Bali had for long been on our minds as a honeymoon destination and we finally managed to work out a decent itinerary after much planning.
Day 1: Arrival & Water sports
We landed at 00:00 and we a bit worried about getting to the Guest Villas in Kuta. But from the moment we touched down, Bali seemed very friendly and safe. It was only until we realized that our villa was a 4 min walk to the bustling Legian street which had everything upto Indian restaurants. Since water sports are subject to weather conditions, I had managed to check the tide schedule and confirmed it was a good day. Our driver drove us – free of cost – to his preferred vendor where we bargained our to the possible extent! Scuba diving & Jet Ski were really worth it. On the way back, we exchanged currency at the bank which had a pretty reasonable rate. I suggest don’t fall prey to the shady money exchanger shops that showcase a rate they don’t offer. Evening was for us to relax.
Day 2: Packed & headed north
Considering places of our interest were all around the island, and travelling to the north takes a good 3-4 hours, we checked-out without our luggage in the car. We intentionally skipped the early morning Mt Ubud tour, and instead caught a glimpse of it en route. A lot of temples, cat-pooh-chino tasting sessions and local food happened on the way. We booked a villa at the Mumbul Guest House in Lovina.
Day 3: No dolphin tour, headed back
We had booked a Dolphin tour early morning. At 5:00am, the boat captain informed us of bad weather and scared the s#!t out of us. We went back to bed. Post breakfast, we started off with the black sand beaches of Lovina beach, and headed back to Kuta with more temples & monkeys on the way. Last stop was Tanah Lot which was a fantastic temple site. We had picked up a few things on the way. Remember, when shopping in Bali, nothing works better than your gut feel. Quote any price that makes the item value for money for you, and that should be your best deal.
Day 4: Shopping in the capital
We had reserved the day for shopping. Our friend Hodma said Denpasar market was one of the most reliable, haggle-free places to shop and drove us there on her way back from work. With fuel at Rs.27 a liter, hiring a bike for 24 hours cost us Rs.500. We also managed Sanur beach and experienced rain & traffic on the return.
Day 5: Beach please
We hadn’t really hit the water beyond water sports and the pool. We were convinced that this wasn’t the real Bali. So we set off on our bike to Padang-Padang beach which was 25km from Kuta. That was indeed the real Bali. On the way back, we stopped by at the luxurious wedding destination Tirtha Bali Chapel for quick tour. Malls in Bali are over-rated and no different from what you would find in Indian metros – don’t waste time there. We relaxed that evening and prepared for a early morning flight. Radio taxis go by the meter and are a much better option within Kuta/Seminyak area, as against renting a car.
Overall, Bali was fun. It can’t get Hindu-er than this, and perhaps they’re more religious than we are in India. Processions & ceremonies are common and great to watch. Its lush green in the center with blue coral beaches all around – not to forget, a black sand beach too. If you’re open to trying local food, don’t miss out on the Chicken Satay and Nasi Goreng. And Bali is very safe and friendly – as long as you don’t mess with locals or do drugs. While you could use the money better in Goa, this is an experience in its own. If you’re planning, here’s the 4 night/5 day (4N/5D) itinerary.
Update: I’ve received a lot of queries around the itinerary & budget from fellow travelers, and I’ve put together a list of Bali travel FAQs around airlines, hotels, budget, car rental, etc. Hope it helps.