There is nothing quite like renting a luxury villa whilst on vacation, and the options in Bali are quite spectacular. You can choose to spend a couple of weeks in one spot or tour around some of the islands most beautiful locations such as Ubud, Seminyak and Canggu.
Our Balinese’s villa rentals are both luxurious and traditional in style designed with the use of local art, woods and traditional furniture ensuring that you have a real authentic experience. You won’t get Miami chic here, but you will get a vacation rental with just as much luxury in a beautifully grounded setting.
Many of our Bali Villas have a wonderful spiritual air that ensures you relax and slow down to Bali pace as soon as you step over the threshold. All our Bali vacation rentals have swimming pools, tropical gardens and either rainforest or ocean views. They are all exquisite and most definitely all Exceptional.
All the Ubud vacation rentals we offer are most definitely a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We have handpicked each of our Ubud villas with an eye for both luxuries as well as providing an authentic Bali vacation experience. If you are looking for a vacation that is grounding and stress-free, then a Ubud villa is a perfect choice.
Our Seminyak villas are all located close to the beach and to the fashionable area of Bali’s south coast. Each of our Seminyak vacation rentals is extremely private yet close to the bustling town which is full of great restaurants and shops.
If you are thinking of an Eat Pray Love Bali experience, then a villa in Canggu is a perfect choice. Canggu is where you will experience a barefoot hippie vibe with yogis and surfer types. There are plenty of beautiful temples to explore locally, and the beach is close by.
No matter which area of Bali you wish to visit, our expert Bali villa specialist will help you to match the perfect Luxury Bali Villa to your dream and requirements to ensure that you have a Bali Vacation of a lifetime. At Exceptional Villas, we have years of proven experience matching our guests with their perfect villa home. With first-hand local knowledge and talented concierge staff and ground crew, we weave a magical carefree break for you and your loved ones. Bali is one of those extraordinary destinations that really comes alive when you travel with us. Day trips to hidden temples, enjoying sunrise or sunset in a secluded and picturesque setting, experiencing world-class spa treatments in the comfort of your villa haven, having the most wonderful dishes prepared for you each day – you will feel fully immersed in the Balinese experience.
“Glorious Bali Island” is the most accurate national motto of this spectacular paradise. Part of Indonesia, resting in splendour in the Indian Ocean, sitting to the East of Java and West of Lombok – Bali is part of what is known as the Lesser Sunda Islands.
If you find the world is getting a bit homogenised with the effects of western culture seemly taking over most of our planet, then Bali is a lovely antidote for you.
The standardised formats of dress, food and lifestyle that have crossed international boundaries and erased, just a little, of our unique national flavour haven’t really taken hold here. Bali, with its gentle but steady temperament, seems to hold onto all the quirky and unusual features that make it such a remarkable destination. Staying impervious to the brash influence of tourism, the essence of this island and its people remain intact. We simply go in and out with the tide leaving very little permanent changes in our wake.
Of course, you can order a Coke or grab a Starbucks in some of the busier metropolitan areas but, truthfully, once you touch down in Bali, you aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto!
Bali is located just a few degrees south of the equator and so enjoys a consistent hot climate with each 12-hour day getting into the high 20s. The regularity of warm temperatures ensures that you can enjoy a restoring vacation on or near a beach all year round.
And what beaches await you! This island is gifted with beautiful clear turquoise warm waters that curve around majestic beaches. The entire island, more specifically the south coast, seems to be just one fantastic beach after another. If the hectic resort beach of Kuta, just 10 minutes from the airport, gets a little bit too ‘party on’ for your soul, you only have to search a little further along the coastline to enjoy blissed out splendour on Seminyak beach. This elegant and refined beach is one of the best places in Bali to base yourself. Delightful spas, romantic restaurants and bars are all within an easy radius of this beach. As you step into your glorious private Bali villa, you will instantly feel the knot of daily life unfurl as your dedicated staff lift the mantle of care from your weary shoulders.
What makes Bali so unique? It’s a rather ephemeral quality, to be honest. There are very definite things we could point to that support the answer. For instance, the people are charming, sincere, friendly and curious. They are a polite nation that seems to have been sent on the most successful training course ever, entitled “How to Welcome Tourists”.
In addition, their spiritual beliefs, that we tried valiantly to comprehend, mean their lives embrace the idea of connections existing between everything. For example, there is no definite barrier between life and death as we believe in the West. They imbue mountains, trees and other physical elements with magical and holy properties. Over a thousand years of evolving culture that saw Bali embrace Hinduism and superimpose it on top of old Balinese animism concepts has seen a very original belief system emerge.
If you ask about a shrine or temple, you will be told it is dedicated to a god, a family of ancestors, farming, water. The list goes on. With over 20,000 temples across the island, there is a temple to cover off all aspect of daily life for the Balinese Hindu people. It’s one of the very best things to do in Bali to visit all the temples in, say, one village. If you can get a local guide to talk you through each of these, you will get a better understanding of how the Balinese honour their past, present and future.
The holiest of temples in Bali is Pura Besakih on the southern slopes of Mount Agung. This mountain is seen as the holiest of places in Bali – mountains being high up are considered closest to godliness. Conversely, the sea and rivers being at lowest altitude are viewed as being furthest from the state of godliness and perhaps even the places where evil spirits and mischief lurk!
One lowland region where absolutely nothing malign could possibly dwell is in the padi fields of Bali. The Dutch colonialist saw the benefit in opening up trade channels with 19th Century Bali. It is one big agricultural paradise. No surprise that the modern Balinese flag depicts symbols of rice alongside a temple image. It is at the heart of its prosperity.
You won’t travel far into the hinterland of Bali without seeing terraced rice fields. If you expect the almost clichéd image of a family cycling along one of those dusty fields that intersect these rice fields, you won’t be disappointed. The light, the colours, the purity of this image is as one would expect. The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces in the centre of the island are a picture postcard perfection! They are an absolute must-see in Bali.
This abundance of rice and delicious fruits and vegetables influence the wonderful dishes that form the foundation of Balinese cuisine.
Nasi Goreng is probably the best known of the dishes you will find in Bali. This delicious fried rice dish that incorporates vegetables, meat and eggs are full of flavour. This is food you will find absolutely everywhere and is at its most delicious when freshly prepared for you. Of course, Babi Guling is the keystone of all Balinese festivals and celebrations. This is roasted suckling pig. It is the full piggy skewered over an open fire pit. If you like your meat to look like a slice of something uninteresting on a plate and not like the actual animal it came from, you might want to sidestep this epicurean experience. If your conscience is easily subsumed by a greedy curiosity, then you will tuck in with relish.
We won’t say which camp I reside in, but let’s finish this food topic on a rather sweeter note! Pisang Goreng or Godoh Biu is an indulgent snack that can be picked up from street stalls or in restaurants. Banana fritters to you and me. This confection of gorgeous chunks of ripe banana battered, and deep fried was introduced to the island by the Portuguese in the 17th Century. These crispy, sweet treats are widely available and can be served with condensed milk or chocolate. A tooth-melting treat!
Like all the spicy and exotic islands in Asia, the European explorers have left their footprints in their collective history books. Bali is no exception and its colonial capital of Singaraja (the second largest city in Bali), on the island’s northern coast contains a number of fine examples of architecture, a legacy from its Dutch past. From 1848 to 1958, this town was the administrative capital of Bali. Its natural harbour made it the ideal location for the Dutch to weigh anchor and load up their vessels with spices, vanilla and tobacco for the return voyage. The harbour district is still home to some of the old colonial warehouses and buildings – a reminder of a forgotten time.
Ever since Julia Roberts, sat on her leafy terrace and meditated in Ubud, there has been a pilgrimage of unprecedented hysteria to this part of Bali. Whether you are on the Eat, Pray, Love trail or just want to explore a serene and creative part of Bali, you will find that Ubud is a pretty town well worth visiting. It is a bustling centre with lovely local artisanal shops, open countryside all around and, of course, the Sacred Monkey Forest. This Forest is home to three temples that have grown into their verdant surroundings. It is ruled over by a band of very cheeky and spoiled Balinese Macaque monkeys. These over-fed and over-confident tricksters enjoy nothing more than ambushing tourists who might foolishly wander around with banana in hand. They are noisy and brazen, but you really won’t want to leave Ubud without visiting the temples and dodging these cheeky monkeys!
This underwater ecosystem covers an area from The Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It contains over 600 species of reef-building corals. Over 120m people live within this triangle and rely on the reef for food, income and protection from storms.
While on Bali you should join one of the fantastic tours organised by The Coral Triangle Centre. This educational tour, one of the best things to do in Bali, will whisk you away to the unspoiled splendour that is Nusa Penida. Locals will tell you that this unspoiled island just off Bali’s mainland is what Bali was before tourism descended. It is an Eden of beautiful beaches, snorkelling around coral reefs untouched by man. Mother nature is still queen in this gorgeous corner of Bali. The tour we took has a very ecologically sound attitude. We planted trees; we learnt how to engage with the natural world in a way that allowed us to enjoy it without damaging it. Put it on your Bali bucket-list. It is a fabulous day out!
No, we’re not quite done yet. The sarong! You see them absolutely everywhere in Bali. They are the national costume; they are the everyday wear, the high festival garb in brown, indigo and white – representing the three Hindu Gods, they are hanging in every marketplace.
Our best tip for you in Bali is to go out and buy yourself a few of these gems. Some of the modern ones, with vibrant animal prints or sea motifs, are very attractive but their real value comes alive when you are out and about on the island. What is the sarong actually? Well, it’s a cover-up from the sun, it’s a towel on the beach, it’s a respectful mode of dress when you enter temples, it is a garment that can be tied in many ways to create a skirt, dress, top, scarf, head-dress. Your imagination is the only barrier to how many brilliant uses you will get from your sarong. Oh, and all you guys out there, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to understand the absolute liberation of swanning around in a skirt (Scots excepted!) The inbuilt air conditioning of being shorts-free is nothing to be sneered at. So, when you touchdown in Bali get thee to a store or stall and embrace the multi-functional charm and below-waist liberation that a sarong will deliver!
There is a world like no other waiting for you in Bali. If it’s a destination new to you and you are keen to experience more than the average brochures offer, then let Exceptional Villas design and deliver a vacation like no other. From bespoke menus that cater to all unusual palates, to organising day trips for romantic honeymooners who eventually tear themselves away from their heavenly villa haven, to family adventures where your cheeky monkeys can run free. it’s all waiting for you. We’re just a phone call away.
And why Bali? I guess to sum it up; there is nowhere quite like it. The people are the gentlest and most welcoming nation I’ve ever encountered. The natural splendour of the island from its glorious beaches to the lush tropical forests dazzles at every turn. Even the prosaic daily activity of growing rice has been elevated to the ranks of spectacular grandeur when you look at the terraced rice fields. This island is home to the most delicious food ingredients that appear each day on your table. Ripe avocados whisked into a sweet juice, banana fritters, noodles, seafood. it is an abundant feast for all the senses.
I didn’t even get to rave about the yoga … well, I do like to save something for later. Let’s just say, if you want to get in touch with your spiritual spring and draw forth all of the magic and wonder that exists within you, then you are in the right place. This is an island that sees the spiritual in everything and everyone. You are only a flight away from seeing it in yourself too.