Matthew & Elizabeth

Matthew & Elizabeth

July 21, 2012

Matthew & Elizabeth

Matthew & Elizabeth

July 21, 2012

Thanks for stopping by our honeymoon registry page! As most of you know, we met six years ago (!) when Matt was stationed in Germany with the US Army and Liz was working as an au pair for a German family. Our journey has taken us all over the world - from Luxembourg to Japan and back again. We love to travel, and got engaged on our trip to Bermuda last winter. We are planning a honeymoon to Bali, Indonesia. Liz picked this spot for a number of reasons - primarily, she heard once upon a time that they have floating bars. Also a hot spot for all things holistic and yoga-oriented, there will be no lack of activities and endless relaxation. The island is known for its culinary skills and many cooking classes are offered which easily got Matt on board with the idea. (If you know him, you know he likes good food - the spicier, the better!). Also, there is a monkey jungle. We like monkeys. A lot.

As Bali is on the complete other side of the world (and opposite hemisphere to boot), it is going to be quite the trip. 30+ hours on a plane (which we might record. It could make for good reality TV), and numerous airport stops. This is probably the last big, fancy and far away vacation we'll be able to take for a looooooong while, as we hear that getting married and having kids is going to suck up a large part of our income. In order to make it the best it can possibly be, we've registered it. We have the pots, the pans, the coffee maker, and all that other stuff that folks usually register. What we'd much rather have is a nice, long, relaxing honeymoon!

We're going to Kuta, Denspasar, Ubud!

We'll be staying in Kuta at the Bali Merita Villas. We've booked a private villa, complete with swimming pool! We will take numerous trips around the island, to the city of Denspasar, and then north to the cultural center of Ubud.


With a long broad Indian Ocean beach-front, Kuta was originally discovered by tourists as a surfing paradise. It has long been a popular stop on the classic backpacking route in South East Asia. Back in the 1980s they used to talk about the three Ks: Katmandu in Nepal, Khao San Road in Bangkok and Kuta. Today Kuta still attracts some hardcore backpackers as well as families and tourists from all over the world, and is most notably a playground for young visitors from Australia.

Due to the ever increasing popularity of Bali, Kuta is continually developing, and is not short of unsightly, poorly planned buildings. It can come across at times to be chaotic, overcrowded and congested. However, amongst all the mayhem this place somehow works, and hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy their time in Kuta every year.

Infrastructure has come a long way in Kuta, although it is still insufficient for the amount of visitors who stay in the area. Some side alleys still have significant potholes and road rules still don't mean very much. Most roads are constantly busy with motor scooters, metered taxis and private cars. Instead of using signals, locals and the seasoned travellers honk their motor vehicles to signal overtaking or squeezing into a tight spot near you. Oftentimes cars fold in their side mirrors when negotiating narrow single lanes with parked vehicles. Now you can access free wifi in local convenience stores, restaurants, cafes and hotels. There are half a dozen prepaid mobile phone sim cards available everywhere with competitive top up plans. Touts will persistently try to get to buy something from them, whether you're walking on the streets or seated in a restaurant.

The five km long sandy stretch of Kuta is arguably the best beach front in Bali. The beach is safe, partially clean, well-maintained, although the beach vendors remain annoying pushing massages, hair braiding, cigarettes and surf boards. The long wide stretch of sand is often full of sunbathers and although most of the serious surfers have moved on to newer pastures, there are still plenty of surf dudes around at most times of the year, and especially so during peak season. As you move north along the beach to first Legian and then Seminyak and Petitenget it becomes progressively quieter and less frenetic.

The area of south Kuta closest to the airport is more correctly known as Tuban, but this name is rarely used.

Once the sun goes down, Kuta is the rough and ready party zone of Bali, even after the tragic events of 2002. Even the most hardened of party animal will find something to please them on Jalan Legian at night.


Ubud was the cultural, artistic, and spiritual heart of Bali centuries before the tanned, toned, and bejeweled began to sashay through the hallowed haunts of south Bali. Perhaps Ubud's destiny as a point of confluence was sealed in the 8th century by Rsi Markendya, a wandering priest from Java, who (legend has it) found the perfect patch for meditation where the eastern and western branches of the Wos River meet in Campuhan. This holy site is now Guning Lebah temple. Ubud's position as a center of the arts developed under Tjokorde Rai Batur, king from 1850 to 1880, a member of the Satriya family of Sukawati, who had been significant supporters of the arts and culture over the centuries.

Ubud's modern cultural prominence is a result of a fortuitous meeting of one of the scions of the House of Ubud and Walter Spies, who came to Denpasar in 1926. At the time the arts in Bali were undergoing a process of redefinition, as the traditional forms of patronage and funding, namely the rajahs and the temples, were under Dutch colonial rule and were no longer sources of wealth. Survival meant innovation and an important meeting of the minds. Walter Spies came to Ubud on the invitation of Prince Sukawati, and, together with friend and fellow artist Rudolf Bonnet, encouraged and financed individual artists in developing new styles that put art and artist ahead of tradition. This is known as the Pita Maha.

At about this same time Bali became the bohemian destination for glamorous artistic society, Dorthy Lamour, Charlie Chaplin, and Noel Coward loved it, Margaret Mead and her lover Gregory Bateson got married on a ship en route to Bali, and Barbara Hutton fell head-over-heels for Walters Spies who had a different sort of partner in mind altogether.

By the early 1960s, Ubud had attained fame as a unique artists' community. Enter Arie Smit, the most well-known and longest surviving Western artist in Ubud, whose Young Artists school of painting in Penestanan earned him an enduring place in the history of Balinese art. In the following years the entire artistic region around Ubud flourished, including the enclaves of Campuhan, Penestanan, Sanggingan, Nyuhkuning, Padang Tegal, Pengosekon, and Peliatan. Nearby are the centers of wood carving at Mas and of silverware at Celuk.

Described by many as one of the world's most magical destinations, Ubud, despite the advance of yoga centers, spas, villas, and luxury hotels, remains relatively unchanged. The town has taken a stand against the encroachment of tourism and has defended its cultural practices and artistic endeavors against the influx of outsiders. By order of decree no McDonald's, Starbucks, or KFCs are allowed within its boundaries (<---- Liz may die without Sbux, but she's ecstatic to travel to somewhere that has OUTLAWED fast food!)

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One night at the Bali Merita Villas
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Day Trip to Ubud
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Couples Massage (1 hour)
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Scooter/Motorbike Rental (for the entire trip)
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Fancy dinner out in Legian or Seminyak
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