Bali is perhaps more 21st century than the island that fills your imagination, but just a short step away from the beach resorts, you’ll find a Bali brimming with romance that etched the pages of Eat Pray Love.
The dry season, between May and June, shows Bali at its very best.
The rich assortment of beautiful beaches include the relaxed charm of Sanur where the beach slopes gently into the crystal waters; the golden sands of the more exclusive Nusa Dua; the rolling waves of Kuta and the darker sands of Seminyak.
Home to scores of restaurants, clubs and designer shops – Seminyak’s flash sense of style will make visitors feel as though they’ve stepped onto another Island. The upmarket town is somewhere you could easily spend your entire holiday.
Seminyak is also known as Bali’s spa capital, although the notorious Taksu Spa is situated in the town of Ubud. With a long list of treatments available, alongside an open invitation to roll out a mat and embark on the journey of yoga, a visit to Taksu Spa is a must.
Ubud, an hour inland, is the island’s cultural and artistic heart, with spectacular rice terraces overlooking river valleys and intricately carved temples hidden away in the lush hills. The town’s popularity continues to grow, mostly due to its appearance in Liz Gilbert’s adventures, and is home to a noticeable expat community where days can easily turn to months.
Perhaps one of the most mesmerizing images of Bali is sunset over the stunning temple of Tanah Lot, set on a tiny island off the coast. The rock formation is a tourist hotspot and cultural icon.
Hire bikes to explore Nusa Dua and cycle the 5km beach boulevard before trying out some water sports. To experience the bigger waves (which Bali is famous for) join the avid surfers at some of the best beaches in the world, or hit the waves at nearby Kuta for a family surfing lesson.
On the stunning north-west coast of Bali is the unspoiled West Bali National Park. With over 175 species of plants and 160 different bird species the park is a wonderful natural haven in one of the least-visited parts of the Island.
Explore the jungle on foot, jump on a mountain bike or experience the park’s beauty on horseback. Whichever you choose, keep your eyes peeled for the thriving wildlife. Home to a beautiful underwater world it’s also popular among the diving community. But if snorkelling or diving doesn’t appeal to you, then kayaks are available, allowing you to explore the best of the bay and mangrove maze.
One of the most popular dive sites on the Island is the wreck of the US cargo ship Liberty in Tulamben. The town’s ethos surrounds diving, but even snorkelers can swim out and enjoy the wreck and surrounding coral.
When it comes to shopping the markets are hard to beat, particularly for batik cloth, ikat fabrics, woodcarvings, and paintings.
If you wish to try some authentic Indonesian food visit one of the many warungs (street stalls) or Rumah Makans (small restaurants); specialities include Nasi Goring (spiced fried rice), Babi guling (roast suckling pig) and Ayam goring (fried chicken).
There’s plenty to see in Bali, as well as an array of accommodation. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Premier Holidays to present three of our favourite resorts that we’re sure you’ll love…
Grand Hyatt Bali
The five-star resort oozes luxury, making it the perfect destination for newlyweds.
Conceived as a water palace, this cluster of Balinese style villages is spread over 40 acres with a series of lakes, waterfalls, lagoons and manicured gardens leading to beautiful Nusa Dua beach.
By day there are all manner of sporting activities to tempt you away from the pools and golden sands, as well as the chance to unwind at the spa.
By night, there's a superb choice of restaurants and a lively night market with cultural shows, food stalls, a handicraft exhibition and bazaar-style market.
Upgrade to the highly recommended club rooms and you will receive access to the club lounge, which boasts a view overlooking picturesque gardens.
Honeymooners who stay at least seven nights receive one in-room honeymoon breakfast and one dinner with a cultural show.
The Menjangan resort is relaxed, casual and quiet.
It covers a large area which adds to the feeling of peace and tranquillity, so double-decker safari-style minibuses carry guests smoothly and easily between the resort’s various accommodations, dining spots and facilities - including the unspoilt beach.
The buses are equipped with spotlights for impromptu wildlife sightings after dark – you never know what you might see!
The resort is hard to beat if you seek a place to appreciate the sound of birdsong, the whisper of trees in the ocean breeze and the surprising delights of marine life whilst snorkelling or diving.
It’s ideal for those who want to sample well-being and nature with the choice of a host of activities.