This island never stops to amaze me! New things will jump out at you every single day. Every time you think you have experienced the entirety of this glorious island, most likely you will end up being surprised with something new. Last week, I took a short trip to explore the rich heritage and culture of the east part of the island. I was looking forward to this trip with a flutter in my heart.

The wind mixed with the smell of the ocean and the scent of the trees creates an intoxicating perfume in Candidasa Beach.

I decided to start off my trip by heading over to what this island is famous for – the beach. Therefore, at the top of my itinerary I put the Bias Tugel Beach which is also known as the White Sand Beach for its spectacular and brilliant white sands. After a short walk via a fairly steep and rocky path, the stretch of white sandy beach with crystal clear blue water was standing before me. It was a very quiet morning, and I found that the best way to enjoy the beach was to simply lay back and enjoy the view.

About 10 km from Bias Tugel Beach, less than a 30 minute drive, I stopped by the Candidasa Beach. The waters of clear turquoise make this beach all the more memorable. Paradisiacal is what this place feels like. It was still 10 o’clock in the morning, and the tranquillity of this place made the perfect prognostication of how today’s journey is going to be. As the ocean winds caressed me, I found new meaning to the quote: ‘Peace is always beautiful’.

Uforia Chocolate Factory

Heading up north, right after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I called up a quick visit at Uforia Chocolate Factory, as recommended by my old mate who visited the place a few days ago. Like anybody with an inner child and a sweet tooth, this spot was impossible for me to resist. Therefore, within minutes, I found myself being introduced to the wonders of a chocolate factory.

While it is not anything like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the place is quite nifty. I was given a comprehensive tour of the facilities and even came to know how chocolate was produced. I wish I bought some of the chocolates home with me, but I still had a long way before arriving home and would be wasted to see the chocolates melted. As they say, ‘You cannot buy happiness but you can buy chocolates, and that’s kind of the same thing.

Taman Ujung (11)
Refreshing view of Pesaban Village in the shades of Mt. Agung.

After the yummy experience at the chocolate factory, I moved on to the Sibetan Farm Village. I was welcomed by the majestic sight of Mt. Agung, slightly cowering in respect for it is still an active volcano, as I drove into the village. The last time it erupted, it stopped agriculture in the surrounding lands. However, the snake fruit managed to survive and it is still cultivated today. I watched the farmers go about their work, plucking and harvesting those delicious snake fruits while the cool atmosphere hung overhead. Sibetan is a village which is still traditional in its ways and still beautiful in its appeal.

I wasn’t done yet with the simple pleasures offered by villages, and that is why the Pesaban Traditional Village was my next stop. Here, I wandered among the terraced slopes of the hills and as I did so, like many philosophers I wondered, ‘Oh simple things, where have you gone?

Balinese men and women are praying on the grounds of Besakih Temple. Everybody is dressed in traditional Balinese.

After a short lunch at the local warung of Pesaban Village, my next destination was the Besaikh Temple. It is known as Bali’s Mother Temple and it has been so for the last thousand years. I wonder about the incredible ingenuity and skills that those ancients possessed to create this incredible temple complex. The temple is a testament of artistry and an ode to craftsmanship.

The next destination was the Ujung Water Palace. I stopped to admire the astounding view as soon as I laid eyes on it. It took all the effort on my part to tear myself away from the sight. I sighed partly out of wonder and partly out of admiration. Then, I realised I had been holding my breath in. It was unspeakably beautiful! The magnificent palace seems to float over the fish pond while greenery envelopes it, creating an aura of enigma and charm. This place was certainly fit for kings looking to unwind and spend a lazy day or two.

Tirta Gangga (5)
The water garden of Tirta Gangga is a mixture of Balinese – Chinese architecture. It has always been regarded as holy and is regularly used for religious temple ceremonies.

About 15 minutes away from the Ujung Water Palace, located near Abang, Tirta Gangga is a place worth visiting. As a former royal palace, the place now is a fantastic collection of fountains and water features where it is easy to get lost in more ways than one. I did get lost, wandering the maze of fountains and pools.

The azure waters reflect the verdant shades of trees. It was a mesmerising sight indeed. I could feel the ancient kings walking beside me as royal magnificence still hangs heavy in the air today. It wasn’t long before I found myself face to face with the centrepiece – a fountain with eleven tiers! What an awe-inspiring sight!

Amed Beach (4)
The breathtaking view of Amed Beach. The mountains and coastline around Amed are stunning and there are numerous options for getting off the beaten track and exploring.

I ended my Karangasem journey with a trip to another remarkable beach. ‘It is a dream that has been painted into a reality!’ That is what I felt when I visited the Amed Beach. In spite of the many beaches I had visited in Bali, Amed Beach was ‘a rare slice of paradise!’ The exotic beauty is only matched by the vibrancy of its culture. Like many other visitors, I too participated in diving.

As a novice, I experienced a whole new world as I swam with colourful fishes, caressed quirky sponges and visited gorgeous coral gardens. Afterwards, I dropped on to the beach’s black sands with my head still reeling from the beauty I had seen underwater. It was a rare experience indeed.

So, there it was, my 15 hour trip to the Karangasem region. It was a long trip indeed, but definitely something I am keen to do all over again. Now, there is one thing stuck in my head; which spas I am going to visit?

Joannes Rhino

Joannes Rhino

Joannes Rhino is a Editor in NOW! Bali Magazine