GMT +8 hours.
Indulge on this idyllic tropical island
This 'Island of the Gods' is aptly named. Fringed with perfect beaches and colourful coral reefs, Bali is a land of stunning natural beauty and friendly people who are proud of their ancient culture and traditions.
Bali’s southern shores are by far the most popular part of the island – and for good reason. Here lie the soft sands, colourful ‘jukung’ fishing boats, great surfing spots and excellent beach resorts that Bali beach holidays are known for. And whilst Bali’s beaches are glorious, there is more to this enchanting country than its golden sands. Inland, amidst lush rice terraces and dramatic valleys, beautiful Ubud has an atmosphere all of its own.
Best time to visit
Between June and September.
Relaxed Sanur is one of Bali’s original holiday resorts and a firm favourite. Many of the resorts are Balinese in style and sit across from the long golden beach, where traditional ‘jukung’ fishing boats dot the shore. A well-paved path runs along the beachfront, watersports on offer range from kitesurfing to paragliding, and the waters are generally calmer than other nearby beaches. Sanur town itself has a range of restaurants, bars, markets and shops.
In the very south of Bali, the purpose-built resort of Nusa Dua boasts exclusive hotels and one of the island’s top beaches. Most of the best eateries in Nusa Dua are within the hotels themselves, where beachfront dining and cocktails at sunset come as standard.
Stylish Seminyak is one of the more upmarket Bali beach resorts, where hotels include world class retreats. The beaches are relatively quiet, but the fashionable boutiques and high-end bars come alive in the evening.
Between Seminyak and lively Kuta, low-key Legian has a relaxed atmosphere. It enjoys a selection of beachfront restaurants, bars and shops whilst retaining an unassuming vibe.
A long-time favourite with surfers and backpackers, lively Kuta is ever popular and continually developing. Restaurants, bars, sportswear stores, value spas and souvenir shops can all be found here, as well as more western-style malls. After dark, Kuta plays host to some of the island’s best nightlife, with bars offering various cocktails and a number of nightclubs open until the early hours. Our range of Bali beach hotels does not include Kuta, but it can be easily visited for the day/evening.
Sitting just south of the international airport, which can be reached in 10 to 15 minutes, is the high end resort of Jimbaran. This beautiful region, which was once a tiny fishing village, has grown into one of the island's most sought after beach destinations and has been dubbed the 'Beverly Hills of Bali', home to a collection of 4 and 5 Star hotels and stunning private villas.
Lovely Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali, bursting with arts and crafts and a laidback café culture. There are galleries, temples and markets to explore, all a pleasant assault on the senses. Essentially a series of 14 sprawling villages, in tourist terms ‘Ubud’ generally refers to the central town area, which can be explored on foot. Ubud’s main roads (‘jalans’) are Jalan Monkey Forest – the most built up area, hosting accommodation, galleries and cafés, running south through the town; and Jalan Hanoman – slightly quieter and easier to navigate on foot, running parallel to Jalan Monkey Forest. Dining options are vast and varied, from market stalls to excellent upmarket restaurants. Spas, yoga and meditation are big news here and there are also various authentic Balinese cooking classes on offer. Ubud’s bustling main market can be found at the corner of Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Raya Ubud, bursting with local produce and handicrafts.
Monkey Forest is Ubud’s most popular attraction, for the numerous sightings of its mischievous residents; cheeky, banana-thieving macaques, who provide all the entertainment desired of them. But the Monkey Forest is also a visual delight, with intricately-carved statues, sacred temples, and 115 species of tree.
Ubud’s surrounding areas are characterised by rice terraces – beautiful, impressive steps of lush green. Venture north of the centre for wonderful views of rice paddies and dramatic valleys. Tegallalang’s rice terraces are easily reached by a short taxi ride out of the centre and, though often frequented by many tourists and littered with souvenir stalls, they are definitely worth visiting for the incredible views.
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