I love traveling one-on-one with my husband and traveling with other couples, but there’s nothing like a girls’ trip. Each year, my mom and I go on a mother-daughter trip in the spring, and since we’ve had the opportunity to go on quite a few this year with just the two of us, we thought it might be fun to invite some girlfriends along on our recent trip to Bali. I had a blast planning us the PERFECT girls’ trip and we had the trip of a lifetime.
Bali is a large Indonesian island known for scenic forests with volcanic mountains, sprawling rice fields, clear blue water and coral reefs, and gorgeous temples and religious sites. The island’s major tourist areas include Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, and Nusa Dua and there are a plethera of resorts for those who want to explore Bali’s outdoor landscape, lounge by the beach, or enjoy a meditation and yoga retreat. Ever since I saw Julia Roberts venture to Bali as Liz Gilbert in the 2010 film Eat, Pray, Love, Bali has been on my travel bucket list and it’s a destination that I’m so glad I had an opportunity to visit. I’m excited to share my picks on where to stay, dine, shop, and play in Bali, Indonesia.
Travel Well: Bali
Stay: Bali is pretty large, so where you stay should largely depend on what area you want to be in and what you want to do. During my time in Bali, my girls and I stayed in a beautiful 5-bedroom villa complete with its own spa room, private pool, and staff. The only drawback was that we were about a 15 minute drive from the beach (which is too far for me – I like to be able to see the water from my window or balcony whenever possible). I prefer villas or condos for girls’ trips for a few reasons (which I explain in detail in my new e-guide – more on this to come), and this villa was a great place for us to relax and hang out.
I also had the chance to visit quite a few hotels during my time in Bali that were just as beautiful as our villa. My favorites were the Banyan Tree and the Ritz Carlton, which are both perched on cliffs overlooking the Indian ocean, and the W Retreat and Spa, which is located beachside in Seminyak and has more of a young, fun feel. Because my mom and I had a late flight out at the end of our trip but had to check out of our villa by 11am, we moved over to the Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, which is also a good choice for lodging due to its proximity to shopping and dining and beautiful beach views.
Dine: Before our trip, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be a huge fan of Indonesian food, but it was absolutely delicious. For our girls’ trip itinerary, I planned a mix between enjoying meals in our villa by a private chef and dining out at restaurants. We went to quite a few amazing restaurants, so I’ll just share my top 3 picks:
- Waroeng Tugu: The staff at Waroeng Tugu pulled out all the stops for our visit and greeted us with open arms before whisking us to a private table on the beach front lawn. The service was absolutely amazing and the traditional Balinese fare was delicious.
- Starfish Bloo: I was a W bride, so W hotels will always have a special spot in my heart. I loved the ambiance of Starfish Bloo at the W. It felt very grown and sexy and was perfect for a night out with my girls. The drinks and appetizers were both phenomenal.
- JuMaNa: Located at the Banyan Tree with breathtaking sunset views, JuMaNa is a must visit restaurant during any trip to Bali. We enjoyed having our hands cleansed in a traditional hand washing ceremony before our meal, which was out of this world form start to finish.
Shop: If you ask me, no girls’ trip is complete without a little retail therapy. There are fabulous little shops and boutiques around every corner on Bali’s main roads, especially throughout Kuta and Seminyak. In terms of local shopping, there are a plethora of places to purchase hand carved wood statues, sarongs, and other keepsakes. The area near the famed Tanah Lot Temple (more on this in the next section) is a great place to look for these type of souvenirs. On our last day in Bali, my mom and I were the only two ladies remaining and we were a little beached out, so we spent the afternoon shopping at the Beachwalk Shopping Center, which is (conveniently) attached to the Sheraton. They have an array of cosmetics stores, boutiques, and restaurants including shops like TopShop, Pull and Bear, Mango, and Zara.
Play: There is a lot to do in Bali and its diverse landscape makes it the perfect place for a wide range of activities. On top of that, things are really inexpensive (which surprised me), so it’s possible to fit in quite a bit without breaking the bank. Here are activities that we did during our trip to Bali and absolutely loved:
- Island Visits: Boat days are always my favorite days during vacations and we really enjoyed the day that we spent cruising around Bali. The water was crystal clear, so we hopped off and did some snorkeling on our way to Nusa Lembongan, a beautiful island located southeast of Bali, where we enjoyed lunch at a gorgeous beachfront restaurant.
- Elephant Rides: Riding an elephant is something that I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember and our visit to Bali’s Elephant Safari Park is something that I will never forget. We got to see an elephant show, get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures, and enjoy a 20-minute elephant ride through the jungle.
- White Water Rafting: My girls and I were after a little thrill in Bali, so we left my mom behind (she was too afraid to join us) and spent a morning white water rafting on the Ayung River. It was great to see a different side of the island and the views from our raft were beautiful. We had a lot of fun and got a great workout (between the paddling and the 300 stairs we had to climb, I was super sore the next day).
- Spa Days: Balinese massages are a must during a trip to Bali. We enjoyed not one, not two, but three spa days during our girls’ trip and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The spa treatments that we got, both in our villa and at the Sheraton’s spa, were phenomenal and REALLY inexpensive (we had 2 hour spa treatments complete with massages and body polishes for IDR 350,00 per person, which converts to roughly 26.44 USD).
- Beach Clubs: Because the villa we stayed in wasn’t on the beach, we ventured to Ku De Ta Beach Club to spend a day soaking up the sun. The view from the beach club was gorgeous and the food and drinks were both amazing. We got a little tipsy and ended up napping on the beach front daybeds, which made for a perfect relaxing day.
- Temple Visits: Bali is rich in culture and history, especially in terms of religion. No visit is complete without a visit to a few of the beautiful temples. We visited a tw temples during our trip and I really enjoyed learning about Bali’s culture. My favorite was Pura Tanah Lot, which is an ancient Hindu shrine that has become one of Bali’s most important landmarks.
Our girls’ trip to Bali was amazing. My friends and I had a wonderful time and although we were only there for 5 days, we made the most of our time and did just about everything we wanted to do. Does this trip to Bali sound like something that’s right up your alley? Looking to plan something similar for you and your girlfriends? If so, you’re in luck…
I’m the planner among my group of friends, and I always find myself planning our vacations, which is one of the reasons I decided to establish my own custom travel itinerary planning service. From birthday trips in Paris to mother-daughter spa retreats in Scottsdale, planning girls’ trips is something that I love to do and pride myself at being really great at. I’m sharing all my travel planning secrets in my new e-guide, How to Plan the PERFECT Girls’ Trip. My guide is designed to help you turn your vacation into a SLAYCATION by helping you select your travel party and dates, come up with a feasible budget, plan your itinerary, and pack the perfect suitcase. The countdown to the launch date is officially underway and I’m excited to help you to plan the trip of a lifetime for you and your girls. How to Plan the PERFECT Girls’ Trip will be available for purchase on April 5 on ShopLiveLifeWell.com and LiveLifeWell Insiders will get a FREE copy sent straight to their inboxes a few hours before the official launch!
Want to get your copy of How to Plan the PERFECT Girls’ Trip for FREE before it goes on sale?? Subscribe to LiveLifeWell!