It’s a great idea to maximise your time spent in Indonesia by taking an overnight flight from Heathrow to Denpasar, Bali.
Having settled into the magnificent Oberoi Bali, overlooking the broad white sands of Seminyak, you’ll realise that it is more akin to a secluded village than a resort. Your room is set among tropical gardens and the ocean-view pools, exceptional spa treatments and range of restaurants make this is the perfect base for a few days of surfing or relaxing on the beach. As the sun sets there’s Seminyak’s vibrant nightlife waiting.
South of Seminyak on the hilly Bukit peninsula, you can visit the picturesque Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple, perched precariously on a cliff-edge 70 metres above the rock-strewn surf. Dedicated to the spirits of the sea, it’s best to time your temple visit for dusk as the sun sinks into the Indian Ocean. The nearby Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park also comes recommended for its thrilling performances of traditional Balinese dance.
Head into the hills to the cultural hub of Ubud, an atmospheric town that has earned its reputation as the epicentre of Balinese arts. The Uma Ubud nestles into the slopes overlooking the Tjampuhan Valley. The hotel’s rooms and villas are secluded among palms, each with their own private terrace or garden. You can relax by the pool, with a massage, or enjoy a calming yoga, reflexology or meditation session.
With your camera fully charged you’ll head out in search of Bali’s most photogenic temples and landscapes. It’s best to beat the crowds to the moated Taman Ayun temple before you visit the lakeside resort of Bedugul in the island's mountainous centre. You might think there’s no beating the geometric rice terraces around Jatiluwih village, but your scenic circuit ends most dramatically at the incredible offshore temple of Pura Tanah Lot.
If arts and crafts inspire you, welcome to paradise. Ubud's streets are studded with museums and art galleries, so you can hop from showcase to workshop as you discover the region’s unique styles of painting, textile-weaving and carving. There's plenty of time for activities, too. Take a stroll through the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, bustling with Balinese macaque, and then on to Ubud Palace for a traditional dance performance or cookery course.
Bali's little sister, Lombok, rises from azure waters a short ferry ride to the east offering thrilling views of both islands. You’ll be staying at the splendid Oberoi Lombok, whose pavilions and villas look back across the Bali Sea towards the island’s highest peak, the Gunung Agung volcano. You can step out of your elegant room directly onto the white-sand beach and within moments be snorkelling among dazzling reef fish.
Blue sea, lush green hills or multi-hued traditional villages? The choice is yours when it comes to Lombok's attractions, but do make time to explore this beautiful island. Head east to the forested slopes and volcanic cone of towering Gunung Rinjani. Or you can gain a fascinating insight into Sasak culture, meeting the villagers of Rembitan whose houses and rice barns are built from bamboo, mud and buffalo dung.
The boat journey back to Bali is a final scenic treat before you board your late-afternoon flight home, with a headful of memories and a suitcase full of souvenirs. You may touch down in London but part of your heart will now always reside in beautiful Bali and Lombok.