I’m going to start this post off by saying that this is more of a photo expression than a wordy article. However, I would like to paint the context and by doing so I invite you to ask any questions you have about our trip. We would love to hear if you are doing something similar. Also this article is part of a 3 country honeymoon. We’ll call it Our Asian Honeymoon.
Brandi and I eloped (in town) in the summer of 2014 and we wanted to do something big for a honeymoon. In fact, the original idea was actually to tie the knot in Thailand but it’s not super easy to officially wed abroad so we decided to make the trip our honeymoon instead. This Thailand trip turned into something else as we realized it might be cheaper (and more fun) to fly into Singapore and we also have a friend that lives in Bali… we added the two countries to our trip. Brandi was working at a Hyatt in Austin at the time so we were able to get 3 free nights at Grand Hyatt Bali, 3 free nights at Grand Hyatt Singapore, and 3 cheap nights Hyatt Regency Phuket (Thailand). The remaining nights we used AirBnB except two nights with friends.
So we got into Bali and started the Indonesian adventure. I remember the flight being miserable, jet lag got the best of me and we spent the first day relaxing at the Grand Hyatt, definitely the most unique property we’ve ever stayed on. The grounds spread over acres and acres and sits along the beach that is in the Nusa Dua area of Bali. Our friend Chris mentioned that the island of Bali on a map looks similar to a Snoopy head – Nusa Dua would be Snoopy’s shoulder blades. The area around the hotel was easy to explore and there were a lot of hidden gems including temples, statues and a strip of beachfront bars.
Okay, so we got our relax on the first day but we wanted to check out something truly amazing that would take a full day and hopefully blow our minds with adventure… we found that certain something. I’ve actually written an article about this that you can read here, but to sum it up we went to Blue Point Beach and followed up with Uluwatu to see the Kecak Dance during the sunset.
Once our three nights at the Grand Hyatt Bali were over, we headed to Seminyak (see our video) to explore during the day and made our way to Canggu where we crashed at Chris’s mother’s house. Seminyak was great. It was full of shops and a more tourist driven atmosphere but the culture remained so different than anything we’ve experienced. Note to self: I’ll write a small article on bartering in Bali because we had a petty experience in a Seminyak shop that actually could have gone terribly wrong.
Maruta, our cab driver (see Blue Point/Uluwatu article), dropped us off at a simple warung that we will never forget. We were completely utilizing our Bali guide from Lonely Planet which is always a recommended travel source. We walked to a Seminyak coffee shop that the guide recommended called Buzz that proved to be fantastic. The moments you get to relax on these trips is important: at these two establishments, we had a minute to process where we were and what we had accomplished since we conceptualized our Asian Adventure.
At this point we were lightly rested and a stroll sounded terrific so we headed West towards the beach and aimed our path north towards Canggu. We knew that we might not be able to reach Canggu by foot but at least we would be closer once Chris was able to meet up. The beach looked very dark and muddy but in a serene way – we picked up so many fascinating shells to add to our collection at home. Stumbling upon a market in northern Seminyak, we grabbed some food at a place that we also found in our guide called Mano Sea Side Beach club… perfect for a sunset.
The next two nights we stayed in Canggu and explored by foot (save for a couple rides on a moped). This part of our trip was very casual which was exciting because the next part of the trip involved a flight to Thailand and island hopping in the Andaman Sea. Except for a badass Aussie party at Dues Ex Machina that Chris took us to, we had no plans – only time to ourselves to not only get to know the area, but to get to know each other in a rare light.
Chris’s mother suggested all kinds of places to see, mostly cafes and temples, so we did a little tour from her neighborhood to the beach where we circled back to her house. Canggu reminded me of the affluent suburbs of San Antonio minus the chain stores and restaurants. Comparing it to San Antonio, Canggu had the boutique culture similar to Alamo Heights but with a lot more millennial influence, most of them from Australia. Some people told us Bali was Australia’s Cancun to put it in American terms. We relaxed at Monsieur Spoon which had a pristine garden patio, Betelnut Cafe which we highly recommend for breakfast, Old Man’s Bar for ice cream and gelato, and Echo Beach had one of the most interesting set ups for food. Chris took us to a bar-b-que buffet right next to the water so that we could catch up and hear stories of the Balinese culture.
These walks allowed Brandi and I to have many excellent conversations that wouldn’t have occurred if we weren’t on the opposite side of the world. These last days in Bali were our own private harbor of harmony that told us we were right for each other and the 19 days of travel revamped and improved our relationship that we thought was already perfect. The culture was so different that we almost had to remain in this constant state of excitement as we explored and experienced. We couldn’t have picked a better place to find ourselves and to find each other.
Like a lot of the Nomadic Gear articles posted by me, I leave you with a collection of photos from our Asian Adventures. Sometimes I re-read these posts and add more that I didn’t originally think of so I’ll keep you guys in mind – our purpose is to inform you of what’s out there in the world. We’d love to hear from you so please comment below with questions or your own Bali stories! –JWB