Bali is nicknamed the ‘Island of the Gods,’ and has appeared in countless feature films as a holiday destination for peace and spirituality in the surrounds of astonishing natural beauty. Indeed, there are few places in the world that have remained so true to their culture in the face of such a large influx of tourism. The devout Hindu Balinese showcase their faith throughout the island, from the daily flower-petal offerings to the processions of locals as they march to temple ceremonies, the transcendent sound of traditional music and inspiring ritualistic dance performances.
On Bali, visitors can lose themselves in the booming nightlife of Kuta, shop in trendy Seminyak, surf perfect waves on the southern beaches or retreat to the tiny nearby island of Nusa Lembongan. There are family-friendly pleasures in Sanur and lavish villas in Uluwatu, and then there’s the spiritual capital of Ubud, where the soul of the island is perhaps most powerfully felt. Here, glowing rice paddies are sheltered by lush rainforest and ancient monuments sit alongside temples (there are said to be 10,000 in total on this island).
At the centre of Bali sits the imposing figure of Mount Batur, an active volcano surrounded by mountains and hillside temples. The northern and western regions of this island are the least populated, while Manggis in the east offers one of the most authentic local experiences, set on beautiful glittering black shorelines born of volcanic rock. Bali is more than a destination, in fact, some call it a state of mind – and cocooned in the tropical valleys among hidden waterfalls, it can be difficult to disagree.
WHEN TO CHARTER A YACHT: Bali is best visited during the dry season between April and October.