Luxury Multi Centre Holidays
You can have a two-centre holiday on Bali itself, by combining a stay on the coast with a few days in mystical Ubud, or combining Bali with beautiful Lombok, the neighbouring and very different island. But Bali's location makes it ideal for combining a stay here with a visit to one of the great Far Eastern cities -- glamorous Hong Kong, exhilarating Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur with its intriguing sights. Bali also makes a perfect stopover centre for those travelling to Australia and New Zealand.
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Featured Hotels in Bali
Luxury Bali Holidays
Often called the Island of the Gods, Bali epitomises for many the ultimate dream of an exotic destination. Even among its colourful neighbouring islands in the Indonesian archipelago, it stands alone, not just for its incomparable beauty, but for its special spellbinding magic. Its particular ambience seems to arise from the fact that its landscapes are permeated by the unique essence of Bali, a mix of all-pervading spirituality, and the all-embracing warmth of its people.
There is no denying that some people nowadays are put off from visiting Bali because of its popularity with backpackers and high levels of tourist development, which is true of some parts of the island. Of course it is not surprising that its magic and its spectacular beauty make it a magnet for large numbers of visitors. However, away from the over-developed areas near the capital Denpasar, there are plenty of tranquil places where you can really appreciate what Bali is all about.
Island of the Gods
It is not only because of its miraculous beauty that Bali is known as the Island of the Gods. The Balinese worship a range of deities unique to their brand of Hinduism, and this worship permeates every part of life. There are shrines outside every home and intricately carved temples on every corner, and you can see the daily placing of artistic offerings of rice, flowers, incense and fruits.
In fact, temples are part of the very essence of Bali. The mother temple, Pura Besakih, stands 3,000 feet up on the slopes of Mount Agung in the centre of the island, and is surrounded by breathtaking mountains, streams, forests and rice paddies. It is a magnificent, mystical and awe-inspiring structure, best visited at full moon for the full effect.
Among Bali's estimated 20,000 temples, one of the most dramatic is the 11th century Uluwatu temple, perched right on the edge of a limestone cliff at the southernmost tip of the island, on the Bukit Peninsula -- above Bali's best surfing beach. It is one of the most revered temples, where every evening at sunset local people perform ritual Kecak and fire dances. Another not-to-be missed temple is Tanah Lot, perched on top of a rocky offshore outcrop rising from the sea off Beraban village, 20 kilometres north-west of Kuta.
The Heart of Bali
The place that encapsulates the essence of Bali more than any other is Ubud, which is really the heart of the island. If you really want to absorb the atmosphere of the place, it's best to stay a few days, so as to escape the crowds that arrive daily by bus. The town and its surroundings are steeped in history and culture, with many remains from the old kingdoms of Bali to be explored.
While here you can wander through the cool, dense jungles of the sacred monkey forest, where there are three ancient temples to discover -- the most eerie being Pura Dalem Agung, the Temple of the Dead. You can explore the beautiful rice paddy fields and ancient monuments by bicycle, and watch the colourful processions of women on their way to the temple with their fruit offerings. Ubud is home to abundant art galleries, and a lively market where you can buy local crafts.
A Beach to Yourself
Although there is plenty to enjoy in Bali besides beaches, there is no doubt that many of them are superb. Even Kuta, the centre of tourist development, is beautiful with its long curved stretch of sand, ideal for surfing, and is famous for phenomenal sunsets. There is plenty of opportunity for cruises to surrounding islands, and submarine dives to watch the rich marine life.
But Bali also has plenty of enchanting, secluded beaches if you look for them, including the wild beaches in the north around Changgu. Amed is a group of fishing villages along the east coast, each with a charming beach with excellent diving and snorkelling. Also in east Bali, Perasi Beach, also known as White Sand Beach, is reached along a bumpy track, with no hotels or villas in sight.
Bali's Interior Beauty
One of the great experiences to enjoy in Bali is to climb the volcanic 1,700 metre Mount Batur, in the highlands to the east of Bali -- for the ultimate experience, start in time to catch the sunrise at the summit. On the western tip of the island is Taman Nasional Bali Barat -- West Bali National Park -- where you can hike through forests and explore coastal mangroves. As you arrive you will be struck by the sound of the myriad birds darting through the trees.
There is something for you in Bali, whether you come for partying, for beach life, for adventure, or simply to find yourself. For those who take the time to appreciate the essential nature of Bali, a truly magical experience awaits. There can be nowhere else in the world with such a combination of sunshine, surf, spirituality and smiles.