Finally, direct flights from London to Bali have arrived, so there really is no excuse to not go see Indonesia in 2019.
The place and people of Bali are two things: genuine and generous. Maybe that’s why I long to return to the small island.
From the flower-petal offerings that line the streets to the welcoming gestures to tourists entering Hindu temples, kindness is at the heart of everyday life there.
Positioned on the Indian Ocean, it’s surrounded by coral reefs and glorious turquoise waters that are home to an abundance of marine life.
Thankfully, the country is not a fun-in-the-sun kind of retreat (unless you head to the overrun tourist area of Kuta). No, it has so much more to offer. From dramatic mountains to hillside temples and unique rice fields, the country’s landscape is wondrous. But as any well-versed traveller knows, it’s truly the people that make the place and the Balinese are certainly a calm force. Laidback and friendly, they’re utterly delightful.
Now, Indonesian airline Garuda has announced the launch of the first direct flight from London Heathrow to Bali, taking around 15 hours to get there. Starting from 22 January, the flight leaves from the capital city on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
If you needed any more reasons to immediately book a flight to Bali, then take a look below at some of this beautiful country’s best experiences (all tried and tested by myself).
Personally, I could have stayed put in Ubud for my entire trip to Bali. Not only are the people there unfalteringly friendly but there’s an abundance of cultural things to see and do. From visiting the Hindu temples to meeting the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary and seeing the country’s ancient holy sites, it’s truly Bali’s cultural hotspot.
Plus, if you, like me, are a fan of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, then be sure to make time to go visit Ketut Liyer’s home and have your fortune told.
Where to stay: Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Where to eat: Lamak
Tip: Pay for a tour guide and go see the rice fields (incredible!), historic temples and meet local families, too. Additionally, ask to go visit a local school – you won’t regret it.
If you fancy lazing on a beach for a few days then head to the Gili Islands. If you’re looking for some serious downtime then opt for Gili Air, otherwise make your way to Gili Trawangan (known as Gili T) to do some dancing, a little bit of drinking and eating some delicious food, too.
While you’re there, be sure to rent a bike and cycle around the island – and find yourself a nice spot to settle to watch a breathtakingly beautiful sunset. And, of course, go and see the famous Gili T swing for yourself.
Where to stay: Villa Almarik Resort & Spa
Where to eat: Ko-Ko-Mo
Tip: If you have time, go and stay on all three islands as they’re undeniably beautiful.
If you’re keen to add a touch of luxury to your Bali experience then head to Seminyak. Not only does it offer a multitude of spas, luxury resorts and fine dining, but it’s positioned in the south so stunning sunsets are guaranteed.
With beautiful views, meditative walks and stretches of white sand for miles, it might just be the thing that soothes your soul.
Where to stay: Double Six Luxury Hotel
Where to eat: Metis
Tip: Go on, give scuba diving and surfing a go.
Images: Getty / Unsplash