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Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

Murnis-Very-Personal-Guide-to-Ubud

Murni’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 traveled the world, so I’ve also added some pitfalls and traps and a few warnings.

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

Forty Delicious Years – 1974 – 2014

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

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

Bali – Green Utopia – Ubud

ubud, bali, murni, murni's warung, tamarind spa, massage, eat, restaurantBali – Green Utopia – Ubud

Stephanie Brookes

iFly – KLM in flight magazine

July 2016

The ultimate palms and paradise destination? There are many, and Bali is definitely on the shortlist. But there’s more to the Indonesian island besides white-sand beaches and clear blue water…

For me, the town of Ubud is the best place to base myself. I find myself among the tranquil, terraced rice fields and beautiful mountain scenery …  my adventurous week … aimed at exploring and experiencing Bali’s local way of life.

Rejuvenation treatment 

The next day, my body tells me it is time to take a rest. I book a three-hour relaxation and rejuvenation treatment at Murni’s Tamarind Spa in Ubud. Locally, Murni is affectionately known as ‘the Mother of Ubud’. She pioneered tourism in Ubud in the 1970s by setting up her legendary restaurant, Murni’s Warung, where artists, adventurers and academics hung out, drinking mango lassies. 42 years later, Murni still lovingly presides over her dream creation on the jungle-clad Campuan Gorge above the Wos River. The stellar-rated Tamarind Spa is the latest addition to Murni’s business. Under a beautiful tamarind tree, I find out that my massage therapist, Kartini, was the former personal therapist of the President of the Seychelles.

After a welcome drink, cold towel and foot ritual, Kartini starts to weave her therapeutic magic on me. She begins with an hour-long traditional massage, deeply relaxing, mind- soothing and muscle-relieving. A full-body exfoliation follows, with a fragrant green-tea scrub and a yoghurt rub down. After that heavenly treatment, my skin feels softer than that of a baby. I end up soaking in a warm bath with multi-coloured flower petals floating on the water’s surface. Finally, after a pot of organic herbal tea and fresh tropical fruit, I leave feeling relaxed as can be.

Places to eat 

Murni’s Warung

This four-level open-air restaurant overlooks a jungle- clad ravine and raging river. Not only does the restaurant serve excellent Indonesian and western dishes, it also houses a shop with textiles, jewellery, tribal artefacts and collectables. Try their famous apple pie.

Things to do 

Murni’s Tamarind Spa

Located in the heart of Ubud, this beautiful spa in quiet tropical gardens offers aromatherapy massages, traditional Balinese boreh herbal scrubs and more.

Bali – Green Utopia – Ubud

Booking Activities

Booking Activities

Murni's Houses Activities white water rafting activity

 

To contact us:
Please fill in the form or, if you wish, email us at: murni (at) murnis.com
We always reply within 24 hours, usually more quickly.
If you don’t get a reply using the form, something has gone wrong, so please email us.
Murni



Name *


How many Adults for each? *

How many Children for each? *

Any preference for dates? *

What would you like to do?*
 Helicopter Tour Batik Painting Class Tarot Reading at Murni’s Houses Casa Luna Cooking Class Bali Herbal Walk Bumbu Bali Cooking Class Balinese Dancing Class White Water Rafting Elephant Safari Park Bicycle Ride through the villages Bali Bird Walks Balinese Painting Class Balinese Offerings Class Trekking and Touring Jungle Trek Mount Batur Volcano Sunrise Trek Mt Agung Volcano Trek Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses Ubud Afternoon Dance Tour Photography Tour Full Day Photography Tour Half Day Murni’s Bali Tours Cruises snorkeling or scuba diving or a boat trip to a deserted island

Staying at? *
 Murni’s Houses
Note that we only arrange these for guests staying at Murni’s Houses.

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The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

Tamarind Spa ,Just LuxeJust Luxe
www.justluxe.com

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

The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Spectacular Tropical Island

Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses

tamarind spa-bali-ultimate-guideTamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses, Jalan Raya (up the ramp opposite Pura Dalem on the main street, left at the top, 2nd gate on the right). Murni’s extremely popular new spa shot to the top of Trip Advisor within weeks of its opening. Rave reviews. Many repeat guests, including masseurs, say it’s the best they’ve ever experienced. Well-kept gardens, fountains, sounds of running water, soothing music, healthy lunches, reasonably priced.”

Bali, The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Spectacular Tropical Island, Linda Hoffman, Tuttle Publishing, 2012

Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses

Murni’s Houses Activities

Murni’s Houses Activities

white water rafting activity from Murni's Houses Ubud Bali

Murni’s Houses Activities are for guests staying at Murni’s Houses. We are constantly adding to them.

We will be happy to help with booking tours, classes and activities.

We recommend booking them as soon as possible, as many of them get booked up well in advance, or have limited places.

Tarot readings at Murni’s HousesTarot readings at Murni’s Houses only for guests staying at Murni’s Houses are very special and highly recommended. This special opportunity of taot readings is for guests staying at Murni’s Houses. Novi will visit you in privacy at Murni’s Houses for the tarot readings. You will be surprised by her warmth and accuracy. She is … Continue reading Tarot readings at Murni’s Houses
Mount Batur Volcano Sunrise TrekThe Mount Batur Volcano Sunrise Trek   Join us for this amazing trek on the active volcano, Mount Batur.  Starting in the dark of the early morning, ascend to the highest peak and crater for a glorious sunrise and stunning morning views. From the beautiful lake of Mount Batur, climbing up to its summit, witnessing … Continue reading Mount Batur Volcano Sunrise Trek
Mount Agung Volcano TrekMount Agung Volcano Trek Trekking to the peak of the active volcano, Mount Agung, Bali’s holiest and tallest mountain (3,142 meters) takes 4 to 5 hours (8 – 10 hours for the return journey). It is a somewhat difficult trek and requires a good level of fitness and some bravado, but is an extremely worthwhile … Continue reading Mount Agung Volcano Trek
White Water RaftingWhite Water Rafting is an exhilarating rafting adventure on the beautiful Ayung River. The river stretch is 8 km through 27 class II and III rapids in a wild unspoiled rainforest, towering gorges and magnificent rice paddy terraces. Professionally trained and experienced guides pilot safety-equipped Avon rafts through the best river runs, dramatic drops and … Continue reading White Water Rafting
Elephant Safari Park Rafting Trekking and CyclingElephant Safari Park Rafting Trekking and Cycling can be booked in any combination. Enjoy an incredible experience riding and even bathing with the elephants as they take their morning bath, and that includes the babies. It’s also possible to combine this with other activities, such as cycling and/or white water rafting. Bathe and Breakfast with … Continue reading Elephant Safari Park Rafting Trekking and Cycling
Bicycle Drive through the VillagesBicycle Drive through the Villages explores Bali by cycling downhill  – you see genuine Balinese traditional life and the unique culture of Bali while taking in the beauty of its exotic panoramas. We begin our tour by taking you to the spectacular beauty of Kintamani and on the way there, we are going to have … Continue reading Bicycle Drive through the Villages
Bali Bird WalksBali Bird Walks will take you on a variety of trails around the countryside of Ubud. Following a brief introductory talk, we set off on our walk, for about 3 1/2 hours, 5 or 6 kilometres, and returning for lunch about 12.30 pm. Over 100 species of birds are found around Ubud, of which you … Continue reading Bali Bird Walks
Bali Herbal WalksBali Herbal Walks take you on a walk amid the rice paddies of Ubud. Bali Herbal Walks starts at 8.30 am and takes about 3 – 4 hours, with time out to stop at an organic restaurant. You will discover herbs that grow along the edges of the rice paddies. You will see turmeric and … Continue reading Bali Herbal Walks
Village Ricefield TrekkingVillage Ricefield Trekking ventures into essential Balinese culture – go on a nature walk to the verdant rice paddies and enjoy the beauty of spectacular landscapes accompanied by the sound of the flowing river, meet the locals and see Balinese daily life and customs. This is a very pleasant walk through the green hills of … Continue reading Village Ricefield Trekking
Cruises, snorkeling or scuba diving or a boat trip to a deserted islandCruises, snorkeling or scuba diving or a boat trip to a deserted island are all on offer. Lembongan Island Reef Cruise Pick up time: 7.15 am – 7.30 am. 9.15 am – 4.15 pm. Morning/afternoon tea, coffee and snacks International Buffet Lunch, Guided Village Tour, Unlimited Banana Boat Rides, Snorkelling Equipment and Instruction, Semi-Submersible Coral Viewer … Continue reading Cruises, snorkeling or scuba diving or a boat trip to a deserted island
Half Day and Full Day Photography ToursHalf Day and Full Day Photography Tours with two of Bali’s best photographers Join David and/or Nyoman (and Jonathan if he’s around) and explore the best photographic areas of Ubud and the surrounding mountains away from the tourist trail. You will be shooting in stunning locations and guided with practical photographic tips to enhance your … Continue reading Half Day and Full Day Photography Tours
Helicopter Sky ToursHelicopter Sky Tours     Murni’s Houses guests can now enjoy an incredible helicopter experience flying over Bali with Helicopter Sky Tours. Perfect for an unforgettable wedding proposal! The Kintamani Volcano and Bedugul Lakes Sky Tours are stunning and a ‘must do’ while in Bali. Prices are per flight (not per person). It will just … Continue reading Helicopter Sky Tours
My Tarot Card Reading in Ubud, BaliMy Tarot Card Reading in Ubud, Bali 20 April 2015 By Paula McInerney, Contented Traveller. I had not seen Eat. Pray. Love. when I had this interesting experience, though I did know the basic premise of the story. It was when we decided to stay at Murni’s, an institution in Ubud, that I was asked … Continue reading My Tarot Card Reading in Ubud, Bali

Murni’s Houses Activities

 

Grand Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali

Grand Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali.

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Grand Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali certainly has a ring to it. We had to go down to Nusa Dua for a wine-tasting and it was just too far, after all that wine, to drive back to Ubud, so we picked a hotel that had a grand sounding name.  Grand Nikko Hotel fitted the bill perfectly and is part of the worldwide Nikko Group of hotels. It’s the only one in the group called Grand. It’s also a grand place for families and kids.

 

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We drove up to the entrance and were met by smiling staff. A nice Balinese man with glasses took our cases. First impressions are so important. We both felt good immediately and went through a smooth and efficient check in and were escorted to our room. There is a wide choice of rooms, suites and villas.

 

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We had an Ocean View room. As you can see, it was spacious, clean and comfortable. I was pleased to see a traditional Kamasan painting hanging on the wall. There was a television with all the international channels, an electronic safe, which could fit a laptop, and complimentary water in the mini-bar.

 

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We didn’t need a buggy, but if your villa is far away, they will actually take you by buggy, driven by a wonderful, smiling girl called Yeni. It’s almost worth booking a villa just for the fun of riding in the buggy.

 

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It’s a big hotel with two wings, built on a 40-meter cliff. The central core of the hotel has an incredibly dramatic view of the Indian Ocean. My jaw just dropped gazing out at the view.

 

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We immediately went down to explore. There’s a really imposing staircase from the entrance down to beach level. They also have elevators.

 

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We saw a very impressive buffet being set up in the garden. They were getting ready for Balinese Night and we felt beautiful, soft breezes on our cheeks wafting off the Indian Ocean.

 

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They had a sucking pig, babi guling, still untouched, but I’m sure not for long, as that’s one of the island’s most famous dishes. There was a vast array of food and there were drinks too.

 

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I’ve got a small hotel in Ubud, Murni’s Houses, grand in its own way, and I know a good hotel when I see one. A good hotel has good energy and the Grand Nikko has lots of energy.

 

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The staff are incredibly helpful – if you look lost, they come up to you and offer to bring you to where you are going. When you pass them in the corridor or meet them in the lift, they say hello and give you a big smile. How nice is that?

 

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The hotel is large. I’m sure I haven’t seen it all, in fact, I know I haven’t seen it all. It has interesting statues and structures all over the place.

 

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Balinese stonecarvers and sculptors are talented and I’m delighted that their works are on display. I particularly liked the three fishermen, back to back, with their shared catch on their heads. It was very appropriate for the ocean setting.

 

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There are many comfortable places to sit and chill out. Tastefully decorated. Of course the whole place has wifi, which is vital these days.

 

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There are eight restaurants, yes, eight, including a Japanese one called Benkay and one called Olooloos. Don’t ask me what that means! They serve Mediterranean food, but outside a Balinese couple welcome you in.

 

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Breakfast is served in The Brasserie. It was very good indeed, regally and lovingly supervised by the charming Balinese sous-chef, Luh Sibang. She has worked there for eighteen years and is still loving it.

 

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There are freshly baked breads, croissants, bagels, muffins, and doughnuts. Orange, tomato, watermelon, papaya and carrot juices. Scrambled, sunny side up, omelettes, poached and boiled eggs. Really whatever you want.

 

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Western, Chinese and Japanese food. Indonesian fried rice, Indonesian fried noodles, chicken or pork congee and Soto Ayam (the famous spicy chicken broth). Unlimited smoked salmon too. Service was impeccable: lots of helpful staff helping you within seconds.

 

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After breakfast there are a whole range of activities – the wonderful beach, of course, but also a fun jungle camp for children, a camel safari ride, fitness centre, tennis courts and sauna. There are probably even more things that I haven’t yet discovered.

 

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There are four, maybe more than four, amazing inter-connected swimming pools, that just have to be seen to be believed, and a 30 metre water slide into one of them. One of them actually has sand coming up to it, which is a genius and safe way of keeping an eye on young childen at the beach.

 

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Just wandering around I came across a wedding in the grounds. Not surprising as it’s a perfect place to get married with the well-kept beautiful lawns, pools and beach. I am sure that the wedding photographs were stunning. Grand Nikko has it all.

 

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The Shore restaurant is ideally situated, yes, on the shore. We had lunch there and Komang, our kindly waitress, suggested that we join One Harmony for free and have 10% off all meals and future stays in the hotel group. We joined straightaway.

 

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I love spas, and in fact, I have one in Ubud, Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses, so I am always keen to try them out. It was a real pleasure going to Mandara Spa. I had an excellent therapist, Oka Astini, and enjoyed the experience in a private villa immensely. I can certainty recommend it and have become a member of Mandara Spa.

 

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The only bad thing was leaving, but, for sure I will return soon.

 

There are more photos in the Gallery.

Murni

Bali Photography Tours

Bali Photography Tours

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We’ve been talking to David about the possibility of offering Bali Photography Tours to guests of Murni’s Houses for over a decade and now it’s finally happened. It was worth the wait!

 

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He’s providing Half Day and Full Day tours – there are four different themes to choose from.

 

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I was lucky enough to be able to join three guests on the first Bali Photography Tours and the theme was Rural Traditional Balinese Life and attending Balinese Ceremonies. They keep the number of guests small – minimum two, but it can even be one, with a small additional fee.

It quickly became apparent that no two tours are alike and they adapt the day to what is happening on the ground, and in Bali what is happening on the ground is totally unpredictable and full of delicious surprises.

 

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They picked us up at Murni’s Houses at 5.30 am. Full marks for the early start as early light is the best light. Photography is really about painting with light and harsh midday sun makes for harsh photos. It is also delightfully cool.

We drove a short distance, about half an hour, to a nearby place in the countryside where there was the most dramatic view of Mount Agung, the largest volcano in Bali. It was still dark but the early morning rays were just beginning to peek out. Those of us who had tripods set them up.

David and his assistant Nyoman immediately started to guide us through the settings in our cameras. David is an expert on Nikons and Nyoman on Canons, but they can explain the settings on any camera. They encouraged us to get away from using AUTO and taught us how to create the shot that we saw in our heads.

 

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Then we wandered down the road, ricefields and trees on either side, which provided more photo opportunities, with people starting to go about their business.

 

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Very shortly we were down some steps at this amazing river. David had seen it before but hadn’t been down the steps. There was the most amazing light that any of us had seen.

 

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The first rays of the sun

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia

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After a long struggle, on 27 December 1949, the Dutch finally recognised Indonesia as an independent state and transferred sovereignty to the Republic of the United States of Indonesia. On 17 August 1950, which was the fifth anniversary of the declaration of Independence, the country was proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia. President Sukarno became the first President of Indonesia and Mohammad Hatta, a highly effective Minangkabau economist from Sumatra, became prime minister.

Indonesia always claimed that the date of independence was 17 August 1945 but the Dutch insisted that the date was 27 December 1949.

In August 2005 the Dutch accepted the 1945 date.

The story of the struggle is told in our book Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World, now available as an ebook for immediate downloading.

Happy Independence Day, Indonesia! There are more photographs on www.jonathaninbali.com