Time Out Melbourne

Had it with winter? Then head to Indonesia's perennial holiday island

People flock from all over the globe to experience South East Asia's magical playground that is Bali. Get amongst the island's all-night party scene; escape the real world by spending time in the enchanting hills of Ubud; or simply soak up rays by the pool while absorbed in the latest Jonathan Franzen novel.

See and Do

If you fly up on Garuda, you'll arrive in Denpasar by mid-afternoon, and that means you'll get an arvo to spend by the pool with a mojito in hand - Time Out's favourite Bali pastime. If you haven't been to Bali before, then an ideal way to spend your second day on the island is arranging a driver and heading up to the hills of Ubud, where rice fields, temples, art galleries and antique stores await. With tips, a driver will cost just under $100 for the day and having a car means you can stop off wherever you like, getting the real Ubud arts experience and shopping in Legian on the way back.

On the other side of the island, exploring Bali's rugged coastline by catamaran is fast becoming the hottest ticket in town. The newly-opened W Retreat and Spa Bali-Seminyak, in partnership with X Sails Bali, has launched a sailing programme whereby you depart from Benoa Bay and sail along the coast to the stunning Crystal Bay (think Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi - as seen in The Beach - but minus the hordes of tourists). You'll also get an onboard DJ, cocktails and a barbeque lunch when you arrive.

Eat and Drink

For the last decade, Ku de Ta in Seminyak has been the party spot in Bali, thanks to its world-class cocktails and famously good western fare. The cocktails are expensive for Bali standards, but worth the $15-$20 price tag. Ideally, be at KDT for sunset and keep it simple like we do - go for cocktails and bar snacks. Jalan Hotel The Oberoi, Kuta. Up the road, newcomer Potato Head is now rivaling KDT for the island's best cocktails. Potato Head regularly hosts international DJs and offers a good grazing menu in a building themed around thousands of old French colonial shutters. Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali.

Still in Seminyak, Sarong is the island's leading standalone restaurant serving up South East Asian delights, akin to the level of spiciness you'd expect from Longrain. A Bloody Mary before dinner here is an absolute must. 19 Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali. For cocktails by the pool, no one does Mojitos better than Woobar at the W Retreat and Spa Bali-Seminyak. Inside Woobar itself, there's a two-level nightclub that features DJs most nights of the week and bar snacks that rival the best of KDT. Woobar is also good for sunset cocktails, particularly while sitting on beanbags overlooking Seminyak beach. Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali.

Stay

Located smack bang on the beach, the brand new W Retreat and Spa Bali-Seminyak features 158 Retreats and 79 spacious Villa Retreats, several signature food and beverage outlets - including Woobar, Fire, Starfish Bloo and W Lounge - along with Bali's only 24-hour spa, a 150m2 state-of-the-art gym, and poolside cabanas. The breakfast at Fire is the best on the island while the marinated octopus and cuttlefish ceviche at Starfish Bloo is always worth a second serving. Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali.

Down the beach in Legian, the island's other new hotel on the block, Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana, you'll find large beach view rooms, a great day spa and great fare from the lobby restaurant, all at affordable prices. The service at the Accor-run hotel is exceptional and for exploring Legian and surrounds, the location is ideal. Jalan Melasti, Legian. Bali.

For a more classic hotel without the party atmosphere, give the Royal Beach Seminyak a look-in. Jalan Camplung Tanduk, Seminyak, Bali.

Get There

Garuda Indonesia flies direct to Melbourne from Denpasar Bali, the only full-service airline operating on the route. The airline recently upgraded its fleet that operate on Melbourne flights and guests can experience flatbeds and award-winning cuisine in Executive (Business) Class, and Video on Demand with 25 movies and 250 music tracks across Executive and Economy Classes. Meals and a 30kg baggage allowance are included in Economy Class prices. Jetstar and Virgin Australia also fly to Bali.

First published on . Updated on .

By James Wilkinson   |  

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