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Our Honeymoon in Indonesia: Bali, Lombok, Gili Islands and Nusa Penida

Written by Gia Kristel Algie

With beautiful, diverse landscapes, fascinating culture and luxurious hotels, Indonesia is an incredible honeymoon destination. Couples will be spoilt for choice with its different islands and multitude of activities. From strolling along some of its many beaches to discovering lush rice fields, an exciting honeymoon awaits for those in search for a truly exotic tropical getaway.

Jon and I recently spent our two week honeymoon in Indonesia. Delighted by the spectacular beaches of the Gili Islands and Lombok, overwhelmed by the rice fields of Ubud and enchanted by the beauty of Nusa Penida, I am so excited to share the details of our honeymoon in Indonesia.

Disclaimer: We had our honeymoon in Indonesia in April 2018, prior to the earthquake (we feel for everyone who suffered in this tragic event) so we are uncertain what the conditions will be like now. 

Curious about our wedding? Check out the details of Our Travel-themed Wedding in Central Otago, New Zealand.

In a span of two weeks, we explored six neighbouring islands in Indonesia – Bali, Lombok, Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Nusa Penida.

Seminyak, Bali

Coming from New Zealand (and I guess it would be the same for most countries), Bali was the ideal entry point to Indonesia. After a few weeks of rummaging through hundreds of Instagram photos taken from Bali, Seminyak was an easy choice to base ourselves for our first couple of days in Bali.

Boasting chic restaurants, fantastic shopping and a vibrant nightlife, Seminyak appeals to a wide range of travellers. During our two days in this part of Bali, we wandered around different boutique shops wishing we had more space in our luggage. Some of those shops are owned by international designers too so it’s not your usual souvenir shops that you’d find in other places. My greatest find was a pair of handcrafted silver with amethyst earrings. It was small enough for a keepsake and I got to wear them for the rest of our time in Indonesia! Later in the afternoon, we ventured towards the beach and visited two popular beachfront bars, colourful La Plancha and fancy Potato Head Beach Club.

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One of my favourite memories of Seminyak was the colourful sunset we had at the beach on our first night. While the beach itself was nothing special, red and orange hues of the sunset that night were simply spectacular. At that stage, I realised I could be anywhere in the world with Jon and I’ll be happy.

Where We Stayed: Tijili Semiyak. Get a sneak peak of our time in this charming boutique hotel in this feature for Tijili Seminyak.

Lombok

A scenic 30-minute flight took us from Bali to the sandy shores of Southern Lombok. Relaxing by the beach for three days fits our idea of a perfect for honeymoon. Located in Kuta, Novotel Lombok Resort and Villas (one of the top hotels on Lombok) gave us the chance to unwind in style! The resort was spectacular, where we had our own private villa. The beautiful beach front was also ideal for chilling out and relaxing!

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On our second day, we explored some of the best beaches in Lombok – we visited Selong Belanak Beach, Mawun Beach and Tanjung Aan. We also enjoyed the hike above Merese Hill with its spectacular coastal views. It’s also known as a great spot to watch the sunset. The car rental to do this day trip set us back 500,000 IDR.

Where We Stayed: Novotel Lombok Resort and Villas. Read more about our relaxing time with Novotel in feature for Novotel Lombok Resort and Villas.

The Gili Islands

A boat ride away from Lombok and Bali, the Gili Islands are known to have some of Indonesia’s best beaches. During our two-week honeymoon in Indonesia, we visited three of the major Gili Islands, Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. As most travellers will say, each of the major Gili islands appeals to different people. Gili Meno attracts couples looking for a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, Gili Trawangan appeals more to travellers looking to socialize with its wide array of bars and restaurants and Gili Air invites curious travellers who want something in between. We went out to investigate if these were true (without compromising some proper beach time, of course!).

Gili Meno

If you’re ideal holiday involves lying under the sun while listening to waves crash on the shore, you can’t go wrong with Gili Meno. This small island surrounded by crystal clear blue waters is one of the most captivating islands we’ve been. It’s like a rustic version of the Maldives. It’s interesting to see how parts of the island still feels very traditional and the natural beauty of the island is well kept considering the onset of resorts along its exterior.

Gili Meno enchants travellers with its beautiful stretches of coastline with magnificent views of Bali and Lombok. During our stay, we mostly explored the island by foot (yes, don’t expect cars or tuktuks here!) and relaxed along beachfront warungs (restaurants) while sipping fruit shakes or enjoying the local cuisine (you can’t go wrong with chicken satay!). We also went swimming a few times – the water is fantastic here! Make sure to find the best spot with sandy a bottom as some areas have heaps of broken coral. If you’re into diving or snorkelling, Gili Meno offers you the chance to see turtles and underwater art! Check out the post about Gili Meno below for more information on the best beaches on the island.

READ MORE: Where are the Best Beaches on Gili Meno, Indonesia

We stayed at the northern side of the island, at Seri Resort which reminded us a lot of the hotels in the Greek Islands! While there is much to explore in Gili Meno, we also enjoyed some quiet time relaxing in our resort. It was great spot to hang around with its infinity pool and beautiful beachfront.

Where We Stayed: Seri Resort Gili Meno.

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan attracts travellers looking for a fun and vibrant island experience. Beachfront bars and restaurants with loud party music dominate one side of the island but you’ll still find a quiet spot to watch the sunset as you go further away from the port. Cycling the island’s exterior remains one of my favourite things to do in Gili Trawangan. Bikes can be rented for a few dollars for a full day and it’s easily the best mode of transport on the island. It only takes a few hours to cycle all around Gili T despite the lack of proper roads and the sandy areas where you have to walk your bike. Cycling is a lot of fun even though parts can be quite busy with “traffic” along the port area where you’re likely to encounter horse carriages (the alternative means of transport for those with heavy luggage) and pedestrians.

Gili Trawangan is like a less developed Koh Phi Phi, there are heaps of shops, bars and restaurants along most places but there are still areas where you get to lie on the sand and hang your clothes on a tree branch. The water is also just as nice as Gili Meno, and it’s encouraging to know that beach clean-ups are organised to keep this island along with the other Gilis as good as they once were.

RELATED POST: Couples Travel Bucketlist: Top Experiences to Share with Your Partner

Villa Gili Bali, a classy, mansion-like resort was a our home for the three days that we were on Gili T. It’s located at the northwest side of the island and is a great spot if you want to experience a relaxing resort and be close but not to close to the exciting parts of Gili T.

Where We Stayed: Villa Gili Bali Beach. Read more about our luxurious stay in this feature for Villa Gili Bali Beach.

Gili Air

Since we didn’t have enough time to stay on Gili Air, we decided to do a day trip from Gili Trawangan to see what the island was like. With only a few hours on our hands, we still had enough time to walk along the whole island. While you can also rent bikes on this island, we were glad we didn’t as parts of the island were sandy and it would have been a real struggle to push the bikes!

During our island stroll, we explored beautiful stretches of beach and admired crystal blue waters. I also finally found the perfect spot on the Gilis for a swing photo! These swings are actually found in many spots around the Gili Islands so you can choose the best one for you. Like the other Gilis, there are a lot of cool beachfront restaurants and bars on Gili Air. We had lunch at one that’s owned by a resort (I can’t recall the name) but there are a few that offer great views if you just want to pass the time and admire the turquoise water. Before we headed back to Gili Trawangan, we found an nice coffee shop near the port called Coffee and Thyme. I had my best coffee (they have flat whites!) in the Gilis there and they also have some pretty cool seating areas which makes it a great spot to hang around as you wait for the next ferry.

Nusa Penida

Fascinating coastal views and dramatic landscapes make Nusa Penida an unforgettable day trip from Bali. The Nusa islands have gained popularity only recently through social media with Nusa Penida being the top of the three major ones (Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida).

From the Gili Islands, we headed back to Bali and based ourselves in Sanur for a night to organise a tour to Nusa Penida for the next day. Staying in other areas such as Seminyak or Ubud are also options to consider but day trips cost a bit more from those places.

Our day trip to Nusa Penida from Bali started around 9:00am. While we read some warnings that the sea crossing can be rough, we didn’t have much trouble on the way to the island. Nusa Penida looked really promising from afar. Despite the port being quite basic, as we started our drive towards the interior of the island, we began to realise what the fuss was about. While it reminded us a bit of Lombok’s greenery, it was more rugged and pristine than that. People do say that Nusa Penida must have been what Bali was like years ago. As we got closer to the coast, we fully appreciated Nusa Penida’s immense raw beauty!

The west tour of Nusa Penida features Angel’s BillabongBroken BeachManta PointKelingking Beach and Crystal Beach. 

Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach and Manta Point are located next to one another. These three sites offer stunning rock formations which meet with the open ocean. Angel’s Billabong acts like a natural infinity pool and tourists from all over the world come to bathe in this wonderous pools. It’s not the safest though, as huge waves from the ocean are known to engulf people or push you back towards sharp rocks so be careful if you desperately want that instagram-worthy photo next to the ocean. We have seen people get hurt during our short visit and wouldn’t really recommend it.  You can easily see the pools from above. Broken Beach is a definite highlight of our trip. I love the arched rock formation here and the water in these parts is simply incredible! While we didn’t swim with mantas, we did get to see a few of them including some friendly dolphins from Manta Point, which is only a few minutes’ walk from Broken Beach.

Dramatic coastal views and the surreal beach landscape make Kelingking Beach truly unforgettable. Kelingking Beach is one of the best gems of Nusa Penida and the pristine beauty of this places really stands out. We have been to many coastal places and Kelingking Beach is definitely up there! While most tourists enjoy the beauty of the beach from above, it is also possible to walk the steep (and dodgy) wooden stairs to get to the beach. It looks like a long way down (say 5 stories?) though (Jon only did halfway as we didn’t have much time for our day tour) but I imagine the water would be so pleasant to swim in! The hike back up would be quite challenging though! We spent a decent amount of time at Kelingking Beach and even discovered a sweet photo spot on the other side of the trail. A friendly tourist guide helped us get a naturally framed photo from up a tree. How cool is that?

The last stop for the Nusa Penida tour was Crystal Beach. It was a charming looking place but the wrong light (it was about sunset when we got here) and a bit of rubbish scattered around didn’t help showcase the place too well. It was a relaxing stop nonethelese, where we got to sip some cold drinks and relax by the beach before we headed back to Bali.

The ferry trip to and from Nusa Penida cost 350,000 IDR per person from Sanur. The private car with driver to do the Nusa Penida day trip set us back 500,000 IDR, which we had previously arranged with the ferry company in Sanur. 800,000 IDR per person seems to be quite a reasonable price to do this tour from Seminyak (transfers to Sanur are included in this price).

Ubud

After a spectacular day trip in Nusa Penida, we headed straight to Ubud to spend our last few days in Bali in full relaxing mode! A scenic resort villa hidden away among lush rice fields was our abode for the last stretch of our trip. It was a great spot to unwind and fully embrace the culture of this part of Bali.

Our days started early in Ubud. Each day, we woke up just before sunrise and walked along the rice fields to capture photos of this rural spectacle. It was a breath of fresh air – a place where you can truly be one with nature. While it was tempting to stay in our private villa, there were way too many things we still wanted to see in Ubud and Bali, in general. With Ubud’s nice resorts, variety of restaurants and great shopping – it makes for a great base to explore Bali.

Our first day was spent exploring the attractions in Ubud itself, we visited a few temples in town, had a look at some of the crafts at the market and feasted on local and international delights. The town itself has lots of local sights, the best of which is the Sacred Monkey Forest. Monkeys have always fascinated me and the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud is a great spot to observe and interact with monkeys in their nearly natural habitat. We also went to Campuhan Ridge Walk, which was actually quite underwhelming!

Trying new restaurants and sitting in a new cafe each day were some of the delightful things I remember in Ubud. Jon and I enjoyed many gelato breaks due to the the daunting heat in Indonesia. The Starbucks near the a temple was also a great place to beat the heat. If you’re looking for some desserts, the Daily Baguette was a great find for some decadent mousse cakes and pastries.

We hired a private car to see some rice terraces and other nearby waterfalls on our second day in Ubud. The enchanting Tegallalang Rice Terraces completely blew us away. The dramatic scenery was a lot more beautiful than I expected. We spent a good few hours here going through the different paddies. If you’re keen to try the infamous Bali swing, you can try it here. We also visited three waterfalls including Tegenungan Waterfall, Kanto Lampo Waterfall, and Tebumana Watefall. Temples, of course, were on the list too. We visited the Water Temple, where people have the chance to bathe in sacred water and Goa Gajah Temple a cool complex with interesting stone carvings.

The private car with driver to do the day trip in Ubud set us back 500,000 IDR, Entrance Tickets 10,000 IDR to 15,000 IDR + donations and tips.

RELATED POST: 10 of the Best Things to Do in Ubud: Exploring Central Bali

The final bucket list item in Indonesia: a flower bath! It was the perfect ending to our romantic honeymoon in Indonesia.

Where We Stayed: Solo Villas and Retreat. Read more about our amazing stay in this feature for Solo Villas and Resort.

Are you planning a honeymoon in Indonesia? Which places are you most excited to see? Let us know.


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About the author

Gia Kristel Algie

Currently based in New Zealand, Gia grew up in Manila, lived in Singapore for three years and travelled the world for nearly two years. From watching sunsets to hiking mountains, she loves the outdoors. She enjoys living in big cities but takes pleasure staying in quaint, small towns. An aspiring photographer and budding writer, she is the voice behind Mismatched Passports, a travel blog dedicated to the journey around the world with her husband, Jon.

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