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The Island of the Gods
The island of Bali is among the most popular stops in Indonesia — the island’s people, culture, rhythmic dances, volcanoes, sculptured rice paddies, spectacular beaches, and beautiful scenery, combined with a stunning array of accommodations, make it a delectable place to visit.
The Balinese dedicate themselves to a vibrant and elaborate set of beliefs and an intriguing culture. Scores of sacred holidays and festivals are celebrated each year with ritual and pageantry. Ubiquitous palm-leaf offertory plates are replenished daily with flowers and fruit to honour the deities and placate evil spirits. Thousands of temples and altars dot the fertile landscape, rising from rice terraces and family compounds in rural hamlets that have remained mostly unchanged for a thousand years or more.
Humble caretakers for the gods, the Balinese have also been blessed with the inherently unselfish gift of hospitality. So Bali and more particularly, Ubud, are an obvious choice for the plethora of heavenly hideaways that the island has to offer. The name “Ubud” comes from a word that means “medicine” – the area is well -known amongst locals for the medicinal plants which grow there and for Como to locate two well-being resorts there makes perfect sense.
Nusa Dua is a manicured, self-contained, high-end tourist enclave replete with acres of palms, white sand beaches sheltered by coral reefs, pristine waters, and security gates at all entry and exit points. Abundant coconut trees are a reminder that the area was once a coconut plantation. Without doubt, this is resort headquarters and most visitors seem content with conspicuous relaxation and being only a 20-minute drive from the airport. Nusa Dua is also home to the most popular golf course in Bali, a major convention centre and to one of the most splendid but underappreciated art museums in Bali.
This area is located on the western side of the island on the narrow bit of land that connects the bulk of island to the south. Jimbaran is famed for a long, wide beach, beautiful bay, seafood restaurants and the cluster of up-market hotels. A fishing village and its fleet, traditionally anchored at the northern end of the beach, provides a scenic backdrop that complement the sunsets.
These days it is difficult to distinguish where Legian ends and Seminyak begins because the (original) villages have been merging one into the other for decades. What does distinguish Seminyak however, are its divine sunsets. It has been described as Bali’s Notting Hill or Soho and it clearly thrives on a healthy social beat. Visitors include royalty, the Jakarta glitterati and the simply trendy. Seminyak stands for relaxing on the beach, blitzing the shops or just kicking back.
Best known for sunbathing, surfing and special sunsets, this quiet beach takes relaxing to the max. Traditional fishermen still come to the beach to eke out a livelihood in the sea. A prestigious country club and a handful of trendy dining venues have made a relatively unheralded arrival but there is an absence of the commercial hum of the restaurants and boutiques that characterize buzzy Seminyak. Peace still reigns over Ganggu’s beach and coastal rice fields.
Tabanan is a versatile region that encompasses a wide range of landscapes from lofty peaks and dense tropical jungle in the north, to fertile rice plains in the south. On its coastline is a string of beautiful, black sand beaches where some chic establishments have now put down their fashionable roots. Apart from the well-frequented seaside temple of Tanah Lot this is a still a mainly agricultural area, renowned for its dancers and gamelan musicians. It is home to one of Bali’s last royal families who live in a palace that is open to the public.
Like Lovina, Candi Dasa has been a drawcard for travellers since the 1970’s. The area is renowned for its spectacular beauty where lush, steep rises from the coast create unforgettable scenery. Fortunately tourism has had a relatively low impact. A kilometer or two up any side road reveals ancient village life goes on essentially unchanged. The cluster of old regencies in this district offer easy access to untouched rural countryside, local traditions and the region’s royal past.
Ubud comes wrapped in clouds, bathed in calm, sunshine, thunderstorms, mists and the restorative sounds of farm and village animals, birdlife, temple gongs and the chants of the dance. Quirky art galleries complement the myriad hues of green in palm fronds, trees, and rice fields. Whilst the main streets are bustling with energy, the locals are laid-back and friendly. Turn down any side street and you can find yourself in the byways of Balinese village life.
Lovina is the name of a string of villages on Bali’s northern coast, a 3 and a half hour scenic journey from Denpasar. Here you can still find the beautiful soul of Bali that attracted backpackers there decades ago: bold, black-sand beaches, good offshore snorkelling, a variety of restaurants and now, attractive places to stay. It offers a sensuous contrast to the island’s cultural centre and the busier, beachy south.
The massive Buddhist temple of Borobudur, the most famous attraction in central Java, lies about 40 kilometres east of the sultanate city of Yogyakarta. It is an elaborate 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple that is one of the historical art treasures of the world, It is thought to have been built in the 8th or 9th C and is constructed in the form of a lotus and adorned with scores of Buddha statues and bas-reliefs. It consistently tops lists of world wonders and must-sees. The temple, created in the shape of a mandala, contains elaborate carvings that portray Javanese court life of the time. Once a year, during the spring, on the Buddhist new year of Wasiak, the small Indonesian Buddhist population descends on Borobudur in a huge, colourful procession.
Nearby its famous neighbor is the 10thC Hindu temple Prambanan with its ornate spires carved with reliefs honoring Shiva.
Bali has a tropical climate with a year round average temperature of 31 degrees Celsius.
Bali has two seasons; the dry season that officially runs from May to October with the lowest humidity. Occasionally rainfall can be expected during the dry season, usually at night or early morning. From June to August there is usually a refreshing cool breeze all day long. The central mountain areas are typically cooler than the lower coastal areas, especially at night.
The wet season is officially from October to April with high humidity. The wet Season brings daily rain and overcast days with the most rain recorded between December to February.
Nyepi: The Balinese Day of Silence
The Balinese people welcome the dry season after their most important holiday, Nyepi day, the “Balinese day of Silence. This is a day reserved for silence, fasting, and meditation and falls between late March and early April. Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, the main restrictions are low lighting; no working, entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and for some, no talking or eating at all. Hence usually bustling streets and roads are empty and there is little signs of activity. Traveller’s are not exempt; while free to do as you wish inside resorts, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets and Bali airport is closed for the day.
Elegant Resorts & Villas
332 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
P: 1800 079 965 or +61 2 8270 4850