Things to Do
Jimbaran is a great place to base yourself for exploring all of Bali, as it is just 20 minutes from the airport, and close to the bypass and other big roads that take you out and around Bali to places like Ubud, Tanah Lot and the diving and snorkeling out by Candidasa.
But there is loads of to do close to Jimbaran itself - and the first thing is a visit to some of the great beaches!
Jimbaran beach itself is a wide sweep of white sand. When the sea is calm it is good for kids, and in the evening it comes alive with loads or sea-food restaurants setting up right on the beach. We love it there, as the kids can play on the beach and have freshly cooked corn off a stand, while we enjoy a great seafood BBQ and a beer watching the planes come silently into land.
But there are loads of other great beaches as well each with their own character and charm. Balangan beach a short drive down the end of our road is very laid back local beach with cheap local warungs and great sunsets. At low tide there are massive rock pools here that are fantastic for kids to explore.
For the surfers amongst you Balangan is one of many great surf beaches around Jimbaran, and others include Padang Padang (now famous as the beach location for "Eat, Pray, Love") Bingin, and Uluwatu, all very picturesque.
Many guests head down to one of the many luxury beach resorts run by some of the top hotels in the world such as Finns Beach Club (on "secret Beach") or Nammos, both of which are expensive but great places to hang out.
Alternatively for the kids the beaches around Nusa Dua are the best - very shallow, barely a ripple, and ideal for kids to splash around, look for hermit crabs, and they can even visit some great kid themed restaurants like Pirates Bay.
The area around Jimbaran has less cultural attractions than Ubud or Candidasa, but what it does have is pretty special.
Firstly there is the frankly unmissable cliff-top kecak and fire dance at sunset at Uluwatu temple. Come early if you can so you can enjoy a walk along the cliffs and see the temple and the monkeys before settling down to watch probably the largest and most famous Kecak dance in Bali.
Only a couple of minutes drive from Villa Leana is GWK - the cultural centre for Bali. Situated in a striking old quarry, GWK has a great selection of Balinese dance performances almost all day, as well as some striking (and enormous) statues of Garuda and Sita. At the end of the day the restaurant there offers good local food, Legong dancers and a panoramic view of the rest of Bali - well worth a visit.
Finally there is spectacular culture and dance and acrobatics extravaganza that is Devdan - with lakes, fire effects and much much more. Expensive though, but you can find discounts online. Again only 15 minutes drive away in Nusa Dua.
The Bukit area around Jimbaran is THE place for one of the most fun things that you can do in Bali which is tandem paragliding. Literally strap yourself to the instructor, and run off the cliff, and then spend the next 30 minutes to an hour gracefully floating up and down the shore line staring down at the beaches. seaweed growers and other life far below. Fantastic and really recommended
Of course the main reason that thousands of tourists come to Bali is surfing, and most of the best surf locations are around the Bukit - normally close to beaches such as Bingin and Uluwatu. Again don't worry if you have never done it before, surf lessons are relatively cheap, and you can always start with a boogie board and go body surfing which is great fun for the kids. We actually normally just take the boogie boards at Villa Leana and head down to Kuta beach - behind Discovery Mall where you can pick the size of wave that works for you if you are a beginner. There are loads of surf schools though if you are looking to do it for the first time, including at Uluwatu, Padang-Padang beaches as well as at Kuta of course.
Finally Benoa which is a short 15 minute drive away offers lots of more modern beach options, including banana boats, and boat trips to Nusa Penida where you can slide into the sea and go snorkeling as well - again less than 15 minutes from Villa Leana.
Dining out in Jimbaran and the Bukit
Most guests do eat in a lot at Villa Leana, and you will see in the guest comments that many guests rate the food at Villa Leana better than any restaurant they have tried. If you do stay in, then I do recommend having the ribs, although to be honest all the food was excellent. If you do decide to head out though, then there are loads of great options to try nearby
Probably the most popular option of course is to head down to Jimbaran beach and enjoy a great seafood BBQ with freshly caught fish straight from the Jimbaran Fish Market (also worth a visit one morning) and definitely I would recommend doing that one night if you have the chance.
There are though a huge variety of other great options only a short drive from Villa Leana.
For Italian we normally head to Peppenero which is a smart yet reasonably priced restaurant just on a hill outside of Jimbaran.
For a bit of fun with kids you can head to Pirates Bay on the beach at Nusa Dua, behind the large shopping mall. There are a large selection of restaurants and cafes here, both on the beach, and in the shopping mall as well, and the beach is calm and shallow making this a great option for families with small children
All around Villa Leana are also some of smartest and best restaurants and bars that Bali has to offer, many perched in spectacular locations on the top of cliffs or directly on the beach
One of the most famous is the Rock Bar situated directly on the cliffs, and voted one of the top 10 bars in the world, and only 15 minutes drive from Villa Leana
Alternatively we also like the great cliff top views from the Il Mare restaurant at Karma Kandara, just 10 minutes drive away. You can take a cable car down to the small private white sand beach here as well and enjoy a pizza or a beer at the Nammos beach club.
Many guests though find their way to Finn's beach club, and really recommend it, although we have not been there ourselves yet (on our list of things still to do!).
For coffee and cakes we normally head to the Jimbaran Square shopping centre (about 5 minutes drive from Villa Leana) and go to our local Grocer and Grind that is there, although there is also a Cafe Moka even closer up at the Nirmala junction just a couple of minutes away which also does great cakes.
Other Activities in Jimbaran Area
If you are looking for a good gym, then Jimbaran Club is a good value local option. It has good new facilities, and only costs Rp 30,000, but has a good selection of equipment, and is about a 10 minute drive from Villa Leana. Jimbaran Club also has a pool if you are into swimming laps, although at weekends it does get packed with local kids.