“Will you marry me?”
That is the best way to describe the start of our trip to Bali. It was a trip of many firsts and awe-inspiring events.
My boyfriend, Joey, took me to a secluded resort near the Agung River for dinner on our first full day in Ubud. As we walked through the romantic grounds, my heart started to beat faster, and I began to feel butterflies in my stomach. The path opened up to a beautiful candlelit deck overlooking a flowing river, and the wood was covered in flowers that spelled out, “I love you.” Halfway into eating our appetizers, Joey got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and was met with my resounding yes!
Just like that, the boyfriend I had traveled to Bali with turned into my fiancé.
The next morning, we blissfully continued to explore Ubud, and looked forward to meeting our fellow Intrepid trip-mates who would be joining us on the Beautiful Bali tour that evening. 6pm quickly rolled around, and we met our co-travelers (one of whom was from San Francisco, California, just like us) and our wonderful trip leader, Wisnu.
That meeting marked the start of our journey with Intrepid Travel and an experience we will never forget, but for the sake of not writing a novel, I will share with you our top 3 experiences as fiancés in Bali:
Mt. Batur Sunrise Hike
My phone vibrated and rang incessantly. I took a deep breath, rolled over, and hit the button to stop my alarm. I looked at the clock, and the numbers read back to me that it was 2:40am. Back home, I am used to waking up at 5:30am to go to the gym every day, but what a difference 3 hours made; I was exhausted.
I forced my legs out from under the sheets and groggily dragged myself to the bathroom where I brushed my teeth and changed into my hiking gear before waking Joey up. In a blur, we were in the van, and on our way to the hiking starting point – all under the cover of complete darkness.
We met our three local guides and began our hike. At first, the hike seemed incredibly easy as we walked on paved paths, but it quickly turned into steep rock. There were many tourists, and all of us working together toward getting to the top of the volcano was reassuring. After countless steps, we reached the first peak, where we waited for our fellow trip mates, and then we all decided to go to the final peak.
Once we arrived at the top, we put on all the layers we had taken off on the way up. The wind was chilly, and it truly felt like being on the top of the world. It was still pitch black, and Joey and I found a great place to sit, while one of our guides went to get our group some coffee.
We sat drinking our coffee as the sun rose gently into the sky, turning the world around us into beautiful deep shades of pink, orange, and purple. The light revealed a view of Lake Batur, and beyond that, the ocean. It felt like a fairytale at the top of that volcano.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple visit
The weather was overcast, and cool. It brought immense relief for the first time in days. We were in the small village of Bedugul and stopped off in the morning to visit a beautiful, famous Hindu temple on Lake Bratan.
When we first arrived at the temple, we met a local tour guide, and we walked around the well-kept grounds outside the temple. Our group ooed and awed at the intricate detailing on the statues and buildings, as our tour guide ran us through the history, and the significance of everything our eyes took in. Once we wound around the grounds enough to finally reach the temple, our jaws dropped. Seeing such a beautifully intricate temple set against large sloping mountains, and calm water was peacefully refreshing.
There are many temples in Bali, but something about this one struck a chord.
It was in this moment that I realized Bali’s magic. Bali has an ability to capture your heart and entertain your spirit. It is a wonderland of gorgeous scenery and kind people. It has a way of being wildly playful, yet serene. Whatever you are looking for in Bali, you will surely find.
While looking at this temple and imagining the strong Balinese hands that built it in 1633, Joey and I felt at peace. Bali had known what we needed, and she was granting us a moment to revel in her beauty. After days of long travel, and fun adventures, this temple was our solid ground, our never-ending moment of calm.
Joey gently took my hand as our group reconvened and slowly exited the grounds, feeling taken by Bali’s splendor.
Toward the tail end of our trip, our Intrepid trip got treated to a really amazing experience. Our local leader, Wisnu, told us we would be eating at a local woman’s house named Ibu Wayan. That morning, on our last day in Lovina, Wisnu took off and went to give Ibu Wayan money to buy fresh ingredients from a local market to prepare for us.
By the time dinner rolled around, we were all starving, and we walked to the beach where Ibu Wayan had set up a dinner for us right on the sand. The spread was authentic Indonesian food, and it was so delicious. Along with Wisnu and the rest of our Intrepid group, we sat down and had dinner family style. It was truly a wonderful experience, and I am so glad I had the chance to learn more about Indonesian cuisine.
This was an experience that Joey and I would have never been able to have on our own, and is something unique to Intrepid. It was one of those times where we felt fully immersed in not only a new part of the world, but a new culture. It was a chance to see the world with fresh eyes, and do it with amazing, like-minded people from all over.
Our trip to Bali was nothing short of amazing, but because we went with Intrepid, it truly enhanced the entire experience and allowed us to experience many firsts. As new fiancés traveling the world, we can wholeheartedly say that Beautiful Bali is a trip of a lifetime.
Ready to experience the wonders of Bali for yourself? Check out Intrepid Travel’s range of Bali tours.
(All images courtesy of Shelby, the author. All images taken on Intrepid’s Beautiful Bali trip!)