In the Ocean on the Other Side of the World

Illustrations by James Taylor.


Diane, 32, teacher, and
Adam, 33, artist, Lower East Side

Date: July 2007
Budget: $7,500
Duration: Two weeks

Adam Said: “The best trip I took with Diane was to Costa Rica—we stayed in these little houses, rented an ATV, went surfing. I like camping and hiking, but nothing so intense that I need gear. I want to go somewhere beachy, somewhere I can surf and snorkel, somewhere with a very different and authentic culture; I don’t want to just lie out on a pool deck. I grew up lifeguarding. I’ve been around the pool deck enough.”

Diane Said: “It doesn’t matter how far we go, as long as we don’t stay at a touristy resort. I prefer locally run places, not huge compounds where everything is included and you never interact with local people. I definitely like rustic and want a beach. It should be relaxing, but also offer activities like hiking, snorkeling, surfing—and the shark rating has to be low. I loved the iguanas and monkeys when I went to Costa Rica, and visiting the ruins on a trip to Greece. A destination with character is more important to me than one that’s [luxurious].”

Runner-Up Destinations: Fiji and Tahiti


A terraced rice field north of Ubud. Photo: By Mike McQueen/CORBIS

Getting There: Bali is halfway around the world from New York. On Japan Airlines, the trip takes 24 hours. Fly direct from JFK to Tokyo—expect a three-hour layover at Narita airport—then head on to Indonesia.

Where to Stay: The Villa Balquisse, an intimate eight-room hotel, is located in a stunning mangrove garden overlooking a stone pool. Guest rooms are decorated in Balinese style, with teak and coconut-wood furniture, colorful Javanese tapestries, and silk pillowcases and bedcovers. Honeymooners are greeted with champagne and treated to a flower-petal bath at the hotel spa (from $150; Explore the Beach: Every beach in Bali has its own character. Surf among Australian backpackers at popular Kuta Beach; unwind on the serene shores of Legian and Seminyak, oases adjacent to Kuta—but take care in the water because strong riptides can make swimming dangerous; for excellent snorkeling, take a boat from Padang Bai to Batu Tiga, one of the island’s best places to observe aquatic life.

Ride the Waves: Bali is a year-round surf destination, and six-to-ten-foot waves are common in the dry season (March–July). If you’re not lugging your own board, rent one at Dreamland Surf Shop in Kuta Square (from $300), then catch huge swells off Kuta Beach or further south at the world-renowned breaks of Uluwatu and Padang Padang.

Hike a Volcano: Watch the sunrise from the peak of Gunung Batur, a 5,633-foot active volcano twenty miles north of Ubud. The hike takes a few hours, with departure at 3:30 a.m. The night before the trek, stay at the Lakeview Hotel, whose staff leads the expedition (from $35;

Explore Ubud: Ubud is the center of Bali’s vibrant arts scene, with dozens of galleries flanking Monkey Forest Road (named after the monkeys that are as ubiquitous here as squirrels in suburbia) and Jalan Hanoman, and four major museums (Museum Rudana, Agung Rai Museum of Art, Puri Lukisan, and Neka Art Museum). Don’t miss Neka—a showcase for indigenous and foreign artists, with works dating back to the seventeenth century. At night, take in a dance performance at one of the Hindu epics at the Royal Palace. And be sure to visit Tirta Empul, a temple that is among the holiest of Bali’s 20,000 houses of worship, as well as Goa Gajah, known as Elephant Cave, with its statues of Ganesh.

Where to Eat: Sample Balinese cuisine at food stalls like Ary’s, which is located next to the Ubud Palace and makes a delectable nasi goreng (fried rice) and grilled snapper, or at the open-air restaurants by the Intercontinental Hotel.

Itineraries by Gabe Struck.

In the Ocean on the Other Side of the World