Inside Weddings - - Features -

Two months af­ter their unique and per­sonal nup­tials in Chicago, Illi­nois, Brit­tanie Ahrens and Alex Navarro jet­ted off to South­east Asia for two weeks of re­lax­ation, cul­tural sight­see­ing, and of course, a dash of ro­mance. For their first trip to­gether as hus­band and wife, they de­cided to ex­plore far­away lands they had never vis­ited: Bangkok, Thai­land and the ar­eas of Seminyak and Ubud on the In­done­sian is­land of Bali.

Bangkok, Thai­land

Af­ter an eight-hour lay­over in Dubai where they vis­ited the tallest build­ing in the world, Burj Khal­ifa, and en­joyed a sun­set din­ner, the new­ly­weds ar­rived in Bangkok. “We wanted to ex­plore a busy, large city be­fore re­lax­ing in Bali,” ex­plains Brit­tanie. They checked into The Penin­sula Bangkok, right on the edge of the Chao Phraya river, for four nights. “The ho­tel is lo­cated on the ‘wrong’ side of the river, so we had a stun­ning view of the down­town sky­line,” she di­vulges. The cou­ple ap­pre­ci­ated the vista from a large pool lo­cated on the beau­ti­ful grounds of the ho­tel. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the ho­tel’s free wa­ter taxi ser­vice, Brit­tanie and Alex en­joyed a re­lax­ing boat ride en route to the down­town neigh­bor­hood. “We spent most days dis­cov­er­ing Bangkok and what the city has to of­fer,” she adds. They found a fa­vorite spa, En­joy Mas­sage, where the pair treated them­selves to hand and foot treat­ments each even­ing for only a few US dol­lars per hour.

The sweet­hearts spent a few hours ex­plor­ing the Bud­dhist tem­ple com­plex of Wat Pho. “It’s a won­der­ful cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence with stun­ning views,” gushes Brit­tanie. “The world’s largest re­clin­ing Bud­dha is housed there, and it is enor­mous!” Con­ve­niently, the flower mar­kets of Bangkok are lo­cated right next to the com­plex, which were of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to Brit­tanie, who works as an event de­signer for HMR De­signs in Chicago. “Some of our prod­uct comes di­rectly from Bangkok,” she notes. The cou­ple’s last full day in the city pro­vided an­other chance for Brit­tanie to see the gor­geous flo­rals of Thai­land, as their pri­vate guided tour of the Dam­noen Sad­uak float­ing mar­kets in­cluded a stop at an or­chid farm. “Once we ar­rived at the mar­kets, the vi­brant ven­dors were a sight to see!” Brit­tanie ex­claims. “Each stall – some in boats and some on the bank of the river – of­fered var­i­ous goods such as cloth­ing, plants, toys, and sou­venirs.”

Dis­cover travel and hon­ey­moon tips from one re­cently mar­ried cou­ple.

Seminyak, Bali, In­done­sia

Fol­low­ing their ex­plo­ration of Bangkok, the new­ly­weds switched gears to re­lax in Bali. First stop: four nights in Seminyak, a re­gion on­line re­views said would be less touristy than nearby Kuta, which is known for a party at­mos­phere. For­go­ing a tra­di­tional re­sort, Brit­tanie and Alex stayed at an Airbnb prop­erty called Bora Villa. The two-bed­room home fea­tured a pri­vate pool in the beau­ti­fully land­scaped yard. “We re­ally en­joyed break­ing up our ho­tel stay with a more re­laxed Airbnb,” Brit­tanie says. “It chal­lenged us to ex­plore on our own.”

Spend­ing a day at the Potato Head beach club of­fered ac­cess to “three restau­rants, two bars, a mas­sive pool, and the best place to watch the sun­set in town,” re­veals Brit­tanie. The stylish cou­ple also en­joyed the quirky and unique ar­chi­tec­ture of the club. They dis­cov­ered an un­usual deal at a trendy din­ner spot, Deus Ex Machina’s Tem­ple of En­thu­si­asm: a free tat­too with the pur­chase of tacos. “We de­cided to forgo the nee­dle,” she laughs, “but the cul­ture and sur­round­ings were plenty to take in.” It was clearly the place to be for hip lo­cals and va­ca­tion­ers, as the stand-alone build­ing not only fea­tures a restau­rant, but also a back­yard han­gout with a bar­ber shop, an art gallery, and a com­bined mo­tor­cy­cle-and-cloth­ing store. “Ev­ery restau­rant and shop we went to in Seminyak was ter­rific,” Brit­tanie as­serts.

“Ev­ery restau­rant and shop we went to in Seminyak was ter­rific.”

Ubud, Bali, In­done­sia

For the fi­nal stretch of their trav­els, the new­ly­weds de­cided to em­brace lux­ury with four days at the Four Sea­sons Re­sort Bali at Sayan for their visit to Ubud. “We splurged on a pri­vate villa on the beau­ti­ful prop­erty that over­looked the jun­gle,” Brit­tanie con­fides. They took part in many of the re­sort-of­fered ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese dance show, a yoga class in the mid­dle of a rice paddy, and of course, the spa. Breath­tak­ing views greeted the trav­el­ers as they en­joyed the va­ri­ety of pools avail­able on-site. “The ser­vice was un­matched and the prop­erty was per­fec­tion,” raves Brit­tanie.

The new­ly­weds took ad­van­tage of the jun­gle lo­ca­tion by pay­ing a visit to the famed Sa­cred Mon­key For­est Sanctuary, a na­ture pre­serve and Hindu tem­ple com­plex in Ubud. Vis­i­tors walk through and in­ter­act with hun­dreds of pri­mates of all sizes. “It was amaz­ing to see all these non-do­mes­ti­cated mon­keys up close and just co­ex­ist­ing in this en­vi­ron­ment where they see tourists day in and day out,” Alex notes of his fa­vorite part of the trip. An­other day was spent hik­ing the Cam­puhan Ridge Walk, a two-hour trek to a small vil­lage. Once there, the love­birds en­joyed a meal at the Karsa Kafe, lo­cated on a work­ing rice ter­race. The new Mr. and Mrs. agree that, while they en­joyed all of their hon­ey­moon, Ubud was by far their fa­vorite lo­ca­tion. In fact, in ret­ro­spect, they would have pre­ferred an ex­tra day in the Ba­li­nese jun­gle, giv­ing up their fourth day in Bangkok in its stead. “The re­lax­ing time spent here rem­i­nisc­ing with Alex about our wed­ding and dream­ing about our fu­ture was some­thing I will never for­get,” Brit­tanie muses.


Dar­ing tuk-tuk rides. “They are a great way to get from one lo­ca­tion to an­other, but be care­ful! They speed through the city and dart in and out of traf­fic: it can be nerve-rack­ing.”

Tour­ing the float­ing mar­kets. “The way the long boats sped through the wind­ing canals of­fer­ing col­or­ful and ex­otic views was truly breath­tak­ing.”

Ex­pand­ing their palates. “We highly rec­om­mend step­ping out of your com­fort zone to taste the lo­cal cui­sine. Ev­ery­thing was de­li­cious!”


Sip­ping de­li­cious smooth­ies. “Nalu Bowls of­fers freshly made smoothie bowls topped with fruits, veg­gies, and home­made vanilla gra­nola served out of a co­conut. We tried to re­pro­duce them at home, but noth­ing is quite like them!” Loung­ing at a beach club. “We rented a ca­bana and en­joyed tak­ing dips in the ocean and vis­it­ing the swim-up pool bar.”

Meet­ing the lo­cals. “The sense of com­mu­nity and their pure hap­pi­ness for peo­ple vis­it­ing their area is im­me­di­ately felt.”


Re­lax­ing at the re­sort. “The ho­tel was such a lux­ury, we strug­gled with want­ing to spend time just ex­plor­ing the prop­erty and go­ing into the town.”

Tak­ing part in the cus­toms. “We also stopped at a lo­cal tem­ple that of­fered a tra­di­tional com­mu­nity bath where the women and men bathe sep­a­rately.”

Vis­it­ing with the mon­keys. “They are not scared of hu­mans!”


• “Bring com­fort­able, breath­able clothes and very sen­si­ble shoes.”

• “Re­mem­ber: hag­gling is part of their sell­ing process, so don’t be afraid to ne­go­ti­ate!”

• “Be sure to re­search the con­ver­sion rates be­fore­hand. Thai­land’s cur­rency was easy to fig­ure out, but Bali’s was much more dif­fi­cult.”

• “We used sev­eral travel blogs to find rec­om­men­da­tions for more lo­cal-friendly spots.”

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