While Bali’s charms may seem thoroughly documented (thanks, Eat, Pray, Love) and regular visitors may grumble that it’s not the untouched paradise they remember, the truth is that this Indonesian jewel has been evolving since celebs such as Noel Coward and Charlie Chaplin vacationed here in the Twenties and Thirties. The upside is that no matter how many times you’ve visited Bali, next time around there will be new places to check out – and check in to.
New restaurants pop up every season, many from already successful Bali restaurateurs – last year I loved Pirate Beach Club and Indonesian eatery, Bambu Restaurant from the team behind popular La Lucciola.
The island’s well-established eateries also introduce new chefs and new menus to complement their high-concept interiors (check out the British colonial-era Shanghai vibe at Mama San and rice-paddy vistas at Sardine). And in addition to captivating visitors with its jungles, beaches and spiritual sanctuaries, the Island of Dreams also inspires entrepreneurs from all over the world to up sticks and try new ventures on its shores. When not opening new boutiques or launching craft cooperatives, designers – including those behind Australian brands Ebony Eve, Shakuhachi and Nastasha – spend most, if not all, of their time in Bali previewing new collections or releasing samples through local shops. This means you’ll often snag one-off pieces for an absolute steal. And once you’ve had your fill of Bali’s social scene, ancient centres of tranquillity such as Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and Uluwutu temple, still hold new secrets to be discovered.