Learn to surf in Seminyak, Bali
There are loads of surf schools in Bali, but we’d recommend learning in Seminyak, which is slightly quieter and more civilised than the frantic Kuta Beach, and normally has smallish waves suitable for beginners. The Balinese-owned Double D surf school (www.surfschoolbali.com) has good instructors and is good value if you only want a few lessons, with single lessons from IDR400,000/$54. Air Asia flies to Bali from $298 return. See www.airasia.com.
The boutique Dyana Villas (www.balidyanavillas.com) is 800m from the beach and does weekend package deals, starting from US$520/S$650 for three days and two nights, with massage and airport transfer thrown in.
Climb Mount Bromo
The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park in East Java, Indonesia, is home to some of the country’s most otherworldly volcano treks. While the active 3,676m Mount Semeru is a tough climb that requires a permit, the more accessible option is Mount Bromo (2,329m), a beatiful flat-topped volcano that had its top blown off and regularly belches white sulphurous smoke. The National Park’s not too hard to get to, with cheap flights from Singapore to nearby Surabaya, but given the driving time (three to four hours from Surabaya to the park), the trip is perhaps best done over a long weekend. China Airlines flies to Surabaya from $237 return. See www.china-airlines.com. The coolest place to stay nearby is the boutique Java Banana Bromo Lodge, with rooms from US$85/$106. See www.java-banana.com.
See the sunrise over ‘Indonesia’s Angkor Wat’
Borobudur Temple, near Jogjakarta in Central Java province, is a Buddhist stupa and temple complex that has been (rather lazily) dubbed Indonesia’s Angkor Wat. The intriguing thing about this UNESCO World Heritage site, built in the 8th century, is that no one knows why it was built. What is undeniable is its beauty, looking over the Kedu Plain to the active Merapi volcano, which you can climb if the weather’s right, though be careful if you go – severe burns and even deaths are regularly reported on the mountain. Air Asia flies to Jogjakarta from $279 return. See www.airasia.com. For a super-luxe break, the Amanjiwo (www.amanresorts.com) is 1.7 miles from the temple, with rooms from US$950/$1,190. For somewhere cheaper but still beautiful, the Saraswati (www.saraswatiborobudur.com) has rooms from US$100/$125.
Tee off around the temples in Bali
Golf and spirituality don’t often mix, but 35 minutes from Seminyak is Nirwana Bali Golf Club (www.nirwanabaligolf.com) – an 18-hole course dotted with 13 functioning family temples, from small shrines to massive overgrown structures. Golfers regularly pause their play when families trek across the course for religious ceremonies. Designed by Australian golf great Greg Norman, this award-winning course is one of the most photographed in the world. And it’s easy to see why: check out the legendary snake-guarded Tanah Lot sea temple at the seventh hole. KLM departs for Bali five times a week from $314 return. See www.klm.com. A night at the adjoining Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort packaged with a round of golf costs US$228++/$285++. Non-bundled rooms start from $165 per night. See www.panpacific.com.
Dive Indonesian wrecks from a liveaboard boat
For a brilliant weekend of diving without the hassle of getting yourself anywhere (except the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal), DiveRace (www.diverace.com) runs three-day trips to some of Indonesia’s best dive sites from just $620. After rocking up at the terminal at 6.15pm on Friday night, you get on the unflashy but comfortable boat, and by 8.15am the next morning you’re diving sites like the Seven Skies and Igara wrecks, and the picture-perfect reefs around the Anambas Islands, usually with a night dive thrown in. Trevally, jacks, angelfish and batfish are regulars – and if you’re lucky, you might spot whale sharks and mantas. DiveRace sails to Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand depending on the season. With six to eight dives and no phone signal, it’s a true escape.