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July 9, 2024

Bali Villas of the Month: this month, we’re escaping the crowds to find the real Bali

What a treat we have in store for you this month!  Are you looking for a Bali villa that’s a little bit special, a little bit different from the rest? Are you looking to explore this beautiful island beyond the better-known areas of Seminyak and Canggu? Either way we have not one, but six stunning Bali villas for you to take a look at.  There’s a whole island out there beyond the tourist hot spots, and please believe us when we tell you it’s phenomenal.  But we’re not talking about roughing it miles from the nearest shop or bar – no, what we’ve found for you are some amazing spots to break away from the crowds, while never being too far away from your nearest Mojito or sushi roll. Best of both worlds, baby. These villas are going to rock your world.

Salty air and sandy toes: Bali Villas by the Beach

When you’re dreaming about your perfect Bali villas, what do you see? I’m willing to bet it involves sand and sea. The rest you can keep to yourself, I don’t need to know.  Bali villas by the beach are rare diamonds, but we have some real sparklers for you to pick from.

Let’s go North: Cemagi, Tabanan, Nyanu and Kedungu

First of all, let’s take a trip up north, beyond Canggu, and into the less explored regions around here such as Cemagi, Nyani, Tabanan and Kedungu.  It’s much less developed in this area, but it’s not untouched. In fact, it’s full of exciting places to discover – temples, black sand beaches, waterfalls –  but we’re also seeing a lot of very interesting projects that make it a real up and coming place for Bali villas. I recommend heading up there now, before the crowds get to know too much about it. I always knew you were a trendsetter.

This is the region that’s home to Tanah Lot. This is your must-see. This is the famous sea temple that sits out on the rocks overlooking the ocean. It’s at its best at either sunrise or sunset, but be warned, this is the one place in this region that gets busy. Get there early, grab a coconut, and settle in for the view.

If you really want to escape the crowds and have a proper adventure, head inland to Tabanan. This is home of coffee plantations and rice terraces (Jatiluwih Rice Terraces is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Bali), Vihara Dharma Giri, the huge reclining Buddha, and the ancient palace of Tabanan Anom, one of the oldest royal palaces in Bali that dates back to the era when Tabanan was a kingdom in itself. I’ve never seen this place crowded, so for those of you who like the space and quiet to wander around in peace, it’s a great choice.

And if you’re up for a hike, challenge yourself to find one of the spectacular waterfalls (or do the sensible thing and hire a guide). Blahmantung Waterfall is hidden away in the rainforest –  it’s just under a kilometre to get there but be careful in rainy season as the trail is full of slippery rocks.  It’s an awe inspiring fifty metres high and flows into a pool below – jump in and enjoy.  That’s not the only waterfall – Leke Leke is one of my favourites. It’s not as well known and you don’t have to share it with many other people – often, you don’t have to share it with anyone.  It’s a bit of an adventure to find – follow the track down to the bottom of the valley and then make your way across a somewhat rickety bamboo bridge. The falls are framed by the cave they cascade in front of, and, like Blahmantung, there’s an inviting pool for you to jump into.

You’re going to want to explore some of the volcanic black sand beaches this area is famous for too. I heartily recommend Soka Beach. It’s one of the most unspoiled beaches I know and you get an amazing view of Mount Agung.

But as well as its natural beauty and cultural heritage, this region is truly up and coming with some amazing creative new ventures bringing more amenities to the area – but in arty, interesting, eco friendly ways. Nuanu City, opening in July 2024, is 55 hectares of eco city, featuring Luna Beach Club with multiple restaurants, a craft beer garden and a night club, the Magic Garden centre for nature conservation, taking care of rare species, and an arts centre. There’s yoga and wellness facilities, sculpture, festivals, kids’ activities – there’s not much you’d want for on a trip here.

That’s not all – at Seseh, 15 minutes north of Canggu, there’s another new eco development, the Taryan Dragon. This is a beach front resort right on a beautiful black sand beach.  It will feature restaurants and bars, swimming pools, a beach lounge a wellness/fitness centre, boutiques and shops, yoga and surf classes – you name it. At present the complex is planning to open in 2026.

Bali villas by Cemagi Beach

OK, so if you want to explore this vibrant region, what Bali villas are there to choose from? I have the perfect option for you. This is Ambalama 7bed villa at Cemagi beach. This is a great area to be based. You’re only a five minute drive away from bustling Canggu, but here the vibe is more quiet.

And this Bali villa is really something special. When you go out of the main developed areas, this is what you get – a huge piece of land for your money. Set in a massive 5,900 sqm, this Bali villa features Bali’s largest and most diverse micro forest. Yes, you read correctly! It has 1,000 trees and 100 different species that are all native to Bali. It also has a huge lawn – so this is ideal if you have kids who want to run off some energy, if you want to take a sunset or sunrise yoga session or maybe if you want to host your wedding, dinner or other special occasion here. It’s nothing if not versatile! There’s also a fabulous 24m semi Olympic pool (as well as a separate kids’ pool).

There’s plenty of spaces to enjoy and take in this fabulous setting too. The two storey pavilion (that has a second private pool) offers views over the nearby beach and is the perfect place to chill with a cocktail as the sun goes down.

And the villa complex – designed by internationally renowned architect Ernesto Bedmar – is absolutely huge too. Ambalama is made up of five villas – there’s the master villa (with three bedrooms) and then there are four guest villas (each with one bedroom).  The master villa has its own pool and boasts a truly stunning master bedroom – it’s not just that it’s enormous, it’s that it has a balcony that looks out over the ocean and the rice fields. Heaven!

Ambalama is just a short walk from the beach, which has plenty of local beach warungs that come alive at sunset. Or there’s Flower Boy, a delightful coffee shack with great brews, delicious baked goods and fresh bunches of flowers daily. You’ve got it all here: a stunning villa, peace and quiet, a gorgeous beach on your doorstep, and all the amenities you could wish for just a short drive away.

Bali villas nestled by the beach at Pererenan

Next up, we’re going to venture a little closer to Canggu: we’re heading off to explore Bali villas in Pererenan. Pererenan is just to the north of Canggu. It’s quieter than Canggu, but more developed than Cemagi. You’ll not go short of places to eat, drink, spa, or even gym here, but the vibe is dialed down a notch or two. It’s the kind of place that gets labelled as “up and coming”.

It has rice fields; I highly recommend renting a bicycle to explore the little tracks through the fields. It has black sand beaches – and here you can sit in the mornings and watch the fishermen practicing traditional fishing methods. You can go horse riding on the beaches here too. And you can walk all the way along the coastal road up to Seseh and Cemagi. There’s a lovely temple I recommend you visit – it’s called Pura Desa Pererenan and it will give you a taste of the real religious culture, not just what’s performed for tourists.

There are tonnes of new places to eat popping up all the time here too. One of my favourites is Baked, the best breakfast spot in town (there’s also a branch in Berawa) with excellent fresh baked breads and pastries – their sourdough is great.

For dinner, my number one choice would be Hippie Fish. Only, of course, if you like the sound of refined Mediterranean dishes, while enjoying the sea breeze and ocean views. Fresh fish is the speciality here – but first, have a cocktail at the roof top bar and take in the sunset. Or give newcomer Enya at Le Bajo a go. Translating as “flame house” this authentic yakitori bar grills delicious food in front of your face.

For a change of flavours, try Red Gunpowder, a contemporary Indian restaurant. It’s a beautiful, romantic space full of lush greenery and thoughtful décor, and they’re very hot (pun intended!) on marrying authentic Indian recipes with fresh local ingredients. Or the Pererenan branch of Seminyak favourite, Shelter. It’s a cosy, intimate space set in a Balinese joglo style structure, and the food – Mediterranean/Middle Eastern style – is amazing.

After that, try heading to Roots for cocktails: their signature craft cocktails and fermented “shrubs” – a natural alternative to syrups and mixers – which give their drinks a unique, seasonal and local twist.

And if you’re anxious to keep up your fitness routine, you’ll not be disappointed with Wrong Gym – it’s luxurious, well equipped and with an amazing recovery area featuring saunas, plunge pools, ice baths and jacuzzi. It’s got free weights, machines, squat racks and hip thrust machines. It’s got classes that include strength training, booty, HIIT and boxing. And it’s got a great café.

So, you like the sound of Pererenan – now, where are the best Bali Villas it has? Right on the beach is the answer.

Sound of the Sea is the perfect Bali villa for getting away from it all. Located just metres away from the beach, this 6bed Bali villa is the epitome of peace and serenity. Fancy getting up early and taking a sunrise stroll along the beach? Fancy having a coffee on your balcony listening to birds singing in the nearby rice fields? Fancy a sunset horse ride along the ocean’s edge? Or testing your surf skills in a world class surf spot? Well, here you can. Set in a massive 2,240 sqm of land, Sound of the Sea offers all this and much more.

There’s plenty of activities available to you within the villa itself. Have a game of tennis on the complex’s shared tennis court, have a swim in the 20m pool (there’s also a kid’s pool). Try a jacuzzi (unheated water), or get a massage on the villa’s own massage beds. If you’re into yoga, you have to try out the floating yoga shala surrounded by a serene pond– the perfect way to wind down.

Indoors is equally breathtaking. The open plan living room has amazing views over the ocean and over Pererenan beach. Of the six bedrooms, three have ocean views. The master bedroom is particularly special, with its balcony overlooking the beach, featuring a luxurious bathtub.

And while this is the perfect spot to enjoy peace and quiet, you’re never too far away from the action. Echo Beach and Batu Bolong Beach are only 10-15 minutes away by bike.

Getting away from it all: Bali villas in Jimbaran

Our next off the beaten track suggestions for you all lie up in the hills overlooking Jimbaran Bay, on the beautiful Bukit peninsula that forms the south part of Bali. The Bukit peninsula is known for its white sandy beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs, and roaring ocean waves; for Uluwatu Temple, for clifftop beach clubs, and for the luxury hotels and water sports options at Nusa Dua.

 

Jimbaran, where our Bali villas are located, is tucked away from the main tourist areas, and has a more authentic, village-y feel. Some of our favourite beaches are in this area – favourite because they are much less crowded than those around Uluwatu. Melasti and Pandawa beaches are both beautiful beaches with white sand and clear blue waters, and I highly recommend them (but don’t tell everyone, ok?). You can swim here too, and so can your kids – unlike most of the beaches in Bali, they don’t have big waves.

Jimbaran Bay is also close at hand (you have a wonderful view of it from our villas) and has to be on your bucket list if you enjoy fish and seafood. It’s famous for its fish market, with the biggest, freshest catch in Bali. Go down first thing in the morning if you want to bring back fresh seafood to cook in your villa; if you’d rather let someone else do all the work, then pay a visit in the early evening, when the many local warungs on the beach will be cooking up a storm with that day’s catch.  You’ll often get treated to some entertainment in the form of traditional dancing too. Or you can simply select your favourites right at the market and they will cook it for you on the spot, for you to eat right there with your bare hands.

There are of course plenty of other eating out options just around Jimbaran, and many, many more a little further afield. Try Cuca with its El Bulli trained chef and small plates style eating, or for an ocean side vibe, pay a visit to Sundara for high end barbecue and cocktails (or just hang in the bar).

Don’t miss a trip to the nearby GWK Cultural Park too. The jewel in the crown here is the Garuda statue, which, at 121 metres, is one of the highest in the world. It features Lord Vishnu riding the mythical Garuda bird, the Hindu deity and symbol of Indonesia. The park has plenty to see for a day, with the Lotus Pond, Balinese performers and restaurants.

Nusa Dua is not far away and is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys watersports – head to Tanjung Benoa beach for all the ocean activities you can imagine.

Nusa Dua is a pretty swanky area, full of upmarket resorts and white beaches with turquoise waters. There’s some serious spas (Iridium Spa at St Regis Bali is our choice) shopping (all your designer faves at Bali Collection) and some fine restaurants (Arwana Restaurant at The Laguna Resort & Spa is a great choice for a romantic dinner on the beach).

A little further away, Uluwatu Temple is absolutely worth a visit. Situated on the edge of a cliff, it’s one of the most iconic sights in Bali, especially when it’s illuminated by the setting sun. But please be wary of the monkeys. I’ve seen hundreds of tourists who think they can outsmart them and who are proved wrong. They will take your phone and demand a load of food before they’ll give it back. Just leave anything you don’t want held to ransom back at the villa, please! You can also catch the Kecak Dance (it’s a traditional fire dance) at the theatre here just before sunset but our top tip is to skip it here and go and see it at Melasti beach instead – it’s much less crowded.

You might also want to spend a day at one of the clifftop beach clubs here – Savaya is a great shout for jawdropping views and possible celeb spotting – it’s the hottest ticket in town.

Escape to Bali villas up on Jimbaran Hill

And what are the best of the Bali villas to make the best of this beautiful location? Well, we have a few options for you, all secluded away from the crowds up in the hills behind Jimbaran Bay. Whether you’re a small group, a large group or a truly enormous group, we’ve got a perfect Bali villa for you here in Jimbaran.

Firstly, we have Long House 6bed villa. As far as Bali villas go, this is up there with the best.  The views!! The greatest benefit of being up in the hills is the magnificent vista: 180 degrees all the way over to Jimbaran Bay. And the house absolutely makes the most of this setting: the dining room has huge picture windows that showcase the stunning landscape, while the 16.5 m infinity pool looks right over the bay too. Yes, this house is a real treat.

There’s enough space here to fit a group of up to 16 people, and enough room for you all to never feel under each other’s feet. There’s plenty to do: there’s an outdoor yoga shala, there’s a spa, there’s a gym, and there’s a home cinema room. And this is a great spa – the menu has a full range of treatments from acupressure to four hand massage, to beauty treatments like hair treatments and mani pedis. The gym has a treadmill, an exercise bike and freestanding weights. The yoga shala is situated at the top of Jimbaran Hill for incredible views, and can fit 10-12 people. If all that isn’t enough, there’s also a library and a chess table, two living areas, and a bar.

The bedrooms are rather special too. Grab the master bedroom if you can – it’s really more of a master suite, with a bedroom and another room that works as a private living room and office space. It’s also got its own plunge pool.

What I really love about this villa though is the way it connects with the locale. Not just in the way the house design carefully frames its view, but in the décor and thoughtful details. Each of the six rooms is themed according to a different area in Indonesia. Proper care and attention has been put into this, with every detail taken into consideration. There’s a book in the villa that explains all the choices of pattern and symbol and their history and culture.

And the staff have gone to a lot of effort to pass on knowledge of local culture. If you stay here, they can organise activities for you that really help to immerse you in Balinese life – you can take a Balinese cooking class, or you can learn how to make the traditional daily offerings (Canang Sari) that you will see all around Bali. You can learn Balinese dance.

The staff, if you like, can read stories from different regions of Indonesia to your kids. And if you’re interested, you can head into the local village to take part in a water purification ceremony.  You’ll  feel rooted here, there’s such a strong sense of place.

And what if you have a slightly bigger group? No problem, the Long House can also be extended, with another two bedrooms added. In this configuration, this Bali villa can sleep 20 people.

Still up in Jimbaran Hill, we have another option for you. Tiara Mas 5bed villa is right next door to Long House. It’s a simpler villa but still beautifully spacious. And if you’re a very big group, you can combine the two villas to accommodate the biggest of groups. Tiara Mas can be combined with Long House either to make an 11bed or 13bed complex.

So what’s Tiara Mas like? Sleeping a total of 12 people when booked by itself, this Bali villa is another beauty, with similar stunning 180 degree views over Jimbaran Bay.  The pool here is fabulous, overlooking the bay, while the villa also has a host of other brilliant amenities – a home cinema, a spa with a great range of pampering treatments, a beautiful dining area. Cook up a storm yourself in the fully equipped Western-style kitchen or just call the chef and sit back and enjoy having a meal prepared for you.

The bedrooms are all a good size: three have king size beds, while the other two have twin beds. I suggest to try to bag the master bedroom if you can manage it: it’s the biggest of the lot. But best of all, it has glass doors leading to your own private balcony, and that incredible view again over Jimbaran Bay. Of course it also features a luxury en suite bathroom.

If you can’t manage to get that bedroom yourself, do not despair—all the rooms have luxuries like private lounge space, desk space, and walk–in closets. The bedrooms on the first floor also have the additional benefit of having private balconies that look over the bay. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the fabulous outside rain showers!

Bali villas: the choice is yours

So, where will you make your luxury escape to? Are you a beach lover, or do you want to stand in your hilltop luxury Bali villa enjoying the sweeping view? Whichever you choose, we guarantee you one thing – you’re going to love it. 

To find the ultimate guide to Bali accommodation click here.

To find out more about the Seminyak hitlist click here.

For information on large villas in Bali click here.

To find out the best villas to stay at in Bali click here.

To find out the best private pool villas in Seminyak click here.

Grab these villa deals in Seminyak and Canggu quick here.

For luxury villas to fit all budgets and sizes click here.

Your guide to the best villas in Canggu whatever your needs here.

For more information on Bali family villas during your school summer vacation click here.

For more information on things to do in Bali click here.

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