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Bali, the Island of the Gods
Bali is a place of fascination; its spiritual heart is visible with every enchanting flower petal offering, each sound of the mystic gamelan, and with every smile from the colourful locals joyfully marching at ceremonial parades. Bali remains one of the world’s most popular island destinations and it offers something to every type of visitor. Whatever the reason you visit Bali you will find a warm welcome from the Balinese. Their natural hospitality is as infectious as it is genuine – the Balinese always have time to be friendly and offer a helping hand.
The sheer wealth of Bali’s natural attributes cannot be understated. Most visitors arrive for the beaches; some stretch wide and unbroken for miles, some are hidden white-sand coves, others volcanic black sand that glitters in the sunlight. Bali excels in excitement for all visitors, and the range of entertainment activities on offer is breath-taking. The variety of water sports alone are a magnet for active lovers of the ocean; from diving on crystal clear reefs to riding world famous surf breaks, parasailing, jet skiing and more.
Travel inland and you will find pristine jungles and lush terraced rice fields that exude peace and serenity. Under the shadow of the island’s mighty volcano, Mount Agung, an ancient culture has constructed intricately carved exotic temples and water palaces set against stunning natural backdrops. Visit the sacred Ubud Monkey Forest and you’ll find its mischievous primates, or the ocean side temples of Tanah Lot – and Uluwatu, where you’ll see the beguiling sunset Kecak Dance.
World class restaurants serve up delicious dining experiences alongside traditional Balinese warungs [cafes] providing great meals. Once the sun goes down, in Kuta and Seminyak, pulsating music venues, destination bars and chic beach clubs attract thousands of nightlife worshippers.
Bali’s unique combination of historical and archaeological attractions, golden beaches, arts and crafts, colourful ceremonies, and dramatic natural beauty results in a plentiful use of word “paradise” to describe this magical isle. And not without reason, after all Bali is well known as the Island of the Gods.
Sanur is a family friendly seaside town blessed with great sunrises.Geographically it lies opposite Kuta and Seminyak, but is the polar opposite to the busy west coast in its chilled, easy-going character.
Sanur attracts families with its pure eastern stretches of golden-sand beaches lapped by peaceful, reef-sheltered waters. These languid, shallow seas are ideal family sanctuaries in which children can play safely while adults rest in sleepy comfort.
If looking for more exertion than your daily swim, Sanur is has a lot of water based activities to offer; wake boarding, kayaking, parasailing, sea-walking and kitesurfing. Sanur’s long tradition of fishing is visible every morning as the jukung outrigger boats bring in the daily catch. You can easily hire one to head out into the waters to pass a few hours.
Along Sanur’s 8 km coastline is a paved boardwalk for cycling, jogging or just strolling along while looking for a local restaurant for a tasty meal. Sanur’s thriving main street, Jalan Danau Tamblingan, is full of restaurants, shops and amenity stores so you don’t have to go far to be fed and watered.
Sanur’s sleepy popularity and village charm continues to attract new converts, and repeat visitors, to enjoy its unpretentious ambiance.
The gorgeous Canggu region, on the south west coast of Bali, hugs the ocean and is dotted with small villages, each with their own beach areas: Berawa Beach, Batu Bolong and Echo Beach. Canggu is a relatively undeveloped resort and retains an authentic sense of warm local tradition, while at the same time, enjoying a recent hip coolness. It has become a welcome addition to Bali’s fabulous coastal resorts.
Fashionable Canggu appeals to visitors looking for a more laid back experience than Seminyak or Kuta. Trendy cafes, stylish beach clubs, exquisite restaurants and an exuberant water park have arrived, enabling Canggu to swiftly grow into one of the coolest spots in Bali.
The surroundings remain green and lush, peppered by the tropical, iconic Balinese rice fields. Friendly locals are warm and engaging and greet you with a smile and a wave. Ride a horse along the beaches, stroll along green lanes festooned with Balinese decorations, and end the day with a sunset drink sitting on an uncluttered beach.
Canggu is just a short 20 minute drive to bustling Seminyak or an hour’s walk along Canggu’s wide, rambling beaches.
Gianyar’s gentleness and mystical feel offers a nourishing and blissful pleasure affecting all visitors and creating long lasting memories.
Gianyar offers ideal opportunities for cultural immersion as Bali’s cultural and spiritual home, Ubud, is just 10km away. The sacred Elephant Cave [Goa Gajah], the Bat Cave Temple [Goa Lawah] and East Bali’s historic water palaces at Tirta Gangga and Ujung are all within easy reach.
There are a wealth of activities and entertainment to be enjoyed: the Bali Bird Park, and Bali Safari and Marine Park are within 10 minutes’ drive of Villa Yang Ylang. You can find amazing horse riding experiences along Saba beach and the infamous natural wonders of Bali are all around you.
Saba Beach is a secluded, tranquil, black-sand beach. Its calm and serene feel offers the full package of valuable relaxation. Swimming, sunbathing or just walking the beach enjoying the breeze and beautiful scenery are the joys of a holiday in Gianyar. It is only a 25 minute drive to Sanur if you are looking for more shopping, dining and nightlife options.
Just 20 minutes south of the international airport, the Bukit area of Bali begins. It brings with it a ruggedly beautiful landscape, white-sand cove beaches and incredible cliff-top views of the sunset.
The Bukit is home to the island’s best beaches and there are plenty to choose from. Beaches, such as Padang-Padang, are world famous and gather plenty of admirers while others, like Nyang Nyang, are much less accessible and retain a magical isolated appeal. Add Balangan, Pandawa, Tegul Wangi, Green Bowl and many more beaches to the list and it’s easy to understand the appeal of this region.
The Bukit features three great golf courses, all offering truly outstanding links views over the cliffs out into the Indian Ocean. It’s a golfer’s dream! The Bukit is, of course, a paradise for keen surfers and features many world-class surfing destinations for beginners, intermediates, and professionals.
There is no shortage of first-class destination restaurants on the Bukit and many combine fine dining with unmatchable cliff-top views. If you prefer to catch sunsets in an easy laid-back style, then beach shacks serve up delicious chilled cocktails, as well as the panoramic cliff-hugging destination bars.
No visit to the Bukit is complete without seeing the unique Kecak dance, performed nightly, at the Uluwatu Temple perched precariously on the edge of the Bukit’s southernmost cliff.
Once a destination for wandering hippy surfers, recent years have transformed Seminyak into Bali’s most dynamic and trendy destination. This now fashionable location has every beach highlight to suit families and friends, all budgets, and tastes. With long wide beaches capturing stunning views west across the Indian Ocean, Seminyak beach is a gorgeous piece of the coastline.
Seminyak Beach is still loved by surfers, schools have sprung up to teach beginners and easy waves bring adventurers back year after year. For less well-balanced water lovers, much fun in the surf is had with ever present boogie boards!
Seminyak has the best fine dining in Bali, with a wealth of top-class restaurants serving up local and international cuisine. The bustling Jalan Laksmana is known fondly by the nickname ‘eat-street’ for its range of great restaurants.
Fashion design is visible at every turn, and lively Seminyak Square attracts shoppers with plenty of individual boutiques showing off the latest new beachwear.
Seminyak is where the best of Bali’s Beach Clubs are, and many of the island’s ultimate island chill out spots. Long-time favourites like Ku De Ta, Mozaic and Potato Head are always an exciting draw for fine dining and watching sunsets while top Dj’s spin tunes.
The cool mountain town of Ubud stands proudly as Bali’s cultural centre and hub to the island’s artistic heartland. The hospitality of the Balinese ‘highlanders’ creates a memorable sense of friendly community that is both endearing and enduring. The town bristles with a rare energy that has given Ubud a popularity, equalling the island’s superb coastal destinations.
Plenty of Bali’s visitors bypass the beach and head straight for the beauty of Ubud’s captivating landscapes. There is always an eager flow of visitors ready to capture the close up scenes of lush rice terraces, jungle valleys, and vast panoramic views. The sacred Ubud Monkey Forest is a must destination for any visitor to Ubud, with its enchanting feel and groups of mischievous primates.
In recent years Ubud has become a magnet for visitors seeking spiritual and holistic health practices. Yoga, massage, meditation and all things holistic are available from courses to practice spaces to teachers.
Ubud is a place of fascinating religion and history – you’ll find many cultural highlights in the shape of the Tirta Empul Temple, the Gunung Kawi Temple. The majestic Puri Saren Royal Palace, in the centre of town, has nightly cultural and traditional dance performances.
Ubud, and the surrounding villages are well known as a centre for artistry and handicrafts. Artisans produce exquisite jewelry, textiles, paintings, stone-work and woodcarvings for the local and international market. You’ll find dozens of art studios and exceptional craft markets and galleries along Ubud’s main street.