Bali needs no introduction but if this is the first time you plan to go to Bali, read on. Bali is one of the places on the Earth that you will fall in love with almost instantly. You feel like you want to live there and you want to come back again and again. A lot of people call it a paradise. Bali is so great because it has facilities to treat guest like royalties. It has pristine beaches, serene nature, top notch service and extremely polite locals. There is something for everybody and all ages in Bali. Bali is also very spiritual Island hence please be extremely cautious and be respectful in terms of dressing and behavior. We hope that Bali remains a paradise on Earth for many generations to come and beyond. Leaves nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs.
Places to go In Bali
Bali is a small island in the tip of Java. It is fairly easy to explore and is divided into these main regions:
Kuta is the tourist pulse of Bali. There are beaches, shopping mall, restaurants, clubs and a lively ribbon shops. Since it is so touristy, it is also expensive.
Legian is where the party started. Most bars and clubs in Bali is located right here. Always be careful when drinking in foreign country such as this. Cheap alcohol should ring the alarm. When in doubt stick with local beer and drink responsibly. And please be respectful of Local. Bali is a very spiritual country.
Seminyak is more laid back than Kuta and I like the easy stroll you can do here. There are many indie shops and restaurants in Seminyak.
Ubud is the serene part of Bali for those looking for the peace and quiet. Paddy fields and greenery is abundant in Ubud.
When I hear the word Djimbaran, I think of food and then seafood. Djimbaran is famous for the by the beach seafood restaurants and sunset.
Denpasar doesn’t appeal to tourist like other part of Bali. It is messier but serves its purpose as the capital of Bali and the airport.
Uluwatu is a beautiful place where there are a lot of high grounds in which from you can overlook the perfect blue sea. There are a lot of promising surfing spot in uluwatu.
Sanur is perfect for those looking for a relaxing beach getaway minus the partying. It is quiter and more private than Kuta.
- Nusa Dua
You can find a lot of really high end resorts and accommodations in Nusa Dua. Nusa Dua is the best place for high flyers.
- Lombok Island
Lombok Island is an island in between bali and Sumbawa. Unlike it’s elder sister Bali, Lombok is much less touristy and has much more natural beauty to offer.
- Gili Island
Gili Islands is a set of smaller island near Lombok. Gili island is perfect for island getaway for those who want a more remote experience and just be surrounded by breathtaking blue waters.
Activities to do in Bali:
1. Get a massage
This comes on top of the list as when I was in Bali, though I bet it’s not recommended I get a massage almost daily. There are so many massage parlours and with walking the whole day I can do with some foot massages.
2. Climb Mount Batur
We get a guide that take us to Mt Batur for Rp200,000 per person includes breakfast and guided tour. You can get these guide from many of the tour providers that we spotted everywhere. We start our journey at 2:30AM and it took 3 hours to climb. We were there just before the sunrise. This is easily the highlight of our trip.
Tip: You do need a guide for this activity as there is no footpath and it is always necessarily to be with a local who knows the mountain for safety.
3. Climb Mount Rinjani
We didn’t climb Mount Rinjani but is definitely will be more challenging than mount batur and the it promise amazing view. This is my top of the list when I visit Bali next.
4. Visit Coffee Luwak Showroom Plantation
At the base of Mt Batur we stop by this coffee show room for coffee tasting and learn about luwak coffee.
5. Visit Tagelalang Paddy Rice
Commercialized place yes but I’m a tourist after all. This is not real paddy rice per se but a restaurant where from you can enjoy a rice paddy view.
6. Explore Monkey Forest
In Ubud don’t miss the opportunity to get up-close and personal with monkeys in the Monkey Forest. Just to be save, protect your valuables and don’t let anything hang loose for monkeys to grab and run away with.
7. Visit the Green School
The Green School is the first in the world also combine with green chocolate factory. Booking is mandatory if you are thinking to visit. It gets its name for being environmentally friendly and build with mostly or if not all bamboo material.
8. Have a romantic dinner at Djimbaran
Nothing scream romantic like a dinner on the sand, by the beach looking straight at the sea and the changing colour of the sky with the occasional fireworks during nightfall. Djimbaran is famous for its seafood by the beach but most come with a hefty bill.
9. Visit Gay Bar just for fun
Come here for the singing performance of heavily make up and costumed entertainers.
10. Do Water Rafting
Pump some adrenaline doing super fun water rafting. They have a beginner level for someone like me and expert level for thrill seeker.
11. Do some Water Sport Activities
Parasailing, banana boat, flying kite, snorkelling, glass bottom boat, and marine walk are just some of the water sport you can do in Bali. There is an extensive ‘menu’ on what activity you can do, you name it they have it. For these activity unfortunately there are local and tourist price. Tourist price is expensive. Just for your information, you can do the same but cheaper in other less touristy island in Indonesia.
12. Eat healthy and organic food at the many wholesome/raw/vegetarian café/restaurant
I’m totally in love with this aspect about Bali. So many restaurants selling wholesome menu and power smoothies, dessert included. I’m totally addicted to the raspberry Tofu cheesecake and organic Red rice pudding.
13. Visit Padang Beach
A small yet beautiful beach is one out of so many chosen to be the location for the movie starring Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love.
14. Relax at many of the pristine beaches
Think Bali, think soaking the sun with a tropical punch to quench the thirst next to you, with the occasional local ladies offering massage on the beach, manicure, pedicure and shirtless tattoo artist offering their service.
15. Find serenity at yoga retreat
Bali is one of the best places to get it together at one of this yoga retreat.
With so many beach and place like uluwatu, Bali has some of the best surf spot in the world.
Beach, booze, party. Bali is popular with leavers but local doesn’t really encourage that. Party responsibly and don’t go overboard.
18. Shop at Beach Walk Kuta
Beach walk Kuta is a semi outdoor shopping mall with a rooftop garden. There are many places to eat and shops selling local and international brand.
19. Buy souvenirs at Pasar Krisna
Pasar Krisna is one of the places to get cheap souvenirs without having to bargain. It is like a big department store selling Bali most popular handicraft and souvenirs like T-shirt, short, coffee, snack and many more. There is a few more such department store in Bali, one near the airport.
20. Haggle in Pasar Sukawati
Unlike pasar Krisna that is much like a department store, Pasar Sukawati is much like traditional market. You can buy the same souvenirs and stuff but make sure you bargain for best price.
21. Visit the Silver Smith
Usually tours will corporate things like silver smith and painting gallery. Our driver took us there just because it was on the way and didn’t take too much time.
22. Visit painting Gallery
For art collector, you can buy local painting from the painting gallery. For me they are way out of my budget. If you can afford it, I’d totally encourage you to support local artists.
23. Experience fish Spa
In Bali there is a lot of foot massage parlour that also offers fish spa. This experience is ticklish and interesting. They suppose to eat your dead skin leaving your skin smooth and encourage cell renewal.
24. Go for ATV adventure at rice paddy fields
Nothing screams fun more than riding an ATV going through the muddy track and green paddy rice fields.
25. Spend a day at the water themed park
Go on water slide and splash to your heart’s content at the Waterbom, water themed park. It is a must visit for many and a great family activity for all ages.
26. Enjoy the View from the Cliff Top
Uluwatu is a serene place with cliffs overlooking the ocean. They often has a bar that offers amazing view here. Other than that, it is very popular wedding spots for couple from all over the world who wants tropical paradise dream wedding.
27.Visit Tanah Lot Temple
Another must visit attraction is Tanah Lot temple. Come during sunset to see the changing colour of the sky. Leading to Tanah Lot there are a lot of shops and food stalls that sells paintings (much cheaper than the ones from the gallery) and souvenirs.
1. Babi Guling Ibu Oka
Babi Guling Ibu Oka in Ubud is one of Bali Must-eat. Babi Guling is roast pork and it is served as shredded roast pork with pieces of pork crackling, asian salad, mild chilli salad and other condiments. It is cheap and very delicious. They have since open three branches:
- Branch 1: Jalan Suweta, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
- Branch 2: Jalan Tegal Sari No. 2, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
- Branch 3: Jl. Raya Mas, Ubud, Kab. Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
2. Babi Guling Pak Malen
Just like Babi Guling Ibu Oka, Pak Malen offers the same kind of food. The difference is the location, Babi Guling Pak Malen is in Seminyak.
Address: Jalan Sunset Road No. 554, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
3. Bebek Bengil
Bebek bengil is translated to dirty duck. How it gets its name is a mystery to me too but it is probably because duck are mostly find in paddy fields in mud. The ambience of this place is semi courtyard with individual bamboo terrace shed among and between ponds which reminds you of the resting house in paddy fields. They have since open several branches:
- Branch 1: Jalan Hanoman, Padangtegal, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali 80571
- Branch 2: BTDC Complex, Nusa Dua Beach, Kuta Sel., Bali 80361
- Branch 3: Raya Uluwatu Pecatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
4. Jazz Café
With nightly jazz performance, this place is great for some entertainment and to relax after a long day of exploring. Let me assure you that the quality of the performance are world-class.
Address: Jl. Sukma no.2, Tebesaya, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 976594
5. Organic Food
There are many restaurants in Bali that serves organic, raw and wholesome food. The two that I get to try are the below:
Address: Dhyana Pura 5, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.
Address: JL. Dewi Sita, Ubud, Bali 80515, Indonesia
6. Warung Lawar kuwir men koko
We stop by Lawar kuwir men koko on the way to uluwatu. In local language Lawar means goose. This was one of the highlight for me as it is the first time I ever tried goose. Do you know that goose is very good for you? While duck is high in cholesterol, goose is supposedly healthy. You wouldn’t be able to recognise the meat due to how they cook the dish. It has been shredded and is very similar to Babi Guling Rice combination.
Address: Jalan Raya Canggu Canggu, Badung, Bali
7. Kue Putu
We had this and pork satay on our way to Padang Beach. They are sold by the street side. Kue putu is steamed pandan cake with palm sugar filling.
8. Pork Satay
Sweet and juicy pork satay for only S1 for 10 sticks!
9. Warung Iga
Warung Iga is famous for the ribs. The ribs are char-grilled on the barbeque outside the restaurant.
Address: Jln. Uluwatu II,Jimbaran
Djimbaran is the best place to have seafood. If you have any recommendation on which restaurant in Djimbaran please do share.
11. Ayam Betutu
Ayam betutu is a whole chicken that has been marinated in local herbs and spices and traditionally buried to cook. This is another specially of Bali.
12. Bubba Gump
Such a unique restaurant, Bubba Gump takes the theme of Forest gump the movie. It is a mystery whether Forest Gump did ever settle in Bali and open this restaurant. The restaurant definitely has the movie on repeat and has extensive shrimp dish in their menu.
Address: Jalan Kartika Plaza No.8X, Komplek Pertokoan Kuta Centre, Blok A1 No. 1, Kuta, Bali 80361
13. Hard rock café
Hard Rock Café needs no introduction. The giant surfboard is a popular backdrop for photo taking tourist. Hard Rock Café is located at Kuta walking distance to the Beach Walk.
Address: Jl. Pantai Kuta, Banjar Pande Mas, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
14. Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika
This is the food that I missed and definitely on my list to try next time. Nasi pedas means spicy rice. Try it to experience local cuisine that the local loves.
Address: Jl.Raya Kuta, Gg.Kubu, No.120C, Benoa, Badung, Kuta Sel., Bali, Indonesia
There are also fine dining in Bali for those looking for the finer experience. Kudeta is one of the recommended fine dining restaurants in Bali.
Address: Jalan Kayu Aya No.9, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 736969
16. Potato Head
Visit potato head for ambience like no other. It is a high end unique restaurant/ club/ bar that often host the most hype event of the city.
Address: Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 83061, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 4737979
You need a car to get around. Renting car is not so expensive. Sharing in groups is the best way. Get a car with a driver, preferable kind driver who will lead you into the local food and destinations rather than touristy ones that are often overpriced.
Some people rent a motorbike which is fine too given that you are a decent driver.
You can shop to your heart’s content in Bali. Shop branded goods at Kuta Beach Walk, shop for bits and pieces at Pasar Krisna and Sukawati, you can buy everything at the street vendors as well. You need only one magic word: BARGAIN.
There are probably thousand of hotels, villas and guesthouse and other type of accommodation in Bali, below are what we and my friends has experienced.
Waka De Ume, Ubud
The best one I’ve stayed is at Waka De Ume, Ubud. With an inclusive pampering massage that treats you like a royalty, beautiful villa, excellent breakfast and paddy fields all around you we were so spoilt.
The Haven Seminyak
Located at prime location in Seminyak, this hotel is comfortable, provides shuttle to the nearest beach and couldn’t ask for more for a hotel.
Harris is a budget Hotel chain but it doesn’t feel like budget. It is very comfortable, clean and pretty spacious.
Bounty Hotel, Kuta
Located at Kuta, Bounty hotel is a great base for those who want to have relaxing holiday and do just shopping and relax by the beach and shop again, and eat, and party, repeat. Bounty hotel also offers some excursion and activities. Filled with youngster only consider if you don’t mind the noise.
Hotel Ayana, Djimbaran
For the ultimate luxury experience Ayana is a multi award winning resort. Also consider Bvlgari Hotel and Mulia Hotel, a newly opened 5 star hotel offering one of the best hotel pools in the world.
Address: Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran, Bali 80364, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 702222
*Price subject to change
When to go
I’d say anytime is a good time to go to Bali. Indonesia is hot and humid all year around. Keep in mind that June-July is dry season but also high season. End and start of the year is also high season plus more rain.
– Bali is a spiritual country so be respectful. Bring sarong and closed footwear as visiting some site requires you to be fully covered.
– Careful when you are walking to avoid stepping on the offerings.
– Be careful when changing your money – recount to be sure that you got the right amount.
– Local foods are delicious so you can avoid overpriced touristy places.
– Catching taxi from the airport is the first rip off. To save, go out of the airport and catch taxi outside.
– Be careful with alcohol and drugs in Bali. Alcohol poisoning is not worth the chance.