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Villa Kembang Kertas Bali – Your Paradise in Paradise

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali is the most beautiful villa I have ever stayed at. I visited Bali for the first time in the spring of 2010 to photograph this gorgeous paradise. The home is built on an old mango orchard, on a mountain with a 180 degree view over Lovina and the ocean. It is more of an estate than a villa really; there is the Main House, the Guest House, and the Sunset House.

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Main entrance

Welcome to Villa Kembang Kertas – Bali

The Garden

There is a rice paddy on the grounds which they harvest throughout the year, as well as a full garden boasting fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables year round. They grow their own peanuts, mangos, lemongrass, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, lettuce, corn on the cob, citrus fruits to name a few. The kitchen staff serves fresh home grown ingredients whenever they are available. It’s so wonderful to know that you are eating fresh, local, organically grown produce while staying here!

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Grounds and Garden

The Main House

The Main House is a 2-story home plus a basement with laundry and storage facilities. It has three bedrooms (2 upstairs and one downstairs), which each sleep two people. Two rooms with king-sized beds and one room with twin single beds and each room has its own private ensuite with toilet and shower and the two king bedrooms have giant stone bathtubs.

The Bedrooms

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Bedroom Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Bedroom Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Ensuite Villa Kembang Kertas Bali Ensuite Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Master bedroom with ensuite bathroom including giant tub and shower. Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Master bedroomVilla Kembang Kertas Bali - Twin Bedroom Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Twin Bedroom Ensuite

Both levels of the house have a gorgeous deck with an incredible ocean view and sunsets that are out of this world. On the main floor is a kitchen that a chef’s dreams are made of. The main indoor area is open concept with a living space, dining area and a lounging area. All of this opens up to giant sliding glass doors onto a beautiful deck. Outside is an outdoor living room and dining room, which (when I wasn’t in the pool) is where I spent most of my time at the villa when I wasn’t photographing it. In front of the house, below the deck, there is a big mango-shaped infinity pool, with lounge chairs and a gazebo in case guests want to get out of the sun.

The Living Spaces

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Main house, upper deck Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Upper deck Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Main floor deck and lounge areas. Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Main floor deck and lounge areas. Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Main floor deck and lounge areas.Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Swimming Pool

The Guest House

The Guest House is much smaller than the Main House, but is a lovely cozy place to call home. It is a single level house and sleeps two. The house consists of a bedroom/living space with king-sized bed, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom with an enclosed outdoor shower. The main living space is on the deck with a view similar similar to that of the Main House.

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Guest house Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Guest house Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Guest house Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Guest house

The Sunset House

The Sunset House was closed when I visited, but it is equally beautiful. I was only able to photograph it from the outside while they were renovating.

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Sunset House Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Sunset House

More Information

For more information about the villa or to reserve your own stay at this private paradise, please visit the website at VillaKembangKertas.com.

To see more photos of the house and the grounds, please visit the set on Flickr.

Villa Kembang Kertas Bali - Sunset View from upper deck View from upper deck.

Daily Photo: Off the Beach in Sanur, Bali

On my last day in Bali, Indonesia, I visited Sanur on the way to the Denpasar airport. This was one of the views I was faced with. Bali is truly beautiful island, I look forward to the day I will visit again.

Sanur, Bali 24

2010: A Year in Review

Another year gone by, and an epic year it was…

The year started off preparing for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Seeing 2010 on the calendar suddenly made it all a reality and the mad rush to get organized and a site up and filled with content began about a month before the Games actually opened. I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of talented folks who teamed up to create the VancouverAccess2010 website. With BCIMC accreditation, we focussed on the fan’s view of the Games and the team of us set out to attend as many events as we possibly could. We photographed and reported on them via this great resource site that we collectively created. Posts were also featured on Canada.com’s VanFans2010 blog.

USA - Norway Olympic Hockey Game

Jasey Jay Anderson, Canadian Gold Medalist Snowboarder

The Gold Medal Party at the Hockey House

The Paralympics was an even more amazing experience for me. With IPC photographer accreditaion, I was able to get up close and personal to shoot the amazing athletes and their inspiring performances in sports ranging from from sledge hockey, to sit skiing, to vision impaired downhill skiing, to curling, to incredibly emotional medal ceremonies! Unbelievable!

Paralympic Alpine Events in Whistler BC

Bronze Medal Sledge Hockey: Canada vs Norway

Paralympic Medal Ceremony in Whistler B.C.

During the Games, I was invited to join a media day trip to Whitehorse, Yukon. Yep, that’s right, a DAY trip to Whitehorse! It was crazy! Caught a 7am flight, toured Whitehorse, met a 2006 silver medalist Olympian, visited  a nature reserve, tasted coffee from a local eco-friendly coffee roasting shop, soaked in some hot springs, drank a Sour Toe Cocktail, and enjoyed a banquet dinner celebrating the annual dog sledding racers. The Yukon is such a beautiful part of our country! I would love to head up there for some summer camping to see what’s under all that snow! I imagine it to be absolutely breathtaking! Another amazing adventurous experience!

Lynx at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Me and Christine Larsen and her silver medal

SourToe Cocktail

When the Games were over, I was caught in the Olympic hangover, felt by much of the city, and many of my colleagues and partners in crime throughout this great world event. This got me thinking what I should do next and I came up with the idea that I wanted to do more traveling…

So, in March, I flew to Austin Texas to shoot a wedding for a friend who was unable to make it, due to a car accident. Never having met the bride or groom, nor having ever spoken to them directly, it was an interesting experience. The couple were amazingly welcoming and we got along instantly. I am happy to now call them friends. Their jewish wedding was held in Houston, so there was a bit of a road trip mixed into the trip (and of course some tasty Texan BBQ!). Unfortunately, there was not much time for site seeing with the short timeline, but I hope to make it back to Texas to see and photograph more of it!

Less than 2 weeks after returning from Austin, I was in flight yet again! This time for a month long adventure to Bali, Indonesia! Wow! It was an amazing month full of culture, food, site seeing, crazy drivers and photography! I spent the majority of my time on the northern side of the Island in Lovina. I spent about a week in Ubud as well. My trip to Ubud included a motorcycle adventure through the rice paddies, a walk through the Monkey Forest, a cooking class, and a Kecak and Fire Dance performance. It was an amazing month indeed, and I came home with gigabytes photos of the trip which can be viewed on Flickr.

Air Panas Hot Springs, Banjar, Bali 025

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 040

Ubud Wanderings 78

Upon returning to Vancouver, mid-May, the city was gearing up for summer. I was excited to do as much camping and music festival-ing as I could! The first camping trip of the season was the first weekend in June, at Golden Ears Park. Always awesome camping there, one of my favourite provincial parks! No cell phone service, great hikes, campfires and of course tasty camping food (and drink)!

My first music festival of the summer was the Vancouver folk fest. I was fortunate enough to get 2 free Lifetimer, all-access passes to the festival from a friend who was unable to use them (thanks Lulu!) and me and a friend enjoyed a weekend of music, sun and family atmosphere at the beach!

Vancouver Folk Festival 2010 16 Vancouver Folk Festival 2010 35

Vancouver Folk Festival 2010 5

Next on the list was a whale watching adventure with my family out of Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island with Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching. Again, amazing! You will find a full summary of the adventure in this blog post.

Whale Watching 28

Whale Watching 10

Komasket Music Festival in Vernon, during the August long weekend, was the next road trip. Teaming up with @Scales and @Uncleweed for some social media coverage of the event was great fun! Got some great shots, met some great artists (including Fred Penner and the Wailers), and as with most summer music festivals, came home with a sun burn!

Komasket- Bocephus King 23

Delhi2Dublin 53

Later in August, I took a week long trip to my home town of Duncan, on Vancouver Island to spend my birthday with family and friends. Good times had by all with boating/tubing on Lake Cowichan, and floating in the Cowichan River, a day trip to Port Renfrew and Botanical Beach, and no Island visit in summer would be complete without a fresh local crab fest! The perfect birthday it was!

Botanical Beach 2

In the fall, things finally wound down a bit. The last trip of the year was one out to Ucluelet and Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. I had not been out this way since I was about 12 years old, so I was very excited to go enjoy and photograph the beaches, especially with storm season just setting in! I was not disappinted! We lucked out with beautiful sunny weather the first day, including a gorgeous sunset on Long Beach. And the next day we enjoyed a storm and some great big crashing waves on the rocks in Ucluelet. And of course no trip to Tofino would be complete without a stop at Cathedral Grove and Coombs to see the goats on the roof on the way back!

Long Beach, Vancouver Island 18

Long Beach, Vancouver Island 46

Wikininnish Beach, Vancouver Island 33

In the fall things became quite busy. I moved out of the downtown core at the end of September, to East Van. Although I have always had a dog on a part time basis, in November Roxie came to stay with me full time as @Scales departed for Thailand. I love having her and love that she gets me out rain or shine (or snow!) for two hour-long walks a day! Having started a fulltime position at 80 Elements Entertainment in October, I have fallen back into a full time job routine. Also, I have been shooting weekend events for Estee Lauder. I started doing Bikrams Yoga three times a week in November, which I have become ridiculously addicted to. So the end of the year has found me to be quite busy.

I was happy to spend Christmas on the Island with family and friends and will be spending New Years Even there as well to ring in another (hopefully) adventurous year full of travel and surprises!

Childhood Friends with the New Generation

My new years resolutions are these: Travel more. Photograph more. Build my photography kit. Learn more about social media. Do more Bikrams! More is MORE!

Cheers to 2010 and all of you that I have met and befriended in the past 365 days! You have made an impact, and (whether good or bad) you have helped shape who I am and who I am to become. I thank you and look forward to another amazing year in 2011!

Cheers and Happy New Year!!!

Photo of the Day: Dogs Playing in Kuta

This was my last day in Bali. On my way to the airport, we made a quick stop in Kuta on the beach, where I saw these two dogs playing in the water, playing chase.

For more photos from this set, please visit Flickr.

Kuta, Bali 18

Photo of the Day: Air Panas, Hot Springs in Bali

The Air (water) Panas (hot) hot springs are located in Banjar, on the north side of the island of Bali in Indonesia. The “holy” hot springs are set in the midst of the jungle in a beautifully landscaped tropical garden, close to Lovina Beach, and it consist of three public and one private pool.

For more images of Air Panas, please visit the Set on Flickr!

Air Panas Hot Springs, Banjar, Bali 024

Photo of the Day: Dec. 10th

My favourite photo from the Monkey Forest, in Ubud, on the Island of Bali, Indonesia.

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 041

For more photos from this adventure, please visit the Set on Flickr!

Photo of the Day: December 2nd

Ubud Wanderings: Rice Harvest (Bali, Indonesia)

Ubud Wanderings 76

Travel to Bali: Denpasar to Lovina

My arrival in Denpasar, Bali was very smooth. Having sat in the first row of the plane in my upgraded business class seat (woohoo!), I was one of the first people off and into the visa payment lineup.

If you are going to Bali for 30 days or less, you can apply for your travel visa on arrival. It costs $25 USD. If you are planning a longer stay, you must get your visa before your trip from your local Balinese consulate.

So I showed my passport, paid my $25USD, listened to some British woman complain that they did not take credit cards (which she would know, had she done her homework…) and then proceeded to a second lineup for customs and entry into Bali, Indonesia. This didn’t take long, they looked at my passport, took my visa receipt and waved me through. Easy peasy! Next I picked up my luggage, which was already set aside and waiting for me beside the luggage carousel, and I was on my way!

Welcome to Bali

My ride was waiting for me when I exited the airport and I was in the car in minutes and immersed into busy Denpasar traffic. There were more motorcycles and scooters than I’ve ever seen! and people just seem to drive where they please with a loose understanding that they should stick to the left side of the road! (Yes, they drive British style here…) Every time we passed another vehicle, the driver would honk the horn, letting them know we were there. It was very fast paced and honestly, a bit scary…

On the drive, it started to rain. HARD! Like crazy-out-of-nowhere-rain! It was difficult to see anything out of the front windshield at times and we had to slow the car right down to about 30 km/h. I felt sorry for those people out there on their scooters and motorcycles, but the weather didn’t seem to phase them at all.

Although I was very tired after my almost 27 hours of traveling so far, I tried my hardest to keep my eyes open to see what I could on our approximately 3 hour drive to Lovina on the north side of the island, where I am staying.

The coolest thing I saw on the way was MONKEYS!!!! They were just kinda hanging out on the side of a winding road, playing and eating. There were several vehicles of tourists stopped on the side of the road for a closer look. I was told that if given the chance, these sneaky little buggers will steal whatever they can from you and your vehicle!

My main impression from the ride was that driving in Bali is not at the top of my to-do list! For starters, they drive on the left side of the road here. This messed with my head a few times when driving into oncoming traffic on the left side of the road! I must have had at least 18 heart attacks during the ride from the airport to our destination! However, outside of Denpasar, things did calm down somewhat and I think that I may potentially rent a scooter in Lovina after a few more days of getting used to things and acclimatizing to the rules of the road…

And there you have it! Three blog posts later and I’m at my final destination: a gorgeous home in Lovina, which I will tell you all about in an upcoming post!

For more information on Bali and the neighbouring island on Lombok, I recommend the Lonely Planet guide.