Alison Bone

Alison Bone has 7 articles published.

A well seasoned travel writer, Alison arrived in Bali in 2008 and never got around to leaving. Trading global nomadic journeys for explorations of a culinary kind, she now writes about the island's ever-evolving dining scene. Alison also returns regularly to Fiji and has just completed her first book, Kava, Cannibals and Curses, about her time living with a traditional community in the remote Yasawa Islands.

East Bali: Top things to do and best beachfront villas

in Villas by
Villa Pushpapuri Bali Beachfront Villa

Its easy to be seduced by the glamour of southern Bali with its trendy restaurants and uber-cool beach clubs, but if you have something a little quieter in mind for your Bali holiday, the pristine Sunrise Coast on the island’s eastern shores has a charm all its own.

Saba beach in East Bali

Peaceful coastal villages nestle amidst banana plantations, lush green rice fields and exotic palm-fringed black sand beaches. A trio of volcanos looming in the distance make the most stunning of backdrops, especially when bathed in the pearly pink light of a Bali sunrise.

TOP THINGS TO DO

The atmospheric seaside town of Candidasa is situated mid-way up the east coast just 60km from the airport. Local art shops sell paintings, handicrafts and wood carvings, while casual open-air restaurants are strung along the shore, some with candle-lit tables right on the beach. Make sure to check out the main temple with a dreamy location on the edge of a lotus-filled lagoon.

Adventure-seekers can trek to the top of Mount Agung – the island’s highest peak, while water enthusiasts can explore Bali’s best dive sites, such as the HMS Liberty Wreck. Adrenalin junkies can get their kicks on a shark dive, or glide through the water with manta rays. The cool waters of Tirta Gangga, an elaborate water palace tucked into the nearby hills, makes a gentler respite with its spring fed pools and water fountains carved from stone.

A few kilometers inland from Candidasa, the 700-year-old walled village of Tenganan is home to the Bali Aga, the island’s first inhabitants. It is quite a cultural attraction these days, but still provides a fascinating glimpse into a traditional way of life and is justly famed for its beautiful ikat weavings.

The small coastal village of Jasri is home to Charly’s chocolate factory. You won’t find Willy Wonka, but you will find delicious chocolate (try the Narkabo dark chocolate nibbles) and great photo opportunities thanks to a quirky assortment of cone-shaped bamboo houses clustered in a grove of coconut palms right on the beach. Nearby, a bumpy dirt road winds through verdant forest to emerge at Pasir Putih (white sand) rightly crowned as Bali’s most beautiful beach. Bathe in the turquoise sea, soak up the rays from a deckchair and indulge in fresh fish for lunch, barbecued right in front of you. 

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Maldives with Kids

in Families by
Maldives with kids - Amilla Beach Villa Residences

Not just for lovers, these enchanted islands also set the scene for idyllic family holidays. While not all resorts in the Maldives are kid-friendly, some, such as the stunning Amilla Beach Villa Residences are heaven-sent for family holidays.

Invite your kids to experience an island escape with endless things to do and tons of independence in a world-class destination. Don’t worry, it’s a relatively small island and you’ll all be looked after royally.

AMILLA BEACH VILLA RESIDENCES, MALDIVES

This sublime family holiday destination in Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biospere Reserve with pristine beaches surrounded by the richest marine life in the Maldives. Powdery white sand begs to have sand castles built upon it, hermit crabs play hide and seek, boat docks call for exploration, pools invite swimmers, bikes need riders. Nature lovers can snorkel, dive, join a turtle safari, go dolphin watching or swim with mantas.

If that doesn’t appeal to the whole family, let your kids discover the fun of Sultan’s Village Kids Club, a mini resort just for them with a wade pool, whimsical playground and plenty of sand. The air-conditioned fully-supervised club house is packed with toys and games.

The Kids Club team have come up with all kinds of fun activities to keep children of all ages entertained for hours. From island-wide treasure hunts to pizza making and snorkeling trips, they are the pros on things to do with kids in the Maldives.

Bigger kids and teens in the Maldives may prefer hanging out at Empire Beach Club where they can shoot pool, play table tennis or get into arcade games, football, volleyball and frisbee. Watersports like wake boarding, parasailing, jet skiing and kayaking are also a guaranteed hit!

There are plenty of eateries for everyone to enjoy. Kids love the relaxed tropical vibe of The Baazaar with its collection of restaurants fanning out around a giant infinity pool.  There is something for everyone, with options including The Fish and Chips Shop, Joe’s Pizza, Barolo Grill, and Wok. Many parents love holiday multi-tasking here, gazing with heart-shaped eyes at their independent happy children whilst enjoying adult company and cocktails expertly prepared by mixologists at the Baazaar Bar.

Going for a family holiday in the Maldives doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy a romantic candle lit dinner on the beach,

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Tabanan – So you think you’ve seen Bali?

in Recreation by

Nature lovers, serenity seekers, golfers and explorers of ‘the real’ Bali, will love Tabanan. In this Indonesian regency, founded in the 14th century and covering almost 850sqm of south-west Bali, stretching from the sparkling black sands and craggy cliffs of the coast, to the soaring heights of Bali’s tropical hinterland, there is much to explore. Balinese Hindu culture remains strong in this peaceful part of the island, where small villages are bound by customs and colourful religious rituals. Early mornings see fishermen heading out to sea in their colourful wooden jukung (fishing boats), while farmers in bamboo hats plough their rice fields. Tabanan is also the setting for some of Bali’s most beautiful temples, and home to a world-renowned golf course.

Tabanan is known as Bali’s rice bowl, and you don’t need to look far to find picturesque rice fields, whether sloping gently down to the sea or clinging to steep terraces as the land rises sharply toward the majestic volcanoes of central Bali. The famed rice fields of Jatiluwih are a protected UNESCO world heritage site located in Bali’s lush foothills. Sign up for a tour and explore this scenic region by bicycle, foot or land cruiser.

If you are seeking a soothing vista of emerald green, check into Kaba Kaba Estate which is gloriously located close to the coast, amidst a seemingly endless sea of rice fields. This palatial eight-bedroomed villa is a treasure trove of antiques and makes a truly luxurious hideaway.

Nearby, two other luxury Tabanan villas are close enough to visit Canggu and Seminyak for a meal or shopping spree, yet rural enough for that away-from-it-all experience: the delightfully peaceful six-bedroomed Maya Retreat is set amidst enchanting gardens on the banks of the Penet river and makes a magical holiday base. While five-bedroomed Arsana Estate has sleek modern buildings sprawled over two beautiful hectares of terraced hillside and boasts a home theatre and games room.

One of Bali’s best-known and most-photographed attractions is Tanah Lot, a mystical sea temple that clings to a craggy island just metres from the shore. Sunsets here are magnificent, but often rather crowded. Staying in a nearby villa means you can wander down for an equally stunning sunrise and avoid the crowds. Just up the road from the temple, the Greg Norman designed Nirwana Bali Golf Course is considered the best 18-hole course in Indonesia.

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Jimbaran and The Bukit Peninsula – Bali’s southern belles

in Recreation by

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While Bali is perhaps best known for its verdant and picturesque rice-terrace landscape, The Bukit Peninsula possesses a very different kind of beauty. Towering limestone cliffs, thick coastal forest, timeless fishing villages and legendary surf breaks typify this rugged lemon-shaped headland marking the island’s most southerly point.

A narrow land bridge separates the sprawling southern plains of Bali from The Bukit, and it’s here that you’ll find the peaceful fishing community of Jimbaran. The wide, gentle curve of Jimbaran Bay is protected by a reef, which creates a calm lagoon of sparkling turquoise water. Safe swimming conditions and beautiful soft white sand make this lovely beach a hit with families. Colourful jukung (traditional fishing boats) rest on the sand, and casual restaurants line the beach. Jimbaran’s nightly seafood barbecues regularly top ‘must do’ lists in Bali. Choose your fish or seafood, then take a table on the beach while it is basted in Jimbaran’s famous spice mix of garlic, black pepper, kaffir lime leaves and chilli, and grilled over coconut husks. Those in search of a finer dining experience and bespoke cocktails can head up to the fabulous beach club, Sundara, tucked into the corner of the bay, while foodies shouldn’t miss Cuca, one of the island’s most innovative restaurants.

Situated on the gentle rise of Jimbaran Hill, with charming views over the bay, (best enjoyed from a roof-top Jacuzzi,) the light and spacious Villa Aiko is well set-up for families. Nearby are two more fabulously equipped villas, each with ocean views and walking tracks down to the beach: Villa Jamalu is equally suited to jetsetters in search of a luxury pad and families looking for a quite holiday retreat, while the popular, highly contemporary Villa Adenium boasts a massive gym and games room.

Further up the hill is the area known as ‘millionaires row,’ an exclusive neighborhood boasting million-dollar views and some of the island’s most exclusive villas. Early mornings reveal central Bali’s dramatic chain of volcanoes, while evenings see the island’s southern plains ablaze with twinkling lights. The Longhouse clings to the mountainside, with a stunning design by renowned Balinese architect Popo Danes, and bedrooms showcasing some of the many rich cultures of the Indonesian archipelago.

Back on the coast, golfers can play a round at the New Kuta Golf Course,

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Through The Keyhole: Sungai Tinggi Beach Villa

in Villas by

Elite Havens’ villas come in many shapes and sizes. That they are all luxurious homes in some of Asia’s most prized locations, brimming with first-class facilities and tended to by a caring team of staff, goes without saying, but beyond that, each and every villa has its own distinctive character. Many are the fulfilment of their owners’ dreams and have interesting stories attached to their creation. ‘Through the Keyhole’ takes a peek behind the scenes and chats with some of our villa owners to find out how the dream became a reality.

Sungai Tinggi Beach Villa owners tell us about their stunning oceanfront home on Bali’s south-west coast.

How long have you owned the villa?

We built it over 15 years ago, when I was engaged in developing a wide range of luxury residences throughout Bali for expatriate families. We needed a show villa to demonstrate our design and exhibit the wide range of construction materials available in Indonesia. We had already been living in Bali for over 10 years and it had taken that long to find the perfect location. There were obstacles to overcome regarding the land purchase, but we now own close to 12,000 sqm of beachfront land.

Can you share your insights on the design and construction process with us?

My company was involved in the construction of the Four Seasons Jimbaran and the Nirwana Resort in Tanah Lot. We borrowed a lot of ideas from both of these resorts when we came to design and build Sungai Tinggi Beach Villa.

The design combines the best of Western and Balinese architecture and materials and is testament to what good design and careful choice of materials can produce. We’ve been gratified to receive many comments about how well the villa fits into the environment. It was an important consideration for us to maintain the surrounding natural beauty by careful choice of materials that blend with the ever-changing landscape. For example, the river mouth next to the villa can quickly change from a canyon to a lake; viewed at dawn and sunset it presents two completely opposing views. Design is paramount in such situations because to dominate an environment is to detract from Bali’s natural beauty, which is what attracted us here in the first place.

What makes Sungai Tinggi Beach Villa unique?

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