I have only stepped foot in Bali once last year as part of our honeymoon recce trip intended. To celebrate my post-wedding bliss, the location Bali was perfect; away from the mess and chaos of Bangkok, the solemn weather in Kuala Lumpur and just what we needed to have a stress-free getaway at an island so in tune spiritually.Also, it was a homecoming trip for me, something I will get back to why it is in this next post. 🙂

Along with several friends and family members, we all boarded for a 7-day vacay on the island. Beginning with mine and Stuart’s stay in Nusa Dua, particularly Sofitel Hotel located at a stretch of pristine beaches and a line-up of top hotels on the southern part of the island.

A way to kickstart the induced food coma..

We chose Sofitel for two reasons; one, the buffet spread was bang-on and I rate my hotel stays mostly by the quality of food presented on its hotel breakfast spread, two: with a stunning view, pool suites and stellar reviews on Trip Advisor; it is only fair that we chose this Balinese/French boutique hotel as our honeymoon nest. We weren’t dissapointed with our pick of the suite, which extended straight to the river pool , where guests can swim to the main pool area.

Beautifully decorated with contemporary French/Balinese-inspired fittings and decor, our nest for 7 day 6 nights is the stuff where romance are made of.

If romance emanates from hundreds of work emails and abusive comments on my Instagram :p..

I took my time to walk about the premises, snapping my OOTDs and stunning manicured garden snaps along the way. Every turn was otherworldly; the decadent pools, the pristine gardens and chic bars set the tone of what is to be a sexy getaway.

I had my misgivings about staying in Nusa Dua in the beginning (I prefer the sunset view, I know, over, kan) but I can fathom why Nusa Dua’s the place to be for honeymooners. The beaches are private and are very very well-kept, away from the chaos that you observe in Kuta or Seminyak. No backpackers, very few locals (except for people who actually work there) and no sights of hippies or surfers, just hotels guests wearing the Kiini/ Zimmermann suits, Chanel beach bags and Dior sunglasses, this is definitely where the ones who want to show off their best beach bods come to (I saw loads of people in bikinis taking video shots of themselves) and whiffs of designer perfume wafting in the air counteracts the smell of the sea.

The lack of sunbathers meant I could go and take loads of staged self-portrait shots, which worked oh-so-awesome because the winter winds from Aussie that blew in made for  perfect 26 degree sweat-free session for the narcicist such as oneself.

OOTD: Hat, HM; Shorts, DIY; Shirt, Brands Outlet; Sandals, Eclipse by Sonny San; Watch, Daniel Wellington; Shades, DIOR.

Seeing that we had already gone through planning stress with the wedding, we took our time to spend most of our few days taking in the ambience of the area (or in Haida speak, lots of iPhone space usage via picture shots).

Reliving the experience for the second time, I let the 5 year-old girl in me out to do another repeat of my trip to see the epic Kecak dance, dragging the Yeomanses for what could have been an hit or a miss.

Dragging this one along for the trip, 😀 as husband!

After a 40 minute journey towards the majestic Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple by the cliff, the impressive volcanic stone structure, cool sea breeze and the setting sun as epic as the show that was about to be presented kept them on their toes for what’s to come.

Sure enough, while the entrails of the  Hindu epic Mahabharata may still be a struggle to keep up with (including yours truly) but you can defo put your trust in King Hanuman to heat up the action.

Probably need to look into the security measures of this particular scene.

I didn’t take many shots of the temple surroundings as I kind of feel that they might be cliched images of what your seen on google pages instead, so I captured these few shots to demo what the mood is really like when you sat there watching this epic tale come to life; played flawlessly by the actors and dancers who depicted the battle scene from Ramayana. Its kind of ironic to think that a European man (a German painter at that) that has actually brought the art from a ritualistic trance medium to it commercialized status now. But let me move my cynicism aside and bask in the experience as it is 😀

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Ubud’s right on the next go-to list of mine. One of my most favorite places to go sight-seeing in Bali, even more than the pleasure of being one of the best beaches on the island (I gotta hand this award over to Koh Li Pe), the husband was well keen to get a couple of paintings to adorn the walls of our house. Joining the crew with the rest of the fam, we headed out to Ubud the next day, for an hour and half trip and made stops along the way.

Here’s a breakdown of why I love Ubud:

  1. The Art scene is the bees knees

From the Ubud market to random nooks with naive painting works from the villagers to critically acclaimed art galleries, you can defo invest in your taste with a reasonable value-for-money bargains on works of arts from all sorts of style. My husband found a large Barong piece (headache to handle with my conservative relatives) and a Cockerel-fighting piece (which will be shared on Instagram soon) that we found from a rather well-known gallery back from Ubud. We have yet to decide where to put it, heck if we have the space for them both but the purchase will defo be a conversation piece.I can vouch that you can probably dig into the arts even if you’re not a fan of one.

2. Tegallalang

Located in the centre of Bali and northernmost part of Ubud, the rice terraces are every traveller’s photo op wet dream. Picturesque greens and verdant rice fields are really shrines form the Goddess of Rice, which explains the serenity and philosophy of how the harvest and maintain these paddy fields. With the religious rites and philosophy, it is only fair that the locations have been bestowed a UNESCO Heritage status.

Dad-in-law in awe <3

BIL Neil, MIL Diane and Niece(?) Ava Brewer :p

You can even have a look around the area, to examine the marvel of its architecture in close range. But I prefer the view that I took mine from; at this two-storey restaurant/bar structure overlooking the entire area. Perfect for a scoopful or two of ice cream while snapping Instagram-worthy shots 🙂

3. Cool Cafes

Sure Seminyak may talk about all things chic and cool when it comes to cafe and food, but all the cool cats would hound the arrays of hip, boutique or fusion cafes propping in this buzzy but chilled town. Coffee addict or not, you cant help but to get involved with the scene, and dare I say these spots are even introvert friendly with a crowd totally different that what you would expect in Kuta/Seminyak area. More in tune with their creative side, you can find people chilling around in bars on their own or with a group of their own eclectic clique, getting their heads with deep conversations mostly around the arts, culture and history, with bandannas wrapped around their heads and Cuban or Indonesian herbal ciggies. As a cultural voyeur myself, this place speaks to my inner creative/spiritual psyche.

4. Luwak Coffee Tasting

There are hundreds of coffee tasting places around Bali, but when snugged with the greens and serenity of Ubud; the experience is heightened to something else. Even if you’re not a coffee person, you can’t help but to get into the fad, especially when they are brewed fresh from the farm. Ask and research if they are animal-cruelty free spots before you select or ask your driver where to go (this may be a challenge to I would suggest to get your own head in the research the night before you go) ; a I have recently found out that some of the civets cats in captivity were force-fed and crammed in tiny cages. This is also awesome to bring family members and talk about how cat poo is brewed into one of the most expensive coffee product in the world. LOL

Hubs sampling from a tray of freshly brewed tea and coffee of which later you can pick and select what you want to purchase in the coffee hut later.

5. Monkeys, elephants, zoos, safaris.

Since we have a cutie pie joining us in the trip (niece Ava loves animals and have been looking forward to meet the critters since forever) , we took a short detour to go elephant riding. However, since most of us have read on the mistreatment of elephants for tourists/commercial use in places like Thailand and India, we initially decided to proceeded to head over to Taro (an legit animal sanctuary were people can feed and see them in their ‘happiest’ state in the wild), due to a slight miscomm, our driver brought us to the Bali Zoo instead, which most of us (including yours truly) isnt too keen on. Since Taro elephant sanctuary and safari is way further than what we expected, we settled for a ride around the Zoo vicinity. A short 30 minute ride was more than enough to make me feel uncomfortable, so I would not suggest myself or anyone else for a ride on any animals held captive for commercial purpose in the near future, however, do head over to Taro as I have heard rave reviews about the area and how they have treated elephants (read here as a precaution: http://bawabali.com/our-programs/responsible-tourism/zoos/) . Despite its award-winning status (and noted as one of the best zoos in South East Asia), I wouldn’t suggest anyone to go there. So, I shall not share the photos of me riding the elephant here.

I did enjoy seeing the Bengal tigers chilling. 🙂

Monkey-wise, you can bet your money and bananas on the monkey forest/temple. Just dont taunt the critters when they took bananas off of your hands or point or make any gestures whatsoever, take selfies with caution. My mother-in-law was lucky to dodge one or two bites :p

This one was so full, it started playing with a coconut seed (?)

Ubud OOTD:

Shades: DIOR; Top, Straduvarius; Necklace, Stradivarius; Jeans, HM; Watch, Daniel Wellington.

 

That concludes my part one of my Bali honeymoon coverage, will return with more deets on food, restaurants and my beach-hopping escapade in Bali, plus, Bulgari Hotel (LOVES)

Stay tuned for part two! 😀