Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Island At A Glance

Executive summary by darmansjah

Rich in culture and reverberating with life, it’s not hard to fall in love with Bali.

Bali is a small island with good roads and regular, inexpensive public transport. While traffic can get heavy throughout the south and east, the roads are more pleasant on the rest of the island. Renting your own car or motorcycle can be handy, main roads have signs and maps are readily available. Minibuses and metered taxis are common and can easily be flagged down; drivers speak reasonable English.

From December to March, the west monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but days are still often sunny with the rains starting in the late afternoon or evening and passing quickly. From June to September, the humidity is low and it can be quite cool in the evenings. At this time of the year there is hardly any rain in the lowland coastal areas.

The quintessential island destination, Bali’s draw never seems to wane – nothing like a feel-good self-assuring chic lit or flick in the form of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love to ease whatever lingering fears of repeated terrorist attacks. Bali’s small island stature far belies its layers of charm.

Head to the south of the island – manic Kuta, luxurious Seminyak, sun-kissed Sanur, alluring Jimbaran – for a dose of the ultimate of beaches and fresh seafood washed down with beer. Further island, cultural Ubud is a swirl of yoga studios, quirky little cafes and restaurants, bookstores, spas and craft shops, surrounded by temples, ancient sites, unspoiled countryside of impossibly green rice terraces and mist-covered mountains. Mellow beach towns like Ahmed in the east, Lovina up north and Pemuteran to the west, feel like you’re in another country altogether.

Quite possibly the most tourist-friendly place in Indonesia, Bali’s where you can dine on local foods bursting with flavours fresh from the market or let a world-class chef take you on a culinary journey around the globe; where you can bag hackneyed baubles, traditional craft and designer duds; and where a new hotel seems to be popping up every month or so. This year alone will see The Mulia Resort & Vilas in Nusa Dua opening in July and The Westin ubud Resort &  opening in July and The Westin ubud Resort & Spa opening in August amongst many others. Expect the pie to be shared further with Movenpick and Jumeirah Group debuting their presence with properties coming up the next two years.

Alila Ubud’s Moonlight Remedies

Spa Alila at Alila Ubud puts a whole new spin on natural spa treatments, offering Moonlight Remedies in a wonderful outdoor setting, drawing on the energy of the moon in its new and full phases and the rhythms of nature. Only available during the new and full moon every 1st and 15th day of the lunar month, the massage treatments will be conducted outdoors amid the lush surrounding of the resort’s Sculpture Garden on the banks of the magical Ayung River, in a bid to hamess the good lunar energy to promote healing and spiritual growth (

Mrriot Beach Club

The Courtyard by Marriot, located in the up-market enclave of Nusa Dua, recently opened its Beach Club, situated on a private beach lined with coconut trees and tropical gardens. Equipped with enclosed garden showers, spacious lounge chairs with beach parasol and towels, daybeds and an open-air bar and bistro, Beach Club offers guest a relaxed environment to enjoy the beach while noshing on an electic menu that serves gourmet hotdogs and burgers, tacos, grilled items and a variety of beverages including wine, beer, somoothies and fresh juice (

Studio One

An inexpensive boutique hotel located in Nusa Dua, Studio One is a value choice if you are looking for a clean and comfortable place to stay while on that long-awaited Bali holiday. The rooms are furnished tastefully in a minimalist style and are pleasantly spacious and airy. Its convenient location allows guests of the hotel the luxury of short trips to prime tourist areas like the Kuta Beach and the cosmopolitan Seminyak. (

Bali Theatre

At the Devdan Treasure of the Archipelago Show, viewers are take non a magical journey through the islands of Indonesia, its over 700 ethnic groups and their unique dance styles. Devdan’s 90-minute show at the Bali Nusa Dua Theatre is a high-energy visual tour of Indonesia’s cultural diversity, featuring a fusion of traditional and modern dance, aerial acrobatic performances, dazzling costumers and hi-tech special effects. Ayana Resort and Spa Bali has tied up with Devdan to offer a holiday package that incorporates tickets to the Devdan Show with a stay at their luxurious Jimbaran property (

Mama San

Newly opened Mama San Bali in Kerobokan near Sunset Road is helmed by a familiar face, Chef’s Will Meyrick of Sarong fame. Featuring a menu that brings one on a culinary journey across Southeasat Asia, Mama San’s food is reminiscent of Sarong, but a touch more affordable and laid-back. Even if you do not come here for the food, feast your eyes on the unique purpose built warehouse interior that blends vintage and retro eras, with tan leather oversized Chesterfield sofas, oriental side lit screens and quirky art pieces (

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