We had been on the go for almost two years, had just gotten over a nasty case of dengue fever, and Stephen was on his way to teach yoga in Europe. Without me! For the first time since we’d left home, I was going to be alone.
The frenzy of Ubud in July – with snarls of never-ending traffic, open sewers stewing in the wet heat, and 10-day tourists crowding the almost non-existent sidewalks – was starting to get to me.
I knew I needed to seek out somewhere peaceful and comfortable for my final week on foreign soil.
After a long search through hundreds of Ubud guest houses on Booking.com, I found Narendra Guest House. At the time, it was a brand new listing and had zero reviews online. This was a lucky break for me because that’s the only reason there was a room available.
What’s So Great About It?
The Narendra Guest House consists of four rooms in a tiny building behind the traditional family compound of Made and his friendly family. Made speaks perfect English and will happily help arrange anything you need.
To get to the guesthouse, you walk right through the family compound. As you come and go from your room, you get to witness life as the Balinese live it. Grandma spends most of the day outside folding palm leaves, flower petals, and pinches of rice into the traditional offerings that she spreads around the home, on the sidewalk, and inside the family temple.
Made’s young son is almost always playing with dinosaur toys or drawing pictures of dinosaurs.
The rooms, brand new in 2014, are small but spotless, with shining marble floors, bright white sheets, and modern, Balinese-themed art on the walls. The beds are plush and soft, which is a rare find in Asia. The modern bathroom leaves nothing to be desired, with a separate glassed-in shower, Western toilet, and framed dinosaur art drawn by Made’s son on the wall.
Breakfast, a choice of eggs or pancakes with a bowl of fresh fruit, is served on your private patio each morning, where you can eat while watching the local roosters run through the courtyard. Of course, these feathery friends are early risers, and as with almost anywhere on Bali, a pair of earplugs will go a long way here.
Narendra Guesthouse is about a 10-minute walk from the intersection of Jl Raya Ubud and Jl Hanuman, where you’ll find many of the hundreds of restaurants, gift shops, and coffee shops of Ubud. For food and drink right on your street, try Seniman Coffee, a modern speciality coffee shop, and Warung Schnitzel, a popular restaurant serving traditional Balinese meals.
Walk 10 minutes the other way, and you’ll find yourself in the silence of the Balinese countryside, with palm trees dancing overhead and bright green rice fields sparkling in the sun.
How to Get There
Heading north on Jl. Sriwedari, look for the Narendra Guesthouse sign on your right, about 10 minutes walk from Jl. Raya Ubud.