The Bukit Peninsula dangles from the southern tip of Bali like a locket on a chain. Bukit means "hill" and encapsulates the whole of the tear-drop shaped area south of the airport starting at Jimbaran Bay on the west side, down through the beaches of Pecatu and the cliffs of Uluwatu, to the southern tip and all the way round to the east side and the government sponsored five-star tourist enclave of Nusa Dua, continuing up to the forgotten strip of Tanjung Benoa.

The Bukit with its dramatic craggy coastline and vegetation, or lack thereof, is in stark contrast to the rest of Bali with its verdant rice paddies and lush tropical jungle. And whereas rice farming is the staple crop on the rest of Bali, here there are only seaweed farms and limestone quarries, the scars of which are visible from as far afield as Ubud. Thus, the government has aggressively encouraged the development of tourism, giving incentives such as special tax breaks and government funds to established international hotel chains to sweeten the deal.

Historically, this was a fairly scary place where great herds of banteng (wild Indonesian cattle) and water buffalo roamed free, and where the occasional sighting of Kebo Iwa, the legendary Balinese giant and master builder, sent shivers through the collective Balinese imagination. The Dutch colonials followed the lead of the rajahs and continued the hunting tradition. The Dutch also banished criminals and undesirables to the Bukit. All this trivia leads you to laugh: Bukit is nowadays referred to by eager developers as "The Beverly Hills of Bali." Instead of sighting wild boar along these dusty roads, you are more likely to be stuck behind water-truck tanks plodding up the hills in low gear as they carry this scant resource to the villas and resorts.

Taxis & Getting around the Bukit -- Taxis are not easy to find on the Bukit peninsula, and though you can walk between a few of the villages, you'll need some form of motorized transport to get around most of the time. Hotels, villas, and restaurants can order a taxi for you when required. If you find yourself without a taxi, call one. Ask how long it will take for them to get you, as they are notoriously slow. Once you've got a taxi and reached your destination, have your driver wait for you for about Rp12,000 an hour. Check with your driver before you depart.