My guide to a 15 day honeymoon in Bali that I hope will help you have as great of a time as we did in the most magical place on the earth.
When it came time to sit down and plan our honeymoon, Thomas and I knew immediately that we wanted to go somewhere:
- We had never been before
- We will probably not want to travel to with kids in the foreseeable future
Two places came to mind: Bali and Thailand. Both are places we had never been, both are places that offer a combination of beach relaxation and jungle adventures and both are places that we probably would not be able to travel to with kids. After much back and forth, endless researching, talking to friends who have visited both places, and pros & cons lists, we decided on Bali.
I will tell you one thing about myself: I love planning. I truly believe I was a wedding/event/travel planner in a past life. Researching, spreadsheets, itineraries…I honestly love it all. I have had people ask me why I didn’t want to hire a travel agent when it came time to plan our 15 day honeymoon to Bali and the answer is very simple: why pay someone else to do what I love to do?
When I say endless researching and list making, I absolutely mean it. The amount of lists, itineraries, and plans that were made (and re-made and re-made and re-made) and guides, reviews and Tripadvisor posts read were beyond count. But after all my efforts were over, Thomas and I had the absolute most unforgettable 15 days of our lives and I am so excited to share everything with you!
We flew to Bali on Cathay Pacific airlines. 15 hours to Hong Kong, a 3 hour layover and then a 5 hour flight from Hong Kong to Bali and we finally arrived. 23 hours of traveling was rough. Business class helped. A great Gossip Girl binge helped. But I’m not going to lie – it definitely wasn’t ideal.
Once we arrived, though, all of that was forgotten because Bali is INCREDIBLE. And I would get on a plane to make the 23 hour trip all over again tomorrow if I could.
We spent our first 5 days in Ubud, which is the iconic inland town in Bali that is known for its rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines.
Where we stayed in Ubud
We stayed at the Viceroy Ubud. This was, hands down, one of the most incredible hotels I have ever been to in my life. I thought the beauty is what would be our biggest takeaway from our 6 nights there, but it ended up being the people. Everyone who works there is some of the nicest people I have ever met. Although the infinity pool that overlooks the Ubud jungle isn’t too shabby either!
If you go there, get their complimentary breakfast every morning. It will be the best hash browns you’ve ever had (not the mention, the view just cant be beat). And tell Yann hi for us! 🙂
Our favorite things to do in Ubud
VW tour through Ubud. We did this fun tour on our first day in Ubud. This was the perfect way to get acquainted with the town and our new surroundings for the next 5 days. On this tour we visited the Ubud Monkey Forest, the downtown Ubud marketplace, a silver making village, the Elephant temple, the Tegenungan Waterfall, a coffee plantation and the iconic rice patties. This was an absolute must and would 10/10 recommend it to anyone visiting Ubud. Try to do it on your first day or two!
The Elephant Safari Park. This was seriously an unforgettable experience and one of our favorite activities of the entire 15 day trip! Being around these incredible creatures is seriously breathtaking and riding them through the indescribably beautiful Ubud forests is just jaw dropping. Definitely make your way here if you can!
The Bali Swing. This is an Instagram tourist attraction if I’ve ever seen one. Beautiful, yes. Adventurous, yes. SO MUCH FUN, yes. But be warned that it is insanely crowded, overpacked and really just an Instagram attraction. If you are going to go, go first thing in the morning right when it opens so you can save yourself waiting in insane lines just to get a photo-op on the swings.
Hire a travel photographer. One of the things we asked for for our wedding was a photography session with a travel photographer. We ended up booking our session with Shoot My Travel, as they had the best variety of photographers. We bought a 3 hours session, that included 3 locations. We shot photos at our hotel, along the infamous Campuhan Ridge Walk and in the downtown market of Ubud. This was one of the most memorable and favorite things we did. We now have incredible photos of our honeymoon that will last forever, instead of shitty Iphone photos where a random person’s thumb is covering half the photo. 10/10 DEFINITELY recommend, whether you’re traveling to Bali or anywhere else!!
White Water Rafting. Another amazing once in a lifetime experience in Ubud. We saved this activity for one of our last days and it was the perfect way to wrap up our trip. SO MUCH FUN!
Favorite Food Spots in Ubud
Arang Sate Bar. The best skewers, the best sauces, the best fries. Right in the middle of downtown Ubud, this was an amazing lunch stop!
Kubu. Located at the Ritz-Carlton in Ubud, this is where we went on our first night in Ubud. We sat in our own private bamboo hut along the riverfront. We had an incredible 8 course dinner. The only downside? We were so jet-lagged we can barely remember it! Definitely add this to your list, but go once you’ve acclimated to the time change!
Swept Away. This is a MUST for any honeymooners!! The private 100 candle dinner was literally on the water and the most romantic thing we did on the entire trip. Food was amazing, service was INCREDIBLE and the views seriously couldn’t be beat!
Bridges Bali. We went here for dinner on our last night in Ubud and it did not disappoint! Right in the middle of the forest, this outdoor restaurant is gorgeous and the food was phenomenal!
Cafe Lotus. My favorite Nasi Goreng of the entire trip! Once you get to Bali, you will quickly learn that Nasi Goreng is Bali’s “cheeseburger and fries”. It is on every menu and I had (at least) 10 different nasi goreng’s during the trip. This one was one of the best! Sit outside for lunch on the deck overlooking the lotus flowers it was definitely be a perfect day!
Nomad. This casual dinner spot in downtown Ubud was also a top Nasi Goreng for me!!
After 5 days in Ubud, we RELUCTANTLY (seriously we were so sad to leave the Viceroy) left for Gili Trawangan. The Gili Islands are a set of three small islands off the coast of Lombok Island. We chose Gili Trawangan, because it is the biggest island and seemed to have the most to do. Don’t be fooled by my term “biggest”, though. The entire island can be biked in 45 minutes.
BRIGHT blue water, small island vibes (no cars allowed. You get everywhere by bike or foot or horse buggy)…we stayed at Pondok Santi Estate and it was truly paradise. Other than the rough 45 minute boat ride to get to the island. Be warned! We took the Patagonia Xpress to get there. The biggest and newest line of fast boats to get to the island.
Favorite things to do in Gili
Bike ride around the island. Honestly, incredible is the only word to describe this. The island is just so cool and unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. Biking it takes about 45 minutes, although you will want to make several stops as you stumble upon things as you go, so plan on this being a several hour adventure. As the main mode of transportation on the island is biking, every restaurant, day club, beach, bar you pass has bike racks to lock up your bike and hang for a bit!
Visit Sunset Beach and lay in the hammocks in the water. #Ididitforthegram but really, this was magical. Straight out of a magazine, this was one of the incredible spots we stumbled upon during our island bike rides.
Kayak. The water was the bluest, clearest, warmest water I have ever been in and kayaking was an amazing experience.
Snorkel in Turtle Bay. We didn’t see any turtles because that requires waking up at the crack on dawn and we just didn’t’t want to do that. But still snorkeling in crystal clear water is always a good time!
Favorite food spots in Gili
Pizzeria Regina. After 5 days in Ubud of eating the most delectable balinese cuisine, I was happy to find a pizza place. And a GREAT pizza place at that!! This pizza was so good, we actually went twice in 4 days! An ENTIRE pizza was only $5.00 and was insanely amazing. Just be warned..Indonesia doesn’t really do pork the same way we do pork. So order anything with bacon, ham, pepperoni, prosciutto cautiously.
Coral Beach Pizza. We stumbled upon this awesome spot during one of our bike rides of the island. We stopped for lunch and were so happy we did! Amazing pizza, fries and a crepe for dessert! Even better than the food was the ambiance..a platform on top of the water where you just sit on lounges on the floor. So cool!
Cookies & Cones. Can you really go wrong with donuts and milkshakes ever? Enough said!
Night Market. This place was just so cool! We stopped for crepes for dinner one night and they were incredible. A must see if you’re in Gili.
After 4 days in Gili, we got back on the fast boat and made our way back to the main island of Bali four our final 4 days of the trip in Seminyak. Seminyak is a beach resort area in the southern end of Bali that is known for day clubs, high-end shopping and restaurants. And it did not disappoint! THE SHOPPING!!! This place was Bali meets West Hollywood and had some of the cutest clothing boutiques I have ever seen. I needed to buy an extra suitcase while I was there just to bring home everything I bought! We stayed at The Oberoi, right on the waterfront, and as was the case with the rest of our trip…IT JUST GOT BETTER.
Favorite thing to do in Seminyak
SHOPPING. SHOPPING. SHOPPING.
Watch a classic Balinese dance.
Favorite food spots in Seminyak
Shelter Cafe. Found this place on Instagram and I could not be more thankful! This little restaurant serves ALL the chill treehouse vibes and even better food! The waffles were seriously some of the best I’ve ever had in my life!
Kynd Community. Another Instagram find that I have been dreaming about since we day we left. I consider myself quite the acai bowl connoisseur and this is at the TOP of my list. The freshest fruit and the BEST GRANOLA I HAVE EVER HAD. Seriously. This granola. I bought two bags to bring home with me and should have made it twenty. If you find yourself in Bali, please go here and buy a bag or ten for me. I will pay you generously! Beware of lines, though. Everyone has caught onto the delicious and instagrammable bowls!
The Lawn. Bali meets Surfer Town USA meets a Tommy Bahama catalog meets day club. This place is so cool. We went here for some before-dinner drinks and appetizers and listened to music and watched the sunset. Half the time, I wasn’t even looking at the sunset, though, because my inner interior-decorator was geeking out. This place was decorated PERFECTLY and looked like it was straight out of a magazine.
Lacalaca Cantina Mexicana. 15 days away from Mexican food had my Los Angeles native stomach craving some rice and beans. We went to this Mexican food spot in Seminyak and it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. The food was good (I am spoiled with Mexican food in Los Angeles, to be honest) but the ambiance was even better. Such a fun Mexican spot in the middle of Indonesia!
If you are planning on taking a trip to Bali anytime in the near future, I hope this guide is helpful to you. Of course, there so many things we did and restaurants we ate at that couldn’t make it onto this list. If you want more details, PLEASE contact me and I will be happy to share (probably way too many) details with you. I fell in love with this place and just want to talk about it and share my experience with anyone I can.
You have been our greatest adventure. Thank you for the abundant love, laughter, smiling faces, warmest greetings, spirituality, adventure & for being the most incredible introduction to married life. You have forever changed us. We love you so much and will see you again one day.