I started to plan my trip since 3 months ago without any result just because the choices are just too much for me choose. I went to the biggest traveling agency ( Haryono ) in Surabaya twice but every time I was there they never have time to even say hi to me. Through the phone, one of the representative ( I think his name is Pak Lilik ? ) promise twice to fax me the list of villas that offer special package for honeymoon but he never did. I also call other big travel agencies, one of them ( Pasopati ) never even pick up the phone ( even after I call 10 times on different times over a couple of weeks! ). I also get a fax from another travel agency ( Panen Raya ?) but they just don't listen well to my explanation and they send me a list of hotels when I asked for villas. While I was frustrated with these big travel agencies in Surabaya, every week I always saw an ad from Bali Cruisers Travel Company who from their name already promise that they only specialize in Bali and Lombok and because of that they consider themselves as an expert in Bali and Lombok areas. Right or not will be decided later.
My best friend Fanny also showed me a Mywedding magazine that has an articles about where is the best places to go for honeymoon in Bali. That magazine is not bad, but I still need more advice than where should we sleep in Bali only.
Because of my dissatisfaction with the services of those big big travel agencies, I went to this unknown ( to me ) travel agency. As I expected, the office is very small with only a handful of people working there but because they are not as busy as those big travel agencies, I was helped right away. The lady who helped me name Umi. She is very courteous and she is very sure that I should just trust her to plan my trip. Very brave of her. But there is something about her that make me dare to put my trust in her hand.
So I told her that I want to live in a villa that has to be private and it has to have a private pool in it. I don't need to take a tour since we both took it before ( In 2003 ). We have visited all the normal destination for tourist such as Bedugul, Kintamani etc. But we do need to go somewhere right? Then she offered me a rental car with the driver included and she also arrange so that the driver can give me a personal tour. The destinations is up to us. This rental car is for 10 hrs.
For our villa, she suggest us to stay in Aston Pradha Villas Seminyak because they are romantic, their location is pretty strategic for me to shop ( aha! ), and only 5 minute walk from the beach ( double aha! ), and they happen to have a special deal going on for their honeymoon package ( BAM! ). Actually their package is only for 3 days and 2 nights but I extend our stay to 4 days and 3 nights because I know the first day will be half a day wasted since the only flight we can get is the one at 2.15 PM! Nothing earlier than that. Actually I insist on using Garuda only but at the end I have to relent and use Lion Air to go there and Garuda Airlines to go back to Surabaya. The price differences between these 2 airlines company is big but so does their service. So it is really you get what you pay. The honeymoon package also include daily breakfast ( American, Continental or Indonesian breakfast ) and afternoon tea that we never have the chance to enjoy with our schedule, airport transfer ( pick up and drop of ), 24 hr butler service, 24 hr free shuttle to the surrounding area ( tons of art shops, boutiques, great restaurants and beach ). Also we get one romantic dinner , 10kg of rose petals, a heart shape honeymoon pudding and 2 welcoming drinks on our first day. Then I add one day car rental with the driver and 2 plane tickets by different airlines company ( Lion Air and Garuda ). The total is Rp. 8.380.000 or US $ 925. Later I came back again to add a cruise trip to Lembongan island, again by Umi recommendation, we took Bali Hai Cruises, she said has the best cruise and it happen again to be on sale ( Aha!! ). It cost Rp 500.000/person or US $ 55/person.
Day 1 ...
With cheaper plane tickets by using Lion Air, we were worried that the flight will be delayed for hours but thank God our flight to Bali was on time! That alone is a miracle! I think God himself wanted us to have this honeymoon!
The plane was cramp and the flight was full. We got only water to drinks and the driver maybe an ex car racer but because the trip is only for 30 minutes , before we can start complaining, we were already arrived in Bali!
Then once we arrived , not long after that we got our suitcases and when we walked out from the arrival room, we already saw our hotel pick up driver. He is on time, polite and very helpful. The trip from airport to the villa is about 30 minutes. I like it that he drives slowly so we can enjoy the view and he drive very smoothly, unlike the pilot who almost missed a turn and on the last second he turned the plane sharply like a rally driver!!!
When we reached the villa, they gave us flower necklaces to welcome us and they directly showed us to our villa.
I know that I have seen the photo before but the sight of the villa still take my breath away. It is better to see it with our own eyes than through the catalog.
From the entrance door, right in front of us there is a clean small pond with 2 small water fountains and in the middle there is small bridge for us to walk to the first area, the living room area. They must built the water fountains for the background sounds of this villa. Let me tell you why I like this villa. The sight is obviously great as you can see on the photos, but what you can not understand are these: the sound is so peaceful, there is no motor sounds, you only hear the water fountains making a trickling sounds then they play traditional Balinese music on ( low volume ) the stereo, then you hear birds chirping all around you ( real birds mind you! ). Then the smell : Balinese use fresh flowers as their daily offerings to their gods. Their life is also surrounded with good smelling flowers. Since beginning they already envelop my senses with the fresh cut flowers necklace. Then when I enter my room, I also smell delicious smell of Jasmine, Cempaka, and frangipani flowers.
Then the taste: What can I say? In a tropical paradise such as this, fruits are really in abundant supply. They serve us our welcoming drink , a cool and sweet mixed juice, and then they also served us with our honeymoon pudding made with strawberries. A welcoming sweet taste is a good way to start our first day of honeymoon, don't you agree?
Then the feel: I was surprise to find out that Bali has a better climate than Surabaya. While the climate in Surabaya at this time is around 35 to 38 degrees Celsius with no wind. In Bali the weather is perfectly at around 30 degrees Celsius with a lot of cool breeze coming from the sea! I can live without air condition in here! When ever you feel too hot while we were in our villa, we just took a dip in the water in our private pool and let our body dried off by the breeze naturally. Not cold and not hot, just perfect.
That is what I found out on our first day!
After we settle down for about 15 minutes, there are 2 ladies who came to our villa to gave us our 2 hours spa right next to the pool while we lay down on the pool beds. It was already late by that time, around 5.30 PM and slowly it gets darker and darker but it adds another peaceful feel to our first day. So we just close our eyes and let their hands massage our tiredness away. They use perfumed oil to massage our tired muscles, then they buff our skin with scrubs and then they slather us with yogurt. After that they told us to wash our self in the bathroom first ( the bathroom is also outdoor style and the shower head producing water like a gentle rain! There is a hot tub as well in there ). While we clean our skin first, the lady prepare our herbal bath at the jacuzzi next to the pool. They use fresh ginger, limes, bath salt, flowers, cinnamon, lemongrass and kaffir leaves in our herbal bath. So while we soaked in the jacuzzi full of herbs, we watch our butler and his assistant sprinkle the 10 kilograms ( over 20 lbs! ) of rose petals ( red and pink ) all over the pool. They even make a heart shaped with the rose petals on our bed and on the table cloth for our candle light dinner ! Flower...flower...flower.... everywhere. The night smell so heady with a mixture of roses, frangipani, jasmine and cempaka! When they finished setting our table and place all the candles around the pool and the dining table they leave our villa quietly and wait until I call them again to bring us the food. Once we wrap ourselves with kimono, I called our butler again and tell him that we are ready to eat now. Then quietly and efficiently they came back, bringing the food. He asked also if we like to order a wine also and we said yes. Then they also serve us a beautiful heart shape chocolate cake with our name written in chocolate to congratulate us on our honeymoon. Then the butler told me to please read the card that was on the cake. I did not pay much attention at that time because I was busy setting up my camera on my tripod ( I promised to you that I will take a lot of photos right? Well now you know that I keep my promise!!! ). Then R suddenly asked me, " Honey, why is uncle's name is on the cake? "... oh my goodness! It turn out the cake is a surprise from my uncle and my aunt ! How sweet of them!!!
For our dinner, the butler serve us first with 4 courses, a salad, a soup, a main course ( Beef Bourguignon ) , and a dessert. A wonderful meal, but to be honest, we were impatient to jump into our flower pool!!!
Once we finished eating, I called back our butler so he can clear our table and he did this again quietly and efficiently with his assistant. Once they were gone from out villa and I lock the door. We jumped into the pool!!!
I will try to describe it to you how it feels to swim on a pool full with flower petals but I have to tell you first that what ever I write here will be less than what exactly how I feel then.
The feeling is just so amazing.
The air smell so good, so sweetly perfumed with flowers, the gently warm breeze and the cool pool water on our skin. I would like to close my eyes and just feel all this in but when I open my eyes to the sky, there it was, stars are every where on the night sky. In Surabaya where there are too many buildings turn their lights on at night time, I couldn't see these many beautiful stars. But here in Seminyak, Bali, I can see stars and more stars...
So here we are, 9 years after our wedding and this is our first honeymoon. There is a true beauty in celebrating your first honeymoon after you married that person for 9 years. The beauty is at knowing that this person who is in front of me IS my soul mate who has proof it to me in the past 9 years of marriage ( and 11 years since we date ) that he loves me more with passing years and he has proof it to me that like a good wine, he is getting better every year. There is beauty in comfort knowing that he knows me so well and I know him better than anyone else. When I look at him, I know that this is the kind of marriage that when we grow old and one of us will pass away first, then the other will follow very soon. Yes, I love him that much and it is a true comfort knowing that he loves me back that much too.
I don't feel like sleeping at all that night. I don't want to miss any minute of it. Everything is just perfectly right. So while my dear love one is sleep away, I walk out of our room and just lay down on the pool lounge chair and just gaze at the stars above while sipping my red wine with nothing but the night sounds and the flickering candles to accompany me.
Day 2 ...
It was truly a testimony to my excitement that I can wake up at all today... but I finally give up on trying to sleep at around 6 AM. I couldn't even remember if I sleep or not that night.
But by 7, I was already swimming on my flower pool again trying to refresh my body to start my day. By 8 AM, I heard the butler knocked our door to deliver our breakfast right on time with his assistant. Then while we exchange some pleasantries, they quietly prepare our breakfast on the dining table. I woke up R around this time too. So by 8.20 AM, we were happily munching our breakfast that consists of 2 sausages, 2 eggs, roasted tomatoes, a big plate of pastries, and another big plate of fresh cut-up fruits. All of these are accompanied by a glass of juice and thick coffee for me and tea for R.
I still get a kick of taking a bath outdoor too. With the sun above my head and a gentle drizzle of water pouring on my body and then the wonderful sweet smell of jasmine from my shampoo, conditioner , my bath gel and the soap too. I fell in love with the smell of jasmine right then in there! Then we I finished taking a shower, I wrapped myself in the big towel that also has a sweet smell of the jasmine all over it. It just so wonderful. I wish I can make our laundry at home can smell this good too!
By 9 AM we were ready to go with our personal tour. The day before and even when we plan it first with Umi, I keep discussing it with them what I like. Here is a good tip. To have a wonderful personal tour like this you have to have a happy positive feeling then tell them how you wish to spend your day. I told them that this is not our first trip to Bali and we have visited most of the usual tourist spots so we can skip all of that. We wants to have a very relaxing tour to places that we like only. My husband loves to visit beautiful beaches while I also like to shop for some pretty but affordable necklaces that are made from resin or natural stones. Colorful....colorful...necklaces! I love happy colors, I could never be a New Yorker with all their sleek black dresses, and their sophisticated black shoes and chick black clutch purse. I love to dress myself with a lot of happy colors!
So the driver brought me straight to a traditional market in Kuta to buy my happy necklaces in many colors! Then we stop also for a while in a store that sell DVDs and CDs. I bought some romantic CDs to play later in our villa. R bought tons of DVDs for himself and for our kids. I bought some happy necklaces for our kids too. A cool leather one for KK and the happy colorful one for LL, LL called these accessories "pretty-pretty" . Then we walk to beach behind the market because the market is just right on the beach in Kuta area. We were there for only 20 minutes to enjoy the view and for R to soak in some sun shine ... I stayed under the shade at this time. Trying to save my skin for later when we finally found the right beaches for us to swim. I get tan really fast but recover very slow. R get tan fast too but he recover much faster than me.
Then from Kuta we asked our driver to take us to eat lunch at Jimbaran, a popular seafood restaurant area in here where you can eat fresh BBQ seafood Balinese style. We were the first customer there so we get the first pick. This place is not cheap mind you but the view is just so beautiful. Beautiful blue sky, beautiful blue sea on a white sandy beach for you to enjoy while you can smell the familiar delicious BBQ smell around you and the cool breeze from the sea. We enjoy the delicious our BBQ fish and squids with fresh sweetened coconut water on the coconut itself. What better way to spend your lunch hour but this way?
When we finished stuffing ourselves with them, we head up to Padang-Padang beach. A new place for us to see and later we also went to Seminyak beach. So total today we went to 4 different beaches so let me help you to explain what's the different thing you can do there.
On Kuta beach , you can go shopping right on the beach. The sand is white, there are plenty of trees that offer you some shade. But because this is the most famous beach, there are many sellers that will keep asking you to buy their stuff. From a cold beer, T-shirts, beach towel, until arrows to hunts!!! If you are hungry or thirsty, you just need to wave your hand at the food and drink sellers and they will fight to get to you first!
On Jimbaran beach, most people came here to eat BBQ seafood, but actually the beach here is also very nice, the sand is white, the water is clean and you get to see many boats further away on the sea. There is also a famous fish market on that area but when I was there it was to late to see the freshest catch of the day.
On Padang-Padang beach, just to get to the beach is already interesting because you have to walk down a cliff in between a very narrow rocks! For someone ( like me for example ) who doesn't exercise much the walk back up to the parking lot is a bit tiring but R is fine with that. What I heard about this beach is suppose to be good for wind surfing, good for swimming and for sun bathing. I found out that this place is also good for children to search for small fish, snails, barnacles, and crabs. There is only one or two food seller there so there are not many people who will keep on bothering you to buy their products. In here the water is clear and the sand is white.
On Seminyak beach there are many big hotels and restaurant but not too many people sells stuff so while we were there we also did not get bother by any seller at all. The different in this beach is the color of the sand is gray and the beach is so flat for many meters on all sides so we saw a lot of people jogging on the sands and we saw some people who rode big horses with their trainers. Because the beach is very spacious these horses won't bother you at all. There are more than enough room for everybody.
At Padang-Padang beach we did not stay very long because I found that it's just to hot there and too quiet. Actually we can rent a big beach umbrella for only Rp. 30.000 but we decide to move on. We were suppose to go to Dreamland resorts where there is also a beautiful beach but I decide not too when I heard that the climb back up is even steeper. Forget it, it's too tiring for me. Don't forget I have not sleep last night!
So we head back to Seminyak area where we stay but we make a few stops at several shops to see more stone necklaces, yeah!!!
I also bought some message oil that has Jasmine, Frangipani, Cempaka, and Lavender oil in it. My nose has a better memory than my brain sometimes. I want to remember my first honeymoon again and again through my smell. I have to warn you though that I don't know how to differentiate, it there is any differences between a Rp.60.000, a Rp. 80.000, a Rp. 19.000, or a Rp. 25.000 message oil because they smell the same and they look alike. So be careful if you go to Bali to buy message oil. I bought 5 or 6 dresses for LL too. Oh that girl is so easy to dress up, she looks good with everything!!! It's too easy to spend too much for her dresses!
When we finished shopping, we went straight to Seminyak beach to see sunset. It's beautiful! We walked together slowly around the beaches while we keep talking to each other about everything. I know that communication is very very important, so I always encourage R to always have an open communication with me. It works like a charm! If I died today, I have no regret in things that I wish I should have said to R because I always told him exactly how I feel about him. I told him how precious he is to me. I told him how much my love to him grow with passing year. I told him that I am so proud of him. I told him that he completed my life and he makes me whole and I am so thankful that God gave him to me for my husband.
What about him? Yes, after all these years we have slept together as husband and wife. he still whispers to me that he loves me so much while we cuddle together.
Then when the sun has set, we went to the hippest restaurant in Bali. That place is called Ku De Ta. I heard about his place from my uncle when I called him to thanked him for the cake. He warn me that this place is expensive and he is right. It is very expensive, but I can understand why it is expensive. This place is located right on the Seminyak beach. If I know that, I would just go straight to this restaurant to see the sunset. Another thing that I wish I know first is that the area where it is the closest to the beach, they have many beds with umbrella where you can lay down and eat like kings and queens while you watch the beautiful sky turn bright orange and red. But because I did not know, we sit inside just like normal. Let me tell you about this place. This place is so modern and so sleek. There is 2 DJs who keep playing cool music on their stage in the middle of restaurant, outdoor. They even sells their CDs too. There are 3 bars all around the restaurant. The head of the security, the person who greet you first at the entrance and the 2 DJs are all Australians. I bet the chefs are also from there too because the food is just too good! They don't skimp on the ingredients also. We both ordered grill veal steak with Foie Gras in mushroom sauce. For starters I do not remember what R ordered but I ordered a cheese soufflé that is so perfect too, the soufflé is so soft with a hint of tang from the cheese, then there is the bitter taste from the salad, sourness from the balsamic dressing, and sweetness from peeled grapes on the salad. For my drink I ordered coke only but R ordered a martini. We were surprise when the waiter pour expensive mineral sparkling water on our glasses. This is the first time in a restaurant that we were given unlimited amount of expensive mineral sparkling water every time we take a small sip from our glasses. The restaurant is too dark for me to see the brand of the drink, maybe it is Perrier or maybe it was San Pellegrino. I can't tell.
We spent about Rp. 1 million in this restaurant so it is somewhere around US $ 100. For International standard this place is not that expensive but for Indonesia, yes it is.
Then we went back to our villa again where I specifically ask the butler to replace the rose petals with new one every evening until our last night there. Complete with the candles too but without the candle light dinner.
As wonderful as our day is, as wonderful as the food we ate in Ku De Ta, we couldn't wait to come home to our love nest.
I slept pretty well tonight. The bed is just marvelous and I love it that they gave us 4 great pillows. But right before I sleep, I still went to the pool side first just to gaze at the stars above my head.
Day 3 ...
I still woke up early today around 6 AM again and like yesterday, from my bed I just went straight to the pool to swim on my flower pool so that when I came out from the water I smell like roses. I think the water smell better and better because I keep requesting fresh roses to be pour in.
Then when the butler and his assistant delivered our breakfast I went to wake up R again and we had another lovely breakfast together again.
By 9 AM, we were picked up by Bali Hai Cruises driver for our cruise to Lembongan Island. He drop us off at the dock and from there we climb up to the cruise ship. Once inside we went to look for a table to sit, they serve us with unlimited of tea and coffee with some cakes. It takes about 45 minutes to go to Lembongan island. The water was a bit choppy, there are 2 kids who threw up because of that and I saw one adult at least who also suffered from seasickness. But both of us are okay.
Pic: On the left - R in front of the cruise ship ; On the right - the top of the semi-submersible submarine
Pic: On the left - R reading today's itinerary while eating his mid-morning snack provided by the cruise ; On the right - inside the cruise ship where we sit and eat.
From the ship, because of it's size, it can not stop near at the beach so it stop at a pontoon a bit far from the beach then from the pontoon we were transfer to smaller boat that will take us to the beach. The pontoon is large enough that they have a big slide so people can slide straight to the sea. They have all size and free ( already included with the ticket ) rental of diving equipments and there is also semi submersible submarine that ran every half an hour and we are free to ride it as many as we like.
The first thing we did when we arrived on the information center at the beach club is to get the schedule of all the activities in that island. We declined to go to the village because we are too eager to see the beach. I have to admit this is the nicest beach that we have seen so far. The water is super clean, the sand is so white, there are not many corals around the beach the wave is not too big too and Bali Hai Cruises offered us many water sport activities to keep us busy and we don't have to pay again. It's all included already in the ticket price. The activities such as:
- semi-submersible submarine
- banana boat
- para sailing on the sea
- glass bottom boats
- swimming pool
Pic: I "stole" this picture from webshots since I am too scared to swim deeper...
After about 20 minutes of snorkeling we head back to the beach to eat lunch that is also included in the ticket price. We had a BBQ party buffet style. They are delicious!! The seafood is very fresh and still piping hot. Beside the BBQ they also have some salads and other side dishes. I am only concentrating on the seafood. Too good !
Once we both stuffed ourselves silly with the food, we head down to the beach again. While I rather swim to stay cool, R preferred to do some sunbathing for a while before he tried the kayak. He said the kayak is fun.
After about 2 hours, we changed into dry clothes and took the boat that brought us back to the big pontoon where the submarine is. Oh I wish I have the kids with us to see those cute fishes or the big ones too. We enjoy the trip with the submarine very much. After that we went up to the ship once more to get back to Bali and then back to our villa.
When we were back to our villa, I asked our butler if there is a nice restaurant that he could recommend for us and he said there are many good restaurants around the villa and then I told him that we would like to eat western food like the food in Ku De Ta but without paying the same amount of money. Then he suggested us to eat at Living Room. He drove us there too and it only took about 2 minutes maybe. It's so close.
It's funny that I just realize that all of the restaurants that we have been to have no need for air conditioning. The right temperature with the nice cool breeze from the sea is just perfect. If I am not scared of getting mosquitoes bites, I would probably sleep with open doors as well.
Let me explain about Living Room. This restaurant doesn't have the spectacular view as Ku De Ta. All the employees that we saw are native Balinese girls. The decor is less spectacular than Ku De Ta too. But don't under estimate this restaurant. Their food is about as good as the food that I ate at Ku De Ta. It's very very good.
For my starter, I ordered cucumber vichyssoise with pickled salmon and then dotted with chili oils that gave you extra kick every time you scoop up some of the soup with that dot. For my main en tree, I ordered duck breast that is cook perfectly, then drizzled with caramel sauce and for the side dish they chef add sweetened chunky daikon radish and he also pureed some of daikon radish and mix it with the caramel sauce to cut down a little bit of the richness of the taste of the duck. Then he also add a crispy pastry filled with shredded duck breast mixed with walnut that taste salty and nutty. It has sweetness, saltiness, nuttiness, softness and crunchiness on one single dish. It's just wonderful ...
After that wonderful meal and after such a long happy day at Lembongan island, we were too tired to enjoy our flower pool but we promised ourselves to wake up early tomorrow for a last dip in there.
Day 4 ...
We kept our promise. After our breakfast, we both do some sunbathing and then swim one last time on our romantic pool. By our last day, the constant add of fresh rose petals in our pool just makes the smell of the water so intoxicating. I just can not have enough of scooping up those petals on my hands and buried my nose in them. We both can not wait to have our next honeymoon trip again, but for now we miss our children very much already. It's time to go home to them.
We checked out around 11 AM and I asked the shuttle driver to drop us first around Seminyak shopping area where there are a lot of art shops that sells many uniques things. I also asked him to keep our suitcases with him when he will come to pick us up again at 1.40 PM. He did everything exactly right. I am glad that under such a short time we can get some gifts to bring back for our employees and family before he picked us up and then send us to the airport.
The trip back is very smooth also. The flight leave 10 minutes earlier than the original schedule just as the travel agent informed us a day earlier so we did not have to wait to long in the airport. We only have enough time to buy some traditional snacks for gifts at the airport stores.
We both will never forget our first honeymoon. Even the memory of it still bring a big smile on my face and it's amazing that my nose still remember too. When I see again the photo of our romantic pool, I smell that wonderful intoxicating smell or roses. And every time I smell jasmine, I will remember again the sweet smell of our towels and our bed.
Information about this trip :
Bali Cuisers Tour & Travel
Perkantoran Ruko Kedungdoro Jaya
Jl. Kedungdoro 74-76 Blok B-34
Surabaya, Jawa Timur
Telp. 62-31-532-9950, 546-2458, 7097-0896
Surabaya's email: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
Denpasar's email: email@example.com
Aston Pradha Villas - Seminyak
Jl. Kayu Jati I No. 5
Manager cellphone 62-812-3930-127
Bali Hai Cruises
PO Box 3548
Denpasar 80001, Bali
Bintang Dewata - Car Rental With Driver
Jl. Tegal Wangi, Blok D-35
Sesetan, Denpasar, Bali
Telp. 62-361-746-9880, 789-7893
Ku De Ta
Jl. Laksmana no. 9
Seminyak , Bali
The Living Room
Jl. Pentitenget 2000xx
Kerobokan, Kuta, Bali
Telp. 62-361-735-735, 736-736, 742-1813
Jl. Pantai Kuta ( Bemo Corner )
Jl. Legian Tengah - Kuta - Bali
Alexander Andries direct phone number : 62-81-2391-3298
Shine Shop Wood Souvenir & Sarong
Lasmana ( Oberoi ) Street 98 X Seminyak
Telp. 62-361-736-731, 732-949