With Air New Zealand flying direct to Denpasar from the 19th of June we now have access to one of the most diverse travelling paradises in the world.
With miles of sand to relax upon, surf, sacred caves, towering volcanoes alongside deep ravines with fast flowing rivers and wildlife – Bali is just begging to be discovered.
While the island is known for its rich cultural heritage – temples and palaces, festivals and ceremonies – there’s also a wide variety of adventure and epic nightlife options on offer.
With at times polarising experiences to be had - where you decide to go on your trip can be a make or break decision for your dream holiday.
To help you with these challenging decisions Getfrank travelled to the island of the gods to give you a round-up of five of the main regions in Bali (don’t say we don’t do anything for you!)
Whether with a bunch of mates, a sports team or as the ultimate stag do - Kuta is ideal for the ultimate ‘The Hangover’ style trip
Accommodation options are spread across the divide to suit any travellers pocket - for the ‘young and young at heart’ you’ll want to check into the Bounty Hotel on Poppies II, while those who have a bit more to spend can enjoy the luxury offerings of the one year old Pullman Legian or the more ‘Bali classic’ Mercure Kuta both of which overlook the beach.
If you’re a beginner surfer Kuta Beach is the perfect training ground, waist deep out past the white-wash it’s incredibly easy to get in a massive amount of rides without killing yourself with exhaustion.
Our team had the pleasure of being coached by the ‘good dudes’ at Odyssey Surf School – we couldn’t recommend them more, especially when you’ve got the Hard Rock Café across the road to fuel up at midday or close off with a round or three of the local brew – Bintang.
With plenty of local stores (Poppies II) offering ridiculously cheap prices on sunglasses (NZD$3), boardies (NZD$4) and Onitsuka Tiger shoes (NZD$12-15) the shopping at Kuta can become a full-time gig and worth the trip itself – just make sure you’ve got your bartering skills up to scratch before you open your wallet.
Once the sun goes down though, this is where Kuta really comes to life - Superclub 61 Legian with the renowned Sky Garden and free drinks between 9 and 10pm is sure to set even the faintest soul alight. From there, you can’t go wrong with a stopover at the Apache Reggae Bar for a bit of tunes from Bob Marley and even New Zealand’s own Katchafire before entering the ultimate grave yard shift with rocket fuel drink bottles at Bounty Discotheque. (Referenced in the Crowd Goes Wild wrap up at the bottom of the page)
Post the hangover and stepping it up a notch, north of Kuta is Seminyak - the ‘Ponsonby’ of Bali.
Luxurious and fashionable, Seminyak boasts luxurious accommodation and upmarket spas, restaurants, boutique fashion stores and incredible bars overlooking a stunning beach - which remains a lot quieter during the day giving you chance to relax and enjoy your holiday.
Whether staying or driving through Seminyak, make sure you visit both of the following establishments;
Since its arrival in 2000, Ku De Ta has become recognised as one of Asia's most beloved and distinctive lifestyle destinations. With a powerful beachfront location and a reputation for intimate fine dining, cutting edge design and architecture THEN backed up with big name international performers, the Ku De Ta experience is something you cannot miss.
Another place that just needs to be seen... inside a HUGE elliptical amphitheatre built using a collection of 18th century teak shutters you’ll find an impressive 500-square metre emerald lawn. This is skirted with an infinity pool facing the horizon of the Indian Ocean creating an incredible platform to enjoy a blend of cuisine, entertainment and innovative cocktails.
Make sure you set aside an evening to experience their eclectic menu inspired by international home cooked recipes, tapas selections of Southeast Asian cuisine or French fine dining through an interpretation of a Japanese Chef.
The Heart and Soul of Bali, surrounded by gently rolling rice paddies and terraces Ubud is regarded as the cultural centre of Bali and is completely free from what can be at times the hedonistic scene of Kuta.
Temples and historical sites such as the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), Gunung Kawi (Poet Mountain) or the sacred Monkey forest (where you can hand feed the monkey’s). Museums and Galleries, Art courses, cooking classes, cultural performances, yoga and meditation or the craft markets - all can be found here and in beautiful style.
For those with the cash in the pocket when it comes to accommodation make sure you experience Viceroy, you can read the extended review here
If you’re an adventure junky though you’ll most likely hit Ubud inadvertently for the white water rafting.
Noting the risks involved with white water and seeing some of the clandestine business in operation make sure you google Bali Adventure Tours – they also have the Bali Elephant Safari Park in their portfolio which is promoted as the only complete elephant experience in the world and is where you can get up close with these incredible animals in a stunning tropical park setting.
Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua
Located 40km south of Denpasar and Kuta, Tanjung Benoa is where tourists and locals alike come to relax on the beach and read a book.... or take advantage of an outstanding line up of adrenaline pumping water sports.
What seems like a hundred speed boats will be running at any one time with para-sailers crossing within metres of others, jet skis, hoby cats and outriggers all heading out for incredible dives, fishing and surf trips and yet another group of boats towing wild flying fish behind them – it’s all on here an Tanjung Benoa!
For those with an edge for excitement and risk this is the ultimate in entertainment and you won’t be held back or feel chaperoned out there on the main beach, however if you’re slightly risk adverse you’ll definitely want to have Jet Set Marine on your contact list. As the only American managed water sports centre in Bali they ensure all activities are conducted within international standards so you (and/or the kids) will be well and truly catered for.
From snorkeling the Nusa Dua Reef, Parasailing, Flying Fish, to Banana Boating, Jet Skiing, Wakeboarding or Kayaking Tanjung Benoa has got it all complete with a lobster lunch.
Slowing down the pace to round this round up off... Sanur is the place if you want a holiday (or a holiday from the holiday) that's relaxed, quiet and stunningly beautiful. It's Bali's oldest upscale resort area and is perfectly nestled on the beach – a firm favourite for older families and those wanting a quiet break.
If you’re going to make the most of ‘experience Bali’ make sure you book in with Bali Hyatt hotel – a 5 star resort hotel with its distinctive architecture and lush tropical with secluded lily ponds, timeless appeal the Bali Hyatt blends into the serene village life of Sanur. The hotel offers restaurants, lounges and bars to complement the luxurious suites and rooms that are available.
Although the diving available around Sanur is not the best Bali has to offer, nearly all of Bali's most established dive operators are located here for trips further afield.
For those that appreciate a decent dive definitely lock in a trip to the USAT Liberty, considered Bali's most popular dive site the American ship was an armed cargo steamship that was torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942. It's been submerged for years, and has been transformed into one of Indonesia's most beautiful artificial reefs.
As noted above Bali is an incredible mixture of everything you could want in a holiday destination. There's something for absolutely everybody and with such a huge line up of experiences on offer even after three trips myself I can’t wait to get back there to explore even further.
GetFrank travelled to Bali courtesy of the legends at Air New Zealand, flight details below;
Flights to Denpasar, Bali; (19 Jun – 14 Oct)
2 services per week nonstop from Auckland
Dep NZ Tue and Sat 7.05pm, arrive Bali 12.35am [next day]
Dep Bali Wed and Sun 8.05am, arrive NZ 8.05pm [same day]
One way internet price
Seat Fare From $599
[Seat + Bag $629, Works $679]