Lapped the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Bali is but one of 17,500 islands in the Indonesian archipelago, yet even among its colorful neighbors—and even after decades of tourism development—it stands alone in its lushness and incomparable beauty. Long, sugary beaches lead inland to hillsides terraced with jewel-green rice paddies; forests dotted with ancient temples abound. These centuries-old shrines—there are thousands scattered across the island—are evidence of Bali’s deep, enduring spirituality. For the island’s three million, mostly Hindu residents, daily routines are punctuated by prayer, blessings, and rituals—and it’s these traditions, even more than the spectacular landscapes, that make Bali such a compelling, authentic, and utterly singular destination.
Sunset visit to the 11th Century Uluwatu Temple perched high above the Indian Ocean.
A sunrise trek to the summit of Mount Batur. If you’re intrepid, fit, and don’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to go, you’ll be rewarded with some of the island’s most spectacular views.
An early morning ride along Seminyak Beach with horses from Umalas Stables.