Some destinations never get old; you’d visit time and again, unveiling something new each time. Or perhaps they’re the places you promise you’ll get to, but year after year, they’re still not ticked off your bucket list. They’re the destinations not too far from home, but exotic enough to provide excitement and delight. If you need more of an excuse to jet off, here are our mini guides to Virgin’s top three destinations, Bali, Fiji and LA.
Known for its tropical beaches and endless warm evenings, Bali is a holiday that surprises and delights around every corner. Here are three things you must do to experience Bali away from the beach.
1. Gourmet Grub
Bali has been steadily raising its culinary game for years. You can find fresher, more delicious food here than in many of the world’s biggest culinary cities. Bali has become a hub of international cuisine, with chefs flocking here from Australia’s top restaurants, as well as places like Paris, Tokyo and New York. You’re equally as likely to dine at a vegan cafe as an awarded French style eatery.
2. Gunung Kawi
Hidden in a lush river valley, surrounded by overgrown greenery, Gunung Kawi is one of Bali’s oldest and largest ancient monuments. 10 memorial shrines, each standing 8 metres tall, are carved into the rock face, imitating actual statues. The shrines are said to be memorials to members of the 11th century Balinese royalty.
3. Go inland
Bali’s beaches are certainly special, but it’s away from the ocean where the historical magic lays. Ubud is the heart of Balinese traditional crafts and dance, surrounded by beautiful rainforest and terraced rice paddies – the ultimate Bali experience. Explore ancient holy sites, eat delicious locally sourced food, experience yoga in the jungle or simply relax.
A destination of unrivalled natural beauty, endless relaxation and serious poolside service, Fiji is a holiday we all need once in a while. Here are three things to get you well and truly on island time.
1. Hike the Falls of Taveuni
Taveuni Island, just off the east coast of Vanua Levu, is Fiji’s Garden of Eden. With over 80 per cent of the island protected within the Bouma National Heritage Park, you’ll find rare flora overflowing here, including orchids and prehistoric tree ferns engulfing the spectacular Tavoro waterfalls. Don’t forget to take your swimmers for a dip at the base of the falls too.
2. Explore the Mamanucas Islands
Fiji’s first islands to be developed for tourism, the Mamanucas are a spectacular string of islands, some dotted with luxury resorts, others completely untouched. Get a helicopter flight to see the long chain of islands from above, or take a boat trip to explore un inhabited islands like the one made famous in Tom Hanks Castaway film.
3. Kick back in an overwater bungalow
Fiji is the ultimate island paradise, so why not go the extra mile and enjoy unrivalled luxury in an overwater bungalow. With personal butler service, in-bungalow spa treatments and massages, and a whole underwater world literally on your doorstep, trust us, you’ll never want to leave.
There are so many areas to explore in LA on holiday. From the food and culture, to Hollywood, the beaches and the varied wilderness, there are too many must-do’s to count.
1. Runyon Canyon Park
While most tourists flock to the Griffith Observatory and Park for views over LA, Runyon Canyon Park, on the opposite ridgeline, offers equally impressive views that also take in the Hollywood Sign (situated in Griffith Park.) The walking trail is about 2.4 kilometres, an easy walk for all ages and levels of ability, and popular with the locals, you might even spot some famous faces.
2. See a Dodgers Game
California is one of the best places to see a baseball game in the USA. The Dodgers Friday night home games are overloaded with energy, both on and off the field. They also end with a fireworks show, and Sunday afternoon home games end when the outfield gates are opened to kids 14 and under to roam the field. If you can’t get to a game, head to the stadium anyway, the insider’s stadium tour stops in the Dodgers dugout, the field and the press box, for a full view of the place.
3. Venice Beach
The quirky, artsy, edgy centre of LA, Venice Beach is where street entertainers, tourists and surfers share the beachfront boardwalk with ease. Dotted with funky beach cottages, one of LA’s best shopping districts on boho-chic Abbot-Kinney Boulevard and the iconic waterfront skate park, there is never a dull moment in Venice. Join in the rhythm at the daily drum circle on the beach, grab a bite at one of the food trucks that frequent the area, or browse art at one of the local galleries.