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India, Far East & Australasia / Bali & Indonesia

Ianthe Butt, Acting Features Editor of Condé Nast Traveller

"I fell in love with Bali during my backpacking years and return as often as I can. Back then my days spent exploring the island turned into weeks. Watching the surf roll in at Uluwatu, come sundown surfboards silhouetted against a crimson sky, arak cocktail in hand; whizzing noisily along bumpy dirt tracks on the back of a motorbike, past paddy fields just outside of Ubud. And it’s here you’ll find my most favourite place, COMO Shambhala Estate. A world-renowned spa; villas that are stylish and grand with the most splashable private pools; there are even tucked away spa beds in the thick of the forest, like stepping onto the set of Avatar. But best of all, step away from under the pillar-and-thatch-cover of the Estate’s teahouse, and you’ll find one bench, set apart. Down below is a deep cut – a valley gorge carpeted with tree after tree. Swallows swoop overhead fluttering through the air like kites. Sitting there feels like you have the whole of Bali’s wilderness at your feet. And it is blissful."