Bali, Indonesia

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sunset at Seminyak

Bali is one of those “exotic” places that’s exploded in popularity lately – perhaps as a result of the instahealth craze. Everyone wants to have their honeymoon there, and because we don’t like following the crowd, we figured we’d visit during our SE Asia trip so that we didn’t have to make a separate trip all the way to Bali and spend $$$$$ on plane tickets. But I just found out that one of my close friends will probably have her wedding there, so I guess we’ll be going back next year!

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flowers in every villa we stayed at

Speaking of weddings, we’ve just started looking at venues (oops, a bit late). This will be our greatest test of how to throw a #budgetwedding! It won’t be fabulous – more of a “party in the woods” style. I hope we can pull it off 😮 Stay tuned!

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Amed – and Mount Agung in the background, which is a highly active volcano!
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lush rice terraces. Even though we visited during “monsoon season”, it only rained when we were in Ubud and not beachside.

The most magical aspect of visiting Bali was how CHEAP everything was! People mention the beautiful beaches, but there are much better beaches in the Carribbean/as part of other Polynesian islands if you’re looking for white sand beaches and clear waters. We visited three distinct parts of Bali – the island is actually very large and driving from one place to another takes forever because of traffic on the one-way roads!

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We have so many cool diving photos – sadly can only upload a few of them here!

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Checking in through security at the airport took over 2 hours – everything really does run on island time. There were hoards of people asking to take us in a taxi to wherever we desired (it became a common chorus: “taxi? taxi? taxi?”). Our first destination was many hours away from the airport, so I had hired a private driver ahead of time. It ended up being around $20 for a 5 hour drive – we tipped extra because we felt bad the driver had to drive another 4 hours back home in the middle of the night!

Amed was our first stop for the amazing snorkeling/SCUBA diving. It’s on the eastern part of the island where there aren’t as many tourists (probably because it’s so far away from the airport). We only stayed for two days – locals said we were crazy for making the long drive! – but they were amazing days. We stayed at a beautiful dive resort which was apparently only 2 stars and $10 a night, but we had the honeymoon suite which a huge balcony and two outdoor pools that were right on the edge of the ocean. Some days when we were bored, we walked right from our pool into the ocean and went snorkeling. We also mostly ate at our resort (we stayed a bit away from the center of town), and the food was amazing!

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typical day by the Oceanside pool
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from pool to ocean


all the Hindu temples/statues were so intricate!

We dove with Tumbalen Divers to see the USS Liberty and the Dropoff. It was M’s first time diving, and so we had to do an intro course in the pool before going into the ocean. It was some of the best diving I’d ever done, even though it was so close to the shore! We could’ve snorkeled and seen amazing things, although of course it was so much cooler being able to dive. Both dives + Intro was only $75 per person (way cheaper than it would be anywhere in North America) and we gave our dive instructors my SD card to take photos of us.

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water temple

On our third day we made the drive to Ubud, which everyone said to visit as it’s the “spiritual center” of Bali. I hated it. It’s become incredibly touristy and there were hawkers everywhere. Perhaps if we’d stayed a bit out of Ubud in a “spiritual retreat” our experience would’ve been different, but we stayed closer to town and so were subject to the craziness of the city every day. I did enjoy the Monkey Sanctuary – they’re a lot less scary that you’d think! – and we saw some cultural dances every night. We also got some really cheap Balinese massages, which actually ended up being my least favorite after getting Vietnamese and Thai massages during the rest of the trip. Massages were around $7 an hour for a full-body massage! We couldn’t find too many hole-in-the-wall places for food, so we ate at nicer restaurants most of the time. We also visited a lot of rice paddies and water palaces, and bought some trinkets at the markets.

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right outside our hotel room in Ubud

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the baby monkeys were cute. The adult ones, not so much.

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We planned last minute to visit one of the famous “party beaches”, so during our last days we made the drive to Seminyak Beach, which was closer to the airport anyway. We stayed at a private villa with our own butler and really felt like we were on our honeymoon! We had our own pool, and when we got tired of that, we walked a few streets down to the beach. It certainly wasn’t a relaxing white sand beach – this area of Bali was much more well known for the surfing! There were HUGE waves, and although we didn’t take a surfing class we tried our hand at body surfing 😉 The sand was also incredibly soft and clean, and we ate and drank at the restaurants and bars right on the beach. For some reason – probably because the beach was actually really clean – we actually really enjoyed the party vibe of Seminyak. Maybe it’s because I was expecting American spring break-type of beaches, when in reality the Australians party cleaner.

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breakfast served by our butler. Personal pool in the background.

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having lunch on the beach. Hair braided by the spa that did my facial.
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tried the “fish spa” = where little fish nibble at your feet and eat the dead skin. So freaky. Would not do again (although my feet were super soft afterwards, lol)

I totally understand why people come here on their honeymoon – it’s so relaxing and you can totally just laze around in your private villa, get facials, and be waited upon by personal butlers for days on end for a very cheap price! The biggest hassle here was transportation, but if you get certified drivers ahead of time it should be no problem (or use the drivers who are part of your hotel). We found that haggling on the streets for taxis usually didn’t work because we obviously looked like foreigners.

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someone was NOT impressed with this waterfall
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villa decoration
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