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When you’ve got some time off and the itch to wade in a blue lagoon, charge a few waves in the Indian Ocean or monkey around with fellow primates, it’s Bali or bust! Located just east of Java, this Indonesian island offers the right mix of high-adrenaline action and low-tide laziness. To best prepare for the big trip, squeeze into your togs and spend a couple of days lying completely flat, turning over occasionally and breaking for fruity drinks every few hours. You’ve got this.
You may leave home with 99 problems, but beach hotels in Bali ain’t one of them, which is kind of the point. As a resort island, Bali is home to loads of waterfront and hillside hotels, especially around the southern towns of North and South Kuta, as well as Denpasar and along the northern coastline. If you’re in the mood for a whirlwind tour, book Indonesia accommodation on other islands, too.
The “B” in “Bali” stands for “beaches”—“budgie smugglers,” too, actually. On the northwest coast, the village of Pemuteran is a diver’s dream, with bright coral reefs and diverse marine life. If you’d rather meet creatures with cute smiles and opposable thumbs, skip the snorkelling and visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud.
To stretch out on a pristine patch of sand, pick accommodation in Bali near Nusa Dua, southeast of Kuta, where the water is calm and crystal blue. While you’re in the southern region of the island, check the events at the Bali Convention Centre, where you can take in a traditional dance show or join a festival.
Art lovers and foodies will find their happy place between ornate temple tours and outdoor bazaars, like Gianyar Night Market near Ubud. After an evening spent grazing at the markets, get your sleep at one of the nearby Bali hotels so you can be fresh-faced for a morning hike to Tirta Gangga, a water palace in Karangasem. Repeat: There’s a water palace.
Touch down at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Denpasar on Bali’s southern coast. Hail a cab or pick up one of lastminute.com.au’s swanky car hire options for the most efficient commute to sights and Bali accommodation. Public buses service popular neighbourhoods, so if you want the local Bali experience, catch a ride.
The residents of Bali know how to have a good time, and guess what? You’re invited to the party! If you plan on visiting the island between June and August, keep your eyes on the sky. If you see a plethora of colourful, beautiful kites bobbing in the air, then you’ve stumbled into the Bali Kites Festival. Children in each village build their own kites for display, and you can see anything floating in the sky, from traditional Hindu designs to soaring hot rods and “air” guitars. Yeah, we’re good.
The Makepung Buffalo Races in July are practically the same thing as the Melbourne Cup…except that it doesn’t take place in Melbourne, there are no horses, and you’ll be the only one wearing a fancy hat. This fun event features hundreds of teams of buffalo racing for glory as their jockeys steer from modified ploughs. Hold onto your hat, because these races are hot!
So, you’ve spent your entire day lounging on the beach? You were just conserving your energy for a raucous night of shaking what your mum gave ya. Give your energy reserves a final boost with a delicious meal as the sun sets. The best food in Bali is all around you. Nosh on some amazing babi guling (roast suckling pig), an island specialty, and then it’s time to party.
Bali is an international nightlife hotspot, so you have your pick of poisons. If you want to keep the night low-key, you can relax in a luxurious beachside lounge and sip fruity drinks to your heart’s delight. If that heart would rather beat to some dubstep, hit a hot club. Kuta is the home of the wildest mega-clubs, where you can dance like you just don’t care.
If those check-your-phone’s-camera-to-remember-what-happened nights are behind you, then Seminyak, with its more refined clubs and higher-end bars, is going to be your jam. Regardless of where you go, you’ll likely hear beats from famous DJs and may even rub elbows (and er, other body parts) with the rich and famous who want to get away just as much as you do.
To add something a little exotic to your island adventure, hang up those dancing shoes for a night and instead book the Night Safari Experience at Bali Safari & Marine Park. Did you hear something in the bushes? Hmmm, probably just the wind.
Is there such thing as partying too hard? If you’ve discovered that the answer is yes, then it might be time to use one day in Bali to recuperate away from the island’s notorious nightlife scene. A little fresh air will do you good, so head to the most north-westerly point of the island, where you’ll find the gorgeous Web Bali National Park. We hope you brought your binoculars. The park is filled with peaceful trails and hundreds of different bird species. You may even spot wild cattle, deer or see the luminous eyes of a leopard peering at you from beneath the foliage.
If you really want to get away, you can leave the island altogether. The nearby islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembogan are much more laid-back than Bali and offer amazing snorkelling, scuba diving and other water adventures. One way to forget about your impromptu and ultimately disastrous break dancing attempt at the clubs last night is to put your face in the water and watch all the beautiful fish hustle on by.
Here at lastminute.com.au it’s always a good time to book a Bali holiday. We’ve got sweet deals on places to stay in Bali that make the gorgeous weather, colourful coral reefs and tropical treats sound even sweeter.