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With some help from friends and meticulous research, Sudeshna Bose Tarafdar planned her dream honeymoon to the beachy paradise of Bali, without having to spend a fortune! Read on for all the details...
Ours was an arranged marriage. I met Arindam in February 2016 after going through hundreds of ‘eligible’ profiles on a matrimonial site. We spoke for a while and realized that we had a lot in common and ultimately decided to meet. One thing led to another, and with the blessing of our parents, decided to get married! We soon got engaged in December of 2016 and had our marriage date fixed on the July of next year.
Since Arindam and I love to travel, we were extremely excited for our first ever foreign trip together. From the moment our engagement and wedding dates were fixed, I took it upon myself to plan our honeymoon from scratch. I was hellbent on not spending over Rs 2 Lakhs (including food, shopping, accommodation and flight tickets) for our week long trip. We wanted to go to a beach destination and had Maldives and Hawaii in mind. But since it is monsoon in these places during July, we unanimously made the decision to spend our honeymoon on the sun kissed beaches of Bali. Besides, the weather is great all year round, which is always a plus! The money conversion is pretty decent too and what’s more, it is one of the best place to chill, relax and make the most out of the food fare. We were sold! I knew it would take a lot of time and research, and therefore decided on starting on it at least 6 months before our trip. To be honest, the wedding stress had gotten to us, and therefore, we wanted our honeymoon to be dedicated to relaxing and making the most out of the destination together. We preferred not to have a packed itinerary and instead spend our days lounging around the beach or the luxurious infinity pool of the resort!
Even though I had decided on planning the honeymoon on my own, I took a chance and contacted some travel agents before making any booking. To my surprise, their price rates were very high and way out of my budget. The whole planning process did get too overwhelming but my friend Nivedita helped me out on it immensely. She had gone to Bali for her honeymoon recently and advised me to do all the bookings on my own. I am glad I listened to her and started with booking return flights for both of us. I think websites such as Skyscanner, MakeMyTrip and Momondo are great places to get a real steal on flight tickets. Again, I’ll always advise all couples to book their flight tickets at least 3 months in advance. Connecting flights are cheaper, so one should definitely opt for it while cutting costs. We finally settled on Air Asia which costed us Rs 40,000 on our round trip to Denpasar, Bali.
Since we had only a week to enjoy the lovely offerings of Bali, we wanted to make the best of all the tourist attractions in Ubud and also enjoy the nightlife scene which is big in Nusa Dua. We started with Ubud and our 3-day stay there was nothing short of a fairytale. Surrounded by lush rice paddies, spectacular rainforests and historic temples, we both were bowled over by the natural beauty of the place. For accommodation, I was specifically looking for a private villa with an infinity pool that suited my budget. After much research and recommendations, we settled on the Ayung Resort in Ubud which is surrounded by a tropical rainforest and also has the beautiful Ayung river in the vicinity. I didn’t really rely on discounted hotel sites and instead booked it through the hotel website itself. I even managed to score a deal on the honeymoon suite which included a romantic dinner, complimentary champagne, complimentary mini bar service and breakfast...all for Rs 20,000 per night! The hotel was also kind enough to arrange for a romantic honeymoon dinner for us by the cliffside with the view of the valley. The whole area was decorated with flowers and candles… We could even hear the sound of the waterfalls which was one moment that cannot be described! We dined under the stars… believe us, it was like I was living my very own fairytale!
While booking my accommodation in Nusa Dua, I applied the same rule and booked our suite through the hotel’s direct website. I contacted the Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury & Spa resort to make my bookings for the rest of the days (Rs 30,000/Night). I specifically chose this resort not only because of the ultra-luxury experience offered by them but also because of its close proximity to the happening beaches and nightclubs. Since our honeymoon vacation was based on just relaxing and getting the most out of the lush surroundings of Bali, we kept our sight seeing minimal and avoided the touristy locations. We visited Uluwatu temple, elephant cave, tegenungan waterfall, Pantai Pandawa, Jimbaran beach, Puseh Batuan temple, Ubud art market among others. We also made sure to eat in local warungs
(family owned restaurants) that helped us get a whiff of the local seafood fare while in Bali.
In all, our week long trip to Bali was a slice of heaven in itself. We were immensely happy and content on relying on our judgement and making the most out of our romantic trip, without having to burn a hole in our pockets.
Things To Keep In Mind While Planning A Budget Honeymoon Trip To Bali
Have a ‘Fixed’ Budget First: Honeymoons can sometimes drive you to overspend, therefore, it is important to have a fixed budget for your trip. We planned on not exceeding 2 lakhs and stuck to it. This included our resort accommodation, flight fare, shopping, food, water sports activities and car hires.
Get Your Tickets Booked In Advance: While planning, the most important thing is check all the information on your bookings beforehand. Since we forgot to check our Passenger Name Record Number (PNR), we had two different PNR numbers on different documents and that further caused a visa hassle on our stopover destination. Luckily, since my husband had a valid US Visa, the process was much simpler.
Buy Local Everything: When in Bali, avoid shopping or eating in the mall as it can get very expensive. Same applies to food and car hires. Booking a car service from the hotel can be quite expensive therefore make sure you make use of their great transport service and online apps. The Bluebird taxi app and GoJek (Motorcycle service) are very reliable and traveller friendly.
Accommodation Advice: It is important to prioritize on the kind of a honeymoon trip you are going for. If you are going for a luxury one, then resorts and private villas can be great. But if you are deciding on exploring the place, then Airbnb’s work very well and are also way cheaper!
If you are looking for an eco friendly surprise, then the The Hideout would be an ideal location. The bungalow is fully built with bamboos and is located in the quieter Eastern part of Bali, which is great for when you want complete privacy and exclusivity. Nightly rates start from Rs 10,500 approx.
Whats’ a honeymoon without uber stylish vacation essentials?! Here are our top 5 things that you must carry in your honeymoon beach bag!
1. Sunglasses: Tame the sun with a uber stylish pair of sunglasses. These retro frames available on Amazon (Rs 849) are such stunners!
2. A Salt Spray: Keep those flyaways at bay and let your natural waves shine through with this Toni & Guy Texturizing Salt Spray Available at Nykaa for Rs 683.
3. A Flattering Swimsuit: If you are a bit overwhelmed by bikinis, why not try a tankini instead? This one from the The Beach Company (Rs 2,850) is sure to flatter your curves.
4. Havaianas: Don’t forget to get them feet all prettied up in these colourful havaianas available on The Beach Company for Rs 1,550.
5. A sundress: Look stylish yet comfortable while exploring the narrow lanes of Bali in this printed A-line slip dress available at Koovs for Rs 1,699.