Tag Archives: murni

Interview with Ubud’s Leading Lady

Interview with Ubud’s Leading LadyInterview with Ubud’s Leading Lady

Published 27 November 2017

Interview with Ubud’s Leading Lady
Murni in the garden of Murni’s Houses.

Interview with Ubud’s Leading Lady:  Murni is a unique and fast moving Balinese lady who knows how to get things done. She has a contagious smile and a genuine passion for life. FRV had a chat recently while staying at Murni’s Houses in her home town of Ubud.

FRV: They call you the ‘Ibu of Ubud’ … What does ‘Ibu of Ubud’ mean?

Murni: It actually means ‘Mother of Ubud’. There are in fact many Ibus of Ubud and I’m just one of them.

If you had all the money and time in the world, what would you be doing right now?

I’d probably be doing the same things that I’m doing now.

What is that?

I try to create beautiful spaces filled with beautiful objects. After moving from Sanur in 1974 where I had four shops on the beach, I set up Ubud’s first real restaurant just beside the bridge in Campuhan. That was 43 years ago and I’m still running it! I’ve filled it with Asian tribal art pieces I’ve collected over the years, especially in the Lounge Bar, where people often have a drink before dinner or liqueurs afterwards.

Have you always been a collector?

It’s very difficult to be just a collector as the pieces are increasingly rare and expensive, so inevitably you end up being a dealer as well. You try and get better and better examples and sell the others. It’s been very helpful having a tribal art and textiles shop as part of the restaurant.

Why did you build your boutique hotel ‘Murni’s Houses’?

That was in the early 1980s because there was so little guest accommodation available. There was hardly any giving a good degree of comfort and convenience. I was very lucky to get the land, which is only five minutes walk from the centre of Ubud, but set back above the road, so it’s a bit like being in the countryside but still in the middle of Ubud. I like it so much I live there myself. The guests are from all over the world and invariably really interesting and we often have breakfast together. It’s a great way to start the day. Murni’s Warung and the Shop are only a few minutes walk so it suits me fine.

And the spa?

Tamarind Spa happened by chance on the suggestion from a friend. I had a spare building and turned it into spa rooms and employed the very best therapists I could find. I tested them all myself. My plan was to have a massage every day, and now I can’t get in because it’s so busy!

Is that the Tamarind Spa that won the UK Luxury Travel Guide Awards 2017 Contemporary Spa of the Year INDONESIA?

That was an incredible surprise, and of course, we’re all delighted, especially the therapists. They’ve done very well.

I hear you’ve written or co-written books on Balinese culture. Any tips on … Writing books?

Yes, something incomprehensible is what I recommend. The thing about comprehensible books is they are too difficult! Leave that to other people.

You have a website, a Facebook site, a Twitter account, a blog and you’re on Instagram … tell me about your experience with social networking and what advice you would give.

Concentrate on the widgets.

You seem to have a lot on your plate already and we haven’t even talked about Balinese culture. Do you have any current projects?

Well, yes. I seem to have got into long-stay accommodation. There are more and more people staying longer and longer in the Ubud area. I think many of them are digital nomads as they always ask about the internet. I’ve finished two Villas for long-term rentals in Katik Lantang, South Penestanan, where I was born, just 10 minutes away, and right now I’m finishing a large building at Murni’s Houses which will have rooms with and without kitchens, a gallery and a pool – and maybe, if I can squeeze it in, a shop!

As we haven’t talked about Balinese culture, and I know that you are steeped in it, would you like to write a regular column for the magazine on Balinese life and culture?

I’d be delighted and for you I’ll make it comprehensible.

Thank you. Well, Murni. You’ve had an incredible life so far. I’d like to ask you one final question. How would you like to be remembered?

I’m too short at five foot four. I’d like to be remembered as five foot eleven!

Murni is a well-known and much loved personality on the Bali scene and a pioneer of Balinese tourism. During her extraordinary life Murni has lived in Sanur and Ubud and has travelled widely. Everything you could want to know is on her web site.

Interview with Ubud’s Leading Lady

Secrets of Bali

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

Look Inside


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

by Jonathan Copeland
Ni Wayan Murni

Published 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




Go the book’s web site for

About the Authors


To order the paperback


Email: murni (at) murnis.com


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

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

Murni’s Very Personal Guide to Ubud

Look Inside


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

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


Words: 23,646


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

Look Inside


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
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


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



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

Murni’s Podcast

In Murni’s Podcast, The Spirit of Bali with Ibu Murni, join Clare McAlaney as she shares Murni’s story. Travel back to when she was a child in Bali eking out a living selling weavings, travelling around the hills of the island, to her concern about how the modern age and tourism is ripping out the heart of their culture. This journal will leave you with hope, but also a nagging awareness that something needs to be done, and quickly.

This is the last journal in Bali Soul Journals.

The Spirit of Bali with Ibu Murni – podcast

Murni’s Podcast

Contact Murni

To contact Murni:

Please fill in the form or, if you wish, email 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’s Houses
Jalan Raya, Ubud
Bali, Indonesia, 80571
Tel: 62 (361) 975165

Fax: 62 (361) 975282

Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses

Jalan Raya, Ubud
Bali, Indonesia, 80571
Tel: 62 (361) 970923

Fax: 62 (361) 975282

Murni’s Warung Shop

Campuan – Ubud
Bali, Indonesia 80571
Tel: 62 (361) 977484

Fax: 62 (361) 972146

Murni’s Warung
Campuan – Ubud
Bali, Indonesia 80571
Tel: 62 (361) 975233

Fax: 62 (361) 972146

Time: UTC/GMT +8 hours, no daylight saving

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Murni’s Talk

Murni’s Talk

Murni’s Talk was a lecture on Balinese textiles to the de Young Museum’s Textile Arts Council of San Francisco in 2009.

Earlier in February 2007 when Murni was exhibiting textiles from her collection at the Arts of Pacific Asia Show in San Francisco, Jill D’Allesandro, Textile Curator of the de Young Museum, asked if she would give a talk on Balinese textiles.

It was attended by many people and illustrated by a Power Point presentation as well as examples from Murni’s own collection.

Murni and Jonathan Copeland worked on a much expanded version of the talk, illustrated with many more examples from her own collection, and that gave rise to the ebook  From Tattoos to Textiles, Murni’s Guide to Asian Textiles, All You Need to Know…And More.

Murni’s Talk

Murni’s Exhibitions

Murni’s Exhibitions have mostly been at the prestigious and highly vetted San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia and Tribal & Textile Arts Shows.

Murni was one of the first in Ubud, Bali to have a proper gallery of textiles, tribal jewelry, antiques and other ethnic pieces. She started her shop at the same time as her famous restaurant, Murni’s Warung, in 1974.

She is Balinese and travels extensively in Asia searching out rare and unusual pieces, specializing in Indonesian textiles, jewelry and ceremonial objects . Her sources are the best. She is still the first person that dealers generally visit when they come to Bali.

Many of her pieces are of museum quality.


San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show, February 2007San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show, February 2007 was Murni’s first show abroad. She joined over 100 international dealers in tribal arts,  textiles, antiques and other ethnic pieces. Her booth looked beautiful and was widely admired. Many of the pieces she exhibited were of museum quality and attracted a lot of attention. It was … Continue reading San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show, February 2007
MorYork Gallery, Los Angeles, October 2008Murni was invited to display her museum quality new and antique textiles and other tribal pieces at the MorYork Gallery, Los Angeles, on Sunday, October 19, 2008. This rare opportunity was arranged to coincide with the symposium Talking Cloth: New Studies on Indonesian Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Saturday, October … Continue reading MorYork Gallery, Los Angeles, October 2008
Los Angeles Asian and Tribal Art Show, November 2008Murni was invited  to exhibit some more pieces from her collection at the Los Angeles Asian and Tribal Art Show, November 2008. This followed on from the success of the San Franciscan Show in 2007. The Los Angeles Asian and Tribal Art Show was widely attended by many dealers and collectors and was a great … Continue reading Los Angeles Asian and Tribal Art Show, November 2008
San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show, 2009San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show, 2009 was a return visit by Murni to this leading show of Asian arts. She displayed her textiles, puppets, masks, books, jewelry, baskets and tribal pieces. Again it was a thrilling experience and very successful. Exceptional Asian Art and Artifacts of the Peoples of the Pacific and Mainland … Continue reading San Francisco Arts of Pacific Asia Show, 2009
San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show February 2009San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show February 2009 saw Murni attend and exhibit part of her collection of Asian Textiles. It is undoubtedly the most highly respected textile show in San Francisco and a great honour to be able to participate. “The best show in the city for the collector, connoisseur and the curator … Continue reading San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show February 2009