Escape the South Bali crowds to East Bali's serene, remote landscapes of incredible beauty, tranquility and peace
Not quite the well-trodden path (yet!) and not exactly off the beaten track, East Bali is a beautiful island pocket of quaint sea breezes, diving meccas, untouched village life and salt plains that is often forgotten amidst the sizzle of Seminyak’s appeal. The lucky few that visit this gorgeous part of Bali (aside from just the port to the Gilis) are rewarded in many ways. And here, to just get you a little bit inspired, is eight of them:
1. Charlie’s Chocolate Factory
Picture this: freshly ground almond milk and cacao beans being concocted into heavenly bars of chocolate inside little wooden huts, surrounded by palm trees by the side of the ocean. The only thing missing is Johnny Depp in a top hat and burgundy overcoat. The factory is located in Jasri village, 15 minutes north of Candidasa and employs 12 people from the local village. Charlie’s products are distributed across the island at big names cafes such as Bali Buddha, Kafe, Sari Organic and Zula among others.
2. “That” giant swing
Just when the buzz of your milkshake and goji berry chocolate kicks in, Charlie’s Chocolate Factory wraps up the fun with a giant swing that tumbles out of the palm trees, hurling itself towards the ocean. Crazily ‘Insta-worthy’ and just a touch adventurous (you need to climb up a ladder and swing off a platform), this is a more elating experience than you can imagine. Swing and snap away!
3. Mount Agung
Bahasa Indonesia for “great”, Agung is a composite volcano that marks the highest point on the island of Bali. Standing over 3,000 metres above sea level, climbing Agung offers the chance to lurk above the clouds, viewing neighbouring Lombok from a whole new angle. Those happy to embark on the trek during night’s hours will be greeted by a spectacular sunrise. The non-adventurous beauty of Agung also, is the backdrop vista it provides all around you – dominating the horizon from most of the stunning white beaches.
4. Villa Flow
What would a Bali escape be without a glamorous abode to rest your head and spend lazy mornings gazing at the tropical palm trees and beaches in front of you? Villa Flow is one of East Bali’s finest thanks to its modern design, ethnic furnishings and array of wellness packages. The huge villa complex and its private rooms(2, 3 or 4 bedroom options) look out over the Lombok Strait, which sits beyond their own private garden sprouting in the goodness found in every meal they dish up. Sangat bagus!
Villa Flow, Seraya Bar., Kec. Karangasem, Kab. Karangasem, Bali, p. +62 821 4524 2733.
5. Mahi mahi
A whole day can easily be put aside for meandering along the sands of Jemeluk Bay watching traditional fishing boats drag in hordes of fish. The most popular catch seems to be the Indonesian mahi-mahi – a strong and tasty meat that dominates the menus of Amed (and much of Bali) in every variation imaginable. Being caught fresh out of the ocean in front of you and then simply grilled, will see you enjoying the flavour to the fullest.
6. White Sand Beach
“Jamaica, man?” would be an typical reaction to the discovery of White Sand Beach. A shimmering blue sea is lined by reggae playing cabanas, sun-loungers and a mountainous backdrop. If the ‘mahi-mahi’ needs a whole day to enjoy, this beach deserves a week.
7. Numerous dive sites
The coastline of East Bali is known to host some of the best diving in Indonesia. Divers, snorkelers and free divers are spoilt for choice from natural coral beds to artificial reefs formed by shipwrecks and coloured walls dropping well over 50 metres. Check out the US Liberty wreck that submerged in 1942 and sits around 20 metres underwater covered in coral life, or venture to Batu Tiga (‘three rocks’ in Bahasa Indonesia) if battling currents and potentially seeing sharks is more your style.
8. Ujung Water Palace
As the name suggests, Ujung is an ethereal collection of white royal structures floating over 3 ponds of water and connected by fairytale bridges. The setting may look delicate, but having survived a volcanic eruption by Agung in 1963 as well as an earthquake in 1979, it’s a picture of resilience. Again, it’s just another amazing photo opportunity of the East!
This story was written by the lovely Samantha, a freelance travel writer and content manager that fell out of the womb in a tattered sarong. When she’s not penning notes for the Honeycombers, she’s editing and writing for Lonely Planet and trying – with great difficulty – to live like a Yogi.