If you stop just for a second, and think of the word ‘BALI’, an image will flash in your mind’s eye… Maybe it’s a deep red sunset, the silhouette of a volcano or verdant terraced rice paddies. It might just be the perfect wave, the serenity of meditation or an ice cold Bintang Beer! Bali has something different for everyone who visits her, and never fails to impress even the seasoned traveler.
Bali is special in that it takes timeless form and adds to it perfect function. Should it be a surprise that Bali’s resorts are voted number one in the world on an almost yearly basis? They reflect the island’s timeless balance and endless pursuit of beauty. Ironic it seems that hotels are being modelled on the Balinese Banjar (village) system, and more and more people are finding magic on the ‘Island of the Gods’.
Bali is indeed a magical place. The magic spreads through the archipelago and is never truly understood, although always held in awe. We think that magic is in many ways the pursuit and belief of an unrivalled quality in life, and it is this magic that Destination Asia Bali brings to all its guests, and those select individuals who are looking for more in a destination than the mere staid and ordinary.
The magic of Bali as a destination is found in a passion that transcends all boundaries, and brings with it a new quality. This quality is in all we do, and as Destination Asia Bali brings this quality to you and your incentive program, you will see that magic is not a word that is lost with childhood, but is found afresh in Bali.
Nusa Dua is located in Bali’s southern-most tip and is better known as the island’s 5 star beach resort enclave. The peaceful manicured setting is the home to a large percentage of the island’s major international hotels and Leading Hotels of the World set on white sandy beaches. The Bali International Convention center – the island’s largest and world class convention facility – is also located here along with hotels such as The Westin Resort Bali, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, Sheraton Laguna and Grand Hyatt to name a few… it seems that every palm lined street leads to 2 or 3 beautiful hotels. This is also where you will find some of the best Spa’s on the island, and the world renown Bali Golf & Country Club. Nusa Dua is a market / hawker free zone, although there are shops on the outskirts of the enclave. The main activity here is luxury and relaxation (unless of course you are one of the lucky few whose company choose Nusa Dua for their annual meeting…)
Tanjung Benoa extends north from Nusa Dua and is best known as a center for watersports. It is here that a more active style of tourism exists and where jet skiing, paragliding and ‘flying fish’ watersports thrive. That being said it is also home to a number of good hotels including the All Inclusive Melia Benao, the Novotel Coralia and Grand Mirage resorts. The beach reclamation project has increased the size of the white beaches significantly and it is an excellent base for a fishing trip under the cliffs of Uluwatu or a snorkeling trip to Turtle Island. If you don’t stay in Tanjung Benoa, come for the day and enjoy yourself on the clear warm waters.
Besides being home to the world famous Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton Resorts, Jimbaran is famous for two things: it’s fresh seafood and it’s sunsets, ideally enjoyed together with loved ones and close friends. Jimbaran is a stunning crescent of pure white sand and with seafood cafés set up on the beach at night it is an ideal place to enjoy the fisherman’s catch with ice cold beer after a deep red sunset under the sparkling stars. Watch the lights of the fishermen’s’ boats twinkle on the horizon as you listen to wandering acoustic guitar players and you will understand why this is one of the must do dinners for your stay in Bali.
You haven’t been the Bali is you haven’t been to Ubud. Whether to stay or for the day, Ubud is the cultural and artistic heartland of Bali and home to one of the highest concentration of artists in the world. Perched on the gentle hillside leading towards the mountains and often trickled with cascading rice paddies, Ubud has attracted visitors interested in the Balinese arts and temples since the beginning of last century. Ubud is a relaxed place to stay or visit, with secluded hotels mirroring design aspects of the traditional house compounds and built into the verdant hillsides. Here the boutique and spa concepts of Bali thrive, with glorious examples such as the Four Seasons, Amandari, Begawan Giri and of course Alila shining out as some of the most exotic hotels in the world.
For shoppers and art lovers alike, Ubud is an oasis of creativity and value. From stunning art galleries to local art markets, Ubud has the best painting, wood carvings and gold and silver craftsmen you will find in the country. Visit the artists’ studios, galleries or simply wander. You really need more than a day to appreciate Ubud, to wander its streets, eat in its cafes and explore its shops and galleries. The relaxed and creative ambience is intoxicating, and like a finely crafted wine, your time here will never be enough.
White water rafting and elephant trekking is also available near Ubud and is a must experience for anyone with a sense of adventure. We also recommend a trip to the volcano in the early morning for a light breakfast and then a mountain bike ride to one of our favourite restaurants in Ubud for lunch. Then again, why not go for an early morning walk through the rice paddies? And after you’ve burnt all that energy, the only way to wind down is in a luxury spa…
Many people think Bali is about beaches… until they stay in Ubud!
Kuta / Legian / Seminyak
Kuta is the island’s largest and most thriving tourist beach resort. It is close to the airport and has an enormous range of great value hotels, restaurants and shopping. If you like a busy beach scene and exciting nightlife, you will like Kuta and it’s neighboring Legian beaches. Kuta is also great for families as there is so much to do, with Waterbom park a sure favourite for it’s world class water slides and facilities (and of course, spa).
Legian is to the north of Kuta and has a little less of everything, including hawkers. It has a slightly slower pace and it good for people who want the proximity of Kuta for when they want to be part of the action but more of a relaxed pace at their doorstep.
Seminyak, to the north again of Legian is the home of ‘trendy’ Bali. It has the most fashionable restaurants and nightlife (including internationally acclaimed Ku De Ta and Warisan) as well as the most luxurious boutique hotels in the area, including the Oberoi and The Legian. Shopping here is more cool and less ‘copy’ with local designers flaunting their clothing and artistic creations in a much more modern vein to traditional Ubud.
What to do in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak besides eat, drink, shop and party? This stretch of beaches has some great surfing and surf schools the beach is large and white and if you’re not in the water be sure to enjoy a massage. See and be seen around here, and without doubt you will enjoy this exciting part of Bali.
Sanur is a beautiful Balinese fishing village that has seamlessly integrated tourism into the structure and beauty of daily Balinese life. It is an ultimately more relaxed and up-market alternative to Kuta with more mid-range hotels than Nusa Dua. Good value restaurants, many right on the beach can be enjoyed by all. The locals are very friendly and you will be sure to warm to their laid-back attitude. The beach is white sand sheltered by a reef and as Sanur is not a surf beach it is great for swimming. There’s no road along the beach here, so blissful beachside strolls are a must. There’s also good shopping for local souvenirs and some boutiques and in general there is a lot more relaxed attitude to bargaining. The nightlife is reasonably quiet, although the nearby Jazz Bar & Grill is another alternative to venturing into nearby Kuta.
Sanur is home to the Bali Hyatt which has arguably some of the best and most expansive gardens of any 5 star resort along with beautiful beachfront. You will also find the popular Grand Bali Beach, Santrian Resorts and Segara Village. Sanur is also a great base for exploring the island due to it’s convenient location and lack of traffic. From here it is only a short drive to Ubud and beyond, giving you more time to explore the island!
Surf, beach and relaxation are three things that come to mind when one thinks of Nusa Lembongan. Frequented by large, high speed catamarans and smaller sailing boats, this resort island is home to limited, though beautiful ‘deserted island’ style accommodation, from simple bungalows to villas. The island can also be explored by foot or bicycle, with massage, excellent diving, snorkeling and banana boats being excellent ways to pass the time. A visit to Nusa Lembongan is a must day trip from Bali.
Eastern Bali is in the shadow in the great Gunung Agung Volacano which dominates the landscape at 3142 meters, providing an awesome backdrop to the beautiful scenery. Gunung Agung is home to Bali’s Mother Temple, Pura Besakih, which is perched high on the slopes on the volcano. The road to East Bali passes through the town of Klungkung, former capital of Bali and home to the impressive Kerta Gosa, ‘Halls of Justice’ which used to meter the law across the land. This is worth a visit for it’s beautiful ceiling paintings, examples of which can also be purchased from nearby artists. At Kusamba visit the Goa Lawah – Bat Cave – a mystical and important temple home to tens if not hundreds of thousands of bats. Further north at Tulamben, past the port of Padang Bai and near the small resort town of Candi Dasa, you can enjoy world class diving at the shipwreck USS Liberty – a 110m long ship torpedoed by the Japanese in WWII. Finally, visit the water palace of Tirta Gangga, after which you can return to the south or enjoy accommodation near Candi Dasa, either in the 5 star Amankila or Alila Manggis or the enjoyable Candi Beach Cottage.
When thinking of Western Bali, there is ‘west’ and ‘very west’, as the island extends for some distance until it reaches the Java Straight. The most famous attraction is the nearby west of the island is Tanah Lot temple. Tanah Lot is a stunning temple built on a large outcropping of volcanic rock jutting from the ocean. It is one of the island’s most sacred temples and is an awe-inspiring scene at sunset. Before visiting the temple however, three other attractions lend themselves to be sought out, being the Mengwi Temple Complex, Alas Kedaton monkey forest and Margarana Memorial. A visit to the stunning former royal temple complex is a fine example of architecture from this period of Balinese rule which ended in 1891 (the temple was originally built in 1634). More recently, the Margarana Memorial pays tribute to Bali’s national hero and namesake of it’s largest road and airport, Ngurah Rai, who commanded the Balinese army against Dutch colonialists in 1946 and tragically died in his pursuit of independence. This memorial celebrates Ngurah Rai and Bali’s veterans important role in national independence.