Bali or Bora Bora? Here are two island destinations that regularly sit at the top of most people’s bucket list. Both islands destinations of Bali and Bora Bora will have something for everyone – whether that’s a romantic getaway for honeymoon couples or an activity-packed adventure for families.
And if you’re researching a Bali vs Bora Bora trip, it’s worth throwing Fiji into the mix. It’s another popular South Pacific favourite that offers plenty of desert-island appeal, along with action adventures, rich culture and warm, family-friendly people.
Read on to discover more about Bali vs Bora Bora to decide which vacation destination is right for you.
BALI OR BORA BORA – BEST FOR BEACHES
The small Indonesian island of Bali is a popular vacation spot that boasts plenty of beaches, an ancient and interesting culture and rice paddies, stepped into the jungle-covered landscape.
Choose from the spiritual yoga-haven of Ubud, or the beach escapes of Sanur and Seminyak. Bali has beaches to suit all tastes, from the party hot spots of Kuta and Legian beach and the foodie beach in Jimbaran that comes alive at night, to the secluded sunbathing beach at Blue Lagoon Beach and Labuan Sait Beach for the famous Padang Padang reef break.
East of Bali, Bora Bora is undoubtedly the most celebrated island in the South Pacific. The leading lady in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is the quintessential tropical island location with sand-edged motu (or very small islands), rainforest-covered peaks and crystal clear lagoon.
Bora Bora has picturesque sandy beaches, backed with palm trees. For a beach paradise, head to Matira Beach with its white-sand beach backed by greenery.
If beaches are your thing, then you won’t be disappointed by a trip to Fiji. With more than 300 islands to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. Fiji is famed for its palm-lined beaches, rugged terrain inland and its coral reefs.
Fiji’s most breath taking beaches can be found on its outlying smaller islands, many of which have been featured in Hollywood and on TV shows, such as tiny, uninhabited Monuriki, which got its moment in the sun when it was featured in the 2001 Tom Hanks movie Cast Away.
THINGS TO DO IN BALI AND BORA BORA
Bora Bora is home to a huge array of activities and adventures. Rather than having the choice of lots of islands to explore like Fiji, Bora Bora is surrounded by motu (very small islands) with a lagoon protected by coral reefs.
Watched over by the jagged peak of Mt. Otemanu, Bora Bora is one of the most well-known islands of French Polynesia. It’s called the Pearl of the Pacific for good reason, drawing artists, writers and visitors for years.
When it comes to things to do, it’s all about making the most of its natural assets. Think scuba diving, snorkelling in the lagoon directly from your bungalow and sunset cruises on the surrounding reefs. Once you’ve got the water sports covered, hike to the top of Mt. Pahia or check out the resort spa. You’ll also be able to learn about Bora Bora’s history and the early settlers and the arrivals from Europe. There’s the famous story of the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ and many stories told through song and dance.
A trip to Bali will offer everything from visiting clifftop temples on day trips through local villages and rice paddies, tackling the rapids on white-water rafting trips through the jungle and soaking up the atmosphere on one of Bali’s beaches. West Bali National Park is just three hours from Nadi airport and is a virtually unexplored rainforest, while Git Git and Sekumpul are two amazing waterfalls that are worth a visit.
If you add Fiji into the mix of Bali vs Bora Bora then you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do, from snorkeling and diving the colorful coral reefs, to refreshing waterfalls and enjoying Champagne picnics on private resort beaches.
HONEYMOONS IN BALI OR BORA BORA
Home to the classic overwater villas, Bora Bora is a top honeymoon destination offering plenty of water sports, Tahitian music and exquisite dining with French influence.
Built on stilts above the water, most overwater villas are aimed at couples. Lots will have glass floors where you get a bird’s eye view of all the marine activity below.
Activity-wise, choose from lagoon excursions in pirogues – handcrafted banana-style boats – snorkeling and diving, followed by barbecued fish for dinner accompanied by Tahitian music. Things to do in Bora Bora also include adrenaline-pumping kitesurfing, parasailing and hiking, plus visits to archaeological sites.
Honeymoon vacationers will love Bali’s hotels and villas with their infinity pools and day beds overlooking the pools. Partygoers will make the most of Bali’s vibrant nightlife. Adventure-based activities in Bali range from white-water rafting, surfing and cycling through rice paddies and rural Balinese villages.
In Fiji, honeymoon couples head for some of the less crowded islands, such as the Yasawa Islands – an archipelago of 20 volcanic islands that are blessed with dramatic peaks and sun-drenched beaches.
Activities here make the most of the sparkling water, the colorful coral reefs and the diving opportunities. In the Yasawa Islands you can stay at Turtle Island Resort Fiji, a 500-acre adults-only private playground where The Blue Lagoon was shot. It’s the dictionary definition of paradise – think crystal-clear turquoise waters, lightly swaying palm trees and golden sand.
HOW TO GET TO BALI AND BORA BORA
Fiji is perhaps the easiest to reach compared to Bali vs Bora Bora with more direct flights from international airports. Fiji Airways operates daily direct flights from Sydney, Auckland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Singapore. Flight times from Sydney are around four and a half hours. From North America flight times vary from 11 hours 30 minutes from Los Angeles to Fiji and 18 hours from San Francisco.
Arriving in Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, you’ll either stay in one of the resorts on the main island or head out to one of the smaller islands by seaplane, boat transfer or helicopter.
To get to Bora Bora, you’ll fly into Faa’a International Airport on Papeete, on the main island of Tahiti. French Polynesia’s national airline is Air Tahiti Nui. If you’re travelling from Australia or New Zealand, the flight time is around seven to nine hours. From North America it takes around 10 to 11 hours.
There are currently no direct flights to Bali from the US – a trip that can take anything from 20 to 23 hours. Popular routes from Los Angeles or New York would include a stopover in Hong Kong, Singapore or Doha with airlines including Delta, Garuda Indonesia and Singapore Airlines.
However from Australia there are plenty of airlines that fly direct to Denpasar, Bali’s capital, including Qantas, Jetstar, AirAsia and Garuda Indonesia. Bali is only a six-hour flight from Sydney and Melbourne making it a popular vacation for Australians.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BALI VS BORA BORA
In Bora Bora there are two main seasons of winter and summer, or more accurately dry and wet. Winter is considered the dry season, and therefore the most popular and busiest, and runs from May through to November, with temperatures ranging from 19°C – 29°C. Summer is the wet season and goes from December through to April where temperatures range from a comfortable 22°C to 33°C.
From June to November, it’s peak humpback whale season in Bora Bora. The whales migrate here to breed during this time and you may even spot one while snorkeling.
Bora Bora has around 1,900mm of rainfall per year, whereas Fiji’s smaller islands, most notably the Yasawa Islands in the West of Fiji, only get around 1,500mm a year, which means they are generally dry and sunny year-round.
Fiji offers year-round warm temperatures and sunny skies. Its seasons can be split into two categories – humid and hot from December to April, where temperatures range from 22°C to 33°C and mild and dry from May to November with temperatures ranging from 19°C to 29°C. Think about visiting Fiji from mid-October to mid-November when weather conditions are settled, dry and warm and when the tourist season hasn’t yet reached its peak.
Bali also boasts year-round warm temperatures and, like Fiji, its wet season is generally from December to March when the skies can turn cloudy and stormy. The dry season in Bali is from April to October.
EXPLORE TURTLE ISLAND FIJI
How can you compare to tropical islands like Bali and Bora Bora? Both destinations are equally idyllic offering amazing places to stay, deserted island beaches and world-class activities.
For a truly memorable vacation experience, Turtle Island resort offers the perfect escape. Think stunning secluded beaches reserved for only 14 couples at a time. With 500-acres of tropical lush forests and 12 private beaches, you’ll feel as if you’ve got the island to yourself.
If you want to immerse yourself in the private sanctuary of Turtle Island, then contact us today to book your Fiji vacation.