BALI & LOMBOK
White sand beaches, world-class surf, coral reefs and spas galore – yes, this is a fun-in-the-sun retreat…and oh, so much more. Trek up a volcano and peer down on its crater lake hike cool vallery trails and immerse yourself in natural hot springs, soak in the serenity of a hillside temple and be transfixed by a traditional dance performance – have the full island experience .
THE LIFE AQUATIC
When water hits these shores, it creates some of the world’s best surfing: no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find legendary surf spots. There’s world-class diving too, with extensive coral reefs and abundant marine life.
- 1. Kuta, Bali
Surfing novices and those feeling a little rusty will find the tubes around Halfway Kuta a great place to start; for the more serious stuff, go to the reefs south of the beach breaks – they’re about a kilometer out to sea.
- 2. Ulu Watu
Paddle out through the cave to catch the most famous surfing break in Bali. Ulu Watu has about seven different breaks, including the Corner, a fast breaking hollow left that holds about 6ft.
- 3. Pulau Manjangan
Dive or snorkel the rich and pristine waters off West Bali: they offer tropical fish, soft corals, great visibility (usually), caves and a spectacular drop-off. Experienced divers should venture out to the mysterious Anker Wreck.
- 4. Dessert Point
A legendary, if elusive, wave that was voted the best surf in the world by Tracks magazine. Only suitable for very experienced surfers, this left-handed tube can offer a 300m ride.
- 5. Kuta, Lombok
The other Kuta is a barefoot surf paradise, with half a dozen world-class breaks within a 45-minute motorbike ride of town. Think barrels folding and crashing on deserted white-sand beaches, without the overpopulated line-up.
- 6. Gili Island
Renowned for their snorkeling and diving, these three exquisite droplets of white sand, bordered by glistening turquoise waters, are sprinkled with coconut palms and surrounded by coral reefs. All have excellent dive sites, but Gili Trawangan is probably the best of the three.
RELAX & UNWIND
The resorts of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Ubud are teeming with spas offering traditional treatments with which to indulge and pamper yourself. What better way to recuperate after a hard day at the beach…? Elsewhere, low-key resorts positively soothe and relax.
- 1. Air Panas Banjar
Hot springs percolating down through a series of pools amid lush tropical plants : soak in the top pools, or get a pummeling massage from the water as it falls into the lower pools.
- 2. Nusa Lembongan
What better place to mellow out? Quiet, white-sand beaches: simple rooms right on the beach, incredible sunsets…this is the Bali that many imagine, but rarely find. Find your inner place amid the serenity.
- 3. Lovina
Need an antidote to Kuta? Come to Lovina, a relaxed, low-key, low-rise beach resort that is Kuta’s polar opposite. Even the waves are calm… Here, you can get Balinese or Ayurveda treatments in simple, shooting setting.
- 4. Senggigi Beach
If the hustle isn’t too much hassle, sit back and wait for the local masseurs to find you on Senggigi Beach: it will take some hard bargaining, but you should be able to cut a good deal.
Deep river valleys, luxuriant green rice field, cool mountain trails, soaring volcanoes and plunging waterfalls. Drag yourself away from the beach and explore Bali’s interior for experiences you will remember forever.
- 1. Gunung Kawi
On the northern outskirt of Ubud, these ancient rock-out shrines tower an awe-inspiring 8m over the lush green river valley; legend has it that they were carved in a single night by the mighty fingernails of Kebo Iwa.
- 2. Sideman Road
Winding its way through paddy fields and along beautiful river valleys, with extraordinary views of Gunung Agung (clouds permitting), the Sidemen Road gets more popular every year. If you want to know the real definition of verdant, come here.
- 3. Jatiluwih Rice Fields
These terraces have been nominated for Unesco status and you’ll soon see why as you follow the twisting 18km road up into them. Follow the water as it runs through channels and bamboo pipes from one plot to the next.\
- 4. Gunung Rinjani
Lombok’s iconic volcano is Indonesia’s second largest and an absolute stunner; rivers and waterfall gush down its fissured slopes, while its summit sizzles with hot springs and a dazzling crater lake. Climbing it is an unforgettable experience.
- 5. Munduk
This simple village is one of Bali’s most appealing mountain retreats. With its cool, misty ambience, set among lush hill sides with jungle, rish, fruit trees and myriad waterfalls tumbling off precipices, you’ll find hikes and treks galore…
- 1. Traditional Dance Performances, Ubud
Wherever there’s a festival or celebration, you’ll find a quality dance performance, but you’ll find exceptional performance in Ubud every night of the week. If you can, catch a dance performance at Ubud Palace.
- 2. Textile shopping, Denpasar
You can’t leave Bali without a sarong or two, and the Pasar Kumbasari in Denpasar has a multilevel treasure house of vibrant fabrics from which to choose, from casual cottons to elaborate ikat.
- 3. Lunch at a warung
There’s one of these traditional roadside eateries every few meters in most towns, cheap no-frills hang-outs with well-worn seats, a relaxed atmosphere and good, ridiculously cheap, fresh local food.
- 4. Visit the temples, Pura Luhur Batukau
The most spiritual temple you can visit easily in Bali, Pura Luhur Batukau is surrounded by forest and often shrouded in mist. Listen to the chant of priests backed by birdsong as you sit by the tumbling whitewater stream.