Beautiful Bali: Monkey Mayhem and Filthy Gorgeousness

Last week, I ventured off to Bali for a little R&R and, accordingly, I must share a few photos with the highlights. It was a whirlwind trip (just a weekend in Bali, folks), but I managed to pack in both Jimbaran Bay and Ubud and monkeys, of course, lots of devilishly cute, but don’t mess with ’em monkeys. I look forward to spending more time in this fascinating Goddess filled land of rice and Ganesha!

Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali

Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali 

We arrived late in the evening to gracious staff who had us beat a gong three times to announce our entrance. Although it was pitch black, the grounds were more impressive than we could imagine. After making reservations the very day we were to arrive through one of my new favorite websites for Asia, Agoda, we booked garden rooms at the Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali for approximately $350 USD and, to our amazing surprise, they had overbooked those rooms so we were upgraded to villa rooms. And, when I say villa rooms, I mean, one bedroom villas, each with it’s own private pool and a separate sitting area with enough space for three people as the sofa was large enough to nap comfortably.

A quick photo of my private villa pool

A quick photo of my private villa pool

Needless to say, when we each awoke to see the villas in daylight, we were blown away. We were very close to staying at the Four Seasons or InterContinental, but Agoda showed that the Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali had last minute availability (and a better price), so we were thrilled. We were also keen to stay somewhere that felt authentically Balinese and this did the trick. With offerings and statues scattered around the lush grounds, along with a massive common pool and beachfront dining, it was really a no brainer.

Complete with entertainment in the evenings…

Firedancers at the Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali

Fire Dancers at the Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali

Next up, we took a quick (way too quick, but we were short on time) jaunt to Ubud, where we dined amid rice fields and visited the Ubud Market. I am still kicking myself for not having enough time to visit all the cool shops in Ubud, but my wallet is probably thanking me.

Dining in the rice field on satay and smoked fish

Dining in the rice field on satay and smoked fish

When we ordered Smoked Fish, I’ll admit, I thought it would be smoked like Whitefish or Salmon, but it was more like Steamed Fish. A tasty melange of garlic and subtle curry flavors rounded out this impressive looking snapper.

Balinese Smoked Fish

Balinese Smoked Fish with a salad of cooked bean sprouts and green beans, and a sugar cane covered fish cake on the side

But wait… I forgot to mention Monkey Forest in Ubud! How could I forget? This hanging forest meets monkey haven is an experience worth flying 20 hours to see. Monkeys and little monkey babies run wild and have no shame! You buy bananas at the entrance without realizing that once the monkeys see you they will jump on top of you and go, quite literally, bananas.

This little mom and her baby stole my heart (I was out of bananas).

Monkey Forest - Ubud, Bali

Monkey Forest – Ubud, Bali

We finished our day trip with a stop at Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple sitting on a rock formation on the coast, along the beach. It was quite interesting in that it felt as if we had stepped back in time (complete with a Holy Snake you could pay a small donation to touch). That said, it was quite crowded which hampered the allure a bit.

Tanah Lot Hindu Guardian

Tanah Lot Hindu Guardian

However, I did manage to capture one nice sunset, even if the actual temple view was obscured by too many tourists.

The sunset from Tanah Lot Temple

The sunset from Tanah Lot Temple

I finished the outing off with a massage at the hotel and a promise to always make the most of life’s brief moments. Even if it means a very rushed weekend trip to Bali after a crazy turbulent flight. In this case, my 60 minute moments equalled a very powerful Balinese massage where I was covered in the most delicious smelling orange bergamot oil.

The Belmond's beachfront outdoor spa

The Belmond’s beachfront outdoor spa

Because like life, and this storefront in Ubud, it’s filthy and it’s gorgeous and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

ubud stores

Layla Revis, Editor-in-Chief

Layla Revis, Editor-in-Chief

Passionate traveller, blogger, journalist, mother, and friend. Revis loves almost every type of food, but she won’t eat organs… or water chestnuts.

When she’s not flying to Asia for work as Senior Vice President – Global Digital Strategy Director at Leo Burnett, she can be found shamelessly watching trash television or reading Foucault. High/Low with rarely an ‘in between,’ her recent motto is:

“Live large… and love always.”

Get Married in Bali, Baby!

A Swedish Couple Gets Married in Bali - Viceroy

That’s right… who wouldn’t want to get hitched in Bali? With the debut of the Royal Balinese Wedding Blessing Package at Viceroy Bali, couples can now experience a traditional regal wedding in a uniquely exclusive, exotic, and elegant setting – without paying a king’s ransom. While intimate and relaxed in style, the Viceroy Bali offers facilities, accommodation, and service fit for royalty, including a dedicated Guest Service Manager who is available to coordinate every detail of the wedding celebration. A must for any cute couple.


For those seeking an extraordinarily romantic ceremony and reception, the RoyalBalinese Wedding Blessing Package is sure to please. In addition to the priceless seclusion, surroundings, and service, the package includes: a choice of two exclusive wedding venues (the balé or the main garden); elegant Balinese or contemporary decorations; floral arrangements and fresh flower petal confetti; traditional Balinese wedding costumes; Balinese spiritual offering; wedding cake; wedding dinner worthy of royalty; wedding photographs on a CD-ROM plus bound in an album; a leader of the wedding ceremony and a traditional Balinese dance performance.

The best part? The cost! The package is $3,500 US, as described; should the bride and groom provide their own wedding attire, the cost for the Royal Viceroy Wedding Package is $3,000. The Viceroy Bali will also arrange for the legal formalization of the ceremony for a fee of $800.

Bali-ssimo…

The last in her series on sweet, sweet Asia, Sarah Ivens, Jaunt Magazine Contributor and Founding Editor of the US-version of OK! Magazine, tells us a bit about her out of body, mind, and soul experience in Bali.

Bali-ssimo…

Bali Luxury Hotels - Amanusa

By Sarah Ivens

The tiny green Hindu Island of Bali has been a Mecca for those seeking enlightenment and rest since the 1970s. The hippy centre of Indonesia welcomes healers and artists, writers and doctors to witness its natural beauty and its spiritual traditions and customs.

It’s a place where Ganesh the holy elephant nestles next to statues of Buddha, while ancestors are worshiped and revered and Mother Nature is thanked. You can’t help but leave with your eyes opened and your forehead relaxed. To experience each element of the unique landscape and culture, I travelled the island, staying at three different resorts within the Aman resort group. The five star service and luxurious suites were uniform between all three places but the flavor was spiced up between them, depending on the location and the desires of the 95% local teams running them. By combining the three places, even the short term visitor can get a real sense of Bali and the beliefs of its wonderful, smiling people.

For the mind…

Amandari will challenge your brain in the most soothing way possible. An oasis of green paddy fields, built high above the artistic center of Ubud and designed to look like a traditional Balinese village, this tiny, eco-friendly resort inspires its visitors to seek out their inner creativity. You are encouraged to learn about local music, paintings and poetry while feasting on food you’ve witnessed being harvested at sunrise.

Ubud is perhaps most famous for its medicine men – a gaggle of gurus who guide the locals between right and wrong and who offer sage advice for locals looking for spiritual advice on the fly. The friendly local staff at Amandari can find you an enlightened expert to suit your needs – and even ship you there free of charge in the resort’s air-conditioned fleet of vehicles. If that seems too Western, they can arrange for you to borrow a bicycle. Recover from such prophecies by unwinding in the resort’s extensive library, or take a cocktail into the main courtyard and observe the local art on display. There are only 30 thatched-roof suites so you’ll be free to muse the days away without fear of obnoxious interruption.

For the body…

A Guru Near Amanusa

Amanusa allows the lazy to lounge (if they must) but they prefer the get up and goers, who burst into life at the breaking of dawn and don’t stop until the sun goes down. One of Indonesia’s best golf courses, The Bali Golf and Country Club, sits adjacent to the tree-lined hideaway and proves irresistable for anyone with a decent swing. If hitting the green isn’t your thing, Amanusa also has a 30 metre pool (plus eight of the 35 suites have their own swimming pool), two tennis courts and a private beach club which allows for every kind of water sport you can imagine. Healthy smoothies and fresh fruit cocktails are abundant – the butlers constantly lap the public areas with tray of delicious yet healthy snacks – and you don’t need to worry about one evening in the restaurant undoing all your hard work. Protein-rich, low-fat barbecues are offered by candlelight, and the locally caught fresh fish won’t make anyone fat! You can indulge without the bulge quite easily here.

For the soul…

Bali Holistic Hotels - Amankila

Amankila means ‘peaceful hill’ in Balinese and it’s true, this Cliffside resort tumbles elegantly into the sea with a gentle grace that allows your mind and body to unfurl from any taxing times its recently encountered. Overlooking the Lombok strait, each villa is elevated to make the most of the sweeping ocean views (and the soothing breeze), while above your head is nothing but dazzling stars. Indeed, the most taxing evening activity here is having the butlers set up your bed on an outdoor day lounger so you can fall asleep with a flashlight in one hand and an astrology guidebook in the other. To doze off under a mosquito net with the sweet scent of coconut and frangipani caressing your nostrils is to have died and gone to heaven. Your soul will thank you for it. And it will really celebrate when you book in for a traditional Balinese massage, outdoors on the beach, with nothing to worry about except how you’re going to remember this state of pure bliss once your back at work and in the real world.

http://www.amanresorts.com

Top Spas in the Far East

Right now, Jaunt Magazine’s staff is overworked and under pampered which is exactly why we’ve picked three special spas in the Far East with only one thing is mind… massage, massage, and more massage. We could use a few, you too?

Bali - Ubud Hanging Gardens

Ayung Spa at Ubud Hanging Gardens

Bali, Indonesia


Perched along the steep rice terraces of Ubud lays the Ubud Hanging Gardens hotel, where the spa takes its name from the winding Ayung River below. Here, you can indulge in the 60-minute Coconut & Rice Scrub. Since ancient times, the coconut has been by Balinese women to heal and beautify skin complexion, so this traditional recipe is made out of grated coconut and coconut milk to smooth the skin and rice powder to gently exfoliate. Followed with an energizing herbal bath.

Treatment price: $81

Hotel accommodations from $337 per room per night.

www.ubudhanginggardens.com


Laos Luxury Hotels Spa

The Spa at La Résidence Phou Vao


Luang Prabang, Laos

At Luang Prabang’s first luxury spa, cozy pavilions are decorated with an inviting mix of ethnic craftsmanship and modern comfort. In such an exotic elegant setting, the pampered can enjoy the Sip Sen traditional Lao massage, originally cultivated in monasteries of Laos and handed down through generations of Buddhist monks. Now you know if the monks developed it, it’s gotta be good. Chimay, anyone? The philosophy of this massage is based on freeing life force which runs throughout energy lines called “sen” to achieve total wellness. This very respectful way of applying pressure with thumbs and palms was once exclusively applied to Royal families to help the body to relax, detoxify, balance, heal and energize, giving a new sense of wholesome well-being. Since you’re such a royal pain in the ass most of the time, it’s perfect for you!

Treatment price: $35 for 60 minutes / $50 for 90 minutes.

Hotel accommodations from $232 per room per night.

http://www.residencephouvao.com


Ko Samui - Thailand Spa

Napasai Spa

Koh Samui, Thailand


Royal Thai massage, or Nuat Pen Boran, has been practiced as part of Thai medicine to heal Royal family members of the Kingdom of Siam for over 2,500 years. The massage is given very slowly to facilitate the tendency toward mindfulness, so that any resistance or discomfort resulting from a particular position can be detected thus minimizing the risk of injury. During the massage, the therapist uses hands, thumbs and fingers to apply pressure on sen energy points. The therapist will also gently pull, twist and manipulate the body in a way that is compared to “passive yoga.” All these movements aim to create a smooth energy flow within the body, which is believed to help loosen joints, stretch muscles and tone internal organs. That’s right… your kidneys will look hot!  The after-effect? Deep relaxation and drool, of course.

Treatment price: $47 for 60 minutes / $57 for 90 minutes.

Hotel accommodations from $263* per room per night.

www.napasai.com