I started off thinking that there were two sides to Bali – beach-and-surf Bali, beloved of Aussie travellers, and green-and-natural Bali, with its rice paddies and mountain forests.
Turns out I was wrong. There are many, many sides to Bali, and the three weeks I spent on the island was just about enough to scratch the surface.
There are parties going on in the resorts, of course, but vibrantly painted fishing boats on quiet beaches reflect a way of life that existed long before the tourists arrived.
And in every temple and pagoda – there are reckoned to be 10,000 of them across the island – ancient carvings, tombs and cave entrances are wrought from a venerable, lichen-encrusted stone. This is a culture that has aged gracefully with the elements, seen at its best in the cultural heartland of Ubud.
You might find fulfilment in the Balinese dance and cookery classes, yoga and well-being retreats, shadow-puppet displays and reef-snorkelling trips – all the stuff that sells Bali to most visitors.
But let Bali seep into your soul in other ways too, as you sit under the palms of an emerald rice paddy or scatter flower petals at a mountain shrine.
Surf-bars and beaches, you can find anywhere. Islands of almost infinite charm – they’re much harder to discover.
See more images on my 30-second video ‘Postcard from Bali’.