The beautiful Bali. Whats not to love. The beach, the surf, the food, the shops, the nightlife…I could go on and on. Theres so much to do and so much to see, you honestly feel like you can explore here forever.
People often ask me the best places to stay in Bali, best accom and best things to do. From my experience, I’ve found the best way to do it is by hopping around to different places on the island. I’ve stayed in Canggu, Uluwatu, Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta, Gilli T & the Nusa islands…so it’s safe to say you see the best parts of Bali from these areas.
Got 2 weeks to travel? You wanna pick 3 or 4 spots so to help you decide…I’ll go through each place in a little more in depth:
The newest, hippest, trendiest and all around most vibing place in Bali is Canggu. This is NOT TO BE MISSED. On my first 3 visits to Bali, Canggu wasn’t even a thing but now…BOOM. A foodie lovers heaven and I don’t say that with even a hint exaggeration, literally a heaven. The ideal place for all the shaka surfers out there (for you learners Canggu is PERFECT), a shopaholics dream with so many cute boutiques to buy a new wardrobe or in my case a million new bikinis, a place to find yourself unwinding at the many day spas and of course…the nightlife and social vibes.
So let’s dig a little deeper. Here’s a list of the best restaurants & cafes (though honestly…they’re all AMAZING)
- Peleton – one of our FAVES! It’s a vegan cafe, but dont let that stop you meat eaters, the food is INSANE!
- Silk Road – without a doubt, the best interior vibe in Canggu. Also owned by a Kiwi so we ate here A LOT.
- Koloni – this is where I spent most my days working. Epic food, laptop friendly, freelancer vibe, boom.
- The Loft – this won “Bali Cafe Of The Year” so its bound to be bad ass, oh and try the coconut milk, charcoal latte ❣️
- The Shady Shack – Soooooo good and cool vibes – a fresh vegetarian based menu with many vegan options too.
- Crate Cafe – always busy and for good reason. Well priced yummy food.
- Fish Bone Local – little fancier but absolutely delish seafood. Definitely have to enjoy a lunch or dinner here.
- Give Cafe – a not for profit vegan Indonesian restaurant that is AMAZING
- Moana – gotta try the Tuna Poke bowl WOW
- Cafe Organic – name speaks for itself really
- Leroys Vietnamese – cant beat Vietnamese street food in a cool joint
- Bahn Mi & Beans – perfect for a quick lunch & a coffee before a surf
- Betelnut Cafe – The bowls are the goods
- Swich Sandwiches – easy on the go wraps & sandwiches.
- Bu Mi – Indonesian wrung that is so cheap and SO YUM
I honestly could chuck in a hundred more but when you get to Canggu yourself, you’ll quickly realise that every single eatery looks and is delicious. Have we missed any of the absolute bests? Let us know!
And the beach clubs/cool bars too:
- La Brisa – Spend a day here soaking up the sun and feeling like one of the coolest kids in Bali
- The Lawn – Epic epic vibes and too much fun on a Friday night
- Finns Beach Club – Expensive but if you’re on holiday (unlike us backpackers) then go for it yo!
- Pretty Poison – Gnarly skate bowl which goes off on a Thursday night
- Old Mans – Perfect for an after surf beer and a place that gets super rowdy too!
- Deux – fun to meet friends for a drink or 5. Live bands most nights and free tattoos on Tuesday nights!
- Luigis Pizza – Meter long pizzas + gets rowdy on a Monday night!
- Echo Beach – head to the shacks along the beach down past La Brisa. Perfect for sunset Bintangs and chill vibes
Best surf spots:
- Batu Bolong Beach (out front of Old Mans) – Best place for beginner & intermediate surfers. Easy waves nothing too heavy, you’ll be ripping in no time.
- Echo Beach – More of an experienced spot which works well on high tide
- Berawa Beach – A goodie too!!
Best day spas:
- Amo – this place has amazing treatments, ice cold baths, Himalayan salt plunge pools, saunas, jacuzzis and sun loungers so a day spent here is the perfect way to unwind. MWith an amazing cafe/co-working space onsite too, AMO is the gift that keeps on giving.
- Spring spa – still far cheaper than spa rates in NZ but a little on the expensive side in Bali. A super modern and beautiful building, you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in.
- Chillax – Far cheaper but still bloody good bang for you buck
- Pure Spa – a little shabby but for an hour deep tissue massage costing $15nzd – how could you not!
Where to Stay in Canggu??
Hostels, homestays and villas are your best choice for accomodation in Canggu. Here’s a list of our favs below:
- Farm Hostel Canggu – a very cool hostel if you’re wanting that social, instaworthy and inclusive vibe.
- Villa Mar Bali – lots of insta worthy snaps to be had here
- Villa Paz Bali – same owner as Villa Mar, cool hang spots, photo spots and all around relaxing feels
- Canggu Hostel – lots of partying goes down here so if a lush, relaxing holiday is what you’re after I’d say keep reading
- The Slow – very stylish boutique hotel right on the main strip. Too expensive for us, but a girl can dream right?
- Jungleroom Bali – super boho & unique vibe 10 mins scooter out of the Gu
- CoWorkSurf – a co-working/co-living space just outside the hustle and bustle of Canggu. Epic if you’re a freelancer & are working full time. We had a month stay here and loved it, though the 10min scooter ride in and out of Canggu was a little draining, we found it better to be right in town.
What a place Canggu is – keep an eye out on a guide to Canggu coming soon on zee blog!
Just 20ish minutes scooter from Canggu and you come to the famous Seminyak. This used to be my favourite place in Bali but Canggu has overtaken by a mile.
Seminyak is still a perfect place to stay because there’s so much going on, almost too much going on to be honest. Seminyak has become busy busy busy and in my opinion too busy. Cool if you wanna big party scene because my god does Seminyak have all the cool bars and clubs but after spending a morning fighting through the tourists in town, you need an escape. The best way to do Seminyak right is by booking an amazing private villa to spend your time. That way, after spending a busy day loosing yourself in the many cafes, beach clubs and shops, your own lush home is the best way to swing back into that holiday mode.
I gotta say though, Seminyak is the bomb for its cafes and restaurants… Heres a list of the best (my faves anyway)
- Motel Mexicola – mexican food, awesome atmosphere, a little expenny compared to Canggu but a wild party at night
- Sisterfields – AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING, cafe owned and run by Aussies and its super fresh, super healthy and super amazing (always a bit of a wait so be prepared for that)
- Sea Circus – another yummy cafe to try. Really cute building and interior also – make sure to check out the bathrooms haha
- Ginger moon – modern asian eatery – more expensive than the 3 above but very tasty
- La Favela – this restaurant looks like you have entered the Brazilian Rainforest. The eye for detail is unique and sets it apart from everywhere else!
Shit I really could go on and on…those were just the places we ate and really enjoyed. But I recommend downloading the app THE BALI BIBLE and going through the amazing other places to eat in Seminyak.
Side note: THE BALI BIBLE is literally a bible or guide for Bali. It has EVERYTHING you need to know about Bali and I used this heaps when I was there. Especially to find amazing places to eat.
The beach clubs in and around Seminyak are also one of the best parts of Bali and again I’ll list my faves:
- Potato Head Beach Club – I was lucky enough to see Fat Boy Slim here! So keep an eye out for events here because its epic! Also this is a great place to lounge around, drinking cocktails and vibing to the music. Food here is also AMAZING!
- Ku De Ta – Expect loud music and some awesome food. Another great place to lounge around.
- La Plancha – a vibrant spanish bar on the beach. Super comfortable layout with big colourful umbrellas and bean bags lined up down the beach. An amazing place to watch the sunset and have a cocktail or 5
- Rock Bar, Ayana Resort – If your up for it, travel from Seminyak to Ayana Resort. Probably one of the hottest instagram spots in Bali. Located 15km from Seminyak, this drive can take over an hour in the Bali traffic but its worth it. The most amazing place to watch the Bali sunset! And it has an amazing pool to get the perfect shot. It has been heralded as one of the world’s best bars – See more at: http://balibible.guide/details/rock-bar-ayana-resort#sthash.5LIe7DWu.dpuf
The beauty of Seminyak is that I could sit here and tell you the best places to go but theres honestly so much to see, you’ll find gems that become your favs. Theres so much I didn’t see, that hopefully you will get to, so enjoy every part of this beautiful spot in Bali. Its amazing.
Uluwatu is a large peninsula that is rugged, dry but absolutely beautiful. Home to the best beaches in Bali, Uluwatu provides the goods when it comes to surf. The beaches Balangin, Dreamland, Bingin and Padang Padang are just a few that my brother got the surf while we were in Bali. I however, just sat on the beach because Ulus level of surf is deffs more the advanced level! Surfers: prepare for a long walk over the reef to get to the waves! But once you get out there, you have long lines of waves to shred and enjoy!
We stayed in an airbnb on Bingin beach which I would highly recommend. There are so many little bungalow apartments and bali style homes to stay in for a totally affordable price and if you can, get one with a pool. Uluwatu is situated on such a high cliff and the accom is set up sort of like Greece, with little steps leading the way back up to the road and all the way down to the beach below. To walk down for a swim can be pretty damn tiring and by the time you walk back up, you’re ready for another swim! Check out all the ones on booking.com HERE
While you’re there, you can’t miss the famous Single Fin Beach Club. Easy to get there via taxi or by hiring a scooter and if you can, go twice. Once for breaky to have an EPIC acai bowl and to overlook the surfers below…the view is UNREAL! Then go again for a night out, it absolutely pumps and is really fun (especially on a Sunday)
Also if you can, head to the Uluwatu Cliff Temple, renowned for its amazing locations, perched up on the cliffs approximately 70 metres above sea level. The views by day are insane, but is also a stunning sunset backdrop for those romantic ones out there, so theres lots of amazingness to go around! There are monkeys too, but I wouldn’t call it a monkey forrest, I saw 2 and they were not having a bar of me…They did however, happily take my water bottle.
To be honest I’m not familiar with Ubuds accommodation, as I’ve never stayed there, however check out the big list on booking.com, there’s almost 2000 places to stay! All looks amazing and when I go back, I’ll search through here to find the perfect accom!
Activities in Ubud include going to the monkey forrest, Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary – read a bit more about it here http://monkeyforestubud.com. There are a shit ton of cheeky monkeys here and make sure you have nothing on you they can steel because they will! I.e hide your sunnies, phones and jewelry!
We also did the Bali Cycling Eco Tour, through Ubud which included hotel pickup, a buffet breakfast on the top of an active volcano, and a 3 hour downhill mountain bike ride through local villages, rice fields and lush scenic landscapes of Bali. This was a lot of fun and although it is a full day adventure (around 6 hours), its worth it! Its something different and good for the family or with friends. You also stop off at lots of little places in between and taste Balinese coffee, go through the home of a Balinese family and learn a lot about the Bali way of life. Its super authentic if you want to learn a bit more about the culture.
Last but not least we have Gilli T. One of three islands off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. You get there via speedboat – but be warned…they are in no way speedy! Takes a good 2-3 hours by boat from Bali so once you arrive make sure you have at least 2 days + on the island to really enjoy it.
The bar and nightlife scene here is vibrant and fun – lots of beach bars and reggae clubs with live bands playing. Lots of people dancing around on magic mushrooms too, so if thats a bit of you, Gilli T is the place to do it.
There are no cars, dogs or bikes on the island which is unique and almost luxury after being in Bali for a while. The taxis are horse and cart which can take up to 4 people + luggage and surfboards too! Everything is super close to each other, accom, restaurants, bars, as the island is small. You can hire bikes and bike around the whole island in about half an hour! We stayed in an AMAZING villa right on the beach and right on the main footpath, we didn’t even book, we just rocked up and it was available but I think this was a fluke. There are many hostels, hotels and villas on the island so just check out the ones HERE on booking.com
- Go to sunset point to have a cocktail and watch the sunset!
- On your way out to Sunset point you will see the instagram famous swing sets which set the backdrop for an amazing pic! Go at low-medium tide :]
- Go snorkeling! We had an epic day snorkeling at Gilli T – swam with turtles which was sooooooo sick!
- Sit down and smoke shisha at one of the beach front shisha bars (not sure what its called but its s small island and you’ll come across it)
- Get dinner at the local night markets. Located in the main square just up from where you arrive on the boat. Something different and authentic
- Have a massive night out! Seriously just do it, get shitfaced and party your way from bar to bar!
Well…thats Bali in a 2306 word nutshell. Thanks for reading guys ☺
Leah | free & addicted