The Ministry of Villas’ team decided to go on a road trip last weekend and explore the East Coast of Bali along with a few villa inspections. We started from Seminyak early morning, had a few stopovers for snacks in Sanur and Padang Bai. We were also pulled over and had to fork out $30 to the police as someone forgot their International licence. We finally reached out destination in Candidasa around midday for lunch.
While Sanur is popular among the locals with its unique fishing boats and Padang Bai for scuba diving, Candidasa, a quiet town, instantly charmed us with its black sand beaches and peaceful atmosphere. The East Coast of Bali is relatively untouched by tourists, compared to the southern popular towns of Seminyak, Kuta and Legian.
Candidasa – Undiscovered Beauty on the East Coast
Candidasa, known today as a quiet beachside town, once enjoyed a glorious past. In the 1970s, Candidasa was a sleepy fishing hamlet until it was discovered by mainstream tourism, transforming it into a bustling town with hotels, resorts, restaurants and villas on the main beach. It was all good until the 80s when mining of the offshore barrier-reef corals began to erode the beautiful beaches that the place was known for. And by late 80s Candidasa lost its glory to the mining activity that relentlessly ate away into the coastline. Mining has now been stopped and the only upside of this is the creation of breakwaters that make the sea calm and safe for families to paddle in.
Tourists now visit Candidasa for sheer relaxation and also to explore the rest of Bali, keeping this as their base. Since the place is sparsely populated, you’ll hardly find any traffic and it will be an easy drive to explore Ubud, drive up to Lovina in the north or even enjoy the popular towns in the south.
We reached Candidasa by mid-afternoon and chose to dine at a beach-front café with a stunning view of the ocean. After some refreshing mixed juices and traditional mia goreng, we began exploring the town and inspected a few beachfront villas. The main street of Candidasa has many restaurants, cafes and shops, where prices are relatively lower than Seminyak or Kuta.
An astonishing fact that surfaced during our inspections was that a beachfront villa in Candidasa would cost you nearly half the price ($650 to $800) of what you would pay in Seminyak, Uluwatu ($1300 to $2000) or other popular Bali destinations.
Our first villa on the list was Villa Jukung, a stunning 4 bedroom property, set on the waterfront with a showcase of gorgeous pink sunsets being witnessed almost every day. The water here is safe for swimming and the reef is known for snorkelling. As you enter through the mighty gates, the sight that unfurls before you is simply stunning.
The unique feature of this villa is the man-made beach, specially created by the owners by sourcing 400 tonnes of sand into the villa’s premises. Not only the beach, but the villa’s artifacts have been specially sourced from Sri Lanka, Kenya and other countries to create a distinct feel in each living area. The villa’s ambience and interiors make it the perfect venue to host an intimate wedding ceremony.
Next on the list was Villa Lucia, also on the waterfront. Situated right next door to Villa Stella, it had a relaxing and very luxurious vibe.
Our team stayed at Villa Stella and we have no words to express how impressed we were with the chic interiors, epic views and 5-star service offered to us during our stay. The owners have put in great efforts to make the villa guest-friendly, yet unique, with artifacts collected from their journeys around the world. The staff has been personally trained to accommodate guests and provide impeccable service.
We had a great time watching the sun go down and the ocean gradually lighting up with the sparkling lights on the ships anchored at a distance. Sleeping to the sounds of crickets and waking up to sound of ocean waves – we couldn’t ask for a better weekend getaway!
Things to do in Candidasa
Nightlife is almost non-existent in Candidasa but you can dine at some chic beachside restaurants and cafes that offer global cuisines, live music and stunning views. Prices are lower and the sunsets are free!
Drive up to Pantai Putih or White Sand Beach, as it is known. It takes about 20 minutes in a taxi and is well worth a full day trip with great sea food restaurants and beachside eateries with cosy sun decks and umbrellas to relax. Another beach that everyone is starting to talk about is Virgin beach, only an hour from Candidasa.
The village of Tenganan, home to the Bali Aga community, the initial inhabitants of the island isn’t far from Cadidasa. The village is known for its cultural heritage and handmade arts and crafts.
Adventure Seekers can indulge in a day of Scuba Diving at the Bali Bubbles Dive Center in Candidasa. They have a day package that includes training, equipment, dive and lunch.
Getting around Candidasa is easy, take a taxi to Padang Bai and explore the rich underwater life. Hire a boat and go snorkelling or scuba diving. You can also take a day trip to Gili islands or Lombok from Padang Bai.
To sum it up, Candidasa in Bali is a beautiful, unspoiled getaway, perfect for those who wish to soak up the sun by the day, enjoy a beachfront villa for an affordable price and retire to a good night’s sleep with the soothing sound of waves. It is a more sedate and laidback beachside alternative to the bustling nightlife of Seminyak and Kuta.