A sole Hindu island in a sprawling Muslim nation, Bali has a unique culture that sets it apart from the rest of Indonesia. While there’s plenty of adventure to be found on other Indonesian islands, like Java, Sumatra, and Borneo, couples looking for a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway are destined for resort-studded Bali.
Fill your Valentine’s weekend with romance by following this guide to the ins and outs of staying, dining, and sightseeing on Indonesia’s most glamorous island.
Getting There & Around
The main international airport on Bali is located in Denpasar. There is very little public transportation on Bali. To get to the more resort-heavy areas like Seminyak, Canggu, or Ubud, you will probably have to rely on a taxi. Be cautious, as some taxi drivers in Indonesia can be dishonest. You’re safest using the Bluebird Taxi Group, which has several identifiable markings on cars, a blue uniform for drivers, and most importantly a functioning meter. If a driver won’t turn on the meter for you, just get out and find another cab.
Another option for getting around Bali is renting your own scooter. There are ample scooter and bicycle rental offices scattered all over the island. You will have many opportunities to shop around and get a good price.
You can also hire a private driver for the day. Most offer exemplary service, but bear in mind that some drivers work on commission for area shops. Hold the reins on your daily itinerary. If a driver seems insistent you visit a particular place, that’s a red flag.
Where to Stay
A private luxury villa is the perfect place for a secluded holiday with your sweetheart. Asia Holiday Retreats has a wide selection of accommodations ideally suited to make you feel like you’re on your honeymoon again.
Picture the glittering resorts of Bali and you’re likely imagining Seminyak. Filled with plush lodgings and incredible shopping, this island neighborhood is luxury travel at its finest. Villa the Layar, comprised of 23 individual villas, is emblematic of the area and is one of the most popular honeymoon spots on Bali. Each suite features direct pool access, open-air dining and living areas, and gorgeous garden bathrooms centered around a massive stone bathtub.
When you just want to get away from it all, even the beautiful Seminyak might seem over-crowded with resorts. Escape to the lesser-known Canggu. The one-bedroom Villa Saba Arjuna makes for a remote and relaxing retreat. The neighborhood focuses more on beaches than on boutiques, and the villa’s suites include a free-standing soaking tub, rain shower, and open-sided living pavilion.
For a more lively, social weekend, meet other couples in the pulsing bars of Petitenget, one of Bali’s trendiest areas. Get all the upmarket food and drink you desire without fighting the crowds of the more established Kuta Beach neighborhood. The hibiscus and frangipani-scented courtyard of Villa Solo Lakshmi will be waiting to welcome you home after a long night of tropical cocktails. The suites feature an open-sided living pavilion and a kitchen with complimentary tea and coffee.
Where to Eat
When you’re in the market for a romantic dinner for two, Bali knows how to deliver. Many resorts have an onsite restaurant, giving you the opportunity to sample their luxury without committing to a full stay. Cozy up over a plate of green papaya salad or pork rib with jackfruit at an intimate table at Warung, part of the Alila Villas Uluwatu. Sip a posh cocktail and nibble charcuterie by the infinity pool at Ayana Resort & Spa’s ultra-sleek Rock Bar. For the best scenery, watch the sun set from beachfront Arwana or enjoy panoramic rice field views from Café Pomegranate.
If you and your honey like to eat adventurously, spend an evening together strolling one of Bali’s towns sampling street food. The ultimate comfort food for Balinese children is bregedel, a fried patty of chiles, eggs, potatoes, and other vegetables. Dozens of vendors by the beach will be peddling grilled sweet corn, which you can dress up with butter, cheese, chili, or mayonnaise. For a little protein, order up sateayam, the quintessentially Southeast Asian chicken skewer served with a tangy peanut sauce.
What to Do
Bali has a wealth of spas and wellness centers, and nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like getting pampered with your significant other. Active sorts might enjoy getting up for a little early morning yoga at The Yoga Barn. If you’d rather sleep in, make an afternoon reservation for a couples’ massage, a volcanic clay mud wrap, or a steam in the sauna at the Lagoon Spa or Prana Spa, both in Seminyak.
Fancy a day lounging on the beach? Party hard on Kuta Beach, explore old-fashioned fishing village charm at Sanur Beach, or dig your toes in the white golden sands of Nusa Dua Beach.. Alternatively, stray off the beaten path to the black sands of Canggu for a secluded getaway.
Animal lovers may wish to make time for a visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest. Be sure to purchase a banana or two to offer as snacks. The nature reserve’s crab-eating macaques, also known as Balinese long-tailed monkeys, aren’t likely to be interested in visitors who won’t feed them. The mischievous creatures, however, will reach into your bag and pockets if they think you have food on you.
If you prefer more traditional sightseeing, Bali’s main attraction is its plethora of exquisite Hindu temples. Some of the most significant religious sites on the island include the clifftop Pura Uluwatu, the mountainside Pura Besakih, and Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave. While not a temple, the Tirtagangga Water Palace is a must-see for its multitude of carved fountains and lush surroundings. The rice plantations populating these rolling hills make for a classic Bali photo op.
It just isn’t Valentine’s Day without a little chocolate, so for a unique cap to your romantic Indonesian weekend, visit one of Bali’s chocolate factories for a tasting or tour. Both Big Tree Farms and Pod Chocolate Factory afford visitors a look at production from the plantation to the factory itself. Pod also offers chocolate making workshops, where visitors can craft milk or dark chocolate elephants with a variety of toppings.