Bali is one such place honeymooners love to flaunt on their social media pages. And yes! Even I was there to enjoy my first trip abroad from India with my newly wedded wife. Stereotype! But then that’s the fun in those places. Our passports lying blank for more than 3 years were waiting to get stamped for the first time. I bet in some parallel universe where passports have human feelings, they must be competing amongst themselves about who gets to travel to the maximum number of countries. And this trip marked the entry of our passports in that race.
After researching, comparing, bargaining, and again haggling for discounts, we finally selected Yatra-dot-com to be our travel coordinator. Being meticulous by nature, to the level of being compulsive in this case, I had planned every single minute of this trip, right from the day-wise itinerary to restaurants we’d be dining in. We had chosen Malaysian Airlines for giving us a fair deal between cost and travel time. The service was fantastic with free meals on board and unlimited beverages. Our stopover was at Kuala Lumpur for 2 hours for both, the to and fro journeys, and my wife, Maithili made the most of it by (window) shopping the international cosmetic brands she loves reading about on blogs & vlogs.
Day 1: After landing on Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali), Denpasar and collecting our baggage, we went straight to an airport currency exchange counter to convert the USD we had carried from India, into Indonesian Rupiah.
The moment we came outside airport, a wave of humidity brushed against us and we thought if Bali would be another Mumbai, but then that was about to change. We could spot a person holding a placard of our name. His name was Bagus, our chauffeur cum guide; and as weird as it sounds from the point of view of Indian phonetics, it is supposed to be pronounced literally. Nonetheless, stranger new names were yet to be heard. He welcomed us in a traditional way with garlands and handed us our complimentary sim-card.
We drove straight to our hotel for the next two nights: Baruna Inn Bali, Kuta, a 4 star property with a private beach, and a direct view of the International airport’s runway.
The garden facing room was excellent and very comfortable. The evening was well spent exploring the marvellous hotel property and its beach.
Day 2: Today we visited the highlands of Kintamani, from where one gets a view of the shimmering Lake Batur which lines Mount Batur, an active volcano.
We had Indonesian buffet lunch at Sari Restaurant which sits atop the cliff and shows panoramic and picturesque scenery. It’s very cold & breezy there, but the staff provides blankets on request. Then we proceeded to a coffee plantation. Bali is famous for Kopi Luwak a.k.a Luwak Coffee – which is prepared when a cat called the Asian Palm Civet eats the berries from a coffee tree, and then excretes them out. From here, a farmer or coffee harvester grabs the defecated beans and begins processing them.
We also tasted around 15 types of tea & coffee.
Dinner was at a local restaurant, Warung Segar, where I also had the famous Balinese Bintang.
Day 3: After having a sumptuous and delicious continental breakfast, we checked out and drove towards our stay for the next three nights in Grand Hardys Villas, Seminyak. Enroute we could see huge sculptures of Gods and other mythological characters beautifully carved in grandeur. Our 1 bedroom private pool villa was outright luxurious.
After a quick lunch at the hotel’s terrace restaurant, we set off for our Bali High Sunset Cruise. As the sun went down, the surrounding became colourful and was accompanied by the cool night air breezing on the upper deck. We enjoyed music and a cabaret performance by local artists, followed by an international buffet on the cruise. The experience was truly amazing.
Day 4: Today was adventure water sports day at the famous Tanjung Benoa beach, located in the Benoa Peninsula to the north of Nusa–Dua. We took a Banana Boat ride, went Para-Sailing, Jet-Skiied and the star of all- took an Underwater Sea Walk.
It was spectacular and truly breathtaking. Feeding breadcrumbs to the fishes was unanticipated, but an awe-inspiring experience. For lunch, we had yummy soupy noodles at the beach shack. Slurp! Evening was scheduled for Tanah Lot temple, but since water-sports took most of our daytime, we decided to give it a miss and explore a local place- Krisna Mall to buy native food products and some takeaway memorabilia for friends & relatives. In Bali, always book the Bluebird Taxi, a private cab aggregator, which can be trusted for intra-city commute.
You get a feel of any city only when you break-free from the scheduled itinerary and interact with the locals. It was when we did that, that we came to know that we Indians have a lot in common with Indonesian culture and even here around 80% of the people worship the same Hindu trinity (Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh), only the way of worshiping & offering is different known as Canang Sari, which is offered thrice a day, not just out of reverence, but out of gratitude to thank the almighty for whatever blessings he has showered on his followers. Dinner was at Happy Chappy Restaurant, an authentic Chinese restaurant with a lively ambience.
Day 5: Today we were booked for a complimentary Spa package at our hotel’s Adella Spa. People in Bali are very courteous and demure. And we experienced that every minute of our trip. The two ladies (Yuni & Astir) made us feel very comfortable and we had the most relaxing spa treat, so much so that we booked a scrub package for the next day.
This was followed by a cup of refreshing ginger tea. After a short nap, we proceeded towards the Tanah Lot temple, located on the coastal side of the Beraban countryside of Tabanan town. It’s surrounded by water and its rocky path becomes visible during low tide which we were fortunate to catch.
The temple is a 16th century marvel and has a lot of cultural history attached to it. The sight is absolutely stunning with a view to behold.
Day 6: Alas! Came the day of departure! The body scrub treatment at the spa made sure we had a smooth and soothing departure. Nostalgia had already started to set in. All those lovely moments, the places, the people- their humility and modesty; we were going to miss everything. Since free meals were available onboard the flight, we decided to skip lunch; but had a fuller breakfast after spa, packed our bags, gathered ourselves together and with a heavy but contented heart made our way towards the cab waiting for us to get to the airport.
Bali made our honeymoon very special. The people were new, but treated us with respect and care. The places we visited were similar to what we usually visit, but are etched as lifelong memories in our mind. The food was different for us, a bit sweet & sour unlike the spicy taste we are accustomed to in India; but we liked it. The currency was of an absurdly high denomination (1 INR= 198 IDR), so we loved the feeling of splurging it lavishly. And last but not the least, many thanks to Yatra-dot-com for managing this trip exceptionally well.