Is­land guide: Bali

Paradise - - Traveller -

BALI SPE­CIAL

Love sun­sets, beach life and lazy af­ter­noons spent by the wa­ter’s edge? This is the is­land for you. Bali’s gen­tle soul draws vis­i­tors seek­ing so­lace, and well­ness re­treats are a spe­cial­ity. Yoga fans can find stu­dios of­fer­ing all styles from mysore to ash­tanga: sign up for an hour or a week. Take a look at well­ness re­treat Sa­madi Bali (samadibali.com), which also has a veg­e­tar­ian cafe and mar­ket.

The streets are awash with of­fers of mas­sages: Seminyak’s Jari Me­nari (‘danc­ing fin­gers’) con­stantly wins awards for its all-male team of masseuses, while Body­works, also in Seminyak, is al­ways busy and al­ways first-rate ( jari­me­nari.com, body­works­bali.com).

CUL­TURE VULTURE

Catch a tra­di­tional dance, whip up a Ba­li­nese treat in a cook­ing class or tap into the is­land’s myth­i­cal history. Taken from the epic poem

Ra­mayana, the Ke­cak Fire Dance is a dra­matic evening per­for­mance by up to 50 mu­si­cians and dancers. The most fa­mous lo­ca­tion is at Uluwatu Tem­ple, down on the Bukit Penin­sula, so plan an af­ter­noon trip south. Driver and dance pack­ages are avail­able from ev­ery ho­tel, or turn up at Uluwatu be­fore it starts around 6pm to buy your tick­ets.

Bali is a pre­dom­i­nantly Hindu is­land and re­li­gious fes­ti­vals are plen­ti­ful all year. New Year is her­alded in with Nyepi Day, a day of si­lence, which means there are no flights or ship ar­rivals, no work and no travel around the is­land: use it as day for re­flec­tion and re­lax­ation. Next year, it falls on March 7. The day be­fore sees pa­rades of huge ogoh-ogoh pup­pets and ‘ fire wars’ in the vil­lages, to frighten away evil spir­its.

The Dean Fisher Cook­ing Class in Seminyak Square takes you through the mar­kets and through Hindu cul­ture and cui­sine as part of its one-day classes (dean­fisherbali.com).

In­done­sian style ... a quiet beach­front seat at Canggu's Ho­tel Tugu.

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