Candidasa villas in Bali, Indonesia
The quiet seaside village of Candidasa boasts a rich heritage close to many of Bali's most important historical landmarks, ancient kingdoms and palaces, making it an excellent base to explore the region. This beautiful, undeveloped area is set in the Island’s eastern regency of Karangasem, well away from the excesses of mainstream tourism, with Mt Agung, Bali’s most sacred and mystical volcano, providing a dramatic backdrop to the scene.
There is a charming collection of restaurants and simple souvenir shops in Candidasa, as well as a few basic mini-marts. Close by is the 700-year-old walled village of Tenganan, where the residents practise a time-honoured lifestyle based around ritual and ceremony. The fortress-like village has become a living museum, and many of the houses also function as shops and workshops where expert craftsmen and women perform their centuries’ old skills.
The beach at Candidasa is sandy and golden, albeit narrow due to erosion. There is however, a beautiful beach known as Pasir Putih five kilometres to the east and snorkelling and diving off Candidasa is good with some excellent sites close to the shore and accessible by local boat. Within a few kilometres are two of Bali’s most prestigious resorts, Alila Manggis and the world famous Amankila. Padang Bai Harbour, the stepping off point for Lombok, is a further nine kilometres around the bay, and here you will find the Blue Lagoon, another superb snorkelling and dive site.
Villas in Indonesia by regionBali, Lombok
From $480 ++ Special 3br Rate
From $580 ++
One of the first things we wanted to check off our agenda was snorkelling so, using the villa’s masks and snorkels, we walked down the boat ramp and waded easily into the ocean. We were a little disappointed at first as the area right in front of the villa is pretty lifeless, but around the 50m mark we hit a reef covered in coral fingers that extended as far as we could go along the coast. Not the super-colourful stuff that can be found in Amed, but lots of aquarium-worthy fish nonetheless. Afterwards, we lounged on the villa’s rare patch of black and white sandy beach that’s revealed at low tide.
The sun was almost down and having rinsed off at the outside pool shower and grabbed a cold Bintang beer from the fridge, we decided to have dinner in the poolside pavilion instead of the main dining area. The lightly fried salt and pepper chicken was a favourite with the kids, and the plump chicken sate (a staple dish in Bali) accompanied by mild tomato sambal and a peanut sauce with a kick, worked to give us a flavour of the region's cuisine.
Villa Bakung isn’t huge, but with the ocean stretching to the horizon there was a genuine sense of spaciousness and flow. We enjoyed glimpses into local life as fishermen headed off in their colourful jukung (fishing boats) or net fished in the shallows, while easy strolls down the shady lane revealed cows meandering through the coconut groves and kids playing soccer. There are no direct views of the sunset, but dusk is still a beautiful time, bathing the villa and the ocean in a soft glow.
The villa is aptly named: looking out through the floor-to-ceiling glass you could almost believe that you are floating out at sea on a jukung fishing boat. The staff kept us well fed and watered, and all our meals (typically fresh fish accompanied by rice and veggies) were supplemented by sea views and breezes that made it feel like we were dining at the captain’s table on the QEII. Most of our stay was taken up lazing beside the pool, reading, swimming and combing the reef. When we started to feel bad about doing so much of nothing, we wandered over to the gazebo to help keep the local massage therapist busy. So good was she that we had her come back the following day for another round.
Returning to Villa Jukung recently, we were happy to note that it has been immaculately maintained. The man-made beach with its two gazebos, together with the absolute seafront terrace, have all been added since our first visit and greatly improved the villa’s facilities .