Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bali ballin' part 1

First, a note: The pictures taken are not in chronological order and they're also really bad because I took most with my phone. Sorrrrrry. I need a new phone. And maybe some photography talent.

A couple of months back, the ladies in our group of friends were talking about a vacation, having done a group trip to Rawa a while back, and we thought it was time for a refresher. We settled on Bali and then we waited... And waited... And waited... Until FINALLY the 19th of May arrived and we were all packed and ready to hit up Bali in a big way!

With our SQ tickets (good deal!), our Villa Mandalay Bali booked, and our bikinis/swim shorts purchased, we took the 2 hour evening flight from Singapore to Bali lugging 12 bottles of alcohol because it's apparently really expensive to buy booze in Bali.

Upon arrival and just beyond the immigration and luggage carousels, we emerged to the arrival area where there were basically crazy buttloads of drivers holding up signs to take their various registered visitors to the various villas. We managed to find our dude and a bunch of porters assisted us to bring our luggage to the bus - MISTAKE! We didn't realise that this wasn't a part of the service so they kind of expected cash. Note for future trips!

All aboard!
Anyhoodle, the drive to Canggu where our villa is located was about 30 minutes journey but we stopped at a grocery store to load up on more food and drinks.

And FINALLY. We arrived! Villa Mandalay Bali is part of the Elite Haven group and it's a villa with 7 bedrooms (2 of which are ginormous and have baths), a main lounge/dining area, a lap pool, a kitchen, a front yard, a TV room, a sauna, and a mini golf course. With 13 of us, it perfectly suited our needs (the needs of lazy people who need to eat, sleep, swim and repeat that).

We arrived to smiling staff who placed floral wreaths around our necks and brought us welcome drinks (which was some ginger juice so obvs I gagged and didn't drink it), and also sounded a gong when we walked through the main courtyard (I now want a gong for every time I come home). We raced around choosing our rooms (which were all lovely and well kept so really no issue although we had trouble locating the seventh room which was situated near the golf course) and then we settled down for the main event of the evening - FOOD.

Main dining hall filled with greedy people
Oh Mandalay, thank you for feeding us
And because we're rule breakers and never listen to what our mommas tell us, we immediately went swimming right after eating. Swimming = lazing about in the water and drinking beer.

For the Lord of the Light - GoT for the win
They lit 3 fires for us which I thought was weird initially but then I realised that it was really nice to stand next to after a dip in the water, because I started getting cold, and there was minimal lighting around the pool. Also, good for making ritual sacrifices if you're into that sorta thing.

Anyway, you probably don't really care about what I'm saying so here we go with all the villa photos so you can see just how awesome the villa is/was.

Walk through the front yard
Greetings by really tall statues
The pool view standing just after the main lounge/dining area
The main lounge/dining area front view - 2 rooms to the left and 2 to the right
Mad lounging action took place here
TV room is at the mezzanine level above the bar - quaint and cozy
The golf course area
A close up of the paddy fields next to the course
 More pool but made better with pretzel and donut
Honestly, 2 floats wasn't enough so we ended up buying another 4 I think. Note for future trips!

Bali is pretty hot this time of year, so I really loaded up on the sunblock and also insect repellent because there ain't nothing you can do about tropical countries' mosquitoes. We even brought our own electric mozzie zapper but the villa is quite dimly lit at night so it was tough to see and catch mozzies, and the mosquito coils seemed a little ineffective. The villa even provides spray on mozzie repellent. Something I wasn't prepared for were sand-flies. While not many, I did get about 10 bites over the course of my 4 day trip. I'm pretty susceptible to their bites though, and the boo only seems to have one so yeah, I'm lame. 

Because I'm all about the TREAT YOSELF movement, I had two 2-hour long oil massages! While it's not exactly like the best massage I've ever had (Como Phuket hands down), it was decent and relaxing and I fell asleep right on those deck chairs. It cost 300,000 rupiah per 2-hour massage which is about 30 SGD... That is CRAZY affordable! 
Anyway, after long and humid days, it was nice to head back to the cool air-conditioned room (mine was one next to the pool) where I could take a nice warm shower (they provided soap, shampoo and conditioner) in their super spacious bathroom, and then lay on the bay window, or sit on the chairs, or best, just lie in their large clean bed. 

Toilet on the left, shower to the right
TV in the cupboard which I never watched + bay window for chilling in an emo way
High ceilings for a super roomy spacious feel
What I really like about Mandalay, and maybe what I like about Bali in general, is the hospitality and level of customer service accorded to us. The staff are always so helpful and warm, and they seem really happy to help provide us with whatever we needed, while always thinking to go the extra mile. I asked for a yoga mat and they brought me THREE plus a yoga block and stretchy thing (I honestly don't know what it was). Disclaimer: Mat was a bit thin and smelly - I washed it prior to use.

Anyway, it's getting late and I'm getting sleepy after seeing that picture of the bed. So I'm going to turn in now, and wish I could still be in Bali. Part 2 on the food and such stuff to follow at a later date.

Thanks for reading! 

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