Ubud Bali + Castello Jasper


Things have been a whirlwind since the beginning of December when we spent those two magical weeks in Bali, but I’ve been DYING to share our trip with you and am so happy that the day has finally arrived!  We spent our first week in Ubud with our friends Greg, Farra, Juan and their baby – and it was hands down one of the best vacations of my life.  We stayed at Castello Jasper, an incredible rental home with an infinity pool perched over rice paddies and facing the jungle and mountains.- A DREAM!  Each morning the lovely staff at the house (Wayan and Suri) greeted us with breakfast and helped us with anything we needed for the day (including arranging spa services at the house!).  We skipped a majority of the typical tourist things in lieu of relaxing, but we did have a few adventures and eat at some amazing restaurants.  More about that and my recommendations after the jump!  xx- Sarah

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The flight to Bali from the US in bananas long.  But if you can, choose Taipei for your stopover- best airport food EVER!  I know that’s random, but when you’re traveling for 24+ hours it’s really helpful to know you’ll have a meal to look forward to (also, search out the massage chairs in the airport- the stores surrounding them offer up free tokens and it does wonders for a travel body to have a massage after a 14 hour flight!)  Ok, once you’ve arrived- try to stay awake for the drive from the airport to Ubud, there is so much to see and I think it’s a great way to get a feel for the country!

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As I mentioned above- we spent most of our days right here, water glasses filled with wine in hand (and clearly we needed every bit of sun we could get!). HA!   But we did take a long walk through the rice paddies from Castello Jasper into town one morning for a bit of shopping and wandering around Ubud- and it’s an adventure I highly recommend!  The shopping is fantastic- I found pottery and all of the wooden kitchen utensils I could ever want, plus silk robes that I am still dying over.  And we fueled up after the walk at Kebun Bistro where I had the BEST CHOCOLATE CROISSANT OF MY LIFE.  Speaking of food- most days I also ate my weight in Nasi Gureng- which is an Indonesian stir fried rice that beats everything!  Other restaurants we tried and loved: Naughty Nuri’s (on the recommendation of Anthony Bourdain),  KAFE, Alchemy.  And we wanted to make it to Mozaic but didn’t.

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My absolute favorite part of the entire trip, besides all of the laughs with friends, were the spa treatments we got almost daily.  It was truly a Beyonce moment, having massage therapists come to the house every day and work wonders on us.  It’s a luxury that we couldn’t normally indulge in, but it was so crazy affordable that we couldn’t say no!  My favorite treatment was the massage/body scrub that ended in the bathtub filled with flower petals and moss.  Heaven on Earth!!!!

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The Balinese people have to be the kindest people I’ve ever encountered, which makes traveling there extra special.  And the countryside is spectacularly beautiful- so that doesn’t hurt.  It definitely tops my list of favorite places I’ve traveled to, and there’s absolutely no chance I would miss an opportunity to go back!  I’ll share more of our trip soon- the week that Lou and I spent at the beach!  (but it should be noted- we preferred Ubud to any other part of Bali that we traveled to!)  More soon…..


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Reader Comments

  1. Marcia|

    Heart parts, everywhere. I just sent my husband an email with the link, like I need to go, now. Ah! The trip looked absolutely splendid, thank you for sharing.

    Also, how did the sale of your home go, I hope well, it was simple gorgeous.

    Hope all is well!

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks so much Marcia! We close on our house next week!!!!! We’re still on the hunt for a new place, but hoping something comes up for us soon! 🙂

  2. Colleda|

    Longing for more! Would you by chance be willing to share budget details or info on what things typically cost? I’ve heard it is incredibly affordable to travel to Bali and I’ve always wondered what that meant. Loved the instagram pics and swooning over these photos as well. Best!

    • Sarah Yates|

      Colleda- it was exrtremely affordable! I’m terrible at conversion rates, but I think our meals were generally around $5-$7. Massages were around $10! It’s outrageously amazing!!!

  3. Joyce|

    This looks so amazing!! Definitely added to my “must visit” list! So glad you had a wonderful trip, well deserved! xo

  4. Kim|

    Ahhh, reading your description of the in-home treatment makes my body ache for a massage and flower petal bath. Sounds AMAZING. Must go here some day…

  5. Jane|

    I spent a month in Bali this past September and October. Everything you said is accurate! (Although I loved Gili Air and Lembongan so much! Different from Ubud, but just as special.) I certainly recognize some of your pictures. I stayed in town for part of my time there, then in Penestanan near Alchemy (love Alchemy!) and traveled Bingin and the islands later. It was a magical trip. I’m so glad you guys got to experience it. I actually was encouraged to go ahead and plan my little expedition when I heard you were going back in the summer. So thanks for the inspiration!

    Oh, and the spa treatments, at those prices! I mean wow! Right? I could so use a massage right now!

  6. yp|

    Gorgeous! I am convinced, even more so than before that this is a magical trip! must see soon

  7. Patricia Torres-Burd|


    • Sarah Yates|

      Hi Patricia, if you goto the calendar and click on the dates, it will bring you to a booking form! 🙂

  8. Jenna|

    Beautiful photos. So many people poo-poo Bali now because it’s gotten more crowded and has lost some of its charm from 10 or 20 years ago, but I still love it (though I haven’t been there in 5 years). The massages really are affordable, and I agree that the people are the best. That flight is a killer, though! We did it with an almost-2-year-old who came down with a fever the whole way and then did a stopover for 3 days in Japan on the way back. Definitely worth the stop when traveling with kids, in my opinion.

  9. Katie|

    Hi Sarah, I’m curious to know how old your friends’ baby was? Did they have any trouble travelling with a young one in Bali? I have a six week old, but would love to book a trip for a few months time. Thanks!

  10. Raquel|

    We really love Ubud too and could easily live there. We are actually in Bali now & just came down from Ubud yesterday and are now in ‘crazy town’ Seminyak! We much prefer the melting pot of deliciousness that is Ubud! xx

  11. Denise|

    I spent time in Ubud some 17 years ago – loved it. It was nothing but rice paddies, and very few hotels or Americans. Just gorgeous views, lovely and warm people and amazing food. Dying to go back even though it has changed.

  12. Bianca|

    I stayed here for a week when I went to Ubud!! Wayan is literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and the property is STUNNING for the price you pay. So nice, in fact, we actually cut the last leg of our trip to Singapore just to stay here longer. You brought me back with this post!

    xx. B

  13. Amanda @ A.Co est. 1984|

    Wow, just wow!! Such a unique holiday and not what I typically think of when I hear ‘Bali’–but, not that I’ve ever been myself either.

    Daily massages?!!?! AHHH!! How luxurious and wonderful!!

    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks so much Annabel! I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III (I’m a professional photographer, so I have a great camera/lenses that help tremendously with the beautiful photos!) xx

  14. Marlene|

    Great reportage. I’m 5 seconds of booking the villa, but are a bit confused. At Homeaway and Tripadvisor the name of the villa is Villa Gajah and the owner – Fabrice – only accepts payment through his website. Did you rent through Fabrice?