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Bali’s Cultural, Spiritual and Creative Centre: Ubud

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Recreation by
Ubud rice terraces

Ubud is in many ways Bali’s cultural, spiritual and creative centre. Just an hour’s drive north of the airport, it is home to one of Bali’s royal families who actively support the arts, leading to a thriving art scene. Along Ubud’s main street are galleries and stores selling antiques, woodcarvings, bright textiles and beautiful paintings.

An Expertly-Curated Tour of Ubud

As a special gesture to our guests staying in select villas in the region, Elite Havens is offering a luxurious signature cultural immersion tour, carefully curated by our Elite Concierge team. Embark on a journey into the heart of Ubud and get an insight into what makes it so delightfully unique. “We’ve chosen what we feel are the highlights of each location, so our guests can get a glimpse of the province over the course of a day, and it’s all wrapped it up in true Elite Havens style,” assures Andy Grant, Head of Concierge for Elite Havens.

Ubud, Bali

Discover Batuan Village

Batuan, a village in Ubud noted for its artwork, is our first stop in the signature Elite Havens Ubud tour. It contains many cooperative art societies and galleries, which have all played a key role in promoting the local art of Batuan. Batuan is also a style of painting that originated in the village in the 1930s, and your Elite Havens guide will reveal further insights during the exclusive tour. “Expect to see true tropical jungles with vast ravines, and an abundance of local artisans working at their crafts, which have been passed down through generations,” Andy shares.

Canang

See Batuan Temple

You will be warmly welcomed into the home of a Balinese family, an unmissable opportunity where you can get a glimpse into the daily life of locals. Proceed from here to the stunning Batuan Temple, which is characterised by towering dark stones. Adorned with Balinese ornaments and elegant black roofs, the temple is known for housing ancient relics from prehistoric times. You will learn from your guide about the influence of Hindu culture in the region, and the origin of the statues on display.

Stone statue

Marvel at Art

We then take you to one of Ubud’s most prominent art galleries. Pause a while and take a look,

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Verdant Landscapes, Rolling Hills and Rice Terraces in Bali’s Tabanan Region

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Families/Recreation by
Jatiluwih rice terraces

Verdant landscapes, rolling hills and endless rice terraces characterise Bali’s Tabanan region. This off-the-beaten-track area is nature-rich and rife with discoveries to be made. Ancient temples, towering mountains and even a UNESCO World Heritage Site are all part of this lush territory. Deserted beaches abound, offering fabulous surf, minus the jostling crowds.

The Tantalizing Tabanan Tour

Our Elite Concierge has curated a spectacular tour of Tabanan, offered gratis to guests staying in select villas in the region. Take a trip down the path less trodden, where adventure and the pleasure of seeking out the new take centre stage. We give you a guided tour through astounding greenery that will take your breath away. Drive all the way up steep hills to the highest peaks, to experience the best views and the most wondrous sights. “Holiday time is precious as well as limited, so we want to ensure guests embarking on our curated tours really get to experience the best the region has to offer,” says Andy Grant, Elite Havens’ Head of Concierge.

Bali mount scenery

Marvel at Batukaru Temple

A private vehicle with your own personal guide will pick you up from your villa and take you to the Batukaru Temple. Situated at the foot of Mount Batukaru, the temple also has a freshwater spring in the main courtyard that serves as a water source for prayers and ceremonies. As a special gesture from Elite Havens, you may experience a spiritual water blessing at the temple.

Batukaru temple

Since the 11th century, Balinese Hindus have considered the mysterious site sacred. Often misty due to its elevation, it has an altitude of 2,270m above sea level, the second highest peak in Bali after Mount Agung. It is surrounded by natural forests and is equally perfect for breathing in spirituality and blessings, as it is for Instagram-worthy photo ops. “With the most stunning scenery, for me the regency of Tabanan gives a true sense of authentic, rural Bali,” adds Andy.

Batukaru temple

Explore Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are one of the tour’s highlights. The paddies fall in a rush, down steep hills, and are surrounded by troughs of water. The area is a draw for the athletically-inclined,

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Insider’s View: Kaba Kaba Estate

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We were invited to visit Kaba Kaba Estate in Kaba Kaba in the Tabanan region of Bali a few weeks ago. Having already seen a few luxury villas in Bali and having stayed in 3 different ones, I thought I knew what to expect: lots of space, quality building materials and a swimming pool. 

How quick one is to realize that they were lacking in foresight. First, the open foyer—or the first space that you discover after entering two large handcrafted wooden doors—had huge intricately carved walls. Housed in a square garden-like space surrounding a flower-filled pond, the open foyer beckoned you to enter with steps leading up to the main entrance of the estate.

 To the right was a path that led to the guest cottage, and to the left was an entrance to the main dining hall. Straight ahead was the main entryway, which led to the main foyer, which was absolutely luxurious. Filled with antique cabinets and curiosities from around the world, including a giant female Buddha, a welcoming bench and a staircase that led upstairs, the main entry hall also led to the master’s quarters, which contained a large four-poster bed and beyond, a deck that opened up into a private swimming pool. 

This pool was big enough for four people, but with the way it was situated, slightly shaded by an abundance of plants to give the bedroom privacy, you could imagine a couple luxuriating in its shallow waters. It led back outside to the main hallway with a cozy study-cum-den area replete with telephone (a rare sight nowadays) and all the accoutrements  necessary for a modern connected lifestyle. 

   

An exciting part of the villa was the open living room nearby, which had a wall filled with precious objets d’art and antiques that faced the outside: a humongous swimming pool with dark gray tiles to give the impression of murky waters. The living room was laden with art books on tables low enough to park your feet on, and several couches with pillows in the shapes of animals to tuck under your head for a light nap facing the outdoors. 

It was done in colors of beige and represented a way of life where you leisurely lounge in the presence of rare art across a “yard” (more the size of 2 football fields) that comprised several hundred square metres.

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The Best Alcohol Buys in Bali

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Alcohols

It’s probably fair to say that most people enjoy a drink when they’re on holiday. Whatever your favourite tipple – an iced beer on the beach; an exotic cocktail at sunset, or a glass of chilled wine by the pool, read on to gain some insider’s info on the best places in town to buy beer, wine and spirits. And even better – how to have it delivered.

First, we’d recommend that you skip the duty-free shop at Bali Airport.  While the store may be called ‘Duty Free’, it’s not. All alcohol that comes into Indonesia is slapped with a heavy import tax. The only ways around paying the tax are by purchasing a bottle of duty free at a foreign airport en route to Indonesia, or buying domestic products once you’re here.

FOLLOW THE STAR

Bintang Beer

In Bali, Bintang (meaning ‘star’) is synonymous with beer. This popular lager has 4.7% alcohol content and a mild flavour that’s well suited for beach holidays. Brewed in Indonesia, Bintang is a Heineken brand, and both beers display red stars prominently on their labels.

Second to Bintang, the most widely available beer in Bali is San Miguel (and San Miguel Light, served with lime). You’ll see Bali Hai, Anker and Stark, too. Foreign beers are harder to find, but they are out there if you know where to look. Beer & Co have outlets in Canggu and Legian, and propose a satisfying range of imported big name and craft beers. 

For good prices on local beers, head to the (rather confusingly named) Bintang supermarket in the centre of Seminyak, Bali. The store’s logo is, you guessed it, a red star. They also sell wine and spirits here and, conveniently, you can pick up a bottle opener or corkscrew while you are there.

Bintang Supermarket
Jl. Raya Seminyak No.17, Kuta Bali
+62 361 730 552

PEPITO

Back to the business of stocking the bar. Pepito is an established supermarket brand with stores all over South Bali and Ubud carrying a decent selection of booze including a wide choice of whiskey, bourbon and scotch.

For mixers, you’ll find Bali has the standard set from Schweppes – imported and domestic; soda water,

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Villas with Tennis Courts

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Photo of Tennis courts in Bali

At all Elite Havens, luxury accommodation is matched with a team of staff to look after every guest with superb service and cuisine. Many of the villas have extra perks – making them dream wedding venues, romantic retreats, the best villas for yoga, family fun or elite tennis villas. To score a villa with a court and learn from a highly qualified international tennis coach, enquire about our tennis packages. reservations@elitehavens.com

Villa Batujimbar – Sanur, Bali

Villa Batujimbar exemplifies everyone’s dream of a luxury Bali villa. A 20-metre swimming pool, private tennis court, air-conditioned gym, and private chef and personal round-the-clock butlers elevate your residency to regal levels.
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Pandawa Cliff Estate – The Bukit, Bali

As the estate’s name suggests, the villas are on a cliff-top overlooking Pandawa Beach. The complex offers a sports centre with full-size tennis court, squash court, gym and spa, as well as a dedicated playroom for the kids.
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Villa Ombak Laut – Cemagi, Bali

True athletes and adventurers, meet your match. Ombak Laut boasts two sparkling swimming pools, a private tennis court, a games room with billiard table, table tennis and bicycles for exploring the surrounding rice fields and villages.
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Arnalaya Beach House – Canggu, Bali

Families and sports fiends will adore the private tennis court with its ball machine and huge racket selection, pool, gym, spa and perfectly placed yoga platforms to catch the sunrise and watch over the Hindu rituals at a nearby fisherman’s temple.
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Kaba Kaba Estate – Tabanan, Bali

Within the extensive gardens is a superb tennis court, croquet lawn, a 25-metre swimming pool as well as two plunge pools (one serving the master suite and the other adjoining a guest suite), a children’s wading pool, lotus ponds and a duck pond… complete with resident ducks. With its multiple-pavilion layout and magnificent facilities, Kaba Kaba estate is perfect for two or three families who love holidaying together while enjoying their own breathing space.
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Villa Sapi – Sira Beach, Lombok

An extensive array of activities is available to guests of Villa Sapi,

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