The famed Indonesian island may be a smudge in size, but Bali manages to cram quite a lot in. She is a destination of many faces; surfers rock and ride the tropical tides that fringe the coastline, the rich jungle interior is strewn with temples and yoga retreats, close to the capital you will find buzzing beach resorts, and then there are the nearby Gili Island where donkey and carts take the place of carts. Suffice to say, Bali can deliver whatever kind of vacation you have been seeking, and serve it all up on a silver platter with first class shopping and dining against a backdrop of celebrated resorts. Take a glimpse at where to sleep, dine and play on the world’s favorite South East island.
Where to Sleep
Bali may have plenty of backpackers, but when it comes to high class resorts – the tiny island doesn’t skip a beat. Prime real estate is everywhere in Bali, especially as the place has such a huge influx of Australian tourists all used to a western style of luxury.
Only a stone’s throw from the main airport of Denpasar you can find the sultry shores of Nusa Dua and the amazing Amanusa. Golf lovers will be in awe of the rolling fairways, while those who don’t want to tee off can kayak, surf and snorkel the baby blue coastline, take day trips to see the striking temples of Geger and Uluwatu, and watch the traditional fire dances. Suites and villas come with private courtyards, tropical gardens and sunken tubs.
Luxury on a grand scale can be found in the Rimba Jimbaran, especially for those seeking respite from the motorcycle clogged chaos of Bali. An 8-hectare slice of paradise, you can find multitiered swimming pools, luscious calm gardens, waiters whisking cocktails on silver trays, a cooking school, a tea lounge, and a plethora of restaurants and ocean front spots for soaking up those fiery Indonesian sunsets.
Moving away from the coast and into the spiritual heartlands, Ubud and surrounding areas serve their luxury with a side of reiki healing. The Viceroy Bali is one of the best, boasting thatched villas clinging to the ravine overlooking the river gorge. Rooms are all marble, silk and antique furnishings, and astonishing views. The infinity pool edging out into the jungle is another major draw. Speaking of impressive pools, a little further out and you will find the Hanging Gardens of Bali, a five-star jungle deep resort that offers the chance to plunge into one of the most beautiful swimming pools in the world.
Where to Dine
Bali is a place that seamlessly blends the art of fusion, on one side you have traditional dishes that have been perfected for centuries, yet the island is also exceptional when creating super healthy comfort food. From smoothie bowls in the morning to artisan pizzas for lunch, and French lounges where dishes come paired with palate quenching wines – Bali does food well.
Locavore made it to the dizzying height of Asia’s best restaurants earlier this year and the hype hasn’t died down. Nestled in the snug of Ubud you can dine on the finest savory rice porridge with garlic soaked snails, black rice blini’s and finely orchestrated cocktails.
Those wanting Asian food served in an ultra-luxe setting will adore Sarong in the village destination of Kerobokan, a little north of sophisticated Seminyak. Dine al fresco in a romantic garden or stay inside for sink down sofas in swish materials and sparkling chandeliers. Go gaga over the grilled scallop with tantalizingly sweet crispy duck and fall in love with the Malay prawns splashed with sticky green mango.
Where to Play
Bali is a beach lover’s destination and you will find a slice of sand to suit your mood across the island. Surfers will find overhead heights and serious swells around Padang Padang, Green Bowl, Canggu and Balangan. Those seeking soft sands, swaying palm shade, and waters woven in dreamy blue will love the chilled-out vibes of Jimbaran. If you don’t want to spend the day stuck in single land traffic as you explore the island, then consider hiring a luxury yacht and hopping around the glitzy shore.
Beach Clubs are beautiful in Bali and with the Asian sun being so scorching, you are sure to be seeking a calm cool place to kick back and relax. If you like your Beach Clubs with a dose of hedonism then Potato Head in the heart of trendy Seminyak boasts restaurants, bars, an infinity pool and sublime sunset views. Fins Beach Club in Canguu is the ultimate sassy surfers haunt, with daily DJ sessions and meticulous cocktails for toasting the consistent surf. Nikki Beach in Nusa Dua doesn’t let the classy label down – offering an exquisite crowd in elegant surroundings.
Shoppers will be wooed by the trendy boutique scene especially in Ubud and Seminyak. From one of a kind designer clothes, to gorgeous homeware and pretty hand printed batiks, Bali is brimming with beautiful things to fill your home. Sophisticated surf wear and objects inspired by summer can be found in the high-class hipster home of Drifter, Magali Pacal is the spot for beautiful bohemian wear, and Uluwatu Lace is the place for handcrafted pieces that blend artisan craft with modern designs.