An insider’s look at the must-sees on the island that captivates surfers, divers, meditators, yogis, party people, and casual travelers alike.
by Anna Monichi
Founder and CEO at Luxury Sight
Located about two hours from Sanur, south of Tulamben, Amed (and the road trip there) will captivate you. After you’ve passed in front of the Pura Goa Lawa, you’ll reach the famous Candidasa, a beach town that offers beautiful scenery, temples, spas, and small streets in the middle of rice fields and palm forests.
An overnight stay in Candidasa is recommended before continuing the next day to Amed via Amlapura, where you can visit the gardens of the temple Tirta Ganga.
Once in Amed you will enjoy a picturesque view along the road full of shops, diving centers, and resorts. The beach town is primarily a fishing village, and fishermen rent their boats (called “jukung”), after they’ve come back from fishing. Life in Amed is by the coast, nestled against the black sand beaches.
Amed is also one of the best spots for diving in Bali. According to Breizh Bali Divers, you can’t miss the following sites:
● Jemeluk: The steep cliff and pyramids. A 10-minute jukung ride will take you to one of two dive sites that offer coral reefs and a multitude of reef fish. In the steep cliff, you will always encounter turtles, gray sharks or black- or whitetip shark, groupers, wrasses, and humpback parrotfish.
● Lipah Bay: The site is located three kilometers from Jemeluk. Located near the beach, it’s a shipwreck, which is ideal for snorkeling. This site will be the point of departure and return from your dive. The wreck of a Japanese vessel with a steel hull 20 meters long is beautiful as it is encrusted with gorgon, sponges, and black coral. This site is very rich, and you will see fish such as reef fish, ghost fish, juvenile fish, shrimp, and many crabs.
After a day of diving, snorkeling, and admiring the underwater world, you can take a walk in the village of Bangli and see the magnificent sunset from Waeni’s Warung while enjoying a beer or a cocktail.
Another beautiful experience not to miss in Bali is rafting through the rapids in Ubud. Grab your oars and get ready to rage in an exhilarating adventure on the spectacular Ayung River. Water rafting in Bali ride is safe, fun, and a breathtaking experience to be enjoyed with family or friends.
The action starts when you launch into a 9.6-kilometer river stretch, navigating rapids set to a backdrop of wild unspoiled rainforest, towering gorges, and magnificent rice paddy terraces. Professionally trained and experienced guides pilot safety-equipped rafts through the best river runs, through dramatic drops and past spectacular waterfalls to make your Bali rafting ride fun and awesome. The experience takes around two hours.
If you prefer calmer holidays, Ubud also offers plenty of possibilities to practice yoga and meditation, and to eat healthy, a raw diet being very popular there. Ubud is also home to the yearly Bali Spirit Festival (www.balispiritfestival.com), which gathers musicians, artists, and yoga practitioners and dancers from all around the world.
● Royal Tunjung Bali (Jl. Padma Utara, Legian, Kuta, Bali, +62 361 756 013, www.royaltunjungbali.com), located in Legian, Bali, is a luxurious hotel just 150 meters from the beach. Although the hotel is close to the bustling main street, its small number of villas and peaceful surroundings, with exotic gardens that imitate a tropical forest of large trees, wild orchids, and fish ponds, give the perfect sense of privacy.
● Luxury Sight (www.luxurysight.com) offer stays in luxury eco-designed tents, in Ubud, where interiors and exteriors offer the unique experience of being in touch with nature without sacrificing comfort and the luxury of fine and sophisticated furnishings. Each luxury tent is nestled in a lush, private tropical garden, with a private infinity pool overlooking the forest of coconut palms. Luxury Sight offers a range of luxury villas with top-class service in different locations in Bali, including transportation by helicopter and the organization of private dinners and parties, weddings, and honeymoons.
Surfing the Bukit
Heading south is the energy peak of the island: the Bukit. Walk on white sand beaches with seaweed and fishing villages, and see how the reefs and cliffs at sunset are transformed into a harmony of colors.
In Uluwatu you will find one of Bali’s most iconic temples, the stunning Pura Luhur Uluwatu, where you can attend a traditional Balinese performance at sunset or have dinner on the beach at the famous Jimbaran seafood restaurants.
When the winds blow, a massive swell from the Pacific Ocean crashes onto the reefs surrounding the area, creating waves that attract surfers from around the world, as the breaks are rated to be the fifth best in the world.
To truly experience the Bukit area, it’s necessary to stay there at least a week—although some people like it so much that they never leave. There are many places to discover: hidden beaches that are difficult to reach, such as Nyang Nyang; and Nusa Dua, an oasis that is home to the most luxurious hotels and infrastructure on the island, which enjoys a privileged location in front of one of Bali’s most popular beaches with white sand and crystal-clear water.
Partying in Seminyak
A visit to Bali is not complete without doing some shopping and attending a good party. To scope out the nightlife and shopping scene, head north from Uluwatu and make a stop on the east coast in Seminyak.
Not to miss in this beach town that gathers fashionistas and party people:
● Massage at Body Works Bali. It’s the best mid-range spa in the area, but a bit of an institution, really. Try the exfoliation massage (Mandi Lulur)
● Sunset at Potato Head
● Dinner at La Casetta, in the middle of the rice fields
● Drink at La Favela, where every Friday night the most glamorous people on the island meet