The beautiful waves of the Indian ocean crushing through the shores, the unique temples, the vibrant colors of the rice fields, and the luxurious private villas are just some of the things that makes Bali stand out as the honeymoon capital of Asia. Attracting not only newlyweds, but also people of all ages from all over the world, Bali’s tourism is growing day by day. It’s a destination worth traveling halfway across the globe for, and with such a rich history and a unique culture, Bali will easily blow you away.
But compared to other southeast Asian tourist hubs, Bali is not a cheap island. When you think of a Balinese honeymoon, you think of private infinity pools overlooking the ocean or the jungle, yoga retreats, and amazing spa massages. And no doubt will they leave your wallet dry and your bank account struggling when you return. But here’s the good news: a honeymoon on a budget is possible. You just need to do a wee bit of research and know a few things beforehand to successfully celebrate a blissful beginning to your marriage. Some simple tricks and hacks will give you just the Balinese honeymoon experience you know you want and deserve. So read on for a few good tips to help you plan a luxurious honeymoon…on a budget.
1.) Decide precisely how you would like to spend your honeymoon. Would you rather be spending your time privately sipping cocktails by your villa or spend most of your days exploring? Do you picture enjoying each other’s company in the ocean more or being in a secluded rice field? Once you figure out how you’d like to be celebrating, it’ll be easier to decide what kind of accommodations would fit your needs and what kind of activities you should go after. This is also a necessary step to finalize which area you’ll be staying at. Here’s a simple rule of thumb about the main locations in Bali:
Ubud – the main cultural town of Bali. There are no beaches here, but here is where all the lush jungles and lovely rice fields are located. The beautiful lush setting in Eat, Pray, Love were partly filmed in this area. The Ayung River, famous for white water rafting, can also be found here.
Kuta – parties, surfing, backpackers. It is the more affordable area. Do not expect a gorgeous beach here though, as it caters more to surfers.
Nusa Dua – The beach here is mainly for water sports activities, not for chillin’ and relaxin’, but it’s a nice area away from all the noise in Kuta.
Seminyak – Seminyak is nice. It’s a little more upperclass here, and most five star hotels are located here. The beach is gorgeous, especially the sunrise.
2.) Pick your accommodations smartly. Privacy is one of the biggest concern when planning your honeymoon. This is probably why Bali stands out so much in this division because of their famed villas. The good news is that there are plenty of very affordable villas, especially in Kuta. However, as I’ve said earlier, Kuta is a pretty busy area where most backpackers and twenty something partiers will most likely be at. Not exactly where I wanted to be on my honeymoon. The villas that I had my eyes on were located in Ubud but there was just no way we could afford an entire week staying at a five star accommodation. But since I already knew that I want to be exploring for the first half of the week, which wouldn’t require us being in the room for too long, we decided to opt for a cheaper room for those days. That way, the second half of our honeymoon was spent in the privacy of our own private pool villa while cutting our expenses in half. Our last days also fell on a Balinese New Year and Silent Day, so it was the perfect time to book a private villa.
I booked through Agoda, which never fails when it comes to discounted rooms in southeast asia. I’ve mentioned it before in my previous posts, but sometimes, you can get app discounts or web discounts, depending where you’re booking from. We ended up booking with a nice brand new hotel in Nusa Dua for $30/night for our first half of the week, and the next couple of days at a private villa in Ubud originally $400 a night, but booked it for a little less than $300 a night instead. It was a win win situation. (Read about where we stayed here)
3.) Invest on your transportation to make the most of your time. Bali is such a huge island with so many beautiful places to see. If you prefer exploring in your own time on a motorbike, that’s fine, but know that most of the places are very spread out and far away from each other. It’ll be cheaper and will be much better if that’s how you really want to spend your honeymoon. I prefer exploring on my own too, but I don’t know about you, but I want to just chill and be driven around in an airconditioned car on a vacation like this. Renting a car starts from $40 a day and it comes with a driver already. It’s the best form of transportation here because taxis will be expensive considering the distances. Booking through companies for an organized package tour worked out pretty good for us too (except this one mishap when our guide tried to rip us off). But still, I suggest finding a reliable company or driver where you can arrange your own itinerary.
4.) Find alternatives for the luxuries you can’t afford. For example, your hotel doesn’t have a nice pool. Head to a day club instead for a lazy day by the pool. My favorite is Potatohead Beach Club in Seminyak. They have a nice infinity pool overlooking the beach, and they play great music! You’ll have to spend a certain amount from their menu for a day bed, but trust me, it’s worth it. Or you could just bring a towel and layout in the grass like many people do. It gets pretty busy around sunset so make sure you head out there early to reserve a spot.
Can’t afford a private beach dinner? Head to Jimbaran Bay for a good seafood dinner by the beach instead. Can’t afford a private villa? Head to a quiet, less crowded beach. Mengiat and Pandawa beach are my favorite. Just find a spot and if you go at the right time of the day, you may have the peace and isolation you’ve been wanting. If you have time to check out the Gili Islands, even more amazing.
5.) It’s okay to splurge a little. It’s your honeymoon! You deserve to be pampered so don’t regret spending just a little more cash for a little upgrade to a better quality. You want that final massage to be amazing. You want your last dinner to be unforgettable. It’s okay. It’s your honeymoon. Make some adjustments and prioritize which is more important to both of you. As long as you plan the general things right, then you shouldn’t feel guilty indulging in the pleasures of Bali. It is why you’re here to begin with. In all honesty, we could have done a lot better with our budget, but honeymoon is *once* in a lifetime. Make the best of it!