Bali is set apart from the rest of Indonesia. Not only is this due to the fact that Bali is predominantly Hindu, while the rest of the country is Muslim, but time seems to pass slower here. There is a spiritual air - many choose to come here to meditate and focus on their inner selves. Perhaps this is why so many temples can be found across the island, some dating back hundreds of years. The locals are known for their laidback approach to the business of living. Long known as a world-class surfing spot, in recent years Bali has undergone a boom in luxury accommodation, giving the discerning customer a wealth of options from which to explore the island.
Where to go
The temptation is there to spend the entirety of your stay on the white sands of Kuta or lounging by your hotel pool, but the island has so much more to offer. Ubud is the arts and culture hub of the island, boasting a number of museums and art galleries. Seminyak, a suburb of Kuta is home to a growing nightlife scene, in addition to spa resorts and great shopping. Spend time with furry friends at Ubud Monkey Forest or explore the ancient Hindu temples at Tanah Lot or Uluwatu. Those seeking to commune deeper with nature should try a hike or jeep tour to the active volcano, Mt Batur. Shoppers will also find Bali a paradise - the island is known for its beautiful teak furniture, that can easily be shipped back home.
Food & Drink
Balinese cuisine features a lot of poultry, duck and pork. As a Hindu island, beef is largely absent from the menu. Expect delicious combinations of fruit, chili and coconut with your rice. Curries feature prominently, in addition to the condiment kecap manis, a sweet soy sauce. Bintang is the ubiquitous local beer, a pale lager served cold and perfect for washing down fiery, spicy delights. For an relaxed taste of Bali, Sardine (Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan) offers a modern twist on old favourites with their own rice paddy to gaze out on, whereas Warung (Uluwatu, Jalan Belimbing Sari) is an intimate venue featuring an authentic menu of fresh local favourites.
Away from the backpacker bars of Kuta, Bali boasts a number of stylish, modern watering holes catering to a more discerning crowd. Puri Satrian (Jl. Cemara No.35) removes you from the tourist throng and allows you to sip cocktails with a great view of the ocean. More adventurous souls might try one of their floating tables! Double Six Club Rooftop (Double Six Street No.66, Seminyak) is one of the world’s largest rooftop bars, featuring a number of sunken ‘pods’ for couples and more intimate gatherings. Double Six also does amazing food, courtesy of celebrated Australian chef Robert Marcham. Many of the hotels and resorts on the island will also put on live entertainment throughout the day.
Where to stay
The Leaf Jimbaran, inland, south of Denpasar offers deluxe spa treatments, in addition to two outstanding restaurants. Similarly, Amala, only a short walk from the beach in Seminyak, focuses on holistic wellbeing. It has a spa and organic restaurant on hand to refresh and reinvigorate. For something different, the beachside Luna2 Hotel, also in Seminyak, is an intimate, private hotel, sleeping ten. Not only does it feature a bar, restaurant and cinema, but it is specialised at organizing exciting outdoor activities for its guests. Finally, The Bale, inland, in South Kuta is the perfect spot for couples, with a strict ‘No Children’ policy and butlers on hand twenty four hours a day to meet your needs.
How to get thereQatar, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines all fly to Denpasar, Bali’s capital from London, usually with a stop in Jakarta.