Dear Diary #8: Come Away With Me To India, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia!
Okay it’s been a while, but I am finally updating you guys on what the heck we have been up to for the past 2 months... how is that even possible!? Where I left off on my last Dear Diary post was just before Zach’s parents came to visit us in Bali, which was such a special experience!! We always loved hosting our family when they came to visit us in NYC, but showing them around Bali is extra special because it is just such an exotic place, unlike anything they have seen or experienced before! My parents and my younger sister, Tessa, are all coming to visit us at the end of the month, and I am am already counting down the days!! We feel so blessed to have our family fly across the world to come and spend time with us, and we are so excited!
Alright, so much has been happening lately!! With Bali as our base, it is becoming more and more common that when we are here, we spend the majority of our time tucked away inside working and planning for our upcoming trip(s)... of course we do manage to escape to the beach as much as possible to catch the sunset, haha! ;) The good news is, WE FINALLY FOUND A ((TEMPORARY)) HOME!!! We found a house to unpack our bags for longer than a week, and we could not be more thankful! It is right in Canggu which is our favorite area of Bali, and we have this home for the next 3 months... but will most likely extend it if all goes well. Such a relief!! We just got back to Bali from a big 3-week trip, and it was one of ((if not our most)) favorite trip ever because we got to work with so many amazing brands and were able to explore so many different places! I have been really excited to finally recap it all for you guys by location, so here we go...!!
S I N G A P O R E
It wasn’t our first time in Singapore, but each time we explore it we seem to fall in love more and more! We spent our first 3 nights staying at the gorgeous Shangri-La Singapore and had such an amazing experience! The grounds here were so stunning, and the hotel has so much to offer!! Whether you are planning to spend your time relaxing at the hotel and lounge by the pool, or if you are looking for a prime location to be able to explore the city from, Shangri-La is the perfect place for either! We did a little bit of both in our short time here, and felt so refreshed even after just 3 nights. We were even upgraded to a large suite and literally felt like kings and queens! We have gotten so accustomed to staying in small places ((first from living in NYC, and now from hopping from hotel room to hotel room)), that we didn't even know what to do with all of the space!! It was an actual dream. We always enjoy having access to Shangri-La’s club lounge because the food is ridiculously good and there is always such a wide variety of things to choose from. While staying here, we were able to get out and explore Arab Street, Joo Chiat Street, the shops + restaurants at Chijmes, and even managed to wander through several malls downtown. Singapore is such a fun city that literally has it all!!
After we went to Bawah Island for a few days (( which I will talk more about below)), we came back to Singapore for 2 more nights nights and stayed at the lovely Grand Park Orchard! This hotel was another favorite of ours. The location was super central, right on Orchard Road, and were able to see even more of Singapore-- all by foot! We always think the best way to really get to know a city is by walking around, so the fact that Grand Park Orchard is set right in the heart of the city was so perfect for us! One street that I can’t believe we had never been to before is called Killeny Street and it has the most amazing local food! It was the best-- I cannot more highly recommend eating your way down this street on your next visit to Singapore. Besides trying new local foods here, ((hello sweet bread dipped in egg yoke?!)), we also made sure to save room for the restaurant located inside of Grand Park Orchard called Mitzu. We went to both nights for dinner during our stay, and were so incredibly impressed with the food. It was SO delicious, even thinking about it now makes my mouth water, haha! It was hands down the best Chinese food I've ever had. There was also a fun rooftop bar at the hotel that gave us all the NYC vibes, and we spent a lot of our time there enjoying the city views and the rooftop pool and bar!
I N D O N E S I A
In between our Singapore stays we flew to a private island in Indonesia called Bawah, and stayed at Bawah Reserve. When I tell you that this place was paradise… I honestly don't know any other way to describe it. I was in heaven the entire time we were here and never wanted to leave! ((Dramatic, but so true!)) Imagine the Maldives mixed with the jungle and lots ((and LOTS)) of delicious asian cuisine + amazing Indonesian hospitality, and you've got Bawah!! Crystal clear turquoise water, overwater bungalows, and so many unique experiences... Bawah is the perfect place for a romantic getaway-- we wanted to go back in time and book our honeymoon here!! The experiences offered here were our favorite part, for example a lunch picnic on a private beach, an outdoor movie screening under the stars, and dinner in a tree house just to name a few. Bawah was literally the best at how many experiences they offer to their guests, and the best part is everything is covered with your all-inclusive price per night! Food, experiences, spa, yoga, you name it. You have your own private host during your stay, and ours quickly became our friend! Sholi was the best host and made sure that we were more than comfortable during our entire time on the island. He even took us on a hike to two amazing look-outs on the island so we could see even more of the beauty of Bawah! I could literally go on and on about this place, so if you are interested at all in booking a trip here, check out their website and don't think twice!
I N D I A
When Zach and I decided to take a year to travel, Zach knew that one place he really wanted to go was India for the Holi Festival because it usually falls right right around the same time frame as his birthday. We were so happy to be able to actually make it work, and arrive the day before Holi! We flew to India from Singapore with Jet Airways, and it was both of our first time flying this India based airline. We were so impressed with our experience and we were even able to fly business class all the way to New Delhi from Singapore! The Jet Airways flight crew were all so friendly and I don't think we ever stopped smiling the entire 6 hour flight. We loved it! The food was delicious, and we were never without a glass of wine or champagne in hand. We even used Jet Airways to get from New Delhi to Jaipur in India, and then on our way out of India to Bangkok. Jet Airways made our experience traveling around India much more comfortable and they made sure that we had a pleasant experience no matter what. We were so thankful!
India was beyond magical in so many ways, but it was also super challenging. We have gotten countless questions about our India trip and there is honestly so much to say about it!! It was such a memorable trip with so many new experiences, an unfamiliar culture, and some of the most gorgeous architecture I have ever seen before in my life! Zach and I both really wanted to be able to share in depth with you guys about all the places we visited in both New Delhi and Jaipur, so we will have a full guide up on LeagueTravels.com this week for you to be able to get even more info... But there was no way I could recap our trips without sharing a few thoughts because India made such a huge impact on me.
First of all, we decided to divide our time between both hotels and Airbnbs because we really wanted to be able to experience more of a local feel of India by staying in Airbnbs as well as have our usual fav, a luxury experience. Our first Airbnb in Jaipur was so special, and we really loved and bonded with the host family so much. We ended up having several meals with the whole family and learned so much about Indian culture through them! I will link their exact Airbnb in case you are interested, because we really enjoyed everything about our stay here. It was also in a pretty central area, not so much for walking around ((although we did walk around a little bit but it was hectic)) but it was easy to get a driver and we were pretty close to all of the spots we wanted to see with the driver! Our favorite part was that the Airbnb was so spacious and one time we even got to pick vegetables from the garden for our meal with the host family! There is something about picking your food from a garden that makes it taste even better. ;)
Our favorite stay in India was with the Raj Palace, but who wouldn't geek out over staying in an actual PALACE in India!! All of my disney princess dreams came true, even the ones I didn't even realize that I had, haha. It was seriously the most unique place, with the most intricate details, stunning courtyards, and Rajisthani architecture. We were in awe the entire time we were here, and never stopped taking pictures! Unfortunately we were only here for ONE short night, and they basically had to pry me out of my princess room because I was not ready to leave!! The only plus about leaving was that we went on our way to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal... so that was worth leaving Jaipur for! ;)
The second and last Airbnb we stayed at in Jaipur was with Puneet and his lovely family! We actually met Puneet via Instagram because he is an amazing photographer and we couldn't wait to meet him in person to shoot around Jaipur together. He was such a lovely host, and we were thrilled to spend our last night in India staying at this home + quaint Airbnb. If you are looking for a very homey feel in Jaipur, we really felt a part of the family here. It was the best way to end our time in India, and we hope to see Puneet and his family again sometime on one of our (or their) travels!
Link to Airbnb #1
Link to Airbnb #2
T H A I L A N D
We absolutely love Thailand!! If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ve probably heard me say this over and over, haha, but it’s true! We love the people, the culture, and *especially* the food! We went to Thailand on our honeymoon and I’m pretty sure Zach had green curry or pad thai for breakfast every single day... lol! We take any opportunity to visit Thailand, and were so excited to spend some time in Bangkok this trip because we had never explored anywhere in Northern Thailand before!
We stayed at Shangri-La Bangkok for two nights, and honestly it did not feel like enough because there is just so much to see and do in Bangkok! But at least it gave us a bit of a feel for the city, and left us wanting to come back for more. :) We always love our experiences with Shangri-La, and Shangri-La Bangkok was no different. It is located right along the river which was so beautiful and peaceful when you are staying in a big city, and the pool area was so massive and relaxing. We didn't get to take advantage of many of the hotel's ammenities because we spent most of our time exploring the city since we only had one day, but it was the perfect place to come back to after a long and hectic day out and about. We made sure to hit up the Chatuchak Weekend Market and I was in absolute VINTAGE HEAVEN. I left with a $5 pair of vintage Levis, a cool and quirky blouse, and a pair of new sunglasses. It was a success for sure!
We went straight from the busy city life to ultimate luxury paradise at Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood island, and it couldn't have come at a better time after so much back and forth over the previous few weeks of travel. Soneva Kiri was our last and final stop on our 3-week venture, and it was also the location where we celebrated Zach's 29th birthday! We loved everything about this resort... especially the fact that it had both a chocolate room and an ice cream parlor open ALL day until 11pm!! We were sure that this must be what heaven is like, haha! The staff at Soneva Kiri were among some of the most friendly people we have ever met. We again had a host the entire time during our stay, and had anything and everything that we needed taken care of before we could even ask. We had a golf cart ((aka a buggy)) to get around the grounds of the resort during our stay, and it made accessing things like the gym, the spa, or the many restaurants throughout the resort super convenient, and fun! The spa located at Soneva Kiri is a Six Senses Spa and we had our first Wellness Screening while we were here. It was such a unique experience-- we basically talked through our diet and our normal physical activity. Then we did a screening that in just a few minutes can measure so much info about your health! We were able to talk through how to handle things like stress, which nutrients we are lacking or need more of, and other useful info. The cool part is that any other time we are at a Six Senses Spa, they can access our records and we can have a follow up appointment. We were both so impressed with the screening and were so thankful we were able to try it out!
So that basically wraps up what we have been up to these past couple months... wow, it felt like a LOT of info... but I hope you guys enjoyed reading about our trip and hopefully it can help you guys if you are planning to visit any of these locations in the near future!! I always love hearing about your travels as well, so please let me know if you do ever get to see any of these spots! We are already getting so excited for our next trip... and I can't tell you yet where it will be so you have to keep following along to find out!! ;) We leave in just 2 days and it is to some place we have never, ever been before!
Until next time!!