This article is a part of the Tripbase blog tag project: Three Best Kept Travel Secrets. This is a project originated by Tripbase to gather a great list of top travel recommendations directly from many many travel bloggers’ own experiences. My thanks to Dina and Ryan, from VagabondQuest, for tagging me to participate in this fun program. Dina and Ryan just recently published their three secrets over at VagbondQuest.
Choosing three, was no easy feat. Without further ado, here are they are in no particular order.
Number One: Rambutan Boutique Hotel Spa, Lovina, North Bali
In my experience Bali gives travelers the greatest bang for their travel buck when it comes to spa services. I’ve indulged in numerous spa treatments throughout South East Asia over the years, and Bali spas are number one in my book.
In the lovely seaside town of Lovina in North Bali is one of my favorites; the Rambutan Boutique Hotel Spa. I found the spa quite by accident when I was checking out some local hotels. I casually asked the hotel clerk if they had a spa, and he pointed me to a large Balinese style home at the back of the compound. The spa is a new addition to the hotel, opened in July 2009.
The spa itself is worth a look around, if only to soak up its peaceful ambiance. Each room is tastefully decorated including molded ceilings. This is definitely the former home of a very rich family!
They offer a full range of treatments at amazingly affordable prices. I opted for a full body massage that included a body scrub and fragrant flower petal bath. I completed my pampering with a one hour deep cleansing facial. Awesome! I left totally relaxed and with my wallet well intact. My three hours of bliss was well under $30. U.S.
When you drop by do say hello to Rita and Pandu for me. They were expert masseuses and spa therapists, making the entire experience a true pleasure. This is a spa that fits very nicely into any budget traveler’s budget.
Number Two: Padang Bay (or Bai), Bali
If the frantic nightlife of Kuta is your style then forget Padang Bai. However, if a white sand beach and the sound of the ocean lapping against the shore is more to your liking, head to this little gem of a bay in East Bali. Rumor has it that people are starting to by-pass Kuta and over-nighting here before flying home. Padang is located only a little over an hour’s drive from the international airport.
This beach front town offers swimming from a lovely white sand beach. Snorkeling and diving are readily available. There’s also a great selection of beachfront hotels, several with pools fronting the beach. You’ll also find a good selection restaurants offering up delicious seafood. You can board ferries traveling to the Gillies and Lombok.
Number Three: Women’s Correctional Institution Chiang Mai
You don’t have to commit a crime to enjoy the hospitality of the Women’s Correctional Institution in Chiang Mai. The jail operates a fantastic café where you can sample delicious Thai food at very reasonable prices. Sit inside in air conditioned comfort, or outside in the charming courtyard complete with a water wheel. The café closes at 4pm. After lunch head next door for a relaxing foot or full body massage. This was one of the best foot massages I had in all of CM. At under 200 baht, the price was right too. Both the cafe and the “spa” are staffed with inmates from the jail. This is definitely an experience that you won’t get to repeat very often!
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