Falling in love in Bali

First Published 21, Oct 2017, 2:56 PM IST
Falling in love in Bali
Highlights
  • Bali is a paradise on Earth
  • But first timers in Bali can get pretty confused with what to do and what not to
  • Here’s what honeymooners and travellers to Bali need to know before going

Wedding season is up and happy couples everywhere are planning their honeymoons. A quick Google search will give you a list of all the fascinating destinations that will make your holiday the most romantic ever. And today I am covering one of the top 10 romantic honeymoon getaways and helping me are Abhishek and Pooja who are just back from their honeymoon.

Introducing Bali…

Bali is a paradise on Earth. Volcanoes rise from the sea, monkeys swing in the trees, and there are still dozens of idyllic spots to escape the crowds. But first timers in Bali can get pretty confused with what to do and what not to.

Abhishek and Pooja give us a low down on their experience!

Abhishek and Pooja 

 

Q: What do you love about travelling?

A:The best thing we believe about travelling is that it gives us an opportunity to be able to explore new places and meet new people. It is extremely refreshing to wake up in the morning to a completely different ambience. It seems to add a new colour, a new flavour to our normally normal life. It is interesting to try different food and drinks as well in new places.

Q: What kind of a traveler are you – budget, mid-range or luxury?

A: Normally we are between budget to mid-range travelers. But Bali has something to offer to everyone. In fact, what we expected to be a “mid-range” vacation turned out to be a luxurious one! If you plan your trip during the low season and book everything in advance, you may not need to bankrupt yourselves to have a luxury holiday.

Q: How and why did you decide to go to Bali for your honeymoon?

A: Bali is one of the top 10 honeymoon destinations in Asia and it is extremely convenient to go there as it is a short trip of about 5 hours from Hong Kong.

Q: For how long were you in Bali?

A: We were there for a week in August. We spent the first 3 days at Kuta and the last 4 days in Ubud.

When to go:

While planning your trip to Bali, keep in mind the weather that you will be welcomed by there. Here is a guideline to plan your vacation around the climate of Bali.

Low Season (Jan–Apr, Oct & Nov)

Deals everywhere, good airfares. Rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive. Can do most activities except volcano treks.

Shoulder (May, Jun & Sep)

Coincides with the best weather (drier, less humid). You may find a good room deal, and last-minute bookings are possible. Best time for many activities including diving.

High Season (Jul, Aug & Dec)

Accommodation rates increase by 50% or more. Many hotels are booked far ahead; the best restaurants need to be booked in advance. Christmas and New Year are equally expensive and crowded.

Essential Bali travel tips:

  • Expect crowds
  • Choose your base carefully - If you’re looking for real R&R, Kuta probably isn’t your thing. If you want to shop up a storm and eat more than your body weight in fine food, a week on Nusa Lembongan isn't likely to leave you fully satiated. 
  • Dress for the occasion - Beachwear doesn’t always cut it in Bali – many higher-end bars, restaurants and clubs enforce a dress code. If you’re unsure, call ahead to save the potential embarrassment of being turned away.
  • Respect religious customs - Plan accordingly if your travel dates fall on Nyepi when everything in Bali (even the airport) shuts down for the day, and always dress modestly (covering the shoulders and knees) and conduct yourself appropriately when visiting temples and holy sites.

 

Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a Day of Silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, the main restrictions are no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no travelling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all.

  • Prepare for a mixed bag of price tags
  • Be cautious of wild and stray animals
  • Avoid plastic water bottles
  • Learn some local lingo
  • Remember that low season often means rainy season
  • Bargain respectfully
  • Check the current visa situation
  • Be safe

 

Let’s talk about packing!!!

What to wear

Packing for a destination like Bali can be quite overwhelming. But you don’t have to learn what you really need the hard way. Here is a list of everything I think you need:

  • Casual/beach dresses x 2
  • Night dress x 1– a nicer dress for dinners/drinks
  • T-shirts/sleeved tops x 4
  • Tank tops/singlet tops x 2
  • Shorts/skirt x 3 – keep in mind shorts can be more versatile than skirts
  • Maxi skirt/long light pants x 1
  • Scarf (Mandatory)
  • Swimmers/swimsuit x 2 
  • Socks x 2 – this depends how active you are, but obviously adjust for your needs
  • Light Pyjamas
  • Hat and/or cap – to save space in your luggage, you can also buy these in Bali.
  • Flip Flops and Sandals/nice flats 
  • Walking shoes/joggers 
  • Sunglasses
  • Pocket tissues (wet and dry)
  • Small day bag 
  • Umbrella for the wet season 

 

Now that we have that sorted, let’s start planning!

 

Q: How did you go about planning your itinerary? Did you do it yourself or through a travel agent?

A: We did the planning on our own and avoided travel agents. Part of the reason behind this is because we have friends who visited Bali in the recent past on their honeymoon which helped us get a decent idea about the place even before we went there.

Q: Looking back, do you think it was a good decision to not have hired a travel agent? Should couples looking to go to Bali for a romantic holiday book their own trip?

A: For us it was a good decision use our own sources as I intended our visit to be a luxury honeymoon. However, if you decide to go for a budget honeymoon then I believe that going via a travel agent is a better option.

Money money money!

Q: How much did your trip cost you?

A: Total cost approximately was around Rs 3 lakh. Tax included

I did compare the prices of budget honeymoon packages as well and they were roughly about Rs 1 – 1.5 lakh .

Budget (Upto $80)

  • Room at guesthouse or homestay: less than US$50
  • Cheap food and drink, meals: under US$5
  • Beaches: free

 

Mid-range ($80 - 250)

  • Room at midrange hotel: US$50–150
  • Great night out eating and drinking: from US$20
  • Spa treatment: US$10–40

 

Luxury ($250 and more)

  • Room at top-end hotel or resort: over US$150
  • Lavish evening out: over US$40
  • Car and driver per day: US$60

 

Tipping

  • Tipping a set percentage is not expected in Bali, but if the service is good, it’s appropriate to leave at least 5000Rp or 10% or more.
  • Hand cash directly to individuals (taxi drivers, porters, people giving you a massage, bringing you a beer at the beach etc) to recognise their service; 5000Rp to 10,000Rp or 10% to 20% of the total fee is generous.
  • Most midrange and all top-end hotels and restaurants add 21% to the bill for tax and service (called ‘plus plus’).

 

Where to stay:

Q: Where did you stay? Why did you select this hotel? How far was the hotel from the airport? How did you get to the hotel from the airport?

The Stones Legian Bali (Marriot) in Kuta

 

A: The Stones Legian Bali (Marriot) in Kuta and The Lokha Ubud in Ubud. It seemed to be one of the best hotels in Kuta after checking several others on Trip Advisor/ Hotels.com / Booking.com. It took us around 15 minutes by car to get to the hotel from the airport. My friend had suggested a cab driver whom he had used while in Bali. We got in touch with him earlier and booked him for our entire trip.

What to eat:

Do you like tasting local cuisine?

We prefer Indian food, however, we did try some seafood but that’s about it unfortunately. We loved a couple of Indian restaurants that we frequented during our stay - Queens Tandoor in Kuta Seminyak and Sitara in Ubud.

Is Bali a vegetarian friendly place?

Queens of Bali 

 

People in Bali prefer non-vegetarian food. Indonesian cuisine mostly consists of pork, beef, chicken, and seafood delicacies. However, vegetarians need not worry. Try these amazing vegetarian restaurants around Bali that will have you wanting more:

  • SizzleWraps, Mengwi.
  • Warung Heaven, Munduk
  • Warung Pondok Madu and Moksa Plant-based Cuisine & Permaculture Garden, Ubud
  • The Dungki Bendega Resto, Nusa Ceningan
  • Hongalia, Gianyar
  • Bali Asli Restaurant, Karangasem
  • FIRE at W Bali – Seminyak, Kerobokan
  • Restaurant Bukit Segara, Amed
  • Curry in Bali - Indian Restaurant, Ungasan

 

What to do:

Q: How did you decide where all you both wanted to go and do in Bali?

A: We wanted to do and experience everything that was possible in Bali in our stipulated period. So, we spoke to a taxi driver in Bali whose name was Ruwa Bineta. I got his contact from my friend who had gone to Bali before for her honeymoon. He was an amazing person and he had proactively planned where we should go during our stay.

Q: Did you do any adventure activities while in Bali?

A: Yes! And it was breathtaking! We went parasailing, kayaking and speedboating. ATV rides were exhilarating. We also went on elephant rides which was a pretty interesting experience.

In days 8 – 10 we suggest going to, but if this doesn’t interest you, you could substitute this for North Bali, places like. Or you could add these two days at destinations you are already going to.

If you are looking at spending more time in Bali, you could add Padang Bai, Candidasa or Amed area,Lovina and Singaraja, or Nusa Lembongan to your itinerary.

For those of you who can do only a week or 10 days in Bali, you could try the following itinerary:

DAY 1: Arrive at Denpasar and spend the day there.

TRAVEL TIP: You will automatically get a full day at Denpasar if you land early and make the most of the same day that you arrive. This way, you don’t have to spend an additional day at Denpasar.

Book your stay for 4 days and 5 nights here. You can take day trips from Denpasar to other places without having to spend on accommodation at every single place.

  • Bali arts Festival

This annual festival, based at the Taman Wedhi Budaya arts centre, is an easy way to see a wide variety of traditional dance, music and crafts. 

The productions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata ballets are grand, and the opening ceremony and parade in Denpasar are spectacles. Tickets are usually available before performances; schedules are available online and at the Denpasar tourist office.

TRAVEL TIP: The festival is held between mid-June and mid-July. You can check for tickets online and book ahead.

 

  • Bali Sharks Island Eco Adventures

TRAVEL TIP: A three-hour tour includes shark swims with mask and snorkel, a visit to the adjacent turtle rescue centre where baby turtles are hatched and cultivated to be released back into their natural environment, a marine garden aquarium tour, with meals and refreshments included. It's a fun, educational and inspiring day out. Bring a towel, camera, swimsuit and sunscreen.

Opening Hours: 07:00 - 21:00

Location: Agus Bar & Restaurant, Serangan Island, South Denpasar

Address: Jalan Tukad Punggawa, Serangan Island

Other exciting places to visit in Denpasar include:

  • Bajra Sandhi Monument
  • Pura Jagatnatha
  • Puputan Squar
  • Pasar Badung
  • Pura Maospahit

 

DAY 2: Day Trip to Tanah Lot (1 hour by car)

Pura Tanah Lot

 

You do not need to hire a cab for this trip. You can make your life simpler by just booking a tour which will pick you up from your hotel in Denpasar and drop you back after a half day of sightseeing in Tanah Lot.

TRAVEL TIP: Do carry cash with you as quite a few tours do not take online bookings and you must pay cash to the driver on the day of the tour. I would suggest finding a tour which takes online bookings.

  • Taman Ayun
  • Alas Kedaton

 

TRAVEL TIP: In Alas Kedaton, f any monkey gets too close for comfort, then chances are they are only interested in food. So just open your hands to show you are holding nothing they’ll leave you alone.

  • Pura Tanah Lot

TRAVEL TIP: If you head down to the actual temple, keep an eye out for small caves that have been created by wave erosion. These are inhabited by sea snakes and are believed to be the guards of the temple. Check before hand when sunset is expected to occur and plan your travel accordingly. Tanah Lot is a bustling tourist location and you don’t want to wait there for sunset after a long day.

 

DAY 3: Day Trip to Ubud (1 hour by car)

There are numerous off the beaten track locations at Ubud and all you need to do is book a day trip to the best locations that excite you.

Here are a few examples:

  • Private Ubud and Volcano Day Trip
Holy Spring Temple

 

09.00 pick up from your hotel in Bali

10.00 Ubud Monkey Forest

11.30 Walk around the traditional Ubud market

12.30 Reach Rice Terrace village followed by Kintamani Volcano for a buffet lunch with the background of Mount Batur and lake.

15.00 Stop at the coffee plantation and spices. Experience the most popular and typical coffee in Bali called Luwak coffee made from the animal poop. It is the most expensive coffee in the world that you can find authentically only in Bali.

17.00 Head to holy spring temple. You can do holy water blessing together with the locals.

19.00 Drop off at hotel

If you would like an up close and cosy interaction with the active volcano of Mount Batur, here is another day trip for you:

  • Mount Batur Sunrise Hiking and Coffee Plantation Tour
Mount Batur sunrise 

 

2:00 am: Pick up at your hotel and reach directly at the hiking tour starting point

3:45 am: Arrival at starting point, introduction and safety procedure briefing by our experience professional hiking guide.

4:00 am: Begin the hike to Mount Batur.

4:20 am: Continue hiking to the summit crater.

6:15 am: Arrive at the summit crater, where you can fall in love with the spectacular sunrise. And what’s even crazier? Enjoy refreshments of eggs boiled in volcanic steam!

7:00 am: Continue trekking around the entire crater.

8:00 am: Begin descent to the finishing point of the trek.

9:00 am: Arrival at the finish point and board car

9:30 am: Stop at a Balinese coffee plantation

12:00 pm: Drive back to your Bali hotel

 

TRAVEL TIP: You can probably speak to your tour operator and see if you can head out by yourself to visit other locations in Ubud instead of heading back to the hotel.

Gianyar is a great place to club with Ubud. It takes around 30 minutes by car from Ubud and 1.5 hours from Denpasar. I would recommend doing this from Ubud. In Gianyar, visit the Bali Safari and Marine Park.

You could also hike Mount Agung, Bali’s biggest active volcano, however, as of 16th October 2017, it is predicted that the volcano might erupt soon. Hence, if you are in Bali currently, I would suggest avoiding this one. You can always come back another time.

 

DAY 4: Day Trip to Tulamben (2.5 – 3 hours by car)

USS Liberty Shipwreck Scuba Diving

 

  • Full-Day USS Liberty Shipwreck Scuba Diving in Tulamben

You will greet your guide at your Bali accommodation early morning. The guide will pick you up from your hotel and board an air-conditioned vehicle destined for Tulamben, a traditional Balinese village home to the USS Liberty Shipwreck.

On arrival, refresh with mineral water and receive a thorough scuba diving orientation from your guide.

Don your wetsuit, secure your oxygen mask, and then descend to one of Indonesia’s most famous dive sites.

During your first 45-minute dive, swim the length of the 394-foot (120-meter) long wreck and descend to a maximum depth of 98 feet (30 meters) depending on your experience and skill level.   Return to the surface to rest and enjoy lunch and soft drink before returning to the ocean depths for another 45-minute dive.

On your second dive, look out for rare marine species such as ghost fish, pygmy seahorses, bump head parrot fish, and frog fish, all of whom thrive on the corals growing on the wreck.

After your second dive, freshen up in the facilities and relax during the journey back to your Bali hotel.  

 

Day 5: Day trip to Sanur (20 – 30 minutes by car)

Sanur Beach

 

Take the day off in Sanur as you relax in the pristine beaches that run through 8 kms along the eastern coastline. Sun beds, tanning, a mojito, and an occasional dip in the ocean is the mantra to be followed in Sanur.

If beaches don’t really excite you and you would want to do something a little different, head to the Bali Seawalker for a fascinating walk on the sand bed to view beautiful reefs with colourful fish. 

The ‘sea walk’ takes around 30 minutes, with certified and experienced guides overseeing the activity from above and below. The tour can be enjoyed by children aged 10 years up, and no diving experience or swimming skills are necessary, serving as a great educational and fun eye-opening opportunity for those with no prior diving experience.

Other things to do in Sanur include:

  • Le Mayeur Museum
  • Blanjong Temple, or Pura Blanjong
  • Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC)
  • Taman Festival Bali ‘ghost town’
  • Bali Kites Festival

The festival usually takes place around the windy season, between July and August, with confirmed dates following favourable weather conditions. It is one of Bali’s major provincial calendar highlights presenting unique cultural scenes on par with the preceding the Bali Arts Festival.

 

The Balinese traditional kites are gigantic, measuring up to four metres in width and 10 metres in length. 

TRAVEL TIP: Don't worry if you missed out on the main opening festival events in July. There are various side events and competitions to witness throughout the second half of the year, which are also highlighted annually as part of the festivity.

Upcoming festivals in 2017:

  • Batuyang Kite Competition: 21-22 October, Ubud
  • Bali International Kite Festival 2017: 23-25 (or 28-29 October), Padanggalak Beach, Sanur 

 

DAY 6: Check out from your hotel in Denpasar and travel to Seminyak (20 – 25 minutes by car)

The grown-up neighbour to Bali's party centre of Kuta, Seminyak has attracted travellers in-the-know for years with its hip hotels, cool cafes, slick bars, rejuvenating spas and boutique shopping. 

Get your dose of wellness and relaxation at Seminyak in any one of its abundant spas and wellness centers.

TRAVEL TIP: Stay here for the remainder of your trip and do day trips to nearby locations.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Body Temple Bali

Cost: A 60 minute massage treatment costs around $35 including service and taxes.

  • Bodyworks

Cost: A60 minute massage treatment costs around $30 including service and taxes.

  • Prana Spa

Cost: One of the most expensive spas I visited, a 60 minute massage costs around $55 and a 60 minute shirodara treatment costs approximately $75.

  • Chill Reflexology

Cost: About $25 for a one hour massage

  • Jari Menari

Cost: The Four Hands Massage Harmony treatment costs approx $55. Where else could you have two highly skilled therapists working your body for $55?

 

TRAVEL TIP: If you are not looking at something fancy and expensive, Seminyak is blessed with much smaller spas where in the treatments are fabulous and prices as low as $7!

 

Day 7: Day trip to Kuta (15 – 20 minutes by car)

Abhishek and Pooja at Kuta Beach

 

Get creative in Kuta and instead of rushing down to the beach, pump up your adrenaline in its water parks or bring out the artistic talents that you have been controlling throughout this trip with visits to these exhilarating locations:

  • Kuta Theater
  • Dream Museum Zone
  • 5GX Bali Reverse Bungy
  • Upside Down World Bali
  • Pandora Experience Bali


Day 8: Day Trip to Jimbaran and Uluwatu (Jimbaran is a 30 minute drive from Seminyak and Ulluwatu is a further 30 minute drive from Jimbaran)

Garuda Wisnu Kencana

 

  • Garuda Wisnu Kencana
  • Uluwatu Temple
  • Suluban Beach
  • Pandawa Beach

 

Day 9: Day Trip to Nusa Dua (30 minutes by car)

Nusa Dua 

 

Make sure that your camera is fully loaded and memory cards on full capacity because Nusa Dua will take up a sizeable chunk of your photo albums and travel diaries.

Here are a few things that you need to look out for in Nusa Dua:

  • Devdan Show
  • Water Blow, Nusa Dua
  • Nusa Dua Beach
  • Bali Camel Safaris
  • Geger Temple
  • Puja Mandala

 

TRAVEL TIP: Ask your hotel reception where to find/how to get to places like The Blow Hole, Puja Mandala, Bali Camel Safari, and Pura Bias Tugel from where you're staying.

 You will come across numerous security check points in Nusa Dua. Don't be alarmed!

 

DAY 10: Head back to Denpasar airport from Seminyak for your return flight

Kuta Art Market 

 

Top 5 shopping markets in Bali:

  • Sanur Night Market (Pasar Malam Sindu)
  • Gianyar Night Market
  • Kuta Art Market
  • Garlic Lane, Kuta
  • Kereneng Night Market, Denpasar

 

This itinerary can be customised basis your requirements. It is only a guideline to help you in your planning. Although Bali seems like a tiny island, it offers a lot more than what you can handle! It will not be possible to see and do everything on a tight timeline so make the most of it and remember that you can always come back to the paradise island!

 

Deea is an Influencer Marketer, content creator, traveller, photographer and blogger.

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