Destination of the Week: Bali
Bali is one tropical destination that most people, once bitten by the ‘island paradise’ bug, return to again and again. It’s not all about fantastic surf breaks, fabulous shopping and wild nightlife, though it ranks among one of the world’s most visited spots for those reasons. The ‘Island of the Gods’ is gifted with the welcoming essence of the Balinese, some of nature’s most stunning landscapes and a culture of mystery, community and beauty.
What to do
Indonesia’s most popular island is blessed with year-round warm weather, making it an ideal playground for water-sports lovers, beach-goers, divers and surfers. No matter where you stay, you can easily access the white-sand beaches of the South, the party town of Kuta or the lush rice terraces of Ubud.
A chain of volcanoes stretches across the island, monkey-filled forests spill onto ocean-side cliffs, fast flowing rivers host white water rafting and fresh fruit and vegetable gardens combine with temples and rice paddies in the villages. Choose from a wide range of day tours or hire a driver to explore the diverse blend of nature and culture on offer.
Admire the ancient Hindu sea temple, Tanah Lot, go for an elephant trek or try parasailing in Tanjung Benoa. Visit Seminyak for delicious dining options, one-off designs in quirky fashion shops and the bar-lined beach boasting beanbags on the sand, lanterns and views of the sun setting over the Indian Ocean on dusk.
Where to stay
Bali still offers fantastic value for money on a range of accommodation options across the island. From cheap and cheery hotels in Kuta, to luxurious villas in Ubud, Spa Hotels and hostels with onsite dive and surf schools, every budget and desire is catered for.
Royal Pitamaha, Ubud (£££)
Private villas dot the valley, descending towards the Ayung River at the Royal Pitamaha, creating a scene that’s both luxurious and at one with the natural surroundings of the lush forest. All of the villas contain private stone swimming pools with panoramic views, there are 4 restaurants, the Royal Kirana Spa, a Yoga Bale, swimming pools and an hourly shuttle service into the main street of Ubud.
The Alea Hotel, Seminyak (££)
The Alea Hotel is great value for money and only a 5 minute walk from Petitenget Beach. The hotel features an outdoor restaurant, pool, free Wi Fi, 24-hour reception and a free shuttle service into the heart of Seminyak. All the rooms are equipped with flat screen TVs, minibars and air-conditioning.
Kuta EcoStay, Kuta (£)
Located just 500 metres from the famous Kuta Beach, Kuta EcoStay is an eco-friendly guesthouse keen on keeping it green! The guesthouse features a lily pond to relax the spirit, an open-air atrium in the centre of the property and 24-hour reception. The suites and guestrooms are equipped with air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi.
Where to eat
From famous Warungs to international cuisine and roadside Nutella crepes, Bali blends tradition with innovation when it comes to food. Dine on succulent seafood with your feet in the sand at Jimbaran Bay, delicious nasi goreng overlooking the Ayung River in Ubud or opt for a quick snack in a Seminyak beach bar.
CasCades Restaurant (£££)
Overlooking the Valley of the Kings in Ubud, CasCades restaurant serves European and Asian cuisine with lush, forest views. Try Fisherman’s Bouillabaisse, pan fried red snapper with Bumbu Bali spices or duck ravioli, before moving on to a dessert of Caramel Crunch or Lemongrass Brulee.
Ku De Ta (££)
Beachfront dining hotspot, Ku De Ta, is a ‘must-do’ in Seminyak, with options for lounging, dining and partying the night away. Pick an oceanfront chaise for afternoon cocktails or share an Italian Stallion, Ring of Fire or Senorita pizza within the atmospheric sounds of resident DJ’s.
Warung Kayu Api (£)
Centrally located along The Bypass in Sanur, Kayu Api crosses 2 floors with views of Bali Beach Golf Course. The extensive menu means there’s something for everyone, on every budget. Try Bali’s most famous dish, Babi Guling (suckling pig), get free tapas on Friday afternoons with your drink order or pop in for coffee and cake.
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