I had traditionally designed group trips to Bali for a few nurses wanting to get away for a short holiday from the stresses of their work. As is with many working women today we can often times be left out (while our husbands go on skiing or fishing trips and our kids go on school camps). So, what is there left for us girls to do?
With that in mind I decided to design a holiday exclusively for women, by a woman. Since inception, over five years ago, these trips have now become extremely popular with many of my clients coming back and seeking something different every time.
I have always attempted to keep the numbers for these trips to a minimum to keep a more personal and unique experience for those involved. As a result, I have been able to offer exclusive hotels or villas, spas and amazing dining experiences (and far more) forged through 20 years of visiting and travelling around Bali and its neighbouring islands of Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and the Gili Islands). This time around I will embark on my most adventurous journey yet – incorporating shopping and spa experiences with a group of 16 girls, whilst also celebrating a 40th birthday!
Today Bali is seen by most people as a destination known for its cheap shopping, Bintang beer, and tough stickers (tattoos). This time, however, we are trying to capture the true essence of Bali by taking in the cultural aspects of Ubud and its people which has always been high on my agenda. Away from the hustle and bustle, Ubud offers stunning mountain scenery, arts and crafts and boutique restaurants and cafes. This is where we will spend our first few nights while being entertained with activities such as white water rafting, elephant trekking, mountain bike riding through local villages and exploring the culinary delights of a traditional cooking class. Also on offer is the obligatory body treatments, spas, massages and if time permits, meditation and yoga classes for those who don’t even want to get out of first gear or the hotel pool.
From the mountainous region and rice paddies of Ubud we will take a two-hour boat ride, depending on the conditions, to a place east of Bali called the Gili Islands. As always, our accommodation, which will be on the larger island of Gili Trawangan, will be a guarded secret for only those in the know.
Gili Trawangan is a new destination which has opened up over the last ten years and supports a relaxed feel of white sandy beaches, snorkeling or diving for those inclined, with a casual atmosphere to boot. There are no cars to speak of, so to get around there is a pair of legs that god gave us, or small horse drawn carts which do the main stretch frequently for those who can’t walk for a minimal fee. For those more energetic bicycles can also be obtained. The girls are excited about being in a private villa, with private plunge pool in such a lovely place – and why wouldn’t you be? Let’s hope they can drag themselves away to check out what the Gili’s really have to offer. We will then return to the area of Seminyak, just north of Legian to enjoy some boutique shopping, local markets, chic bars and restaurants offering fine dining and nightlife. If you have been to Bali before you will know that Bali is a shopping Mecca and you can buy almost anything from a silver ring to a house full of furniture and building materials. These items are cheap, but getting them back is often the biggest expenditure and hurdle they will face throughout this hectic schedule we call a holiday if they so desire. These things can be arranged and I can point you in the right direction if you wish to import furniture, stone etc. Yes, let’s hope some things go wrong otherwise we will have nothing to talk about except for the buffet breakfast, location and unbelievable surroundings. I have got to say that I am definitely taking a book. Live the dream…and don’t stand in my way when I’m looking for a nasi bunkus. Prepare to stop anywhere at anytime. The rest, I can assure you, has been taken care of.
So, Karen (Birthday girl)…this is for YOU. Sit back and enjoy the ride…I mean journey…I mean holiday…happy birthday, perhaps – may this one be the best ever!