Bali, Borneo, Komodo, Java, Flores, Sumatra, Sulawesi… the list of islands where you could spend your honeymoon in Indonesia is endless. The archipelago has over 17,000 islands that encircle the equator like a necklace of emeralds. About 1000 of those islands are home to a 250 million strong population. A wonderful kaleidoscope of languages, ethnicities and cultures: Indonesia is a dream destination for honeymooners!
The customized honeymoon of our dreams
For our honeymoon, my wife wanted to relax on the beach and witness the amazing underwater world. As for me, I wanted to reconnect with my roots – I’m from Saint-Malo. I looked forward to sailing on a schooner, staying in unique places and indulging my passion for exploring South East Asia. Once we knew what we wanted, it was a fairly obvious choice for us. And so we decided to spend our honeymoon in Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world.
Before leaving we contacted Alexis, our dedicated travel expert. He is also the head of Shanti Travel in Indonesia; the agency operates out of Bali. It is very important to take the time to communicate with your travel expert. They must understand your needs, desires and requirements. That way they can tailor your trip to be most pleasant and hassle-free. More than any other trip, we wanted our honeymoon in Indonesia to be a customized trip. And it was indeed! 100% personalized, it was a one of a kind experience.
For truly discovering the immense tropical paradise of the Indonesian archipelago, one needs years of travelling. It is the perfect mix of cultural richness and breathtaking landscapes. The hard thing about planning a trip to Indonesia is having to choose a route and itinerary. There are just so many choices!
Our itinerary for Honeymoon in Indonesia
Alexis clearly understood what we wanted: 2 whole weeks of travel in authentic places, charming and sophisticated accommodation, exceptional natural surroundings, breathtaking view of the sea, a cruise on a schooner, heavenly beaches, unusual modes of transport and mingling with the locals. We also wanted a short stay in Singapore before travelling to Indonesia.
With his immense field expertise and the information we provided, Alexis proposed the following route for us: 2 days on the south coast of Bali, 4 days on Flores & Komodo islands including a 3 day cruise, then 4 days to explore the interiors of Bali, and finally, 3 days by the sea on the island of Lombok. We liked the itinerary and gave our approval. And the resulting trip turned out to be much greater than we expected!
Holiday begins in the laidback and beautiful Seminyak
Seminyak and Canggu are neighbouring villages on the eastern coast of South Bali. Seminyak is one place not to be missed by the international tourist. Canggu, on the other hand, is a peaceful reserve with some beautiful surprises. It has nice restaurants and lots of pleasant pool villas. And if you have forgotten your swimsuit or flip-flops at home, do not despair. You’ll find all you need, and more, at the lovely boutique shops in Canggu. We opted for a poolside villa tucked away from all the hustle bustle. We soon discovered that ‘Sardine‘ was the best restaurant to eat and be seen at Seminyak. For us it was absolute love at first sight. It was a typical Bali-style open house surrounded by rice fields; it manufactures excellent wines and churns out great food. It was also in Seminyak that Alexis, our journey expert, came to share his passion for Indonesia with us. He arrived equipped with travel documents, lovely cards and gifts. We had a great time in Seminyak, relaxing on the first leg of our honeymoon in Indonesia.
An exceptional cruise in Flores
Next we headed out to Flores on a one-and-a-half hour flight. We landed at Labuan Bajo airport, located east of the island of Flores. Hosted by Bruno, our captain, we drove for 10 minutes through the pampas before reaching the port. Here we boarded a Phinisi 15 m traditional wooden boat. This was to be our private boat for a 3-day cruise in the Komodo National Park.
Bruno, his wife Fanny and two Indonesian sailors made up our very friendly staff. They were caring, accommodating and knowledgeable. The fully wooden boat had a cabin with shower and water closet, a kitchen and a large comfortable deck. We preferred to spend the nights on the back deck under the stars. The cruise offered snorkelling sessions (with scuba masks), hiking, delicious food and an entertaining crew that had us in stitches. It was an experience that truly enriched our honeymoon in Indonesia.
Again the service was well-tailored, because Bruno wisely took into account the fact that we are snorkelling fanatics and love spicy cuisine. Bruno and Fanny, who had lived for 10 years in Bali and Komodo, shared their expertise with us. They told us of their experiences in this vast country from cultural, geographical and historical points of view.
Unforgettable nature and aquatic tour in Komodo
In the middle of the strait between Sumbawa and Flores extends the archipelago of Komodo. It is an absolutely heavenly ecosystem, well preserved and retaining its unique beauty. Komodo National Park is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is home to the famous Komodo dragon – the largest lizard in the world. It is considered one of the oldest species in the world, and a close relative of the dinosaurs. More than 5,000 dragons live peacefully among the sun-baked hills on the islands of Komodo and Rinca. The seabed is simply sublime, especially the wild creeks and islets. We had never seen so many fish in our entire lives! We came across an abundance of small fish and colourful corals at the snorkelling spots in Komodo. We also saw twenty manta rays, sharks, and turtles, even a dugong and the manatee, also called “sea cow”. The cruise on the islands of Komodo was so enchanting. It gave us probably the most wonderful memories of our honeymoon in Indonesia.
The boat left us on a lovely beach a few kilometres from Luang Bajo, which is home to several resorts. We stayed for 24 hours in a small boutique resort comprising a dozen teak bungalows scattered around a nice garden. The resort had a large swimming pool and a restaurant facing the sea. The program for this short stop included lazing around and kayaking on the calm and transparent sea. Flores had cast a spell on us, but we did not have time to explore the island. That’s why we have resolved to come here again after our honeymoon in Indonesia is over. This still unspoiled island is also a paradise for trekkers. The name of the island itself is enchanting. Flores was named by the Portuguese explorers who baptized the island “cap of flowers”. The people of Flores are also animists and believe in Nitu, the ancestral spirits who live in trees.
Back to Bali to enjoy the luxury and sensuality of Ubud
Back in Bali, we were greeted by Putu, our friendly driver. He spoke fluent French and was a Francophile. He drove us to Ubud, the “luxurious and romantic” leg of our honeymoon in Indonesia. Ubud is considered the cultural and artistic capital of Bali. We stayed for 2 nights in one of the most incredible resorts of Bali – the Ubud Hanging Garden. The resort features spacious bungalows scattered about a huge property with lush vegetation and a swimming pool. We loved the traditional Balinese massages at the spa. We also took time to explore Ubud, focusing on temples, art galleries and Balinese restaurants.
Off to Sidemen for its cuisine and smiles
After a drive of one and a half hour, we reached Sidemen at the foot of Mount Agung. We could see rice fields and forested hills in the distance. The Agung volcano proudly sits in the middle of villages that are home to ancient temples. We explored the region on a rented scooter and stopped often in the villages. Smiling faces greeted us every single time. Bali is the island of the gods, no doubt, but it also seems to be the ‘Island of Smiles’. We were amazed by the time and skill spent by the Balinese in the preparation of offerings. We frequently met women who would pick flowers, weave small bamboo sticks and light incense. They would offer rice grains, biscuits and fruit, and pray with folded hands and a smile in front of the temple. A villager explained that the women spend an average of 3 hours a day in preparing offerings and praying! We also took Balinese cooking classes. That’s when we discovered that Balinese cuisine takes time to prepare! We picked fruits and vegetables, prepared firewood, mixed condiments with spices. And the result was such a delightful treat! Sidemen turned out to be the “culinary experiences and pleasant encounters” leg of our honeymoon in Indonesia.
Bali is widely touted as the jewel in the Indonesian archipelago. Often called the Garden of the Gods, it has something for everyone. The “trendy” villages of the South – Seminiyak and Canggu – home to beautiful boutique hotels and charming villas; the deserted beaches of the North – Amed and Pemuteran – and Ubud, the cultural capital of the island; the terraced rice fields of Sidemen and the mighty volcanoes of Agung and Batur. Bali is a truly unique island with some very unique traditions. It is a Hindu enclave in the middle of the largest Muslim country in the world. Its landscapes and its unparalleled way of life based on community spirit and hospitality make it an ideal destination for a honeymoon in Indonesia.
Romantic end to the trip with Lombok
Our exotic honeymoon in Indonesia ended with a visit to the island of Lombok, east of Bali. Lombok is an island still bathed in tranquillity and peace. Owing to a drier climate, its landscape is dominated by the rugged Mount Rinjani (3800 m). It has beautiful beaches too, some of them almost deserted. Mosques, Hindu temples, traditional villages, rice terraces and white sandy beaches made it the perfect way to end our honeymoon in Indonesia. The beaches around Kuta and the Gili Islands were idyllic! We stayed in Kuta in the guest-house of Frenchman Pierre-Emmanuel, who fell in love with Indonesia and Lombok years ago. He settled here and built a cosy little resort overlooking the beautiful bay of Kuta. The place offers horse riding tours through the hills and deserted beaches around Kuta. The amiable staff takes the time to receive guests and make their stay comfortable. We rode on a scooter through small roads and rugged tracks amidst some steep slopes. We thoroughly enjoyed the beaches and the pool as well. This last leg was by far the most romantic part of our honeymoon in Indonesia.
With wonderful memories fresh in our minds, we shall be back to further explore this wonderful archipelago. We’d love to visit Flores for its treks, Sumbawa for its wild horses and Raja Ampat Islands for the amazing marine life.
If you would like to make your honeymoon a wonderfully unique experience too, contact the experts at Shanti Travel and check our program http://www.shantitravel.com/en/indonesia-travel/balinese-honeymoon/. They will ensure that you realize all your dreams during your honeymoon in Indonesia.