Deciding where to go was tricky – we wanted to live like kings, without the price tag... does such a place even exist? Having decided to travel over Easter, we looked at where was good weather-wise for that time of year. There was only one place that could fulfil Nick’s can’t-sit-still personality and soothe my sun-worshipping soul perfectly, and that was Bali. And so we booked in for two weeks in paradise.
When we took our first step off the plane, the warm air wrapped around us like a familiar hug and we were swiftly escorted to our hotel, Bisma Eight. The two-hour drive to Ubud (due to roadworks – normally one hour) was a sensory journey in itself. Daring scooters confidently weaved through small gaps while other people were popping up roadside barbeques. We were whisked through Ubud, getting a sneak preview of the vibrant hub before arriving at our new home for the next few days – a tranquil haven in the beating heart of the Balinese jungle.
On arrival, we were taken straight to our Forest Suite, with its unique Scandi-meets-Balinese design and epic views, it’s like it was actually made for Instagramming! Our bed was beautifully decorated with sweet smelling Balinese flowers and our huge bathtub was filled with soothing salts and red petals – a honeymooning dream.
Being woken up by birdsong rather than our early morning work alarm set the tone for our first day – total relaxation. The pool at Bisma Eight is mesmerising, its infinity edge falls into the jungle and the water is glistening and calm. After a lazy lunch by the pool we were hungry to explore, and there is no better way than by e-bike with a local guide (which the hotel can happily arrange). Too hot to cycle, the e-bike is an effortless way to explore the surrounding paddy fields and discover untouched parts of Ubud.
Whether you’re staying at Bisma Eight or not, a romantic dinner at the hotel’s totally cool restaurant Copper Kitchen & Bar is an absolute must. As we were on honeymoon, we decided to opt for the romantic dinner experience – a candlelit three-course meal in a private area of the rooftop restaurant amidst a beautifully arranged heart shape of lotus flowers.
The art market is another thing not to be missed. It’s a tourist hotspot, but fun all the same. It’s filled with an array of tropical fresh fruits, beautiful handmade wood carvings and so many lovely clothes. Definitely leave room in your suitcase for a few keepsakes.
Next up, we moved to Bambu Indah, this eco-friendly hotel is made from bamboo and the restaurant's ingredients are home grown on site. We stayed in Biru House, a rustic room decorated with intricate wood carvings. Our wooden veranda was covered in a beautiful floral display which must have taken hours to create.
We jumped straight in at the deep end and took the staff up on their offer of a Balinese blessing – a process that welcomes the good spirits. Both dressed in traditional robes and welcomed by various offerings, we experienced rituals using incense to cleanse, holy water to purify and rice for good fortune and prayer. Although only a 20-minute ceremony, the whole thing was mesmerising.
The next day we headed to Amandari – the jewel in the Ubud crown. Set over the Ayung river, with a never-ending jungle panorama and an unrivalled level of luxury, this is the kind of hotel that has honeymoon written all over it. Our vast thatched Pool Suite featured a huge hand-carved bed , an outdoor marble bath that was big enough for a party and an expansive living area. And not forgetting the incredible pool, which was big enough for morning lengths.
The next morning, we embarked on an incredibly special adventure – a sunrise trek through the untouched rice terraces, admiring local farmers meticulously planting and barefoot men climbing towering palm trees to collect the day’s fruit as we went.
Day 8 – 11
The next stop on our trip was The Temple Lodge at Bingin Beach. Perched atop the cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula, this resort is home to the finest, most dramatic sea views in southern Bali. It’s a surfer haven with front row seats at breakfast over Bali’s most demanding surf breaks, known as ‘The Impossibles’. We stayed in the wonderfully romantic Driftwood Suite which opens up onto the pool. The iconic wood décor is present here too, and there’s even catapults to deter the naughty monkeys who sometimes visit the terrace.
Late that evening we wandered down to the unspoiled beach, lined by three restaurant huts and that’s where we enjoyed dinner. We chose king prawns caught that morning by local fisherman and barramundi, Bali’s most famous white fish. With the sand between our toes and the waves gently crashing we watched the smiling chefs barbeque our fish before serving it to us on a banana leaf with fresh vegetables and sticky rice. Complemented by a couple of cans of Bintang (Bali beer) it was one of the most romantic evenings of our honeymoon.
Day 11 – 14
For the final part of our honeymoon, we chose to stay at La Joya, a boutique hotel that offers rustic luxury in private villas. The resort also has private access to one of Bali’s most spectacular spots, Balangan Beach – this hotel is one of the island’s best kept secrets.
Nick and I booked in for surf lessons, as we figured that there was nowhere better than here, where the consistent swell almost seemed manmade. We laughed more than we stood up, but memories were made.
To make the most of the short time we had left, we spent our final full day on our motorbike touring around the area. We headed to cliff-top bar Single Fin – a surfers favourite for sundowners with an atmosphere that means one cocktail quickly becomes a few more.
For our last evening, we chased the sunset on our motorbike back to La Joya where we sat on the cliff edge and watched the most breathtaking sunset we had ever seen. It was as though Bali had laid on its most spectacular performance for our final goodbye.