When it’s time to think about a warm winter getaway, time to think Bali. The popular tour company, World Spree, is offering an 11-day Exotic Bali package for only $1,899 from New York or San Francisco ($200 more from Los Angeles) that includes round-trip air on China Airlines, taxes, fuel surcharges, fabulous hotels, daily breakfast, five other meals, all ground transportation, sightseeing tours and a professional English-speaking guide. And $1,899 is probably less than you’d spend to go to the same old Caribbean or Hawaii.
Bali is a chance to experience a totally different culture, while also enjoying a sun-splashed beach vacation. The trip starts with five nights in Bali’s cultural capital, the picturesque hill town of Ubud, full of color and chaos, artists’ studios, handicrafts shops and garden restaurants. Here, you’ll stay in the stylish boutique resort Alaya Ubud, which is surrounded by emerald green rice paddies but within walking distance of downtown. Its elegant Balinese-style rooms are complemented by a spa, swimming pool and restaurant.
Balinese Hinduism, the predominant religion, shapes much of the island’s life and culture. There are thousands of temples and shrines and colorful religious ceremonies can be seen regularly. You’ll visit a temple fed by local springs and have the chance to take part in a traditional purification ceremony, and visit a Monkey Forest that’s home to three holy monkey temples. Just remember, they’re wild monkeys and not afraid of humans, so keep an eye out as they can get frisky! Other excursions include a famous coffee plantation, the Mother Temple , lunch on the edge of a volcano caldera with a breathtaking view of Lake Batur, and a special day in a village where you will be warmly welcomed by the locals.
Then comes the totally relaxing part of the vacation: four nights at the luxurious Melia Bali Resort in Nusa Dua, famous for its glorious white sandy beaches lapped by warm shallow waters and surrounded by lush green foliage. There are tons of possibilities here (a safari, ocean rafting, a catamaran cruise, shopping in Kuta, a traditional fire dance) or just soaking up the sun and enjoying the serenity of this exotic beachfront resort that overlooks a reef-fringed lagoon , exhuberant tropical gardens and a swimming pool that winds through the grounds.
Two post-trip options are offered on the way home: a 4-day Stopover in cosmopolitan Singapore, with its exciting cuisine and great shopping ($599 per person) or a 3-day Stopover in Taiwan, which has wonderful Chinese food and a world-class museum ($220 per person). All prices quoted are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability. There is no additional charge for credit cards.