Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

It's been a year since #meetthelulus so here's a throwback! I meant to write about our Bali wedding much sooner but life took over so here it goes. If you are getting hitched and you are looking for something different from the usual hotel banquet, preferably a destination wedding, but yet super fuss free and NOT break the bank expensive, BUT also must be elegant, chill and fun, with good food of course... Well, just do what we did and head over to Tirtha Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia. #notsponsored
Tirtha Uluwatu provides an all-in-one wedding package which takes care of everything you can think of. Wedding planner, MUA, floral, decor, f&b, accommodation, photography and videography, chapel for the ceremony, a change of venue for dinner, music and entertainment, and fireworks too! How do you think i got my wedding planned in 6 months without having to do much? All we had to do was to pick from their amazing list of partners and viola. Our bridal party also didn't have to lift a finger to do anything. We just needed to show up and look gorgeous. How's that for a wedding celebration?
I'll let the pictures do the talking. Our day started with prep at the Tirtha Glass House, a gorgeous 3BR villa where we were accorded a night's stay. It was also where we held our dinner reception. My Japanese MUA is Mami-san, and she nailed the look i wanted based on the pictures that i've sent our Tirtha wedding planner Anggie. Here's a simple braided updo with natural make-up for the day.
We chose the Glass House because it's full of greenery and a minimalist resort interior. Post-prep, we also had time to take some pictures on the grounds. 
Then it was off to the Tirtha Chapel for our ceremony. You could choose between a Christian ceremony or a Commitment ceremony.
Mountain climbing has been on my mind for a while and we have some interesting climbs in the South East Asia region. After several failed attempts to climb this year (we ended up in JKT and Perth instead), we turned our "failed" South Africa trip into a "do nothing and chill (but still climb Mount Rinjani" holiday. Yes. Climbing a mountain is our idea of doing nothing. I mean, it's just a 3276m uphill no? Well, more on that in a bit.
It's not mandatory to climb Mt Rinjani with a trekking company. You can read about some pros/cons here. However, I'll definitely recommend going with a company, just choose a right one! It makes a lot of difference to your comfort and safety. 
Which trekking company to choose for Mt Rinjani?
We went with Adi Trekker given their excellent reviews and paid USD280 each (not inclusive of tips). We were told it was only gonna be us but there were 2 other trekkers and i think they paid lesser (probably USD250). You could possibly bargain with Adi if you want but we didn't. Of course, there are plenty of  cheaper options if you were to book your trip in Lombok but you are likely to end up in a very big group (we've seen groups that are 12 - 14 pax with only 2 guides), and you will definitely not be as comfortable.
Our deluxe trek included the following:
1. Land transfers- Between airport/jetty/hotel and Senaru before and after the trip.
2. One night stay in a basic "hotel" (more like homestay type) at Senaru prior to the start of the trek. There's no AC but at least there's a hot shower.
3. Guide, porters, and entrance fee. The porters will carry all the food, drinks, and tents for you. You'll only need to carry your own backpack (clothes and gear) and other personal snacks if you wish. You can also pay more to hire a porter to carry your personal items.
4. Heaps of food with fruits, water, beverage, snacks (chocolate wafers and cookies) throughout the trek. Think local Indonesian food that is hearty and comforting. We also had Bintang beer! We were provided with camping chairs to sit on when we have our meals.
5. Good tent with thick mattress
6. Super warm sleeping bags with pillows
7.Toilet tent (pitched at campsite) to protect your modesty. Other than that, it's just a dump hole.
We didn't quite know how to tip and it wasn't easy finding the "market rate". So based on what we found, for a 3d2n, you should tip 100k per porter, and 300k for the guide. Thing is we didn't know if it's supposed to be a group thing or what. So that's what we gave for the 2 of us. Feel free to give more for their hard work! We also gave our trekking poles to our guide as well.

Which Mt Rinjani itinerary to pick?
The itineraries are all the same, so pick the one that fits your schedule. If you wanna summit and trek different terrains, do the 3d2n, or 4d3n for a slightly less strenuous version (since it's the same route with just more time to complete it). To save time, minimize discomfort (of not showering) and maximize chilling, we opted for a 3D2N summit trek via Sembalun. TIP: Starting at Sembalun is a better idea for a summit climb as you'll have more energy for the summit on the 2nd day instead of on the last day if you had started from Senaru. 
How to prepare for a Mt Rinjani summit trek?
One would think that with regular runs, HIIT, yoga, and wakeboarding sessions, this mountain wouldn't be that much of a big deal right? WRONG. You probably should do lots of stairs and rock climbing, and inclined marathon runs to prep for this trip. We didn't die but there were times we questioned wth did we choose to torture ourselves. If it's for the view, forget it guys. You can enjoy an equally gorgeous sunset from your ocean bedroom in Maldives. But if you are out for a physical and mental challenge, Mt Rinjani will deliver.
Tips on packing for your Mt Rinjani trek!
1. Sweat wicking clothes for the regular treks- my yoga wear served me very well (it's Liquido pants and Lululemon).
2. Warm clothes for the nights and summit- Waterproof windbreaker is definitely required for your summit trek. I also bought the Forclax 200 Women's hiking fleece ($19.90) to keep me warm at night. You should probably also bring gloves to keep your fingers toasty for the summit climb and a beanie if you don't have a jacket hood.
3. Trekking boots- Recommended! Sure you can go around in sneakers (the porters can climb in slippers) but you'll be in for a slippery hike. Our Timberlands were very grippy and provided great ankle support (i could have sprained my ankle when i landed on it but i didn't thanks to my boots). Sure they may be expensive but we used them so well. Mine was the waterproof Goretex ones and they were really light and comfortable and i didn't even have to break them in. Plus i didn't get any blisters as well! The same cannot be said for Jr and he suffered from 2 huge blisters at the back of his heels. Sure they are expensive but it's the best buy for the trip (other than the trekking poles).
4. Trekking socks- Remember to get the high ones and make sure it forms a muffin top around the top of your boots so that sand/soil/rocks doesn't get into your boots easily). I bought a pair of warmer ones from Timberland ($25/pair) and also the Forclaz 500 mid high trek socks ($12.90/2pairs)
5. Trekking poles- Recommended! Ours came in very handy and helped usa great deal, especially with steep downhills. We shared our poles with the couple in our group on the last day as the descend can be quite slippery. They are a little trickier with uphills because you will have to switch between free climbing and using your poles to provide some leverage. They are very useful for the summit too!
6. Headlamp- To illuminate the tent at night, nightly toilet runs, and summit climb. 80 lumens is good enough.
7. Wet wipes and Snack Brand Prickly Heat powder- Recommended! This is the best solution for not showering. Do a proper wipe down and then powder everywhere. Plus it also keeps the bugs away apparently. #endorsedbySingaporeArmy
8. Medication and plasters (lots of it)- You may experience some altitude sickness and breathlessness (not sure if it's just from the climbing). Blisters are very common and i'll recommend getting the bigger blister plasters from Guardian or Watsons.

TIP: Decathalon is the best place to get your trek stuff IF you're not a serious, heavy duty trekker/mountaineer. We got our dry bags, ponchos, 80 lumens Onnight 100 hiking headlamp ($9.90), Arpenaz 200 hiking poles ($13.90/pair) and socks from there. Jr also bought a backpack for $40 and it has all the right compartments, even hooks for the poles.

What to expect? 
Day 1
We were picked up by our driver at our Senaru accommodation before 7am for a 1 hour ride to Sembalun Village (1150m). The climb up to our campsite at Sembalun Crater Rim (2639m) started proper at about 8am.
The first part of the trek was through the rather open plains with an increasing incline. The journey only gets tougher from here. With a small group, you can take breaks any time you want but generally there's a rest stop every 1 to 2 hours. Lunch was at POS 3 Pada Balong (1800m) after a 3.5 to 4h climb.
Here we experienced our first camp meal! Everything that we ate/drank was carried by our amazing porters. Just imagine the load they have to carry! Even though they climb in slippers, they are always faster than us. We are always welcomed by hot food and beverage when we reach our lunch spot/campsite.
Our first meal which was a mountain of stir fry vegetables, fried chicken, omelette, tofu and tempeh, chicken frank, and rice. On the drinks menu, there's Pocari Sweat, coffee/tea (we always chose ginger tea), hot chocolate, and water. A fruit platter is served at the end and there's a mix of apple, orange, rock melon, watermelon, banana, and pineapple.
A gruelling 3-hour steep climb to the Sembalun Crater Rim (2639m) quickly followed after lunch. The weather was pretty cool and that certainly helped with the climb. However, we really weren't prepared for the continuous "stair-climbing" and it took me the whole of day 1 to get used to it. 
And guess what? Our porters had already pitched our tents and were cooking dinner when we arrived! While we were "washing up" with our wet wipes and powder bath, we were served a snack to reward us for the tough climb!
Fresh goreng pisang (fried banana fritters) with chocolate sauce and cheese, with our choice of hot ginger tea. LIFE IS GOOD.
Plus this sunset view of the Segara Anak lake while having dinner. Chicken curry (lontong style with mild coconut flavor and light spice) with rice, Bintang, and also a surprise popcorn snack for dinner!
Once the sun sets, there's nothing else to do but rest. Make sure you get all your packing done while there is still light. A night light is a must and our head lamp served us very well for toilet trips and packing at night. We went to bed by 7.30pm!
Day 2
The day starts at 2.30am for a light sandwich breakfast and coffee and we started the 1+km climb up to the summit in the cold darkness. It's important to keep warm! I had my gloves and jacket on the whole time.

The first 20% of the climb is actually one of the hardest part (about an hour)! Pace yourself for it. It's easier to get out of the way of climbers for a short rest here. Don't worry, it gets slightly easier after this. You have a brief 30 mins long trek before continuing with a steep 1h climb up the loose volcanic rocks to the summit. 
We summited just in time to catch the sunrise at about 6.40am. That took us about 3.5h with some puking involved (LOL #notme). You may want to start a bit earlier just in case you miss the sunrise. 
At 3726m above sea level! Jr was starving by the time he reached the top and immediately devoured an entire tray of Tim Tams! It's crazy cold up there at the summit and we honestly couldn't bear to stay there for too long. Told you it wasn't for the sunrise. Plus what goes up must come down. Get ready for a sandy ride down as the scree can be very slippery. Jr suffered from a very bad scratch on his forearm and i landed on my bum too many times.
Our descent from the summit was a lot faster and we reached back just a little after 8am. The day doesn't end here. After an hour's breakfast, we continued downhill to the lake. It's all huge rocks on the way down and took us about 2.5h. Jr and i are better with downhills (the poles really helped) but we were all moving quite fast because we were promised a soak in the hot springs near the lake! 
Time for a swim! Mind you the water at Segara Anak lake is cold. The hot springs are about 100m from the lake. Do not make the mistake of wearing your slippers there. Our guide played a joke on us and i really felt like killing him. Jokes aside, our guide Mala was awesome and helped us a lot during our climb. The hot springs were awesome and really helped to soothe the aches, even if it was for a short while.
The joy from the hot springs and the comforting nasi goreng lunch did not last long as we started on a crazy steep scramble up to the Senaru Crater Rim. It was 3 hours of climbing and a large part of it involved using our hands to pull ourselves up the rocks. Plus it also started raining and well it's not that easy climbing with poles and poncho. Dinner was in our tent due to the rain and we each had a mountain of fried maggi mee with our hot ginger tea as usual. The insane day of trekking left us pretty much dead to the world that night and we clocked an impressive 12 hours of sleep!

Day 3
Be prepared by the ache from Day 2's climb. Thankfully it's downhill all the way. That said, it's still rather harsh on the knees and ankles. The forest terrain at this part was a bit slippery. We were really thankful for our poles once again. We were still expecting a long trek actually but it ended much earlier! It was about 2-2.5h to our very last lunch on Mt Rinjani and we had spaghetti bolognese! 
For the first time I finished all my food (only because I asked for a small portion). 
Celebratory Bintang!! The trek ended quite shortly after lunch and we got to Senaru Village by 12.30pm for our transfer to the next segment of our travels. 
Happy Smelly Campers! This was the most exhausting thing I've done in my life but it was certainly a memorable and enjoyable experience for the both of us. Also, if you want to stress test your relationship, try climbing a mountain! LOL Needless to say Jr and I aced this challenge. :)) Just don't bring your princessy other half here unless you want to be killed, or to kill someone. 
On my way to Lombok-Bali to climb Mt. Rinjani currently and because of that, i'm reminded that i have some Ubud Bali posts that i've yet to clear so here is a mish-mash of things that you can put together for a chill weekend on the island.

Well there are plenty of villas and hotels to pick from and it was by chance that we found The Purist Villas and Spa. It's an intimate villas hotel nestled in the green hills of Ubud that is home to seven tastefully designed spaces.
There are 7 villas on site, which means plenty of privacy and space. Some villas have private pools with gazebos, while others have sun decks and loungers. We love the modern Balinese vibe that the villas exude.
Four-poster bed and decadent bathrooms are included. We star-gazed from our outdoor tub with vino in hand. Read about my other recommended Bali stays here- Como Ubud and Alila Villas Soori.

Something fun that i did in Bali was to go for a cooking class! A quick impromptu search later, we were signed up for a day of fun with Paon Bali Cooking School in Ubud. For our morning class, they brought us to the market, rice fields, and then to their traditional Balinese home where we took part in cooking a feast.
Fridays are for digging into bone tender juicy char grilled ribs slathered in glistening savory sweet sauce. Whereabouts? Right by the roadside in Ubud Bali Indonesia at Naughty Nuri's, the de facto prime ribs spot in Bali. Well of course, if you can't get on the plane for that authentic charcoal fire experience, there are over 10 locations in Asia serving some variation of the original, and we have one right here in Singapore at Capitol Piazza.
My initiation was at the Batubelig branch in Bali and it was a little more polished than the Ubud outlet and in fact the ribs were more tender. A full rack of Nuri's Pork Ribs will only set you back by IDR119k (S$12). In comparison, you wouldn't even be able to get a half rack in Singers (S$18.80/35.80). 
The ribs are first boiled in a BBQ sauce and then thrown over fire and grilled to smoky perfection. Standard varies from rack to rack, depending on your luck.  I've had a dry tough one at the Ubud outlet once. The smaller boned racks are more tasty IMO so ask for that! Top it up with a secret sauce and a squeeze of lime and watch your world explode.
I've been told that i'm a COMO fan by someone i was introduced to for the first time. But who wouldn't be really, after getting a first taste of the signature Christina Ong experience at Point Yamu by COMO in Phuket. So immediately after my Phuket getaway, i booked the next COMO holiday in Bali Indonesia- Uma Ubud.  
It was not love at first sight at Uma Ubud for me. For one, you really don't get to see much at a glance. It took a while for my other senses to kick in and that's when the Uma brand of love crept in. 
If privacy is what you want, privacy is what you get. Uma Ubud is in Ubud, but not in Ubud. You step in, and you leave the world behind. Everything is tucked away and secluded and you're enveloped by the lush greenery, tall trees, bird and insects and all. Pause for a moment, and all you hear and feel would be the pulse of nature and the beating of your heart.
The property is sprawling without any feeling of crowdedness. The planted rock walls that mark each room blend in perfectly with the nature, removing any type of clastrophobia. On several occasions, i found myself lost on the narrow paths that connect the different spaces. It's literally a jungle in there, which is amazing because it was unexpected, at least based on my first impression at the reception area.
The girls and i went on a little getaway some time back. Due to the limited time had, we could only manage a quick escapade to Batam, where we checked out the No. 1 resort, Tempat Senang Boutique Spa and Resort.

The resort is a quick 45 minutes away from Singapore in the Indah Puri Sekupang enclave. We were promptly picked up and ushered onto our private transfer and within minutes, we stepped into the lush gardens of Tempat Senang. Love the tranquility and peace of the surroundings. TS doesn't allow guests below 15 so it's rather perfect for an adult getaway. 

Even though I knew there were only 13 themed room and suites, I was kinda expecting a larger set up with bigger communal spaces. There were 3 mini pools around the resort, and by mini, i mean that 5 (maybe 6) would be a crowd in the pool. The above picture shows the largest pool of the lot, which is located next to the restaurant. 

Prior to booking the suites, we had a hard time deciding on which themed room we wanted. Our top choice was the Thai Room (2-4pax), which has a private Turkish Fish Spa in the room with a stone terrace. The Abu Dhabi Harem Suite also looked really exotic and has a private terrace that looks out to the golf course. Well sadly, these were unavailable and we settled for the Javanese Joglo Suite which came with 2 King Sized beds, one of which is in a little room of its own.
Really cosy isn't it?
Our 4 poster king sized bed was very comfortable too and the nets kept the mosquitoes from biting us.
The room is rather large, with a small sitting area as shown above and another bigger one where we hung out over Moscato, snacks and movies. There is also a front porch with table and chairs. The room is on the dim side though the toilet is very well lit. Be prepared for some visitors e.g. lizards, bugs and the likes as we've been told they are rather eco-friendly. We were visited by a little mouse who came in through the roof and played hide and seek with us on the beams. We just let it be and it left shortly (we hoped).
Other than catering for groups, Tempat Senang also provides a solo traveler package in their Standard themed China Room and it costs from S$235 nett/pax for 2D1N stay.

Included in the price for the overnight stay is a 3 hour spa session for each guest. You can customize your own spa session from the variety of treatments available. We did a variety of facial, hair spa, massage, scrubs and wraps. The massage was truly relaxing and before we knew it, it was time for dinner.
Dinner was served on the open-air terrace restaurant which offers a range of traditional Indonesian, Western, and Thai dishes. We had the Beer Can Chicken for 2 (S$49), a 1.6kg chicken placed over a can and baked on the BBQ. Sadly it was bland and a little on the dry side. This was served with a huge side of mash potatoes.
The Nasi Campur for 2 ($49) was delicious and more traditionally Indonesian. Well marinated and tender Beef rendang, Gado gado, Lumpia, Satay, kaffir lime chicken, fish fillet, acar, emping crackers and rice. This more than enough made up for the tasteless chicken.

Make sure you bring your own entertainment and snacks. While there is a collection of pirated DVDs available, it can get quite boring. Remember that you're kinda in the outback and there aren't shopping centers or restaurants around. The snacks selection from the 'convenience' store is also miserable and the kitchen closes at 7.30pm.
Breakfast is provided and a small spread of local food is available. The nasi lemak had us going for seconds. An egg station provides guests with freshly cooked eggs.

The raisin brioche was superb with the honey and marmalade too!

If you wish to get some shopping done before heading home, get the open ferry ticket which allows you to arrive at Sekupang and depart from Batam Center. The transfer from the Resort to Batam Center will cost you S$10. Make sure you arrange for the return tickets with the Resort upon arrival. 

I wouldn't say that Tempat Senang Batam Resort is the most fantastic weekend getaway, i think i would have enjoyed Montigo Resorts much more (i prefer modern touches). But if you want to be closer to nature and just getting away from the crowd, Tempat Senang isn't a bad choice, just that it's a little pricy (but hey, spa is included). I wouldn't recommend a stay longer than 2D1N unless you are the bummer sort since there isn't a beach here.

The rates are as follows: 
Weekday (Mon - Thu) and Weekend (Fri - Sun, PH)
2D1N S$235/$259 nett per pax
3D2N $259/359 nett per pax
Prices are for 2-3pax in standard themed suite, upgrade at additional costs.
For 4pax or more, prices start from $204 in the bigger suites/apartments.

Tempat Senang
Indah Puri Sekupang,
Batam Indonesia
Tel: +62 778 325 616

Bali is known for its island getaway and it draws in the crowd from all over the world. Australians especially love her for the surfs and you'd see all the tanned bodies on bikes scooting around the Kuta area. Weary couples or individuals looking to recharge have found peace and balance in the many secluded villas in the Seminyak area.
This time round, we decided to simply luxe it and went with Alila Villas Soori, an extremely isolated 5 star villa in the SouthWest coast of Bali; a good 1.5-2h drive from Denpasar, Indonesia. We went on dirt tracks and cut through padi fields before finally arriving at the exclusive black sand fronted, Indian Ocean facing villas.
The service and hospitality was warm and impeccable. We chose the Indulgent in villa service: 24-hour personalized butler services to deliver our every whim. The hostess addressed us by our names and showed us around the 2 Bedroom Beachfront pool villa. This is a unique configuration because those that are advertised on their website are the 1,3 and 10BR. You can make your request at a premium of course. A typical 1 BR beachfront villa is 156sqm, each with private pool and outdoor pavilion. There is also direct access to the beach, which is just a few steps away.
Alila really aims to please their guests. All our preferences were noted prior to our arrival. Movies, music and reading materials of our choice were loaded in the living room. S went overboard with his pillow choices and we had 8 pillows on our king sized Ploh bed with 300 thread count linen and duvet.

I really enjoyed the bathroom amenities: a complete range of superior quality locally-sourced organic ingredients Alila bathroom amenities specially made for HIM (lemon grass and black pepper) and HER (mandarin, lemon grass and rose geranium). I thoroughly enjoyed my bubble bath in the huge ass bathtub in the room. It sits 4 comfortably and proved to be a little too big for the petite me.

Sunscreen, tanning oil, cooling gel and moisturizer were nice touches that enabled us to enjoy our beach holiday (though i was still burnt). I carried them around in the nicely woven brown beach bag provided and the pretty huge beach hat provided some respite from the rays.
When one is at such a luxurious villa, there is simply no need to get out. You shouldn't really. A day should be spent lounging at the infinity pool, submerged in the water day beds to escape the heat. We had fun on the black power volcanic sand beach and the grains are like a million speckles of bright lights under the sun. We chased the 3m tall waves far out into the ocean, trying to catch a surf. If you please, get on horseback and ride into the sunset.
Meals are served at the 3 restaurants- Cotta and Ombak for the main meals and the Reading Room for a snack in between. We enjoyed the breakfast tasting menu at Cotta, which made us buttery croissants and fluffy pancakes, along with a good selection of cheeses and cold cuts. They also have the more substantial like Steak and Indonesian mains.

Dinner on the first night was a special BBQ buffet on the lawn. We had an enjoyable time watching the traditional Ramayana performance. The performers were mainly local fishermen, not full time singers. They do it for a token sum but the main purpose is to carry on the traditional arts. We also tried Cotta's dinner on another occasion and it wasn't too bad except for the failed souffle.

The other thing i love is the daily complimentary yoga class held at the yoga studio. It's a 1.5h session either in the morning or at dusk. I dragged S with me to a session and laughed while he struggled with some of the poses. It was practically a private session with the instructor since we were the only 2 who showed up. Uber zen moment. What's best is the sight that greeted us thereafter the session. I've never seen a sunset this beautiful. 
I love the beautiful play of natural lights in the skies and the reflection on the smooth black chalk canvas. The salmon pink is mirrored on the cool waters at the break of day and then a lovely purple at dusk. It was me and the world and nothing else mattered. That was my solitude. No one to interrupt the crashing of waves or the whisper of the wind. 
If you don't mind spending 500USD a night for a 1BR Beach Villa then this is the place to really get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Great place to throw an engagement or wedding as well with the availability of the 10BR private villa. If you prefer a less secluded spot, check out Alila Uluwatu in Bali as well.

Alila Villas Soori