Bali is one of my favourite places, I love the sun, food, culture and relaxation. Whether I go there for a family trip with the chilies, with the girls or as a couple for a romantic get away, it is so much fun every single time! One of my good friends is going for the first time in October so I put together a list for her of all my hot tips. It is such a great list (well I love it!) that I thought I would share it here too. I am in no way a Bali expert, but these are the places that I love when I visit Bali.
One of these things that I love the most about Bali is the food, being a foodie I guess you would expect that! There is so much variety in Bali from local eats to upmarket world class restaurants. My favourite dish is the local sate chicken cooked over coals, I drive my friends crazy trying to find the best sate in town! Sometimes the best is from the little hole in the wall or a bike on the side of the road. There are hundreds of amazing places in Bali to eat, but here are a few of my favourite go-to places.
FOOD & BARS
- The bean bags on the beach at double 6 between Seminyak and Legian for cheap drinks and local satay. Go there to watch the sunset and choose any of the eating places that appeal, it is all lovely.
- Ku De Ta in Seminyak. I love this location for a long lazy lunch the food and cocktails are amazing, fabulous view on the beach and great vibe.
- Sardine in Seminyak. This place has fabulous French inspired food. Its a great spot for dinner as it overlooks a rice paddy that is all lite up with lights at night, just gorgeous!
- Sarong in Seminyak is my favourite! The setting is super cute and very Bali and the food is amazing Asian fusion. This is a great dinner location where you can dress up a little bit. You must book in advance as it is super popular.
- Bambu in Seminyak. It is a super cute setting around a pond that you have to step over to get to your table. Delicious Asian fusion cuisine and fabulous service.
- Hotel Mexicola in Seminyak. This place is a super fun and very popular Mexican party restaurant. If you don’t want to line up, book in advance.
- The W in Seminyak for sunset cocktails and free pizza. You must try the Bubblegum cocktail! YUM!
- Nalu Bowls in Seminyak in a cute little alley. Go there for a snack or breakfast. You can either takaway or sit upstairs in the cute cafe with all the plants. Great fun and super delicious.
- The Rocks at Ayana Resort, go there at Sunset and sip cocktails. There is a line up to get down the cliff, so go about 3pm or 4pm to get your seat.
BEACH CLUBS I LOVE
If you love music, the beach and lazing around sipping cocktails, a beach club day will be your kinda day!
- Potato Head in Seminyak is a MUST DO! If you don’t have kids in tow then you can go there for a whole day. I have taken my chilies there but they got bored after a couple of hours. If you have all day make sure you arrive at 10.30am to put your name on the list and then you can choose your lie down day bed for the day. It is free to go there and spend the day, but you will open a tab and spend the day sipping amazing drinks, people watching, listening to great sounds, swimming, and eating amazing food. Just take yourself, a hat, sunnies, sun screen and a magazine. It is the best day out!
- Sunday’s. This is a beach club about 30 minutes away, but a great day out. Heaps of fun laying on the beach with music and great food.
TOURS I LOVE
I have only been on a few tours in Bali, but these are a couple that I really enjoyed.
- Bike Bali – I loved this day out, it was fabulous! They pick you up and you head to Ubud and the whole day is taken care of. We had breakfast in the family’s Warung or home and the they took us with the bikes to the top of Ubud where we cycled through rice paddy’s and villages. It was a easy down hill cycle and loads of fun. The kids and my parents were with me, so it is suitable for all ages. Here is the link http://www.balibike.com/
- Bamboo Shoots Cooking Class in Sanur. Me and my Dad did this class together and it was fabulous! We did a market tour like a local and then cooked loads of local foods. It was really interesting and I learned lots about Indonesian food. Then we got to enjoy the food we had made. Yum! Here is the link http://www.bambooshootsbali.com/ If you want to see more about this cooking class, I did a blog about it back then, here it is.
If you would love to get out of the main tourist spots and explore a little this is a fabulous day out, or for someone who is a little more adventurous take a couple of days to adventure to Bingin Beach and the surrounds.
I love Bingin Beach and Uluwatau! It is out of the way and really back to the basics, you are not far away from the may tourist spots but you feel one million miles away! It is super interesting and fun, when I have been out there, I don’t book anything and just go with the flow. You can go out to Bingin via taxi and if you go for the day they will just drop you and wait for you while you go down to the beaches and explore. Or if you want to stay there, take the taxi and leave your belongings in the taxi while you walk down the cliff to the beach to find your beach accommodation. Just pop into all the places on the beach and ask if they can take you for the night, you will be able to get a beach front room for about $70 per night. It is basic accommodation, but clean and right on the beach. I have stayed in about three different places over the years and they have all been great. You then have to go back up the cliff to get your gear, pay your driver and you can make arrangements for him to come back and get you. At Bingin Beach they do a dinner on the beach every night with fresh fish and squid, rice and morning glory for about $10. It is amazing and starts from 5pm ish. Bingin Beach sunsets are amazing! Bingin Beach is very rustic, there are no roads to beach and you have to carry your stuff down loads of stairs, so you do need some level of fitness. Bingin Beach is also the perfect place to have those surf lessons you have always wanted to do!
While you are there you can hire a scooter and go and explore the nearby beaches including Uluwatu. I have always been opposed to getting on a scooter in Bali, but out there, there is less traffic and it is fairly safe. I had the best day taking the scooter around to the other beaches. We stopped in little road side restaurants and had the most amazing food for next to no money!
You can not go to Bali without having spa treatments!
- All the cheap spa’s that are everywhere in the tourist spots are are awesome and around $10 for a 1 hour massage.
- Body Works in Seminyak is great for middle of the road $25 per hour treatments. Great for full body scrubs and massages. You need to book in advance.
- Ayana Resort Spa is off the scale AMAZING! It is about $200 for a 3 hour amazing treatment. I had a rose petal bath out in a cute little garden and the whole works. So worth it! After your treatment you can go to the Rockpool bar (as above) for cocktails at about 4pm. It is in the same location so that works out to be a great day out. You must book Ayana in advance.
It is no secret that lots of the money changers in Bali are dodgy and very cleaver at ripping us off with slight of the hand tricks.
There are the odd ones that are truly official and will not rip you off, so I am told by my local driver. I have been to Bali many times and just expect to be ripped off, but last time I went I learned a valuable lesson… and that simply is, if you find that you have been short changed, just go back and tell them and most of the time they will give you your money back. This is what happened to me last time. My other tip and lesson I learned is once you have changed your money, stand outside their shop or hole in the wall and count your cash again so that if you find it is short you can be reimbursed on the spot! What happened in my case is that when we go back to our hotel and recounted the money we had changed, we found that we were $100AU short. Ohhhhhh we were furious! I hate to think of all the times that I have not even checked, because I don’t want to ruin my otherwise amazing Bali holiday! We just stewed and then let it go, but a couple of days later our driver told us that we should take it back and tell that we were short changed. He said if you do it that day in most cases they will say ‘sorry it was a mistake’ and give you your money back. For us by this time 2 days had passed but we thought we had nothing to loose and we actually got our money back, with no fuss at all! Happy day’s!
Another great thing thing to do for the day is just put your walking shoes on and explore, see where your feet & nose take you! I have found so many little alleys, cafes, shops and lovely little things just by walking. One of the little places that I found last time was this cute wall with wings painted on it. Behind the wall was this gorgeous cafe with a lawn where these people were playing string instruments on the grass. It was just lovely!
I love Bali, despite the little things here or there that are not perfect. The people are super friendly, the food is AMAZING, the fun to be had is the best! Happy eating and safe travels!