- Countryside The jungle look
- Country life Leisure island
Tan-hungry bodies beautiful come for Bali's sun, sand and surf; fashionistas flock to the Seminyak night scene, and urban escapists head here for stress-easing jungle tranquillity.
Recently, a spate of chic restaurants has sprouted, making the island a regional culinary hotspot while – peculiarly for Muslim Indonesia – its largely Hindu religious heritage has dotted its jungles with architecturally intriguing temples and marked its calendar with an endless string of festivals. Bali is the all-in-one destination; no other place in south-east Asia can compete with its combination of culture and history, gorgeous beaches, lush tropical vistas, great shopping, good people, sexy hotels, sensual spas, and sleek bars and restaurants. Your only problem is deciding what to do each day…
Do go/Don’t go
No check-ins or check-outs are allowed on 31March 2014, when Bali observes Nyepi Day (Day of Silence), although stays are still possible. Bali’s airport also closes for the day. July to September is Bali’s high season, when the temperature and climate are at their most appealing. Fans of peace and quiet may want to avoid August, the busiest period, but don’t leave it later than early October because after this point, the rain clouds start to gather.
- Planes Fly into Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (www.baliairport.com), south of capital Denpasar and within easy reach of Seminyak, Canggu, Jimbaran Bay and the Bukit Peninsula (Ubud is a tad further away). It's served by a host of global carriers including British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Jetstar and AirAsia. You can buy a Visa on Arrival, if required, for 30 days for US$25 (bring US dollars cash to speed your progress through the queues). Many hotels offer free transfers or you can pick up a taxi easily at the airport. Some hotels can also fasttrack you through immigration and customs on arrival or departure.
- Boats Ferries nip back and forth from Java to Gilimanuk in Western Bali regularly, although they’re far from the smoothest of rides.
- Automobiles You can rent a car at the airport to explore the island easily enough (although you’ll need to pick up a tourist driving licence) but given Balinese drivers’ rather ‘informal’ approach to the rules of the road and the narrow, bumpy streets it’s not exactly recommended. Chauffeur-driven cars are readily available at keen rates.
- Taxis Your hotel will be able to arrange legit, metered taxis on request. The best of the bunch is Bali Taxi (+62 (0)361 701 111), whose blue cabs are clean, safe and charge a fair fare.