To make the decision whether to book a homestay or not, was probably the utmost difficult task I was challenged with before heading out to Bali. I checked a few yoga retreats and homestays, and filtered the list until I was left with just 2 options. One was a yoga retreat at a beach and the other was a homestay at Ubud, both with the finest ratings on almost every booking website. I would be staying alone for 5 nights before Prateek joins me. Prateek wanted to stay at a beach once he joins, so I happily chose Sila Urip Guest House at Ubud. KoMang (the owner of the Sila Urip) reached out to me as soon as we were done with the booking process and within minutes, we sorted out the airport transfer requirements.
It was extremely easy to locate KoMang at the Denpaser Airport and I was welcomed to Bali with a big smile on his face, shouting at the top of his voice…”Welcome to Bali Mrs Sharma”. I shouted back with equal vigor “Thank you. It is so nice to finally meet you.” There began our friendship. He was a bit skeptical about driving me around in his old Qualis, but it turned out to be one of the most comfortable journeys I have had in a while. It was definitely KoMang’s wonderful energy and happiness that made all our road trips extremely comfortable. Add to that some peppy music and windows leading you to the country’s best view.
I was welcomed by his family and after exchanging the initial Hi’s and Hello’s, I was escorted to my room. It was slightly away (just a few meters though) from where the family lived. The first view of my room and I was sold. It was perfect. A queen-sized bed, table lamps, a wardrobe and an attached bathroom with basic toiletries. No, there was no TV and this was exactly the kind of vacation I was looking for. The huge sliding glass door opened to the porch with the rain-forest right in the front. Though there was furniture placed in the porch, I ended up using the stairs to sit and watch the greenery of the dense forest. It was so peaceful out there.
I was attended to by the host and his family with immense love and care. By Day 2, it no longer felt like hosts and guests, and more like a family. While KoMang helped me out with directions or driving me around in his scooter/car (for free), keeping the raincoat available for me in case of rain, inviting me and taking me to experience the beauty of a traditional Balinese wedding; his wife, Kadek, kept me pampered with her food.Ah! What culinary skills she has. My all time favorite would be those amazing banana pancakes she made for me every day. And above all, by being a friend. She would come and sit with me every time she felt that I might be missing home. The day when I left with KoMang to pick up Prateek from the airport for our last night at Ubud, we were welcomed to a beautifully decorated room. There were flowers everywhere, and our bed was filled with hearts made of roses, with our names made in flowers, and towels wonderfully shaped into swans. We were overwhelmed by the warm welcome and kind gestures offered by this little family.
Prateek and I loved this family so much, we ended up availing KoMang’s services even after we left Ubud. He drove us to Kintamani for the sunrise trek and he joined us on our trek all the way up to Mt. Batur. Ah, who wouldn’t love Bali when it’s people are like KoMang and his family. The last day when we met, he was almost in tears and we were sad too. But then, we promised him that we will meet him whenever we are back in Bali. Maybe in a year, or 5 or 20. And for me, I will always go back to Sila Urip at Ubud.
Once done with Ubud, our next destination was Seminyak. We stayed here for the rest of our vacation. Sila Urip raised the bar too high, but it was not difficult to adjust to Sarinande Beach Resort. There was no match to the wonderful homestay experience that I have had, but I would not compare a hotel to a homestay. It is a boutique hotel located hardly at a 5 mins walk from Seminyak Beach and 10 mins walk from the market. Clean and great rooms, welcoming staff and good food, we had a wonderful stay for the rest of our vacation. The sitting area made a great place to watch the rain (my everyday story).
Close to our room, was this bookshelf where we clicked some pictures. I wanted to read something but I knew there was no way I would complete a book considering our huge list of “things to do”, so I happily posed with the bookshelf.
Since the background was dark, I decided to brighten it up with my TrendArrest top which was ideal for the leisurely afternoon. I love versatile pieces, especially when I travel. Team it with a low waist jeans and flaunt that waist. Team it with a flowy skirt and glam it up. Or wear it with a distressed (or rather destroyed) denim for that lazy afternoon at the lobby, just like me. Hope you like the pictures 🙂
Top: Bought it from Ubud (wore it here )
Top: TrendArrest (www.trendarrest.com)
Jeans: Bought it from Koh Samui