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Mauritius, Indian Ocean

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Gentle people, lots of culture and lovely beaches make Bali a fantastic place to explore.

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Fact File

  • Flight time: 16 hours (via Singapore) 
  • Best time to go:  April to October.. 
  • Time difference: GMT +8 
  • Currency: Rupiah 
  • Visa requirements: British citizens will need to obtain a visa on arrival in to Bali

Bali

One of the most enchanting countries in South East Asia and certainly a UFH favourite. Many of the most beautiful hotels and spas around the world have copied the Balinese style but here you can experience the genuine article. Bali has something for everyone from the lush green mountains and padis of Ubud to the dramatic cliffs of Uluwatu, the immaculate enclave of Nusa Dua with its stunning beaches or the laid back peace and quiet of the north west. There are so many different areas to visit that you can easily spend a two week holiday here and still not see half of it. And at the end of your trip, if you feel in need of some retail therapy and fantastic restaurants then Seminyak has some amazing boutique shops along with some of the best restaurants in Bali. But for us the best bit of Bali are the people. Wonderfully gentle, polite and helpful and seemingly unaffected by westerner influence. They still wear traditional clothes, are very spiritual and, as we found, they are wonderful with children. Ask Inca which her favourite country is and she will say that Bali is – she loved the food and the soft approach the Balinese nannies and peopel had towards her and adored wathcing the beautiful Balinese dancing. Although Bali is a wonderful cultural experience and visiting some of their incredible temples is a must there is also lots for children to see and do include our girls favourite which was riding rescued Samatran elephants in Ubud. If you want the best beaches in Asia then head to the stunning Gili Islands where turquoise waters lap ice white sand, cars are replaced with horse drawn carts and prices are still incredibly cheap.


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When to Travel

Unlike most of South East asia the best time to visit Bali is April to October.

As Bali is situated just below the equator, the climate is tropical. The average daily temperature is 29 °C (84 °F) and the water temperature is always around 28 °C (82 °F). The dry season lasts from April to November and the rainy season from December to March. But even during the rainy season it seldom rains continuously. 

Bali is generally warm through out the year and as a rule there is never a bad time to visit.  Rain, when is does come, is short sharp heavy downpours.




Kids

If you ask our children which is their favourite country they will say Bali.  Admittedly it is quite a long way to get there but it is really worth the trip. If you are going this far then two weeks is really the shortest amount of time to stay.  Our girls especially loved the gentleness of the Balinese people.  So leaving them to have a Balinese dance lesson was always more their choice than ours.  And that, for us, was the reason we so enjoyed Bali as a family destination.  Unlike so many other countries around the world here you feel that everyone is friendly and on your side and if you need any help they are more than willing to lend a hand.  As a result the babysitters were some of the best we have found.

The island is some wonderful beaches, plenty of culture and lots for families to do.  You can get essentials like nappies but not as easily as more western orientated countries.

Country Info

Flights: There are no direct flights into Bali.  Singapore Airlines or BA have flights into Singapore from where you take a regional flight down to Bali.

Bali is a destination that has everything you might want all in a small area.  For many people their entire experience of the island is the stunning beaches of the Nusa Dua enclave. 

Nusa Dua

Perhaps the most popular part of the island to visit as it has some of the best beaches.  It also has a reef which means that the water is calmer than on the other parts of the island.  For some of the best hotels head to the gated Nusa Dua.  This huge area is a mini Bali, hidden away from the rest of the island and gated to keep the hordes out!  Here the lawns are perfectly manicured, the beaches pristine and ‘real’ Bali is kept at arms length.  Which just means there aren’t hundreds of motor bikes and the litter is always picked up.  For us it is the perfect place to start any Bali trip and you have a number of different hotel options dotted throughout the extensive area.  Each hotel either fronts directly onto the beach or for hotels like the Amanusa they have their own beach club with private separated areas for their own guests.  And the joy of Nusa Dua is that when you want to experience a bit of Bali culture and daily life you can get a very cheap taxi out of the gates and you are right there.  There are also loads of good local restaurants around the outskirts of Nusa Dua if you want them.  You will find the beaches outside Nusa Dua are a lot more crowded.

Uluwatu

This is the southern most tip of Bali and famed for its dramatic cliffs and beautiful uninterrupted sea views.  The pace of life around here is a be less frenetic than 20 minutes north as they don’t really have their own beaches so people tend to stay away.  But if beaches aren’t important and stunning views and a bit of peace and quiet are then this is the place.  Just 25 minutes from the airport and you can always head to Jimbaran for dinner if you want a change of scene.  The new Banyan Tree or the Alilia Villas are the place to stay here.  The Banyan Tree has even cut a road down the cliff to give beach lovers a bit of what they want.

Jimbaran Bay

This is just south of the airport and 20 minutes west of Nusa Dua.  The bay is where the local Balinese go for the beach (as they can’t get into Nusa Dua very easily)  For some of the best local fish restaurants this is the place to head.  It is worth noting that in the late afternoon and on weekends this bay can get very busy.  

Seminyak

Bypass Kuta and head straight to the more upmarket glamorous Seminyak next door.  Here the hotels are better, the shops are small and boutique and the bars are great hang out spots in the evening.  This is the perfect place to end any visit to Bali, by which time you have had plenty of time to relax on the Bali beaches elsewhere and you want to do a little gentle shopping to fill up and spare luggage space!  The beach here is long and wide and famed for its surf.  Not so great to swim in as the currents can be very strong and the waves huge but it is great to see.

Ubud

The ‘Highlands’ of Bali.  Well not quite as you are only 45 minutes north of Denpassar and you can’t yet see the Volcanos of the north.  But it is certainly uphill from the south and the temperature can be more pleasant.  This is a great place to escape the hussle and bussle and get to see some real Balinese culture.  Explore the jungles around the town of Ubud.  Go trekking though the rice padis and see the way farmers have been working for centuries (back breaking stuff planting rice but fascinating to watch).  You can also raft the rivers or riding on the Samatian Elephants in the elephant rescue centre.  Ubud is the centre of arts in Bali so there is a great deal of art shops and workshops to visit.  Ubud is also a good staging post for a trip up to the north coast.

The north coast

This is the relatively undiscovered side to Bali and where you find the Bali ex-pats head if they want a holiday.  To get there is a beautiful 3 hour drive from Ubud straight over the mountains which form  the middle of Bali.  This gives you a chance to visit this stunning region with its dramatic jungle covered hillsides and mountain lakes.  From here you head down to the driest part of the island in the North-West.  Here the volcanic sand beaches have gentle waves as they are sheltered by the island.  This is also the best part of Bali to dive which clear blue waters and an abundance of fish.  The best diving is off shore and in particular around the National Park.  The island of ?? is just off shore and has white sandy beaches and great snorkelling.

The Gilly Isles

These little droplets of perfection in the ?? sea just 15 minutes from Lombok are simply stunning.  Many people think of Bali as having great beaches, which in fact it doesn’t.  Outside of Nusa Dua the waters are rough and the beaches uninviting.  But all this changes on the 3 small coral island of the Gilis.  This is the tropical beach paradise that is more Maldives than Indonesia.  The white sandy beaches  slink down to calm cystal clear blue waters,  No wonder then that for years this has been ‘the place’ for backpackers to head to.  The hotels that have sprung up have therefore always been small, low key cheap beach shacks, the lack of reliable electricity and supply of freshwater  stopping any luxury hotels opeing.  But with a bit of ingenuity, large generators to ensure 24 hr power and freshwater bough over from Lombok daily there are now  some lovely options to stay at for anyone wanting the Gilis but in comfort!   It is worth noting that Lombok is classed as a malarial area and therefore so are the Gillis. 

Food and Drink

Bali is a country where the food is varied and interesting and you will most certainly eat well in most places. In the main centres you will find more variety than in the quieter off-the-beaten track areas. The main international hotels will all do good simple Kids Menus

Although most of the Bali is Muslim alcohol is readily available in most towns.  Beer tends to be the best value whilst wine is quiet expensive.  Bali does have a couple of its own vineyards from which you get more reasonably priced wine.

Things to do

Please find below a range of activities available in Bali.

Suggested Itineraries

We know it is often difficult, with the huge number of hotels out there, to know which one to go for, which combines with which and what sort of costs they are going to be. Here we have put together a few of our favourite options to give you a starting point. Any of these options can be changed, tweeked or added to so please do ask. The prices are per person and include international flights and private transfers. As the rates at all hotels change a great deal from their High Seasons (i.e the most popular times of the year to be there) to their Low Seasons (they often have great discounts at this time) we have based the 'From' costs on a good time of year to be in the country, the dates are included in the text at the bottom. Please do call us for a quote based on your dates.