Indonesia ... by accident?
I was hoping I’d make it there at some point during my time living in Southeast Asia. In fact, Bali had been in the back of my mind as the place I’d possibly move to after 6 months in Thailand, or whenever Thai immigration stopped letting me re-enter their country when my visas would expire.
Did I know anything about Bali? Other than what I’d seen half-paying attention to Eat, Pray, Love...no. I just knew it was beautiful. I knew it was a life-changing destination for some. I somehow knew experiencing this little stand-out Indonesian island would just feel good for the soul.
A good friend hit me up one day towards the end of February asking for tips on finding flight deals. Whenever I give travel advice, one of my favorite tools that I always suggest is the Google Flights ‘Explore’ site. I told him how you can view flight prices to any given destination for any specified dates of travel. For example, if you know you want to travel during the second week of September, but you aren’t set on where to, you can compare fares for anywhere in the world, and pick your destination based on bang for your buck.
Like the flight deal junkie I am, I decided to peruse Google Flights myself, just to see what tickets were looking like. Could I fit in one more Southeast Asia destination before heading back to the States for an undetermined amount of time at the end of April?
Yes! My heart did a little leap. Roundtrip flights to Bali from Bangkok were under $200! I could hop, skip, and jump over to one of my fantasy destinations for less than what I could casually spend during an hour’s sweep through Target back home? That was enough for me to settle on dates and book right then and there. Bali baby, here I come!
4 Days in Ubud
I decided to spend at least 4 of 8 days in Ubud, which is an iconic town of villages, temples, rice fields, and rainforest located inland (and yes, also where Julia Roberts’ character in Eat, Pray, Love spent praying).
There were hundreds of wonderful AirBnB villas, hotels, and bungalows to decide between -- at one point I must have had 20 tabs worth of Ubud listings pulled up in my browser, and that was after narrowing them down by price, location, and aesthetics.
And then I found the one.
The Poolside Suite at Pondok Wahyu
You guys. This place...was heaven. I don’t think I could have picked a better place to stay. Would you believe me if I told you it was only $77? No, that’s not per night. That was my total for all four nights! And it was mesmerizing from the time I stepped foot on the tranquil property.
The villa, a huge wooden estate divided into 6 separate suites, is situated off the beaten path in a tucked away area about 15 minutes from the center of Ubud. Overflowing with greenery and kaleidoscopic flora, the atmosphere draws you in as a haven for escape. Pebbled pathways, palm tree canopies, and a trickling lily pad-sprinkled fountain set the scene as I was led towards the back of the Javanese-style villa.
Upon walking through stained glass wooden doors that lead you to Pondok Wahyu’s shared spaces -- an open air dining room, living room, and mini-bar -- you’re greeted by a breathtaking view of the lush, expansive jungle on the river valley. And it’s incredible.
The wide landscape allows you to feel at peace and connect with nature, both so integral to Balinese culture, which I’d come to learn over the next week.
The Poolside Suite in particular was everything I could ask for. It’s a simple but spacious room with sunny marigold walls and a big plush Javanese-style bed that consumes you into a sweet slumber each night. The suite’s double doors open right up to the beautiful pool, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I spent most of my time here, lounging, swimming, and simply admiring the views from in and around the pool.
Breakfast each morning consisted of fresh omelettes, fruit, toast, and tea outside in the company of the few other hotel guests and the fascinating jungle landscape.
Moments here were soothing, serene, and quiet (other than the time the two French guys who checked in after me figured out how to blast their music from the speakers out back -- our jam session was awesome though).
To put it simply, this villa gave me life. Can you blame me for not needing to do much else than simply max out and relax and soak up this dream-like ambience?
A BiT more info about Pondok Wahyu
Pondok Wahyu is a little tricky to find, so if you stay here, make sure you pull up the directions on Google Maps beforehand for your taxi driver. You may want to book your taxi from the airport through the villa itself (it’s a bit more expensive, but convenient).
Since it’s not close walking distance to the center of Ubud or many good sites and restaurants, I recommend renting a scooter from the staff when you arrive. It’s only about $4USD/day and it makes getting around so much easier -- IF you are comfortable with motorbikes.
The villa’s suites range in size and price. The Poolside Villa is $35/night, however there are specials during low season (when I visited in mid-March it was only $23/night!). If you’ve never booked through AirBnB before, you can get $35 off your first reservation by signing up through my referral link.
The staff here at Pondok Wahyu is very friendly and helpful, but only available on site until 5:00PM. They offer a simple breakfast of fresh melon and coffee/tea, and you are welcome to order eggs/toast/pancakes at an additional cost of about $3-$6. Lunch and dinner are not available on the property, so make sure you plan accordingly.
Again, each day here was extremely relaxing, and I would definitely recommend staying here. I’m so grateful I found this gem for my first visit to Bali!