With more than 900,000 Australians choosing to visit Indonesia each year, Bali has become one of Australia’s top holiday destinations. For those wishing to experience the true Balinese experience without the crowds, East Bali is the perfect choice. This picturesque region contains volcanoes, rice fields, sweeping bays, crashing waves, Balinese villages, water-palaces and a choice of great, traditional and luxury accommodations.
The top ten musts to discover the unique cultural, spiritual, gastronomical, and adventurous sides of this region are:
1. Hotel Komune Beach club
Home to the worlds first permanent night surfing installation, Hotel Komune Beach Club is a must for beach lovers and surfers alike. It is the ideal place to take in sweeping ocean views whilst enjoying a drink and incredible fresh and tasty food, from Komune’s own organic garden. Watch (or participate in) the famous night surfing demonstrations and embrace the relaxed surfing lifestyle.
2. Candidasa and Pasir Putih
Candidasa is one of Bali’s fundamental laid-back areas which offers visitors a wide range of accommodation options. However, a few kilometres northeast of Candidasa is Pasir Putih (White Sand Beach), one of East Bali’s well-kept secrets. Pasir Putih is a beautiful and isolated five hundred metre long white sand beach fringed with coconut palms. Rent a sunbed or umbrella from one of the warungs and soak up the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.
3. Goa Lawah
Goa Lawah means ‘bat cave‘ in Balinese, and is a unique attraction, as well as a place of religious importance to the Balinese people. Founded in 1007 by Empu Kuteran this temple is a natural cave where thousands of tail bats dwell. Goa Lawah is one of the nine kayangan jagat (directional temples) that protect Bali from evil spirits and is definitely worth a visit for a unique spiritual experience.
4. Elephant Safari Park and Lodge
The Elephant Safari Park and Lodge in Ubud is the ultimate destination for animal lovers. This luxury safari style lodge offers a world exclusive experience to interact, feed, ride, observe, learn, play and stay with 30 beautiful Sumatran elephants, one of the most rare and endangered species of elephants left in the world today. Interact with this gentle giant whilst gaining your peace and tranquility in the tropical parkland surrounds.
5. Gunung Agung
Gunung Agung (Mt. Agung), is Bali’s largest volcano, located in the district of Karangasem in East Bali. On a clear day you can see Gunung Agung from all over the island and scuba divers often use it as a reference point, when out in the water. Gunung Agung is the ideal destination for adventure lovers, with a range of great hiking routes. It is also the holiest place in Bali, with Besakih, the ‘mother temple’, on its slope.
6. Seniman Coffee Studio
Set amongst the gentle slopes of Ubud, Seniman Coffee Studio is a hidden gem for coffee connoisseurs. This boutique coffee studio will entice you with its fabulous organic Indonesian blends, and super hip vibe. Seniman translates as artist in Indonesian and this funky café celebrates the art of coffee crafting. Their fresh brews are served on custom made wooden trays, accompanied by a homemade Indonesian sweet.
7. Sari Organik Bodag Maliah
Situated in a sea of luscious green rice paddies, Sari Organik Bodag Maliah is the ultimate destination for organic Balinese cuisine. Sari Organik is an experimental station for farming and food processing located close to the center of Ubud. They specialise in growing organic vegetables and rice and making other products that can be processed from local produce (seeing where your food comes from is as simple as looking out at the adjacent garden). To embrace the whole experience be sure to explore the farm, which also produces jams, wines and cheese.
Tirtagangga has been shaped in the form of a beautiful water garden and is famous for its Royal pools that were built in 1948. Tirtagangga literally means ‘water that flows from the Ganges’, which makes it significant in the Hindi culture. The water is regarded as holy and is a popular component to many religious and culture ceremonies in the region. The water gardens shows a unique blend of Chinese and Balinese architecture, set amongst the fantastic scenery of the surrounding countryside.
A small fishing village on the north-east coast of Bali, Tulamben has become one of the most coveted dive sites in all of Bali. Tulamben offers scuba diving amongst the wreck of the USS Liberty. The wreck lies in shallow water and is considered appropriate for divers of all certification levels. Besides diving, Tulamben offers great accommodation, and restaurants.
Tenganan, is one of the three main Bali Aga (traditional Balinese) villages and is the ideal place to visit if you want an authentic cultural experience. It is one of the oldest and most traditional villages in Bali in many regards, and worth exploring for the unique village design, history and social customs.