Eight places you'll find paradise in Bali

Island and resort hopping across Bali is not only the ultimate way to explore this pocket of the Indonesian archipelago—it can also be positively life-changing. 

Pramana Natura Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a small island southeast of Bali, known for its natural beauty both above and below the water. After a ferry ride from Sanur, I arrive at Pramana Natura. The resort sweeps down Penida’s steep cliffs to the sea. You’ll need to hang onto your hat as golf buggies whisk you down the incline from reception to the oceanic-designed rooms, the infinity pool with its in-water lounge chairs and the stylish Acropora Bar & Restaurant. I’m soon soaking in a softly bubbling spa on my suite’s patio, enjoying the splendour of the setting sun across the Badung Strait that separates me from Bali proper.

On a day trip, organised by the Nusa Penida accommodation, I have a spiritual moment inside Goa Giri Putri, a Shivaite Buddhist temple located halfway up a hill on the east side of the island. I had to haul myself up 100 steep steps to reach the holy temple’s entrance; I think I deserve the cool splash of purifying water that a priest anoints me with when I arrive. It’s a calming (albeit sweaty) introduction to my journey with Pramana Experience across Bali and two neighbouring islands: Nusa Penida and Gili Trawangan, both off Bali’s east coast.

Pramana Natura Nusa Penida is nestled into the cliff-side
Pramana Natura Nusa Penida is nestled into the cliff-side
Swimming pool at Pramana Natura Nusa Penida
Swimming pool at Pramana Natura Nusa Penida

Kardia Resort Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is the largest of Lombok’s three Gili islands, the others being Gili Meno and Gili Air. My Gili Trawangan accommodation is the eco-friendly Kardia Resort Gili Trawangan, with its four accommodation choices, canopied poolside cabanas and serene sea views. 

There’s no such thing as motorised vehicles on Trawangan, so when I leave the resort I mooch about on bicycles and in small horse-drawn carriages called cidomos. The island has clear water and coral reefs and I’m lucky enough to snorkel with green and hawksbill sea turtles; they glide serenely over my head and swirl around my feet.

Eco stay on Gili Trawangan, Gili Island accommodation
Kardia Resort Gili Trawangan
Pool Access Suite at Kardia Resort Gili Trawangan
Pool Access Suite at Kardia Resort Gili Trawangan

Pramana Watu Kurung, Ubud

I’m now in full Pramana Experience mode, checking in to Pramana Watu Kurung. The resort is within a Balinese village in Ubud. The Ubud accommodation is poised above the Ayung River and enveloped by dense tropical rainforest. Here I discover that hotel manager Ketut Sumartono is also a water purification priest, or pemangku, able to host ceremonies known as melukat.

His melukat is the first of two purifications I undergo while in Indonesia, and it involves priestly chanting, praying, cymbal ringing and ritualistic water pouring, splashing, drinking, gargling and spitting … followed by a small amount of flower crushing.

Pramana Watu Kurung, is perfect for lovers of slow travel. It has just 25 suites and villas built with natural materials, yoga classes, sunrise trekks, cooking classes, bicycles, restaurant and spa.

The pool at Pramana Watu Kurung, Ubud
Slow down at The pool at Pramana Watu Kurung, Ubud
Pramana Watu Kurung, Ubud
Pramana Watu Kurung, Ubud

Pramana Giri Kusuma

My next cleansing at the Pramana Giri Kusuma – a healing sanctuary 30 minutes north of Ubud near the Ceking rice terraces – is a little more … immersive. This retreat sits on the sacred Giri Kusuma River, and my melukat involves plunging fully clothed into its waters to be blessed. That’s followed by meditation on the surrounding rock platform, alfresco amid the rainforest. The river and surrounding area hold a special status amongst the Balinese as a place of positive and healing energy which I feel to my core after the experience.

Accommodation at Pramana Giri Kusuma includes river suites overlooking natural springs, or one- and two-bedroom jungle villas. The design is incredible and hand crafted details throughout create a unique look for the property. 

The full benefit of my earlier purification is felt in Pramana Giri Kusuma’s Eucalyptus Spa. Here, I float in a warm milk bath, then enjoy a full-body massage that sends me into a sublime state of bliss. Between the boutique accommodation and the dreamy setting, I’m in fine form for a spiritual awakening.

Private pool at Pramana Giri Kusuma
Private pool at Pramana Giri Kusuma
Bathroom heaven at Pramana Giri Kusuma
Bathroom heaven at Pramana Giri Kusuma
Swimming pool at Pramana Giri Kusuma
Pramana Giri Kusuma’s swimming pool includes a waterfall

The Hava Ubud

The Hava Ubud is minutes from Ubud’s town centre and its famous attractions, surrounded by Penestanan village, which was once a place of ancient worship. The resort’s idyllic location provides guests not only with an authentic Balinese atmosphere but also easy access to the cultural heart of the island.

The Hava Ubud draws inspiration from its location, blending an urban and modern environment with traditional aesthetics that celebrate Indonesia’s rich tapestry of cultures. This is also celebrated through the resort’s activities, which include dance and cooking classes.

The Hava Ubud
The Hava Ubud

Sumitra Luxury Villas, Sanur

Situated along the Sanur coastline, Sumitra Luxury Villas A Pramana Experience is a little slice of Balinese paradise. The resort’s villas provide a luxurious escape in one of Bali’s most sought-after beachside destinations. An island oasis awaits, where white sandy coves and shimmering sea become the dreamy backdrop to your stay. Here, luxury accommodation reaches new heights, with spacious villas designed with Indonesian elements, each replete with a private pool, some overlooking the ocean. A floating breakfast in your private pool is an experience not to be missed.

Sumitra Luxury Villas, Sanur
Sumitra Luxury Villas, Sanur

Sanna Ubud

Escape to Sanna Ubud, a luxurious nature retreat nestled in the heart of the traditional village of Tegallalang. Just 15 minutes from Ubud’s vibrant centre, this resort sanctuary seamlessly integrates nature, Balinese tradition and warm hospitality. Awaken to sounds of nature as you enter your Jungle Pool Villa. Embracing a traditional Balinese aesthetic, each villa narrates an authentic Indonesian story in design, from handcrafted wooden carvings to artistic interior decorations. Among resort experiences is the chance to meet with a Balinese healer to guide you to relaxation and inner peace.

Sanna Ubud
Sanna Ubud

Kuwarasan Ubud

Ripe for romance, Kuwarasan A Pramana Experience, is located within Ubud’s rice fields and surrounded by coconut trees. At this resort, you can start your day with a floating breakfast, followed by a Balinese massage, then a walk through a local village and cocktails at the Joglo Sunset Bar, ending with a romantic dinner at the restaurant. 

Kuwarasan Ubud
Kuwarasan Ubud

Pramana Experience’s resorts focus on sustainability and positive social impact

Pramana Experience has an enormous hotel footprint in Indonesia, with 15 accommodations around Bali and surrounds alone. The group is making large efforts towards sustainability by introducing programs (some that guests can be involved in) that have a positive and enduring environmental and social impact. The resorts are located in beautiful places, but they are also incredibly fragile. Pramana is committed to staying true to the Balinese concept of balance by respecting the people of Bali and the natural environment – which means wherever you check-in, you can sleep soundly.

The word ‘pramana’, taken from the Hindu Veda script, means ‘learning’, and each Pramana property revolves around this theme: an evolution in thought. At these eco-resorts, you can look forward to exquisitely crafted accommodation by local designers and artisans. Each is in an exceptional location, showcasing a different side of Bali, the Gili Islands and surrounds. 

This article was created in partnership with Pramana Experience.

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