The Bali Villa Experience
The tropical island of Bali regularly polls as one of the best holiday destinations on the planet. First gaining repute as adventurous surfers travelled in search of warm waters, great swells and uncrowded line ups, Bali also became a ‘must do’ on the backpacker trail. While there is still a strong backpacking element here, Bali has grown up and matured as a destination, along with the surfers who first rode the waves of the now famous Uluwatu surf break. But just like those original surfers, coming of age hasn’t meant that the fun has stopped. There’s still plenty of that to be had on the Island of the Gods, but now Bali also does luxury like no where else in the world.
The villa experience is synonymous with a luxury Bali holiday for many. There’s nothing quite like having your own private pool, team of staff, comfortable bedroom suites and spacious living areas when you’re on holiday. No more sharing a pool with a bunch of drunken holiday makers, or not having anywhere to relax in a cramped hotel room, or being woken up at night as that football teams rolls in drunk down the corridor from a night out. You are the master, or mistress, of your very own tropical estate – where your breakfast is served where and when you want it, the pool is your own, and glorious sunsets turn into balmy tropical nights and your personal butler pours your drinks.
With so much variety for a relatively small island, exactly where you decide to stay depends on what you’re looking to do – other than relax by the pool in your fantastic villa of course. Seminyak is Bali’s upmarket tourist hotspot, located on the south of the island. Here you’ll find an endless supply of villas to choose from for your stay. And while you can stay close to the heart of the action here, Seminyak’s myriad of small lanes or gangs as they’re known locally mean that you can easily have your own slice of tranquillity. In Seminyak you’ll find endless options for eating, from local delicacies to cuisines from around Asia and the world. Try Murah Putih for a fine dining experience with an Indonesian menu, or Sarong for some cotemporary Asian fusion. Char Char serves up perfectly grilled steaks at reasonable prices and while you’re in town be sure to head to one of the beach clubs – Potato Head and Ku De Ta remain firm favourites – to sip on a cocktail while you watch one of Bali’s famous sunsets. Seminyak is a shopper’s heaven and high end boutique shops line the streets.
Head up the coast a short distance to Canggu. Bali’s new kid on the block, Canggu is rapidly developing its own micro culture with a hipster café scene and trendy bars where the cool kids like their lattes with soya milk and the party goes on until late. The good news is that there’s also a great selection of villas hiding away in the rice paddies. If you don’t mind being a little bit further out, you can find yourself a truly expansive villa that will make you feel like Lord, or Lady, of the manner and you’ll barely need to leave at all. The great news in this area is the beach is never far away if surfing is your thing and there are no end of shops, café and bars to explore, and some pretty good spas when it comes to some holiday pampering. Heading inland the hilly interior of the island and you’ll come to Ubud. Once a quiet market town in the hills, this town is another tourist meca, particularly for the yoga crowd. Think emerald green terraced rice paddies, deep jungle ravines, a troop of grey monkeys living in a forest full of sculptures and local traditions and ceremonies in a town that still has its own royal family and you’ll be close to imagining what Ubud is. It’s a great place to head for a few days to experience the rich arts culture and stunning scenery, which makes for some pretty breath taking villa settings.
Back to the south of the Island, and Kuta was the original holiday hotspot. There are some great hotels in the area, but it’s not really villa territory. Still, it’s a fun place and worth a visit. Head further south to the Bukit Peninsula and the Uluwatu area and enjoy beautiful beaches and stunning cliff top vistas of the Indian Ocean. Or if you really want to get away from it all, what about Nusa Lembongan? A small island 20 minutes off of Bali where you’re very own villa with an infinity pool overlooking the sea is waiting for you.
So now you’ve decided where to visit, the next decision is when? June, July and August are the middle of the dry season, the temperatures are a little lower and the humidity a little intense – a great time to be on the island. Wet season falls from about October to March, and in the middle of this the island has its busiest time of the year over Christmas and New Year. Prices rise and it gets busy, but there’s a great party atmosphere on the island at this time of year. However, staying outside of these times in the off season you can still find great weather and some fantastic deals on villas, taking you to the next level of luxurious holiday making.
Adam is an ex teacher with a passion for travelling. Having spent his very generous teacher holidays travelling the globe, the warm weather, warm water, reliable waves and fun vibes lead him to call Bali home. He now spends his time running an online travel agency as well as writing and editing magazines. When the crowds aren’t too big you’ll also find him riding the waves, or occasionally having a drink in one the island’s many nightclubs.
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