often referred to as the “mother of Ubud,” and her restaurant has been a longtime favorite among both travelers and locals: Ni Wayan Murni, a Bali native who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of Murni’s Warung with the launch of a book that includes personal memories and anecdotes of people who have accompanied her on her journey from the 1970s until today.

Author and photographer Jonathan Copeland, co-editor of “Forty Delicious Years,” as well as a good friend of Murni, said that it felt right to celebrate this milestone “in a more tangible way than simply a T-shirt and party.”

“We didn’t want a book blowing our own trumpet — there are enough of those vanity publications around — but instead a book focussing on the times and life of Murni’s Warung as seen through the eyes of its guests over 40 years,” he said.

It is an approach that gives readers the chance to learn more about Murni and also about Ubud and Bali in general, and particularly how significantly it has changed over the years.

The first thing that needed to be done was to decide on the number of contributors; 40 contributor for 40 years was the logical solution.

“We then compiled a list of colorful, engaging and interesting characters whom we thought we could contact,” Copeland said. “We went through the time-consuming process of trying to track them down. Some were easy to locate but some were impossible to find. We were delighted with the final list as they comprised a wide range of nationalities, occupations and ages which cover the life of Murni’s Warung from day one until the present. They are all busy people with big jobs and we are very grateful for the time they spent on this.”

Murni, who was born in Penestanan, just a few minutes away from Ubud, began selling breakfast snacks before going to school in the 1950s. Less than 20 years later, Murni already owned four shops on Sanur Beach and established Murni’s Warung in Campuhan-Ubud.

Besides traveling the world and collecting Asian antiques and textiles, Murni built Murni’s Houses and Murni’s Villas catering to the growing number of tourists, and recently opened the Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses.

In the book, Murni writes that she still finds it incredible to look back at how she started Murni’s Warung — with no more than a bowl of soup and a sandwich.

“I wasn’t a cook and had no knowledge of what Western food was. I had no business plan, no mission statement, and no spreadsheets. I didn’t have electricity or a fridge or an electric oven. I didn’t have staff or suppliers or a car,” she said. “But I did have passion and drive and energy. And I had friends and customers and hard work. Luckily, Murni’s Warung grew and prospered and has been able to serve food and drinks to thousands of people these 40 years.”

Murni also has a very special connection to the restaurant’s location on a gorge above the river Wos, which is sacred to the Balinese people.

“It has been part of my life, going back more than 40 years,” she said. “When I was a very young child […] I played and bathed down there at the river and among the rocks. When I was older, I helped carry rocks up from the river bed to the road for construction use. Later still, after my parents split up, I secretly met my mother below the bridge. I never dreamed that I would be able to buy part of the gorge, live there and go to sleep to the sound of the sacred river crashing over the rocks.”

Copeland, who has worked with Murni on three previous publications, said that not many people can survive in the highly competitive F&B industry, especially these days, when new restaurants pop up everywhere in Bali.

“Restaurants often start out as flavor of the month and fizzle out,” he said. “It is not an easy business and diners are demanding and unforgiving customers who don’t give you a second chance.

“I think it’s easy, in retrospect, to see how Murni’s early success came about,” he added. “In the early days there simply wasn’t a place in Ubud to get good food. Murni’s Warung was a beacon for early travelers to hang out. They spread the word and they still do. But obviously there had to be substance to it. I think the substance is what has made Murni’s Warung remain a favorite for so long. Murni is a perfectionist. She is very concerned about the comfort and happiness of her guests. And she is a traditionalist concerned about the preservation of Balinese culture. Murni’s Warung is a Balinese building with Balinese food served by Balinese waitresses in Balinese dress.”

Dr. Lawrence Blair, an anthropologist, author and filmmaker who has been based in Bali for almost 40 years, was among the warung’s earliest customers and still vividly remembers a quiet Ubud.

“Instead of tourists, there were only a few ‘travelers’ and barely a handful of eccentric resident expats,” he writes in his section in the book. “And the place to meet them was Murni’s Warung. But the first real draw to Murni’s was the discovery that hers was the sole place in Ubud to have mastered that most rare and esoteric art of producing a sunny-side up properly fried egg. Further cause for enthusiasm was when she also became the first person in Ubud to provide natural yoghurt and wild honey with one’s tropical fruit.”

Blair was also witness to some of the illustrious figures who have visited Murni’s Warung over the years, including Richard Branson, Mick Jagger, Richard Gere and Diane Von Furstenberg.

“My only regret is that they weren’t all there at the same time,” Blair wrote.

Australian-born Janet de Neefe, founder of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, has also been a regular to Murni’s since the 1980s.

“Many of my fondest memories of Ubud in the Eighties are wrapped up in the walls of this multi-leveled eatery,” she writes in the book. “We’d sip on freshly squeezed lime drinks brimming with crushed ice while slowly eating nasi campur or nasi goreng . Lunchtimes drifted into dinner and it didn’t matter. There was nothing urgent to be done except chat about life, love and cosmic heroes — there were no mobile phones, Internet, e-mails, reality TV, not even Facebook.”

De Neefe, like the other contributors, have always enjoyed the peaceful surroundings as much as the delicious food. But they also all agree that Murni, the heart and the soul of the restaurant — some might even argue, of Ubud — has always been the real draw and the secret of the restaurant’s lasting success.

“Back then, I remember that one of the greatest joys about visiting Murni’s Warung was simply Murni,” de Neefe said. “She used to sit at the front desk and invariably wander up to your table and have a chat. There is so much to love about Murni. Whether it be her heart that’s as big as the moon, her gentle nature, grace or soft humor.”

Forty Delicious Years, 1974-2014

“I enjoyed every chapter of this book.  A wonderful collection of stories from long-term residents, many of whom are famous authors, artists and scholars. An entertaining and interesting read of reflections of Murni, the “Mother of Ubud”, who started a humble little restaurant some forty years ago.  It’s a journey of loving, living and laughter through these pages.  Highly recommended read.”

Stephanie Brookes

Author Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage – Cultural Journeys of Discovery

Murni’s at 40

Ubud Culinary Icon Murni’s Warung Turns 40

 

Bali News: Murni’s at 40

An Ubud icon – Murni’s Warung is celebrating 40 years of operations with the publication of a new foodie book.

Murni’s Warung, located in what is arguably the cultural capital of Bali, was Ubud’s first international standard restaurant and, on February 20, 2014, it marked 40 years of continual operations.

Celebrating the landmark, The Orchid Press publication “Forty Delicious Years” is the story of Bali’s most enduring culinary landmark—Murni’s Warung in Ubud.

Narrated by some of the Warung’s most noteworthy patrons and with a preface by the legendary Murni, the book tells the story of how a humble roadside food stall became an Ubud institution and a ‘must visit’ on a magical ‘must visit’ island.

According to Ibu Murni, considered by many to be a “Mother of Balinese Tourism”: “The 20th of February in 2014 also happened to be my calendar birthday and, what’s more, this date also fell on the same day as my Balinese birthday. This rarely happens, so it’s was a triple … no, a quadruple celebration.”

Bali Update

6 April 2014

www.balidiscovery.com

FORTY DELICIOUS YEARS IS THE BEST BOOK ON BALI–TAKE A VOYAGE TO THE CULINARY AND SOCIAL HEART OF THE ISLAND OF THE GODS

By Vivienne Kruger on July 7, 2014

Forty Delicious Years is one of the finest books ever produced about the mystical, legendary, god-blessed island of Bali–the sacred, unsullied morning of the world. Bali is a brilliant, bright emerald jewel set in the elongated necklace of 17,000 islands that comprise the brooding, primeval Indonesian archipelago. Anyone who has ever visited my beloved Bali–or is planning a sojourn of personal discovery or food discovery–should bring this book along with them. Forty Delicious Years is an incredibly revealing and intimate masterpiece about Ni Wayan Murni, her gorgeous gorge-side Warung restaurant in Ubud, and the constellation of notable expatriates and international personalities that have made Murni’s Warung their social and culinary home away from home. The tell-almost-all book is filled with the charm and beauty of Murni’s universe, reflected in the anecdotes, accolades, reflections, and stories penned by forty of her often famous, well-known (Mick Jagger) customers and fans. These intensely personal, soul-revealing chapters empower all of us to be expats on Bali for awhile, and experience life as very lucky strangers in an unknown paradise. I lived in Bali for two years, and know first-hand the seductive, permanent pull on the soul by the spiritual, always-god-conscious Balinese and this very fertile, bountiful island sanctuary.

The writing is incredibly alive and spectacular, and is delightfully easy to read and digest. The book takes us into the sanctified world of Balinese cooking, traditional village social life, tinkling gamelan orchestras, and culture–seasoned with Murni’s kindness and career, and deep, longstanding friendships in the community. Situated near the old Dutch suspension bridge in Campuan-Ubud, Murni’s Warung was built from the ground up, and is a legend in its own time. For almost four scrumptious decades, it has been the ultimate place for Ubud expatriates (and tourists alike) to fulfill their most deep-seated Balinese and western dessert fantasies. The stunning, four-level restaurant is carefully decorated with Murni’s exquisite antiques, Balinese stone statuary, Buddha images, and artworks–and enjoys a spellbinding, natural riverside location and view. A visually and spiritually enlightening, five-foot-tall bronze statue of Ganesha the Elephant God symbolically creates prosperity and removes all obstacles in the Lounge Bar of Murni’s Warung. Ordered by Murni as a specially designed commissioned piece in 1997, it took highly esteemed, respected, experienced Balinese artisans-craftsmen five years to complete!

Murni remains an integral part of her village of birth and her island of Bali–and the forty testimonial chapters written by forty different long-time expatriates, visiting Bali scholars, and international adventurers/wayfarers are personal, unique, revealing and priceless. This book is a deep and memorable journey through residence in Bali, religious devotion, ceremonial splendor, and life as an expat (or repeat, Bali-obsessed visitor) eight sacred degrees south of the equator. As a first-hand travel journal collection in its own right, these personal tales of adventure–and longing for the spirituality and benediction of Bali–are amazing. And they all swirl around the wonderful people of Bali, Balinese life, and Murni’s longstanding contributions to and dedication to her community, family, local temples, and the gods. One of the best stories is about a very loyal, Kintamani Bali dog named Dausa–who spent his life lounging on the front steps of Murni’s Warung as Murni’s personal guard dog. He lead a charmed life, and enjoyed such delicious foods as chicken sate sticks and Murni’s highly coveted chocolate chip cookies! A very pampered Balinese dog indeed!

I am an expert on Bali, as well as on traditional Balinese food and food culture, and have complete admiration for this very special new book about one of Bali’s most important and iconic purveyors of Balinese food, art, antiques, and hotel accommodation on the unforgettable island of the gods.

Reviewed by Dr. Vivienne Kruger, Ph.D. Author of Balinese Food: The Traditional Cuisine and Food Culture of Bali. Tuttle Publishing, 2014.

Forty Delicious Years – 1974-2014, Murni’s Warung, Ubud, Bali, From Toasted Sandwiches to Balinese Smoked Duck

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