Villa Ylang Ylang rests in the quiet coastal village of Saba, in an area collectively known as Ketewel, within Bali’s eastern Gianyar Regency.
This eastern coastal region is an exceptionally wonderful part of the island – naturally beautiful, amazingly unspoilt and packed with cultural and scenic attractions. Saba is the quintessianal Balinese village, distinctive with its stretches of emerald rice fields and coconut groves, dotted with a harmonious mix of unobtrusive foreign residences and local dwellings.
Villa Ylang Ylang’s gardens stretch down to Saba Beach, with a reminder Bali is a volcanic island, as its sands are shimmering black. The deserted stretch of beach offers unobstructed panoramas with stunning views across the Badung Strait and Nusa Penida, opposite, one of Bali’s smaller sister islands. And on a clear day, the silhouette of towering volcano, Mount Agung, is visible in the distance. Sunrises are a spectacular treat here, especially over Nusa Penida’s limestone cliffs. [It’s worth noting that as Bali is also still a developing country, the beach is sometimes at the mercy of external influences and people’s disregard for the environment.]
A tidal river flows between the beach and villa; Peanut River alters its course with every changing season, so access to the beach requires crossing the river half of the year by way of a small boat provided by the villa. With strong currents directly in front, it’s safer to swim in a protected bay area just five minutes westwards (or head south to the calm waters of nearby Sanur). The offshore reef here is renowned for its surf breaks, and there’s excellent surfing to be had ten minutes in either direction of the villa: nearby Mascheti Beach has world-class surf breaks and hosts international surfing tournaments.
Saba is famous for its traditional Gamalan music, producing some of the finest Legong dancers on the island; private performances at the villa by young traditional dancing girls can be arranged. Balinese Hindu purification ceremonies are held beside the sea at nearby sacred Pura Segara sea temple; the main temple stands at the entrance to the road leading to Villa Ylang Ylang, where prayer blessings are performed daily.
- Saba Bay Stables
- 1.50 km
- Bali Safari and Marine Park
- 5 km
- Cucukan Beach
- 5 km
- 6 km
- Mas Carving Center
- 12 km
- 15 km
- 16 km
- Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS)
- 29 km
Things to do
The villa manager will typically 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. Invariably some of them will 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.
- If you’ve always dreamt of galloping along the beach at sunset, now’s your chance. Saba Bay stables, located in Saba village, can arrange horse riding trails along the black sands and crashing waves of Saba Beach, passing bamboo and alang-alang plantations, local temples – even the villa itself!
- You’re just 20 minutes’ drive from the historical village of Sanur, Bali’s original tourist enclave. Its lovely broad expanse of golden sands sheltered by a reef makes this for the perfect spot for safe swimming. Make the most of the diverse array of water sports available and some excellent eating places along the five-kilometre seafront promenade.
- Don’t miss a trip up to Bali’s cultural and artistic hub, Ubud, a 25-minute scenic drive. This is the best place to catch traditional Balinese dance performances – especially at the town’s Royal Palace, magically illuminated at night. Ubud has also recently evolved as an upmarket destination, boasting cutting-edge restaurants like Mozaic and world-class spas such as award-winning COMO Shambhala.
- You can purchase plenty of arts, crafts and souvenirs in Ubud, but why not get them at source, at Ubud’s outlying traditional artisan villages? There’s wider options at great value to be found at Celuk, famous for silverware, Batubulan for stone carvings, Mas for wood carvings and Sukawati, for its arts and crafts market – all just 10 to 20-minutes drive away.
- Just off the mainland are the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida – both famous for their scuba diving and snorkeling, with excellent dive sites and rich marine life. Boat trips from Sanur or Padangbai can easily be arranged. Further along the east coast, Amed and Tulamben offer isolated reefs – the latter, also has shipwreck diving.
- Plenty of family attractions in the area include Bali Safari & Marine Park, just five minutes away, home to hundreds of animals, with elephant back safari and marine park. Alternatively, just up the coast in Amuk Bay, marvel at stunning marine life and coral reefs without getting your feet wet, with Odyssey Submarine Adventure.
- The island’s world-famous Bali Spirit Festival of Dance, Music and Yoga is actually hosted only ten minutes from the villa, at Batuan. This annual celebration attracts thousands from around the globe, plus celebrated musicians, yogis and dancers. At other times, yoga devotees can book private yoga classes at the villa, or head to Ubud’s renowned Yoga Barn.
- Fashionistas and shop-a-holics should drive over to the west coast – around 45 minutes away – where you’ll find Bali’s most cosmopolitan enclave, Seminyak. Here, indulge in globally-inspired gourmet restaurants, stylish boutiques and hipper-than-thou bars – including the much hyped Ku Dé Ta, on Seminyak beachfront.
- For a day of culture and dramatic landscapes elsewhere, drive north to the mountain town of Bedugul. From here, explore three volcanic lakes, including Bratan, with its photogenic and stunningly positioned Pura Ulun Danu – one of Bali’s most sacred temples.