Unlike my usual jaunts to the city, I really had to figure out what would serve me well in a tropical paradise. Here is my packing list for BELLA LA.
Where do I begin? This was literally a last minute (two week turnover from decision to flight) to depart to Bali. My cousin had invited me to go back in July when I went to SF. In Aug, I made I quick trip to NY and when I came back the opportunity re-presented itself and I decided to take it.
You would think that 2 weeks before a trip 15 hours away would be at a huge cost. In fact, it was half price thanks to China Southern Airlines. So on Sept 11 I left Vancouver on a 19-hour trip and finally on Tuesday Sept 13 at 2am I arrived in Denpasar, Bali.
A quick 25 min taxi ride to my hotel, Tijili Seminyak. 15 years ago, I had stayed in Kuta but now Seminyak was the place to be. A 5 min walk to the beach, Tijili Seminyak is a colourful and well-designed hotel not even a year old. The breakfasts were yummy and I wish the sun came out while I was there so I could have taken full advantage of the pool.
I stayed at the Tijili for two nights while I roamed around and finally got my bearings. I managed to kick off the trip with a spa treatment at the Praya Spa where I had the Bali Mystique treatment. It included a footbath, full body scrub, full body massage, warm yogurt masque and then rose and frangipani bath. It was the perfect activity to kick off the trip. After making my way back to the hotel, I thought I was only going to take a quick nap – but ended up sleeping the majority of the night.
The next day I headed north to Ubud where I met up with a coworkers brother at his shop (Jamusara) and checked out some local fare before I had a short Flytographer photo shoot amongst the traditional Balinese temples. The Ubud market had some great finds and I knew I would have to be back later in the trip to pick up some finds.
The one thing I forgot in 15 years was how long it takes to get from A-B (almost everything takes 1-1.5 hours) due to traffic.
Thursday-Saturday was spent in Nusa Dua, which is an area on the eastern side of the island filled with resorts. The Ayodya served as the home base as we did some touristy visits on Thursday (Kintamani volcano, a coffee plantation, a traditional Barong and Kris dance).
Friday’s visit to the northern Bali, Munduk Moding Plantation was my favorite visit though. The 6-hectare plantation was beautiful and I learned a lot about the species grown: coffee, flowers, spices and fruits. Fun fact: you can actually stay at the plantation in a suite/villa and they also have an onsite spa. I would definitely recommend the informative visit and if you can, stay a night or two.
The wedding I attended was on Saturday and the reception was in a beautiful coconut grove. Sunday, we headed over to the neighboring island of Lombok. I was really excited to stay at the Puri Mas Boutique resort and spa and it definitely did not disappoint.
My beautiful Jacuzzi villa was massive complete with a four post bed, soaker tub and cathedral ceilings. I loved that although it was a villa – the bedroom was enclosed allowing the A/C to work affectivity. Also, I would have freaked out if I were night bait for mosquitos.
On our first day we took it to the seas as we explored the Gili Islands. The Gili Islands are a group of 3 tiny islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. I got over my fear of snorkeling (thanks to my cousins lessons) and saw huge schools of fish in vibrant colours. Lunch was BBQ on the beach, which was the end to a great day.
The following day after breakfast I was able to grab a last minute massage and coconut hair treatment at the spa at the Puri Mas Boutique Hotel before I left for the airport. 24 hours later and I was back in lovely Vancouver.
After a late night, we woke up bright and early (7am!) to go on a hike and explore the area around the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto. It was quiet and serene as we caught a birds eye view of the resort and the peaceful blue Danzante Bay waters below.
Upon descent from the hike, we passed by a cute jack rabbit, not at the least bit startled by our paparazzi shots. We walked along the beach and joined some other early risers at a sun salutation with the on site shaman. The ancient sound of the seashell and the sweet smell of copal smoke, aided our thanksgiving prayer and ask for new blessings from father Sun.
Working up an appetite, breakfast was in the grand penthouse suite. We were then treated to a massage at the Sabila Spa. It was tranquil; I could have relaxed there all day soaking in the aloe bath.
Instead, I retired to a hammock that called my name and managed to get a tan within the hour! There comes a time when you must soak up the sun and this was definitely one of those times. Late lunch was yummy fish tacos (of course!) as I had to get my fill before I left.
And then we learned about tequila. Here are 3 facts that were new to me:
- It takes 7-10 years to make tequila.
- Tequila is made from the agave plant.
- Do not have a lime after you drink tequila it as it mixes the sugars. Hangover mystery solved.
Over a celebration of Mexican culture, our last meal ended off on a sweet note – warm and tasty churros right from the fryer. Yummy! Thank you Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto for the amazing stay at your beautiful property. I can’t wait to return.
PS: Want to stay at the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto at a discounted rate and check it out for yourself? You can book now and travel until April 30, 2016.
Deluxe Studio suite: $146 USD per night, plus taxes and gratuities
One Bedroom Suite: $228 USD per night, plus taxes and gratuities
Two Bedroom Suite: $370 USD per night, plus taxes and gratuities
Reference the code FAMJAN16 when you book a reservation through [email protected]
Terms and conditions apply, blackout dates apply.