One of the most Romantic Islands in the World!
In our view, Bali Indonesia is one of the most romantic islands in the world. Add instant culture & an almost spiritual atmosphere. Despite increased tourism, once away from the busier resorts you still have a wonderful sense of tradition.
There are now direct flights from London Heathrow to Bali on Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia. You can also travel via the main gateways of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Flying time to a gateway city would be typically 12 hours, then a further 2 to 3-hour flight, plus any transit time. The Garuda direct flight time is 15 hours 30 minutes so the time saving is considerable.
As alternatives, there are connections via Dubai and Doha, with onward direct flights to Bali, although there may be a transit stop en-route.
Visa Free Travel
A total of 45 countries can now travel to Indonesia without having to pay for a Visa-On-Arrival providing you declare you are travelling for leisure. These include China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and South Africa.
Note – This only applies to main arrival gateways of Bali and Jakarta. A paid visa on arrival applies to many other points including Lombok if this is your first point of Indonesian entry.
Bali is at its best in our spring and summer months. During November through to February you tend to get heavier rainfall, usually in short sharp bursts. On an island of wide smiles, this is when you do see the occasional white long face!
The TOTAL Romance, the high quality hotels, the wonderful smiles, the scenic variety, the innovative restaurants…. In our view, Bali is the most genuine in Asia.
You have 4 main resort areas, all in the south. Jimbaran has the best beach, non-motorised water sports, and is a generally a quiet area, Nusa Dua, a purpose-built resort estate, with a good beach with many hotels, restaurants and a wide selection of water sports. The Benoa resort area is adjacent. Sanur has a more village-like atmosphere, with restaurant options, although the beach is limited. Seminyak is the ‘posh’ end of lively Kuta (known locally as Costa Fosters, given its popularity with Australians) and here you will find some of the very best restaurants in the region. A good beach with high waves. So better for the surfer or more confident swimmer.
All are within easy drive of each other, although rush hour traffic jams will add considerably to the time.
Note – In common with most tropical areas, the beaches are to be used by local and tourists alike. Private beaches are not permitted.
Just over an hour drive up into the mountains you have the artist village of Ubud, which is, in our opinion, a must on any visit to Bali. For sunsets, Ullawatu on the southern tip is the place to visit.
For those who want more than just a beach – and maybe a more authentic experience – we suggest the combination of the south with Ubud, then maybe a trip up to the volcanic sand North Shore at Lovina, or the ECO focused Menjangan Resort.
Lombok is much less developed and quieter. Hotels tend to be on the smaller boutique scale. The scenery is just as spectacular as Bali and the beaches even better. The culture is interesting. More Islamic based than Buddhist -Hindu Bali, and the smiles, whilst genuine, are maybe not as wide. The Gili Islands, famous for their diving, are just 30 minutes by boat from north-west Lombok.
Bintan is just 50 minutes by ferry east of Singapore. A purpose developed resort island with good beaches, several golf courses, and a totally relaxed atmosphere. A nice easy contrast to fast paced and commercial Singapore. We would suggest a 4-day extension arrangement, with the resorts generally quieter mid-week – the weekends tend to get very busy.
If We Were To Be Critical…
Kuta is an acquired taste. When people talk of Bali being ‘ruined’, this is usually where they are referring to. The beaches, with the exception of Jimbaran, are reasonable, rather than ‘WOW’. Nusa Dua beach is also busy, albeit in a more controlled way.
It is a long way from the UK, so if time permits we would suggest a stopover en-route at one of the gateway cities. KL is the most popular, travelling throughout on Malaysia Airlines. We can offer alternatives via Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Bali is just discovering that if you continue to build even more hotels and villas, you also need to improve infrastructure, in particular roads. The new motorway bridge has considerably eased traffic congestion from the airport to the beach resorts, although it can still be heavy around the Kuta area.
The profile of tourist arrivals has changed in recent years, as the financial situation in Europe bites and the Asian economies get stronger. So, in addition to Australians, you will see plenty of mainland excitable Chinese, as well as other regional nationalities.
Natural Disasters – The Reality.
Indonesia sits within the so called “Ring of Fire” which is an area of tectonic activity within the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes do occur on a regular basis. Earthquakes with a magnitude of 5 or less occur on almost a weekly basis in some regions and are almost judged “un-newsworthy” by the local media. Indonesia also has more active volcanoes, currently 129, than any other country in the world. This all adds to the drama of the scenery and the atmosphere of the destination. Boring it is not! 90% of clients rarely experience a severe earthquake or are impacted by a volcanic eruption (although you might catch sight of one in the distance) but they are very much a reality of considering/travelling to Indonesia.