Where to say “I do” in one of the world’s most beautiful places
It’s impossible not to fall in love with Bali. This island paradise in the Indonesian archipelago has a balmy climate and all the beauty of a grand romance. It draws you in with pretty, sun-kissed beaches and sweeping coastlines, courts you with intensely lush rainforests and mirrored rice paddy terraces, and seals the deal with rugged volcanic mountain ranges and dramatic skies. It’s soulful and sweet, luxurious and friendly, and one of the more enchanting places to say “I do”. No wonder it’s the go-to destination for couples looking to tie the knot.
This untouched wilderness may well be one of Bali’s best-kept wedding secrets. One of the first (and premier) diving spots, it’s a technicolour explosion of white sandy beaches, coral reefs, crystalline waters, tropical fish, birdlife and the wild deer the island gets its name from. It’s also home to a trio of striking cliffside temples and a large-scale Ganesha. A protected marine area that forms part of the Bali Barat National Park, this tiny eco-wonderland of mangroves and rainforest, a short 30-minute boat ride off the north-west coast of Bali, is astonishingly beautiful, uncrowded and chilled.
A thicket of bushy trees and palms edges a narrow stretch of peppery black sandy beach at Lovina. This sleepy fishing village in Bali’s north-west, famous for the dolphins that leap and splash about in its deep-blue waters, is remarkable for its low-key vibe, beachfront warungs (shops) and distinct lack of tourists. It’s not overly flash, but that’s half its charm. It’s also a short 10-kilometre drive from Bali’s only Buddhist monastery, Brahmavihara-Arama. Perched on the hillside with pretty views, this impressive mini replica of Borobodur is where couples keen for a non-traditional ceremony can exchange vows.
Seminyak, Legian & Beyond
Bali’s trendiest area is also one of its more popular wedding destinations, in part due to the 12-kilometre stretch of shimmering coastline and dazzling sunset views. From Seminyak to Legian and beyond, the beach resort areas that make up Bali’s south are an eclectic and cosmopolitan mix of restaurants, bars, spas, clubs and boutiques. Seminyak, its most swanky, has some of the island’s best restaurants and is the place to shop for quirky local, Australian and European designs. Legian, next door, is bursting with local shops, spas and a mix of family-friendly beachfront eateries. Further along Kuta, chaotic, crowded and noisy, has the distinction of being Bali’s first tourist hot spot and having one of its best surf beaches for beginners. Between Kerobokan and Echo Beach, the seaside village of Canggu is the new frontier for do-it-yourself brides and grooms.
An enclave of luxury resorts and sleek bars built higgledy-piggledy into the clifface, makes Bukit Peninsula a standout wedding choice. This glamorous beach resort area on Bali’s south-western tip is nature at its best jagged cliffs rise sharply away from pounding surf beaches, and incandescent sunsets seem to drip candy colours into the sea.
Once popular among surfers in search of the perfect break, the clifftop of Uluwatu is a dramatic spot where monkeys abound and traditional dances are performed in and around its ancient Hindu temple at sunset. Nearby, Jimbaran, with its pretty beach, is transformed nightly into a soft, candlelit beach restaurant complete with travelling minstrels.