Batujimbar is one of Bali’s most outstanding private luxury villas – and a magical wedding venue. Originally the home of famed Australian artist Donald Friend, and epitomising ‘Bali style’ architecture, the villa boasts a colourful history and a celebrity guest list featuring monarchs and rock legends. Traditional pavilions house nine bedrooms and multiple living and dining areas full of antiques, artefacts and heirloom paintings. To look after you is a team of staff including villa manager and private chef. A 20-metre pool and tennis court rest within the meticulously designed one-hectare gardens, which have direct access onto Sanur Beach.
Villa Batujimbar’s 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.
- There is a 9-hole golf course at the Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur, but golf enthusiasts might want to travel further afield to Bali Golf and Country Club in Nusa Dua for 18-hole courses.
- Take the kids to Jenggala Ceramics (now based in nearby Jimbaran but originally started in the grounds of Batujimbar Estate itself) where they can glaze their own pottery while you shop for special souvenirs of this famous Bali-ware.
- An annual international kite festival takes place at Padang Galak beach (just north of Sanur) every July. Traditional Balinese giant kites up to ten metres in length are made and flown competitively by teams from different villages around Bali. Originally, these kites were intended to send a message to the Hindu Gods to create abundant crops and harvests. Aside from the festival itself, visitors will see many giant kites being flown in this area from June through to August.
- Saba Bay Horse Riding has a special horseriding track (suitable for beginners) on a beautiful black sandy beach overlooking the Indian Ocean and Nusa Penida Island.
- The stretch of beach between Sanur and Ketewel is well known as a surfer’s heaven (especially in East Coast season, which runs from round about November to May, when the winds turn offshore on this side of the island), but beginners should be aware of strong, swirling currents. Good breaks can be found infront of the Grand Bali and Sanur Beach Hotels.
- There are several dive operators around Sanur, but this area is more suited to beginners or refresher courses. The better dive sites are further North in Tulumben, or out on the islands of Nusa Penida and Lembongan.
- Explore Bali’s backroads, lakes, volcanoes, forests and beaches on the back of a Harley Davidson bike with Island Biker Tours. Full day Harley tours, customised tours or shorter joy rides can all be accommodated.
- If you are a bold and brave bargain hunter, a spree within the heart of Bali’s bustling provincial capital is an exciting and rewarding experience. Visit Denpasar’s vibrant markets, where everything and anything is available. Pasar Badung, Denpasar’s colourful central market, is the largest and oldest market in Bali. Here’s where the local people shop, and each of the market’s three floors is dedicated to different products.
- Le Mayeur Museum in Sanur is the former home of noted Belgian impressionist Adrian Jean Le Mayeur. The building is now a museum which, as well as showcasing the artist’s work, gives visitors an insight into what it must have been like to be one of Bali’s very first expats. Although in need of some maintenance, this remains one of Bali’s true hidden treasures.
- From the roaming Sumatran tigers and elephants in the jungle of Sumatra, to the hippos and cheetahs at Lake Manyara, the Safari Journey at Bali Safari and Marine Park offers a unique adventure. There’s also a Fresh Water Aquarium at the Park, as well as the Hanoman Court, which introduces exotic birds and orangutans, and is the main stage for animal educational and entertainment shows.