EliteVoyage private consultant Tomas Safarik explores different holiday options in Indonesia, including his own trip to Bali.
Introduction to Indonesia
The best time to visit Indonesia is from May to September. It can be a perfect destination for families and couples, mixing beach leisure with culture and adventure.
Indonesia has over 17,000 islands spread across over 5000 kilometres of Pacific Ocean. Most people only know one of them by name – Bali.
Bali is almost always on the itinerary, because it’s a two-leg flight from Europe via Dubai or Qatar. Yet Bali isn’t necessarily the paradise it sounds, as EliteVoyage Tomas Safarik discovered.
Here, Tomas reports on his Bali experience before outlining various alternative or add-on island destinations to think about.
Experiencing West Bali
West Bali is beautiful, says Tom. I spent three days on this quieter side of the island, discovering incredible jungle, mountains, beaches and marine life.
West Bali was the very image of Bali I had in my mind. Stunning nature and a really exotic tranquillity.
Big hotel brands haven’t made it to this side of the island. I enjoyed the small Menjangan Resort for its remote setting and atmosphere.
Then I stayed at Lost Lindenberg, a small luxury resort surrounded by jungle and temples, a great base for surfing and exploring the coast. Lost Lindenberg is a plant-based resort, although they don’t advertise themselves this way. The food was so delicious I didn’t even realise it was all plant-based.
A Reality Check in South Bali
Unfortunately, mass tourism has ruined a lot of the rest of Bali. Big resorts crowd together along the famous beaches of the south. Don’t even consider resorts like W Bali or The Oberoi Beach Resort Bali, because the Seminyak area is not a nice place to holiday.
I stayed in Seminyak for a travel show and expected a lot of people. I didn’t expect the extreme level of mass tourism in Seminyak.
In South Bali I’d recommend Bulgari Resort, as it has a more remote and exclusive location, high on the cliffs in Uluwatu.
I also inspected Amankila, which feels quite old but has a nice atmosphere and a sense of calmness. It can definitely be a consideration.
Exploring Ubud in Bali
Ubud is Bali’s cultural heart and I found a lot more authenticity here, along with many tourists.
I explored some amazing temples and spiritual places, as well as the famous rice fields. Cultural events take priority in Ubud. During my holiday they cut the electricity to the entire town, because people were parading through the streets with a giant statue, and it was too high for the electricity wires.
First I stayed at the Viceroy hotel, which is a nice enough hotel in Ubud itself, although nothing too special. Both Capella Ubud and COMO Shambhala Estate are further outside the city, offering more of a jungle getaway vibe, away from the crowds.
Capella Ubud’s tented suites are delightful and the eye-catching design makes this my favoured recommendation for a cultural stay in Bali.
Island Holiday Options in Indonesia
In Bali I attended the Further East travel show, which aims to redefine luxury travel in Asia Pacific. I met with five-star properties and discovered other island holiday options for our clients.
It’s rare to find such an untouched island destination with both outstanding design-led accommodation and high levels of sustainability.
Sumba is larger and quieter than Bali, an adventurous island for the entire family with jungle, beaches and local culture.
Stay in one of the magnificent villas of NIHI Sumba, a beautiful family resort on the beach. Or discover brand new Cap Karoso, a Sumbanese hotel for curious explorers who believe luxury is about authenticity, art, culture and service.
Lombok looks and feels very much like its neighbour Bali, just without the mass tourism.
Huge development is underway and I expect Lombok will be very different in just a few years. Right now it’s a untouched paradise, with some great hotel options too.
Try The Oberoi Beach Resort, Lombok or a private villa rental in the south of the island.
West Nusa is the island east of Lombok and it’s even less developed. That’s unlikely to change. Just 12 tents comprise the isolated jungle beach oasis of Amanwana.
The only property in pristine nature reserve, Amanwana offers the exclusivity and quality of a private island holiday. A great option to combine with other busier islands.
These volcanic islands are famously home to the world’s biggest lizards, the Komodo dragons. It’s a protected archipelago, similar in look and feel to the Galapagos Islands, but with very different nature.
Tourism is still developing in Komodo Islands National Park. A private yacht charter is the best way to explore and is also more comfortable than the hotel options on land.
Six islands, three lagoons and 13 beaches, Bawah Reserve is a very secluded resort 300 kilometres northeast of Singapore, in Indonesia’s remote Anambas Archipelago.
This private island emits unbeatable Indonesian chic. It’s one of Asia’s most zen resorts, almost like the promise of what Thailand was, 30 years ago, but on a five-star level.
Your Summer Holiday in Indonesia?
From Europe you can fly to Indonesia with Emirates or Qatar Airways. Land in Bali and from there it’s easy to fly to nearby islands. Or use the option of a private yacht charter.
Indonesia offers breathtaking beaches, authentic culture and lots of options for both families and couples.
Do you want a summer beach holiday with a difference?