Whether you're visiting the Gianyar Regency – which includes Sukawati and Ubud – or the exclusive Nusa Dua resort area farther south, take a look at this couple's advice for where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and more!
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A few days after their gorgeous outdoor wedding overlooking the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, Micaela (née Dea) and Curtis Clauson traveled to Indonesia for a relaxing and adventurous honeymoon on the island of Bali.
When choosing where to honeymoon, Micaela and Curtis searched the globe for a destination that offers a “happy medium” of adventure and relaxation, as well as a location neither of them had been so they could experience something new together. “We decided Bali was just that!” affirms Micaela. With 12 days to explore, the pair broke up their honeymoon itinerary into two main regions – the verdant Gianyar Regency, which includes Sukawati and Ubud, as well as the exclusive Nusa Dua resort area farther south.
For the latter part of their trip, Micaela and Curtis stayed at The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali. “We would absolutely recommend it! They have the most incredible beach, the service was immaculate, and the food was great,” describes Micaela. As the beach is reserved for guests of nearby hotels, the couple was thrilled with the privacy and appreciated that there were no outside vendors trying to sell products, no obnoxious beachgoers or loud music, and no difficulty finding a cabana or beach chair at any time of day. “Perfect white sand, clear aquamarine water... it was fantastic! The best beach we’ve ever been to in our entire lives,” she adds.
Though they originally had multiple activities planned, Micaela and Curtis loved the property so much they decided to remain onsite. As the Nusa Dua area is a secure gated community boasting luxury seaside resorts, private beaches, shops, museums, and restaurants, the honeymooners had plenty to do over the course of their four-night stay. From sunbathing on the sand and enjoying beachside food-and-drink service, to golfing 18 holes together at the award-winning Bali National Golf Club, they had the time of their lives. “We didn’t want to leave!” exclaims Curtis.
Photos courtesy of The Luxury Collection
Seeing the Water Blow. “Our hotel was walking distance to this natural rock formation that shoots water 100 feet into the air from the ocean. It was mesmerizing!”
Hitting the links. “We love golf and decided we had to play at Bali National Golf Club. They even picked us up from our hotel and dropped us back off.”
Relaxing on the sand. “We had four full days of excursions planned, but we loved The Laguna’s private beach so much, we canceled the rest of our activities.”
Photo by Bali Image Photography
While their Nusa Dua stay focused on relaxation, Micaela and Curtis’ time in the Gianyar Regency provided the opportunity to relish in Bali’s culture. Though they enjoyed sites and restaurants in Ubud, their preferred accommodation was just under 30 minutes away at The Royal Purnama in Sukawati. “We love this boutique hotel! It was authentic, beautiful, and secluded,” remembers Micaela, noting that it was far enough away from major tourist areas, while still nearby popular attractions.
Choosing to hire a private driver, the newlyweds were able to make the most of each day. From shopping for gold and silver pieces in Celuk Village, to observing a monk ceremony at Besakih Temple – known as Bali’s “Mother Temple” – and visiting stunning royal water palaces including Tirta Gangga, they checked a number of must-sees off their Bali bucket list.
As for additional hot spots, the couple recommends honeymooners trek to Tegenungan Waterfall, suggesting they go early in the day as it’s one of the most popular waterfalls and gets crowded. Other “very touristy” destinations they agree are worth experiencing include the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud – “Secure all of your belongings as the monkeys like to take your things!” Micaela urges – as well as the Bali Swing, which features swing sites overlooking the rice fields that make for great photos and memories.
Since Ubud is known for their spas, Micaela and Curtis made sure to book traditional Balinese massages and continued their wellness journey with Curtis’ favorite activity of the trip: a yoga class at one of Indonesia’s most popular retreat centers, The Yoga Barn. They also visited Gunung Kawi, their favorite temple in Bali, and shared their most-cherished dinner date at Room 4 Dessert by Chef Will Goldfarb of Chef’s Table. “We had a 24-course meal, and it was an absolutely incredible experience!” confirms Micaela.
Photo courtesy of The Royal Purnama
Photo courtesy of Micaela and Curtis Clauson
Seeing Gunung Kawi. “This beautiful ancient temple carved in rock is surrounded by beautiful rice terraces. It was our favorite temple that we visited!”
Playing with monkeys. “Ubud is known for their monkey sanctuary, so we of course had to go! One of the monkeys even tried to climb up Curtis’ leg – it was hilarious.”
Dining at Room 4 Dessert. “I was highly anticipating it after watching Chef Will Goldfarb on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. It was an unforgettable experience!”
Photo courtesy of Micaela and Curtis Clauson
Micaela and Curtis would absolutely travel to Bali again; however, they agree that a 12-night return trip would look slightly different since they’ve already been to many of the island’s temples and tourist attractions. “We would stay on the west coast in Jimbaran the first four nights, return to The Royal Purnama on the east coast for four nights, and then finish the last four nights in the south in Nusa Dua,” Micaela reveals of a dream itinerary that would allow them to dine at new restaurants, unwind on world-class beaches, and try new activities. “Getting to see the other side of the world is amazing!” she smiles, anticipating their future travels to the island.
“Bring activated charcoal – just in case you experience ‘Bali Belly’ or food poisoning.”
“Hire a private driver! For around $50 per day, they will pick you up and take you to do whatever you want, give advice and recommendations, and help translate.”
“Keep in mind that Bali is close to the equator, so there is an equal amount of daylight and nighttime – 12 hours for each.”
“Bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper when leaving your hotel or resort. A lot of the temples and tourist sites don’t have any available.”
“Ask locals for advice! We were happy to learn that a faraway beach written up in many travel blogs wasn’t much different from the closer beach. This saved us so much time, so we could relax for the entire day!”
This story was originally published as a Travel Diaries feature in the Summer 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. To order a copy of the Summer 2022 issue, visit our library of Inside Weddings back issues available for purchase.