Category Archives: House Review

Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide

Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide

murni's warung, epicure, baliBali Special

Famed for its pristine beaches, striking sunsets and rich culture, the sought-after Indonesian destination also boasts a burgeoning number of highly lauded hotels, restaurants and bars. Meredith Woo goes on a gastronomic eight-day journey to the Island of the Gods.

An Ubud Invitation

An hour from the closest beach town, inland Ubud offers other attractions: art and culture, serenity and some of Mother Nature’s best views.

A day trip to the central foothills of Gianyar regency will not suffice. Ubud has so much more to offer – from meditative sunrise mountain peak views to villages known for intricate silver-smithing and the delicate craft of egg painting.


If you seek museum quality relics, visit Murni’s Warung Shop. A plethora of rare pieces such as a Balinese comb bearing green and red carnellians (Rp 5,750,000) and intricate batik stamps (from Rp 385,000) feature in this 41-year-old establishment, which is part gallery.

The adjoining four-storey restaurant offers daily specials such as stir-fried duck (Rp 79,000) and beef rendang. Beyond Murni’s expertise in Asian antiques, textiles and food, she has expanded her portfolio to include a spa and guest houses in downtown Ubud.

Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide






Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide

Murni’s Houses – Contented Traveller

Murni’s Houses –  Contented Traveller

Murni and Murni’s Ubud, Bali

Murni's Houses, Contented Traveller26 February, 2015
Contented Traveller
Paula McInerney

It was by great fortune that we found Murni’s Houses, Ubud, Bali through FlipKey by tripadvisor who had given us carte blanche to pick wherever we wanted to stay in Bali and we chose 6 nights at Murni’s Houses. This is all part of our Travel Series, Bali for Baby Boomers. We found Murni’s Houses but also found out that Murni is a living legend in not just Ubud, her hometown, but in all of Bali.

Straight away our interest was piqued about both the lady and the many businesses that she owns throughout Ubud and the reverence that she is held in. We quickly booked with Flipkey knowing that we were on to something unique and we were right. We also had read that Richard Gere, Richard Branson and David Copperfield the magician have visited Murni’s, so we thought that Gordon and I might just join this illustrious cast.

About Ubud

Ubud is Eat. Pray. Love territory and a book that I have yet to read, though I did see the movie and discussed whether Ubud had changed since that book and that movie. We have been here before and we have noticed the increase in visitors. That actually takes nothing away from this amazing place. Ubud is an artistic and culturally rich regency with its own king and royal family. Many tourists come here as do many expats seeking the alternative lifestyle. Food abounds and you would be hard pressed to find better foods than dining at streetside warungs. It is the home of art and you cannot avoid the skill of the Balinese artisans. It is also home to yoga, massages and all things alternative. You should head to the Sacred Monkey Forest at the end of Monkey Forest Rd. This is a magnificent jungle sanctuary, that is full of mysticism and lots of monkeys. The best way to see Ubud is to walk. Walk a lot, have a meal at a local warung and then treat yourself to a massage. It works.

Our first impressions on arriving at Murni’s Houses

This is a traditional Balinese compound where the houses are set in amazing gardens. Often referred to as the Villas of the 33 statues, there are waterfalls, and lush gardens and you hear the sounds in the distance of village life. There is Balinese art everywhere and there is serenity about this compound. There is also seclusion despite being a couple of minutes from the main road of Ubud.

Our traditional Balinese rooms, and we did have a number of rooms, and our outdoor areas overlooked the gardens yet protected us from the occasional Ubud rain storms. We loved it. We had Wi-Fi and were well taken care of, being given ginger tea to help a cough I had developed in the snow in Japan. This is a Balinese cure all and these herbal medicines known are known as ‘jamu’. (Turmeric and lemon grass also work).

This gave us a very real local experience meeting with the people who work here and getting to know a little more about the real way of life for the Balinese.

More About Murni’s Houses

In the early 1980s Murni started to build these open-air pavilions amongst the lush gardens and next to open fields. It is here that you can attest to her eye for tradition and art with the fountains and the statues everywhere you look.

About Murni the Lady

Ni Wayan Murni was born in Penestanan, Bali about 9 kms from Ubud to a farming family so it is no wonder that hard work comes naturally to her. During the early 1970s she owned 4 shops on Sanur beach. It was here, selling sarongs, that she actually sold some to president Sukarno and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. This was not to be her first brush with fame, and Mick has some serious street cred.

She returned to Ubud and opened a shop and here she used to make her husband soup and a sandwich for lunch. Tourists stopped and wanted to have some too and that is how Ubud’s first real restaurant, Murni’s Warung, came into being. This institution has seen its fair share of celebs and tourists coming to savor her signature dishes. Try the famous Balinese smoked duck. Murni’s Warung is like her style in all of her ventures – traditional Balinese. There are four levels that cascade down a steep hillside overlooking the Wos River. The thatched roofs, traditional open wooden architecture, and a vast collection of stone carvings gives you a very Balinese experience. Talk to Ketut and he will share with you what it is like living in Bali.

She was also the first person in Ubud to open two antiques shops in the 80s and 90s. These galleries showcased many antiques, textiles and costumes and other pieces that she knew were special. Nowadays, many of the prized pieces are in Murni’s Warung,

Murni is active in the arts and culture scene of Ubud, and has lectured in the US on Balinese textiles.

She also plays in a women’s gamelan group at important religious ceremonies.

Tamarind Spa

Murni has also created Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses and this spa was listed as the top spa in Ubud on Trip Advisor within 3 months of its opening. It is here that she continues with her ethos of everything Balinese, with traditional Balinese massages located within the stunning and serene gardens and waterfall. It is not the cheapest massage that you can get, but the staff are trained and located as it is in the art garden, it is a total experience.

Thank You to FlipKey by trip advisor for making this property available to us for 6 great nights. Great find, highly recommended and a perfect inclusion for our Travel Series.

Murni’s Houses – Contented Traveller

Murni’s Houses – Guide Naturale de Bali

Murni’s Houses – Guide Naturale de Bali

Murni's Warung, Guide Naturale de Bali“À la balinaise chez Murni’s Houses: Les amoureux du vieil Ubud appreciéront les quatre guest houses de Ibu Murni, ‘la mère d’Ubud’, dans le beau jardin d’une accueillante demeure balinaise en bord de rizière. Il n’y a pas de panneau, il faut donc demander votre chemin pour trouver l’endroit. C’est le lieu idéal pour se sentir chez soi au calme, à quelques pas de la grand-rue d’Ubud. Le site internet regorge d’informations sur Bali.”

Guide Naturale de Bali, 2005

Murni’s Houses – Guide Naturale de Bali

Murni’s Houses – Travel and Leisure

Murni’s Houses – Travel and Leisure

Murni's Houses - Travel and LeisureMurni’s Houses – Travel and Leisure

“If you decide to go, be forewarned, people become hopelessly lazy here listening to serenading geckos and crowing roosters. Breakfast turns into lunch and you’re still sitting in the restaurant, surrounded by gardens, eating, talking, thinking. But at Murni’s you always have tomorrow.

Kathy Cox
Travel and Leisure

Murni’s Houses – Travel and Leisure

Murni’s Houses – Insight Guide

Murni’s Houses – Insight Guide


“Murni’s Houses: east of her famous warung, is up the stairs… and overlooks the rice fields. Four rooms. This idyllic setting is perfect for those who want to rest. Murni’s famous  breakfasts are served here. Rooms range from a single room with bath and verandah to large house with two bedrooms and two baths (can sleep six). All rooms are screened, have hot water and fans. Baby sitter available. Credit cards accepted.”

Insight Guide Bali, 2002

Murni’s Houses – Insight Guide

Murni’s Houses – Bali Handbook

Murni’s Houses – Bali Handbook

“Long a favorite of Jakarta-based expats, Murni’s Houses lies below the restaurant by the same name …  maid service and helpful staff. Each accommodation is whimsically decorated with Balinese paintings and hanging winged gods. From your veranda contemplate some of the area’s most impressive examples of agricultural engineering.”

Bill Dalton
Bali Handbook

Murni’s Houses – Bali Handbook

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

Tamarind Spa ,Just LuxeJust Luxe

By: Jon | Posted on May 24, 2012

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

For many travelers, a trip to the spa for some pampering is one of the highlights of any trip. A few hours spent in a tranquil environment, getting massaged, cleansed and relaxed can do wonders for any stressed out globetrotter.

In the tropical paradise of Bali, the spa experience goes to a new level. Nestled in lush gardens or along sandy shores, the spas in Bali are legendary and thousands of travelers book flights to this tiny nation every year for rest and rejuvenation. From full service spa resorts to simple day spas, these are some of the best bets for your money in this paradise. All prices are in Australian dollars.

Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses

Located under the shade of a Tamarind tree in the tourist hotspot of Ubud, Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses is one of Bali’s most consistently top rated spas. With trademark Balinese hospitality, the spa is surrounded by tranquil gardens and fountains, and offers a full range of spa services from massages and rubs to manicures and pedicures. Tamarind Spa is also unique in that it is an artistic as well as relaxing experience. Murni, the owner of the spa and adjacent guest houses and villas, has a background in fine art and has filled the spa with Balinese and Indonesian art, offering a glimpse into the local heritage. Prices for such luxury are surprisingly reasonable, with full day packages average about $100.

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

Murni’s Houses – The Natural Guide to Bali

Murni’s Houses – The Natural Guide to Bali


Murni’s Houses – The Natural Guide to Bali

“Lovers of old Ubud will relish the four guest-houses of Murni’s, hidden in the nice garden of a cosy Balinese compound on the edge of rice fields – there is no signboard, so you may need to ask for directions. Everything is made to make guests feel at home in peaceful seclusion, yet it is within walking distance from Ubud’s main street. Gourmets will appreciate the great breakfasts, with Murni’s famous home-made yoghurt.”

The Natural Guide to Bali, 2005

Murni’s Houses – The Natural Guide to Bali


Trip to Bali – a dream come true for reporter

Nancy Royden
The Sentinel Newspaper
27 January 2010

It was my good fortune earlier this month to go to the small city of Ubud. Its natural beauty, friendly people, exotic views, culinary delights, rice terraces and spiritual aspects fascinated me.

As I stood outside my room at Murni’s Houses and said to myself, “everyone should see a place like this before they die.”

Highly spiritual Bali is described aptly by Ni Wayan Murni, of Murni’s Houses and other travel-related facilities in the Ubud area, as highly spiritual.

“The vital thing to appreciate is that there is hardly any division between the religious and the secular world. God is everywhere and in all things,” she wrote on her Web site,

Preparation for the trip started months ago when I booked a flight for about $1,500 with Japan Airlines, and later, a jaunt was taken to a medical travel office in Annapolis for immunizations.

For five days, my goals were to see and experience as much as possible in this land of the gods.

After landing at the airport in Denpasar, I was met by a driver from Murni’s Houses and taken to the place I would call home for my short duration in Bali. He was extremely friendly and made me feel welcome in his country.

A magical place.

Murni and her husband, Pat, own and operate the guest houses, where I stayed, as well as a warung (store) with a four-level restaurant in the Ubud-Campuhan area. They also maintain Villa Kunang-Kunang, a 10-minute drive outside Ubud.

To me, Murni’s Houses was a magical place to stay, especially at night when insects chirped and animals howled outside as I slept. The first night, the loud noises frightened me but by the last night, I couldn’t wait to hear all the wonderful sounds just beyond the door.

The bottom portion of the house was similar to American homes, but the top was different. It was screened to allow air from outside to circulate throughout. The huge, decorative and colorful umbrella and painted wooden angel above the bed provided a nice sight to wake up to each morning.

Each morning at Murni’s, breakfast was a much-anticipated thing. The plain yogurt with different types of fresh fruit and honey was divine. Coupled with tea, it was the perfect way to greet a new day.

Stunning views of the palm trees beyond the guest houses, and sights of statues and shrines on the grounds of Murni’s is a photographer’s delight.


About a three-minute walk down two streets is the fascinating town of Ubud, a place known for artists, temples, very good food, batik items, and a wide variety of stores.

One place with several interesting areas is the temple Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati on Ubud’s main street. Every part of this temple has different things to see and possibly photograph, with very stunning bright colors, coupled with the terracotta color of main portions of the temple dedicated to the goddess of art and learning, Saraswati.

Feast for the eyes

One of my favorite memories from my visit to this temple is a woman who was on her knees, bowing to pray. It was a beautiful sight in a lovely place, with the Café Lotus and large, pink lotus flowers nearby.

Another highlight of a trip to Bali was the talented dancers in their breathtakingly beautiful costumes.

The Legong “Jobog” and Ramayana dances by the Bina Remaja Troupe at the Ubud Palace Court Yard in downtown Ubud were a feast for the eyes.

The Legong dance is based on the story of two brothers, kings Subali and Sugriwa, who are turned into monkeys. They wind up fighting and eventually recognize each other as brothers, according to the dance’s program.

The Ramayana dance features Rama, Sita and her brother Laksamana, who enter the jungle of Dandaka for a journey and are discovered by demonic minister Maricha of Alengka Kingdom.

Petulu Village

Another interesting site in the Ubud area is the Petulu Village, where the white herons live. There are three different types of herons residing in this village.

The herons arrived in Petulu in 1965. A large ceremony was held at the pura desa, or village temple, shortly following their descent.

A pamphlet explains: “It came as a surprise to the villagers the herons arrived after their ceremony and consider it as a blessing from God. In order to encourage the herons to live in Petulu and increase their population, the villagers make special ceremonies called memendak kokokan.

Motorbike tour

Thanks to my motorbike guide who took me to the village, I have some treasured photos of these gorgeous birds, some of them with the orange-colored necks. One of them gracefully spreads its wings in a photo.

I Nyoman took me to Santi Agrowisata in Gianyar. It is an awesome coffee and tea plantation operated by I Wayan Sudarana, who is most welcoming to tourists from all over the world.

I Wayan treated me like an honored guest, as I sampled some of the best drinks I’ve ever experienced – Bali coffee, Bali cocoa, lemongrass tea and ginger tea.

Natural beauty

Since a few days have now passed since I returned from the trip, I think about the natural beauty of the Ubud area and the things that make it so wondrous – the dancers, the folklore, multitude of craftsmen, the music, the orchids and the temples.

I remember my new friends and hope their beautiful surroundings in Ubud/Campuhan will never change due to development to strip the land of its natural beauty.

As Gede, I Wayan, I Nyoman, the folks at Murni’s and others showed me hospitality, peace and gave me wonderful memories, I wish them the same in return.

I wish for the exotic sounds of animals and birds to continue and all the array of traditional things they treasure to carry on for generations to come.