Bali has long been the choice holiday destination for Jakartans, an easy 1.5 hour flight takes us from bustling cityscape to the centre of paradise. We are in truth quite spoilt and take the island for granted, as millions of people from around the world can only dream of dipping their toes into the warm sands of Bali’s many beaches. For many in the city, Bali has become that simple weekend escape to ‘refresh’, so this month NOW! Jakarta has taken the liberty of planning your perfect Bali weekend getaway.

Goa Lawah2

Without a doubt getting in before the sun goes down on a Friday should be the goal, because nothing welcomes you better to the island of the gods than a sunset session by the beach. Some of the island’s newest classy beach clubs and bars are Sundays Beach Club in Ungasan, Azul Beach Club in Legian and Canggu’s newest Finns Beach Club. There are of course many sultry spots to sip and savour the moment along Bali’s southern coastline.

Taman Ujung (4)

The island’s culinary scene is also bursting with new innovation right now, thus it would be a shame not to hit the town and eat out on the Friday night. Restaurants, especially around Seminyak, are continuously creating to please the needs of the modern food lover. One such place is The Restaurant at Alila Seminyak, serving up Pan-Asian delights overlooking Petitenget Beach. The Restaurant also offers a special Chef’s Table experience, a five-course, cocktail-paired dinner seated facing the open plan kitchen, a treat for real gastronomes who love to watch the process.

Alila Seminyak - Restaurant Outdoor Group setup

On Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast, there’s no time to waste. With weekends being short its worth getting up and out early and exploring a little. No doubt many Jakartans have visited Ubud before, so a day trip to Bali’s pristine east coast is whats in the itinerary, to Taman Ujung Water Palace in the Karangasem Regency for some culture and nature rolled into one.

The water palace is approximately 2 hours drive from Bali’s south, but the drive is enjoyable. Slowly, as you look out the window, trees replace buildings, green hills replace the concrete. Rural Bali begins, this is why you escaped the city! There plenty of interesting stops before reaching Taman Ujung, such as Pura Goa Lawah, Bali’s mysterious ‘Bat Cave’ where a quick tour can be done; also two gorgeous and isolated beaches, White Sand Beach and Blue Lagoon Beach near the Padang Bai Harbour, where you can go for a mid-trip swim and snorkel to break up the journey.

Taman Ujung (6)

An hour on the road again finally takes you to Taman Ujung (or garden at the edge), deep within the charming Karangasem countryside, it is truly stunning and steeped in rich history. Built in 1909 by the King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Djelantik, the palace sits within a giant pool, with regal bales spread around it, connected by stretching walkways with archways. From the main pavilion, views of the Lombok Strait and the silhouette of Mount Lempuyang can be seen. Pristine, serene, real Bali. Walk around, enjoy the ambience and take many photos.

On the drive home, stop by at the Standing Stones Restaurant and Beach Lounge in the Royal Purnama for a light bite or a cool drink. Sit out upon the venues open lawn, looking out to the mystic black sand beach and the iconic standing stones feature, or perhaps indulge in a treatment at the Black Sand Spa to finish off the day.

Taman Ujung (1)

Finally, Sundays in Bali are all about long, leisurely brunches. Head on over to the Sofitel’s Cut Catch Cucina for their chic Haute Couture Brunch experience, filled with the best meats, seafood, desserts and everything in between. Diners are also permitted use of the pool, so lie under the sun as you reflect on your little escape from the urban life. A perfectly satisfying weekend filled with a mixture of the best Bali has to offer: culture, nature and of course a little bit of indulgence.

Then, it’s back to the concrete jungle we call home.