Luxury meets nature in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali + Jungle FishWhere to stay in Ubud - Chapung Se Bali + Jungle Fish

With so many resorts to choose from, “where to stay in Ubud?” can be a tough question to answer… until you feast your eyes on Chapung Se Bali, that is! It’s one of those resorts where once you’re there, you won’t want (and don’t need) to leave. You may have already heard of its famous infinity pool and open-air restaurant: Jungle Fish, also known as the beach-less beach club in the middle of a jungle.

Where to stay in Ubud: Chapung Se Bali + Jungle Fish

Location & Space

Sitting high above the Osh Valley you’ll find Chapung Se Bali tucked away in a lush jungle. It’s hard to believe this secluded paradise is only 10 minutes away from the hectic Ubud Centre, and steps away from the scenic Campuhan Ridge Walk. This makes it the perfect home base for exploring Bali as you’re in the center of it all.

Tip: The resort offers complimentary shuttles to Ubud Centre upon request. Pickup/drop-offs are at Ubud Palace.

Over the years, the resort has evolved with new facilities and finer aesthetics. On top of the famed Jungle Fish, Chapung Se Bali has its own fine-dining restaurant, amenities room with a pool table and bar, and spa facilities. It even has its own mini rice terrace! The whole property screams luxury with an emphasis on natural wood and dark tones.

Note: The resort is undergoing construction in some areas as they continue with their improvements. (i.e. new gym with TRX training and a new pool)

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali’s own rice terrace

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali’s own rice terrace

Villas & Suites

Chapung Se Bali offers four kinds of villas and suites: Deluxe Suites, Deluxe Pool Suites, 1-Bedroom Pool Villas, and 2-Bedroom Pool Villas. After touring all of them, we can safely conclude that you can’t go wrong with any room category. While the villas are more intimate, the suites offer an incredible jungle view.

We stayed in one of the brand new Deluxe Pool Suites and fell head over heels for the open floor plan and luxurious decor. The gigantic sliding doors let in plenty of natural sunlight during the day. Complete with a private plunge pool and day bed, contemporary furnishings, spacious living area, walk-through closet, and king-size bed, these suites are probably bigger than our apartment back home!

Where to stay in Ubud – Deluxe Pool Suite at Chapung Se Bali

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Where to stay in Ubud – Deluxe Pool Suite’s private plunge pool

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Chapung Spa

Pamper yourself with a rejuvenating treatment (or two) at Chapung Spa. Many of the products used are natural and homemade. We were blown away by our 60min Balinese Massage with Suda and Dewa. I was a little iffy about having a male therapist but Suda’s massage was ah-mazing. Our treatment ended with a fruit salad and warm cinnamon tea.

Highly trained therapists aside, the setting is breathtaking! Birds chirping. River flowing. The treatment room looks into endless greens, letting in a refreshing breeze.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Spa at Chapung Se Bali

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READ MORE: Heaven on earth at Munduk Moding Plantation

Di Abing Restaurant

Candle-lit tables fill this open-air restaurant with an incredible jungle view. From the moment we entered we knew it was going to be a fabulous meal. Picture an upscale restaurant in your home city with a 5* rating  on Yelp that’s in the $$$$ price range. That’s Di Abing- quality, romantic fine-dining except it’s at an affordable price.

Budi was extremely attentive- perhaps the most professional server we’ve encountered in Bali. The mister and I shared the pulled beef rendang, crispy pork belly, rib-eye steak, and chocolate lava cake. Every bite was better than the last!

It’s a shame this restaurant is not more frequented since it’s not in Ubud Centre. The quality of food and service here is definitely one of the best we’ve had in Bali.

Tip: The restaurant opens at 6pm; go early to enjoy the view before night falls.

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Jungle Fish Restaurant

Breakfast is served in your room (à la carte) or at Jungle Fish Restaurant (buffet style). Do both! Like Di Abing, diners can swoon over spectacular views while they indulge in delicious food.

READ More: 12 Things to do in Bali for first-timers

Jungle Fish

This jungle beach club is a “must-do” when you’re in Ubud. Guests of Chapung Se Bali can avoid the afternoon rush and get first dibs on seating. Grab a daybed, order some food, slather on sunscreen, and soak up the sun at this breathtaking infinity pool.

Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Jungle Fish Pool Bar serves delicious pasta and burgers! Dont miss the chocolate milkshake

Where to stay in Ubud - Jungle Fish at Chapung Se Bali

Where to stay in Ubud – Jungle Fish at Chapung Se Bali

Where to stay in Ubud - Jungle Fish at Chapung Se Bali

Where to stay in Ubud – Chapung Se Bali + Jungle Fish

Other tips & Info

  • Rates start at $350CAD+ for Deluxe Suites, $420CAD+ for Deluxe Pool Suites, $600CAD+ for 1-Bedroom Villas, and $700CAD+ for 2-Bedroom Villas.
  • Breakfast is included in the nightly rate.
  • Call the front desk in advance to book the complimentary shuttle service to/from Ubud Centre.
  • Entry to Jungle Fish is free for guests, or 150,000IDR for visitors.
  • For more information and current promos, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Where to stay in Ubud - Chapung Se Bali + Jungle FishDisclaimer: Many thanks to Chapung Se Bali for hosting our amazing stay. As always, all opinions and experiences are honest and our own. We wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - where to stay in Ubud

Feel the extraordinary at the oldest hotel in Italy: NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa

In search of the best luxury hotel in Florence we were on the hunt for a place that’s different- a place that’s extraordinary. With a real medieval tower and original frescos from the 13th century, NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa Hotel is considered the oldest hotel not only in Florence, but also Italy. We felt like VIPs while staying here, right in the center of this iconic Renaissance city.

The best luxury hotel in Florence – NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze

Location and Space

Located only minutes from Piazza del Duomo and Uffizi Gallery, NH Collection Firenze Porta Rossa is right in the center of it all. It takes no more than a 10-minute walk to access all major attractions. We’re talking 6 minutes to the Duomo, 5 minutes to Ponte Vecchio, and 2 minutes to Piazza della Repubblica.

A stunning stained-glass ceiling graces the lobby of this historic establishment. The main hall and the lounge are tastefully decorated with antique furniture and neo-Renaissance architectural fittings. The vaulted ceiling makes this space even grander than it already is.

Staff and Service

From the front desk reps to the breakfast team, the entire staff is friendly and helpful without losing professionalism. We were surprised by tea and treats upon checking in, and were spoiled with hazelnut chocolates every evening.

Guestrooms

72 guestrooms are spread across 5 floors. Each room is different and unique in their own way; some contain original frescos like the famous Room 121. Using natural wood and warm tones, rooms are laid out in an elegant yet minimal style.

Tip: Guests staying in the Torre Monalda Suite are spoiled with a 360-degree view of the city from the medieval tower.

Our humongous suite came with a comfortable queen-sized bed with lots of natural lighting. The entire space is squeaky clean without a speck of dust! There’s a separate powder room attached to the large washroom, where we enjoyed relaxing baths and rain showers after long days of walking around Florence.

Each room is equipped with a kettle, coffee machine, slippers and plush bath robes. Luxury NH Collection bathroom amenities are restocked every day.

Note: Instead of those weak, wall mount hair dryers, I was most impressed with them providing a real hair dryer! I’m sure all you ladies (and gentlemen) with long hair would appreciate this.

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Dining

Indulge in an extravagant breakfast spread very morning at the buffet, with a wide variety of fresh pastries, fruits and juices, savoury bites, meats and cheeses, and made-to-order hot dishes. Have you ever had Prosecco and truffles for breakfast? Well you can, at the best luxury hotel in Florence!

If you want to take luxury dining to the next level, try the exclusive truffle-based menu for lunch or dinner. NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze, in partnership with Savini Tartufi’s Truffles Experience, is the first hotel in Italy to offer this one of a kind gastronomic experience.

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Other Tips and Info

  • Rates start at 230€+ for Superior Rooms, 250€+ for Premium Rooms, and 315€+ for Junior Suites.
  • Breakfast is included in the nightly rates but you can opt out when booking your stay.
  • Late checkout until 3PM is available upon availability.
  • Off-site parking is €26/day.
  • Small pets are welcomed for €20/night.
  • For more info and current promotions, check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze Hotel for hosting our stay. All opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - NH Collection Porta Rossa Firenze

Opus Hotel: The most WOOF-derful staycation in VancouverKollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

AS and I both work full-time (he studies too, actually, that monster) and we still have a month to go before our next adventure. So we thought- hey, why don’t we do a staycation right here in Vancouver? Better yet, why don’t we bring Navi with us? We found the perfect place that catered to our needs: Opus Hotel.

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

“Hi! Welcome to Opus Hotel. Would you like some prosecco and bottled water while we check you in?”

Why, we’d be rude had we refused! With a spacious lobby and staff with huge smiles on their faces, we couldn’t have felt more welcomed. Excited, we grabbed our room keys and made our way to this gorgeous suite.

Location

Situated in Vancouver’s trendiest neighbourhood, Opus is an award-winning luxury boutique hotel with a location difficult to beat. Yaletown is home to many of Vancouver’s best restaurants, all within walkable distance from Opus Hotel. Cafes, grocery stores, drug marts (forgot your toiletries?), and nightlife are also within a few blocks’ radius.

Want to go shopping? No problem- Pacific Centre and Robson Street are only 1 skytrain station away. The skytrain station is literally across the street! You can go anywhere you want to go in the lower mainland.

Two gorgeous parks by the sea, David Lam Park and Coopers’ Park, are both under 10 minutes away on foot. Granville Island, one of Vancouver’s top attractions, can easily be accessed by hopping on a ferry at the dock.

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

Amenities

Opus Hotel has everything that comes with a luxury hotel- plus moreLuxury car service is available to take you anywhere in Downtown Vancouver via a Jaguar. You can also take their full-suspension mountain bikes out for a spin if you want to stay active. The gym on the second floor is also open 24-7.

Each room comes with an iPad that can be used on and off property. Need to dial a long-distance number? Don’t worry, Opus has you covered for the first 30 minutes to any number world-wide.

And last but not least… the hotel is pet-friendly!

Pet-friendly

I think most can agree that our fur babies are family. Why should they be left out on a stay as amazing as this? As soon as we entered our suite, we saw a dog bowl with treats and a squeaky toy for Navi. How cute is this?! She and her sushi have been inseparable ever since.

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

We love how pets are treated like royalty here. Look at Queen Navi high on her throne!

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

Suite

All of the 96 rooms are tastefully decorated, each with a personality and style of their own in vibrant colours and contemporary furniture. With 9 different room types and 5 styles to choose from, you’ll find something that’s just right for you.

We stayed in the OPUS Signature Suite, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and balcony that wrapped around our entire suite. Using dark, bold tones, the interior is glamorous and chic. A two-sided fireplace separates the living room and bedroom with a comfy king-sized bed- it kept us cozy and toasty on a cold day.

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

AS was really impressed with the high-fidelity sound system in our living room. A cool CD player mounted on the wall has 6 discs ready to be played, or you can connect your own playlist via Bluetooth.

My favourite part? This gorgeous bathroom with a separate walk-in shower and a massive jacuzzi tub. Even the floor is heated! If this isn’t luxury I don’t know what is.

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

Other useful info

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi during your stay.
  • Secure underground valet parking is available at $39CAD a night.
  • Rooms on the 7th floor are slightly smaller, but come with a terrace.
  • La Pentola, the restaurant on site, serves Italian fare using only fresh ingredients.
  • There are TONS of services available: dog-walking, babysitting, dry cleaning, shoeshining, massages, physio, spa treatments… just ask! Their staff will be more than happy to help.
  • For more information and current promos, check out their official websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel
Disclaimer: AS and I were invited guests at Opus Hotel. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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 Kollecting Koordinates - OPUS Hotel

Unforgettable jungle stay – Bisma Eight UbudKollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

We had the pleasure of indulging in one of Bisma Eight’s 38 suites. This is a fairly new luxury boutique hotel (opened in early 2015) that’s very close to Ubud Centre. Surrounded by a lush jungle and rice fields, it only takes 10-15 minutes to walk to Ubud Market and the Monkey Forest. The location is unbeatable!

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

From the moment our cab pulled up to Bisma Eight we were treated like royalty. Staff with huge smiles rushed over to greet us and carry our bags. Welcome drinks were served promptly and we were each given canang sari to offer to Ganesha, the God of knowledge and wisdom, at a small shrine in the lobby.

Bisma Eight prides itself in being more than just a hotel- it is a community that embraces even the smallest act, ensuring a unique experience for both their guests and staff. We were immersed in a relaxing atmosphere right from the get-go. The property takes on a minimalist, yet classy design. This bamboo path leading from the lobby to our building blends in seamlessly with the gorgeous architecture and grounds.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

We stayed one night at a Forest Suite, located at the west end of the property. All the Forest Suites offer a jungle view from a private balcony (from the bed too, actually!). Because our suite was on the ground floor, we could only see the base of the trees. Don’t get me wrong, it was still lush and beautiful. But I’d imagine the higher floors would offer a better sweeping panoramic view of the jungle from the treetops.

Our suite was MASSIVE; it came with all the essentials plus more. There were more than enough outlets (always a problem when we have so many electronics to charge) and the WiFi signal was very strong (wasn’t always the case in Bali). Not only did we get our own living room with tons of space for luggage storage and a huge bed with a forest view, but also a Japanese inspired soaking tub in our bathroom! I adored the interior design- the minimalist approach with a wooden touch was so chic and luxurious.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

After we settled in, we got a knock on our door with afternoon tea. Each individual treat was a burst of flavour, leaving us wanting more.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Copper Kitchen & Bar

Bisma Eight’s rooftop restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We dined here for both lunch and dinner- it gave off a different vibe in the day vs. night. During the day, you can see the fields of greens and volcanoes in the distance while you enjoy your food. AS devoured his Focaccia Club while I munched on my healthy vegetarian Bisma Eight Bowl. Only fresh, local ingredients are used and they even have their own organic garden where they grow their own produce!

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

After dark, the restaurant comes to life with romantic lights and candles. The ambience is perfect for a dinner date with beautifully presented fusion dishes. Both our entrees were delicious, but the star of the meal was this dragon fruit tart with milk rocks and meringue. It’s so pretty. And it was as yummy as it looks- tangy with just the right amount of sweetness.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

We chose to have our breakfast served on our private balcony. With 11 options to choose from (western, Balinese, Japanese, and Korean), there’s something for everyone. The pastries were full of buttery goodness and both our mains were cooked to perfection. I love how the fruits were served with a piece of lime- the tiny bit of sourness makes them much sweeter.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

wellness

There are also yoga classes every morning that take place on the roof top. AS tried yoga for the first time and he loved it! Although there is no spa facility at Bisma Eight, there is a stunning infinity pool and a well-equipped gym. We were finally able to burn off some of the fat we’ve gained, hah. Nothing feels better than letting loose and relaxing after a workout. That was exactly what we did- we went back to our suite for a soak.

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It takes around 45 minutes to fill up the tub but trust me, it’s worth the wait!

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

There are both daybeds and cabanas by the infinity pool, along with a rooftop pool bar with an equally gorgeous jungle view. The pool is even heated at night. Daybeds get filled up quickly but we never had an issue with finding a spot. This was the perfect place to unwind and get your tan on.

tips:

  • Rates start at 330CAD a night (before taxes), breakfast inclusive.
  • It’s just a little over an hour from the airport by car, which costs around 300-350K IDR (~$30-35).
  • Stay in a Forest Suite and request a room on the 3rd floor.
  • All the suites are equipped with a Japanese onsen tub, regardless of room type.
  • For more information and current promos, check out their official websiteInstagramFacebook, and Twitter pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Disclaimer: AS and I were invited guests at Bisma Eight. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Bisma Eight

Indulge in luxury and zen at The AmalaKollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Our 10 days in Bali were so packed with activities that we were drained by the end of the trip. Looking back, AS and I agree that the day we liked most was our first day in Bali. With so much Bali has to offer, we’re a little embarrassed to admit that we really enjoyed being cooped up in our villa at The Amala.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

After landing at Denpasar Airport, we were picked up and transported to an adults-only sanctuary tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak. One of 6 Lifestyle Retreats’ properties in Bali, The Amala is ideal for wellness retreats offering both luxury and zen. Amelie and her team greeted us with huge smiles and welcome drinks upon arrival. A swift check-in ensued, then we were led to our very own Spa Villa through a lush bamboo path.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

There are only 14 guest units at The Amala, giving guests complete intimacy. Each unit utilizes an open-air concept that is absolutely stunning. Our spa villa came with a private plunge pool with jacuzzi jets, daybeds, an outdoor bathtub, and a shower that doubles as a steam room. The steam shower can be scented with either ginger green tea or spiced citrus depending on your mood. Our bed was even decorated with swan towels and bamboo leaves, congratulating our wedding anniversary!

A complimentary shuttle will take you anywhere in Seminyak, given that it is available at the time of request. We weren’t so lucky in getting a ride to our dinner reservation, but it only cost us around $3 to get there by cab so it wasn’t a big deal. Free yoga is also available at 8am every morning- you can also sign up for additional wellness sessions and classes at an extra cost.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Breakfast was served right by our plunge pool. Not only do they have Western and Indonesian options, but also Japanese!

cooking class

When we were in Bangkok we had a blast at a cooking class so we wanted to sign up for one in Bali. However, we found that most cooking classes in Bali are only offered in big classes where you have to share workstations with others (not our thing). The one offered at The Amala is completely private! We signed up for Menu 1 with Chef Wayan, who was very patient with my husband who doesn’t have any culinary knowledge. The staff also noticed the number of bug bites we had and set up mosquito repellent without us having to ask.

We learned how to make a 3-course Indonesian meal, including a spicy chilli paste from scratch that’s highly addictive. We present to you: lawar salad, tum ikan, and dadar gulung! This was definitely the best lunch we had in Bali.

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

spa

After the cooking class came our couples massage at their Spa & Wellness Studio. I booked us a Balinese Exotic Fruit package, which is a 2hr treatment beginning with a foot bath/scrub, followed by a traditional full body massage, a scrub and wrap, and finally a flower bath. The drinks – freshly pressed juice and hot ginger tea- were the cherry on top. Our masseuses, Rassmi and Vidya, were gentle with great technique and power. They were so good that I fell asleep and drooled!

We really loved the peace and tranquillity The Amala. The service was next level- Amelie and her team pride themselves on a personal level of service that is second to none. Because it was our first stay in Bali, it set the bar extremely high. AS still can’t stop talking about our experience here. We wish we had stayed longer!

Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Disclaimer: We received a discounted rate for our experience at The Amala. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - The Amala

Home away from home: Puri Gangga Resort UbudKollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Puri Gangga Resort Ubud was our last home in Bali- we call it home because it really did feel like home, even if it was just for a brief 2 nights. This luxury boutique resort is not really in Ubud- it’s actually in a lovely village called Sebatu (about a 20-30min drive away from Ubud Centre), further up from Tegalallang rice fields. It’s one of those places where it may look unassuming online, but it’ll take your breath away when you’re actually there.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Nestled up on a hill in the forest, it’s away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud but still has easy access to many attractions. It’s just a 5-10min walk from Gunung Kawi temple, and only a 30min drive to see the Mount Batur sunrise from Kintamani! The location is hard to beat, especially when they offer daily complimentary shuttle services to Ubud Centre that run every 3 hours.

After a warm welcome and swift check-in we were taken to our room. The grounds are beautifully kept with endless greens and bamboo paths. With only 20 rooms, we felt like we had the whole resort to ourselves. Other than at the pool and restaurant, we never saw other guests!

We were in the Deluxe Room for 2 nights. Even at the most basic tier, our room came with a private balcony overlooking a small pond and garden. Imagine what the other rooms are like! Ours had all the essential amenities, with a mosquito net that came in handy (we lost count of how many bites we got in Bali). The washroom utilizes an open concept with a rainfall shower and humongous bathtub. Unfortunately, the blinds by the tub were broken in our room. It would’ve been awesome to take a bubble or flower bath with a view of the lush garden.

Puri Gangga prides itself in being “A Home in Living Culture”- and rightfully so. There are paid activities you can take part in, such as the Holy Water Spring purification, candlelit dinners, spa treatments, and Balinese cooking classes. If you don’t want to pay extra, there are TONS of other free activities you can take advantage of. These include guided morning walks, yoga classes, free bike rental, Balinese music during dinner, 15min foot massage, temple visit to Gunung Kawi, and handicraft lessons! They’ll teach you how to wrap coconut leaves and make Canang Sari- the daily offerings in little baskets that you see everywhere in Bali.

Complimentary afternoon tea (Balinese treats!) can be enjoyed daily from 3-5pm at Kailasha Restaurant. We also had lunch and dinner here a few times; AS loved the Rendang Curry. The tables by the railing have such an amazing view!

We had breakfast (complimentary for resort guests) served on our balcony. The staff were super punctual- we asked for a 7:30am breakfast and we got a knock on our door at 7:29am. (Yes, I kept track because because I’m obsessed with breakfasts- I want it when I ask for it!) We had 4-5 selections to choose from (American, Balinese, Continental, etc.) with freshly squeezed juice. I loved their pain au chocolat!

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

The BEST part of Puri Gangga is their infinity pool. It can get pretty packed with all the day beds occupied in the afternoon but the view is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think pictures do it justice! The best time to take a dip is at dawn and dusk- it’s less busy (or empty in the morning), and the colours in the sky against the still pool water will make you speechless.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Something special about this resort is how close we were to wildlife and animals. I got a little addicted to the sound of the Tokay gecko during our stay. They come out at night and they make the funniest little sounds! I had a giggle fit every time and got quite good at imitating them. There were also little frogs bouncing around throughout the resort as well as a cow right next door (fenced off). We even saw chickens running around in our garden one morning!

It was difficult leaving Puri Gangga- it made the end of our Bali trip so bittersweet. What I miss the most about this place is one of the front desk agents: Nara! She was so sweet, courteous, and helpful- nothing seemed too much to ask of her. She helped us book a driver, super last minute, when ours failed to respond on time. Thank you Nara, Mr. Adita, Mr. Mudatra, and all the staff for making our stay so enjoyable. We can’t wait to return!

tips:

  • Early bird specials start at 150CAD a night (before taxes). They always have a bunch of promos and special packages you can take advantage of.
  • It’s a 90min drive from the airport, which costs about 400K IDR (~$40).
  • Stay longer! Our 2-night stay was way too short.
  • For more information, check out their official website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga Resort

Disclaimer: AS and I were invited guests at Puri Gangga Resort. However, all opinions are our own and we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Puri Gangga

 

Bai Tu Long Bay cruise with Indochina JunkKollecting Koordinates - Bai Tu Long Bay

We originally wanted to sign up for the 3d2n cruise around Halong Bay. Unfortunately the sail schedule didn’t work with our dates. Instead, we did the Bai Tu Long Bay cruise on a newer, more luxurious boat: the Dragon Legend. Out of all the cruise companies, we chose Indochina Junk based on their reviews. It’s slightly more expensive but you get what you pay for.

It was cold and gloomy when we visited in December. While we didn’t get to swim in the bay, we got to see this beautiful UNESCO site in another light. The limestone formations were extra serene against the  breeze and drizzle.

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the itinerary

Day 1: pickup from hotel – embark and check in at Hon Gai harbor – set menu lunch on board – cruise to Vung Dang / Cong Dam area – kayak (it was too cold to swim in December) – dinner – relax

Day 2: Tai Chi on the sun-deck – breakfast – explore Thien Canh Son Cave – kayak – check out – lunch – disembark – puppet show at Yen Duc village (we slept on the van) – arrive in Hanoi

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Approaching the Dragon Legend from the smaller boat

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Set-menu lunch with a view

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Beautiful cabins with a in-suite jacuzzi tub

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Delicious set-menu dinner

pho with squid we caught ourselves

Pho for breakfast of course! With squid we caught the previous night!

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the verdict

the not-so-good:

  • our driver on the way there wasn’t very friendly
  • WiFi wasn’t working in our van on the way there (the cruise manager made an effort to correct this and put us on a van that does have working wifi on the way back, so kudos!)
  • the shower drain doesn’t really drain. Water collects at the opposite end and makes a little flood outside because there’s barely an edge. We had to turn the water off every few minutes (mid shower so it’s freezing!) to kick the water over to the side with the drain. That really didn’t do anything because it’d start to flood as soon as we turned the shower back on.

the good:

  • There were literally no other boats in sight on our route along Bai Tu Long Bay. This made the whole experience extra special and intimate
  • I hate long drives, but the 3hr ride to the port and back wasn’t even bad! Their luxury vans are very comfortable and are equipped with WiFi
  • Excellent service by all the crew members!
  • The cabins on the Dragon Legend are massive and beautiful, there’s even an in-suite jacuzzi tub
  • Wide variety of delicious food and drinks; everything is super fresh
  • Squid fishing wasn’t included in the itinerary but our crew invited us to do this at night. This was so much fun!

The 2d1n cruise on Indochina Junk’s Dragon Legend was an unforgettable experience. Bai Tu Long Bay is much quieter; we recommend it over the more well-known and popular Ha Long Bay. Hopefully they’ve fixed the shower drain problem by now!

Bai Tu Long Bay

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post; these are my own honest opinions:)

 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Bai Tu Long Bay