Since the 1980s, Bali has grown in popularity as a tropical and exotic holiday destination, favoured by honeymooners and backpackers and avid explorers wishing to experience this unique and far flung paradise location.
Bali is an enchanting and magical island of Indonesia between the Indian Ocean and Bali Sea. The province of Bali includes the Island of Bali and the surrounding south-eastern islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan separated by the Badung Strait. Bali has a diverse landscape with a combination of dense tropical jungle rainforest and mountainous areas, glorious sandy white coastline in the south and black volcanic beaches in the north. The 75km Ayung river flows through Bali island which is surrounded by crystal clear waters and coral reefs. The island has a variety of rice and padi fields, coffee plantations, sacred religious temple areas, ancient banyans trees, mangroves, and national parks.
Bali is 8 degrees south of the equator, therefore has a tropical climate for the whole year round averaging at 30 degrees and the tropical rain season is from November to March, with the dry season between April and September. Even in the rain season, often there are tropical storms that last just a few hours in the evening and then blow over. High season in Bali is July to August and this is the peak cost and travel times for visitors as well as Easter and Christmas breaks.
The largest city of Bali is Denpasar which is home to Bali’s main international airport. Kuta is Bali’s other large city and beach resort, while Seminyak is a smaller vibrant, lively resort close to Kuta, popular with travellers and back-packers with great night-life.
The traffic in the cities of Bali is unbelievable with almost every household owning a scooter. Denpasar, Kuta and Seminyak are extreamly busy, packed full of locals and tourists jostling for space on the roads and narrow side streets. If you plan to hire scooters during your trip it’s advisable to do this outside of the cities and busy towns, and wait until you are out in the countryside amongst the smaller villages, or wait until you visit the quieter neighbouring islands to go exploring.
Balinese dancing is the ancient traditional dancing of Balinese people, where stories are told though movement, elaborate costumes and drama to beautiful traditional live music. The costumes and makeup are amazing and it’s well worth visiting one of these spectacular shows. Many of the shows will be performed in hotels or in town squares during the evening.
Bali volcano trekking is a great experience for all those looking for a day or night of adventure during their trip to Bali. With a tour guide, trek up Mount Batur in Kintamani. Pick a tour that takes you on a trek to Mount Batur during sunset or sunrise. Alternatively, there are treks through Mount Agung via the Besakih Temple. Mount Agung is thought of as the most challenging trek but the views of both treks are unforgettable
Ubud is the town north of Denpasar, renowned for art, culture, yoga retreats, mediation, spa breaks and favoured by anyone training in yoga. Ubud is in central Bali where it’s more mountainous with rainforests and therefore can be cooler in temperature than the southern coastal areas.
Ubud is the perfect place to buy original and authentic carvings, jewellery, local fabric and art work as well as the typical souvenirs. Haggling prices is fine and negotiation is expected in the market places, however the shops in Ubud normally have fixed prices.
The Maya Ubud Resort and Spa is the ultimate place to stay during your visit to Ubud. This beautiful luxury resort in central Bali is tucked away in the jungle forest, between the river valley and rice fields of tranquil Ubud, 35km north of Denpasar airport.
During your stay, book one of the secluded villas overlooking the jungle. Each exquisite villa has a beautiful private garden bursting with mango trees, towering palms, banana plants and tropical flowers.
Yoga classes are each morning at 7am in the breath-taking open-air yoga studio which stretches over the jungle for amazing views as the sun rises. Each afternoon at 3pm there are more classes of yoga, meditation and Thai Chi. Private classes can be booked with any of the yoga instructors during your stay.
The Spa is the perfect place to treat yourself to a luxurious treatment and the spa offers a huge range of specialist and holistic therapies. Book in for one of their signature full body massage treatments, and afterwards you can relax in a scented pool filled with organic scented oils and frangipani flowers, in a secluded open-air spa room overlooking the jungle and river paradise.
The hospitality, service and amenities in this resort are amazing. There are golf buggies on hand to take you to and from your villas, and two idyllic infinity pools, as well as mini golf and tennis courts. The hotel restaurant serves a wonderful buffet breakfast each morning. Make sure you book a table for the Balinese supper evenings which host traditional Balinese dancing shows for a unique dining experience. Each afternoon, a delicious complimentary afternoon tea is served in the palatial colonial style hotel lounge.
Maya Ubud Resort & Spa.
Jalan Gunung Sari Peliatan,PO Box 1001, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 80571
One of the most famous temples to visit in Bali is Tanah Lot Temple. This Hindu shrine is famed for its coastal location with breath-taking views and sunsets. The Tanah Lot Temple is a popular tourist attraction and can get very crowded at peak visiting times. There are temples everywhere in Bali and I would recommend visiting smaller local temples as these are just as beautiful and have less visitors. Book a reputable tour guide for a day through your hotel concierge. They will take you to smaller temples off the beaten track which are worth visiting. Keep in mind when visiting temples, that these are religious places of worship and you may be asked to remove your shoes or put on a sarong if you’re wearing shorts.
One afternoon, take a stroll through the Ubud Monkey Forest and feed bananas to the Macaque monkeys. The monkeys are very friendly so keep an eye on your belongings!
The surrounding villages in Ubud are home to the picturesque rice or padi fields. These can be reached by car, on bike or by scooter. When hiring scooters make sure you take your international driving license and ask to hire out helmets.
The amazing Elephant Safari Park Lodge in Taro should be on the top of your list when visiting Ubud. For 20 years this sanctuary has been dedicated to the care, protection and breeding of over 27 elephants. You can stay in the park at one of the luxurious lodges, but the day visitor passes are a great idea. Upon arrival, you will enjoy a wonderful breakfast, then spend a magical day bathing, feeding, swimming with and riding the elephants. All the elephants roam around the park and are cared for by a large team of park keepers. The park is a beautiful exotic oasis surrounded by the rainforest and all the elephants here have the upmost care an attention.
Nusa Dua in southern Bali is 22km south of Denpasar International airport. Nusa Dua is an exclusive area of wonderful 5 star resorts stretching along the coastline. This is a great place to stay to enjoy the beach, the coastline, water sports, join boat trips to neighbouring islands, and is a great contrast to the humid rainforests and jungles of central Bali.
The Laguna Resort and Spa is a luxurious 5-star beach resort in the southern peninsula of Nusa Dua. This tropical paradise on the Indian Ocean stretches out along pure white sandy beaches, with exotic fragrant gardens and crystal-clear lagoon pools. Each luxurious hotel room looks over the tranquil gardens or has a balcony out to the lagoon pools which weave throughout the resort and gardens.
The beautiful Lagoon Spa in the resort boasts an array of luxury holistic, spiritual and healing treatments and a state of the art gym overlooking the lagoon pools.
The Laguna resort has two beach front restaurants serving international cuisine and special beach dining experiences. The beach and pool bars serve amazing cocktails with daily happy hours and outstanding evening performances from traditional Balinese dancers.
The Laguna Resort and Spa
Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua Lot N2, Bali, Bali, 80363, Indonesia
If lying on a beach bed all day drinking cocktails is not your thing, then there are plenty of activities in Nusa Dua to keep you entertained during your break, such as swimming with dolphins, visits to the neighbouring islands, boat trips, kayaking through mangroves, snorkelling with Manta rays, scuba diving, white water rafting, paddle boarding and jet skiing. Sanur is a great place to watch and swim with dolphins in southern Bali. The company Bali Dolphins ensures you are in small groups and swimming with dolphins in the ocean. www.balidolphins.com. For all tours and trips, its advisable to book reputable tour guides through your hotel concierge for the best rates and availability.
Nusa Lembongan Island
Take a boat trip to Nusa Lembongan Island which is a small island off the main island of Bali. This island is quieter than Bali with less traffic and tourists. This is the perfect place to snorkel, dive and surf. Get a fast boat trip from the Sanur beach in southern Bali over to Lembongan. Here, spend a day snorkelling or scuba diving off the coast of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida with tropical fish and Manta rays, then in the afternoon kayak through the mangroves. This is also a great place to hire scooters to explore the rest of this tropical island, with less traffic and a slower pace than main Bali.
The Gili Islands
During your visit to Bali, make time in your trip to visit the magnificent Gili Islands. The Gili Islands are three tropical islands on the north-west coast of Lombok. The three islands, Gili Trawaangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are small, quiet tropical island paradises, with pure white sands surrounded by crystal clear waters. They are popular places to relax, snorkel and dive to explore the perfect coral reefs and beautiful sandy shores.
Travel to the Gili islands is easy, with around seven, 25-minute flights a day from Bali Denpasar International airport to Lombok International airport. From Lombok airport, it’s around a 2.5-hour drive over to the islands via a ferry. Alternatively, travel by speed boat from Sanur beach in Bali to the Gili islands in around 4 hours. There are heaps of places to stay in the Gili islands, from 5-star hotels to budget friendly hostels and It’s worth pre-booking in high season.
Travel to Bali from London
Denpasar is Bali’s international airport. Fly from London Heathrow to Denpasar via Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai. Flight time is approximately 15.5 hours.
Find great packages on Virgin Holidays or get flights only from Malaysian Airlines for trips in October and November from around £800 depending on availability.
Qatar Airlines, Thai Airways and British Airways also fly to Denpasar via Doha and Bangkok.