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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.

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Bali

Mark and David's verdict:

As well as tropical beaches and top hotels, your memories will be shaped as much by the Balinese countryside. You'll see emerald rice paddies one minute, immense volcanoes the next. Bali is a spiritual place where daily life embraces ceremony and ritual, temples and stone gods. And Balinese craftsmen are amazing, so take an extra suitcase.

Recommended tour operator: Western & Oriental

 Grand Mirage ResortComo ShambalaOberoi Lombok (1)

Western & Oriental says

Bali offers a unique combination of romantic beaches, exotic culture, friendly people and great food. Whether you are looking to relax at a five-star spa, explore the hills and rice terraces or simply laze in the sun, we will tailor make your perfect holiday of a lifetime on this captivating Indonesian island.

  • Culture and cuisine
  • Luxury spas
  • Superb beaches

Our top choice for the perfect retreat in a jaw-dropping location is the Alila Ubud. It is close enough to explore Ubud, but far enough away to feel as if you are delightfully secluded in your own little slice of paradise.

There is more to Bali than its beaches and warm waters. Spa junkies should head for the Uma Ubud or COMO Shambhala. Both offer sublime treatments, ideal for a bit of pampered escapism. Combine a stay in Ubud with another spa sensation in the north of Bali – the Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali, where spa treatments are included in your stay. Families will love the all-inclusive Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Spa.

If a boutique hotel is more your style, we recommend The Amala in Seminyak or The Bale in Nusa Dua. Die-hard romantics will love the Banyan Tree Ungasan.

The beaches in Bali are always a big draw – the luxurious Conrad Bali is located on a sublime beach in Nusa Dua, close to Jimbaran Bay. Across on the neighbouring island of Lombok, the Oberoi Lombok is perhaps the most idyllic of Bali’s top-end beach retreats and offers access to the Gili Islands.

Find out more about Western & Oriental’s Bali holidays and special offers, and book early to avoid disappointment.

Find the best time to visit Bali.

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