WHERE TO STAY.
Kiwis like to stay south, because south is where it's at.
FOR FUN: KUTA
Travel time from airport: 10 minutes north.
The backpackers’ fave, chaotic but charismatic, bar-hoppers and surf dudes hit the wide, whitesand beaches in (almost) equal numbers. Bali is always evolving, as are its diverse areas, so even though Kuta was once the top-spot for holidaymakers, you can now enjoy an enriching Balinese break across the island.
FOR A STYLISH BEACH SCENE: SEMINYAK
Travel time from airport: 20-40 minutes north.
North of Kuta, but more grown-up, Seminyak is saturated in restaurants, world-class resorts, all-day beach bars and endless beach. Love shops and spas? There are plenty of both, and when hunger strikes, abscond to Ginger Moon. New Zealand-born Dean Keddell will blow your mind with his fusion of Asian and Western flavours.
FOR ALLURING COASTLINE: CANGGU
Travel time from airport: 50 minutes north.
A villa-filled stretch of land hugging the coastline. Private villas offer a cost-effective Balinese retreat while the area mixes hip beach clubs with an emerging culinary scene. One of our favourite hangouts is La Laguna Gypsy Circus. Littered with vintage caravans, it’s also home to a golden beach, a Bohemian vibe, and a grassy lawn fronting the shoreline. Of course, in Canggu you can’t beat world-class haunts such as Finns Beach Club and The Lawn. Tried, tested and always a good time.
TO JUST SWITCH OFF: SANUR
Travel time from airport: 20 minutes north-east.
With a relaxed feel, Sanur’s hotels and bars are quieter, while families particularly like the protective reef and breakwaters, delivering calm water for children. When you want to introduce the kids to traditional Balinese cuisine, try a warung. Scattered across Bali, these small, family-owned eateries serve dishes passed down from generation to generation.
BALI’S CULTURAL HEART: UBUD
Travel time from airport : 1 hour north. Cool mountains, rainforest and rice paddies, located in the uplands of Bali and in total serenity. Dotted with stunning temples, it’s naturally spiritual with an emphasis on wellness. Don’t worry about ‘squeezing in’ your spa treatment here. At Spa Bali, the doors are open from 10am-10pm, seven days a week.
IN ITS OWN BALI BUBBLE: NUSA DUA
Travel time from airport: 25 minutes south-east. A plethora of groomed, gated resorts, Nusa Dua was built in the 70s for the same purpose it serves today: Upscale accommodation, solitude and all-day beach lounging. A popular must-do here is Sunday Brunch at a five-star hotel. Try the St Regis or The Mulia. Both have great reputations for a lazy yet delicious Sunday start. Booking is essential.
FOR THE BEST WAVES: ULULATE & BINGIN
Travel time from airport: 45 minutes south. A dreamland for surfers, flush with cliff top resorts and villas, as well as must-see Uluwatu Temple. For the party-lovers, Bali’s most infamous Sunday session exists in Uluwatu. Clinging to steep rock, Single Fin enjoys elevated views across endless wave breaks. Enjoy acoustic jams, share plates and Bintangs dished out like ice-cold gifts from the gods.
FOR ESCAPISM: NUSA LEMBONGAN
Travel time from airport: 15 minutes east and a 30-45 minute boat from Benoa Harbour. Take a boat from Benoa Harbour and immerse yourself in the natural serenity of Nusa Lembongan Island. If you’re a fan of fresh, locally-sourced cuisine, The Deck café perches on the boardwalk along Jungut Batu beach. Offering a sleek, sand-tickling dining venue, shake off your jandals and order a smoothie.
FOR ISOLATION: GILI ISLANDS
Travel time from airport: 2-3 hours by boat. Alternatively, fly to Lombok & catch a boat from there. Choose from Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno or Gili Air – each with their own personaility but all refreshingly uncrowded. Perfect for small boutique resorts, or you might like to consider a traditional lumbung. The Gili Islands are also a treat for foodies. For jumbo prawns and spring rolls at super cheap prices, Gili Trawangan Night Market is overflowing with local delicacies.