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15 places like Bali you’re sure to love

Looking for an exotic escape to somewhere like Bali? We've rounded up our favourite places with similar charms to the popular Indonesian isle.

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No one can deny that Bali is a perennial favourite for Australians looking to unwind, but for your next holiday, it may be time to break the mould and seek out another slice of paradise for long-awaited escape.

Check out our list of hotspots across Asia and the South Pacific that are riddled with attractions like beaches and temples, offer sumptuous cuisine and are, well, just perfect places to kick back and relax.

How much does Bali cost?

  • Flight time from Australia: 2 hours and 45 minutes (from Darwin, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $422 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $257 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $14+ per night in Bali
  • Domestic beer: $3.80
  • 3-course meal for two: $37.09
  • Package holidays can start from: $495 for 7 nights departing from Perth

Top places like Bali not to be missed

1. Best for islands: Thailand

When it comes to a budget getaway, Thailand is an exceptional option that offers more than beach fringed islands. But yeah, it does offer beaches.

If you're planning a buck's getaway, hit up Bangkok. Or if culture and history are more your cup of tea, head to Chiang Mai. Then there's the coastal beauty of Koh Samui, Phuket, and any number of other secluded tropical getaways dotted around this small country for those wishing to catch some sun.

  • Flight time from Australia: 7 hours and 30 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $507 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $398 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $31+ per night in Phuket
  • Domestic beer: $3.71
  • 3-course meal for two: $31.28
  • Package holidays can start from: $55 for 6 nights departing from Perth

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2. Best for budget travellers: Sri Lanka

A trip to Sri Lanka takes in some of the best beaches in the Indian Ocean, world-famous tea plantations and a tropical climate to be envied.

While there aren’t too many package deals available, Sri Lanka is perfect for the budget traveller. It’s also largely unspoilt by Western tourists and is often referred to as "how Bali used to be".

  • Flight time from Australia: 10 hours and 40 minutes (from Melbourne, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $788 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $588 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $14+ per night in Kandy
  • Domestic beer: $2.46
  • 3-course meal for two: $20.51
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,039 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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3. Best for temples: Cambodia

Nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, there's much more to Cambodia than just Angkor Wat.

While most people may skip the Cambodian coastline for the ancient temples inland, in places like Sihanoukville, you can still find stretches of sand that'll make you feel like you've got the entire place to yourself.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours and 15 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $592 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $405 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $41+ per night in Koh Rong
  • Domestic beer: $0.75
  • 3-course meal for two: $20
  • Package holidays can start from: $825 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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4. Best for budget travellers: Philippines

With incredible beaches scattered across thousands of islands, this one isn't going to stay below most tourists' radar for long.

Sitting just north of Indonesia, the Philippines often gets missed for other spots in southeast Asia like Thailand, Bali and Malaysia. But with world-class resorts, friendly locals and cheap-as-chips flights available from Australia (thanks, Cebu Pacific), it's a hotspot anyone who lives Bali is sure to love.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours (from Brisbane, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $527 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $429 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $19+ per night in Palawan
  • Domestic beer: $1.76
  • 3-course meal for two: $23.46
  • Package holidays can start from: $879 for 3 nights departing from Perth.
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5. Best for long trips: Goa, India

There’s much more to India than the Taj Mahal and there’s no better place to start experiencing it all than in this western state along the Arabian Sea.

Blending Indian and Portuguese culture, Goa is famous for its secluded beaches, Agonda Beach and Baga Beach being two of the best known. Originally a popular destination for hippies from around the 1960s, Goa is quickly becoming popular with traveller from all over the world however still remains quite unspoilt.

  • Flight time from Australia: 30 hours and 5 minutes (from Perth, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $884 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $810 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $18+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $1.67
  • 3-course meal for two: $20.92
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,945 for 7 nights departing from Sydney
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6. Best for history buffs: Myanmar

Most people only think of the temples of Bagan when Myanmar is mentioned, but the country actually has a stellar coastline riddled with beaches and small islands too.

If you love Bali for its combination of beaches and cultural sites, then Myanmar is one to add to your list. With only about a fifth of the number of tourists visiting annually compared to Bali, you're less likely to battle crowds and more likely to feel like you're the only person on the beach.

  • Flight time from Australia: 9 hours and 30 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $646 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $533 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $26+ per night in Yangon
  • Domestic beer: $1.59
  • 3-course meal for two: $26.06
  • Package holidays can start from: $670 for 7 nights departing from Perth


7. Best for solo travellers: Malaysia

Malaysia is that underrated beach location you should really discover.

Glam it up in a luxurious resort in Penang or Langkawi or find beautiful budget accommodation in a beachfront bungalow along the east coast. The weather is great - it rarely drops below 20 degrees, even at night - and it's not overrun by tourists.

  • Flight time from Australia: 5 hours and 35 minutes (from Perth, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $483 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $285)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $24+ per night in Langkawi
  • Domestic beer: $6.43
  • 3-course meal for two: $21.71
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,369 for 5 nights departing from Perth
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8. Best for food: Vietnam

Astonishing natural beauty, history and people are just a few things you should expect from a trip to Vietnam.

Think the amazing rocky islands of Halong Bay, the towering limestone peaks of Ba Be National Park, the mystical ancient temples to the French colonial influence and the horror of the Vietnam War to name a few highlights that should not be missed. Then, there's the food. Fresh, flavoursome and light on the wallet you could spend your whole day following your nose. And you should.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours and 20 minutes (from Melbourne, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $477 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $427 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $43+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $2.56
  • 3-course meal for two: $25.60
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,095 for 3 nights departing from Perth
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Just keen on pristine beaches? Check out these destinations:

9. Best for a splurge: Samoa

Samoa is the definition of tropical and boasts a landscape of pristine beaches, incredible swimming holes and mystifying lava flows.

From swimming and snorkelling to hiking, waterfall spotting or relaxing on one of countless deserted stretches of sand, there’s plenty to fill out your itinerary. Throw in a warm Polynesian welcome and you’ll soon forget Bali even exists.

  • Flight time from Australia: 5 hours (from Brisbane, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $950 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $817 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $59+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $2.79
  • 3-course meal for two: $50.25
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,599 for 6 nights departing from Brisbane

10. Best for water babies: Cook Islands

The phrase "undiscovered gem" gets thrown around a fair bit in travel articles, but when it comes to the 15 unspoilt Cook islands it well and truly applies.

With weather that stays perfect all year round and a pace of life that’s refreshingly relaxed, the best way to enjoy the Cook Islands is with your feet up, cocktail in hand on one of many pristine beaches.

  • Flight time from Australia: 6 hours and 10 minutes (from Sydney, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $850 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $588 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $102+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $8.67
  • 3-course meal for two: $57.78
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,069 for a 5-night stay departing from Sydney
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11. Best for famililes: Fiji

Find yourself on a secluded romantic island or in a relaxing family resort with a mere four hour flight (ex. Sydney).

Surfing, swimming, diving and snorkelling are all must-dos in Fiji, but it’s the relaxed pace of island life that will entice you back. The locals are also unbelievably friendly — you’ll get sore cheeks from all the smiling — so say “Bula” to Fiji for your next getaway.

  • Flight time from Australia: 3 hours and 40 minutes (from Brisbane, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $830 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $563 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $42+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $4.75
  • 3-course meal for two: $40.71
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,199 for 6 nights departing from Sydney

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12. Best for honeymooners: Hawaii

It’s time to start practising your hula moves for a tropical taste of Americana.

Hawaii is a delicious blend of the laid-back and the not-so-laid-back. If you want to laze by the pool sipping cocktails all day, knock yourself out. But if you want to hire a car and go exploring, go bargain-hunting or treat yourself to all the cheeseburgers, ribs and everything else you can manage, there’s more than enough to do in Hawaii to fill out your travel itinerary.

  • Flight time from Australia: 9 hours and 25 minutes (from Brisbane, non-stop)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $924 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $511 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $250+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $8.93
  • 3-course meal for two: $104.24
  • Package holidays can start from: $1,519 for 5 nights departing from Sydney
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Other Indonesia hotspots not to be missed

Yogyakarta buddha.

13. Best for spiritual seekers: Yogyakarta

If you want a taste of Indonesia’s true culture, Yogyakarta is the place to get it.

Just a one-hour flight from Bali, this tourist hub (affectionately known as Yogya) offers a glimpse into the history and spiritual traditions of central Java. Yogyakarta offers a remarkable blend of old and new, from the important archaeological sites of Prambanan and Borobudur to all the bustle and noise of a major urban centre.

  • Flight time from Australia: 8 hours and 55 minutes (from Perth, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $666 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $487 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $24+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $3.58
  • 3-course meal for two: $13.56
  • Package holidays can start from: $733 for 4 nights departing from Sydney

Batam Bridge.

14. Best for nightlife: Batam

One of the biggest islands in the Riau archipelago, Batam is one of the region’s fastest growing tourist destination.

Though it wasn't too long ago that it was a laid-back, unspoilt destination dotted with sleepy coastal villages. These days you can now wile away a week or two in a luxury resort, enjoy the impressive nightlife and explore beautiful beaches.

  • Flight time from Australia: 11 hours and 35 minutes (from Perth, 2+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $846 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $656 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $94+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $3.53
  • 3-course meal for two: $21.70
  • Package holidays can start from: $467 for 7 nights departing from Perth

Girl on a swing on a Lombok beach.

15. Best for adventure seekers: Lombok

Bali's neighbour to the east, Lombok isn't visited nearly as much as the main island and is an easy three-hour ferry ride away.

A popular surfing destination, Lombok is the perfect place to bum around on a quiet beach. It's backed by the massive Mount Rinjani volcano that you can climb if you're feeling adventurous.

  • Flight time from Australia: 9 hours and 15 minutes (from Darwin, 1+ stops)
  • Average flight price from Australia/price range: $658 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $410 return)
  • Accommodation (3-star): $43+ per night
  • Domestic beer: $3.53
  • 3-course meal for two: $21.70
  • Package holidays can start from: $489 for 7 nights departing from Perth

Food, drink and hotel costs sourced from: Numbeo.com and Hotel Finder. Hotel price based on a per-night price in June 2020 quoted on 5 February 2020. Prices are based on a per-night rate at a 3-star hotel in the above destinations.

Best beaches in places like Bali:

Love Bali's scene of beaches, resorts and seaside bars? Then check out these beach-side destinations.

DestinationBeachWhat to expect
Bentota, Sri LankaBentotaLuxury resorts set on long sandy beaches
Koh Tao, ThailandSaireeBeach bungalows and villas and relaxed beach bars
Goa, IndiaAnjunaPumping nightlife, beach parties and plenty of markets
Sihanoukville, CambodiaOchheutealQuiet island escapes and beach BBQs with tables in the sand

Looking for Cover for Your Trip Away? Compare Travel Insurance from Australian Insurers

warning Finally, some good news! Domestic travel is picking up, so some insurers have started offering cover again 🦘
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