Feel like you love the idea of a Bali holiday, but you would hate the crowds? We have a solution for you.
Bali Tourism has let us in on a secret. We’ve found a place where you can explore water palaces and surf on beaches that aren’t crowded with tourists. In fact, the dunes melt away into rice fields. It even has a village that is famous for coffee. What more could you ask for?
Candi Dasa is a gorgeous seaside town with dramatic views of the mountains and volcanos in East Bali.
Bali was split into 9 regencies in the 17th Century. Candi Dasa sits in Karangasem regency – once home to the most powerful of Bali’s royal families. Snippets of this royal life can still be found today.
Kids will love splashing in the water at Tirta Gangaa water palace. This was a favourite retreat of the royal family. The last Raja of Karangasem built the gardens as a labour of love. He started in 1948, getting his own hands dirty alongside the local workers.
Disaster struck in 1963 when Mount Agung erupted spewing ash all over the gardens and killing all the plants. The gardens lay in ruin until 1979, when Indonesia began an ambition restoration program. Today it is simply magnificent.
Stone bridges cross deep sections of water. In shallow areas beautifully carved stepping stones allow kids to jump their way across the water. Stretch out and relax on the manicured lawns and pretend you’re a royal for a while.
But what about the coffee village?
Teganan Villiage, close to Candi Dasa, is an ancient Balinese village that has preserved ancient traditions for thousands of tears. It’s home to 245 families and is famous for it’s “10 tastes” – 10 types of coffee and 10 flavoured teas from locally sourced produce. Fresh, delicious and local. You will want more of this coffee.
For incredible photos that will make your friends and family jealous – head to the Gates of Heaven Temple at Pura Lempuyang. The gates bookend Mount Agung in the distance providing a spectacular view.
The best beach here is Virgin Beach. With no major development – this beach feels like a step back in time. Hire a daybed and sip on fresh coconut water.
Candi Dasa is also close to one of Bali’s most brilliant and secret surf breaks – Klotok Beach (Pantai Klotok). The shoreline here is covered in rice fields, not hotels and bars. Jasri Beach (Pantai Jasri) is a smaller, fun right-hand break on river stones.
If your family loves to dive, you will want to explore the USAT Liberty. This World War Two carbo boat was conscripted into service and disabled in 1942 by a Japanse Torpedo.
Love to hike? You will find plenty of great walks in Candi Dasa. Trek up Mt Batur before sunrise for a once in a lifetime hike and dramatic views of the region. Or to the top of Bukit Asah for pretty beach and district views.
Candi Dasa also has a chocolate factory. The Sorga Chocolate factory teaches kids how chocolate is made. Kids can choose Indonesia flavoured sweets such as mocha and lemongrass too.
Ultra-luxruy: Amankila is a luxury resort with black sand beaches overlooking the Lombok Straight. This secluded resort has terraced infinity pools and frangipani-lined paths. The thatched-roof suites sit just above the tree-tops.
Alila Manggis is a classy, modern hotel with Indonesian accents and excellent Indonesian food set in beautiful grounds by the water.
Rama Candidasa – modern Indonesian hotel with contemporary Indonesian food. Great place for sunset drinks.
Candi Beach Resort & Spa – modern beachside hotel with stunning spa rooms and
Tirta Nila Villa – stunning beach-chic beachside villa.
Citakara Sari Villa – traditional Javanese huts set on spacious grounds by the beach.
Sea Breeze – simple rooms unless you take the top tier room. Spectacular views up and down to the coast from the beachside Indonesian restaurant.
Ida’s Homestay – on the beach, spacious grounds. $25-30/ night. A good beachfront location for a tranquil escape on the lowest budget. Greet the resident cow.
Are you travelling to Bali? Before you go – check the Smart Traveller website for the latest information. Register your family details before any overseas trip so that the Australian Government can help you in case of emergency.