I’ve just returned from a belated honeymoon and first wedding anniversary vacation, and let me tell you… it was fabulous! There are so many reasons people are attracted to this little island, and even more reasons to come back and explore some more. Between the proud local culture, easy accessibility to both luxury and adventure travel options, and the natural beauty and flavorful local cuisine, I now know why Bali is the popular destination it is.
We were able to stay on the island away from our island for five days. Here is how we spent them!
We arrived at about 3:30PM local time, but didn’t get through customs and immigration until about 5PM. Thankfully, our flight in was only 1.5 hours, and we are very much conditioned for waiting long periods of time (#TimorTime). Once out, we were able to change our US cash for Indonesian Rupiah (they gave us 14,000IDR per 1USD) and catch an airport taxi to our hotel. Being too tired to walk out of the airport and try to find a regular metered taxi, we paid the 300,000IDR airport taxi to take us to our hotel in Nusa Dua.
Upon arrival, we were astounded by the luxury of where we would be staying. That isn’t hard to do, considering our lifestyle of the past year, but still. It was incredible. Nusa Dua is known as the luxury/resort part of Bali, located on the eastern side of the lower peninsula.
We enjoyed a rain shower (never been so clean in my life) and a flowery bath before bed, and I already felt pampered beyond belief. When they say Bali is the place to get pampered, they aren’t kidding.
We started the day with breakfast on our balcony, relishing the sound of the ocean just meters away and the sheer difference in living conditions compared to our home in Timor. I literally cried, but that is beside the point.
We decided we would first start by going to a place called the Bali Collection—a free shuttle from the hotel brought us there and back. The Bali Collection is your typical sort of outdoor/walkable and higher-end mall. It was wild being in a space with so much commercialization, but also incredible to walk into a shop and find everything you need.
We ate at one of the Balinese restaurants, sharing a large plate of fried cassava sticks and a bunch of chicken satay. The sauces were incredible, and not too spicy for my fragile tongue. I don’t remember the name of the place, but the bill was 170,000IDR, about 6USD for the two of us!
After some wandering around in the shops selling local crafts, we indulged in a taste from home, Coldstone Creamery. We also got our snack on at Coco Mart, which is a convenience shop that will have everything from candy to sunscreen.
Upon returning to the hotel, we rested up before I went off on my own to learn some Balinese weaving! This was a free hotel activity. We made the outer shell for katupa, which is my favorite way to eat rice ever (don’t worry, mom, your rice is still #1), as well as a woven flower that is used in temple or personal prayer offerings. I really enjoyed getting crafty with my hands, and learning a skill I could use in Timor!
This day was our anniversary day, so we went all out when it came to activities. We started the day with some snorkeling in the Tanjung Benoa area. Our car hire was 100,000IDR for getting there and back, and the snorkeling boat fee for one hour was 340,000IDR for the both of us. We went to Wira Water Sports. Turns out, Tanjung Benoe is rife with water sports—jet skiing, parasailing, banana boating, and more. I would recommend the area for these water sports, but not at all for Scuba or snorkeling. We had about 4 meters by 1.5 meters of space to snorkel in, the water was only 10 feet deep at most, and I was constantly whacking scuba divers with my fins. My favorite part of snorkeling was the boat ride. So, if you aren’t big into snorkeling, then go to Tanjung Benoa, but it you are more serious about it, northern Bali and the nearby islands in the south are the places to go.
Next, we passed out hard. Snorkeling was exhausting!
The rest of the afternoon we tried out surfing at our hotel. There was something both peaceful and exhilarating about floating on the waves and trying to stand up. 10/10 would recommend trying to surf if you haven’t already! But wear as much as you can. I wore a one piece, but fell on a bunch of rocks and shells and ripped up my poor little toosh. Don’t worry, she is okay. Nothing a little ocean salt on the wound can’t fix.
No Bali honeymoon would be complete without a massage, and massage we did! Or, the masseuses did. Thanks to my mom and dad, we experienced two hours of pampering and bliss. Neither of us had ever had a massage before, but we are certain that this one will forever top the ones we get in the future. It felt like the last year of hard living and change were rubbed and scrubbed away. When in Bali, get the massage. You won’t regret it.
We wrapped up the evening with a romantic dinner of tapas and an earthquake. What can we say, we shook the world with our love 😎
After some wake-up yoga, we caught a taxi to the Ulu WatuTemple, located on the western side of the southern peninsula. From Nusa Dua to Ulu Watu, our cab cost 150,000IDR which is pretty good for thirty minutes of driving. We got to see some of the local hubbub on the way in the form of kiosks and warungs, much like in Timor.
Once at the temple, we paid the entrance fee of 30,000IDR each, grabbed sarongs and sashes, dressed ourselves properly and entered the area. In Balinese temples, you must wear a sarong and sash as a measure of respect, much like covering your shoulders and wearing longer attire if visiting cathedrals in the West.
Visiting Ulu Watu Temple is more for the incredible cliff side views you get and less for the architecture. There is a temple for everyone’s taste in Bali, though. If you are more interested in seeing natural beauty, go to Ulu Watu. For architecture, find somewhere else.
That’s how we did Bali! The last day was just flying back home so I won’t bother with writing about that, but I hope that this post can help you or a friend see what Bali can offer. I loved it, and so do many other travelers and tourists alike.