Bali has become one of the hottest travelling destination for honeymoon couples these days. Most newly-wed couples that I know of, opt for Bali. But is it only a honeymoon destination where you can sip on cocktails, party and watch the sunsets together? Or is it meant for families as well? Worry not my friends, my personal experience tells me, it is meant for both.
I have been to Bali, once with my hubby dearest and our couple of friends, and second time with my whole family. There is much more to Bali than just drinks and beaches. Bali is full of culture, temples, good people and amazing dining places! But how do you decide where you want to stay? How many days you want to spend on your holiday there? Should you prefer a villa or choose a hotel? I will answer all these questions while I share my experience below. Read on people!
Trip One: With friends (Places covered: Seminyak, Gili Trawangan, Nusa Dua)
Trip Two: With family (Places covered: Seminyak, Ubud, Tanah lot, Lembongan island)
Seminyak is similar to Kuta, but a much cleaner and safer version of it. Seminyak has many hangout places and you will easily be able to find clubs, cheap cafes or well-dining restaurants. Some of the must-visit restaurants would be Ku De Ta, for fine-dining, and Potato Head beach club, for sun-beds and good food. La Favela is another happening club which does not charge an entry fee and has a vibrant atmosphere indoors. Do not miss this!
The shopping scene at Seminyak is a bit more expensive than Kuta, so if you end up paying around Rs.250 for a t-shirt in Seminyak, you can find the cheaper version of it elsewhere in 150 bucks. But if you wouldn’t want to compromise on the quality, then choose Seminyak. This place also has a lot of boutiques for men and women, although they would be expensive compared to the street-side shopping, you will be able to find a wide range of fashionable outfits to choose from.
Seminyak is known for it’s churches and temples as well. Mix in some culture, eat or simply enjoy a party scene somewhere, this place has no judgements!
- Gili Trawangan
Gili Trawangan was one of the highlights of our trip. Gili islands comprise of three small islands: Gili Trawangan (the largest of the three), Gili Meno and Gili Air (the smallest of the three). These islands do not have or allow automobiles and while that thought might scare some of you, believe me, if you are a lover of pollution-free environment and a nature-fan, this place is for you. The only ways to commute on Gili are horse-cart ride, renting a bicycle or walking.
On reaching Gili, we were taken to our hotel (Hotel Ombak sunset) in a horse-cart and let me point this out to you, the bargaining did not help them budge or lower their rates. Horses being the fastest mode of travel when you have your luggage, the horse owners know they will earn a decent amount of money from you and their prices are fixed. Ombak sunset was an impressive hotel because they had huge rooms which were separate from each other, so it gives you a feel of staying in a mini-villa. The swimming pool was right across the sea, so when the sun was setting in the evening, the view was mesmerizing.
We were cycling the whole time we were there. I felt like a kid once again when we were racing with each other. These days Gili has lost it’s charm, that’s what people say and I had been to Gili two years ago. But, to me, it was one of the most beautiful islands I ever saw!
- Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua has white sand beaches and expensive luxury hotels lined up for you. Most hotels have private beaches and organize events in the month of December when the tourists are gushing in. For your New Year’s eve, ample of options will be pouring in. Mind you, these events will pinch your pockets, so choose carefully and book early. Personally, I would have skipped Nusa Dua altogether, because I am the kind of person who loves to explore and not get locked down in a hotel somewhere, even if the hotel has a private beach and luxurious dining options.
The most amazing place for me during my second trip was Ubud. A small town which is the cultural heart of Bali. It would be a sin to miss Ubud, so we took a day-trip there. The Saraswati temple or Lotus temple was such a refreshing site to look at! Lotus ponds on either side of the walkway towards the temple. The temple is accessible only during day-time and is so picturesque! I would highly recommend spending a night in this beautiful town and get drunk on its heritage.
There are a number of cute cafes and boutiques in central Ubud and one such cafe we visited was Maha Cafe. This cafe has an outdoor seating in a garden where cute bunny rabbits often visit. The kids had a gala time chasing and feeding these bunnies.
Tegalalang rice terraces are probably one of the best in Ubud. You will discover small cafes along the way as you step deeper into the fields. With luscious green surroundings, sipping on some sweet coconut water, it will be easy to lose yourself in the view. The coffee plantation is also very close to Tegalalang rice terraces.
The very famous Tanah lot is just an hour’s drive away from Ubud.
A day-trip to Lembongan wasn’t enough to explore the whole island. Unlike Gili, Lembongan has buggy rides for visitors. Man-grove forest located at the northeast corner of Lembongan plays an important role in preventing erosion and protecting the coast. The forest is accessible only by manually-rowed boats. Once inside, you can feel the coolness and also spot a few tiny crabs. Devil’s tears is another site which is not to be missed! The place is perfect for photographs and the view is majestic and breath-taking! The Dream beach is another hot-spot for sun-tanners. Unfortunately, we couldn’t wait and watch the sunset, but I am sure it would have been magnificent!
– A stay in Bali is incomplete if you do not stay in a villa. Villas are cheaper than most places and luxurious as well. Most villas have a private pool and open-roof bathrooms, so don’t miss out on this experience!
– Bali temples and heritage sites are the most important aspect of the Balinese culture. If you plan to party your way through the holiday, I would still recommend a brief visit to some of these sites to soak in a bit of culture.
– If you are a food-lover or love to cook, Bali offers ample of cooking class options where you can learn to make their chutneys, sambals and more. Get yourself enrolled for one of the classes to have a fun experience!
– Two days are usually sufficient to explore a particular place. So if you have six days in hand, you can stay at three different places. If you don’t want your trip to be hectic, then just stay at one place which is centrally located and take day-trips to the places you want to visit.
– Keep yourself hydrated with Bali’s most loved drink, the coconut water. Having coconut water here is like a feast!
– Breathe! Try to make your itinerary as relaxed as possible.
Best time to visit:
The busiest seasons in Bali are July, August and December. Your stays will be quite expensive in December. Best time to visit Bali would be from April to June and September to November.
Whether it’s friends or family, if you are surrounded by the people you love, you will end up having a good time anyway!
Happy Travelling! 🙂