Selective Asia’s Anna recently returned from her own honeymoon, which she spent entirely in Bali. We do love to appropriate our team’s travel experiences and turn them into useful info for you, so we were pleased to find Anna keen to share her beautiful trip with those of you still in the planning stages - of your wedding, and (far more importantly, in our opinions) your honeymoon.
'I must admit that as a dedicated Asia specialist, I made sure my husband-to-be and I started thinking about honeymoon destinations pretty early on in the wedding planning process - certainly before we did anything sensible, like booking a wedding venue! After a lot of deliberation, eventually we settled on Bali, and having just arrived home I’m happy to say we were not disappointed. Here are just a few of the reasons why I think Bali is perfect for a honeymoon...
Everything about Bali seems to have been designed quite simply to make you sit back, kick off your shoes and relax. We weren’t quite sure whether our newly chilled-out state was due to the general atmosphere of spirituality (after all, this is an island where every house is home to at least one shrine), the beauty of the landscape, the smiling friendly people, the fact that the Balinese have practically made the spa experience into an art form, or if it was because the hotels fed us three course breakfasts so we couldn’t actually move until it was time for lunch!
To learn more about the spiritual side of Bali we visited the extremely picturesque temple of Ulun Danu - it’s a collection of traditional courtyards, tiered towers and statues, mirrored in the waters of Bratan Lake. A morning visit should give you the best chance of seeing one of Bali’s colourful temple ceremonies taking place. We didn’t do the Pedanda Blessing in Candidasa, but clients report that it's a beautiful experience of Bali’s sacred side, and definitely appropriate for a honeymoon!
Admittedly I wouldn’t describe everywhere in Bali as beautiful (Kuta is one place that immediately springs to mind), but as soon as you head a little bit further away from the airport, you’re spoilt for choice with places to stop and admire volcanic mountains, golden or jet black beaches, complex rice terraces, traditional villages, and of course Bali’s thousands of temples. In our more energetic moments we climbed Mt Batur and witnessed a superlative sunrise, but many of Bali’s views can be enjoyed just as well from the comfort of your hotel balcony.
Many visitors to Bali just make a short stop at the UNESCO protected rice terraces of Jatiluwih, but at the Sanak Retreat you can spend a couple of nights literally in the middle of perfect rice paddy views. So literally, in fact, that if rice planting or harvesting is in progress, you’re sure to meet the locals as they pass through the resort on their way to work.
I might have mentioned this a couple of times already, but Bali is rightly famous for the quality of its spa treatments. Spa in Bali is very much about the whole experience, with some hotels even including a pre-treatment ritual (sort of a mini treatment before your actual treatment!), and then following the main event with time to relax whilst sampling one of their special herbal drinks or teas. In Bali, it only took a few days to turn a husband who was very dubious about the whole concept of spas into a connoisseur.
At Spa Village Resort Tembok, the unique pre-treatment ritual is known as Segara Giri - Segara meaning ‘ocean’ and Giri ‘mountain’, in the local language. This involves cleansing your feet by resting them on heated local black volcanic sand, and it’s particularly good if you’ve just returned from climbing Gunung Batur!
It should go without saying that of course you don’t need alcohol to have a great honeymoon, but sampling a few local beverages is something that we both look forward to. If you do enjoy a tipple, this is something that Bali does very well, with some drinkable local beers - Bintang was our favourite. Wine is also produced locally, by Hatten Wines. If I tell you I didn’t think it was 'too bad', you might think I’m damning them with faint praise, but as someone who’s sampled her fair share of ‘interesting’ local wines whilst travelling (Dalat Wine from Vietnam, Obelisk Wine from Egypt... the list goes on), I’ve come to see ‘not too bad’ as a compliment! Hotels do successfully use the local spirit Arak to make some delicious cocktails. Bali Colada whilst watching the sun go down from the Puri Bar, anyone?
Seeing as you’ve just promised to spend the rest of your lives together, and feeding each other is a loving thing to do, you might want to take this opportunity to brush up on your cooking skills. There are lots of great cooking courses on offer, but we chose to do ours in Ubud - Bali’s artistic centre. As well as learning to make some of the most popular local dishes (we made fish in banana leaf, fish curry, spinach, rice and sambal) we also found it was one of the best places to try some real Balinese home cooking.
If this was a normal holiday, you might not be too bothered about some of those extra details - things like having a private cottage or villa instead of a normal hotel room, enjoying the odd spa treatment, or a private romantic dinner followed by a few post-dinner drinks from your minibar - but this is your honeymoon. Well, Bali is one place where those special details are much more affordable than many other popular honeymoon destinations. Don’t just take my word for it; Bali was number 5 in Lonely Planet’s best value destinations for 2015.
Selective Asia offers a Gift List service that lets guests contribute to your honeymoon instead of inundating you with food processors.