Often overlooked in favour of the backpacker hangouts of Seminyak, Canggu and Ubud, East Bali has happily held on to its element of mystery. Being dominated by the 'Mother Mountain', Mount Agung, probably has something to do with it, as do the fertile soils that flank them – creating some of the lushest, greenest scenes in Bali. But East Bali luxury holidays are more than just good views. Get in touch with tradition atop Mount Agung, which tops an impressive 10,330ft, at Besakih Temple – a conglomeration of 23 individual temples cascading down the mountainside – or inside the storied Bat Cave Temple,
which is said to be inhabited by Naga Basuki, a mythical dragon. If, however, you can’t resist a mountain, a hike up Mount Batur, a volcanic peak cradled by the deep blue Lake Batur, promises to be everything and more. But enough about Bali's peaks. For those inclined to pack hiking boots amid the bikinis and boardies, lush river valleys, emerald rice paddies and charming villages can be explored without the exertion of a volcano trek. The winding Sidemen road that snakes through river valleys is the perfect stomping ground for a scenic amble or leisurely cycle.
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Villages in Eastern Bali have seemingly escaped the rapid development of the South, continuing the traditions of their Bali Aga ancestors, who inhabited the island pre Majapahit rule. Perhaps visit the village of Tenganan, where many of the villagers are skilled weavers, and produce some of the most exquisite (and pricey) double Ikat cloths – the kamben gringsing cloth produced here is even said to ward off black magic.
Now whilst the East doesn't offer endless stretches of picture perfect sand beaches (though there are a few chalk white sand coves we *might* share with you), the volcanic sand beaches vary from biscuit to black, dotted with mica which glistens in the sunlight. The offshore snorkelling and diving in the East is great too, from the relatively shallow WW2 shipwreck SS Liberty near to the divers haven of Amed, to the beguilingly named Blue Lagoon.