Bali needs no introduction – its as popular as can be with international and local travellers. I find myself zipping off to Bali every time there’s a long weekend! Here’s something new, though! East Bali. You may not have heard much about it, as its the lesser known sister of the more popular Seminyak, Ubud and Uluwatu. A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of staying in Alila Manggis, an enchanting property on the edges of the East Bali water; I heard the waves crashing against the hotel’s rock barriers every morning and could only imagine heaven to be the same. Here, we have a piece on all the wonders of visiting East Bali (food, culture, or even water sports) from Alila Manggis. And while you’re there, might as well stay at Alila Manggis – I promise you that you cannot be looked after any better anywhere else.
A visit to Bali anytime of the year is likely to coincide with one of the island’s year-round calendar of enthralling temple ceremonies and religious festivals. Here are some highlights of what you can experience in the coming year.
Mekarekare at Tenganan Village
The annual ‘mekarekare’ ritual takes place every June in nearby Tenganan Village, an ancient village that still follows Bali Aga (pre-Hindu) culture and traditions. Honoring the village ancestors, this extraordinary ritual involves theatrical duels between the young men of the village, armed with prickly pandanus leaf whips and ‘ata’ vine shields, staged to the intense martial sounds of ‘gamelan selonding’ music, and much merriment and laughter. You won’t witness anything else like it.
Pasar Agung Temple
Just a 30-minute journey from Villa Idanna, behold Pasar Agung, a magnificent temple that lies off the beaten track, three-quarters of the way up majestic Mount Agung. Rivaling the Mayan temples of Central America, this monumental temple complex serves as the sacred meeting place of Bali’s most ancient deities. Surrounded by a forest of towering ferns and pine trees, it is the most dramatic setting and pilgrimage site in Bali, offering panoramic views that stretch as far as Lombok and Java.
Besakih Temple is the most important temple on the island, known as the mother temple of Bali. The most memorable and enjoyable time to visit is during one of the frequent festivals that are held here, thronged by hundreds of Hindu devotees adorned with beautifully arranged offerings.
Usaba Daratan at Selumbung Village
In November, witness this unusual annual ceremony at Selumbung Village that blends sacred dance with spiritual trance. Displaying the power of the gods through the human body, the performers inspire a mixture of awe and fear in a powerful performance of the Keris dance. A mesmerizing sight to behold.
SPORTING ADVENTURE: Discover East Bali’s wild side on these exhilarating adventures that stretch from the ocean depths to the mountaintops.
Alila Manggis is perfectly situated for exploring the region’s many wonderful dive sites off Bali’s east coast. Our ‘Dive in Harmony’ packages for certified and non-certified divers combine a relaxing stay at our seaside resort with expert dive instruction and open-water dives by Zen Harmony Diving. For beginners and dive professionals, Diving with Alila Manggis delivers exciting experiences to please all levels with a great range of top dive sites.
Loose the crowds in December! Bali’s east coast is the go-to spot to catch the most thrilling waves for the best surf breaks in November through April. Our team will lead you to discover many yet unknown secret spots in Bali, with breaks for beginners to Pro surfers. Check out the waves at Keramas, Klotok and Jasri with our team.
For a truly awesome view of the East Bali landscape, trek up the slopes of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest and most sacred mountain, or Mount Batur, Bali’s most active volcano, guided by our Leisure Concierge. These challenging treks will reward you with spectacular panoramas of sunrise from the summit. An unforgettable experience with nature’s most dramatic views of Bali.
Best Mountain Biking Downhill
Take our ‘Mountain to Sea’ scenic mountain bike ride down the forested slopes of Mount Agung, winding through local villages, fruit plantations, and markets, enjoying fresh air and spellbinding views. End your journey at Pasir Putih beach where you can enjoy lunch and cool off in the sea. An adventure that will delight both beginners and experienced cyclists, with no doubt, a real Bali discovery journey!
CONSCIOUS LIVING & CULINARY JOURNEY: It’s about your wellbeing and indulging in some well-deserved pampering that’s authentically East Bali…
Yoga & Tai Chi
Join us in our complimentary morning tai chi and afternoon yoga sessions held in the serenity of our beautifully landscaped gardens, calmed by the sounds of the ocean and the warm sun dappling through the swaying coconut palms.
The Balinese Healer & The 48-hour Spa Escape
Visit the Balinese Healer – a spiritually gifted man known as the “Balian” or healer from the Perasi Village in East Bali. The Balian has been the focal point of healing in Bali for centuries, usually using herbs with ancient Balinese massage touch points to cure those aches and pains. After the spiritual healing session, enjoy unlimited spa indulgence from tension-relieving massages and invigorating body scrubs to glowing beauty treatments. Take your pick from our extensive spa menu that will leave you feeling fully restored and ready to face the world afresh.
The Organic Garden Cookout
Rediscover the wholesome, nurturing flavors of unprocessed ingredients with a cooking class in our organic garden hidden below the foothills of Mount Agung overlooking the sea. Put on boots and a rice hat and join our gardeners, collecting seasonal ingredients and enjoying tastings from the garden, followed by a lunch of traditional Balinese dishes cooked with your own hands.
The Bali Aga Culinary Journey
A journey of discovery into the real flavors of East Bali for a unique village dining experience with the Bali Aga. Curated exclusively for couples, this extraordinary experience offers guests the rare privilege of dining in the home of Pak Gede, a resident of the nearby Bali Aga village of Tenganan. Experience the perfect ensemble of a romantic, home-cooked Balinese family meal with the luxury of a private butler, wine and champagne pairings, to the accompaniment of traditional Balinese music.
And there you have it – not one or two, but 12 fantastic reasons to make you next Bali trip all about the East.