For years, the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia has been on my bucket list. The bright green rice field terraces, ancient temples, and plethora of beaches beckoned me to visit. Due to its popularity, Bali is also home to some incredibly luxurious resorts and spas. So, when I found out I was pregnant, Bali seemed like the perfect destination for a grand babymoon adventure.
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When to Plan Your Babymoon
Early in my pregnancy, I started researching guidelines around travel and pregnancy. However, the recommendations don't always agree. In antenatal information my doctor provided, it stated that after 30 weeks, long haul flights (12+ hours) are not recommended. Then, after 34 weeks, flying is not recommended at all. Plus, if you're traveling in your third trimester, many airlines require a "fit to fly" letter from your doctor.
For me, I decided to avoid flying at all in my third trimester. Ultimately, I'm glad I did and I'll explain my reasons a bit later. As with most things in pregnancy, it's good to consult your doctor when planning your babymoon. They will help you to determine when might be the best time for you to go or have additional recommendations.
When is the Best Time for a Bali Babymoon
Depending on where you live, the right time to plan your babymoon to Bali may vary. My Bali babymoon fell when I was 26 weeks pregnant. Living in Hong Kong, it's a relatively short flight to get to Bali - only 5 hours if you book a direct flight (which we didn't).
If you live further away and it's a long haul flight to Bali, you may wish to plan your babymoon a bit earlier in your pregnancy. What I've been learning is that the bigger you are, the more uncomfortable every aspect of life is, including travel.
Best Months to Visit Bali
When planning your babymoon to Bali, you should also consider the time of year. Bali has two seasons - wet and rainy (November - March) and dry (April - October). During the dry season, the weather is obviously better. However, that means it's prime tourist season so hotel and flight prices will be higher and places will be more crowded.
We planned our babymoon at the beginning of April, which we thought would be dry season. However, it turned out to be more like the end of rainy season. We encountered some beautiful weather, but also a heavy downpour or two at some point each day.
Things to Consider When Planning Your Babymoon to Bali (or Elsewhere)
When planning a relaxing babymoon, there are a lot of factors to consider. Since it is my first pregnancy, some of these things did not occur to me until we were already on our babymoon in Bali.
As a result, I'll share a few of the things I think you may want to take into account as you plan and book your babymoon.
1) Which Trimester is Best for Babymoon?
Depending on where you want to go and how active you want to be, I'd recommend the second trimester for a babymoon. It's great because it's after the morning sickness and general ickiness of the first trimester but before the exhaustion and expansion of the third trimester hit.
And keep in mind, the further along you are in your pregnancy, the more laidback your babymoon plans should be.
My last trip was at 26 weeks pregnant (27 wks for the return flight). After experiencing how much more uncomfortable I was traveling at that stage of my pregnancy, I'm glad I ruled out flying in my third trimester.
2) Remember All the Little Things that Go Along with Travel
When planning a trip, you often focus on location, what you'll do when you arrive, etc. But don't forget, you have to get there and back too. And traveling by air involves so much more than just sitting on the plane.
Ultimately, the more pregnant you are, the more you'll feel all of the little hassles that go along with travel. A few that come to mind are:
I've traveled a few times during my pregnancy and my experience has been different each time. Here's a brief rundown of my experiences and how the pregnancy did or did not impact my journeys.
Hong Kong to US at 11 wks (16-hr + 2-hr flights) and US to HK at 16 wks (5-hr + 16-hr flights)
Almost at end of first trimester at 11 weeks, I was feeling pretty good. Well, as good as I normally would on a packed flight with someone laying their seat back all the way in my space for 16 hours. What can you really expect traveling around Christmas, right?
But when we arrived in the US, the ridiculous 1.5-hour wait in JFK's immigration line was torture on my back (and my soul)! Why as a US citizen does it take so long to get through immigration?! It's convinced me that we definitely need Global Entry before our next visit to the US.
On this trip, I did find that I had a harder time recovering from jet lag than I normally do. Not sure if it's because I was pregnant or because it was winter, but I struggled.
When I returned to Hong Kong a month later at 16 weeks, I felt back to normal and the jet lag was not as bad. It also helped that Hong Kong's immigration is a breeze so no waiting in line!
Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City at 23 weeks (2.5-hour flight)
This direct flight from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City on Cathay Pacific was quick and easy. But once again, waiting in the immigration line in HCMC (~45 minutes) was killer on my back. Stretching and squatting periodically helped (ignoring the weird looks sent my way). But it's these moments that you never think about when planning a trip and there's nothing you can do to avoid them.
Since we planned this trip to Saigon before learning I was pregnant, it was more of a normal trip for us, which meant a lot of walking and activities. This is when I started to notice I couldn't keep pace with my pre-pregnancy self. And because it's me, I also got food poisoning at one point. So, I spent one entire day in the hotel while Jeremy explored by himself.
Despite these challenges, I was still much more able to get around and conquer the heat than I was a couple weeks later in Bali.
Hong Kong to Bali at 26 weeks (5-hr + 2-hr flights)
Our Bali babymoon flights were pretty awful. Booked on Cebu Pacific (a budget carrier) from Hong Kong to Bali, we ended up going overnight through Manila with a long transfer process. We managed to get a couple of hours of sleep on the Manila to Bali flight, but the seats on the flight were pretty uncomfortable.
Although Bali is in the same time zone as Hong Kong, staying awake most of the night made us feel jet lagged anyway.
Our return journey on China Airlines through Taipei was better, but got us back to Hong Kong quite late (1:00 am) so it was another exhausting trip. By 26 weeks pregnant, I was getting swollen calves and ankles so getting up to move around was key on the flights.
Tips for Flying During Pregnancy: Remember to book an aisle seat, wear compression socks or tights, and stock up on plenty of water and snacks for the flight! And if you're flying a budget carrier, bring a small pillow to go behind your back.
3) Consider the Climate for Babymoon Destination
Planning a babymoon when you're sitting in your apartment freezing during winter, a hot tropical climate sounds fantastic. But you know what doesn't feel great as your belly starts expanding which means you overheat more easily? A hot, muggy, tropical climate.
Ultimately, this point was driven home to me several times during our trip when I felt like I'd barely walked anywhere but all of the sudden felt like I was on the verge of heat stroke. So, if you plan a babymoon in a hot and humid climate, be prepared to take it easy and perhaps spend a lot of time by (or in) the pool!
4) Food and Drinking Water
After getting food poisoning in Vietnam, I was a bit worried about how my stomach would fare in Bali. Happy to report - no food poisoning! But it's always good to consider how the food hygiene is in a place you might be considering for a babymoon.
In Bali, many cafes and restaurants are very vigilant in asking if you have any food allergies, which I've never experienced before in Asia. Plus, the food hygiene seemed quite good. For drinking water, obviously avoid the tap water. Our (5-star) hotels provided us filtered drinking water in glass bottles throughout our stay. This was great for saving plastic bottles that we'd normally be buying when traveling in Southeast Asia.
5) Check Recommended Vaccines
Before traveling, make sure you check the list of recommended vaccinations for your babymoon destination. Since I travel to Southeast Asia regularly, I already had all of the vaccinations for Bali. But this might be something that determines where you want to go for your babymoon.
If you're traveling to a country with diseases that are spread by mosquitoes, be sure to bring your mosquito repellent and use it. I forgot mine, but bought some immediately once realizing we were still at the tail end of rainy season in Bali. Having had dengue fever previously when I lived in Laos, there was no way I wanted to catch that during pregnancy.
6) Plan Rest Time along with Activities
As you plan your itinerary, remember that you most likely will not be up to doing as much during each day as you were pre-pregnancy. For me, that was a tough lesson to learn. My mind wanted me to keep going and do all of these activities, but my body wanted me to sit and put my feet up.
Especially in Bali, there are so many adventurous activities that you can do... when you're not pregnant. ATV tours, hiking to volcanoes and waterfalls, scuba diving, ziplining, renting motorbikes - all activities I would be up for normally. Take them off the list when 6 months pregnant.
While we still managed to see some beautiful sights, we walked much less than normal and planned to relax for much of the day. One day, we'll make it back to Bali for a more adventurous trip.
7) Treat Yourself on Accommodations
Realizing that I would need relaxation time on our babymoon to Bali, we booked more luxurious accommodations than we might have otherwise. Since we planned to spend a decent amount of time at the resort, spending a bit extra on 5-star accommodations which have a high-level of service was worth it.
Plus, over the winter, we signed up for a couple of travel credit cards. We used those cards to book our accommodations, which gave us some nice perks and even a surprise upgrade (more on that later).
Our Bali Accommodations
Later in this article, I'll share more about the resorts in which we stayed and give a more detailed review. But based on our experience, I highly recommend either of these hotels for a relaxing holiday in Bali:
8) Indulge in Prenatal Massages
In keeping with the relaxation theme of our Bali babymoon, we booked two massages on our trip. Highly recommend a prenatal massage (if you're in 2nd or 3rd trimester) as a way to relax and soothe some of those pregnancy aches and pains! If you're still in the first trimester, you can book a regular massage instead.
Our Bali Babymoon Itinerary
So, what did we actually do on our Bali babymoon? In this article, I'll share a day-by-day look at our trip to Bali. Our babymoon lasted 8 days and we split our time between the mountainous region in Ubud and the coastal Jimbaran Beach.
In the itinerary, I'll share more about our luxurious accommodations, the delicious restaurants we found, and a few of our activities. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for your babymoon or a holiday in Bali.
Day 1 - Arriving in Bali
On our first day in Bali, we arrived at the airport bright and early after an overnight flight from Hong Kong. Immigration was incredibly easy and there were NO LINES! What a relief that was!
After purchasing SIM cards for our phones and grabbing breakfast, we left the airport to meet our driver.
Driving to COMO Uma Ubud Resort
Since we were driving to Ubud, which is roughly a 1.5-hr drive from the airport, we arranged our transportation through the resort where we'd be staying. We met the representative outside and he led us to the carpark where the driver waited for us.
Pro Tip: Although normally hotels charge a lot more than what you could find booking through another service for transportation and tours, the COMO Uma Ubud's prices seemed quite reasonable - US $55, including tax and a service fee. Plus, they even provided bottles of water in the car for us.
The drive itself was pleasant but it was our first introduction to Bali traffic and I have to say, I wasn't impressed. The roads are definitely overwhelmed by the number of vehicles on them so, be prepared to be stuck in traffic at some point on your trip.
Checking In and Relaxing at COMO Uma Ubud
Once we arrived at the COMO Uma Ubud, we checked in, ate lunch, napped, and just relaxed by the pool. A perfect way to recover from a less than ideal flight!
Our room at the COMO Uma Ubud was spacious and very comfortable. We also enjoyed sitting out on the large balcony and listening to the sounds of the jungle - so many birds and noisy bugs.
Dinner at COMO Uma Ubud
One of the other reasons we loved staying at the COMO Uma Ubud was the food. We ate several meals here throughout our stay and they were all delicious. The beef rendang - one of our favorite Indonesian dishes - was one of the best we've ever eaten!
Day 2 - Exploring Ubud Town
Walking to Ubud
Since the COMO Uma Ubud is outside of Ubud town, we decided to go for a little walk after breakfast to explore. Despite it only being a ~2.5 km (1.5 mi) walk, I quickly realized that heat + humidity + pregnancy = me not being able to walk nearly as far.
Luckily, Ubud town has plenty of cafes where you can stop to rest and get a cold drink. I loved the tropical fruit smoothies and lassis that were available throughout Bali. It's nice to have such tasty, non-alcoholic (and healthy!) drink options available when you're on a babymoon.
As we walked around the town, it was clear that shopping is the big draw here. From local markets with handicraft goods to boutique shops, you can definitely spend many hours here if you love to shop.
Pro Tip: I recommend that you download the Grab App to your phone before arriving in Vietnam. It's a ride-share app that is widely used throughout Southeast Asia and how we got around in Bali when we weren't on a pre-arranged tour.
Lunch at Ibu Oka Babi Guling
While in Ubud town, we stopped at Ibu Oka Babi Guling for lunch to sample one of Bali's signature dishes - babi guling, or spit-roasted pig. The entire dish was pretty tasty, though the crispy skin was my favorite part.
Pool Time and Prenatal Massage
In the afternoon, we returned to COMO Uma Ubud to cool off in the pool and relax a bit. Then, we enjoyed a massage at the spa. It was my first prenatal massage and I'd highly recommend one to work out the aches of pregnancy!
Dinner at Copper Kitchen & Bar
Located in the Bisma Eight Ubud Hotel, this dreamy rooftop restaurant and bar is perfect for a romantic dinner. Copper Kitchen & Bar serves a fusion of dishes with bold flavors and fresh ingredients, many of which coming from their own earth-friendly farm in Tegallalang.
Everything we ate here was delicious, but the curried pumpkin and eggplant soup was my favorite. With a spicy kick and rich creamy flavor, I could have eaten only that and been happy.
Day 3 - Ubud Day Tour - Rice Terraces, Coffee, & Temples
After a few days relaxing, we ventured out to explore the Ubud region a bit more. Normally, we'd rent a motorbike and drive ourselves around. But since I was pregnant, we took a safer approach and arranged an Ubud Discovery Tour through the COMO Uma Ubud.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
The first stop on our Ubud day tour was the famous Tegallalang Rice Terraces (also known as the Ceking Rice Terrace). Pretty much when you think of Bali, you picture beaches and these rice fields. Or, maybe that's just me?
We couldn't have asked for better weather to see the rice fields and as a result, we took so many photos. Because I was 6 months pregnant, we opted to skip the various swings, zip-lining adventures, and walking up and down in the fields. But you could easily spend some time here enjoying these activities.
Kumulilar Coffee Plantation
Our next stop - Kumulilar Coffee Plantation - was perfect for a little pick-me-up. We sampled a variety of teas and coffees, including kopi luwak.
Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is coffee made with coffee cherries that have been eaten, partially digested, and defecated by Asian palm civets. After learning more about the process, I think the description sounds more disgusting than it actually is. Even though it's all true, the outer shell is removed and the beans are cleaned. So really, it's not that gross.
We enjoyed all of the teas and the kopi luwak, but I found many of the other coffee blends too sweet for my tastes. If you like flavored coffee though, then you would probably enjoy them. The stars of the farm were the two civets, which reminded me of my cats.
Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu
After caffeinating, we made our way to a couple of Ubud's Hindu water temples.
Pro Tip: To enter temples in Bali, you'll need to wear a traditional sarong, even if you're already wearing long pants. Luckily, our guide brought sarongs for us and even tied them around us. This meant they actually stayed in place much better than if we'd tied them ourselves!
Our first stop was the tranquil Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple. Not many tourists seemed to visit this temple, so it was a peaceful spot to walk around. The grounds were lush and verdant with turquoise pools and several shrines.
Pura Tirta Empul
The next water temple we visited - Tirta Empul - was much more popular and is considered sacred by the Balinese Hindu community.
The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and is regarded as a holy spring. It has several bathing pools where Balinese Hindus go for ritual purification. They also allow tourists to participate in this ritual and many people were doing so at the time we visited.
Around the temple complex, you'll also see several shrines and above the temple, you can see the presidential summer palace on the hill.
Late Lunch at Tis Cafe
After a full morning of touring Ubud, we were ready for a bite to eat. Our guide recommended Tis Cafe, which overlooks the Tegallalang Rice Fields. It was a perfect spot to soak in the views and eat some delicious noodles.
If you're looking to cool off after walking around the rice fields, the swimming pool at Tis Cafe might be a good option. There's a fee or spend amount you have to hit, but the pool overlooks the rice fields and seems like a great place to hang out.
Afternoon Pool Time
After spending the first part of the day in the heat and humidity, nothing felt quite as good as jumping into the pool. It was my favorite way to spend the afternoon, even if it was raining.
Dinner at Nusantara by Locavore
When you live abroad, you tend to meet up with friends in the most random spots. We found out that we would be in Bali at the same time as friends of ours who had moved to Singapore, so we took the opportunity to meet up for dinner.
Nusantara by Locavore is the perfect spot to gather with a group and order lots of delicious authentic, and SPICY dishes to share with the entire table. Nusantara specializes in lesser-known Indonesian dishes from a variety of regions, discovering lost recipes and showcasing them on their menu.
Day 4 - Relaxing at COMO Uma Ubud
Day of Rest
After a full day the day before, we decided not to do anything but relax at the COMO Uma Ubud. Normally on vacation, this would be unthinkable for us as we're always go, go, go. But on a babymoon, it was perfect.
As I mentioned above, the restaurants at the COMO Uma Ubud have delicious dishes so it was no hardship to our eat meals here. Every morning we enjoyed breakfast in a tranquil garden setting.
At lunch, we either ate poolside or at the bar if it was raining, which it did often in the afternoons.
For dinner, we ate at the bar one night, which served a variety of western and Indonesian dishes - same menu as lunch.
But we also tried the Uma Cucina Restaurant - an Italian restaurant - as well one night. All the dishes were tasty, but I would say the Indonesian food is definitely the better bet (pretty obvious, no?). The Italian food was good for being in Indonesia, but wasn't anything to write home about.
Day 5 - Handicrafts, Waterfall, and Legong Dance
For our final day in Ubud, our goal was to visit a few handicraft villages to find high-quality souvenirs to decorate our apartment. Again, because we were avoiding motorbike rentals on this trip, we arranged a car and driver through our resort for a reasonable price.
Ubud Handicraft Shops and Waterfall Excursion
Arranging this type of tour through a 5-star resort had mixed results. The good news is that we found high-quality, beautiful pieces. The bad news is that we probably overpaid by going to fancy art galleries instead of more affordable shops where we might have stopped if we were on our own.
Yana Art Gallery
Our first stop was the Yana Art Gallery - a woodcarving workshop where we could see the artisans working just outside of the gallery. It became clear to us at this stop that purchasing something was kind of expected. Luckily, that was our goal anyway.
We bought a beautiful wood-carved wall hanging as well as an elephant figurine for the baby's room. Then, we realized we have nowhere to put it so it's in our living room.
Although we were hunting for handicraft treasures, we saw signs about a waterfall and asked our driver if it was possible to detour. He was more than happy to accommodate us and stopped at the popular Tegenungan Waterfall.
We weren't exactly dressed to appreciate the waterfall fully as we didn't have our swimsuits, but we climbed down the stairs to see it anyway.
When it was time to climb back up, I definitely had some regrets. I've certainly done more challenging hikes in Hong Kong in hotter temperatures, but pregnancy adds a layer of difficulty that I kept forgetting about!
Dewa Putu Toris Art Gallery
The next spot we stopped was the Dewa Putu Toris Art Gallery - a painting gallery that is set in an old traditional housing complex. It was fascinating to see the variety of artwork - from traditional Balinese paintings to more modern-style paintings.
It was a lot to take in and we spent way more than we had intended, getting both a large, modern-style piece of yellow rice fields and a smaller traditional Balinese painting of the lion dance.
After this stop, we decided to return to the hotel. We'd originally planned to stop at a batik village also. But, it was clear by this stop that the places we were being taken were pricey and a purchase was kind of expected. Since we were pleased with our finds, we decided we'd spent enough for one trip!
As you can expect by this point in the itinerary, we enjoyed another relaxing afternoon and a cooling dip in the pool once we returned. Then, we got ready to head into Ubud town for the evening.
Legong Trance and Paradise Dance at Ubud Palace
Every night at 7:30-9:00 pm, the Ubud Palace hosts a Legong show in its courtyard where the public can gather to watch this Balinese dance originally performed only for royals. It costs 100,000 rupiah (~US $6.50) per person.
Legong involves colorful costumes and make-up, intricate finger movements and exaggerated facial expressions. Each performance tells a story, usually from either the Mahabharata or the Ramayana - the two Sanskrit epic poems from ancient India.
Each day of the week features a different show performed by a different dance troupe. We attended on Thursday, which was the Legong Trance and Paradise Dance which depicted the Mahabharata Bimaniu (aka Abhimanyu) Story.
Pro Tip: The Legong show is outdoors with no rain cover. In light rain, the show carries on, so you may want bring rain protection. However, if it pours, they'll stop the show. Also, if the show has to end early, you will not get your money back.
Dinner at Ibu Rai Restaurant
After getting rained out of the Legong dance show about halfway through it, we made our way to Ibu Rai Restaurant for dinner. They offer a mix of Indonesian and western dishes. The satay and beef rendang were delicious and the unique ice cream flavors (passion fruit and basil) for dessert hit the spot.
Day 6-8 - Relaxing at Jimbaran Beach
After spending five days in Ubud, we made our way to the coast to Jimbaran Beach (~2-hr drive). We arranged our transportation to our next resort through the COMO Uma Ubud. It was around the same cost as the airport transfer, but slightly less expensive.
Our Stay at the Jimbaran Puri, A Belmond Hotel
Our next resort - the Jimbaran Puri, A Belmond Hotel - was a big splurge for us as far as accommodations go. However, it paid off in spades when we received an incredible upgrade to a one-bedroom pool villa that made me never want to leave!
Surprise Upgrade Magic - How It Happened
As I mentioned earlier, we signed up for two new travel credit cards this year. The American Express Platinum card is the one we used to book the Jimbaran Puri. When you book this hotel through the AMEX travel site, you receive several perks, including a free 50-minute massage, early check-in/late check-out, as well as an upgrade, if available.
Originally, we'd booked the standard garden bungalow, which was already at the top of our budget. All the bungalows at the Jimbaran Puri are very nice and have a private garden area. Plus, the public pool and grounds around this resort are beautiful.
When we checked in, we thought they told us that no upgrades were available. Though disappointed, we kind of expected that given it was Easter weekend and the resort seemed quite full.
So, imagine our surprise when our personal butler (never had one of those before!) drove us in a golf cart to one-bedroom pool villa bungalow. I tried to play it cool but probably had my mouth hanging open in shock during her tour. Best surprise you could ask for anytime, but especially on a babymoon!
One-Bedroom Pool Villa at the Jimbaran Puri
The one-bedroom pool villa at the Jimbaran Puri, A Belmond Hotel is nestled at the back of the property and is a quiet retreat. Our villa had two little houses - one for the living and dining rooms and the other for the bedroom and bathroom.
The outside area of the pool villa was equally impressive with lush vegetation, an outdoor dining table, two pool loungers, a gazebo, and of course, a decent-sized pool. Even though you couldn't swim laps in it, the pool was larger than most I've seen in pool villas and was long enough to get in a couple strokes.
Meals at Jimbaran Puri
When I said I never wanted to leave our pool villa, I meant it. We spent most of our time at Jimbaran Beach relaxing in our villa. Sometimes we ordered room service meals, which were next-level on both presentation and taste. Unlike many times when you order room service and it's cold by the time it arrives, the food was as hot and fresh as if we'd been at the restaurant.
Other times, we visited the Jimbaran Puri restaurants on the beach to eat with our feet in the sand and enjoy the sound of the waves.
In the evenings, we also enjoyed a drink while soaking in the sunset and watching planes take off from the airport.
The Spa at Jimbaran Puri
As I mentioned, we received a free 50-minute massage as part of our Amex Platinum perks. The spa at the Jimbaran Puri is interesting. The treatment rooms are open-air cabanas which have cloths hanging around the sides for privacy. Though, they're not that private when the wind blows.
Seafood Dinner at Local Restaurant
One night, we made our way north on the beach to one of the local restaurants. We were low on cash, so we made sure to ask if they accepted credit cards before choosing a place - Warung Bamboo. The meal was very good and the staff were super friendly and helpful. Plus, it was much cheaper than eating at our resort!
Booking a Grab to the Airport
From the Jimbaran Puri, getting a Grab taxi to the airport was very convenient. It's only about a ~15-min drive. Arranging transportation through the Jimbaran Puri was next-level expensive, so Grab was a much better option.
If you're looking for the perfect spot to relax on a babymoon, Bali is a great choice! Even though we did not plan a lot of activities, we managed to get a small taste of what Bali has to offer. Soaking in the amazing scenery, eating delicious food, and having plenty of time to swim and get a bit of a tan made this a great getaway.
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