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East Bali: Top Things to Do and Best Beachfront Villas

in Destinations by
Villa Pushpapuri Bali Beachfront Villa

Its easy to be seduced by the glamour of southern Bali with its trendy restaurants and uber-cool beach clubs, but if you have something a little quieter in mind for your Bali holiday, the pristine Sunrise Coast on the island’s eastern shores has a charm all its own.

Saba beach in East Bali

Peaceful coastal villages nestle amidst banana plantations, lush green rice fields and exotic palm-fringed black sand beaches. A trio of volcanos looming in the distance make the most stunning of backdrops, especially when bathed in the pearly pink light of a Bali sunrise.

TOP THINGS TO DO

The atmospheric seaside town of Candidasa is situated mid-way up the east coast just 60km from the airport. Local art shops sell paintings, handicrafts and wood carvings, while casual open-air restaurants are strung along the shore, some with candle-lit tables right on the beach. Make sure to check out the main temple with a dreamy location on the edge of a lotus-filled lagoon.

Adventure-seekers can trek to the top of Mount Agung – the island’s highest peak, while water enthusiasts can explore Bali’s best dive sites, such as the HMS Liberty Wreck. Adrenalin junkies can get their kicks on a shark dive, or glide through the water with manta rays. The cool waters of Tirta Gangga, an elaborate water palace tucked into the nearby hills, makes a gentler respite with its spring fed pools and water fountains carved from stone.

A few kilometers inland from Candidasa, the 700-year-old walled village of Tenganan is home to the Bali Aga, the island’s first inhabitants. It is quite a cultural attraction these days, but still provides a fascinating glimpse into a traditional way of life and is justly famed for its beautiful ikat weavings.

The small coastal village of Jasri is home to Charly’s chocolate factory. You won’t find Willy Wonka, but you will find delicious chocolate (try the Narkabo dark chocolate nibbles) and great photo opportunities thanks to a quirky assortment of cone-shaped bamboo houses clustered in a grove of coconut palms right on the beach. Nearby, a bumpy dirt road winds through verdant forest to emerge at Pasir Putih (white sand) rightly crowned as Bali’s most beautiful beach. Bathe in the turquoise sea, soak up the rays from a deckchair and indulge in fresh fish for lunch, barbecued right in front of you. 

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Obama in Bali: All the Pictures

in News by
Obama Bali Holiday Labaran June 2017

How does the former First Family handle a holiday in Bali? By touring the island’s delights, that’s how. 

See all the photos of Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia – The Obamas – during their recent visit to The Island of the Gods, where they caused quite a stir of excitement and brought about many thumbs-ups.

 

Obama Jet Arrive Bali

(1) The 44th U.S. President and family arrived in Bali, Indonesia on 23rd June 2017 aboard a private jet and were warmly greeted by a well organised line of people and two large cars.

One of the ladies wore a comfortable-looking white-coloured pull-over as she disembarked the aircraft, which is excellent flight attire.

 

Obamas Jet at Bali Airport

(2) Mr. Obama received a welcome handshake from Bali Governor, Made Mangku Pastika.

It is not known what was in the lonesome bag or why it had such prominence in this blurry photo.

 

Barack Obama at Tirta Empul Bali Temple

(3) For a visit to the Tirta Empul Temple outside of Ubud, a relaxed and informal Mr. Obama had the “Dad abroad look” nailed as he gestured to something in the distance.

Meanwhile, the man in the light-blue shirt stood with a wonderfully authoritative pose. It’s nothing short of majestic.

 

Obama Handshake Bali Temple

(4) Dressed in his favourite dark blue jeans and conventional white polo,  Mr. O warmly greeted hosts with his double-handed handshake and famous golden smile.

 

Sasha Obama and Malia Obama sightseeing in Bali

(5) Wearing the traditional garment known as sarong or selendang, Sasha and Malia Obama made sure they didn’t miss a shot with both a phone and chunky DSLR on hand.

 

Michelle Obama in Bali

(6) Michelle Obama confidently led the way in her brand-new sneakers as the family explored the site.

 

Obama waving in Bali

(7) Barack Obama waved to the many onlookers vying for his attention.

Better than nothing.

 

Obama at Bali Temple 2017

(8) Apparently it was tricky to get a good photo.

 

Obama tall tourist visiting Bali

(9) The presence of a shorter man in the posse almost cleared the way for an unobstructed view of Mr. Obama playing tourist. 

 

Barack and Michelle in Bali

(10) 

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Scuba Diving in the Maldives

in Recreation by
Scuba Dive Site in Maldives Baa Atoll

AN UNDERWATER DREAM COME TRUE

Don’t let the name deceive you. Diving in the ‘MalDIVES’ is anything but mal! Teeming with marine life, the 1,190 tiny islands of the Maldives lie scattered across 800 kilometres of Indian Ocean like jewels escaping from an overturned treasure chest. And they offer some of the best diving in the world.

As the Indian Monsoon Current sweeps across this equatorial island chain, it brings with it nutrients that feed the soft corals and sponges found clinging to rock walls. Caverns and overhangs dotted with mysterious, vibrantly coloured creatures line the ocean channels, while rock pinnacles extend to the water’s surface within crystalline lagoons.

These coralene islands are home to some 900 species of fish. While manta rays, whale sharks, turtles and eels co-exist below the waves, stunningly white beaches provide a dreamscape for visitors looking to get away from it all.

The blissful Baa Atoll is a prime pick for when it’s time to tick ‘Diving in the Maldives’ off your bucket list.

“The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish” – Jaques Cousteau

Diving Baa atoll is an experience like no other. Designated a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in June 2011, it is the jewel on the necklace that is the Maldives. The atoll is situated on the west of the archipelago and experiences far fewer visitors in comparison to its southerly neighbours. From above, the 61 islands – half of which measure less than 10 hectares – resemble extra-terrestrial orbs spread out over a deep blue canvas. Close up, they offer heavenly visions overflowing with stunning natural beauty.

Our top pick in Baa Atoll is the less-than-one-kilometre-long Amilla Fushi, which translates to ‘your island home’. This quintessential paradise island boasts some of the best dive sites in the Maldives and can be reached in under a half an hour by seaplane from Malé International Airport. From Amilla Fushi, visitors have the opportunity to dive any of the 30 sites of the Baa atoll, including the Blue Hole and world-renowned Hanifaru Bay.

To guide you in your underwater explorations is HUB (Home of the Underwater Biosphere) in partnership with luxury dive pioneers Dive Butler International. Their team includes an international group of highly qualified marine conservationists and dive professionals who can tailor excursions to meet your needs.

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Milestone Birthday Trips: Celebration Inspiration

in Tips by
Bali party villa Umah Daun Umalas

We know what you’ve been doing in our villas and we like it. Your birthday parties are fabulous. The surprises, the laughs, the photos – incredible. We can’t think of a better reason for a memorable holiday in our villas, or a better way to celebrate a big birthday.

Are you (or someone you’d love to celebrate) approaching a 30th, 40th, 50th or 60th birthday? Planning a destination event to celebrate is easier than you might think.

James, who just turned 30, planned his Bali Birthday by himself and was very pleased with how it turned out.

“I’ve loved every minute of this holiday and that’s because of the fantastic Villa Umah Daun and Elite Havens team. Thanks for making my 30th birthday my best yet!”

He started planning his birthday trip about one year in advance, when it occurred to him that the big 3-0 was a good excuse to bring people together for a holiday in Bali. The hardest thing about coordinating a group holiday – picking the date – was done. Before calendars filled up with too many other appointments and occasions, James’s 30th was penciled in.

For his friends and family in Australia and New Zealand, the travel distance to Bali was feasible, so the invitation to his special ends-in-an-0 birthday was hard to turn down. A group of twenty agreed to join James for his milestone birthday trip, and the rest quickly fell into place.

They chose two Elite Havens villas – Villa Umah Daun and Villa Surya Damai. Both are five-bedroom villa rentals in Umalas (smack between the tourist haunts of Seminyak and Canggu).

Bali Birthday Party at Villa Umah Daun

According to the B-day boy, everyone was blown away by the size of the villas, their amenities and the personal service they received from start to finish. James reserved the villas directly with Elite Havens, so our team were aware of his birthday and his preferences before arrival.

A milestone birthday trip means your fête will exceed the 24-hours of your birthDAY. You don’t have to choose between having a daytime pool party or a barbecue or a dinner party or hire a band or go out dancing – you can do them all.

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24 hours in Batu Bolong

in Recreation by

Having settled into your exquisite villa on this island paradise, it’s time to head out and explore Bali’s hippest ‘hood – Batu Bolong.

While Canggu is a cool collection of gorgeous green tropical tracts of rice paddy with smatterings of sacred cows, Batu Bolong is blooming into the hottest locale for chic bohemian lifestyle.

Think organic market and chichi yoga meets beach-bum couture accessorised by celebrity-anointed designers. The food is fab too.

Secure that chauffeur-driven car and kick the day off with a tres authentic French breakfast at the holy shrine of Monsieur Spoon, or graze on the most amazing Nagu Bomb breakfast bowl of sweet local fruit, coconut milk and granola at Betelnut Café. Cool cafés are a growth industry on this strip, so check out the super buzzing Crate, the uber healthy Avocado and the recently opened Bro – an intriguing mash up of ‘awesome Chinese and authentic French’ – while you’re here.

Machine-porn at Malamadre is where custom-created motorcycles are produced from a tiny workshop, while over at the epic Deus ex Machina they are customised alongside surfboard shapers, a barber, live music and food.

Artist types longing to embrace Bali’s creative realm will adore silver smithing at the House of Alia where professionals share their painting and jewellery-making skills at workshops for small groups, including kids from age seven.

If the main game is retail therapy, the starting point is near the ‘Deus’ intersection.

Twentyone/Degrees stocks swimwear, jewellery and clothing ranges, while Flow & Yonder is a smokin’ hot surf-wear institution up some super-steep steps.

Puravida has non-resort-style women’s casuals while Asmara offers fashion with a Balinese spin. Nearby Horn has concept street-wear while a hop across the road to Bottle Avenue will secure some grape-based libations and vinyl music is sold next door.

Kiki’s Kloset has gorgeous beach-bum wear and smashing dresses. Blak is for the little ones and The Berawa Art House is worth inspecting, while opposite is Moon Rocks and 69 Slam – famous for teens.

Batu Bolong blooms restaurants like so many flowers, with a clutch being the chilled siblings of swank Seminyak outfits.

Kitchen Rustica offers classic Italian take-out made with love while inside the pod of shops at Love Anchor is the Roman restaurant Pinsology, dedicated to dishing pinsa – a type of pizza from Rome – plus tiramisu.

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