In 2011, I moved from Eastern Canada to Australia with my boyfriend to start a new chapter of our lives together. After we took a few months to explore New South Wales and Queensland, I began working for 8Hotels, an Australian owned boutique hotel collection. The majority of 8Hotels properties are spread throughout Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth) but there are 2 international properties – apartments in Paris and villas in Bali.
I am a sales executive for Chandra Luxury Villas Bali, located in Seminyak, and am particularly hands-on with gay and lesbian reservations. I can help with recommendations on things to see and do that are of interest to gay visitors like myself.
Recently, Chris and I plus a few friends flew to Bali via Sydney for our first-ever visit.
I arranged airport VIP fast track service so we were through customs and exiting the terminal within a matter of minutes. Chandra’s driver was waiting with cool towels and bottles of water and quickly whisked us off to our villa.
Larry reports “The butler escorted us to our villa and as soon as I opened the door, my eyes lit up! The pictures of Chandra online are beautiful but the real thing is absolutely stunning. I pride myself as a backpacker/camper and never thought that I would ever stay in such a luxurious accommodation. Now, I don’t think I can bring myself to pitch another tent.”
The villa was massive with high ceilings and a large pool. The gardens were green and luscious and the fridge was fully stocked! The rooms are large, all with king beds and outdoor showers. I had never experienced a hot outdoor shower before (hard to do in Canada when it’s minus 25 degrees Celsius). Our breakfast was delicious and prepared in-villa at the time of out choosing…we felt like royalty.
The next 7 days were full of island tours, spa sessions, exquisite eating out and, of course, pool time. Scuba diving in to a ship wreck was life changing, watching the sunset while dining on beautiful local seafood in Jimbarin Bay, playing with the animals at the Bali Zoo, slamming back test tube shots at Rock Bar (a bar built on the side of a cliff, part of Ayana Hotel), dinner at Sarong Restaurant (Indian cuisine) in Seminyak and last by definitely not least, having a BBQ prepared by Chandra’s Chef in-villa while we drank cocktails and swam around our 12 meter pool…hard life!
Larry’s helpful hints for first-time Bali travelers:
- Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months of your arrival date or you can’t get enter the country.
- You need USD 25 cash to pay for your arrival visa into the country (there is an ATM in the airport if you forget).
- Everything in Bali is negotiable so if you like a bargain, feel free to banter back and forth with merchants.
- Before you get into a taxi, ask the driver for a price (don’t forget to negotiate).
- Bali’s currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and IDR 10 000 = AUD 1.00.
- Keep IDR 150 000 in cash because you will need it to leave the country – it’s like an airport tax that you have to pay at customs.