Bali is where two worlds meet: the realm of gods, myth and magic on one hand; designer boutiques, celebrity chefs and fantastic nightlife on the other.
In the south - along the sandy stretch of Kuta - it's pure party time, while elsewhere is a haven of serenity. Bali is an openly spiritual island that celebrates its beliefs in its wealth of ornate palaces and temples - such as Pura Besakih, Bali's holiest Hindu temple high on the slopes of Bali's Mount Agung, the island’s highest point.
Lying between Java and Lombok, it is home to Indonesia’s Hindu minority and renowned for its highly developed arts including dance, sculpture, painting and music. Gentle and smiling, the people are a joy. Beautiful women carry mini mountains of fruit offerings on their heads; whole families in ceremonial dress perch on a single moped. Such sights are not quickly forgotten.
Away from the crowds are empty beaches - the sooty black to the sugar gold, rice paddies that trip down hillsides like giant steps, forest wilderness and volcanoes that pierce the clouds.
Bali is also an alluring stopover point if you're travelling to Australia or New Zealand and want to break up the journey with an indulgent sojourn in paradise.
|FLIGHT TIME:||Approximately 16 hours via Singapore|
|STOPOVERS:||Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore|
|CLIMATE:||Hot and humid all year round, but cooler inland than along the coastal regions. The monsoon season spans December and March. The dry season from April to October is the best time to visit.|
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DESIGNER DETAILS BY CHARLOTTE HUDDERS
A very special island. I feel so lucky to have lived here, and have been able to celebrate Kuningan Festival wearing a beautiful traditional outfit; a lace Kabaya top and sarong. I was the only westerner parading with over a thousand local people, but I’ve never felt more welcome anywhere. Exquisite colours and patterns are everywhere, from traditional dress through to the surrounding landscapes, with golden beaches, rainforest and rice paddies, volcanoes and temples all waiting to be explored.
CULINARY CUES BY NIGEL HAWORTH
Sea bass baked over red hot embers on the beach at Jimbaran bay. Fish wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf in Ubud, surrounded by mountainous paddy fileds. Seminyak famous for its Sambal and Sable. Pork with tamarind is another Balinese favorite. Beef with star anise, chilli, lime and spices I loved. Of course the island’s signature dish, Babi Guling – where succulent cuts of roast suckling pig are capped with crispy crackling is a standout dish. The large grilled prawns... made in heaven!