Bali has always been one of the region’s favourite destinations, with its iconic beaches, culture, and architecture. While many visitors know of Ubud and Seminyak for their beaches and party life, its remote north and central mountain region are slowly enticing visitors away from the usual tourist hubs in the south.
Climbing Gunung Agung (3,142m)
Bali’s highest and most sacred summit is home to both the Pura Pasar Agung and Pura Besakih temples. There are 2 main routes: the easier is 6 hours from Pasar Agung, and the harder is 7-8 hours from Besakih. Starting before midnight, treks ascend through pine forests and lava fields and summit through a sea of pre-dawn clouds, with views of neighbouring peaks as well as Lombok island. It’s best climbed in the dry season (April October) although climbable year-round; it’s advisable to climb with a guide.
Singaraja, the main town in the north, was once a colonial capital and
home to the magnificent Royal Palace of Singaraja. Nearby is Lovina beach which is famous for its dolphins that appear every sunrise. Another picturesque site is the 17th century Ulun Danu Bratan temple in Bedugul, which seems to float on Lake Bratan. The big draw here is the incredible diving and snorkelling at Pulau Menjangan, a marine reserve with hectares of beautiful coral gardens. Menjangan is also called Deer Island, as it is the habitat of the Barking Deer (Muntjac) which can regularly be spotted bathing on the beaches.
Tigerair flies two times daily to Bali, with a flight time of 2 hours 45 minutes. All-in one-way fares start from S$88. For booking, visit www.tigerair.com.
Krabi is situated among the region’s famous angular limestone karsts that jut out from the flat rice paddies. It is also popular for its white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, coral reefs, caves and waterfalls. The nearby coastal town of Ao Nang is a transport hub for the Andaman Islands, where getting around requires a ride on colourful longtail boats.
Famous worldwide for its rock climbing, the peninsula of Railay is isolated by soaring limestone cliffs, making it only accessible via a longtail boat ride from either Krabi town or Ao Nang. The distinctive limestone karst formations offer over 700 climbing routes, with famous walls including the Pinnacle (beginners), Escher World Wall (beginner-advanced, 5-7a), or the 4-pitch Candlestick Wall (intermediate-advanced, 6b-8). Bouldering can also be done here, mostly at the base of the cliffs. In addition to sandy beaches on both its east and west coasts, the Phra Nang Cave (nicknamed Diamond Cave) is also popular with visitors for its glittery formations.
Away from the younger crowds, the island of Koh Lanta is known for its quiet beaches and dive sites. While there are no dive sites on the island, it’s the closest to the famous Hin Daeng and Hin Muang dive sites which are home to hard corals and reef fish; in addition, they’re also one of the best places in the world to spot whale sharks. Koh Lanta is also popular for sea kayaking trips among its rich mangroves.
Tigerair flies 7 times weekly to Krabi, with a flight time of 1 hour 45 minutes. All-in one-way fares start from S$56. For booking, visit