I’m planning on a two-week holiday in Southeast Asia en route back home to Aus. I’ve done Thailand before, so this time I want to go somewhere different but still with beaches and culture. Where would you recommend? Darren, via email
Bali offers everything you’re looking for. There are incredible beaches, as well as world-class surfing at Kuta and the neighbouring resort of Legian in the southwest of the island.
This huge swath of coast also boasts a massive tourist metropolis of hotels, restaurants and surf schools.
For something a little more relaxed, hop on a two-hour ferry east across the Bali Sea to the nearby Gili Islands (gilicat.com), where coral-fringed waters offer brilliant snorkelling.
Each island has its own distinct personality: Gili Trawangan is a tropical party paradise with bars blasting out reggae tunes until the early hours; Gili Air is a stylish, laidback alternative with boutique beach bungalows; and Gili Meno is the ultimate island paradise with few tourist amenities, no cars and only 400 inhabitants.
In Bali, you will also find a wealth of temples, local art and dance to add some culture to your trip. The Hindu temple of Pura Luhur Uluwatu, south of Kuta, is one of the most impressive owing to its clifftop position.
In the centre of the island is Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali. A number of temples host Balinese dance displays in the evening. One of the most unique temples is Pura Taman Saraswati, where small lakes overflowing with lotus blossoms decorate the temple.
I’ve heard good things about Biarritz, so was thinking of getting one last weekend of surfing in before the winter. Is it easy to get to? Are there good places to stay on a budget? What else is there to do besides surfing? Stuart, via email
The good news is Biarritz is a really easy destination to reach from London. You can fly direct with Ryanair, and the airport in Biarritz is just 3km from the centre of town. Hop on bus 6 (every half an hour) to reach it.
The bad news is that it’s not the cheapest of French resorts, but visiting out of season will reduce prices by 25 per cent. One of the cheapest options will be the local youth hostel, where you can bunk up in a dorm for £20pn.
If you want something a little more stylish, go for the Hotel Mirano, a Seventies-style boutique hotel with doubles starting from £53.
Whilst Biarritz’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its surf, until mid-September you can watch live cesta punta (a Basque sport, like squash but played with baskets) at the Parc des Sports d’Aguiléra complex.
There’s more to experience in the area beyond the town. North of Biarritz is Les Landes, a wilderness of pine forests and lakes – great for walking.
Visit the nearby fishing port of St Jean de Luz, a quintessential seaside port complete with narrow streets and lots of great seafood restaurants.
You can also try out an alternative surfing spot at the nearby town of Hossegor, 20 miles north
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Photos: Biarritz Tourisme, Getty