Villa Bangkuang is located in Sogsogan, a charming seaside village surrounded by rice fields and set against the twin backdrops of misty volcanoes and pounding surf. Although only 25 minutes’ drive from the cosmopolitan glamour of Seminyak, Sosogan and the neighbouring Seseh village retain the customs and culture of old Bali. Cows are herded through the fields, rice is planted and harvested throughout year, and the sound of ritual music is carried on the breeze. The approach to Seseh is by way of a country lane; emerald rice fields line the road as it meanders through an avenue of coconut palms. Farmers in conical hats riding rusty old upright bicycles are a common sight-the bucolic daily life of the village has not been dented by tourism.
Furthermore, there are frequent, colourful processions to Seseh’s beachside Hindu temple. On special festival days, thousands of devout Hindus from neighbouring villages wearing ceremonial dress-the women carrying huge pyramids of fruit and flower offerings on their heads-converge on this important temple to perform cleansing rituals beside the ocean. On other occasions, the air is thick with the scent of burning incense and the clear metallic sound of the gamelan orchestra, as the white clad priests symbolically sever their connection with the everyday world and invite the gods to “come down and join us”.
Echo Beach at Canggu, which is bordered by a surfing reef and noted for a casual and lively beach-side dining scene, is a pleasant one-kilometre walk along the seashore. This is the place where the local community gathers in the evenings to watch the legendary sunsets. A variety of eating areas and tables spill out onto a beachside buff; there is a daily barbeque and live music on Sunday evenings.
The trendy Seminyak area, with its wide choice of international restaurants-including the famous ‘Ku Dé Ta’, ‘Kafé Warisan’, ‘Living Room’, ‘Hu’u’, ‘La Lucciola’, ‘Sarong’ and Blossom-together with a plethora of chic cocktail bars, exciting nightclubs, lavish spas and elegant boutiques, is 25 minutes’ drive away.
The location offers easy access up to the mountains and rice terraces on the western slopes of the island; it is 70 minutes’ drive from the famous cultural and artistic town of Ubud, and just 20 minutes’ drive from the Sunset Route, gateway to the eastern side of the island. It is also convenient for all of Bali’s shopping malls and main tourist attractions. The international airport is 45 minutes’ drive. The nearby ‘Nirwana Bali Golf Course’ was designed by Greg Norman, and was voted the number 1 golf course in Asia; it is situated beside the dramatic, waved-lashed sea temple of Tanah Lot.For horse lovers, the ‘Umalas Equestrian Centre’ is just a few kilometres away.