Sunday, February 17, 2013


So I was thinking the other day about how we chose Bali for our wedding all of those months (21 to be exact) ago, and realized we didn't really choose it as much as some random guy at a bar did.

When Paul and I first started dating we had decided that we both wanted to travel to Thailand and Bali together for our next trips.  The break we had to work with was March and we had fully planned on Bali then and Thailand over the summer.

But then some dude at a bar said, 'No, Bali is wet in the winter and dry in the summer and Thailand is wet in the summer and dry in the winter; switch.'  And switch we did.  We hit up Bangkok and Koh Phagnon, and upon coming back to Korea decided that we would leave for good in June.

We got engaged in May and since we didn't make it to Bali yet, we wanted to ensure we would actually definitely get there.  And so it became our wedding venue.

And lucky YOU because Bali is the most incredibly f(#*(* amazing place in the whole entire world!!!  Paul and I sat kicking ourselves the whole time we were there saying 'why did we wait this long!'  We are so excited and happy to have our closest people in the whole world experience this truly spectacular place with us, and fully plan on returning every year for our anniversary.  Or,  you know, Tuesday.  We.  love.  Bali.

Komune lobby
After a fun filled hard bench try and sleep for 3 hours outside the Jakarta airport break, we were allowed back into the airport at 3 am to try and sleep on a mildly more comfortable indoor bench until our 5 am flight.   We got in just before 9 and then were surprised not to find Wayan waiting for us.

This man Roger I know from work is dating a (beautiful) Indonesian woman who's family friend is a driver in Bali, so she put us in touch.  I had spoken with Wayan on Skype several times and was assured he would pick us up.

No worry, we found a taxi and negotiated a ride to Komune.  It was nice to know exactly how much it should cost (Komune was going to arrange a car for $300,0000) for once instead of haggling to some arbitrary dollar amount when we don't even know how far we're going.

Komune is absolutely beautiful!  It's new and still being built, so there's construction, but it's all behind this beautiful bamboo and ivy covered partition.  There is a Komune resort in the Gold Coast, Oz, which Emily had been to and said was very nice.  This is their first attempt outside of Oz.  It's spot on.  Modern, clean, yet still has an air of luxury.  And at $60us/night it's a super deal.

Rooms on the left and right
There are currently 35 rooms open and you have to walk through an ivy tunnel to get to your room.  Cool.  Walk past the lobby, veg garden, across a bridge and you're at the restaurant and pool area.  Everything is open and facing the ocean.  This is a surf resort, and everyone's gaze is permanently focused on the amazing surfers cruising the world class waves.   Black sand which is unfortunate because it is so hot and sunny that you can't walk across it....well without burning your soles off.  Which we did.

We loved Komune, loved the staff, the price, and the rooms, but didn't love that we couldn't swim in the ocean (too many surfers/too hard to walk on the sand!), and we wouldn't be able to rent out the entire place for the wedding.  Seeing that we were planning on a July wedding and all of the Aussies would be out of school, there would be a lot of others there.  With their kids.   I supposed it's not a big deal, but something to consider.

Wedding chapel in Sanur...clearly made for the Chinese....
Paul realized early on that his school doesn't finish until mid-July which would make taking a week or two off before the end nearly impossible.  Easter!  He gets of 2 weeks, HK gets 3 days off work, and USA people have to take a week off anyway (and would probably get at least one or 2 days off for Easter).

As we sat watching the ocean with a Bintang beer, a man appears.  'I am Wayan.'

We couldn't believe it!  He had actually come and found us!  Apparently his uncle had some emergency and had to go to the hospital or something.  I don't know, but I was impressed that he actually came and found us hours later at Komune!  We agreed to meet the next AM and he would take us to some hotels around Bali.

We met with the GM and a wedding planner the next morning who made us feel super comfortable with Komune and the whole process.  They were really helpful with all of my questions and basically said I could do everything via email.  I just pick choice a. b. or c.

Sanur beach
Then we were off with Wayan.  He took us to some beautiful places in Sanur (I highly suggest people to stay here while on vacation!).  Quite beaches, super nice resorts, but they all felt a little too resorty to us.  Too big and too impersonal.  The more places we saw the more we realized what we were looking for.  Something boutique.  Self-contained.  Unique.  Fun.  and Easy.
gifts at the Four Seasons

Then Wayan took us to somewhere near the airport for the most amazing beach front lunch ever.  We chose our red snapper and then sat under our beach umbrella sipping Bingtangs until it was ready.  They brought a fish soup to start, and then coconut chili grilled red snapper, rice, veg with peanuts.  Oh my it was wonderful.
ridiculous resort in Nusa Dua

Then off again for more resorts.  'I take you to Por Seshans.'  Sure sure....We pull up.  'Four Seasons.'  Ha, oh Wayan!  I don't think he had a clue what we're looking for or what budget we're working with, but regardless I'm glad he brought us.  It was sick!  Absolutely breathtaking and service like you couldn't believe.  We step out of the car and were handing water bottles and little flower and palm figurines.
view from our room of Nona's
We continued the rest of the afternoon in this fashion, looking at more big resorts in Nusa Dua.  Nice but not us.  We're not resort people.  Finally he took us to Nona's Villa that I had booked on  If you've never used you're missing out.  There are some fantastic places for super reasonable prices.

room at Nona's
I am so so so happy I was bored at work that Friday and just happened to decide to check our Airbnb for a room.  This place was in the middle of no where and we would have never ever ever ever found it without a prior booking.

Walk from La Joya to Balangan Beach
Nona's is an enclosed villa run by 2 Americans who I am guessing are my age.  Matt and Lauren are super tan, super jacked, and seem to live a super f(#&@) life!  And on top of that they were super helpful.  At Nona's there is a pool, open kitchen, and all of the 9 the rooms are amazing.  Each room had a big bed, private bath, and big outdoor area.  Turns out we had the place to ourselves, so we got an upgrade to the biggest nicest room. Although you really can't go wrong!
La Joya walkways

We told Matt a bit about our struggle with finding a perfect place and he suggested we look just down the street to La Joya.   (We would have loved to have it at Matt and Lauren's but it was just too small).
private bungalows at La Joya

Turns out La Joya is perfect and exactly what we were looking for.  There are 30 or so private bungalows, each with totally unique Bali character, 3 pools, an amazing restaurant, and quick access to an almost private beach.  Our only hesitation is that it's a bit rustic, but I think that's also what's drawing us to it.  And each private villa is only $100-$150 per night.  Perfect!

option 1 for wedding cermony

The next day we rented a motorbike and Paul drove me all over South Bali.  We saw some AMAZING places, but again, not 'us.'   And I know I've said this before, but I stand by it; motorbiking makes everything soooo much more fun!!

option for wedding ceremony

So we propose the La Joya hotel April 21st, 2014.  We will do a beach BBQ Sunday night, spa wedding prep Monday, Monday sunset wedding on the cliff, reception by the pool, and Tuesday brunch.  Then I vote we all head to Ubud for a few days in the mountain!

Ugh I just can't stress how beautiful and amazing this place is.  And everyone is so friendly and so smiley and so helpful!  We. love. Bali.

And you will too!!

crazy and wonk eyes

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