Plane loaderAnimated dots

Recommended experiences from AFAR Magazine

Edmund's Oast

Charleston
Eat
Edmund's Oast, Charleston, South CarolinaAfar thumbnail
Edmund's Oast: A Charleston Brewpub for Food-Lovers
This cavernous brewpub has a wide-open kitchen, a long bar, tall communal tables, and a patio shaded by live oaks. If you can, grab a seat at the chef’s counter and watch Andy Henderson spread creamy aioli on locally made rye bread, and top it with a mound of pickled shrimp and vegetables and a garnish of fresh herbs and chervil leaves. 1081 Morrison Dr.,(843) 727-1145 Photo by Flickr user Dan K. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
Edmund's Oast: A Charleston Brewpub for Food-Lovers
1 experience, added to 1 List

Ordinary Oyster Bar

Charleston
Eat
Ordinary Oyster Bar, Charleston, South CarolinaAfar thumbnail
A Not-So-Ordinary Shrimp Roll in Charleston
At his white-tiled seafood brasserie and oyster bar, chef Mike Lata looks to a New Orleans classic, barbecue shrimp, to work his magic. He poaches head-on shrimp in a creamy sauce infused with Worcestershire and sets them atop charred sourdough. 544 King St., (843) 414-7060 Photo by Flickr user PunkToad. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
A Not-So-Ordinary Shrimp Roll in Charleston
1 experience, added to 1 List
Post highlight

Leon's

Charleston
Eat
Leon's, Charleston, South CarolinaAfar thumbnail
Leon's: Serving Charleston's Finest Shrimp Roll
Leon’s is a meticulously renovated auto-body shop famous for oysters and fried chicken. But don’t miss chef Ari Kolender’s shrimp roll—lightly dressed with horseradish mayo and served on a bun grilled to crunchy perfection. 698 King St., (843) 531-6500 Photo by Christopher Shane. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue
Leon's: Serving Charleston's Finest Shrimp Roll
1 experience, added to 1 List

Key west first legal rum distillery

Key West
DrinkDo
Key west first legal rum distillery, Key West, FloridaAfar thumbnail
Tour the Key West Legal Rum Distillery
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. It is irresistibly tempting to compare distiller Paul Menta to Captain Jack Sparrow. There’s the long, dark hair, the slightly Depp-ish eyes, and yes, a shared love of rum and open sea (Menta’s a competitive kiteboarder). Menta’s business dealings, however, are a bit more…legitimate. The Florida-native opened the Key West Legal Rum Distillery last year, the first legal distillery in the Florida Keys, though rum has flowed through the islands for years. But this is no bathtub rum. A chef by trade, Menta uses Florida sugar cane as his base—you can really taste it in his raw, unfiltered version—which he infuses with coconut, vanilla, and key lime to make flavored rums that are refreshingly bright (and not syrupy). Tours are fun and informative—the distillery, occupying a former saloon-turned-Coke-bottling-plant, doesn’t shy away from the shady side of the local rum trade. Visitors can examine mug shots of infamous local rum-runners, watch as prefiltered rum is drained into the still, and taste Menta’s five spirits. $8, including four tasters and a free shot glass.
Tour the Key West Legal Rum Distillery
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

The Other Side

Key West
Drink
The Other Side, Key West, FloridaAfar thumbnail
The Other Side: New-School Cocktails in Old-School Key West
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. In the land of piña coladas and light beers, The Other Side cocktail lounge is chiseling out new booze territory one ice globe at a time. Drinks, loosely inspired by the Keys, are like nothing else on the island. There’s the frothy Ramon Fizz, a mix of gin, lime, cream, egg whites, and fleur d’orange, or twists like the fennel martini, and for purists, a serious list of bourbon, whiskeys, and 16 rums. The small space feels a world away from the beach, with touches of old-school Hollywood glamour: a marble-topped bar, padded white leather bar stools, and a painting of a peacock tail fanned across one wall. When you need a break from the sun and throngs, this is the place to tuck in with a good book, or a good date (snag the chess board if you’re feeling ambitious).
The Other Side: New-School Cocktails in Old-School Key West
1 experience, added to 3 Lists

Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa

Inhambane
StayDo
Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, Inhambane, MozambiqueAfar thumbnail
Discover Paradise Island with Anantara Bazaruto Resort
I’m always wary of any place that calls itself paradise, but Paradise Island, a 40-minute boat ride off the coast of Bazaruto Island, lives up to its name. The staff at Anantara can organize magical day-trips to the island with a chef, local guide, and snorkeling guide. While the chef set up a table and chairs under the shade of a tent and started to stoke a fire on the grill, my guide led me around the largely uninhabited island and told me a bit about its history. In the 1950s and 1960s, Paradise Island (sometimes also called Santa Carolina Island) was a destination for wealthy Brits with a penchant for fishing and partying. The crumbling ruins of the island’s once famed resort still remain and we were able to wander around the now empty rooms and look out across the sea. Our guide, Fernando, told us his father had been a skipper and he grew up visiting this island. After the tour I went for a long snorkel with Anantara’s guide who has a Jacques Cousteau–like knowledge of the area’s sea life. The real treat though was lunch. Awaiting us was a seafood feast that started with tuna sashimi and was followed by grilled prawns and lobster, of course all paired with champagne. Rather than return by boat, Anantara can arrange a helicopter ride back to the resort so that guests can take in the incredible white sand dunes from above. The experience was about as close to paradise as I’ve ever come.
Discover Paradise Island with Anantara Bazaruto Resort
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa

Inhambane
Do
Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, Inhambane, MozambiqueAfar thumbnail
Croc Spotting on Bazaruto Island
Bazaruto is an island of contrasts. Look one direction and you see the Turquoise Indian Ocean and white sand beach. Look the other and it’s as if you were gazing out to Egypt, taking in views of 300-foot red sand dunes and palm-dotted lakes. Snorkeling and diving is the main attraction on Bazaruto, but the dunes offer equal thrills. Guests at Anantara Bazaruto Resort can opt to explore this very different side of the island by sandboard (think snowboarding down sand dunes), safari Jeep, or on horseback. I went on a horseback ride up at sunset. The uphill was lovely, but going down a towering sand dune atop a horse is about as scary as dropping down a double black diamond run on skis. But my horse mastered the vertical drop expertly. More terrifying than the drop was the ride around the freshwater lake, which my guide said is inhabited by 12-foot long Nile crocodiles. Luckily the few we saw were snoozing far away.
Croc Spotting on Bazaruto Island
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

Dreamsea Surf Camp

Tinajo
DoStay
Dreamsea Surf Camp, Tinajo, SpainAfar thumbnail
Get Out There: Surf the Canaries
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. Europe’s in-the-know surfers head to Lanzarote, the easternmost of the seven Canary Islands. Sometimes referred to as Europe’s Hawaii, Lanzarote is flush with sunny days, volcanic cliffs, and in winter (November through March) waves that can reach up to 15 feet high. To surf in high style, join Dream Sea Surf Camp, which recently opened a beachfront bungalow. And camp it is: The 7-day stays include 10 hours of surf lessons (90 minutes a day), taught by instructors who live and breathe the surf. The Spanish bungalow feels like a slightly posh hostel, with rooms looking out over the ocean, a large communal terrace, and free yoga classes. Food is also included, and abundant—think paella with fresh seafood and papas arrugadas (“wrinkled potatoes) served with a garlic-herb sauce. From $125 per week. Photo courtesy of Dreamsea Surf Camp. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
Get Out There: Surf the Canaries
1 experience

Okavango Delta

Ngamiland East
Do
Okavango Delta, Ngamiland East, BotswanaAfar thumbnail
Paddle the Okavango Delta
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. On my first-ever trip to South Africa in May 2014, I was lucky enough to explore Cape Town with the newly launched outfitter, Escape + Explore Africa. The team gives active and adventurous visitors a chance to play like a local in the surrounding mountains, vineyards, and sea. I was in town for a conference and only had my mornings to play, but Escape + Explore would scoop me from my hotel before dawn and whisk me off for a morning hike up Table Mountain or a stand-up paddle around the V&A waterfront canals. For those with more time, Escape + Explore offers truly one-of-a-kind, three-to-five-day trips that range from wildlife experiences to pioneer adventure that venture to places few tourists visit. For 2015, the outfitter is launching SUP trips down Botswana’s Okavango Delta and has been working to teach locals who usually act as canoe guides how to SUP. They are also working to develop of SUP experience in Madagascar that paddles through a lemur forest in the south to a remote beach camp. Other pioneer adventures to watch for are a trail running expedition in Uganda’s Volcanoes National Park and a Kubu Island quad bike safari in Botswana. If you want something more wild than the traditional safari, Escape + Explore can deliver your dream adventure.
Paddle the Okavango Delta
1 experience

Alausi

Alausi
Do
Alausi, Alausi, EcuadorAfar thumbnail
Riding the Devil's Nose Train through the Andes
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. Take a ride on the Devil’s Nose Train, a feat of railroad engineering that offers spectacular views of the Ecuadorean Andes. From Riobamba, it’s a two-hour bus ride to the small town of Alausi, where tickets can be purchased. Seats on the right side of the train offer spectacular views on both the ascent and the 2,600-foot, 45-degree descent. Silver Sea Cruises recently introduced the train ride as a part of a five-day land excursion in Ecuador, a great option for the traveler who prefers a more flexible journey than most cruises offer. This excursion is part of Silver Sea’s popular South American cruise itinerary, which travels from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Valparaiso, Chile over the course of 18 days. The excursion is an opportunity for travelers to immerse themselves in the cultural and natural diversity of Ecuador's Andean region. Guests enjoy authentic Ecuadorian food in Quito and hiking and volcano views in Cotopaxi National Park before heading to Riobamba and Alausi to catch the Devil’s Nose Train. From $8,250
Riding the Devil's Nose Train through the Andes
1 experience

AltaGracia

Pérez Zeledón
Stay
AltaGracia, Pérez Zeledón, Costa RicaAfar thumbnail
Ride Horses in an Untouched Part of Costa Rica at AltaGracia
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. Opening in January 2015, AltaGracia is a hacienda nestled in the mountains of Peréz Zeledón in southern Costa Rica, an area that has seen very little tourism. The new hotel, founded by a family with a multigenerational connection to the area, will maintain the feel of a local’s hideaway. Travelers could fly in on one of the resort’s private airplanes, a short 25-minute flight from San José, but we prefer the long, scenic drive on the Interamerican Mountain Pass. The resort is home to 22 stables, the largest riding ring in Central America, and top-notch facilities that include an on-site veterinarian. However, guests don’t have to be serious riders to enjoy leisurely journeys through the many private trails surrounding the hacienda. The area is known for consistently warm, sunny weather, but if there’s a rainy day, saddle up anyways—trails wind through a cloud forest. Mountain biking, hiking, bird watching, and ATV riding are great ways for guests to get out into the surrounding lush green forests, too.
Ride Horses in an Untouched Part of Costa Rica at AltaGracia
1 experience

Rosewood Mayakobá

Quintana Roo
StayDo
Rosewood Mayakobá, Quintana Roo, MexicoAfar thumbnail
Take a Dip in a Secret Cenote in Mexico at Rosewood Mayakoba
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. We all know about the healing powers of a nice hot tub after a long day of travel, but a Mayan cenote might just have those steamy waters beat. The Yucatan Peninsula has around 6,000 of these natural sinkholes, results of collapsing limestone. The erosion creates wide caves with deep pools of clean, clear, earth-filtered water. The pools have held cultural and spiritual importance for local communities throughout the ages, thanks to their beauty, mystery, and potable water. In January 2015, Rosewood Mayakoba resort will introduce Mayan Healing Hands, a culturally immersive full-day spa treatment in the Riviera Maya. Sense, Rosewood’s spa, incorporates Mayan holistic healing practices with traditional spa treatments (like a 90 minute massage) to leave you feeling spiritually, mentally, and physically rejuvenated. The highlight of their new offering? A private rebirthing ceremony at a Cenote imbued with a blend of natural minerals to detox and cleanse the body. The cultural experience is definitely the draw here. Guests will get a private consultation with a Shaman Priest to determine the focus of the visit, followed by a Mayan ritual ceremony involving traditional chants, incense, and music. Guests can choose to do the whole sequence of treatments and rituals ($1,200/person or 1$500 for 2) or pick and choose elements of it a la carte.
Take a Dip in a Secret Cenote in Mexico at Rosewood Mayakoba
1 experience

Vana Retreats

Dehradun
Stay
Vana Retreats, Dehradun, IndiaAfar thumbnail
Find Your Center in India at Vana Retreats
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. Get in touch with nature—and yourself—at Vana Retreats, a new wellness spa in the foothills of the Himalayas that offers an immersive and totally tranquil experience. The 21-acre property is meant to be a sanctuary for guests, complete with mango and lychee orchards. Guests can cycle between the different “wellness spaces,” including a Tibetan Healing Center, yogasala, multiple pools, and an outdoor yoga temple. When guests plan their trip, they get to choose a retreat objective (yoga, natural healing, beauty), and from there Vana works with each guest to create a unique stay. Vana emphasizes Ayurveda, a traditional Indian form of medicine that works to establish mental, physical, and spiritual equilibrium. The retreat also draws heavily on traditional Tibetan healing, yoga, natural therapies, and more familiar spa treatments and fitness regimens. When it comes to meals, staff tailor a menu for each guest’s with a focus on flavor and mindful eating. The rooms are simple and elegant, with huge windows to take in the forests surrounding the retreat. All materials were sourced with environmental impact in mind, so guests can sleep soundly between their organic linen sheets. Mingle with other guests at one of the two restaurants, underneath the bodi tree (a popular spot for solo or group meditation) or in the library. The resort has a five-night minimum, so guests can fully appreciate the combination of services available. The cost incorporates wellness treatments, transportation to and from the airport, three meals a day, and even clothing to wear during the retreat. Vana is a one-hour flight from Delhi. From $565.
Find Your Center in India at Vana Retreats
1 experience

Song Saa

Krong Preah Sihanouk
Stay
Song Saa, Krong Preah Sihanouk, CambodiaAfar thumbnail
Recharge in Cambodia at Song Saa
See all of our ideas for where to go in 2015. Song Saa is a year-old resort in Cambodia’s off-the-beaten path Koh Rong Archipelago. The resort spans two pristine private islands that are connected by a footbridge set over a marine reserve teeming with colorful sea life. Guests can choose rooms with sunrise or sunset views, private balconies that reach out over the water, and private pools when booking. The eco-conscious resort recently introduced five- and seven-day wellness retreats that include lengthy massages, guided meditation, health and environment-conscious cuisine, and plenty of free time to fill with exploring the island, snorkeling, kayaking, and beach picnics. Song Saa’s acclaimed spa isn’t a spa in the traditional sense—there is no main building, and guests meet with the “Head of Wellness” when they arrive on the island to plan their personal program. This could include anything from a rainforest hike, to a facial in the great outdoors to a sunset with a glass of champagne. Essentially, Song Saa seeks to bring guests to a sense of equilibrium so they leave feeling healthy, happy, and balanced. Song Saa also prioritizes establishing a sustainable relationship with the land and native people. In 2015, the resort introduced “Journeys of Change” programs, which are five-day trips with a flexible itinerary that blends relaxation at Song Saa with cultural and ecological excursions into the neighboring communities and wilderness to help guests understand and connect with life in the Koh Rong peninsula. From $1,117
Recharge in Cambodia at Song Saa
1 experience

Coyhaique

Coyhaique
DoStay
Coyhaique, Coyhaique, ChileAfar thumbnail
Trailblaze in Chile’s Newest National Park
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. The Chacabuco Valley, the heart of the future Patagonia National Park, is like many places in Patagonia: remote. It’s a roughly five-hour drive from the Balmaceda airport, and at least a day by bus. But there are oh so many reasons to make the trek. When it officially opens later this year, it will mark national park number 37 for Chile, brought about by Conservación Patagónica. Eventually, the park will be completely energy-independent—the first such park in the world. Within the park’s borders, you’ll find acres of grasslands—one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems—stands of southern beech trees, hundreds of species that have adapted to the arid environment, and wildlife such as guanaco and the endangered huemul deer. There’s a six-bedroom, estancia-style lodge and restaurant, made from local materials (stone quarried in the Chacabuco Valley, floors made with refurbished wood), plus two campgrounds. Hiking is the draw in this remote region, particularly the Lagunas Altas trail, which winds 14 miles around alpine lakes. Photo courtesy of Conservación Patagónica. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
Trailblaze in Chile’s Newest National Park
1 experience, added to 3 Lists

Alila Purnama

Geselma
DoStay
Alila Purnama, Geselma, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
The Ultimate Indonesian Cruise—for Non-Cruisers
See all of our ideas for where to go in 2015. To those who think they aren’t cruisers, we dare you to spend a week aboard the Alila Puranama and not fall in love with the high seas. Here, three reasons to bust out the top-siders: 1) The Alila Purnama—modeled after a Phinisi, the traditional vessels used by Indonesian seafarers—is no sea mall. The ship is handcrafted from top to bottom, with teak and rattan furniture made by Indonesian artists, an on-board dive center, and space for only 10 passengers. It’s intimate (five suites and a 14-person crew), but with three decks and two different dining lounges, spacious enough that you won’t feel suffocated by your shipmates. 2) Alila brings its attentive and knowledgeable service to the Alila Purnama. No detail is overlooked, from the handwoven textiles on the beds to Alila’s own line of herbal body products in each bathroom. 3) The destination: Raja Ampat, a 1,500-island archipelago in Indonesia’s West Guinea province. Here, your primary companions will be the marine life (including more than 540 types of coral and 700-plus species of mollusks) and thousands of tiny, uninhabited islands. From $14,600. Photo courtesy of Alila Purnama.
The Ultimate Indonesian Cruise—for Non-Cruisers
1 experience, added to 1 List

Crystal Cruises

South Kuta
StayDo
Crystal Cruises, South Kuta, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Cruise into Balinese Culture
See all of our ideas for where to go in 2015. Further proof that Bali is the place to be in 2015: Crystal Cruises has four new itineraries that include a stop on the Indonesian island. The Southeast Asia Sojourn, for example, starts in Singapore and ends in Bali, with stops at Ho Chi Minh City, Malaysia, and Brunei along the way. Your floating home for the 12 days? The 1010-passenger Crystal Symphony, with its minimalist cabins (think art-deco mixed with Coastal Living), an on-board spice expert, and a Balinese chef. Once in Bali, cruisers have the option to watch Kecak fire-dancing, take a Balinese cooking lesson, explore batik workshops, or join a tour of local temples. From $3,110. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises. This appeared in the January/February issue.
Cruise into Balinese Culture
1 experience, added to 2 Lists

Hotel Alila Villas Uluwatu

South Kuta
DoStay
Hotel Alila Villas Uluwatu, South Kuta, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Bali's Best Surf Tour: One Helicopter, Two Islands, Three Breaks
See all of our ideas for where to go in 2015. Bali, already a dream surf destination, just got dreamier. Jacada Travel’s latest tour uses private helicopters to drop surfers into three of Bali’s best break in one day. Surfers and their guides will start the day at Medewi, a volcanic beach on west Bali, then hop to Nusa Lembongan, a small island with incredible surf, and finish at back at Uluwatu, located on Bali’s rugged Bukit Peninsula. The only way to end such a super-charged outing? With a night of luxury at the Alila Uluwatu, a cliffside hotel with staggering views (and equally staggering perks, such as your own private butler, and simple villas built from all-local materials). From 2,800. Photo by Flickr user Mark O. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
Bali's Best Surf Tour: One Helicopter, Two Islands, Three Breaks
1 experience, added to 1 List

Mountain Travel Sobek

Wolomeze
DoStay
Mountain Travel Sobek, Wolomeze, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Trek Back to 9th Century Indonesia
See all of our ideas for where to go in 2015. The islands of Flores and Komodo in Indonesia’s Nusa Tengarra chain feel otherworldly. Just an hour by plane from Bali, the islands also feel like a bit of a time warp—home not to beachfront resorts but to small traditional Indonesian villages and a national park with the world’s greatest marine biodiversity. Part mini-cruise, part guided tour, the new 14-day trip from Mountain Travel Sobek takes you through the highlights. On Flores, you'll trek to Mt. Kelimutu’s kaleidoscopic volcanic lakes—the color of the water varies from day to day—then spend a night in an ecolodge with views of the craters and the surrounding rice paddies. You'll spend a day visiting with the people in Ngada, then soak sore muscles in the hot springs-like river that flows near the Inerie Volcano. You'll hike to spend the night with the Wae Rebo people, who live in thatched houses woven together with handmade rope. Finally, you'll spend two days aboard a handcarved Indonesian sailboat that winds through Rincca National Park—which includes Komodo Island—and culminates with a hike to see the legendary Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat. Trips from $3,395. This appeared in the January/February 2015 issue.
Trek Back to 9th Century Indonesia
1 experience, added to 1 List

Honeymoon Guesthouses

Ubud
Do
Honeymoon Guesthouses, Ubud, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
The Ultimate Bali Souvenir: A Cooking Class at Casa Luna
The highlight of my trip was this basic cooking class at Casa Luna. I had become obsessed with nasi goreng, a Balinese spin on fried rice, and was determined not to leave the island without learning how to make it. At Casa Luna, not only did I learn how to make it, but I also added a coconut milk dessert, chicken satay, and hibiscus tea to my repertoire. The school was founded by Janet DeNeefe, an Australian who moved to Bali after marrying a Balinese man in 1987, but the class was taught by a Balinese chef, who also walked us through the local spices and sauces (and how to approximate them at home) and talked a bit about the local food culture (everyone cooks!).
The Ultimate Bali Souvenir: A Cooking Class at Casa Luna
1 experience, added to 3 Lists

Yoga Barn

Ubud
StayEatDo
Yoga Barn, Ubud, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Tap Your Yogi Powers at Bali's Yoga Barn
One of the best parts of the Yoga Barn is how customizable it is. Want to go bonkers and immerse yourself in yoga, meditation, and raw foods from morning til night? You can absolutely (and affordably) do so. Want to mix a few asanas in with an exploration of Ubud, but not give up carbs or booze? Also possible. The center is really just one giant yoga studio, offering classes in yoga, meditation, and tai chi from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. But, for those who do a little digging, it also has a small number of guest houses, which include breakfast at the on-site all-day cafe (yoga classes are extra). The best part is that it feels like it's in the rice paddies, but is really just a 10-minute walk from the center of Ubud.
Tap Your Yogi Powers at Bali's Yoga Barn
1 experience, added to 5 Lists

Bali Botanic Garden

Baturiti
Do
Bali Botanic Garden, Baturiti, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Botanic Gardens: Bali's Surprisingly Green Side
It is striking to leave the hot, sunny beach and, within an hour, find yourself in the midst of a downpour so strong that the windshield wipers can't keep up. So be prepared if you head to Bali's Botanic Gardens, located in the heart of the rainforest. But it's worth braving the weather for a peek at more than 2,000 plants that represent the entire Indonesian archipelago, from epiphytes to the medicinal plants still used by local doctors. The birds are incredible too. I don't consider bird-watching a hobby, but the sounds they make here are mind-boggling—it was like a cross between a kazoo orchestra and a ringtone test sight.
Botanic Gardens: Bali's Surprisingly Green Side
1 experience, added to 1 List

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan

Baturiti
Do
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Baturiti, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Wade Through a Balinese Water Temple
By far one of north Bali's biggest tourist attractions, the crowds can't diminish the beauty of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, located on the edge of Lake Beratan. This is where you come for the iconic shot of the layered water temples, but also to soak in the rituals and history that define Balinese culture. Built in 1663, the temple honors the lake's status as a primary source of irrigation in Bali and symbolizes power, fertility, and prosperity. The property is huge and mesmerizing, especially if you perch in one of the small gardens and watch the waves splash onto the part of the temple that extends into the lake. Tip: Make sure to bring a jacket—it can be (refreshingly) rainy and cool in this part of the island.
Wade Through a Balinese Water Temple
1 experience, added to 1 List

Bali Danu Lake Buyan PT

Do
Bali Danu Lake Buyan PT, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Trek into Bali's Twin Lakes
High in the mountains above Lovina Beach, are Lake Buyan (Bali's second largest lake) and Lake Tamblingan, two volcanic lakes separated by a swath of rainforest and home to some of Bali's best hiking options. If you just want the panoramic view, hop on a tour from Lovina Beach, which will take you to Gitgit waterfall and this viewpoint, among other stops. But, if you want to dip into the rainforest, sign up for one of the many trekking tours. Tamblingan Trekking leads four-hour tours that cover both lakes, starting from the Bencingah Temple and ending at the Pemulungan Temple, with plenty of history, bird-watching, and—my favorite—a canoe ride along the lake.
Trek into Bali's Twin Lakes
1 experience, added to 1 List

Vihara Brahma Arama

Banjar
Do
Vihara Brahma Arama, Banjar, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Still Your Mind at a Balinese Temple
One of the newer temples in Bali, Vihara Brahma Arama is also one of the better-known—at least among the Buddhist community—thanks to its near-constant rotation of meditation retreats. Even if you're not into meditation, or know nothing about Buddhism, the temple has a calming grace that's fun to explore. Built in the '70s, the temple contains all the usual Balinese Hindu icons, from naga and panels telling tales of the Buddha to sculpted kulkul towers and water lily gardens, all in a hillside spot that overlooks the sea. Both men and women are required to wear a sarong (available at the entrance) but the entry fee is donation-only.
Still Your Mind at a Balinese Temple
1 experience, added to 1 List

Lovina Beach

Buleleng
DoDrinkEat
Lovina Beach, Buleleng, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Dolphins, and Snorkeling, and Bintang—Oh My!
For those looking to escape the resortiness of South Kuta, Lovina Beach, about 50 miles north, is a chill alternative. It has all the things you want out of a beach destination—snorkeling, beachside bars, and a nice, sandy stretch—and none of the hassles (crowds, steep prices). It's especially known for dolphins, though you'll have a better chance of seeing them if you stick to the low season when there are fewer boats on the water. Two easy day trips from the beach: Air Banjar hot springs and snorkeling trips to Menjagan Island, home to one of the best coral reefs in the area (and named for the herds of deer that swim there every spring).
Dolphins, and Snorkeling, and Bintang—Oh My!
1 experience, added to 1 List

Gitgit

Sukasada
Do
Gitgit, Sukasada, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Get Yourself to Gitgit Waterfall
Legends abound about Gitgit Waterfall: Locals say that those who can see animals in the rock behind its 115-foot falls have a special spirit; others say couples that bath in the pool beneath the falls will eventually separate. Who knows whether either is true but it's a refreshing break from the heat of Lovina Beach and easy to access for hikers of all levels (they're about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot). Bonus: Gitgit is the heart of the spice-growing countryside, so spice vendors (and others) line the walkway selling affordable bundles of vanilla beans, saffron, cloves, and peppers.
Get Yourself to Gitgit Waterfall
1 experience, added to 1 List

Buleleng

Buleleng
Stay
Buleleng, Buleleng, IndonesiaAfar thumbnail
Live Like a Local in Bali
Doing a home stay was, by far, the highlight of my trip to Bali. The luxury hotels are wonderful, but if you really want to get a feel for the Balinese culture, staying with a family is the way to go. I found Ker and Gelgel on Airbnb and wound up staying for three nights at their compound near Lovina Beach. I had my own room and bathroom—there's even a pool on-site—but ate breakfast and the occasional dinner with the family. This was where I honed my Indonesian, ate the local foods (lots of rice and fresh, blended fruit drinks), and explored Buleleng with my own personal guide. Most home stays come with some form of transportation and, here, Gelgel was on hand to drive me just about anywhere: We zipped up the mountain through clove forests, fed monkeys, and took a spin through the local waterfalls.
Live Like a Local in Bali
1 experience, added to 1 List
1 to 28 of 1834