A travel junkie by default! Reem Shaath, founder of whywander.com, a one stop shop for travelers from the Middle East looking to plan trips that go beyond the regular tourist itineraries. Always keen to make Whywander.com a service that is outside the realm of anything typical and instead offer bespoke travel experiences complete with booking flights, hotels, and with the addition of restaurant recommendations, activities, shopping itineraries and ‘local experiences’.
Here is her diary
I love being in the jungle in Bali – Ubud is so peaceful – I have a favorite spot that I always go to and I make it a point to recharge with positive energy every year.
Stayed at Como Shambhala
Como Shambhala has to be one of the best hotels I’ve stayed in. Set in the midst of a gorgeous jungle, the Como Shambhala Estate in Bali is, like the old adage goes, just what the doctor ordered. For anyone looking to recharge and reconnect with nature, this holistic haven is a perfect example of rest and relaxation with an award winning spa, the finest cuisine and stunning natural vistas. The estate functions as both a resort or as part of a specific retreat with a variety of programs to choose from Rejuvenating, Get Fit, Ayurvedic, Stress Management, Cleansing, and Discover Como.
I stayed in a beautiful Estate Suite overlooking the jungle and undertook the same program I do every year.
Month February – low and rainy season but I love it. I love seeing the rain fall in the jungle – it’s like you’ve opened the faucet for about 15 minutes and then stopped.
In your suitcase Casual wear at its best – sweatpants, t-shirts and tennis shoes. This is where people come to relax, rejuvenate and get balance back into their lives – there’s absolutely no fashion shows here even though it is frequented by the likes of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Tony Blair!
Dined at Balinese cuisine is fantastic. On this trip, I discovered a restaurant called Sarong that serves fusion Balinese – if you like spicy you’ll love this place!
Shopped You’ll find plenty of souvenirs to take home with you but my favorite kind of shopping in Bali is for art and paintings… I came back with 3 paintings that hang on my Dubai apartment wall from this trip and about another 6 from a trip last year.
Diary A very active diary indeed – with never a dull moment! Wake up at 6am – meet my guide and head towards my first activity of the day the Estate Biathlon. Cycle for around 2 hours, then hike back to the estate through the jungle. Upon arrival, I had my personal assistant waiting for me with fresh coconut water to hydrate. I relaxed at the pool for a bit, and headed for my massage. Had a delicious lunch, and then went for a healing session with the local healer in town Pak Man. After that, went to Ubud town for a bit of shopping and then headed back to the Estate… and that was my daily grind. I got the Get Fit program. The reason I always choose this program is because it combines some adventurous activities in the outdoors which I love – and some amazing massages to relieve the leg pain after a long day of hiking in the rice paddies, canyoning in the waterfalls and cycling between the villages. Apart from that, the Estate offers yoga, Pilates and meditation to all guests as part of the program. The personal assistant that you are assigned might be one of the most genius ideas ever to be implemented in the hotel world – their job is to make sure you’re happy, remind you of your appointments, and basically make your stay as enjoyable as possible!
To top it all off, the estate has two restaurants that serve up fresh and inventive dishes that are organic, delicious and healthy!
Tips Bali is a very spiritual island – you’ll see plenty of ceremonies taking place all the time. The culture is a very ‘thankful’ culture – they have offerings on every door step thanking the ‘Gods’ for almost everything. There’s plenty to do – if you want to be in the midst of party town, there’s Kuta. If you want more upscale restaurants and boutiques, there’s Seminyak. If you want art & culture and amazing jungle views, there’s Ubud. If you want beach and surfing there’s Canggu…This is a place for everyone.
Mode of travel I flew on Emirates to Jakarta and then took an internal flight to Bali.