Bali's got beaches for all occasions, from the sought-after surfing spot of Kuta to the lesser-known treasure of Nyang Nyang hidden on the other side of dirt tracks. Bustling nightlife lights up the shorelines after dark, so you can always find a party on the sand.
The Seminyak neighbourhood's long been liked for its cool factor – swish hotels and trendy bars are part of the charm – so it's no wonder its vast sandy beach gets the thumbs-up, too. Eating and drinking spots and surf schools line the shore, while laidback beach bars serve up coconuts and chilled Bintang beers for sipping on a rented sunlounger.
Rugged volcanic-rock headlands hide the dreamily named Blue Lagoon Beach, giving it that paradise-cove feel. It's on Bali's east coast, just over the hill from the fast-boat jetty for the Gili Islands. Calm waters lap against the white sands here, while palm trees along the edge provide some shade. Coral beds underwater are a treat for snorkellers.
Haggle your way to a bargain buy at the jam-packed Ubud Market, where local handicrafts and kitschy souvenirs can be found alongside clothes, homewares and beauty products. Arrive early to sniff about the fresh-produce section – the rich array of local fruit and veg is a sight to behold.
Hit the independent boutiques of Seminyak for made-in-Bali fashion and homewares by up-and-coming local designers. You'll find everything from cheeky bikinis to glossy coffee-table books and intricately woven rattan platters.
Bali's known for its goldsmiths and silversmiths –for many, it's a family occupation going back generations. Head to the village of Celuk, within half an hour's drive south of Ubud, to visit their workshops and pick up a special souvenir. You could even sign up for a private silver-making class and leave with your very own piece of wearable art.
From live jazz in a Japanese restaurant to a hidden, speakeasy-style cocktail bar, Seminyak's the place for a chic, low-key night in Bali. For something completely different, traditionalists should check out a Balinese dance show in Ubud – the costumes are as cool as they come.
The best DJs from around the world have all made the pilgrimage to Bali's top beach clubs, where the beats keep thumping 'til the wee hours of the morning. Some of the biggest boys are in Seminyak, while Kuta's got a club with aquarium walls – complete with swimming sharks.
No toast and tea here – this palm sugar-sweetened black-rice pudding, served with grated coconut and coconut milk, is an Indonesian breakfast staple. For a variation on the theme, try 'bubur kacang hijau', which is made with green mung beans and cooked with fragrant pandan leaves.
Simply grilled seafood served on a banana leaf seems to take on a deeper flavour when eaten with a sea view on the side. In the waterfront restaurants on Jimbaran Beach, opt for fresh local spiny lobster to savour while the sun sets.
This Indonesian classic packs serious flavour into one dish of spice-marinated chicken pieces served on a mound of white rice. Potent turmeric gives the slow-roasted meat its golden glow, while green beans and salted peanuts on the side add a pleasant crunch.
Roast suckling pig – traditionally a ceremonial dish – is a favourite in Bali. Seasoned with a robust mix of ginger, garlic, turmeric and shallots, the beast's spit-roasted for hours 'til the meat's succulently soft.
Firm tofu's tossed with steamed-yet-crunchy veggies and sliced boiled eggs, then dressed in a peanut sauce in this vegetarian-friendly dish. The best versions pound the sauce in a pestle and mortar 'til silky smooth.
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