Not many Malaysians leave Kuta, Sanur, Ubud or Legian for other parts of Bali.
I decided to try Candidasa and Manggis for a day - just to find out what the district of Karangasem has to offer.
As I expected, Candidasa and Manggis are virtual unspoilt areas in Bali - very minimal nightlife (if any) and loads of romantic resorts along its rocky and black sandy beaches.
For sightseeing, there's quite a few. The majestic Gunng Agung with its cloud covered peak is something to witness. And if you are adventurous, there's quite a number of temples at its foot including the biggest mother of all Balinese temples - Besakih.
As also mentioned in my earlier posts, there's also the beautiful Water Palace in Ujung (see the two pics below).
But where to stay?
Well, if you're a couple and want really something romantic and secluded - you could try the Alila Manggis (pictures below).
It is a very well managed resort though slightly lacking in its Balinese appeal. Don't get me wrong, mind you. You still know that you are in Bali - but the architecture, interior decor and landscaping are not overly traditional.
A standard room (standard as in luxury standard) is about USD110 a night plus 21 percent taxes. This includes breakfast. Other rooms are much much pricier but the standard room is more than acceptable. It is quite spacious and the retractable doors leads you into the resort's gardens and (rocky) beach.
Of course the ladies would be thrilled with excellent spa facilities with treatments starting at about USD50. You could even get your massage on the open air bale-bale facing the sea and its breaking waves.
Fortunately, I was there during at a time when the hotel organised a full moon cocktail.
They had prepared an open air area near the beach with nice seats and cushions laid out around a couple of Balinese singers who sang praises of the moon. All these done under the moonlight, a few candles and storm lamps.
Cocktails were on the house, including some local delicacies. Not sure what the delicacies were because I suspect the service sort of ignored me as I was the only non-caucasian guest sprawled on the sofa. I was waiting and waiting but only the cocktail arrived.
I also noticed the GM, the deputy GM and the management trainee (she was from Holland I think) mingling and introducing themselves to the caucasian guests - but me. Hah! I guess the buleqs only service the buleqs.
I stayed only for a night but that was enough for me. I don't see myself staying for more than one night in that area unless of course I'm not alone.
Having said that, I checked out of the resort around noon to make my way back to crazy Kuta before taking a flight back home in the evening.
My rating: 6 out of 10 stars (lost about two stars when they ignore me during the full moon cocktail)