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Los Angeles Times

2. The Island of Bali, in Indonesia

A Hindu outpost in a Muslim nation, it is inhabited by some of the most gracious people on Earth, who invite you to witness their religious processions, wedding ceremonies and joyous funerals. Making a base in the village of Ubud in the central highlands (which I greatly prefer to the beach areas of Bali, heavily visited by Australian surfers), I enjoy one of the cheapest vacations on Earth, and yet one that is a profound cultural experience, supplemented by shopping expeditions to the arts and crafts shops of skilled artisans in the other villages that surround Ubud.Robert Harding