Experts’ Choice 2018: Bali wins Best Asian Destination

The Indonesian island-province, continuing to enchant travelers with its beaches, jungles and temples, has been named the 2018 Experts' Choice winner in the Best Asian Destination category.

March 29, 2018

by Michael Carl Budd

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Together with the best-of lists from top travel writers and critics, we used the rankings from our own algorithms that aggregate and weight info on hotels, restaurants, and attractions to determine the winners in a number of categories for our inaugural Experts’ Choice destination awards. Bali wows year-in-and-year out, so it’s no surprise that they’ve won our 2018 award for Best Asian Destination.

An island with over 4 million people and what seems like as many temples, Bali is inexhaustible. Tourists come for the gorgeous beaches as well as the breathtaking scenery inland — lush jungles, terraced rice paddies, and an active volcano. U.S. News and World Report recommends a hike in Kintamani up to Mount Batur.


Telegalang rice terraces

Other visitors are in it for the food — the island offers unforgettable gustatory experiences. The celebrated Ubud Food Festival is coming up in mid-April. The theme this year is “Generation of Innovation,” an exploration of innovative and sustainable ideas in Indonesia’s food scene.

Restaurants like Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique 88 in Ubud, which offers the island’s top fine-dining experience and Warung Sulawesi, a traditional café serving authentic local food, represent the range of options — great food can be had here on any budget. Sardine in Kerobakan is our top pick for seafood.


Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique

We should also mention that breakfast is a big deal here. Smoothie bowls, gorgeous fresh fruit, and traditional western brunch fare are in ample supply. Try Watercress 79 in Kerobokan, where you can get an excellent Revolver Coffee cup of joe, and Kafe 76 in Ubud, which serves up some mean banana pancakes.

Traveler + Leisure likes newcomer Spice by Chris Salans, the New York-tested chef behind Mozaic.  You’ll find hefty portions of contemporary Indonesian deliciousness at reasonable prices. MOKSA a plant-based restaurant newish to the scene, is part of a complex that includes a dojo and a permaculture garden.


Spice by Chris Salans

Travelers in pursuit of luxury will feel pampered in Bali in an ever-growing collection of resorts and spas. The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay 89, an Experts’ Choice winner, boasts bigger bedrooms and better ocean views after a two-year renovation while Travel + Leisure reports that its sister property, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan 92 is offering something else new — the opportunity to be “rocked to sleep in a silk hammock in a bamboo hut by an former Buddhist nun.”

Hoshinoya Bali, outside of Ubud, has been  bringing its uniquely Japanese ryokan approach to hospitality to Indonesia for just over a year now. Canal-like pools and treehouse gazebos make the cluster of 30 thatched-roof villas feel like a magical hidden community. New in 2018, highly anticipated newcomer Capella Ubud offers an original experience from renowned designer Bill Bensley: ultra-luxe tents each with their own saltwater hot tubs.


Hoshinoya Bali

Amandari 93, TripExpert’s top-rated hotel in Bali, is a luxury resort that aims to feel like a traditional Balinese village has stood the test of time. Its villas offer both opulence and a sense of peace and seclusion. You can swim in the Ubud area’s first infinity pool, visit the centuries-old shrine nearby, or book at the spa, all in a quest to find balance.

For its breathtaking scenery, world-renowned luxury accommodations, and sun-drenched beaches, Bali has earned the Experts’ Choice Best Asian Destination designation for 2018. Plan to dodge the rainy season by visiting sometime between April and October and be sure to visit our Bali destination page for information from travel experts on the island’s best hotels, restaurants, and attractions.