The centrepiece for visitors to Indonesia’s 17,000-plus island chain, Bali has become a true haven for those seeking to cultivate their inner being and escape the demands of modern living. Bali is a tropical paradise that has embraced holistic therapies, treatments and well-being retreats and provides the perfect setting for meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, traditional medicine and other enlightening subjects.
Bali is divided by a string of impressive and authoritative volcanoes running from east to west almost through the centre of the island. Some of these provide habitats for a variety of birds and wildlife and therefore, opportunities for adventurous treks abound. The island is a treasure trove of dramatic landscapes with sculpted rice terraces, primaeval forests full of monkeys, clove, coffee and coconut plantations, steep river gorges and sublime beaches, ranging from stunning black to powdery white sand. The relatively cool, deep waters that surround Bali provide dive sites that are rich in marine life, lush coral gardens and reef walls.
The island’s rich cultural heritage is visible everywhere – in over 20,000 temples and palaces, in many colourful festivals and ceremonies in drama, music, and dance. It has been said that every Balinese is an artist, whether the vehicle of expression is wood carving, dance or painting and this is especially true in the arts centre of Ubud, which has long been known as the “village of painters.” However, religion underlies the aesthetic throughout the island where carving originated as temple decoration and island dance is related to Hindu myths and festivals.