Bali is one of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers, a perpetual favourite that seems to have rebuilt itself after never-ending bumps in the road such as terror attacks and volcanic ash clouds, not to mention the poor behaviour of certain Australians on holiday there. Regardless of the media scrutiny, it endures and the never-ending development, this little Indonesian island remains incredibly popular.

Of the 1.2 million or so Australians that travel to Indonesia each year, the huge majority spent their time in Bali and Bali alone. In fact, it’s likely they spent their time in a tiny tourist corner of an incredibly diverse island eating westernised foods and chatting to other Australians. So… if this is not your idea of a holiday, or you are curious to explore further afield after a week of Bali – take a look at what else is out there. You may well be amazed at how different Bali really is to the rest of Indonesia.

Trade beach clubs, water parks, shopping and crowds for secluded bays, breathtaking landscapes, some of best snorkelling the world has to offer and exotic new cultures and experiences. Islands without cars, people living simply, Robinson Crusoe moments…. They are all within easy reach, just beyond Bali.

The Archipelago is made up of over 17,000 islands making Indonesia the world’s largest Island nation. What better way to explore these lesser known treasures than by boat? On board you have all the creature comforts you will need to cruise in style, and you have the flexibility to experience far-away lands and culture without sacrificing on luxury and safety.

Founder of Bali Family Villas and Bali Soul Retreats, Emily O’Neill is keen to encourage more Australians to take the plunge and try the liveaboard experience.

We know that our regular guests adore Bali, and we do too, but expanding your love of Island life beyond her shores is truly magical. We waited until our youngest was a competent swimmer before enjoying our first charter experience where we actually slept on board. Before that we enjoyed several day trips and snorkelling adventures, so we knew we loved the boating life. We enjoyed a journey around Lombok and the Gili Islands and onwards south to the secret Gilis. This year we are off to Komodo region, near to Flores and home to the Komodo National park.

With typical boat journeys being 5-7 days Bali Family Villas has designed some taster experiences starting from two nights, perfect to test the waters. Private charter for groups is popular or book a cabin on a shared itinerary for smaller travel parties. Many of the vessels are Luxury Phinisi Schooners with A/C cabins, ensuite bathrooms, and delicious catering others are luxury catamarans, yachts or cruisers. In the past, the liveaboard concept has been dominated by divers, but the options for non-divers are excellent too. Guests can enjoy plenty of island hopping, land experiences and free time whilst waking up to their guaranteed ocean view.

When asked what makes it worthwhile Emily says “it’s the simple change in pace getting away from it all as a family brings. The tempo of Island Time combined with the experience of waking up with the ocean, we just love it”

With Nusa Lembongan and Lombok already established destinations in easy sailing distance to Bali, the new frontier is emerging with plenty of surf experiences to Mentawai islands, Oranutang encounters in Sabah, eco-luxe in Sumba and dive adventures to the Raja Ampat region, comprising hundreds of jungle-covered islands, with pristine beaches and coral reefs rich with marine life. The list goes on!  If boats aren’t your thing, then catch the sunrise at Borobudur temple, or take an off-road adventure in Badung. With 300 ethnic groups and 700 languages, you will soon find yourself a long way from Kuta (and thank goodness for that)!

For those with limited time or just new to exploring lesser-known regions, the North, West, and Eastern regions of Bali also have so much to offer. Coined as the “Real Bali” the glimpses into a genuine paradise can be found. With the unique blend of culture, nature, and spirituality that made the South so popular in the 50’s all accessible by road within a day.

So the next time you associate Indonesia with Bintang singlets, cheap hotel deals and throngs of less desirable crowds, please think again. You couldn’t be further from the truth!

Emily O’Neill is the founder and owner of Bali Family Villas.  An online booking service for families that makes holidays in Bali a cinch.

Visit or follow them at @balifamilyvillas


Emily O’Neill is the founder and owner of Bali Family Villas. An online booking service for families that makes holidays in Bali a cinch. Visit or follow them at @balifamilyvillas

1 Comment

  1. An Ideal Combination of Diving, Culture and Beaches As Bali does not just offer stunning marine life, but in addition culture, beautiful nature and beaches, it is an ideal holiday destination for anyone who desires to do not only diving. Yoga retreats and centres for wellbeing are common around this island. Eka Karya Botanical Garden in Bedugul was founded in 1959
    and may be the youngest yet largest of the four Indonesian botanical gardens.

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