Villa Mana’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.
- Jump on one of the villa’s bicycles and 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.
- Villa Mana is close to the famous sea temple at Tanah Lot (10 km), although 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 (3km) where a number of cafes offer good sunset views and cold beer. 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 is also a good sunset spot.
- Fashionistas, trendies and shop-a-holics should hot-foot it down to Seminyak, Bali’s most cosmopolitan enclave. 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, La Lucciola, Sardine and Métis.
- Play a round at the unbelievably scenic Nirwana Bali Golf Course. Bordered by ocean and rice fields and just down from Tanah Lot sea temple, no wonder this championship-standard course (designed by golf legend, Greg Norman) is frequently voted number one in Asia.
- Drive westwards to 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.
- 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.
- 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.