It’s been almost six months but I’ve finally gotten around to writing a blog about our Bali honeymoon!
A few days after our wedding, we flew 13 hours from O’hare to Doha and 10 hours from Doha to Denpasar. It was not an easy flight experience due to length and a missed connection that had a domino effect on our travel plans. Thankfully, Kathleen, our travel agent and Kevin’s mom, saved the day by booking us different flights and accommodations. On our first night in Bali we grabbed a quick bite that turned into a delicious meal complete with with tender ribs, a gazillion chicken satay, and liters of Bintang all for a shocking price of $30. We spent the night in a hotel near the airport and boarded a flight to Labuan Bajo in the morning.
Days 1-3 Komodo Liveaboard
After watching way too much Below Deck on Bravo (or Under the Boat as Kevin refers to it) I thought our honeymoon wouldn’t be complete without chartering a semi-private boat in the Pacific Ocean. We were a day late getting to Bali so we missed our pick up at the Labuan Bajo harbor. However, the captain of Wunderpus was really responsive and arranged for a shuttle boat to deliver us to the ship, which was docked for a dive. Shortly after arriving we had lunch on the top deck and completed our first dive. The next three days aboard was spent in a similar fashion – dive, eat, nap, repeat.
I highly recommend the diving in Komodo. While the coral itself may not be as vibrant as what we saw in the Great Barrier Reef, the marine life was incredibly diverse. This was hands down a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience. There were only eight people on the boat and a dive master for every pair. Our guide pointed out everything from the smallest shrimp to the largest parrot fish swimming directly above us. We saw so many reef sharks that we were almost completely comfortable with them by the end but my favorite part was definitely all the humongous reef turtles!
I will also never forget the Manta Point dive where we saw three mantas whose wingspan was over 3 meters long (look at me using meters!).
On our last day aboard, I caught the inevitable Bali Belly complete with chills, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms. No one else on the boat got sick and I avoided tap water so I’m clearly not to be consulted for medical advice. This was the day we were set to see the Komodo dragons and so fever be damned I was not missing this opportunity! I summoned all the strength I had to trek with the Komodo dragons so I spent the rest of the day/night sweating my sickness of under five layers of clothing while Kevin had himself a nice steak dinner.
Day 4 Kayon Jungle Resort
After traveling all morning from Labuan Bajo to Despansar and then up to Ubud we finally arrived at the Kayon Jungle Resort. This place was a utopia. We splurged on a Jungle Pool Villa with a private infinity pool overlooking the jungle and did not regret it for a single second. I loved it so much that I shed actual tears on our last day. The service at this resort was impeccable, which makes sense considering we had our very own butler! Our first afternoon was spent lounging around in our villa and dining at the resort restaurant. Well Kevin dined, I moved some food around my plate trying to ignore the fact that I was still sick.
Day 5 Ubud
On this vacation, jet lag was finally my friend, which was the only reason I partook in sunrise Yoga at 6 AM. We also did a “rice field” tour organized by the resort but really this was a strange walk where we looked at people’s front yards where they grow rice. This completed the cultural part of our program and allowed us to begin day drinking at 11 AM guilt free.
We then had a spa session inclusive of sugar scrubs, flower baths, and deep tissue massages. After our mandatory afternoon nap we took a taxi to the Ubud city center and dined at Sayan House. This restaurant serves Latin/Japanese fusion and the food was fantastic. Next, we walked around Ubud’s main entertainment district and stopped in at a few bars to listen to live music – who knew “Shallows” with an Indonesian accent is even better.
Day 6 Mount Batur
The private infinity pool was keeping me plenty entertained but I still decided it was a great idea to wake up at 3 AM and trek to the top of Mount Batur with Bali Eco Cycling. Kevin was supposed to come with me but choose sleep over a sunrise hike which, fair. Me being the independent woman that don’t need no man (jk, I love you Kevin) decided to proceed full steam ahead. I was picked up in a white van, don’t worry there were other touristy-looking passengers inside. We were taken to a weird café/rest stop for tea – really could’ve done without this part. Finally, after bumping along for another hour on dark back roads (it’s a good thing I was too sleepy to panic), we arrived at the trail head and began our flashlight lit hike.
Hiking in the dark was a novel experience but this hike was GROSSLY misrepresented on the website and in no way was it a “moderate” hike. I know I don’t do cardio unless it’s running through airport security, but I was dying. Out of the seven of us, only three made it to the top on foot, and that includes the tour guide. Thankfully, the Indonesian “entrepreneurs” were more than happy to take the others almost to the top on their motorbikes for a small fee of $40/person. Once at the top, we waited for the sun to rise only to realize that the clouds were our nemesis. Nevertheless, we still got some cool views and even got to see a few monkeys.
I returned to the hotel to find Kevin happy as a clam that got 12 hours of sleep and we continued to enjoy our incredible resort. At night, we went to dinner at Hujan Locale, which was recommended to us by a local. It was definitely a must try restaurant in Ubud serving Balinese “farm to table” dishes.
Day 7 Rice Fields
After checking out of our private villa (seriously, I died a little inside), we headed down to Seminyak. On our way, we visited at the Tegallalang Rice Terrace where we got to see how rice grows up close. We also stopped by an Instagram influencer’s paradise – Aloha Ubud Swing. Suffice it to say this was Kevin’s least favorite part of our honeymoon but hey, I got some cool pictures out of it.
It was on this day that we understood how bad Bali traffic really is. Even though I read countless blogs and travel suggestions, I had no idea that getting from Ubud to Seminyak can take more than 3 hours when the distance only warrants a 45 minute drive. Our reward was another villa with a private pool at The W Seminyak. The W is one of the most popular places to watch a sunset in Seminyak so that’s exactly what we did that night.
Day 8 Seminyak
This day is kind of a blur as it involved a lot of cocktails and lounging on our immensely comfortable day bed. Amidst all the cocktails, we snuck in another massage. This time, we opted for a “spa” outside the resort. This experience was by no means as luxurious as the one at our hotel in Ubud but for $15 for a full body massage who can really complain.
At night, we went to an insanely romantic restaurant called Bambu. The food was as good or better than the ambiance.
Day 9 Surfing
Apparently a 24 hour flight and 3 AM hike were not enough so I decided to give sunrise surfing a try as well. I took a private lesson with Odyssey Surf School and thought that it was well worth the money as compared to a group one. I won’t be sponsored by Quicksilver anytime soon but I did stand up on a few waves!
For lunch, we went to a fun restaurant called Motel Mexicola. Mexican food here was surprisingly delicious and the atmosphere was fun and lively. There are also a lot of cute shops in this area not to mention another great “spa” where we got yet another massage for $15. At night, we checked out the Potato Head Beach Club. It was a cool place to check out but maybe a bit too trendy/hipster for us. Their appetizers were delicious thought and the drinks perfectly strong for the price.
Day 10 The W
We didn’t want to leave Bali without enjoyed our villa to the fullest extent so on our last day, we switched off between the beachfront pools and our private one, took walks on the beach, and enjoyed another glorious sunset. Initially, we had plans of going to Uluwatu to see the water temples and cliff beaches but we were afraid to get stuck in another bout of Bali traffic so instead, we had a spectacular dinner at Chandi.
Bali was a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. I thought two thirds of our trip was perfect. I absolutely loved Komodo and our diving experience. Ubud was magical and staying in the jungle was otherworldly. However, if I could do it over, I would have skipped Seminyak. Traveling all the way to Bali we were expecting everything to be really different and Seminyak just felt like a mix between California and Florida. Instead, I wish we had picked Uluwatu as our third spot and saw it’s beautiful cliffs and white sand beaches.