Bali the Island of the Gods

Viceroy Bali on the outskirts of Ubud
Viceroy Bali

I have always been a huge fan of the Far East and I could happily holiday there every year, with so many different countries and cultures you can have a different experience each time. So when I was given the opportunity to visit Singapore and Bali, both new destinations for me, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

My stay in Singapore was brief but it allowed me time to explore the amazing shops on Orchard Road, see the Formula One race track and view the magnificent 'Electric Trees' at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay. We also had the opportunity to sample some tasty and very inexpensive street food in China Town. Currently there are no direct flights from the UK to Bali so it makes sense to combine your trip with a stay in a Far Eastern city such as Singapore or Hong Kong en route. It's a good excuse to extend your holiday and tick another destination off your list!

I arrived in Bali in November, apparently this is the start of the rainy season. The locals will tell you differently and that rainy season is January and February. This is great news for British visitors as we traditionally take our holidays from May to September and Bali is perfect during this period. The first of many positives for Bali....Honeymooners take note!

Whilst Bali is predominantly a beach destination it has so much more to offer so it’s perfect for a 2 or even 3 centre stay on the Island. Most UK tour operators feature the following 3 most popular beach resorts….  

Nusa Dua: This resort has beautiful beaches and is home to many 5 star, luxury resorts. Most guests tend to stay within their resort but if you want to venture out and sample some nightlife you can take a taxi to nearby Kuta, Bali's liveliest resort, popular with backpackers and Aussies.

Seminyak: A lovely beach resort with good nightlife and a mix of restaurants from local to more stylish, upmarket eateries. This resort is home to one of the original hotels, the Oberoi, renowned for its gracious hospitality and beautiful gardens. If you prefer a more modern, minimalist hotel with a great beach bar then check out the Alila Seminyak.

Sanur: This is a more traditional, laid back resort with a great night market. It also has a great range of places to eat and a selection of bars. The Sudamala Villas are a popular choice here, they provide an oasis of calm in the heart of this resort.

We also visited the Alila Uluwatu & the Soori Bali. Both are peaceful retreats, perfect if you want to switch off and escape for a couple of days. These resorts provide an ideal opportunity to experience some local traditions such as a tea making ceremony, rice paddie walks, tai chi and yoga. During our stay at the Soori we took a segway trip through the local villages, which gave us a fascinating insight in local life.

If you want to indulge in some local culture you won’t need to venture far, it is said that there are more temples in Bali than there are homes! We visited Tanah Lot, the most famous on the Island, a large 16th century temple which sits on an offshore rock, this has been part of Balinese mythology for years, it is believed to be guarded by venomous sea snakes which protect it from evil spirits.     

Finally, we stayed in Ubud, known as the cultural hub of Bali,I think this is a ‘must’ for all visitors to Bali. Spend at least 3 nights here, longer if you can, you won’t be lost for things to do! There really is something for everyone. You can spend hours browsing the shops and markets, stopping occasionally to visit one of the many artesian cafes and coffee shops. If you fancy something a little more energetic you can visit the rice terraces, take a walk in the Monkey forest or cycle through the countryside. There are many hotels in Ubud to choose from, we stayed at the family owned and operated Viceroy, a luxurious hideaway just 10 minutes from the centre of Ubud. Each of its 25 rooms has its own pool and a breathtaking view of the surrounding valley and jungle, perfect for watching the monkeys perform! This stunning, boutique property is my new favourite!

I really enjoyed my stay in Bali and I will return one day, hopefully next time I will also be able to add a stay on The Gili Islands. These are 3 traffic free Islands, surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, a perfect end to any Bali trip.

Bali fact……Nyepi Day (Bali day of Silence & Self Reflection) This is a New Year Celebration like nowhere else on the planet. This important Hindu holiday begins at 6am and lasts for 24 hours. During this time the airport is closed and hotels will not allow guests to check in or out. Each village is plunged into silence, beaches and shops are closed and blackout blinds must be used in homes and hotels. Visitors to the Island are expected to respect this tradition, which usually takes place during March/April each year.

About the author

Andrea has been in the travel industry all of her working life. Now the manager of Peter Goord Travel in Plymouth she gets the opportunity to visit many interesting destinations both on educational "work" trips and exciting family holidays. She specialises in tailor-made itineraries and honeymoons. The more challenging the enquiry the more she likes it!

Errors and omissions excepted.

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