Beach in reach, Bali
We've scoured coasts, combed beaches and searched the shore in our hunt for the coolest seaside stays, where the hotels are never far from the water’s edge. Clifftop castles, beachy B&Bs and island idylls – you'll find them all here, alongside sandy resorts and Caribbean retreats. You just have to decide whether your idea of beach-bum heaven is skimming stones in Brighton, surfing in Santa Monica or scuba diving in the Seychelles…
Underwater explorers will love Gayana Eco Resort's coral-dotted, marine-reserve dive centre (the treks into the Borneo jungle won't disappoint, either). Bali's Alila Manggis is splashing distance from seven of the globe's best dive sites and is edged by sublime snorkeling waters. Sumba, an hour's flight from Bali, is a hush-hush travellers' secret, and at Nihiwatu you'll sample the island's best: incredible ocean views, breeze-cooled outdoor living and world-class surf breaks in reach. A speedboat ride from Amanzoe, a marble-hewn hilltop haven in southern Greece, is the island of Dokos, whose diver-drawing coast lays claim to the world's oldest known shipwreck.
Mount Agung’s lunar landscape, the white waters of the Ayung river, Lovina’s black-sand beaches, rugged Ahmed’s snorkelling hostpots: there’s more to Bali than endless paddy fields, surfing beaches and designer boutiques, and much much more to sprawling Indonesia than this breeze-blessed island of gods. Dizzying Jakarta is the vigorously modern hub for committed shoppers and dyed-in-the-silk party people, and the jumping-off point for the archipelago’s true wonders: untamed Sumatra, mystic Yogykarta and the deep, clear diving waters from Komodo to Sulawesi.