A LUXURIOUS STAY AT KARMA KANDARA // LUXURY VILLA TOUR

On the day that we arrived at Karma Kandara we were full of excitement ( … & some hesitation) knowing that we would be enjoying true five star luxury for the next week on what is known in Bali as “Billionaires Row.”

Now don’t get me wrong - I love a luxury vacation just as much as the next girl, but a small part of me always worries that the island culture & casual beach vibes may get lost in modern luxury &five star, in-villa services. Sure, it wounds like a horribly trivial worry to have that I may sink into a poolside lounge chair & be lost until checkout, but I also believe that experiencing the local food, culture & vibe of any country is incredibly important … otherwise why not just stay home?

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Our journey started with check-in at the front lobby & a vibrant and delicious welcome drink (something that you will find is standard in most hotels & villas in Bali). Our concierge introduced herself as Dewi, helped us to lift our bags onto a small trolley & led us down the pathway to our home for the week.

From the moment that our big blue doors swung open into the courtyard, I could tell that we were going to enjoy our time here.

Comprised of two separate buildings with a small pool in between, our common areas & living quarters were clean and modern, but still distinctly Bali.

It didn’t take long for us to get settled by the pool before receiving a call asking if we would like to book lounge chairs on the beach for the following morning.

One of our favorite features of Karma Kandara was the way that they prioritize the needs of their guests. Confirming day beds & beach chairs the night before was just one of the many ways that guests were able to enjoy the beach without having to worry about outside travelers coming to the beach club & monopolizing spaces intended for paying guests.

The beach & beach club were an adventure of their own! From the entry point at the top of the cliff-side to the gondola down to the beach (cold towels & organic shots on arrival), we always felt relaxed & well taken care of.

We were certainly impressed that in a resort of that size we were never forgotten & that the famous “Bali hospitality” was always present. We enjoyed conversations with staff about where they were from & were given many recommendations for tours, restaurants & warungs in the area that could offer guests a more authentic, local experience.

Easy trips from Karma Kandara include a visit to Uluwatu Temple, Garuda Wisnu statue & the Jimbaran Beach Fish Market, but there are many unique experiences to be had in the South of Bali.

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All in all our impression of Karma Kandara was that it was well worth the money spent & that it was the staff that put our experience over the top.

Paired with a stay somewhere a little more Bali and little less Billionaire, a visit to Karma Kandara (especially for Honeymooners or small groups of friends) could be just what you need for the perfect Bali getaway.

Book your stay online or get in touch with TL Travel at reservations@tltravel.ca to inquire about your own custom travel package (airport transfers & tours included)!

THE PERFECT SLICE OF PARADISE // GRIYA VILLAS + SPA // AMED, BALI

Stepping off of the boat from West Bali National Park, we knew that we had a long travel day ahead of us as we traveled to the East coast & our accommodations at Griya Villas & Spa.

No matter which way you slice it, Amed is a further drive than your typical Bali destinations. From the airport you can expect a drive of approximately 3 hours & from West Bali National Park we would be around 4 hours & 10 minutes (a small price to pay for some peace & tranquility).

Our driver from Griya met us with a smile on the dock at Labuan Lalang Harbor & happily carried our bags to the van. As he pulled the passenger door open I could barely believe the luxury that lay before me! The comfortable, leather bucket seats came equipped with an elevated foot rest & were fully reclining .. that’s right .. like a tiny twin bed that would whisk me away to paradise!

Our driver was incredibly kind & accommodating, and he answered all of our questions regarding the journey ahead. Before we know it we had chatted, we had napped, and we had arrived!

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Checking in at Griya Villas & Spa was easy & we were quickly escorted to our private one bedroom pool villa by one of the many smiling faces there.

Every villa at Griya has a beautiful view, but it’s the way that they feature the view that had us ready to hunker down & stay forever. Through a series of sliding doors & wall panels, the view of the countryside, beach & ocean is accessible from the pool, common living space, bedroom & even from the bathtub (an added luxury that we were more than thrilled about!) There’s nothing better than a glass of wine (or sparkling water), an ocean view & a floral bath!

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The dining services at Griya are nothing short of fantastic as well. With meals available in the restaurant, at the rooftop bar & lounge or directly in your villa, we found ourselves eating many small meals throughout the day with expansive views at every turn.

Equipped with both private & common area pools, restaurant, cafe, lounge, spa & boutique shopping there was certainly enough to keep us occupied during our stay. For off resort activities, Griya also provided us with information for beaches & snorkeling in the area, as well as driving services for custom day trips.

We were lucky enough to experience Bali’s “Silent Day” of Nyepi during our stay, and the staff were incredibly helpful in assisting us with plans for enjoying the surrounding festivities.

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PROS: Griya Villas & Spa offers beautiful views, delicious food, and a great amount of privacy for travelers who prefer to relax & unwind on their holiday. These villas also cater to travelers visiting with children & pets in a way that is inclusive without being disruptive to other hotel guests.

CONS: If white sand beaches are your top priority than this may not be the location for you. Perched in the hills, Griya Villas & Spa offers beautiful ocean views with transportation to beach-side locations, but is not located directly on the beach itself.

OUR RECOMMENDATION: The Griya Villas & Spa is truly a unique & relaxing luxury experience that’s well worth the drive from Denpasar. Try pairing a stay at Griya in the East with a stay on the beaches of the South for a perfect combination!

Thank you to all of the staff at Griya Villas & Spa for having the TL Travel team out to explore & review this stunning & secluded location in the East of Bali. It was truly an experience that we won’t soon forget.

Book your stay with Griya Villas & Spa today, find more information about the hotel & it’s surroundings on the TL Travel YouTube Channel or contact us directly at reservations@tltravel.ca to find out whether or not this beautiful vacation location is perfect for you!

You can find more information on Griya Villas & Spa on the their website at thegriya.com & we hope that you enjoy your stay!

GLAMPING IN WEST BALI NATIONAL PARK // NusaBay Menjangan by WHM

From the moment that we booked our stay in West Bali National Park, we knew that we were in for a beautiful adventure. Having been to Bali so many times before, our goal for our most recent trip to the island was to get off the typical tourist path & explore somewhere new & exciting.

On the day of our transfer to West Bali National Park we woke with the sun & transferred four hours down winding roads to Labuan Lalang Harbor where we met our boat transfer to NusaBay Menjangan.

Upon stepping into the wooden boat that would carry us just a short distance to the resort, we were immediately drawn to the peace & tranquility of this calm & untouched region. With the waves & weather working in our favor, it was a short & easy ride to NusaBay Menjangan where we were greeted with waves, smiles, tea & cake.

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Our Lanai Cottage was different from our typical Bali bungalow accommodations. We felt a little like we were on a beautiful Indonesian island, but also a little like we were on Safari somewhere in South Africa ... or at least what we would imagine that to be like.

Equipped with all of the necessary comforts from hot water & air conditioning to WiFi & a mini-fridge, we felt incredibly spoiled for how far off the beaten path we had come.

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If we did not already feel at one with nature from the comfort of our Lanai Cottage, we were soon greeted by the local wildlife! Within moments of our arrival we had spotted deer making their way uphill to our doorstep & monkeys perched in the trees outside of our windows. Later we would grab some masks & snorkels from the activities stand & discover an entirely new world of colorful fish & coral.

Looking back at the resort from the water you can truly get a sense of how emerged NusaBay is in its surroundings. As the only resort in West Bali National Park, its cottages, restaurant, dive shop, pool & spa all fit seamlessly into nature.

Enjoy a varied menu of drinks & dishes from the beachfront restaurant, spend your days floating in the pool, or book one of the many tours offered from hiking & biking to snorkeling or diving.

West Bali National Park is truly a picture perfect piece of paradise for the adventure traveler & backpacker alike.

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PROS: The snorkeling in this location is like nothing I have seen anywhere else in Bali. Not only is the water crystal clear, but there are so many types of fish & other marine life there to explore.

CONS: As is often the case with amazing snorkeling locations, the beachfront is rougher than it is soft & sandy. It is recommended that you wear sandals or water shoes when exploring the beach front & enjoying the views!

Find out more about our stay on the TL Travel YouTube channel, and book your stay today at NusaBay Menjangan in West Bali National Park.

FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL // Q&A WITH @AUGUSTEFFECTS

FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL // Q&A WITH @AUGUSTEFFECTS

Meet Nicole Humphreys.  Nicole is a digital nomad from Santa Barbara, CA & the owner of August Effects; an online boutique for the sale of Balinese goods.  August Effects works in partnership with Bali Children's Shelter Foundation to create positive change by giving back to the community, and all of the products found on the August Effects website are hand-made in Bali to create jobs & sustainable income.

EXPLORE BANGKOK BY RIVER

EXPLORE BANGKOK BY RIVER

When you look at local life in Bangkok today, you will find that it revolves a great deal around the Chao Phraya River & Bangkok's other smaller waterways. I am sure that when most people think of Bangkok they immediately think of busy streets, bright lights & drunk tourists, but head to the water & you will quickly discover an entirely different city from the one that you know now.

THAILAND TOURIST SCAMS // 5 BIGGEST SCAMS IN BANGKOK

THAILAND TOURIST SCAMS // 5 BIGGEST SCAMS IN BANGKOK

Scams in Thailand (& around the world) are changing all the time & in fast-paced tourist hubs like Bangkok there seems to be an endless list of scams to cheat you out of your cash & leave you feeling silly. Here is our list of the top five most common scams in Bangkok that you should be aware.

FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL // Live The Dream With @jonxmia

FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL // Live The Dream With @jonxmia

As you may know, TL Travel is always on the hunt for inspirational travelers & exciting content creators for you; our TL Travelers! For some time now the TL Travel team has been addicted to the Jon & Mia YouTube channel & their content from Thailand & around the globe, and with their newest channel LearnGrowAchieve launching recently, we were excited to sit down & chat with them about their channels, their travels & their goals for the future. 

FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL // Vlogging With @angelicadelro

FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL // Vlogging With @angelicadelro

Angelica is a 27 year old freelance photographer & videographer based out of Wilmington, North Carolina in the United States. While Angelica also has a 9-5, it is evident that travel is her passion & you can see this in the way that she documents her adventures through both video & photography.

FULL MOON SURVIVAL GUIDE // KOH PHANGAN, THAILAND

FULL MOON SURVIVAL GUIDE // KOH PHANGAN, THAILAND

It seems to be on every backpackers bucket-list; the famous Full Moon Party on Haad Rin beach in Thailand. These days more than 10,000 travelers head to Koh Phangan each & every month to fill up on buckets & dance the night away dressed in neon & ready to party! 

ARTOTEL// ARTIST PROFILE// 5 Questions With @mikhaelacherry

ARTOTEL// ARTIST PROFILE// 5 Questions With @mikhaelacherry

As its name suggests, Artotel Sanur is a true expression of creativity & a true piece of art in itself. Each floor of this boutique accommodation boasts contemporary architecture, interior design & breathtaking art pieces sparked from the unique visions of local artists like @mikhaelacherry.

After our most recent review of Artotel Sanur, TL Travel got in touch with the hands behind the paintbrush to learn a little more about the creative process that brought these stunning pieces to life! 

Journey To ARTOTEL // Sanur, Bali

Journey To ARTOTEL // Sanur, Bali

Every time that TL Travel goes abroad, we expand our hunt for new & inspiring hotel spaces. Located only 30 minutes from the International Airport on the island of Bali, Artotel Sanur boasts modern architecture & vibrant colors only a short walk from the white sand beaches of this laid-back ocean-side city.

Where ELSE To Stay In Bali

Where ELSE To Stay In Bali

The stunning island of Bali, Indonesia has always had a reputation for being somewhat of a dream destination. Travelers add this volcanic island to the top of their bucket-lists (sometimes without even knowing where on the planet it exists) & continue to return year after year in the hopes to explore yet another small piece of this paradise!

While the largely populated city of Kuta suffers from a number of typical "big city" problems, there are still many smaller locations on the rise that travelers can visit for stunning scenery, less crowds & much more culture.