There was really only one place I thought of going for our honeymoon and luckily Michael agreed with me, we were going to Bali! I felt it would give us a great mix of relaxation, fun activities and adventure and it certainly did! After months of scrolling through #Bali on Instagram and adding to my Honeymoon Planning Google Doc, the planning was complete, everything was booked and all that was left was to experience the trip of a lifetime.
We spent 11 days exploring in and around Bali, staying in Canggu, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Air and Ubud, with a day trip to Nusa Penida thrown in for good measure. Our trip started quite slow, with us exploring and eating our way around Canggu and ramped up by the time we got to Ubud with lots of road trips and sightseeing packed in.
If you’re planning a trip to Bali of your own, I hope this post will help you. I’ve shared our itinerary, where we stayed, what we did and where we ate because if Bali delivers on anything, it’s beautiful accommodation, tonnes of sightseeing and more delicious, Instaworthy meals than you can physically eat.
Days 1-3: Canggu, Bali
Canggu and Seminyak are always talked about whenever I read other people’s travel blogs and guides to Bali. They sounded like they were THE places to be. I’d read that Canggu was a more laidback version of Seminyak, so it sounded like the right place for us. We loved Canggu, but I think it’s a little over-hyped I’m sad to say. At first, the masses of scooters on the roads are a little overwhelming and there’s not that much to do in terms of sightseeing. However, I’d say Canggu is definitely worth a visit, I just think my expectations were heightened by all the Instagram posts. If you want to surf, get the perfect Instagram pic at trendy cafes and/or meet other travellers, then you’ll love Canggu.
Where we stayed
We stayed in Villa Lua, which we booked via Airbnb. Villa Lua is a 3 bedroom villa, but we booked the whole place to ourselves. I loved the white interior and the pool and garden area was cute. Unfortunately, the lovely hanging chair was taken away to be repaired and the white sunbeds needed cleaning. We weren’t given a padlock or anything to lock the main gate and on our second day, our room was broken into and our money was stolen. Michael and I decided not to let this ruin the rest of our honeymoon and it didn’t – thank God for savings and travel insurance!! I don’t recommend staying at Villa Lua for obvious reasons, but there are so many beautiful villas on Airbnb and the best ones do get booked early, so be quick.
What we did
Canggu is the place to go to eat at insta-worthy cafes, get pampered with massages and watch the sunset by the beach, which is exactly what we did! If you love surfing, Canggu is perfect for that. The roads are busy with loads of scooters, which are the best way to get around, but we were fine just walking everywhere. We mostly ate to be honest, which is why the ‘Where we ate’ section below is so big! We also spent time walking along the beach at sunset, getting pampered at Spring Spa (which we loved! The place is beautiful and the staff are lovely – 540k IDR for a 60min couple’s massage) and heading out for drinks at Old Man’s by the beach and Pretty Poison, a bar with a skate ramp in the middle, pretty cool! We thought we’d head to Seminyak for a day and head to Motel Mexicola for dinner and drinks, but we decided to stay in Canggu. There’s not much to do in terms of sightseeing in Canggu itself, but it is a good base for a lot of day trips/tours.
Where we ate
Our favourite breakfast/brunch spot was Crate, so good we went twice. It was always busy and the queue can be off-putting at first glance, but it moved quickly and we never had a problem finding a seat. The portions are big, prices are great and the view over rice terraces is lovely. I highly recommend the Chik Chik Boom Super Bowl salad which was huge and delicious and Michael vouches for the Brekkie Plate and Shregg. The smoothies looked incredible too, but we were always too full to try one. The Loft was also a great spot. It looked a lot smaller from the outside, but the interior is lovely and the food is great. The Tacos 3 ways were incredible and I wish I’d gone back to try the waffles. Warung Bu Mi was perfect for trying the local food. You can get a plate of rice and fill it with whatever you choose from the selection on display for just a couple of pounds. The Lawn is a great spot to watch the sunset by the beach whilst having dinner or drinks, with a lovely interior and great music. It is pricey for Bali (710k for a starter, 2 mains, 2 alcoholic drinks and water), but still cheaper than dinner in the UK. You can book a daybed and spend most of the day here as it overlooks the beach and has its own pool, but we just went for dinner at sunset. We also went to Luigis Hot Pizza which has delicious pizza, a great vibe and the friendliest staff. Other honourable mentions that we didn’t have time for are Motion Cafe, The Shady Shack, Cafe Organic, The Avocado Factory and La Brisa.
Day 4: Nusa Penida & Nusa Lembongan
We booked a day trip to Nusa Penida with Route X (150k IDR), who arranged our pick-up from our villa in Canggu and saw us on to the boat at the Sanur port. From there we were picked up in Nusa Penida by our private driver Wayan, who was super sweet but unfortunately didn’t speak much English. The roads in Nusa Penida are very broken, so I highly recommend getting a driver, unless you’re very confident on a scooter to go by yourself. I think Nusa Penida is definitely worth a visit for the sights alone.
What we did
We did the West tour, which included Crystal Bay, Kelingking, Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. All four sights were beautiful, though a little marred by the number of tourists. Of course, we can’t complain as we’re tourists just adding to the numbers! Kelingking was the worst of the four, as it was a relatively small cliff edge with everyone waiting to sit in the same spot and get the same picture, but it moved quickly. If you want to head down to the beach, which looked like paradise from above, just be warned I’ve read it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get down, and even longer to climb back up. Crystal Bay was lovely and Michael and I just played around in the sea for ages, then found this beautiful row of palm trees which no one else seemed to know about. I found the cliff edges just past Broken Beach strangely calming, just watching the waves crash below. In the middle of our tour, our driver Wayan took us to a Warung for lunch, but we found out lunch wasn’t included in our tour with Route X, although it is included with a lot of other tours, so just double-check that when booking.
Where we stayed
After Nusa Penida, we caught a boat to Nusa Lembongan just to stay one night before heading to Gili Air. Our driver Wayan took us to the port on Nusa Penida and we booked our boat to Nusa Lembongan there and then (50k IDR). We didn’t get to see much of Nusa Lembongan arrived after dark, but I’m told it’s beautiful. We stayed at Sari Nusa Inn which was super cheap and had everything we needed for one night, but I didn’t realise it was the opposite side of the island to where we’d get the boat to Gili Air. I wish we’d stayed at Dream Beach Huts instead, which look beautiful, are by the beach and are closer to where we caught the boat next to the yellow bridge. We booked our boat to Gili Air through Sari Nusa Inn (400k IDR each) and the boat was Eka Jaya. We were collected on a small boat and transferred to the big Eka Jaya boat on a large floating platform. The service was slick, the boat was modern and the ride was smooth, I highly recommend Eka Jaya.
Days 5-7: Gili Air
Where do I start with Gili Air? It looked and felt like paradise! There are no vehicles allowed on the island, apart from bicycles and horses, although I hear that the horses aren’t treated the best so we avoided using them. The beaches are beautiful, the water is so clear and the perfect place to go snorkelling, and the people are just lovely. I wish we’d spent less time in Canggu and more time in Gili Air! There are three islands close together, Gili Trawangan which is known as the party island and the bigger of the three, Gili Meno which is the quieter, honeymooners island, and Gili Air which is a mix of the two. I highly, highly recommend this beautiful tiny island for your stay.
Where we stayed
We absolutely loved where we stayed, which was Gili Air Escape. When we arrived at the port, we just walked to Gili Air Escape instead of using the horses and it was only about a 15-minute walk in a relatively straight line. We had our own bungalow and I thought it would be cute but basic inside and it absolutely wasn’t basic! I loved the bathroom and open-air shower and the bed was so comfortable. It was just gorgeous and we definitely recommend staying here! We would stay at Gili Air Escape again if we were to go back to Gili Air. The pool is communal but a good size and great to lounge beside, but we actually didn’t use it as we spent our time in and beside the sea instead. If you’re looking for something a bit more private, then I recommend checking out Slow Villas which have private pools and also a spa.
What we did
We hired bicycles from Gili Air Escape and cycled around the entire island to explore. I loved seeing the island this way, although cycling on soft sand is next to impossible! We found a place hiring out snorkelling gear, so we decided to practice. I’ve never snorkelled before because well, I can’t swim! Michael and I stuck close to the shoreline so that I could still stand up if I ever got in a panic and I just practised breathing. The next day we booked onto a snorkelling trip and I made it clear to them that I can’t swim, so they gave me a life jacket. I can’t remember who we booked with, but they were just down from Blue Marine Dive along the beach and were fantastic. The trip was really cheap and included snorkelling in spots near all three of the Gili islands and we stopped at Gili Meno for lunch too. Snorkelling was incredible!! I’ve only swum in the open sea once because like I said, I can’t swim, so looking down at all the fish was amazing!! We even got to swim with turtles which was incredible, they’re so majestic. On top of that, we stopped at the underwater statues. We were there around midday and there were many other boats with lots of people snorkelling to see the statues so it was very busy. If you want those Instagram-worthy shots of just you and the statues then hire a private boat and go early in the morning, otherwise you’ll have many other tourists in your photos.
Where we ate
We loved Pachamama Organic Cafe and would have eaten there more times if it wasn’t closed on Sundays. The decor was a chilled boho beachy vibe, the music was great and the food was delicious! Most of the menu was vegetarian, with lots of vegan options but Michael and I managed to choose pretty much the only meat options on the menu. He went for the Pachamama Burger and I had the Spiced Beef Bowl and we were very happy customers. We also stopped by Coffee & Thyme which was right by the port and had the best iced coffees and banana bread. We had dinner one night at Mowie’s and I absolutely loved the Chicken Katsu Burger. We also made use of the happy hour at Lucky’s Bar, sipping cocktails on bean bags on the beach at night, looking up at the stars and listening to the calming waves – dreamy. Our favourite spot was PinkCoco, so much so we went there twice. Once for dinner and another time for drinks as we sat on the beach watching the sunset.
Days 8-11: Ubud, Bali
To me, Ubud is the heart of Bali with so much greenery everywhere, from the rice terraces to the forests and the hidden waterfalls. Ubud is a must-visit for any trip to Bali in my opinion. It’s also a great base to explore further afield with excursions and trips, whether on your own or with a driver. I would have loved to spend longer in Ubud, especially because I was ill with ‘Bali Belly’ on one of the days which meant I didn’t get to spend much time in Ubud itself. If we’re ever lucky enough to go back to Bali, I’d definitely want to explore more of Ubud.
Where we stayed
We splurged a bit with our last hotel and I’m glad we did! Tejaprana Resort & Spa was stunning and the staff made us feel so special. We booked the Valley View room, which gave us uninterrupted views of the forest from our private balcony and plunge pool. On our first
What we did
We crammed a lot into the few days we had in Ubud, a hell of a lot! So instead of keeping this section as one paragraph, I’ll break it down into the different activities we did. We booked our own private drivers with RouteX Bali, who helped us create an itinerary to visit all the places we wanted to see. We also booked our sunrise Mount Batur hike with RouteX.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
I’d seen so many pictures of the Tegalalang Rice Terraces on Instagram and if you get there at sunrise/sunset or if you have a drone you can get some seriously stunning photos! First, we queued up to use the infamous swings. We didn’t have long to wait as the Balinese run a slick operation and man the swings were fun!! I’ve loved swings since I was a child and this was something else, swinging high into the sky above the treetops. It felt so freeing. That is until they turn you around so you’re backwards, and hoist you up so that the swing is even greater – my stomach was doing backflips!
Then we head down into the rice terraces. Don’t wear fancy shoes here as it can be quite muddy and if you take a wrong step you’ll end up in the rice and water. It can be a little tricky to get down, but nothing too difficult, and if you pass through several farmer’s terraces it is custom to offer a small tip. The terraces are beautiful and like nothing I’d seen before.
After the rice
Michael had never seen an elephant in person before and I’d never been this close to them and man, they are majestic creatures. You can’t
Mount Batur Climb
On our second day in Ubud, we had a lot planned but I woke up in the night with ‘Bali Belly’ and so we cancelled our plans and I spent the whole day in our hotel room resting. Not ideal for our honeymoon! However, that night, after I’d been in bed all day and not eaten, our RouteX driver picked us up around midnight and we headed to Mount Batur. I’m sure the climb up the mountain is difficult at the best of times but in my condition, I found it very hard. Luckily it was just Michael and
Pura Lempuyang & Tirta Gangga Temples
We head to Pura Lempuyang straight from Mount Batur so we were there in the morning, yet we still had to queue for over an hour. The Temple itself is vast and spread out over miles, so give yourself a few hours if you wish to explore the whole area. However, most people just go to the ‘gates of Heaven’ which is what you can see in our pictures above. Because of this, there is a queuing system whilst us tourists take it in turns to stand in the middle of the gates and the Balinese workers take your phone to create the pictures you see on Instagram. I absolutely love the pictures that we got, but having to stand around for an hour in the heat did make us question whether it was worth it and to many people, it probably isn’t. We went on a cloudy day, but if you go on a clear day you can see the peak of a mountain between the gates and if you go at sunrise, your pictures will be stunning!
Tirta Gangga is a short drive from Pura Lempuyang and is beautiful, however there were a lot of people by the time we got there, so we had to be clever about framing our pictures to avoid the crowds in the background. The Koi fish are huge and there are stalls outside the temple selling food if you want the fish to come up to you. The temple has several fountains and pools in the gardens which are lovely so do walk around if you go.
Goa Gajah Temple
I’d seen lots of pictures of Goa Gajah online when we were planning our Bali honeymoon, so I knew what to expect in terms of the Temple but I had no idea there were these beautiful gardens just behind it. Don’t just stop at the sculpted Temple when you go, explore a little further and you’ll find these stunning gardens! There was a small temple in the gardens which our driver took us to and a local man led us in a short blessing and prayer ceremony which was lovely. The main temple itself is carved into a cave and is quite small and warm, so you won’t want to spend too long in there but you can make an offering and say a prayer if you wish, as many Balinese do daily.
Bali has many beautiful waterfalls to explore. Some are more hidden and can be quite a trek to get to, but reward you with huge waterfalls. We only had time to visit one, but as we’d never seen a waterfall before we definitely wanted to squeeze it in. We went to see Tibumana Waterfall, which had steps all the way down to it so wasn’t difficult to get to. The waterfall itself was tall but I was surprised that the body of water it fell into was quite small. There weren’t too many people there when we went and we all politely took it in turns to get pictures in the water. There’s something very calming about being near a waterfall and listening to the water come crashing down.
This was our favourite place! We spent a few hours here and could have spent longer if we weren’t hungry and didn’t have a plane to catch. The monkeys run around freely and aren’t afraid of us tourists walking around. The forest is quite large and there are monkeys to be seen everywhere, just going about their monkey business. Be warned though, do not take any loose belongings with you as the monkeys can grab them and run. We left everything in the car with our driver and only took my camera and Michael’s GoPro which were both strapped to us. We saw baby monkeys playing with each other, mums napping whilst the babies fed, big monkeys getting first dibs on the food and monkeys jumping through the trees. It was so much fun!!
And that’s it! We head straight from the Monkey Forest to the airport for the long, long, very long flight home. Bali was everything we could have hoped for and although we did as much exploring as we could fit in 11 days, there is still much more to do and see. I guess we’ll just have to go back again, ey?
It’s been so much fun reliving our honeymoon whilst writing this post. Bali will always hold a special place in our hearts, especially because we now know that we fell pregnant in Bali!! I hope this post is helpful for anyone thinking about or planning a trip to Bali. Go, you won’t be disappointed.