ROMANCING THE IS­LAND

Ev­ery cor­ner of Bali of­fers an abun­dance of sights and ac­tiv­i­ties. Eve Tedja shares her itin­er­ary check­list for a ful­fill­ing jour­ney.

Epicure - - CONTENTS -

Ex­plore Bali like a lo­cal

Travel ad­ven­tures or mis­ad­ven­tures have a way to bring a cou­ple closer to­gether. For ev­ery lost lug­gage or ar­du­ous jun­gle trek, there are also mo­ments of great joy, dis­cov­ery and laugh­ter.

To say Bali is a must-do for ev­ery cou­ple is not over­stat­ing it, whether it’s for a wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion, dreamy hon­ey­moon, an­niver­sary getaway, vow re­newal, or an es­cape from the monotony of of­fice meet­ings. Go on a silent ashram-style re­treat, sign up for a five-star glamp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence or eat your way through Bali’s best restau­rants. Here, we ex­plore the rugged north, rocky east, ver­dant west, and the art­ful cen­tre of Bali. Hire a car, set up a nav­i­ga­tion app and get ready to fall madly in love with the is­land. NORTH

Far from the hus­tle and bus­tle of South Bali, the North used to play a more sig­nif­i­cant role as the main port and cap­i­tal of the is­land dur­ing the Dutch colo­nial days. If you pass by its cap­i­tal, Sin­garaja, the colo­nial rem­nants are still vis­i­ble in the form of wide streets and old houses with big ve­ran­dahs, giv­ing the city a quaint feel­ing that dif­fers from the other towns in Bali. The North is also blessed with dra­matic land­scapes made of hills, scenic routes, lakes, water­falls and a stun­ning coast­line which make driv­ing in Bali a worth­while ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pack a lunch box on your way up north and have a leisurely balmy pic­nic un­der the big trees at the Bali

Botanic Gar­den (Jl. Ke­bun Raya, Candikun­ing, Ba­tu­riti). If you hap­pen to have a spe­cial in­ter­est in botany, make sure to check the gar­den’s vast col­lec­tion that in­cludes or­chids, ferns, medic­i­nal plants, cac­tus green­house, be­go­nia, and many oth­ers. Lo­cated 800 me­tres above the sea level, the sur­round­ing area called Be­dugul

pro­vides a cooler cli­mate from the rest of the is­land, as well as ac­cess to na­ture that is still not over­run with urban de­vel­op­ments.

Then, head to Mun­duk, where mus­ta­chioed Dutch ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cers used to visit to es­cape from the heat. The land­scapes re­main dot­ted with forested hills, tiny vil­lages and co­coa trees. There is al­most no bet­ter place to have a cup of strong and aro­matic Ba­li­nese cof­fee than at the dreamy MIMPI Restau­rant, which is housed within Mun­duk Mod­ing Plan­ta­tion Na­ture Re­sort & Spa (Jl. Raya Asah Gob­leg, Bule­leng, Sin­garaja, M: +62 811385059). The lux­u­ri­ous ecore­sort is also renowned for pro­duc­ing spe­cialty cof­fee from its sur­round­ing plan­ta­tion.

As you travel fur­ther north, the black sandy coast­line will be your con­stant com­pany un­til you reach Puri Gane­sha

Homes by the Sea (Desa Pe­muteran, Gerokgak, Sin­garaja, Tel: +62 82237724060). Founded by Diana von Cranach who is renowned for her raw and liv­ing food cre­ation, the English hote­lier-cum-raw-food con­sul­tant, has cre­ated a peace­ful re­treat for those who seek to rest and re­ju­ve­nate. Book an all-in­clu­sive Clean Break & Raw­fully Good Re­treat which lasts from three to seven days, and al­lows you to ex­pe­ri­ence von Cranach’s dis­tinc­tive flavour­ful cre­ation of veg­e­tar­ian, ve­gan or raw dishes. Stay at one of the beach­front vil­las where your only con­cern is when to have mas­sage or join a cook­ing class.

WEST

Ven­ture west and pre­pare to get en­chanted by the vast land and ma­rine bio­di­ver­sity that be­long to the West Bali

Na­tional Park. The pro­tected for­est and sea is the last bas­tion of wilder­ness in Bali and dra­mat­i­cally covers 19,000 hectares of rain­for­est, sa­van­nahs, man­groves as well as the top div­ing des­ti­na­tion of Men­jan­gan Is­land. Gnarled trees and empty roads sig­nify that you are near the en­trance of the park where 17 species of mam­mals as well as 160 species of birds are free to fly and twit­ter.

The Men­jan­gan (Jl. Raya Gil­i­manuk Sin­garaja Km.17, Desa Pe­jarakan, Bule­leng, Tel: +62 362 94700) will be the per­fect hide­away to rest in the midst of na­ture. Does’ bleat­ing can be your wake-up call since they are known for be­ing

fond of splash­ing on the beach where the Beach Villa is lo­cated. Lo­cated in the heart of the park, the eco-bou­tique re­sort of­fers myr­iad ac­tiv­i­ties to suit all in­ter­ests, from bird watch­ing to horse rid­ing. Al­ter­na­tively, it also boasts one of the best gourmet of­fer­ings in this part of the is­land with two of its restau­rants – the won­drously high Bali Tower and the beach­front Pan­tai Restau­rant.

Don your wet­suit and join a scuba div­ing trip at Pasir

Pu­tih Beach Club, Div­ing & Wa­ter­sports. Man­aged by the ex­pe­ri­enced Bali Hai Div­ing Ad­ven­ture, the five-star PADI dive re­sort cen­tre at Men­jan­gan Dy­nasty Re­sort

(Pe­jarakan, Gerokgak, Bule­leng, Tel: +62 362 3355000) of­fers pro­fes­sion­ally-guided div­ing or snorkelling trips to stun­ning sites around Men­jan­gan Is­land. Take your other half to ex­pe­ri­ence Bali’s most beau­ti­ful un­der­wa­ter gar­dens and its habi­tants that in­clude manta rays and sea tur­tles. End the trip by hav­ing an in­ti­mate five-course din­ner for two by the tran­quil bay or head to the tented Pasir Pu­tih Spa over­look­ing the blue Banyuwedang Bay for a re­lax­ing cou­ple’s treat­ment. CEN­TRE

Ubud’s in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity means that the artsy town some­times get crowded by tourists. How­ever, if you know where to look, there are quiet pock­ets of re­fine­ment and lux­u­ri­ous ex­pe­ri­ences still to be found. Splurge on a lav­ish stay at Ubud’s ro­man­tic Four Sea­sons Re­sort Bali at Sayan’s River­front One-bed­room Villa (Sayan, Ubud, Tel: +62 361 977577) where the sooth­ing sound of the river will be your sole com­pany. Sign up for a restora­tive ses­sion of Sa­cred Nap at the open-air Dharma Santi Bale within the re­sort for a peace­ful co­cooned nap in­side a hang­ing silk ham­mock, far re­moved from any dis­tur­bances. Make a lunch reser­va­tion for two at Mozaic Restau­rant

Gas­tronomique (Jl. Raya Sang­gin­gan, Ubud, Tel:+62 361 975768) for an ex­quis­ite din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the com­fort of an in­ter­ac­tive restau­rant. Go for ei­ther the five-course or seven-course lunch menu with Mozaic’s sig­na­ture style of com­bin­ing Euro­pean cook­ing tech­niques with the flavours of In­done­sian cui­sine. Treat your spouse with 150 min­utes of Royal Spice Cer­e­mony at Man­dapa Spa

at Man­dapa, a Ritz-carl­ton Re­serve (Jl. Kede­watan, Ban­jar Kede­watan, Ubud, Tel: +62 361 4792777). In­spired by the rit­u­als given to the bride and groom prior to their wed­ding, let your bod­ies be pam­pered by the bliss­ful four-hand

syn­chro­nised mas­sage among other ex­quis­ite treat­ments, in the idyl­lic suite by the Ayung River.

You can also have a break­fast by the rice field and then go on a hot air bal­loon flight at The Chedi Club Tanah

Ga­jah, Ubud, Bali (Jl. Goa Ga­jah, Ubud, Tel: +62 361 975685). Soar up to 50 me­tres above the re­sort’s ground, en­joy the stun­ning view of the green rice fields be­low and Mount Agung in the dis­tance. Take an easy stroll around the town in the evening and get ready for a nine-course provoca­tive and deca­dent dessert menu by Will Gold­farb at the leg­endary

Room4dessert (Jl. Raya Sang­gin­gan, Ubud,

Tel: +62 361 977002). Ar­range your trans­porta­tion back to the ho­tel and make sure to book a seat at the bar. Ask for Ko­mang Sukra­dayasa, the suave in-house mixol­o­gist, for the per­fect cock­tail pair­ings. EAST

Ever won­dered how sea salt is made? Stay at the colo­nial in­spired Rumah Luwih (Jl. Prof Ida Ba­gus Mantra Km.19,9, Lebih, Gian­yar, Tel: +62 361 2005899) and ask the friendly concierge to take you to visit a sea salt farmer in the

neigh­bour­ing vil­lage of Kusamba to dis­cover the time­honoured tra­di­tion. Renowned for its pow­er­ful waves and black sanded beach, the east coast­line of Bali is a sight to be­hold. Re­lax and sit back at the re­sort’s ocean fac­ing charm­ing ve­randa of An­draw­ina Restau­rant and en­joy the au­then­tic flavours of Per­anakan and In­done­sian dishes.

A snorkelling trip to watch the wreck of USAT Lib­erty cargo ship, which was tor­pe­doed by Ja­panese sub­ma­rine back then in 1942 in Tu­lam­ben, is also some­thing that you must not miss. Go there early to beat the crowd and swim to the wreck, lo­cated not far from the shore. The reefs are grow­ing healthily on the wreck, en­sur­ing a rich ma­rine life where colour­ful trop­i­cal fishes, un­afraid of hu­mans, will swirl and mer­rily swim around you. Head back to the soul­ful vil­lage of Side­men af­ter­ward and rest in the com­fort of One Bed­room Pool Villa at Wapa di Ume Side­men (Ban­jar Di­nas Te­bola, Side­men, Karangasem,

Puri Gane­sha Homes by the Sea is an in­ti­mate re­treat for bo d y n d so u l .

Bali Tower at The Men­jan­gan is the per­fect place to en­joy the en­chant­ing vista of West Bali Na­tional Park.

In­spired by the sur­round­ing and an­cient Ba­li­nese tra­di­tions, treat­ments at Man­dapa Spa are re­sults-ori­ented and nat­u­ral. Dessert of Mankind, one of Room4dessert’s cre­ation by Will Gold­farb.

A time-hon­oured tra­di­tion, sea salt mak­ing on the coast of Kusamba is a must-see ex­pe­ri­ence.

Soul­ful and ro­man­tic, Wapa di Ume Side­men is a lush hide­away far from the madding crowd. Tel: +62 361 973178). Mar­vel at the panoramic ver­dant hill and en­joy each other’s com­pany as the is­land en­velopes you in a warm em­brace.

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