The Jakarta Post
The tiered swimming pools at Amankila in Karangasem regency, Bali. (Amankila/File)
The sky was still dark at 6 a.m., but Padangbai Port in Karangasem regency in Bali was already crowded with ships crossing to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. After quite a struggling walk in deep sand, I hopped onto a large jukung (traditional wooden boat) outrigger and the boat took me farther to the east to find the perfect spot for sunrise-watching.
Minutes later, I was in awe as orange rays slowly emerged between the clouds. The shadows of Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second tallest volcano in Lombok, and Mount Agung, Bali’s tallest volcano, were also visible from my vantage point.
Sunrise as seen from large 'jukung'-style outrigger during the Sunrise Cruise. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
The trip, dubbed the Sunrise Cruise, is one of the outdoor activities offered at the Amankila resort. The cruise includes snorkeling off Virgin Beach, where people can observe breathtaking coral reefs and even sea turtles once in a while, and the Blue Lagoon, a famed spot to watch coral reef fish.
Taking place on Indrakila Hill and facing Lombok Strait, the resort highlights East Bali’s natural landscape through outdoor activities, including kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, diving, trekking and mountain biking.
The Taman Ujung water palace in Karangasem regency, Bali. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
The resort conducts tours to other locations in East Bali as well, including the Tirtagangga water palace, the Taman Ujung water palace, Tenganan village, which is known for its Perang Pandan (Pandanus War), and sacred temples such as Penataran Agung Lempuyang and Besakih.
“East Bali offers a lot of everything in terms of outdoor [activities],” said Ernst Ludick, general manager of Amankila, recently. “Bali itself is an outdoor destination. It’s really about getting out, tasting different foods, seeing different rituals.”
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The interior of one of the suites at Amankila. It has a total of 33 suites with different views, such as of the ocean or the garden. (Amankila/File)
The resort also plans to add pencak silat to their guests’ activities.
“A lot of Asian countries have their own martial arts and they’re quite famous around the world, like judo, taekwondo, karate, but no one really highlights this interesting Indonesian version of martial art,” Ludick said. “It’s quite different, but I think guests would enjoy that.”
The peak of Mount Agung as seen from Tamansari. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
The breakfast picnic at Tamansari is also a noteworthy feature of the resort, as guests are able to view Mount Agung's summit, paddy fields and the waters of Lombok Strait from one spot. A post-breakfast dip in the tiered swimming pools and a day of lounging around in one of the poolside gazebos provided a new definition of "doing nothing". (asw)