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HIGHLIGHTS OF BALI

 

Perhaps the most spiritual of all Indonesia's islands and also the most visited, Bali has a rich culture and striking landscapes, and offers a diverse range of activities and entertainment. The less developed and more mountainous central and northern areas is where you will find the Bali of old; traditional villages cultivating rice on ancient terraces, mystical temples in the shadows of volcanoes and fishing communities dotted around undisturbed shorelines. The south is the place to go for wide golden sand beaches, world class accommodation, shops, restaurants and nightlife.

 

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Ubud

Settled in the foothills of the volcanic mountains of northern Bali, Ubud provides a wonderful contrast to the lively and modern south coast of Bali. Surrounded by paddy fields and dramatic valleys, the old town is often considered to be the ‘cultural hub’ of the island. Particularly famous for its markets, temples, great selection of restaurants and its traditional Balinese architecture, Ubud town is a great place for private exploration. Particularly good for families and young couples wanting to be in the heart of the action, there is a good range of accommodation within the town, including Komaneka Monkey Forest, Komaneka at Bisma and Wapa Di Ume.

 

As soon as you leave the town you are surrounded by a stunning combination of lush and fertile paddy fields and steep sided river valleys. This provides a great setting in which to sit back and unwind, go for a gentle stroll or travelling further afield to explore local villages and their way of life. For the more active there is the chance to go white water rafting on the Ayung River. There is an extensive range of accommodation here, particularly in terms of upmarket hotels, and all provide easy access to the town. Luxury pool villas like Samaya Bali Ubud, Pita Maha Resort and Uma Ubud are perfect for honeymoons and romantic getaways; while The Chedi Club and Viceroy Bali provides luxury and style in a truly authentic Balinese setting.

 

Seminyak & Legian

Seminyak is quiet and pleasant, attracting return visitors seeking more peace and seclusion second time around. Many expats with businesses in Bali choose to live here, so the shops and restaurants tend to cater for these more discerning tastes. A combination of beautiful beaches, sunsets and rice fields make Seminyak area a perfect place for relaxation. A few years ago Legian was a small village situated a short distance from Kuta, but has spread out so much that Legian is now part of the greater Kuta area. Legian is a quieter alternative and has a more sophisticated nightlife scene focusing on dining-out and socializing. Close to the action but far enough away for some down time, Legian still retains something of its village atmosphere and is easy to walk around with good shopping and restaurants. The area has a great selection of elegant hotels which are particularly suited to young couples who like to get out and about during a beach holiday. Providing an oasis in the heart of Seminyak and a relatively peaceful beach, The Samaya Villas Seminyak is an ultra-modern collection of private pool villas, while The Legian and Oberoi Bali more traditionally Balinese alternative and Hevea Villas is a great option for people on a bit more of a budget.

 

Jimbaran

Located on Bali's west coast between Kuta and Nusa Dua, Jimbaran offers a small-secluded beach area, where tranquility is the perfect antidote to a stressful world. Jimbaran is home to a number of grilled seafood restaurants, packed together all in a row along two stretches of beach. The tables are set up right on the sand, and if you sit in the lowest tables near high tide, you can find your feet getting wet. The sea breeze is cool, and the sunsets are beautiful. The picturesque Jamahal Resort & Spa and the more modern Kayumanis Jimbaran both offer great style and comfort.

 

Sanur

Sanur is one of the main beach resort areas on the south coast of Bali. Sanur’s history extends back to some of the oldest recorded writing on the island still preserved at the small temple at Prasasti Blanjong. The ancient text, dating back to the 10th Century, has inscriptions detailing the arrival of a Javanese king in Bali of the Mahayana Buddhist kingdom. The best hotels in the area The Pavilions, Gangsa Villas and Mahagiri Villas.

 

Nusa Dua

The exclusive gated enclave of Nusa Dua on the eastern point of Bukit Peninsula is the ideal place to enjoy a peaceful beach stay in the south of Bali. The beautiful beach is in the middle of a wide range of opulent hotels and private villas, our favourites being The Kayumanis Nusa Dua Villas and The Bale.

 

Uluwatu & Canggu

There are some additional peaceful options in the south. The dramatic cliffside location and ultra-chic style of Alila Villas Uluwatu provides a perfect romantic getaway. Meanwhile, to the north of Seminyak, Canggu provides a peaceful and relaxing base for a first or last night for holiday makers discovering the rest of Bali. The fascinating collection of antiques on view make Hotel Tugu Bali a uniquely stylish place to stay, while Waka Gangga and Desa Seni make great value alternatives, particularly for families.

 

Lovina

The most famous of the north coast resorts, is - a few private villas aside - a backpacker town. There is a good selection of good value places to eat and dolphin watching can be arranged from here in season. We would generally suggest staying in nearby Pemuteran. This small town has a great selection of hotels, including Matahari Beach Resort and The Damai, and is conveniently located to enjoy the famous diving and snorkelling spot of Menjangan Island. A little further west is the wonderfully unique Menjangan Resort which is built in Bali Barat national park and is host to some idyllic lagoons with some of the only white-sand beaches on the north coast.

 

Candi Dasa

This simple village on the northwest coast is a great place from which to explore Mt. Agung and the famous Besakih temple, go diving on a WII ship wreck in Tulamben, visit the water palace of Tirttagangga and the old town and markets of Klung Klung. The secluded Alila Manggis and Amankila on the South East coast is a dramatic and luxurious alternative.