This island’s tropical charms are more affordable than they have been for years.
Many five-star hotels offer rooms for under $200, and top luxury resorts have begun to offer steep discounts to attract recession-wary travelers. Spas price hour-long massages at $10. Restaurants sell fresh seafood dinners for less than some fast-food meals in the United States. Local shops offer activities including scuba diving and horseback riding for a fraction of what they cost in the West.
• Sightseeing: Bali and Lombok offer enough sites to keep even the most ambitious travelers busy for weeks. Suggested itineraries include a hike on Mount Batur, a small, active volcano; a visit to the Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple; and snorkeling or scuba diving in Lombok or off Bali’s east coast. Divers in Bali suggest sites offshore in Tulanben.
• Dining: Mosaic restaurant (www.mozaic-bali.com) in Ubud is considered one of the best restaurants in Indonesia, if not Asia. During the high season reservations generally need to be made two weeks in advance. The restaurant also offers cooking classes.
Bali offers thousands of hotels, from brand-name resorts to comfortable guesthouses. Ask directly for deals, which may not be listed on Web sites.
• Westin Bali: Comfortable doubles and excellent amenities, with rooms from $195. Until April, guests staying three nights receive a fourth night free. www.westin.com/bali
• Oberoi: Its hotels in southern Bali and Lombok have carefully tended grounds, top-notch service and excellent beaches and swimming pools. Until April, rooms start at $250. http://www.oberoihotels.com
• Como Shambhala Estate: This resort near Ubud has beautiful grounds and large rooms, many with private or semi-private swimming pools. Double-occupancy rooms are advertised from $300 but could become cheaper in coming months. http://www.comoshambhala.bz
• Alila hotels: Two of Bali’s best deals can be found at these hotels in Ubud and Manggis, with doubles starting for $125 daily. Management organizes dozens of activities including a five-hour visit to an art school and village ($65), a snorkeling trip with boat transfers ($25) and a full-day island tour by Harley-Davidson ($80). www.alilahotels.com
• Agency: Bali Discovery Tours, run by an American, offers discounted fares at scores of hotels and private villas. www.balidiscovery.comFull article By CRAIG SIMONS