Because where else can you explore the beach, city and jungle in the same trip?
When searching for the perfect honeymoon destination, it’s important to know what kind of holiday you have in mind. This will depend greatly on who you are as a couple and what you enjoy doing whilst travelling. For some, after the stress of planning a wedding, a week on the beach sounds like absolute bliss. For others, being fully immersed in the local culture of a destination, even whilst on honeymoon, is essential.
We were keen to see as much of our honeymoon destination as we were able to. We both work full-time and don’t get to travel as much as we’d like to, so for us having two weeks of free time for a holiday meant cramming as much in as possible. That being said, we knew we’d already be travelling long-distance for our wedding in UK and between that and catching up with family and friends, we anticipated being pretty exhausted by the time our honeymoon came around – which we were!
Being avid travellers, we both have pretty extensive destination bucket-lists so were spoilt for choice when choosing a honeymoon destination. We knew we didn’t want a completely ‘lying around the beach’ kind of holiday, but we did want a few days to relax. Reading yet another honeymoon travel article I stumbled across Nusa Dua in Bali and we were sold. The honeymoon planning commenced!
Whilst Nusa Dua looked stunning, it is more of a resort-style destination and though it would be perfect for a few days, we knew we needed more of a cultural fix for the rest of our trip as we are both total explorers. We decided to split our trip to Bali into three key areas – Nusa Dua, Seminyak and Ubud. It turned out to be the perfect combination and I honestly believe we found the ultimate Bali Honeymoon Itinerary! I’ll mention some of our favourite places in each area, but will go into more detail in separate blog posts for the most precious Bali gems!
Nusa Dua: Perfect for Beach Lovers
A modern, purpose built area of 5-star resorts, Nusa Dua is certainly the most ‘honeymoon-ish’ destination in Bali. Gorgeous leafy resorts span for miles around some of the most beautiful beaches of southern Bali. Most of the hotels in the area are large international chain properties and with them come an extensive array of bars and restaurants.
Where to stay?
We stayed in the gorgeous Laguna Nusa Dua Beach Resort – one of the most amazing hotels we’ve ever visited! Swim around the resort via the stunning lagunas and make sure to wake up early to watch the sunrise from the beach! Every guest that arrives to check-in is greeted by an impressive ‘banging of the gong’ ritual before they are guided to the beautiful semi-open air lobby. In the evenings, guests are treated to an outdoor traditional ‘fire dance’ performance and this is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of the local culture despite staying in a resort. For us, the Laguna Nusa Dua was the ideal relaxing and rejuvenating start to our Bali Honeymoon.
What to do?
Nusa Dua is well-located to explore most of the main tourist areas to in Bali, but since we were travelling around anyway we spent most of our time in Nusa Dua relaxing. Check out the Bali Collection shopping complex for an amazing variety of shops and restaurants at really reasonable prices. We also explored the incredible Uluwatu Temple (make sure to stay for the kecak fire dance at sunset) and Jim Baran Bay (insane seafood on the beach!) from Nusa Dua as well as Water Blow – a must see and easy walk from most of the resorts!
Seminyak: An Urban Oasis by the Sea
Seminyak is one of those effortlessly cool places; full of art, quirky eateries and boutique shopping. It’s close enough to Kuta if you like the party scene but want to be a little bit further away from all of the hustle and bustle. Walk the main streets of Seminyak and grab a Balinese massage at any of the little massage parlours – so cheap! While Nusa Dua is famous for its sunrise views, Seminyak is definitely the Queen of the sunset!
Where to stay?
We stayed in the fabulous Four Points by Sheraton Seminyak. We are literally obsessed with this hotel and have recommended it to so many friends since coming back to Dubai. It’s located a little bit further away from the main streets of Seminyak but it’s still totally walkable. Have dinner and/or drinks on the rooftop terrace at golden hour and watch the incredible sunset over the sleepy streets which lead to the ocean. Breakfast is amazing here with a buffet and and al a carte menu – make sure to order one of their breakfast smoothie bowls, the dragon fruit is to die for!
What to do?
Honestly, the beauty of Seminyak is just walking around the spiralling main streets for hours taking in the sights, sounds and smells! We went for a stroll here every morning and found somewhere we wanted to visit, somewhere to eat and somewhere to drink for the rest of the day. Seminyak also has amazing beaches and there are so many cool beach clubs to check out. Make sure to experience Motel Mexicola, a Seminyak establishment for amazing Mexican food and cocktails. The evening ends there in an incredible party with tourists and locals dancing together on the stage (or the tables!)
Walk past Dash Hotel, Seminyak (or go inside for food/drinks) - the picture below shows only a tiny snapshot of this iconic Seminyak Hotel, renowned for its quirky designs!
While staying in Seminyak we also checked out the Dream Museum in Kuta on a lazy afternoon after a morning of sunbathing. It’s a museum filled with lots of 3D art which makes for fun and entertaining photos. Worth checking out if you’ve had too much sun or if you simply love taking photos like us!
Ubud: Eat, Pray, Love in the Jungle
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably read the book (or at least seen the movie) Eat, Pray, Love. The ‘pray’ part of the story is set in Ubud, once a traditional village set amongst the jungle and rice paddies but now the arts, culture and food hub of modern Bali. While the area’s popularity has increased, Ubud is still relatively quiet and a lot more traditional than Nusa Dua and Seminyak. We adored Ubud’s chilled out vibe and chose to spend the longest part of our trip here. Surrounded by the most stunning scenery, there’s a picturesque view behind every corner and it’s definitely one of the most ‘instagrammable’ destinations we’ve ever visited! And the food! There are so many wonderful places to eat here as well as strong ice cream and coffee cultures. Basically, a dream come true!
Where to stay?
Anumana Ubud was our home for five nights and we would absolutely recommend it to both honeymooners and other leisure travellers alike! We stayed in one of the lagoon access rooms which meant that we could walk down the stairs from our balcony directly into the lagoon-style swimming pool. The Anumana is a relatively small hotel which was a refreshing change from the two bigger chain properties which we had stayed in so far. We love small hotels as they often feel a lot more homely and it allows the staff to get to know their guests in a much more personal way. The hotel is located right next to the famous Money Forest on what happens to be the ‘main street’ of Ubud. It meant we were ideally situated to explore everything Ubud has to offer – which is a lot!
What to do?
Oh my goodness, where to start! There is so much to see and do in Ubud as well as so many amazing places to eat and drink. It goes without saying that you must check out the Sacred Monkey Forest whilst in Ubud. For us staying in the Anumana they were our naughty neighbours! If you’re brave, pose for photos with the monkeys; if not then watch them from afar!
One of our favourite spots (and probably one of the most famous tourist attractions) was the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. The area is so fresh and green, with rice paddies stretching out for miles ahead. Get there early while it’s not too hot and start the walking trail. There are points to stop along the way for refreshments and so many photo opportunities. Be sure to carry some small notes though as the local rice paddy farmers do ask for donations at check points throughout the trail. After a morning at the rice paddies we went to explore Tegenungan Waterfall. Mostafa absolutely loved it and while I did think it was beautiful, I found the path down to the waterfall difficult as it was made up of rocks and was so slippy. While I would recommend it, for me I wished I was wearing something sturdier than flip-flops. The views are great when you make it down though, and you can have a refreshing dip in the water before heading back up.
We combined the rice paddies and waterfall trip with a visit to one of Bali’s most famous temples – Goa Gajah. Luckily, our guide was super knowledgeable about the temple’s history and we learned so much about both the Hindu and Buddhist faiths whilst exploring the temple’s grounds. We even got a blessing from a Balinese lady who was placing the canang sari (traditional Balinese Hindu offerings) in the temple.
The Ubud Art Market is a must-do and if you’ve been travelling anywhere else in Bali first, save your souvenir shopping for Ubud! We loved the colours, smells and sounds of the market so much that we visited three times in five days! Practice your haggling before you arrive and shop around to get an idea of reasonable pricing. One thing to remember though - the currency in Indonesia is very high and while haggling over a few thousand rupiah might sound a lot, it’s probably a very small amount in your own currency. Keep your haggling fun and lighthearted and if you like something, buy it!
Whilst in Ubud we ate at Bebek Bengel A.K.A the Dirty Duck Diner as it was really close to our hotel. We ordered the bestseller Bebek Bengel and a Duck Nasi Campur and the latter was the better of the two. It’s a little expensive, by Bali standards and the food is relatively average. The restaurant itself though is absolutely amazing, literally surrounded by lush green jungle. We sat outside on one of the cabana tables which meant fantastic views - worth a visit for the surroundings alone!
On our first afternoon in Ubud we went for coffee and the most chocolatey churros ever at El Mexicana on Monkey Forest Road - highly recommended if you need a break from sampling local Balinese food! Which comes to our next point - you must try some local food in Ubud! We had some of our favourite meals in the local warungs (small local restaurants), I still dream about the Nasi Goreng sometimes! One must-mention is Sweet Orange Warung – if you can find it! Located quite literally in the middle of the jungle, the tiny little outdoor warung boasts some some of the best views in Ubud and the shrimp salad is equally as impressive!
There’s so much to do in Bali and still so many places we would love to visit on our next trip to the island. Saying that, I do think we managed to strike the perfect honeymoon balance of both relaxing and exploring!
Would you consider Bali as a honeymoon destination? Have you visited? Let us know your thoughts!
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