Visitors to Bali describe it as a place of great natural beauty, hospitality and spirituality. Here, active volcanoes rise from impenetrable jungles and tower over stunning beaches. Although it's part of the often troubled Indonesian archipelago, Bali is far more tranquil than many of its sister islands. Its rich culture, perhaps best known for its dance forms and the intriguing, exotic music of the gamelan (both must-sees), is one of the best reasons to visit this scenic land, where indigenous animistic beliefs and ancient Javanese tradition mix with Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. Bali is also known for the crafts -- goldsmithing, silversmithing, carving, painting and textiles -- that constitute an important part of the island's culture.
Bali offers ample sunning, surfing and nightlife, as well as cultural experiences and nature excursions, such as feeding monkeys in Monkey Forest or climbing Gunung Batur, an active volcano. If you'd prefer a bit of resort life, the island also features several villas known for their pampering and personal butlers. The fishing village Tanjung Benoa offers windsurfing, water-skiing and catamaran opportunities, but you'll find the best snorkeling near Menjangan, on the less-touristy north shore.