16 Jun 2009

Top up your tan in a tropical paradise...

A white-sand heaven, the tiny Indonesian island of Bali has proved time and time again that it’s an exciting playground with something to please everyone.

Adventure-seekers will love the hiking and water sports – especially the exciting surf opportunities – while the tranquility of the green, volcanic landscape and deep, spiritual vibe brings a sense of calm to those looking to recharge their batteries.

Kuta is a firm favourite with visitors, particularly surfers who flock to test their skill on the waves. Bordered by the airport’s runway, the beach is not for the fainthearted as planes coming in to land fly very low over the sand! Kuta is also hot for shopping, with local and international boutiques and galleries to be found amidst artsy stores selling local wooden crafts and batik beachwear.

Linger on the sand to watch the sun go down, then head to Kori Restaurant and Bar, where traditional cuisine meets international steakhouse in chic surroundings – the Bali chili burger is a must for spice-lovers! Round off your meal with a shot of local brandy then hit the clubs; nightlife in Bali doesn’t kick off until around midnight, but goes well into the small hours.

A 30-minute drive further down the coast from Kuta is the blissful haven of Uluwatu, where the Alila Villas offer a sanctuary of peace and luxury. The environmentally friendly retreat is perched on a limestone cliff with views over the Indian Ocean. Relax in the spa with traditional Balinese massage, or take a look at the villages and local temples.

While ypu’re there...

Be a beach babe
Nusa Dua beach is a fave of the myriad of travellers who pass through Bali and offers up a pristine stretch of sand where you’ll get minimal hassle from vendors. Also called Meniat or Geger Beach, you can access it from the Yasa Segara village of Geger village beach cafes and rent chairs for about Dhs7 per day.

View from the top
The spectacular Mount Batur offers incredible views from its summit. Choose to go on a sunrise hike with overnight camping, or pick the easy way and drive to the top. Either way, a trip to the still active volcano is a must for fab holiday photo ops.

Go down under...
... the waves, that is, on the Odyssey submarine. Tour the ocean in the battery-powered sub, which takes you down to 150 feet for some truly spectacular sights – and all without a wetsuit in sight! Bookings are recommended, and can be done through

Go flying
The Bali Sling Shot in Tuban, shoots you up 52 metres into the air in just over a second with up to 5G force – terrifying! A single-person ride with a video costs just Dhs109, while a two-person package (with two t-shirts and one video) is Dhs214.