This island is surprisingly small, given the richness of its natural and cultural attractions. Bali lies just east of Java, where the capital, Jakarta, is located. It takes about 18 hours to fly from Los Angeles to Bali's international airport at Denpasar. Garuda Indonesia airlines offers the most direct service, with a stop in Hawaii. Flights are also available via Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore on other international airlines. Important: Though Indonesia does not require a visa, you must have a return ticket when you enter the country, and your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the day of arrival.
Backroads 801 Cedar St., Berkeley, CA; 800/462-2848 or 510/527-1555. Backroads is offering its 10-day Bali biking trip three times this spring, with departures on March 10, March 24, and April 15. The cost is $2,298 a person, based on double occupancy, and includes hotels, most meals, sightseeing, guides, and airport transfers. Bike rental is an additional $160.
What to Pack
For biking on Bali, padded shorts and biking gloves are essential. It's also a good idea to take cycling shoes or stiff-soled sneakers, T-shirts made of Cool Max (a synthetic fabric that pulls moisture away from your body), several swimsuits, and a lightweight rain jacket (especially if you go between October and March, Bali's wettest months). Backroads supplies helmets, but take a hat to protect yourself from the sun when you're not biking. Insect repellent and plenty of sunblock are also musts.
Amandari Ubud; 62-361/771-267, fax 62-361/771-266; suites from $430.
Amankila Manggis; 62-361/771-267, fax 62-361/771-266; suites from $430.
Amanusa Nusa Dua; 62-361/771-267, fax 62-361/771-266; suites from $430.
The Chedi, Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Ubud; 62-361/975-963, fax 62-361/975-968; doubles from $180.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, Jimbaran, Denpasar; 800/332-3442 or 62-361/701-010, fax 62-361/701-020; villas from $475.
Ibah, Campuhan, Ubud; 62-361/974-466, fax 62-361/974-467; doubles $195-$250.
BEST VALUE Mimpi Tulamben Resort at Bukit Permai,Karangasem, Amlapura; 62-361/701-070, fax 62-361/ 701-074; doubles $75-$125.
The Oberoi Legian Beach, Jalan Kayu Aya, Denpasar; 800/562-3764 or 62-361/730-361; fax 62-361/730-791; from $255 for a Lanai cottage to $800 for the largest villa.
Ritz-Carlton, Bali, Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, Denpasar; 800/241-3333 or 62-361/771-631, fax 62-361/701-555; villas from $285.
Serai Hotel, Buitan, Manggis, Karangasem; 62-363/41011, fax 62-363/41015; doubles $125-$140; suites $220.
Passport's Regional Guide to Indonesia: Bali (Passport Books) Color photos, practical information, and insight into Bali's culture, religion, and crafts.
Shopping in Exotic Indonesia by Ronald and Caryl Krannich (Impact Publications) Where to find Balinese crafts, from puppets to furniture.
A House in Bali by Colin McPhee (Oxford University Press) The composer's journal of his years spent studying the island's native music.
On the Web
Bali Online (www.indo.com) Often breathless descriptions of Bali's natural beauty and intriguing culture. Several hotels have pages on this site, and some offer a discount for on-line booking.
Bali & B@LI (http://bali.simplenet.com) Essays on things Balinese, but turn down your computer's volume. The background music displays a cross-cultural logic; the page on religion in Bali plays Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven."