Holidays

Romantic Travel Done Right

by Colleen Clark

Baring All in Bali

The fantasy: Barefoot bungalows on Bali's white-sand beaches of Kuta and Sanur. Rugged coastlines backed by emerald rice terraces. The arc and curl of graceful Legong dancers in ornate stone temples and other sensuous art forms add a layer of heady exoticism to this tropical island destination.

The reality: The broad stretches of sand fronting the Indian Ocean in Kuta and the calm waters rolling into Sanur helped put Bali on the tourism map. But now these beaches are overrun with relentless hawkers and rowdy Australian package tourists pounding swift successions of fruity cocktails.

Perfect match: The far-flung exoticism of Bali still simmers on the east coast, often referred to as Old Bali, where coconut groves fringe pristine beaches and couples wander amid the crumbling grandeur of ancient water palaces. You can get active by kayaking or sailing a traditional jukung on Lombok Strait (or limit your extracurricular activities to the bedroom of your beachfront hideaway). Splurge on one of the cliffside villas at Amankila (pictured), in Karangasem, which feature inlaid marble-and-wood floors, soaring cane ceilings, and your own veranda or infinity pool overlooking the sea.

Next: Souk seduction >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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