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I’ve been around the Bali block before, or at least I thought I had and it didn’t do anything for me. But how wrong I was…

I was there with my best buddy a few years ago, and my stay entailed a dodgy guesthouse in Kuta Beach, too much Bintang beer, some paragliding and then too much Bintang beer again. 4 or 5 days in a blurry Kuta haze, which unfortunately is all most people experience during their time in Bali, but listen up folks, Bali is so much more than that!

This time around I promised myself I was going to experience a different side to Bali. For a start I was taking my gf with me to say thanks for understanding my addiction to travel, so hard core boozing was off the menu (thankfully!). I wanted to stay clear of the Kuta cesspool so I organized a private villa in Cenggu instead, about one hour north of Kuta, 20 mins north of Seminyak.

I booked with Jabunami Villas, they are owned by a French-Indonesian couple, and these guys know the definition of luxury and comfort. When you book with their villas, they have a butler pick you up at the airport and drive you straight to the place (about 30 minutes or so).

Even the drive was beautiful – Kuta felt a world away, no drunk Australians, no sex tourists, just ‘real’ Bali complete with greenery everywhere, rice paddies and blue skies.

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Jabunami have 2 villas available, one 3 bed (which I booked) and one 4 bed. When I pulled up, they handed me the keys, walked me to the villa, opened the door and let me enter. Oh My God.

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The first thing you notice is the beautiful private pool, with a bed on a plateau at the head of it, and the master bedroom looking on to it. I just wanted to jump right in. They took our bags to the master bedroom, complete with 4 poster bed. My jaw was dropping like never before, this is not the sort of thing I’m used to! Then we walked into the bathroom, but it was surprisingly small – no biggy I thought, that’s when the staff member opened the second door – to the private outdoor bathroom in the back. It was breathtaking. A huge bath tub and a massive shower all in the open air, it’s so amazing I find it difficult to articulate. The secondary bedroom has something similar too. Unreal.

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Next up, we get walked to the kitchen/living room. Again, it’s all open plan with no walls. Huge flat screen tv, with foreign channels (I managed to watch the English football, drinking beers, by the pool one night – heaven’). A fully equipped kitchen is there too, if you feel the need to cook. I didn’t!

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The guy then asks Ja and I what time we’d like breakfast, I said around 8.30am and expected some toast and water. We enjoyed the rest of the day, hit the sack, woke up for breakfast and there is our private chef, in the kitchen, knocking up fresh pancakes, eggs, coffee and tea. Freshly made watermelon juice was already set for us, as was the fruit bowl and everything else I could imagine. Unbelievable.

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The staff then organized a scooter for me to rent, they brought it straight to the villa for me. This place is luxurious, so perhaps you’d expect them to charge a fortune to rent a scooter? Wrong, $5 a day – pay at the end, no stress. Wow.

They even organized a private car and driver for my second day on the island, a whole day for $35 (regardless of how many people – so 4 people? Less than $9 each!!).

My Bali experience was something really special. And you know what? It’s not beyond reach for backpackers! The villas can sleep up to 10 people, PRICE PRICE PRICE

So next time you’re in Bali, forget Kuta, get some friends together and check out  Jabunami villa, it’ll literally be the experience of a lifetime. Aside from these amazing villas you can always find affordable  hotels in Bali with great deals for backpackers and luxury travelers. Happy travels!

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