Thursday, December 08, 2011

Bali honeymoon, p1 - Villa Patal, Karangasem

JBR Part 1 - Villa Patal, Karangasem (3 nights)

Introducing ourselves - A newly-wedded couple in their early 30s. Born and brought up in a coastal city in south India, but have travelled widely in the West. I am a writer and my husband is an architect. 

This is Part 1 of our 6-part blog on our Bali honeymoon.
Why Karangasem?

Our wedding was a typical 4-day affair filled with lots of tense moments, so we were so much looking forward to a relaxing honeymoon. We knew that we would just like to unwind for the first few days, so an idyllic location without much to do sounded divine. Initially Uluwatu and Lovina sounded perfect, but Karangasem won because I fell in love with Villa Patal.

How did I find the accommodation? listing by owner. The official website is

Why this villa?

Bali = rice terraces, isn't it? So I was cheesy enough to want a place with a view of cascading rice terraces. In the three months' research for the perfect villa, I never found any *in our budget*. One look at Villa Patal listing and I was sold. What a million dollar view (a volcano AND rice terraces – jackpot!), that too from a distinctly Balinese villa. We had never stayed in a villa before, so the privacy and personalised service added to the novelty. We knew we were not going to do much during the first few days, so staying in a remote location was ideal.  

 Another big reason was the 103" screen TV and PS3 consoles... it was the other major reason I selected the villa – I was sure my hubby the gamer would love it!

Day 1

We landed around 8pm in Bali. Immigrations and VOA was a breeze, took us less than 2 minutes! Our flight was delayed by nearly an hour and we thought the driver would have left by then but to our pleasant surprise (and dismay that they had to wait so long) we found that the villa owners were waiting for us at the arrivals lounge.

The ride took us nearly 2 hours to reach the villa. It was a comfortable air-conditioned car, and Dayu (one of the owners) gave us ice-cold towels. She was Balinese, while her husband Juri was Swedish. They stopped in a shop in Sanur so that we could buy local simcards. 

And we also heard some disappointing news – the 103" projector screen was not working! You can imagine my dismay. My best surprise to my husband was ruined. I felt very annoyed for some time, and then slowly got over it – we were in Bali, on our honeymoon, and that’s what mattered!

The car sped through un-lit roads. My new husband sat very quiet next to me. He likes staying in well-known, luxury hotels; thanks to me, he was going to experience his first private villa stay and he was quite nervous... no doubt, scary thoughts were running through his mind – where is this strange car going in the middle of the night! I, on the other hand, had faith – and in a couple of hours, we reached Villa Patal. 

Entrance to the villa

As soon as we entered the lounge, we relaxed. The place looked fabulous in the soft-lit evening lights. The in-house staff were introduced and we realised for the first time that we had paid for the whole place, so they were our personal staff! We were given some red wine, ooh la la. 

We were starving, so we dared to disturb the resident manager Tantio for a simple dinner – and in less than an hour, we were served a feast of Indonesian chicken fried rice with side dishes and dessert. Yummy!

Dining hall

Next came the brief tour of Villa Patal. It was a very comfy, elegant 2-bed villa with a great view of Mt Agung – though we couldn’t see anything in the dark. The master bedroom was super-spacious with an extra-king bed and tasteful interiors (no TV before the bed, much to my husband’s disappointment and my delight!). By this time, it was midnight and we went to bed, bone tired but happy to have selected such a nice villa. 

View from the master bedroom

Day 2

View from dining hall lounge

I woke a little after half past 6 in the morning and was stunned to find the volcano’s presence outside my window. There are no words to describe it. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my entire life. I sat on the window sit for nearly an hour, simply looking at it.

I browsed the net till hubby woke up, and had a leisurely Indonesian breakfast (included in the room rate). We didn’t venture out today, just relaxed and my husband caught up with some work stuff. The wifi was patchy, but was alright for emailing. PS3 kept my hubby happy when he wanted to play, and I wrote quite a bit, inspired by the sight of Mt. Agung looming before us. 

the infinity pool

We ordered lunch and dinner from the in-house staff – there was a limited menu available, but since we stayed only for 3 days, we didn’t find it restrictive. It was a good day to spent time on the lounge, pool and living room, looking at the volcano. And I am glad we did that, because today was the last clear, sunny day in Karangasem, when the volcano would be visible throughout the day.

Day 3

After yet another late, leisurely breakfast – no volcano view today, as the clouds had thoroughly hidden it! – we went on a day trip to Tirtha Ganga and Candidasa. Tantio was our guide and the resident masseuse was the driver. 

Balinese countryside
The large vehicle was comfortable and first, we went to a local temple and a clothing shop. We bought some souvenirs, and headed to have lunch at Surya Shanti restaurant. It was an expensive but good lunch, with 360 degree views of the Eastern Balinese countryside. 

View from Surya shanti restaurant

Surya Shanti restaurant

After lunch, we went to Tirtha ganga, the water palace. it took us nearly 40 minutes to get from Surya Shanti to there. It was a pleasant drive and even better stroll around the water palace.  

Tirta Ganga Palace
The Water Palace is nothing spectacular - or so I thought initially, but it kind of grew on you in minutes. It is very serene and, while being touristy, it gives you a nice look into the training of the balinese dancers... when we were there, a group of people, across all ages, were being trained and it was great watching them practice. 

It should not take you more than an hour to see the water palace - it is more like a park with lots of water bodies in it - but if you have kids with you, they would want to spend more time playing hop! on the stones laid out beautifully over the water... like how my husband does here :)

Tantio, the manager of Villa Patal

We drove back through Candidasa, and I shopped a bit on the "town centre” – just a single strip of road along the coast. Got some pretty tops for myself and housecoats for my mom. By the time we reached home, it was dinner and Tio served us another delicious dinner. It was our last night at Villa Patal! I felt a bit sad leaving this gorgeous villa, but I was also excited to see more of Bali.

Day 4

We checked out around noon, and Juri and Dayu drove us to our next hotel in Payangan. We left with the fondest memories of the villa. 

We were very glad that we had picked Villa Patal to start our honeymoon. East Bali is a really nice intro into Balinese landscape and culture. We recommend Villa Patal as the ideal place for a honeymooning couple or a family who wants to stay indoors and relax. 

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