Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Discover the beauty of Bali

In a nutshell…

Sometimes known as the “island of the Gods” and “the last paradise”, Bali has been a favourite haunt of Europeans looking for a cultured tropical island since it became a mecca for artists in the 1930s. Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall stopped by in the seventies to tie the knot beachside, and the island’s exclusive hotels have been catering to love‐struck honeymoon couples ever since.

Frankly, it’s easy to see the attraction. A landscape of tropical rainforest, sculpted rice terraces and volcanoes, the island is studded with mystical shrines and Hindu temples and has a culture of traditional music and dance. As well as offering serenity and discreet glamour, the island is also a magnet for Australian ravers, so thumping beach parties are never too far away if you’re thirsting for action.

For up‐to‐date advice on travelling safely to Bali, visit the Foreign Office Website:

Magnetic attractions

  • Ubud village Situated inland on the Ayung River, Bali’s colourful, cultural centre is a hangout for European and Balinese artists and has plenty of Bohemian charm. Try and catch some traditional gamelan music here, or barter over paintings in one of the many galleries.
  • Mount Batur If sitting round the pool gazing into your loved one’s eyes has lost a little of its charm, rev up the passion by doing the four‐hour trek up this volcano and wander round the crater lake at the top.
  • Puri Besakih temple Inject a little spirituality into the holiday by visiting the 2000 year‐old Mother Temple. Serene at dawn in its rainforest setting, petal‐strewn and colourful during the Hindu festivals.
  • West Bali National Park Trek into the 19,000 hectares of jungle and mangroves on the western tip of the island and watch black monkeys roam. It is also home to the python, so watch your step…

Romantic rendezvous

  • Tenganan village Take a bumpy bemo (communal taxi) to this exclusive village in east Bali where sought‐after cloth is hand‐woven. Reputedly the oldest village on the island, it’s a sleepy collection of pavilions, shrines, and temples. But don’t get too attached: to qualify for residency you have to be born and marry here!
  • Begawan Giri estate Perched on jungle‐clad rocks above the Ayung River, this five‐villa private estate provides the ultimate in designer honeymooning. With petal‐strewn four‐poster beds, orchids, waterfalls, and spring‐water pools, you could believe you’d married and gone to heaven.
  • Uluwatu Temple Head for this temple on the south coast at sunset. Its pagoda‐like structure is high on a cliff and from a distance is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Love bites and love potions

If you like your food highly spiced and exotic then Balinese cuisine, a mixture of Far Eastern and Indian, is bound to delight. Share plates of steamed fragrant rice and fried fish on rickety stools at a street stall (warung), or head to Jimbaran Bay on the south coast. Here, the beachside is transformed into a fish market/barbecue every evening and you can eat the freshest squid as the sun goes down.

The Ketupat restaurant in Kuta does wonderful curries in an upmarket setting, and for real top‐notch cuisine head to any of the exclusive hotels that have a famous international chef in residence. Most of these hotels will arrange private picnics in secluded locations for honeymoon couples!

Propose here

If you can afford to stay at Begawan Giri, the Tirta Ening villa has an outdoor six‐tonne rock bath. Fill it with bubbles and pop the question to the sound of belching frogs and assorted jungle noises.

To get you in the mood

To sample some genuine Balinese sounds, try Traditional Musicians ‐‐ A Suite of Tropical Sounds (CD from World Network, Germany) or Music for the Gods, available from the American label Rykodisc. For reading matter, a great place to start would be the OUP Asia compilation, Travelling to Bali: 400 years of Journeys, which contains travellers’ tales from early Dutch and British adventurers up to the present day.

Then there’s Michael Wiese’s On the Edge of Darkness (MW Productions), the story of two Americans who settle in an island village and slowly get drawn into its spirit world and black magic.

Language of love

Selamat hari ulang tahun = happy anniversary

Saya cinta kamu = I love you

Sudah kawin = are you married?

Stags and hens

The area around Kuta Beach on the south coast is a mecca for Australian people who want to party, making this former fishing village Bali’s unofficial clubland. Impromptu beach parties and raves happen most nights, so there are no excuses for not getting stuck into the local Bintang beer. For something a little more civilised, go for cocktails at the Macaroni club. There’s a big surfing culture in the daytime, so if your board action is not up to scratch you might want to enrol for lessons at one of the surfing schools.

For up‐to‐date advice on travelling safely to Bali, visit the Foreign Office Website:

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