Bali is oh so magical. While it may seem like only a fantasy for most, it’s truly the perfect spot to have a destination wedding weekend no matter where you live. In 2012, I was in Bali 4 times (for those of you who love a fun fact, that equates to about 8 days on a plane). During my many visits, I’ve learned so much about what makes this one of the most special places in the world. Here are just a few of my must-dos if you’re planning your own destination wedding weekend in this glorious local:
Stay beach side for the welcome party. There’s nothing like a casual Indonesian BBQ overlooking the Indian Ocean. Bring in Naughty Nuri’s, a local haunt with some of the best BBQ you will have in your life. For an added dose of local flavor, bring in street vendors to provide all of the fixings. For location, I love Nammo’s at Karma. The resort itself leaves much to be desired, but the beach, accessible only by a rickety little tram is breathtaking and otherworldly.
Learn to cook traditional Indonesian fare with the locals. My favorite class is through Casa Luna Bali in Ubud.
After class, spend more time in the artist colony of Ubud for a day of shopping, monkeys and even a psychic reading from the world famous, from Eat, Pray, Love. It’s Bali. Don’t be afraid to get spiritual, ya’ll.
There are so many adventures to be had in Bali. One of my personal favorites is jungle trekking. The guys in your group will absolutely love exploring the rain forests and nearby jungle. Check out Bali Eco Cycling for the best guide on the island.
If your group prefers water over land, surfing on the Indian Ocean is a must do. If you have some beginners, Odyssey Surf School is the place to go.
While Bali is a very simple island, it’s nightlife is crazy good. For the best nightlife, head to Simenyak, a super chic area of the island where you can find the best boutiques, dining and cocktails. Ku De Ta is a favorite among locals and tourists. In addition to nightlife, they also have a pool party every Sunday that is quite the scene.
If you’re more into a quiet night out, The Rock Bar at Ayana is a definite hot spot. Located Cliffside, it’s a hidden gem and perfect for a quiet cocktail or ten.
No one goes to Bali without using a driver. The traffic is like nothing you’ve ever seen before and you need a brave local to navigate the streets for you. I fell in LOVE with my driver, so much so, he’s now a part of my extended family. If you are looking for an English speaking expert on the island, you must reach out to Sudiana and send him my love. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your time.
Immigration is insane in Bali. It can literally take hours to get through. If you want to save some time, consider a fast pass. For $25 a local expert can help you skip the immigration lines. As a side note, from a design perspective, their Visas are oh so pretty. A little peek at mine below from Instagram:
Traveling with a lot of items is no joke in this country. When we plan a destination wedding, we often bring as many as 10 to 15 suitcases between me and my crew. Be sure you have cash on you to “pay the fine” aka tip the customs agent so you can get all your pretties on the other side. For instance, immigration was “gifted” a cool $300 to let us through with the 11 bags shown below. It’s really nominal when you think about having every detail exactly as you want it, but just be prepared!