Whether you’re seeking relaxation, exploration, or spiritual rejuvenation, Bali is one of the world’s dreamiest destinations…

From its crisp sandy shores and turquoise waters to the lush green rainforests and fuchsia flowers, it’s no wonder visitors lose themselves in the Balinese way of life. Add to that the rich, fascinating culture, welcoming locals, delicious food, and tropical weather, and you can see why they call Bali the Island of the Gods.

Its mid-to-high season runs from June to December, so if you fancy squeezing in one more trip before the end of the year, here’s where to stay, what to eat, and everything to do on the island…

To discover a real feel for the soul of Balinese culture, stay in the island’s peaceful and spiritual heart, Ubud. Around an hour from Denpasar International Airport, the breathtaking tropical town is the ideal base to explore the extraordinary natural surroundings and tick off your cultural bucket list.

Motorbikes are a popular, affordable, and quicker way to explore the island and there are plenty of places to rent one. The easiest way is on the handy Grab app (@grabid). Start off your morning with a stretch amongst the lush green jungle at Yoga Barn (@theyogabarn, Dhs35) before heading to Alchemy (@alchemybali) for a wholesome vegan breakfast.

Take a stroll around the famous UNESCO-status Tegalaleng Rice Terraces (Dhs11) and for a spiritual experience like no other, visit medicine man Ketut Liyer for a palm reading and water blessing (@liyerspirithouse, Dhs70 for each). Made famous by Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love, Ketut recently passed away, but his son is carrying on the family legacy.

After some retail therapy at the colourful Ubud Art Market, head down to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary (@monkeyforestsanctuaryubud, Dhs18) for a selfie with the mischievous monkeys or go exotic coffee tasting at Lumbung Sari (free). To tick off the main attractions, it’s more efficient (and cheaper) to hire a local guide with a car for the whole day. Try @balitourdriver_adi who can take you to all the best spots.

165 steps down, a visit to Tegenungan waterfall is a must (Dhs5 entry). Standing tall at 25-metres, it’s the highest waterfall in Ubud and one of the most accessible. Pro tip: be sure to head here early to avoid crowds.

For those craving some salty sea air, Uluwatu, around a two-hour drive from Ubud, is best known for its epic surf breaks. Breathe in the ocean air, sneak in a quick surfing session on Pedang Pedang beach, sip on a coconut at Sundays Beach Club (@sundaysbeachclub), and catch the unbelievable sunsets from Uluwatu Temple followed by a fire dance show.

Stay here

Avoid the chain hotels and experience a local-owned gem tucked away in the hills of Ubud. Kadiga Villas (@kadigavillas) is the perfect sanctuary to slow down from the hustle of city life with a superior level of comfort. Ideally situated in the centre of Ubud, prices start from Dhs280 per night.

Eat here

A picturesque outdoor paradise with views over lush green rice paddies, Semar Kuning is a must-visit for authentic Balinese cuisine. Order the seafood nasi goreng (Dhs25) or the smoked duck (Dhs35) and of course, wash it all down with a fresh coconut. While exploring Ubud town, find the best smoothie bowls at Ubud Kitchen Juice Bar (@theubudkitchen).

Visit here

A half-hour boat trip from Sanur Beach, the island of Nusa Penida is a day trip you won’t forget. Book with Forever Vacation tours (@forevervacationbali) to enjoy the best of what the picturesque island has to offer from snorkeling with mantas to the breathtaking clifftop views over Diamond Beach. Alternatively, sister island Nusa Lembongan is ideal for those looking for something a little calmer and quieter.

Getting there: Emirates, direct return from Dhs3,695, emirates.com

Images:Unsplash/What’s On