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Our Director Jackie Male escaped Adelaide’s winter for Bali, soaking up the surrounds and hospitality of the renowned Villa Sungai Gold with her husband Mathew. It’s a personal favourite for the pair, and with infinity pool, cocktails and massages, you can see why.

Keeping a diary between massages and sipping cocktails, Jackie tells us about her decadent experience…

Up, up and away…

In the midst of one of the more miserable winters on Adelaide’s records, my husband and I escaped to warmer weather – a tradition we’ve recently realised we should have started a long time ago. If you’re not one for months of chill and brolly days that never end, a winter getaway is the perfect respite, and if you don’t go too far and get the right advice, it doesn’t have to cost the earth either.

Flying with Jetstar, we got the star treatment – access to the Qantas lounge. Lounge access can make the start of a holiday’s journey all that bit sweeter, so it’s always a good idea to check when you book your flights if upgrades are possible. Who doesn’t love a bubbly before a flight to celebrate the start of a great holiday?

Bali is a fuss-free holiday choice for those wanting a quick and easy getaway, with no visa or proof of duration of stay required. Making the journey even smoother, Villa Sungai Gold offer a VIP airport butler as part of their exceptional service on offer. First greeting us airside to assist us through customs and immigration, our butler was there for any questions we might have, and to make the process quick and simple.

Once out of the airport, we were greeted by Made (the villa manager, no less!), and escorted to the villa. Iced water, peanuts and homemade cheese biscuits and great conversation made for a quick 45 minute trip to the villa in Cepaka on the edge of Canguu on the southwest coast of Bali. All of a sudden – voila! We’re there! Met by more of the lovely team on arrival, we were prepared a delicious supper of cold rolls, spring rolls and signature cocktails – a stunning start to a beautiful holiday to come.

Villa Sungai Bali, Poolside

DAY 1 – Lazy luxury

Our first morning at Sungai was an absolute treat – a lazy sleep-in in their luxuriously comfortable beds followed by a simple breakfast and a 90 minute massage. While we slept past our original booking time, when we woke we were assured by Made that they could be postponed. The team here go to great lengths to ensure nothing is too much to ask.

Commence ultimate relaxation mode. My massage therapist Desak was as incredible as I remember – she’s treated me before at Sungai. I think it’s safe to say she is the best masseuse I have ever experienced. Honestly, it’s worth staying here for the massages alone.

A light lunch was brought to our villa following our massages – freshly prepared and absolutely delicious. We didn’t go far that afternoon, basking in the beauty of this relaxing space. That blissful trickling sound of the water of the pools almost overcomes the background noise of the local farm animals and nearby bustling village here, making you feel like you’re in our own little oasis.

We whiled away the afternoon with wines and beers by the pool from our fully stocked fridge. While wine is an extra charge, you can help yourself to beers and soft drinks – all part of the all-inclusive stay. All set, we sipped into the evening and enjoyed another scrumptious dinner in the peace of our own villa – our little slice of holiday heaven.

Balinese Frangipani Flowers

DAY 2 – Beach bars

 After a much-needed wind-down day, we were up a little earlier and ready to explore more today. I started the day how everyone should on holiday – making the most of the pool with a pre-breakfast dip. Noticing I had risen earlier than Mathew, the impressively attentive staff came to offer me my morning coffee. Of course I accepted, sipping away poolside, book in hand, feet dangling in the warm crystal clear water. Now, that’s a holiday.

After breakfast, we set off to Finns Beach Club in nearby Canggu – a popular village hotspot these days with tourists looking for an alternative to the overcrowded Seminyak. We had arranged for our driver to allow us four hours at Finns, which they timed to perfection. The Sungai drivers are fantastic – accommodating, timely and offering the sweetest of service.

While Finns was lovely, we agreed that it was still hard to beat our indulgent home at Sungai. Staying for just a few drinks in the comfy booths, we were pleased to head back to our villa after the bustling bar experience. We retreated to the pool for an afternoon reading and relaxation.

Margaritas hit the spot as a pre-dinner drink, while vegetarian spring rolls and beef rendang with mixed vegetables was a delicious end to the day of indulging our taste buds.

Exploring Bali

DAY 3 ­– Relax & revitalise    

Beginning the day with another lazy, late rise and our usual Balinese breakfast – always so beautifully prepared by the Sungai team – we were ready for another morning of relaxing treatments. This time, I was treated to a 90 minute Balinese massage, while Mat chose a foot reflexology session – both utterly heavenly.

Our lunch of Nasi Goreng and Gado Gado was brought to our villa afterwards.  By this point, we were getting very comfortable with the idea of our meals being freshly prepared on demand and beautifully served in the poolside pavilion – really taking that ‘treat’ of hotel room service to the next decadent level.

That afternoon, we ventured out to explore the nearby rice paddies of Cepaka, with a walk on the newly developed pathways throughout. Suggested by Made, the walk was a beautiful way to see more of our surrounds, but without being too far away or taking too much of the day. It was a fantastic opportunity to see the work and funds the local government has put into the pathway infrastructure here too – making the rice paddies so much more accessible and easier to tend for the farmers.

Coming home to another delicious three course meal was the icing on the cake to such a beautiful day – fish cakes, seared tuna with an Asian green salad, and frozen chocolate panna cotta. While many might be put off by Bali’s infamous ‘Bali belly’, you can rest assured you’ll receive only the best here, with the freshest of produce, and all impeccably prepared.

Relaxing at Villa Sungai Gold, Bali

DAY 4 – Fond farewell

Our last day at Sungai came far too quickly, and while we had another exciting destination to explore, we would be lying if we said we didn’t want to stay at Sungai the entire time. We know we’ll be back, and so too do the staff apparently, gifting us with a Buddha parting gift, signifying that we will return. The warm, welcoming nature of the Sungai team continued into our farewell, with Made accompanying us on our transfer to the next destination. The definition of ‘bells and whistles’, we can’t wait to go back – a Balinese experience at its best you won’t forget.


If you’re interested in booking a luxurious holiday abroad, contact your Angas Travel consultant today to discuss your options.