Rose petal baths, rainforests, surfing, monkeys and food so beautiful you just have to share it on Instagram. Welcome to Bali and the home of my honeymoon!
When it came to choosing where to stay we headed straight to Instagram, just by typing Bali in the search bar I came across hundreds of beautiful villas, Bali tourist pages and incredible images taken by people from all over the globe. I was hooked! I spent a couple of evenings just following, liking and saving my favourite pages. The Asia Collective soon became one of my favourites and was so helpful in letting us know which places they felt would suit us best, putting us in contact with independent retreats and sensational private villas. We decided we wanted to move around and see as much of Bali as possible during our trip so only stayed in each place for two nights maximum. We both feel that this worked really well for us but if you like to relax and unpack another night or two would be perfect.
Kupu Kupu Barong. A Resort and Spa like nowhere I have ever visited. Set deep in the rainforest and amongst the rice fields, you feel like you are in another world. Upon arriving you are greeted with a beautiful necklace of jasmine flowers, a honey and lemon tea and cold hand towel. Once checked in, the porter will take you to your villa by buggy which is a welcomed quirk as the resort is situated on a hill. If you struggle to walk uphill, no worries, as the buggies will always come and get you. We had a garden villa with its own infinity pool overlooking the rice-fields, a bath and shower so big we could invite the whole family, not to mention our own little stash of vodka, rum, peanuts and coffee. My massage at the spa was the first massage I have ever fallen asleep through. We opted for a couple’s Balinese massage and woke up feeling like brand new people, needless to say, that night we slept like logs.
Abia Villas: Located in Kuta and much closer to the beach we felt like little explorers here. We had our own villa with a private pool, beautiful garden, outdoor shower and rose petals in our huge outdoor bath. Situated on a busy street, yet set back enough that you can’t hear a thing, it’s an easy ten minute walk to the beach and just minutes to gorgeous bars and restaurants. We really felt at home here and loved wandering around, not to mention having cocktails by the beach on the multicoloured beanbags as the live music played around us.
Bali Adventure Tour: Our aim whenever visiting a new country is to see as much of it as we can, which is why where possible we always sign up for a local tour. The Virgin Holidays Bali adventure is a five day tour around Bali. Your accommodation, entry tickets, dolphin tour, snorkelling, hot springs, travel and a couple of lunches are all included. This tour was slightly different to previous tours we had been on as you have your own guide and driver, acting as more of a chauffeur and source of knowledge. It was so nice to switch off and let someone get us from A to B plus we learnt so much more about the Balinese culture, temples, food and found some off-road gems. If you are a nervous traveller or like to feel like you have really ticked off a location, I would 100% recommend this tour. The snorkelling and dolphin trips were my favourite and more information is a couple of paragraphs down.
Wapa di Ume: Simply stunning! Wapa di Ume has an incredible service record and not only are the rooms beautiful, but the food is also the best we had throughout our entire trip. We went to bed dreaming of breakfast and our welcome honeymoon cake was the sweetest surprise, not to mention delicious. We could tell from Instagram that this place was going to be breathtaking and it didn’t disappoint. Making sure to swim around in both infinity pools, walking through the rice fields and reminiscing on our day from our beautiful balcony.
Hanging Gardens: The most expensive place of our entire honeymoon but with good reason. This 7-star resort is tucked away in the rainforest, has it’s own gondola to take you into the resort and has villas that leave you feeling like you should be a movie star. Our private villa came with local monkeys who happily joined us as we sunbathed, we also treated ourselves to a Balinese and very firm outdoor massage as well as a romantic lunch served on a floating boat in our private pool! The weather during our stay was very wet but that still didn’t dampen our love. The rain is warm and the views are beautiful, there is even a temple opposite the resort which you can climb in around 15 minutes, it’s well worth the sweat just to see the temple cats, dogs and speak with the people who worship there.
Mount Batur Volcano Cooking: I have an irrational fear of Lava and thought that climbing an active volcano and cooking in its steam would be the perfect way to combat it. We booked to do this through Virgin as an extra to our tour and opted for the sunset hike. I wore hiking boots but trainers would be fine, just take a jumper as it’s much cooler once the sun sets. You don’t need to be crazy fit to do this as the guide will take you at your own pace, the average time is around 1 hour up, 40 minutes down, we did it in 40 minutes up, 25 minutes down, typical Leon! The hike is gorgeous but it’s the experience of cooking an egg and banana in the steam followed by the most delicious meal wrapped in banana leaf. I have never experienced silence like it and will forever love the memories from that climb.
Sunrise Dolphin Trip: As part of our Virgin Tour we woke up at 5 am and jumped on a boat to watch the sunrise and play with the dolphins. I have to admit that at first I felt a little overwhelmed with just how many boats were doing the same and it felt a little too much like we were chasing the dolphins. After a couple of minutes however our driver decided to separate us from the group and we found a little spot away from the craziness and enjoyed around an hour of real time with huge pods of dolphins as the sun came up. Definitely worth the wakeup call!
Coffee Tasting: We made some friends while at the beach who told us we had to go coffee tasting. Now I’m not the biggest coffee drinker but my partner loves it so we asked our tour guide if we could stop by. It was honestly such a fun experience and I left buying 3 packs of mochaccino, the tastiest chocolate coffee I have ever tried!
Prana Spa, Ubud: Hands down the most breathtaking place I have ever stepped foot in! While staying at Abia Villas we walked for 10 minutes and came across Prana Spa. It looks like something from Aladdin and left me feeling like a total princess. We had a 90 minute massage and milk bath, which was incredible.
Crossfit Wanderlust: For those of you who love Crossfit or just fancy an epic workout while you’re away, I cannot recommend Wanderlust enough. Owned by the very handsome Dave Driskell and located around 25 minutes from Kuta, it’s one of the best boxes I have ever visited and even sports a CrossFit kids. With most of their clients being drop-ins they’re used to the unexpected and the classes really give your endorphins a kick, let’s just say the post-workout coconut and watermelon is needed!
Twin Lakes: We made a quick viewpoint and toilet stop here and stumbled across a giant Komodo dragon, Snake and Hanging Bats, it was the best 10 minutes of craziness and well worth a stop just to say hello.
Weather & Tips
We visited Bali from the 30th May to 13th June and had rain most days but it was usually only for a couple of hours and was actually a nice alternative to the humidity and heat. If you are looking for more of a sunshine sunbathing holiday I would fully recommend staying close to the coast as that is where the air is much clearer. The closer you are the rainforest, the more rain, naturally.
Tips: Tipping is not customary in Bali but is always welcome, we liked to tip the people who made the effort to converse with us. It’s also worth noting that there is usually a 20% service charge on all bills from food to accommodation so please remember this when ordering as it can come as a shock when you think you’ve been money savvy.
I’d love to hear if you’ve been to Bali or plan on going, it’s such a beautiful place and was certainly the most perfect destination for our honeymoon. Happy Planning!