Your itinerary for the perfect weekend in Bali
Some of the best things to see and do on the Island of the Gods.
- November 2019
It’s no secret that Bali has plenty to offer travellers: from atmospheric temples to alluring beaches, lively clubs to laid-back cafes. But with so many things to do and places to see, just how do you decide what to carve out time for? Draw some inspiration from our two-day itinerary, which outlines how to spend the ideal weekend in paradise.
First up, check into the five-star Novotel Bali Benoa, which is a quick 20-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport (traffic permitting, of course). With its affordable rates, you can enjoy all the trappings of a luxury hotel without breaking the bank. Opt for one of the elegant Balinese-style guestrooms, which feature mod cons like satellite TVs and coffee machines. Alternatively, plump for one of the villas, which are surrounded by tropical greenery and come complete with private pools and Jacuzzis.
With three restaurants and bars, a spa, a fitness centre and a tennis court on site, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave the hotel grounds. But there’s plenty to do in and around the area as well: for one, the hotel is located on the Tanjung Benoa peninsula, which is renowned for its water sports activities. Try your hand at water skiing or scuba diving, or take to the skies on a parasailing adventure.
If you prefer the idea of lazing by the water, head to Finns Beach Club — a striking bamboo structure that occupies over 150m of prime beachfront in the hip district of Canggu. Soak up the sun on a daybed, and admire the surfers carving up the waves. Or take a dip in one of the four pools, two of which feature swim-up bars. With six restaurants on offer, there’s plenty of good food to be had as well — from prawn tempura and spicy tuna makis at Sushi Bar to wood-fired pizzas and steak sandwiches at Bondi Bakehouse.
When the sun goes down, Finns’ dancefloor heats up, with revellers taking advantage of happy hour (7pm to 9pm) and grooving to tunes courtesy of live DJs and vocalists. For an endorphin rush of a different kind, the club also conducts night surf sessions, with enormous flood lights illuminating the beach.
Get up bright and early for a tropical hike with family-owned tour operator Mason Adventures. During the scenic trek through the Balinese highlands, expert guides will regale you with tales about Balinese history and culture. While there, be sure to check out Pura Gunung Raung, a majestic temple adorned with intricate rock sculptures.
The tour’s last stop is the Mason Gourmet Chocolate Factory, where you can stock up on bean-to-bar confections crafted by skilled artisans. The assorted pralines, truffles and bars on offer are made of organic cacao beans ethically sourced from throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
After the trek, head south to Ubud, widely considered to be Bali’s spiritual capital. It’s worth just ambling along the streets and taking in the sights and sounds: think colourful art markets and quaint roadside stalls. The Ubud Monkey Forest, which is home to over 600 long-tailed macaques, is a highlight — however, the critters can be crafty, so be sure to keep a close eye on your belongings!
For dinner, treat yourself to a meal at Padi Fine Dining, an upscale restaurant helmed by Indonesian celeb chef Mandif Warokka. It specialises in pescatarian and vegetarian cuisine, with inventive dishes like prawn cucumber roulade with smoked yoghurt; crusted tuna loin with olive powder and lemon vinaigrette; and beetroot tartare with jicama and homemade cream. However, there are carnivorous options to be had as well; for instance, the chef’s degustation menu features plates like lamb loin with sun-dried tomato chutney.
The restaurant’s beverage list is of note, too, with creative cocktails aplenty. Try the Padi Moon River, a heady mix of tequila, dill, egg white, lime juice, icing sugar and bianco vermouth. Or go for the Chocolate Boulevardier, a rich bourbon-based drink containing milk chocolate — a suitably sweet ending to the perfect weekend in Bali.