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House of Travel
Looking for a romantic getaway, or perhaps a honeymoon destination? Look no further than Bali. With its untrodden slices of seductive paradise, hillside temples, majestic rice paddies and dramatic backdrop, it’s a bit of a beauty. And the perfect setting for a romantic stay. Best of all, NZ passport holders no longer need to pay for an arrival visa so you can use that money for a sweeter spa session.
Known as the `Land of the Gods’, Bali is undeniably beautiful. For a small tropical island, Bali has an amazing ability to provide something for everyone. Initially discovered by surfers for its amazing beaches, Bali is now well recognised for not only its great surf and stunning beaches, but also its diving and array of other watersports, resorts, restaurants and nightlife. Whether you enjoy crowds or a secluded beach, Bali has the lot!
Here's your guide to some of the most romantic and unique spots in balmy Bali.
Dinner at a 17th century Balinese palace
Prince Ajoaes' Tabanan Palace is a restored palace from the 17th century, and the compound is used as a venue for receptions and Balinese banquets. Guests are welcomed with torchbearers and traditional dancers, and then proceed to be seated by the banquet and share a meal. After dining on delicious Balinese delicacies, you can sit back and relax as you watch authentic Joged Bungbung and Tektekan dances.
For cheap and cheerful, head to Made Warung’s in Seminyak. Now sheltered from the roadside bustle, the establishment has been serving authentic Indonesian food since 1969. Be sure to try one of their specialities which include Gado-gado (vegetables, sticky rice, tofu in spicy peanut sauce) and Nasi Campur (red or white rice topped with vegetables, chicken, beef, fi sh tofu and chili sauce).
Visit Besakih Temple
Admire the rich history of Bali by taking a trip to this temple, based on Mount Agung. For over a millennium, Besakih Temple has been known as 'Bali's 'Mother Temple' because it's a complex of nearly 86 temples, spread around the main Pura Penataran Agung temple. Arrive early and you’ll be treated to the best light of the day, with a captivating orange glow cascading over each of the 86 temples. You may have a challenge persuading your better half to get up at such an unearthly hour, but you’ll be rewarded with a marvel of architecture and sculpture.
There are literally thousands of temples across Bali. Small devotional shrines are scattered through rice fields and often in hotel grounds. Some of the larger and more impressive temples, which are well worth visiting include Besakih (the Mother temple situated in Eastern Bali), Uluwatu (perched high on a cliff on the southern coastline) and Tanah Lot (the impressive Shore Temple) close to Pan Pacifi c Nirwana.
This stunning part of Bali was one of the settings for the movie Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts, and the best place for yoga-loving couples. Some of the retreats offer yoga classes within the natural forests, so bust out your best downward dog. Namaste!
Ubud also has a raft of cafes and restaurants to tempt your taste buds as you go on a lunch date. One of the best things to do here, though, is visit the historic Ubud palace in the evening. Performances are held here most nights, set against the charming backdrop of this former royal home.
Of course, a key thing to do in Bali with your partner is get pampered on a spa day. There are many spas to choose from, and most will offer a range of massages with Aromatherapy or Ayurvedic treatments. Let the expert massage therapists work out your knots and ease your tension, while you delight in the fragrances of lavender, jasmine and sandalwood. With side-by-side massage options, you can enjoy a relaxing experience together.
You know that old adage "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"? Well, you can learn the art of massage yourself in Bali so you gain the skills to continue giving and receiving massages once you're back home from your holiday. Of course, how well you want to perfect this skill is entirely up to you – learn it a little too well and you’ll be badgered for a massage every day of the week. To be learnt at your own risk!
If you're after a traditional, yet fun Balinese massage, head to The Dancing Fingers School in Seminyak. Here you can learn the nine-step sequence of administering a 'Jari Menari' massage, which translates to 'dancing fingers'. Lessons take place each Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
What better way to take back memories of Bali, than to learn how to cook some of the exotic dishes that make Bali famous. This would be perfect to do as a couple, group of friends or even individually. Most hotels offer a cooking class and there are also a number of respected cooking schools operating regular programmes teaching a range of Indonesian dishes.
If food is the way to both of your hearts, book a Balinese cooking class at Casa Luna Cooking School. Foodies will adore the half-day course, immersed in the tantalising scents of exotic ingredients, as you learn both culinary techniques and about the culture of Bali. Some classes also include tours to the Gianyar night market, so you can taste the produce sold here by locals.
Book a private pool villa for your stay
One of the best bells and whistles to add to your Bali adventure is choosing villa accommodation with a private pool. Romantic, secluded, exclusive - it's your ultimate private escape.
Many private villas boast bedrooms leading directly into your pool, so you can slide in for a dip without even needing your towel. Lie back and float atop the water, watching the sunset sky transform from lilac to amber, and when it’s time for an ice-cold cocktail send your partner inside for a drink. With a bit of luck the incredibly romantic setting will have taken a hold - and they’ll wait on you without a grumble or groan!
However you look at it, Bali is great value! Accommodation is well priced and plentiful, the shopping abundant, varied and cheap, and the food is incredible; think lemongrass, coriander, tamarind and ginger. You will never cease to be amazed at how the real beauty of Bali will reveal itself.
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