As one of the most popular holiday destinations for Australians, Bali shows no sign of falling out of favour. Travel writer Fiona Harper heads to Bali looking for romance, good times and salt-laden adventures beyond Bali’s shores.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics over 1.1m Australians visited Indonesia during 2014/15. That's equivalent to over 21,000 each week! There's little doubt that Bali was the destination for most of those visitors.
Whether you're visiting for the first time or the fifth, Bali is the mother of reinvention, always coming up with something new for holidaymakers. Here's our tips for fun Bali holidays, whether you're looking for romance, good times or salty adventures beyond Bali’s shores.
1. Romance on the beach at Canggu
Private beach area at Tugu Hotel Canggu. Image: Fiona Harper
Everyone knows that balmy tropical nights and beachfront sunsets are a match made in heaven. What better way to up the romance stakes than to enjoy some of Bali's best beachfront bars, restaurants and hotels?
Beachfront at Canggu La Laguna gets just about everything right starting with its location on the beach far from the crowds at Seminyak, Legian and Kuta. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this quirky, colourful ‘Instagram-worthy’ restaurant and bar. The place oozes charm from every eccentric pore. From the cute private dining wagons, intimate smooching settees and garden tables hidden amongst lush greenery, it’s the perfect place to woo your loved one. Linger over a leisurely brunch, lunch or dinner: the food is as inventive and interesting as the surroundings.
Staying with the quirky theme, nearby Tugu Hotel Bali is an intimate Secret Retreat Hotel perfect for loved-up couples. Housing Indonesia’s largest private collection of antiques and antiquities, ground floor suites come with plunge pools in walled gardens while upstairs rooms overlook one of Bali’s best surf beaches.
2. Good Times in Kuta
Rooftop pool bar and lounge at Four Points Kuta Hotel. Image: Fiona Harper
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably aware that Kuta is Bali’s Good Time headquarters. With streets, laneways and the beachfront strip lined with bars, nightclubs, restaurants and hotels, Kuta sure knows how to show visitors a good time.
Put your party shoes on and head to Kuta’s famous clubs and dance until dawn. Reliable favourites like Ku De Ta and Potato Head are great places to get the party started before dropping into Sky Garden, Engine Room Super Club or Hard Rock Café amongst many, many others.
When it all gets too much check into Four Points Bali Kuta which is located in the heart of the good time district. There's a pretty cool rooftop bar with swimming pool for sundowners or nightcaps too! A modern hotel, the best rooms have decks with direct access to the large central swimming pool – the perfect way to clear the head after a long night of good times!
3. Salty Adventures on a Pirate Ship
Sailing Indonesian islands on Al iikai. Image: Fiona Harper
Despite Kuta’s good times vibe, all night partying is not for everyone. A splendid way to ‘do Bali’ is to combine beachfront romance or dancing til dawn with a salt-laden adventure beyond Bali’s shores. Explore the Indonesian archipelago from a traditional ‘pirate ship’, sailing as far afield as Komodo and Flores Islands or cruising around Lombok and the Gilli Islands.
Al iikai departs year round from Bali or Lombok with a strong emphasis on getting off the beaten track, visiting remote villages or uninhabited islands. Run by an Aussie expat with a serious passion for snorkelling, cruising on Al iikai is a lot like staying in a boutique hotel that sails to a new location every day. Don’t worry about needing seasick pills – the ship cruises in calm waters, island hopping when the weather’s good, staying put when it’s not. Crewed by Indonesian seafarers, you’ll be in good hands.
Fiona Harper is a travel writer specialising in cruising, active and soft adventures. Follow her at Travel Boating Lifestyle.