A honeymoon in an idyllic island would sound like a dream come true for many, and two names that immediately come to mind are Bali and Maldives. While the former is renowned for its volcanic mountains and rice paddies, the latter is unparalleled in its collection of breathtaking atolls, coral reefs, and beach resorts. So the question is Bali or Maldives?
Whether you are an adventurous duo looking for some adrenaline rush in your honeymoon or looking for a quiet getaway to relish each others’ company, this guide will help you narrow down on a destination by the end of this read.
Bali is one large island in Indonesia in the Southeast Asian region.
The Maldives is a collection of 26 atolls which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. These islands are scattered in the Indian Ocean and they lie closer to the Indian subcontinent.
Bali is a goldmine for the curious traveler as it is blessed with volcanic peaks, mountains, rivers, hilly rice fields, beaches and coral reefs.
Maldives boasts of hundreds of islands – both inhabited and uninhabited, pristine beaches and well preserved coral reefs.
VERDICT: You can explore plenty of terrains in a short span of time in Bali whereas the Maldives might seem homogenous with its beaches and underwater experiences.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Bali is between April and September which is the dry season with very little chance of rain. July and August is peak season and the island is teeming with tourists. Shoulder season from April to June and September is more relaxed and makes for a pleasant honeymoon. Bali enjoys an average temperature ranging between 30 – 34°C throughout the year.=
The best time to visit Maldives is between November and April when the islands enjoy constant sunshine without any interruption from rain. Temperature hovers around 30°C throughout the year owing to its tropical climatic conditions.
VERDICT: Depends on when you intend to head out on your vacation. Between November and April it will have to be Maldives and the best time for Bali is between April and September.
You are spoilt for choice as there are a variety of places to stay in Bali. You can wake up to uninterrupted views of the sea or a valley full of dense greenery in your private villa which guarantee utmost privacy to the love birds. Romantic getaways in Bali like Viceroy Ubud and Hanging Gardens of Bali are located on the hillside beside gently flowing rivers and surrounded by lusciously green tropical forest. Then there are beachside retreats in Bali like Four Seasons at Jimbaran, The Edge, and Oberoi Bali which provide continuous sea breeze.
Find out more about the best places to stay in Bali here.
Resorts in Maldives are renowned for its celebrity-endorsed private island retreats with dreamy ocean suites which provide 270° view of the surrounding ocean. Each resort boasts of its own private island which clearly indicates the exclusivity offered by these luxury properties.
The Maldives boast of unconventional stay options like an underwater suite at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. There are few resorts like Soneva Jani and Jumeirah Vittaveli which offer private ocean villas with a slide that take you right into the water from your private deck.
You can choose from a long list of best places to stay in Maldives here.
VERDICT: Hop from hillside to sea facing villas in Bali whereas an overwater villa is your abode in the Maldives.
HOW TO GET AROUND
The vast island of Bali can be traversed in rented cars for a comfortable ride. There are decent public transport options like buses. For shorter rides, the ubiquitous scooter is the best way to explore the local landscape.
The islands in Maldives are far and wide which means you can go on fun island hopping adventures on a seaplane. The joy of a plane taking off and landing on the calm sea is an experience in itself. Not to mention the breathtaking views of tiny islands floating in the azure sea.
There are speedboats as well to explore neighboring islands or you can rent a traditional boat called dhoni and drift into the sunset. You can even opt for a dinner cruise while you sail.
VERDICT: Bali has a ready fleet of bikes, rental cars and buses ready to ferry passengers whereas pre-booking of boats or seaplanes is a must in Maldives.
Balinese cuisine caters to all kinds of foodies whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or a non-vegetarian. You can eat from mid-range restaurants, cafes and fine-dining spots available at every touristic place in Bali. One place you must not miss while you are in Bali are the roadside eateries called warungs which serve authentic Balinese cuisine.
Must try local dishes in Bali are nasi goreng (fried rice), babi guling (spicy roast pig), bebek betutu (roasted duck), sayur urab (steamed vegetables with grated coconut), udang balado (spicy shrimp to be eaten with steamed rice), pisa goreng (fried bananas), satay (meat skewers), and gado gado (vegetable salad) to name a few.
There are many romantic places to eat in Bali which serve international cuisine like the floating breakfast in an infinity pool, a candlelight dinner in the midst of tropical greenery, or even a private beach or in-villa BBQ.
Find out more such places to eat in Bali here.
Dining in the Maldives is an experience in itself. Fine-dining restaurants are helmed by celebrity chefs who offer the best of world cuisines and cocktails.
For a memorable dining experience, newly-weds can dine on a private sandbank under a canopy of stars or on a traditional boat called dhoni. You can book a table at 5.8 Undersea to dine underwater or even a private cabana far away from the shore.
Have a look at these unique gastronomic experiences in the Maldives here.
If you are interested in trying local Maldivian food, it requires a visit to Malé or any inhabited island. The local food here is simple and centered around fish which is available in abundance. Flavors can be hot and spicy as the cuisine is influenced by neighboring Sri Lankan and Indian flavors.
Must try local dishes in the Maldives are garudhiya (fish soup), mas huni (shredded smoked tuna), Maldivian lobster, fish curry, and fish cake to name a few.
VERDICT: If you are waiting to explore the local food scene, then Balinese food is just a few metres away from wherever you choose to stay.
Things to do in Bali and the Maldives vary widely but each of them have a thrill of their own.
Adventurous things to do
Among the things to do in Bali, adventurous couples can hike Mount Batur to catch a sunrise, go river rafting in Ayung river, surf and parasail in Kuta. You can also snorkel in Nusa Dua, explore Tegallalang rice terraces or just aimlessly explore the island on a scooter.
In the Maldives, an unforgettable underwater adventure awaits you, so slip into your swim wear and unravel the beauty hidden under the waves. Go scuba diving and snorkeling in any of the atolls. Interact with marine creatures like swimming with manta rays, feeding stingrays and go dolphin spotting. Then there is jet skiing, kayaking, surfing and island hopping to quench your thirst for adventure.
Bali is a temple for relaxation and rejuvenation. There are plenty of schools where trained experts teach yoga and meditation in the most serene and isolated spots on the island.
Balinese spa and massage therapies are widespread on the island and can be found within your resort and in boutiques. Opt for a rejuvenating session in a cabana beside a gently flowing river or cliffside with fresh sea breeze.
In the Maldives, you can practice yoga in the supervision of in-house experts in the resort under the fresh rays of the rising run. For the afternoon, pamper your senses at the spa in utmost privacy on the beach under the cool palm shade or on the private deck of your villa.
You can shop almost everywhere in Bali. Ubud Art Market is famous for souvenirs, home decor and fashion items. Balinese rattan bags is a must have in every girl’s wardrobe and so is silver jewelry. A fabric with Batik painting makes for a memorable gift and so are hand woven crocheted mats, hammocks and more.
In Maldives you can shop for Maldivian sarong, lacquered items like boxes and pens, traditional wooden masks, miniature dhoni, and coconut products like oil and mats made of coconut coir.
Bali’s cultural side is thriving and the island provides a window to understand their deep rooted tradition and culture through festivals, dances, and songs.
Not to forget a plethora of time-worn temples that Bali is famous for. These temples are exquisite and they can be found deep in a forest or right on the beach. A trip to Bali is incomplete without visiting a few of these architectural delights.
Balinese are strongly inclined towards traditional art forms and Bali is the perfect place for the both of you to pick a new hobby. Learn batik painting, wooden or stone sculpting, jewellery making and weaving. You can even take a few cooking tips home and recreate Balinese dishes with some cooking classes.
In comparison, a sneak peek into its local way of life and celebration of festivities in the Maldives is not as easily available as in Bali.
VERDICT: A short vacation in Bali will take you to volcanic peaks, temples, clubs and painting classes whereas the Maldives offers the world’s best opportunities for stargazing and scuba diving.
In Bali, 1 USD is worth approx. 14,000 Indonesian Rupiah [Rp], as of May 2019.
|A meal for two in a warung||50,000 – 80,000 Rp||USD 4 – 6|
|A meal for two in a mid-range hotel||80,000 – 120,000 Rp||USD 6 – 10|
|A meal for two in western or seafood restaurant||150,000 – 800,000 Rp||USD 10 – 60|
|A night in a luxury boutique resort||Starts from 850,000 Rp||Starts from USD 60|
In the Maldives, 1 USD is worth approx. 15.41 Maldivian rufiyaa [MVR or Rf], as of May 2019.
|A meal for two in a mid-range hotel||300 – 400 Rf||USD 20 – 25|
|A meal for two at a fine-dining restaurant||3000 Rf and above||USD 200 and above|
|A night in a luxury boutique resort||Starts from 7705 Rf||Starts from USD 500|
VERDICT: Assuming your romantic escapade lasts anywhere between a week and a fortnight, Bali is lighter on the wallet compared to Maldives. This is because accessibility to a variety of experiences and connectivity is easier here than the Maldives.
You have a plenty of things to see in Bali. There are myriad of attractions such as Ubud Monkey Forest, Ubud Royal Palace, and a multitude of temples to visit.
In the Maldives, the islands and its beaches are your playground. The primary draws are water sports, glass boat rides, sandbank picnics, diving trips, and various excursions and programs organized by your luxury resort.
One experience in the Maldives that is the most remarkable is its stargazing opportunities. Since the islands are scattered somewhere deep in the ocean, there is minimal to zero light pollution. With an astronomer by your side, you can spot a myriad of celestial bodies with your naked eye, a pair of binoculars and high-resolution telescope in your resort.
In a nutshell, choose the Maldives if you’re looking forward to pristine, private sunsets in uber-luxurious resorts. Also if you would like to experience exhilarating underwater excursions in one of the world’s best beach destinations.
On the other hand, if you’d like a more multifaceted honeymoon with generous doses of culture and nature, Bali might be more apt for you.
|Things to keep in mind||Bali||Maldives|
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