All work and no play makes Kevin a dull blogger. In before folks think that finance bloggers are all kiam siap guis. Let’s go to Bali! (ok I actually came back months ago but you know ..)

Whenever my wife and I head to Bali, two words come to mind. Pool villa. We would be crazy not to stay in them (pool villa paradise after all) where there are endless choices starting at very affordable rates 😛

During our first trip to Bali, we stayed at Alila Villas Uluwatu (3 nights) back in 2012. We returned to Bali in 2015 and stayed at eqUILIBRIA Seminyak (2 nights) and One Eleven (2 nights). Our long-awaited return four years later.

Pool villas will always be one of my main indulgence for regional destinations. My Bali trip is the second leg of my TPE/SIN/DPE redemption and the first leg of my DPE/SIN/BKK redemption. For more information, see this post on KrisFlyer US$100 hack.

You might enjoy :

For the flight reports of the less-common Qatar Airways :

Some highlights of our trip to Bali where we stayed two nights each at Ubud and Seminyak.

Pre-Bali :

Lobster thermidor to start the trip with.

Day #1 : [Ubud] Umah Sunset Villa, The Sayan House

We wanted to start our trip at Ubud to detox and get away from the city. It turned out to be an excellent decision. Our choice of accommodation at Ubud was a standalone pool villa in the middle of rice fields that we found via Airbnb.

One day before we arrived, Mt. Agung erupted. Thankfully, the airport wasn’t closed. Reminder – always get travel insurance. Lucky for us, our villa wasn’t really affected, but the whole area was covered in a thin layer of ash haha. Our host/owner of the villa, Ngakan, was apologetic as he rushed to replace the water in the pool.

Although we were slightly disappointed that we weren’t surrounded by lush, green rice fields .. it turned out to be the best thing ever.

We got to watch the locals live their lives as we lazed at our villa. Every morning, they would start work early – before it got too hot in the morning/afternoon heat. Believe it or not, we watched as Balinese farmers went about threshing rice by hand. They then burnt post-harvesting rice straws just metres away from our villa! One smoky afternoon, we had no choice but to hide in our air-conditioned room as the wind direction pushed the smoke towards us.

On an exceptionally windy/rainy afternoon, kids ran around our pool villa flying huge kites, totally oblivious to our presence. Once, a farmer went strolling by with a flock of ducks.

During quieter moments, the resident cat would take shelter from the afternoon heat at its favourite spot, as if we were intruding into its territory.

We made a dinner reservation at The Sayan House which serves Japanese-Latin fushion cuisine. Food was awesome (see mushroom soup below) but bad lighting meant we didn’t take many photos. It was a surreal experience because we were dining outdoors, and yet there wasn’t any bugs/mosquitoes and the air was chilly as though we were in an air-conditioned room.

Day #2 : [Ubud] Alila Ubud Spa, Plantation Restaurant

Alila is the resort-brand that totally obliterated our benchmark of what is considered the provider of exceptional spa experience. Our journey started with Alila Cha-Am (no longer under their management), and then Alila Uluwatu .. followed by Alila Ubud and Alila Seminyak.

If someone were to enjoy a spa/massage experience for the first time in their life, PLEASE GO TO ALILA. We didn’t hold back and booked ourselves two sessions, one at Alila Ubud (great) and one at Alila Seminyak (awesome).

Lunch at the in-house restaurant, The Plantation, was enjoyed with their complimentary crackers meant to be eaten in the best possible way – chili dips.

Day #3 : [Ubud/Seminyak] Villa Wahah, The Bistrot

For part #2 of our trip, staying in Seminyak meant that location was key. Especially when our goal is to laze around. We ended up at Villa Wahah. Good pool + good food = good stay.

The Bistrot has never failed us, and so we returned for another visit. Slipper lobsters. I didn’t bother to take much photos but if you want good coffee, check out Revolver Espresso too.

Day #4: [Seminyak] Sisterfields, Alila Seminyak Spa, Ultimo, Naughty Nuri’s

Mission impossible but we managed to drag ourselves out of bed early to have breakfast at Sisterfields.

Second spa session at Alila Seminyak and holy-crap, it was the perfect experience we’ve long forgotten. It is really difficult to explain what a good (subjective) spa session is, and I can only say it comprises of all the senses we can feel.

  • Smell, from the relaxing scent of essential/massage oil.
  • Sight, from how the dimmed lights immediately amplify our other senses.
  • Taste, from the soothing drink before we start, and after we end.
  • Hear, from the total lack of ambient noise, the volume/choice of the background music and the way the masseur walks/works that is totally silent.
  • Touch, where every touch of the routine is purposeful with the correct pressure.

Some may feel that S$75 for a 60-minutes massage is too expensive, but to experience something of this insane quality? I would do it every single month! Yes, I love Thai Odyssey too but that’s in a different league altogether.

Food wise, if you’re headed to Bali, please do your tummies a favour and use Gojek’s GoFood. When we were too lazy to go to cafes or bistros, we simply made their food come to us. Both Ultimo (you know the pasta is good when one can simply order Aglio Olio E Peperoncino) and Naughty Nuri’s (ribs!) were finger-licking good.

Day #5: [Seminyak] Babi Guling Pak Malen, The Library

I first stumbled upon Pak Malen via an airline magazine. I know, sounds ridiculous, right? It turned out to be one of the most delicious (and insanely spicy) Babi Guling we can ever find in Bali.

Innocent looking, but oh so good. Ordered it twice!

Chilled at The Library for a little while before we made our way to the airport. Simply too many places for good coffee in Seminyak.

Plenty of nice things to experience in the Island of the Gods. We usually don’t “do much” because the whole idea is to chill and relax. Also, more photos of our pool villas can be found on the Airbnb pages – highly recommend both of them!