We stayed, ate, and indulged ourselves proper in celebration of Keith’s 30th birthday in Bali. This destination remains a good choice for large groups of friends to holiday as it’s convenient, has numerous restaurants and cafes to dine together at, and is equipped with the service and infrastructure to cater to touristic requests. Gotta give a big thanks to Keith and the organising committee for arranging everything for the 15 of us!
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Let’s start with our fabulous accommodations.
A small group of us arrived in Ubud first, and stayed at the new-ish Dwaraka The Royal Villas. We snapped up its President Suite quite some time back as it was on half price, making it an incredible deal for such a treat. Our villa is perched on a small hill facing a little rice field and its surrounding tropical rainforest, which shielded us from every stressor you can imagine.
We were housed comfortably in a two-storey building that’s extravagantly decorated in a mix of traditional Balinese and colonial styles, and every bedroom is designed to pamper the crap out of you. It was such a relief to have such a nice place to stay in for hours on end as there wasn’t much to the rest of Ubud, which has evolved to be much like Seminyak — busy, messy, and expensive. Pretty disappointed by this as most people have said that it’s the artsy hippie enclave of the island.
One of my fondest memories of Dwaraka here is taking my own sweet time to get out of the insanely comfortable bed, and stepping out onto the terrace to take in the panoramic view made up of trees, trees, and more trees. I remember thinking, this must be what luxury is about — being able to appreciate nature’s richness every morning. It’s a great way to start each day, and I hope that I’ll be able to achieve this one day. Life would also be perfect if I could lounge in that infinity pool every day… Guess I’ll keep on dreaming.
It was heartbreaking to move out of this paradise and into bustling Seminyak. The only consolation was that we’d finally be together as a 15-strong herd made up of old and new friends!
We checked into one of Villa Chocolat‘s massive villa which has 6 bedrooms and another 2 in a smaller attached bungalow. The rooms were modern in style, and not much to shout about. The big pool was lovely though, and we spent most of our afternoons here, drinking, chatting, and fooling around with Kylie and Mylie (our swan floaties).
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Eat, drink, and laugh — it was all we did the entire time.
Fair Warung Balie (Ubud)
Clean food for a good cause! I had the mahi mahi salad, and the fish slices were fresh, sweet, and just nicely cooked. Had it with fresh orange and carrot juice. Their Nutella crepe got our unanimous vote too.
Hujan Locale (Ubud)
My favourites include the Squid ink rice with crispy calamari and coriander aioli and salt fish chili flakes, and chocolate dessert with coconut ice cream. Everything else we ordered didn’t disappoint as well.
Merah Putih (Kerobokan)
Fancy ass meal (came up to about SGD90 each) in a spectacular restaurant built like a towering greenhouse. I enjoyed the tasting menu very much, but it was a pity that it all came in bite-sized portions. It left us wanting more! Will definitely be back for a proper a la carte meal.
Bossman Burgers (Seminyak)
Keith’s birthday BBQ bash (Villa Chocolat)
We arranged for the in-house chef service, and had 3-4 staff cook up a BBQ feast in our villa. It was way too much food! The prawns, which were exceptionally sweet and juicy, won me over. We also had generous servings of lobster, Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng, mozzarella and tomatoes, seafood skewer, lamb, Babi Guning, and steamed veggies. STUFFED.
La Laguna (Canggu)
This beachfront gypsy-inspired haven is more about the ambiance, but the finger food was delicious as well. We ordered way too many things for me to take notes, but I remember the patatas bravas was heavenly.
Kilo is one of my favourite restaurants of all time. I’ve been dreaming about the yuzu truffle sushi since we had it in Singapore, and I still think of it every now and then after this excessive meal at its Bali branch. Every dish blew my mind. They were hearty, full of punchy flavours, and never missed a beat. I was a very very happy glutton, savouring up every drop of sauce even though my stomach was bursting at the seams. And I want it all again!