the POSH guide
The best of Southeast Asia

Tanah Lot Kuta Airport Ulu Watu Sanur Ubud Goa Gajah Lovina Goa Lawah Besakih Temple Bali Agga Village Candi Dasa

Posh Bali

Sanur Beach
Traditionally styled boats on Sanur beach, Bali.

Bali - The word is almost guaranteed to evoke a vivid image in people's minds, even among those that have never been there. The place has achieved an almost mythical status. Can any vacation destination possibly live up to such a reputation? Well, maybe.

For the geographically challenged, Bali is a small island less than 100 miles long and 50 miles wide, and is one of more than 10,000 islands that make up Indonesia. The country has been through some rough years, with the economic downturn of 1997 and the political upheaval that followed, which resulted in a massive decline in tourist arrivals to Indonesia as a whole. Thanks mostly to the geographic ignorance of so many travelers who didn't know Bali is in Indonesia; the island's tourism business hadn't suffered too much. However, in the wake of the bombings in 2002 and again in 2005, arrivals went down seriously, but now they're almost back to normal, and expansion is well under way, even in light of current economic circumstances.

What puts Bali near the top of our list of POSH destinations is its wealth of nice accommodations, cultural attractions and excellent restaurants. Hotels, or more precisely, villas, are particularly abundant on Bali. I can think of nowhere else in Southeast Asia where you have such a wide selection of these large rooms, many of them at quite reasonable prices. Bali's rich and active culture is another big added attraction. While most of Southeast Asia's beach resorts feature "cultural" shows that are often little more than caricatures of the real thing, you can visit traditional Balinese villages and see real classical dancing all around Bali.

Bali Map Map of Bali

For any first time visitor to Bali, the first big question is where to stay. The island features a wide array of very different beaches and there are some cultural destinations up on the slopes of the island's volcanoes that should also be considered. The most popular (read: most crowded) area is the west-facing coast of south Bali stretching north from the airport. Starting with Tuban, where the airport is located, you have the more or less unbroken string of Kuta, Legian and the significantly quieter Seminyak. South of the airport is the fishing village of Jimbaran Bay, now home to many posh resorts. Those more interested in a relaxing holiday rather than a party scene head over to Sanur on the east coast or to the even more remote Candi Dasa and Lovina, while Ubud is the island's cultural capital. If your stay on Bali will stretch to a week or more, then you'll most likely want to split your time between one of the beach resorts and Ubud, which is up in the mountains.

Note: Visitors should be aware of the Balinese New Year (Nyepi), which occurs sometime between mid-March and late April. Nyepi is a day of silence, when restaurants are closed, taxis are off the streets, and people are supposed to remain indoors. Note especially that the airport is closed on Nyepi. There are no scheduled arrivals or departures on the day.


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