We are currently not operating non-stop services to Bali, flights are available via Singapore or Hong-Kong with partner airlines.
Where to go and what to see in Bali
Bali's tourism has always been concentrated in the region south of Denpasar, however new and better roads have made it easier to explore the mountainous interior, northern and eastern coasts, as well as the off-the-beaten-path western coast. Consider spreading your holiday across two or three locations - or even more - to get a bigger picture of this divine destination.
Holiday dollars go a long way
In Bali, everyone can afford a luxury holiday. Wherever you stay and whatever you do, you can count on extraordinary value for money. If you have an average budget, Bali can deliver a Hilton-level experience for around NZD $200 a night. Or you can go the whole hog with a multi-bedroom private villa, including pool and maid, for about NZD $400 a night. If you usually travel lean, you'll find three and four-star hotel rooms for as little as NZD $60 a night.
The same concept applies to spa treatments. At a reputable spa in Seminyak or Ubud, a 90-minute massage costs as little as NZD $30. A one-hour French-style facial is about NZD $40. And a luxury manicure is generally less than NZD $20. It's easy to look beautiful when you're on holiday in Bali.
Renewing body, mind and soul
Bali and yoga were made for each other. If you've ever toyed with the idea of going on a live-in yoga retreat, it's time to turn thoughts into action. You can be hard core about it, with an advanced hatha course that will have you hand-standing with the best of them. Or you can find a programme that's lighter on intensity and heavier on fun. There are also programmes that combine surfing and yoga, because the two are complementary. In Candidasa it's also possible to mix yoga with diving.
Meditation retreats are another Balinese speciality, particularly in and around Ubud, Sanur, Tabanan and Singaraja. Some include yoga; others focus on the inner journey. You can even go on a Bali Silent Retreat at a self-sustaining eco-sanctuary surrounded by rice fields and jungle.
To transform your health, there are wellness retreats in Bali that offer programmes based on Balinese or Ayurvedic rituals and treatments. You can find programmes for stress release, anxiety, weight loss and ageing - whatever you need, Bali can provide.
Discover the flavours of Bali
Traditional Balinese breakfasts are so good, you might never want to eat cereal or toast again. Shrimp nasi goreng with a fried egg and salad accompaniment is an enlivening way to start the day. A shot of locally grown and roasted kopi (coffee), known for its strength, and you're ready for anything.
For casual meals you can find almost anything your appetite craves. Bali's café and restaurant culture embraces western food as well as Indonesian specialities. Traditional dishes are invariably delicious, with a marvellous balance of salty, sour, sweet and spicy, but the real eye-opener is the cost. For lunch at an average neighbourhood café you'll pay as little as NZD $10 per person, including drinks.
In the evening, check out the hip and happening bars, restaurants and beach clubs in Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Ubud and Jimbaran. Chefs in Bali are quick to pick up international hospitality trends, which they interpret in a cleverly Pan Asian way. Decors get as much consideration as the menus, so your eyes can feast on beautiful interiors while all your other senses are busy enjoying the food and drink. As with accommodation, affordability is a certainty. In a moderately-priced restaurant, a three-course dinner for two people will cost around NZD $30.
Between meals look for locally-made patisseries, cakes, ice creams, gelatos and sherbets. Kuta is one of the best places to go in Bali for sweet treats. Also keep an eye out for sesame ginger or chilli cashews at the mini marts.
You can transport Bali's delicious cuisine home in your memory by taking cooking classes. Ubud has a wide range of options, including some that will have you cooking and eating within a traditional Balinese family compound.
Bali's captivating culture
Contact with Balinese culture is a given. The entire island is infused with Bali's unique brand of Hinduism, which is rich with deities, heroes and stories. The most noticeable religious landmarks are the ornate temples (pura) and split gates (candi bentar) in every town. Temples contain shrines and pavilions and follow a three-zone layout. Most temples welcome guests, but it's important to follow the dress code - covered upper body, sarong around your legs and no shoes. If you visit the temples in Ubud's Monkey Forest, secure your valuables - although cute, the monkeys are sometimes known to pinch your belongings. Bali's most famous temples include Besakih, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Goa Gajah and Ulun Danu Beratan.
Bali also has unique music, dancing and theatre attractions. You might happen upon performances at hotels, however the best way to catch a show is to find a venue - Uluwatu Temple Amphitheatre, Surya Mandala Cultural Park at Tanah Lot, Bali Theatre in Gianyar, Nusa Dua Theatre, Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park in Jimbaran or the Arma Open Stage in Ubud. Batubulan in the province of Gianyar also has superb cultural shows. As a soundtrack for your holiday, download some traditional gamelan music. Like Bali, it's exotic and spellbinding.
Memorable adventures on land and sea
Surfing locations have been a major attraction in Bali since the early 1970s. There are well-behaved novice breaks on the Bukit Peninsula, including Padang Padang Right and Dreamland. Kuta, Bali's original surf town, is another place for learners. For experienced surfers, the south end of Bali has Uluwatu, Padang Padang Left (a barrel wave), Impossibles and Balangan, just to mention a few. Off the east coast of Bali, the tiny island of Nusa Lombongan is also a legendary place for surfing; it has great snorkelling too.
Land-based Bali adventures range far and wide. You can bike through the paddy fields of Tabanan; climb Mount Batur, which is a healthy distance from currently-active Mount Agung; go whitewater rafting on the Ayung River, for thrills with gorgeous gorge scenery; and make like a monkey at the Bali TreeTop Adventure Park. To cool off there are the slides and splashdowns of Waterbom water park, possibly the most fun thing to do in Bali for families.
Shopping also falls into the adventure category in Bali, especially if you're the sort of person who would rather energetically haggle for the 'best price' than slide down a river in a raft. From classic street markets selling colourful beachwear, batik cloth and ornaments to designer tailoring shops that will make anything you want, shopping in Bali is all-encompassing. In recent years the island has become a major hub for ethically-conscious consumerism, so there's an emphasis on natural dyes and fabrics, and community-centric manufacturing. As well as cotton clothing, look for soft leather bags, fashion accessories made from cork, hand-woven homewares and original art.
Keep exploring Bali
Best time to go
Tropically warm all year round, Bali is at its best during the southern hemisphere winter, with temperatures around 30 degrees and mostly clear skies. July and August is the high season, when prices are hiked, with another peak around Christmas.
How much will it cost?
The upscale resorts attract affluent tourists and charge accordingly. Stay at a smaller, locally owned resort or villa and you can enjoy luxury at a modest price. You can dine out for the equivalent of NZD $15 per person including drinks.