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Indonesia » Bali » Candidasa » Villa Jukung
The gentle approach to Villa Jukung through a small fishing village near Candidasa in Karangasam – the most revered of Bali’s regencies – gives away nothing of what to expect. But as the staff swing back the mighty gates, the sight that unfurls before you is simply stunning. A large, white two-storey villa, surrounded by lawns and coconut palms on a slice of absolute seafront land with colossal views over the Lombok Strait beyond. This is one of those rare and precious finds that gives total and absolute seaside privacy – perfect for families or groups of friends.
With four ensuite bedrooms (plus a small extra room for a child), a semi open-air living and dining room, a 12-metre swimming pool, an elevated man-made private beach, and no less than four thatched balé pavilions in the garden, this villa is just made for relaxation. Here, while you are being pampered with a poolside massage (at very reasonable extra cost), you can watch the jukung boats returning to the shore with their catch of the day. Eight sun loungers line a white stone terrace between the pool and a three-metre-high seawall which drops down to the 800sqm private, man-made beach and another terrace furnished with more loungers. This provides the perfect spot for entering the water to snorkel among the brightly coloured fish on the reef.
The staff at Villa Jukung are thoughtful and friendly; they know when it’s time for a refill, they can cook great local food and are always willing to try their hand at Western dishes or go on a beer or snack run at a moment’s notice (all provisions on guest account at cost price). What’s more, the staff know exactly where to buy the freshest seafood – direct from the fishermen – for a memorable poolside barbecue.
Villa Jukung is located within the quiet and natural environs of Mendira Beach at the tiny fishing village of Sengkidu, 3km from Candisasa on Bali’s east coast. There is very little in the immediate area apart from a series of small beaches, coconut groves and banana plantations, and a traditional village and temple. It is safe for swimming here and the reef immediately in front of the villa offers good snorkelling. Five minutes’ walk up the lane is the four-star Candi Beach Cottage Hotel, with a restaurant and bar, and beyond this, just before the main road, is a sports field and the banjar building where the Balinese village community meets.
The quiet seaside village of Candidasa boasts a rich heritage close to many of Bali's most important historical landmarks, ancient kingdoms and palaces, making it an excellent base to explore the region. This beautiful, undeveloped area is set in the Island’s eastern regency of Karangasem, well away from the excesses of mainstream tourism, with Mt Agung, Bali’s most sacred and mystical volcano, providing a dramatic backdrop to the scene.
There is a charming collection of restaurants and simple souvenir shops in Candidasa, as well as a few basic mini-marts. Close by is the 700-year-old walled village of Tenganan, where the residents practise a time-honoured lifestyle based around ritual and ceremony. The fortress-like village has become a living museum, and many of the houses also function as shops and workshops where expert craftsmen and women perform their centuries’ old skills.
The beach at Candidasa is sandy and golden, albeit narrow due to erosion. There is however, a beautiful beach known as Pasir Putih five kilometres to the east and snorkelling and diving off Candidasa is good with some excellent sites close to the shore and accessible by local boat. Within a few kilometres are two of Bali’s most prestigious resorts, Alila Manggis and the world famous Amankila. Padang Bai Harbour, the stepping off point for Lombok, is a further nine kilometres around the bay, and here you will find the Blue Lagoon, another superb snorkelling and dive site.
Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist location and is considered one of Asia's premier tropical island destinations. Steeped in history and renowned for its artistic way of life, Bali is a peaceful contrast to some of the more frantic destinations Asia has to offer.
The inner peace and creative talents of the Balinese has attracted artists the world over fascinated by local dancers, silversmiths, wood carvers, potters and painters that seem to pervade throughout the island. The abundant verdant fields and surrounding sea have long supplied Bali with an easy surplus of food leaving time for life’s more artistic past times. As a result everything in Bali has a creative and religious element centred around the local Banjar (residents association) – little, adorned temples are everywhere, doors are covered in intricate carvings, huge kites ward off evil spirits and colourful roadside ceremonies bring traffic to a standstill.
Bali is a popular destination principally from Australia and Asia but also from all over Europe. The island welcomes thousands of visitors each year to a relaxing lifestyle, stunning beaches, world class surf, vibrant villages, and spectacular scenery all with an exquisite tropical climate. Located approximately two hours’ flying time from Singapore the island is serviced by an international airport at Denpasar with direct flights to and from many major cities in Asia, Europe and Australia and many more via Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
The island offers an impressive range of leisure and lifestyle amenities including world-class golf courses, wonderful seascapes for surfing, diving and snorkelling as well as luxurious spas, chic boutiques, tropical forests, towering volcanoes and international cuisine.
Our review Overall Rating: 7.90
We first visited Villa Jukung as a family group: two couples, two kids under eight and a pair of grandparents. The kids loved the pool – we couldn’t keep them out of it – while the sun loungers along the sea wall got so much use they almost fused to our backs. We went snorkelling in the shallows at low tide looking for small fish and crocodiles. The views from this relaxing beach-house-feel villa kept us mesmerised for hours: the islands of Lembongan, Penida and Lombok in the distance by day, and by night the lights of the cruise boats and tankers at anchor across the bay. The night sky from here is incredible. The French owner is passionate about the area and used to live at Villa Jukung herself. She still lives just a few minutes’ drive away and can be reached should you need anything at all.
The villa is aptly named: looking out through the floor-to-ceiling glass you could almost believe that you are floating out at sea on a jukung fishing boat. The staff kept us well fed and watered, and all our meals (typically fresh fish accompanied by rice and veggies) were supplemented by sea views and breezes that made it feel like we were dining at the captain’s table on the QEII. Most of our stay was taken up lazing beside the pool, reading, swimming and combing the reef. When we started to feel bad about doing so much of nothing, we wandered over to the gazebo to help keep the local massage therapist busy. So good was she that we had her come back the following day for another round.
Returning to Villa Jukung recently, we were happy to note that it has been immaculately maintained. The man-made beach with its two gazebos, together with the absolute seafront terrace, have all been added since our first visit and greatly improved the villa’s facilities .
KL, Hong Kong Overall Rating: 6.10
The environment and sea view, swimming pool are very good, and worth the money.
Sleeping Capacity: 10
Villa Jukung is a study in symmetry, with a central, two-storey building containing the upstairs master suite and the downstairs living and dining room, flanked on either side by a pair of stand-alone bedroom pavilions. A single-storey building at the rear houses the kitchen and fourth bedroom, and is linked to the main dwelling by an immaculate lawn punctuated with white stepping stones, mature coconut palms and fruit trees.
The entrance to the living pavilion extends from the garden into a large teak-floored room with a sitting area to the left, furnished with suede couches, a coffee table, a 42-inch satellite channel TV and DVD player, and a dining table to the right that seats up to 12 guests. Both ends of the building have antique armoires standing sentinel. The thoroughfare is fully open while the remaining front and back walls consist of floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which let in so much light that it feels as though you are living outdoors. The living area leads out to the 12 x 4m swimming pool, to the right of which is a relaxation gazebo with a large comfortable mattress (just the place for a massage), while on the left is another open-sided pavilion with chairs and a table. Below this is the man-made beach, flanked by an open-sided a gazebo at either end, each with chairs or daybeds and small tables for casual dining.
The four bedroom suites are air conditioned and furnished with king-size beds. The master bedroom covers the whole of the top floor of the living pavilion, and is accessed via an exterior wooden staircase. This spacious room is complemented by a large half-moon balcony overlooking the ocean, and a small ante-chamber suitable for use as a childs bedroom. The master bathroom has twin washbasins, and a bathtub set against a big picture window that looks straight out to sea – perfect for watching the lights of the bay by night. Flanking the downstairs living area are two bedroom pavilions set at slight angles, with glass doors that embrace the pool and terrace. Each of these three front bedrooms is blessed with glorious uninterrupted views out over the bay and is adorned with fascinating antiques including apothecary chests and curios from Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The fourth bedroom is set further back and is smaller and less glamorous but still looks to the ocean. All bathrooms have indoor showers, and the three bathrooms at the front have bathtubs. The kitchen is designed for staff use only.