Stunningly located among verdant rice fields flowing down to the Indian Ocean on Bali’s south-west coast, yet only 10 minutes from Canggu, Bali’s newest and most chilled café and bar scene, 7-bedroomed, fully staffed Villa Mandalay provides a luxurious holiday hideaway for families and also makes a superb wedding venue for up to 250 guests. Mandalay’s charms include an eclectic collection of Indonesian artwork, 25-metre swimming pool, sauna and a pitch and putt golf course. The villa is just minutes from Seseh Beach and the beautiful sea temple of Tanah Lot.
Villa Mandalay’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.
- Villa Mandalay is close to the famous temple at Tanah Lot (8km), a beautiful temple set on a rocky, wave battered island just metres off the beach. 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 (6km) where a number of cafes offer good sunset views and cold beer, including famous nightly barbecue at Echo Beach House. 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. Hotel Tugu, a very stylish and eclectic boutique hotel a few minutes further down the coast was created by one of Indonesia’s premier art collectors, and provides a range of atmospheric dining experiences.
- Horseriding at Kuda P stables on professionally trained horses and ponies will take you through the lush rice terraces around Kerobokan, or provide the chance for a sunset gallop through the surf along the rugged south-western coast.
- Fashionistas, trendies and shop-a-holics should hot-foot it down to Seminyak, Bali’s most cosmopolitan enclave (6km). 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, Mama San, Merah Putih, La Lucciola, Sardine and Métis.
- Explore the charming Tabanan regency, revealing terraced rice fields of emerald green, volcanic mountains and black-sand beaches dotted with fishing communities. Or head north to explore the volcanic lakes near the mountain town of Bedugul, including Lake Bratan with its photogenic and stunningly positioned Pura Ulun Danu – one of Bali’s most important temples.
- Acclaimed as the world’s best, the atmospheric Elephant Safari Park in Taro (north of Ubud) provides a sanctuary for elephants rescued from Sumatra, with opportunities for trekking, hand feeding, and photo taking. There is also a fascinating museum and an excellent restaurant in a beautiful tropical setting deep in the forests of Bali’s hinterland.
- 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.
- The most exclusive Bali trekking tour promises breath-taking vistas and heart-warming encounters while supporting sustainable social change in the once-forgotten villages of Muntigunung. Elite Havens is a proud partner of Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise.
- Explore the scenic rice-field landscape and rural villages; 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.
- 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.