We did it! We honeymooned in Bali and it was awesome. Most people assumed that after moving to Indonesia, Bali would be my getaway, but even though it’s only a one hour flight away it took me over a year to get there. I think we purposely avoided it because it’s so touristy. Also Joel had already been many times, so we when we started planning our getaways we tried to find destinations a little more off the beaten path (which we definitely achieved by going to Karimunjawa!).
Wanting to start our honeymoon off with a bang, we booked a room at Ananta Legian Hotel which is located right in the middle of the action. Legian is an area between Kuta and Seminyak, two of the most high traffic neighborhoods for tourists. The streets are lined with restaurants of varying cuisine and shopping from posh boutiques to overflowing stalls of bargain necklaces and pom-pom shorts. Yes, I quickly broke down and wrangled myself a pair of pom-pom shorts and OMG they’re the most comfortable thing ever.
Ananta Legian fit the bill perfectly! With a room on the first floor we could stumble out of bed to the sparkling pool complete with swim-up bar. We had high expectations of making the three days in Kuta our party time before heading up to the serenity of Ubud. However we failed pretty hard at staying out past 9:00pm. We’re morning people through and through, so we were up with the birds each day to lounge on the beach or check out the attractions.
At the top of our sightseeing list was Uluwatu Temple, a Hindu temple built on the top of cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean. We went on Sunday morning and the lines of worshipers dressed in white were long and dotted with brightly colored baskets of offerings.
The line of temple goers extended down quite a few flights of stairs. The tourists stayed mostly on the outskirts, walking the path along the edge of the cliff taking selfies. We were warned about monkeys in this area; they’re very comfortable around people and enjoy stealing shiny things likes sunglasses and earrings. But we didn’t see a single monkey and I was a bit disappointed. Little did I know later in the week I would be getting my fair share of monkey sightings.
After Uluwatu it was time for lunch and Jimbaran Beach was on the way home. It’s small a cove situated just north of the airport that’s lined with umbrella covered tables. The restaurants are far from fancy, but they serve up delicious, freshly caught seafood at a fraction on the price of the overpriced resorts. Feeling like honeymoon ballers, we splurged on the platter that included lobster, shrimp, crab and clams. It came along with soup, rice, greens, two beers and watermelon for dessert. It was more than enough for two and set us back about $45 USD. Not too shabby and quite refreshing after a sweaty morning searching for monkeys in a mountain temple perched above the sea.
The next day we hopped a taxi to to the Potato Head beach club in Seminyak. It’s definitely one of the higher end beach clubs (there are so many!) and it didn’t disappoint. There’s a restaurant, bar and pool overlooking the beach. With a reservation you can rent giant chaise lounge by the pool. We saved on seating by getting one of the free sofas, so we could spend on fancy cocktails. As the skies darkened, we hightailed it outta there and scored a cab seconds before the rain. Bali rain is a lot like I remember of Florida from my childhood holidays. It’s sunny most of the day until about 4:00, then for a half hour the skies open up and soak everything in their path.
After the rain we headed to the beach. We’re not the surfing type and the riptide was pretty strong so most of our beach time consisted of people watching from our loungers. Every thirty seconds someone comes by selling hats, glasses, jewelry or foot massages. The sellers are generally friendly, pleasant and not too pushy, but it starts feeling depressing when the peddler is a six year old girl hawking anklets.
The flip side of the beach is the dogs that joyfully bounce in and out of the surf. In Java we only see sickly-looking, street cats, almost never a dog. Bali dogs are plentiful and look generally upbeat and healthy. Surprisingly many of the street dogs had collars. We asked one of the locals and it seems that most, even if they don’t have a proper home, at least have a family or two that make sure they’re fed and happy.
After three days it was time to head inland to the jungles of Ubud. As we drove away from Kuta I thought maybe we were making a mistake by leaving the beach, but it took about ten minutes in Ubud for me to realize I was dead wrong. More on that soon!