The Arsana Estate’s villa manager will have a wealth of information about nearby places of interest and will help arrange transport and make any bookings required. Do also ask the staff about the local area. Many of them live nearby and will be able to give an interesting insight into some of the fascinating aspects of Bali life.
In the meantime, here is a taste of the many and varied activities on offer within reach of the villa.
- The Arsana Estate is close to the famous temple at Tanah Lot (11 km), although in peak season a few too many tourists may transform a sunset visit into more of a heaving photo opportunity than a moving experience. Visiting early in the morning (8-9am) provides a better idea of the power of the location and the chance to see it undisturbed apart from perhaps an offering ceremony.
- A nice sunset alternative is to head down to Echo Beach (11km) where a number of cafes offer good sunset views and cold beer. This area is being heavily upgraded with a high-end villa-hotel, Sea Sentosa, being built, drawing in other shops and restaurants. Note that the beach here is dark volcanic sand and the waters are better suited to surfing, having a pronounced swell and rip, rather than children’s swimming. (Better kids’ paddling/sandcastle beaches are in Seminyak and Kuta). Hotel Tugu, a very stylish and eclectic boutique hotel a few minutes further down the coast is also a good sunset spot.
- Fashionistas, trendies and shop-a-holics should hot-foot it down to Seminyak, Bali’s most cosmopolitan enclave. Here, you can indulge for hours in the glut of stylish, chic boutiques. There is a wide choice of fine dining, mid range, and cheap ‘n cheerful restaurants in Seminyak too: fine dining venues include Sarong, the famous Ku Dé Ta, The Living Room, La Lucciola, Sardine and Métis.
- There’s also a good variety of restaurants and bars in and around Ubud. Visit one of the local warungs (eateries) on the main Sayan road for a simple traditional nasi campur lunch (rice with vegetables, meat or fish). Alternatively, the five-star hotels on the Sayan Ridge all have first-class fine-dining restaurants. Closer to Ubud, Mozaic is the only restaurant in Indonesia to have received the exceptional honour of entry in the refined worldwide guide of ‘Les Grandes Tables du Monde’ (reservations essential). Other recommendations include Siam Sally (Thai), Casa Luna (great for cakes and desserts), Kafe Batan Waru (classic Indonesian dishes taken from old family recipes), Café Lotus, with its romantic outlook over the beautiful lotus pond of Puri Taman Sariswati, or Indus where you can enjoy delicious home cooking and another glorious valley and mountain view. Naughty Nuri’s is a rustic Ubud institution, with a daily barbecue and dangerously strong martinis. If you want to purchase artwork of any description then head to Ubud. Classic, contemporary and abstract paintings, fine art, folk art, framed photographs and decorative wall panels can all be found in the towns numerous galleries, studios and art shops.
- Play a round at the unbelievably scenic Nirwana Bali Golf Course (10 km). Bordered by ocean and rice fields and just down from Tanah Lot sea temple, no wonder this championship-standard course (designed by golf legend, Greg Norman) is frequently voted number one in Asia.
- Covering 3.8 hectares of tropical parkland in Kuta, Waterbom Bali has 16 water slides (including The Climax with its 360 degree loop) to entertain the young and the young at heart. A great family day out, but go early to beat the crowds.
- Bali Treetop Adventure Park is near the town of Bedugal in northern central Bali (next to Lake Bratan). Five adventure circuits, with heights ranging from two to 20 metres, challenge all level and ages on suspended bridges, spider nets, Tarzan jumps and 12 flying foxes.
- Go on a bicycle ride to explore the scenic rice-field landscape and rural villages of the Tabanan Regency; a great way to get under the skin of the ‘real’ Bali. Stop off at a local warung (café) to sample some basic Balinese fare or cool off with a cold drink.
- Pulau Dive Charters offers luxury boat charters around the beautiful islands and waters surrounding Bali. They specialise in private fishing, surfing and diving charters and also offer unique personalised day trips to Nusa Lembongan. Perfect for a family day out on the water or with a group of friends.