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!
Ps – for Canggu deals and events, download the GuGuide app!! You can thank me later 💁🏽♀️
Uluwatu is a large peninsula that is rugged, dry but absolutely beautiful and everyone needs to get there while in Bali. Home to the best beaches in Bali, Uluwatu provides the goods when it comes to surf. The surf breaks Uluwatu, Padang Padang, The Impossibles, Bingin and Balangan are just a few that the boys surfed while we were in Bali. I however, just sat on the beach because Ulus level of surf is deffs more advanced!! Surfers: prepare for a long walk over the reef to get to the waves! But once you get out there, you have long lines to shred and enjoy!
Where to stay along the Uluwatu peninsula:
We always choose to stay down on Bingin Beach…why? Generally we head to Uluwatu to surf, so being by the beach is a must. However many people stay up the top of the cliffs too because this is where a lot of the yum cafes are + saves having to walk up a huge ass cliff 3 times a day to get anywhere. Check out a few places below for accomodation:
- Mama Tomtom’s – a dream beach house right on Bingin Beach. Couldn’t get closer to water if you tried
- Rockys Place – for cheap ass surfer dudes who just need a shack to sleep in
- DreamSea Bali – for the most BoHo insta worthy accomodation there is
- The Sun & Surf Stay Bingin- perfect if you wanna be right out front of Impossibles Surf break. Great restaurant too.
- SalSecret Spot – another gram spot on top of the cliffs where all the shots are taken
- Anantara Uluwatu – For an absolutely ridiculous 5 star accomodation
Want your own villa? Check out the best HERE on booking.com where there’s too many to choose from
Best cafes + beach clubs along the Uluwatu peninsula:
- Such Espresso – our favourite breakfast spot. YUM.
- Cashew Tree – great for breaky, lunch or dinner. To take your laptop & work or to have a chill night out watching the band.
- Nalu Bowls – the long time favourite for smoothie bowls in Bali
- Single Fin Beach Club – great for a morning feed while checking out the surf or epic on Sunday night if you’re down to party
- The Loft – breaky or lunch in a styley cafe
- Lucky Fish Lounge – A famous seafood BBQ on the sand down on Bingin Beach. Not to be missed!
- La Heboh – classic Indonesian style warung where your meal wont cost more than $3
- Kelly’s Warung – cant be missed if you’re staying down on Bingin Beach
- Ulu Cliffhouse – swanky beach bar vibes that we never went to because we couldn’t afford 😂 On the list for next time.
- Padang Padang beach party – goes down every Saturday night on the sand at Padang Padang beach. Reggae band with all the greatest singalongs.
- Sunset Point Uluwatu – the most chill vibes & the most incredible sunset
During your stay in Uluwatu, make sure to visit Uluwatu Cliff Temple, renowned for its amazing location, perched up on the cliffs approximately 70 metres above sea level. The views by day are insane, but is also a stunning sunset backdrop too. There are lots of monkeys around…but I wouldn’t call it a monkey forrest, just monkeys doing there own thing and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see them.
Enjoy Uluwatu for what it is…a place to completely relax, surf, do yoga, eat good food and enjoy many amazing sunsets. Live it up!
Just 20 minutes scooter ride from Canggu and you come to the famous Seminyak.
Seminyak is a great 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 day fighting through tourists in town, you need an escape.
The best way to do Seminyak 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 to swing back into that holiday mode is key.
So… check these private villas here on booking.com – you’re absolutely spoilt for choice so get amongst, but remember ALWAYS READ THE REVIEWS.
Seminyak is the bomb for cafes and restaurants… Heres a list of the best (my faves anyway)
- KYND Community – an absolute must! A vegan cafe that’s picture perfect & delicious in every way!
- Coffee Cartel – With such an epic gram, who wouldn’t wanna eat here? https://www.instagram.com/coffeecartelbali/
- 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 😂
- Ginger Moon – modern asian eatery – more expensive than the 3 above but very tasty
- Ling Lings – asian goodness in a rad setting!
- 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. At night it’s one of Bali’s best clubs! 💥
The beach clubs & bars in and around Seminyak are definitely some of the best too. Here’s our faves:
- Mrs Sippy – had a few fun nights here with the crew! Watching the kooks jump off the top diving board is classic 😂
- 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.
- 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
- Red Ruby – if you’re keen for a club & a wild night out
- La Favela – as mentioned above, turns into an epic club at night & can’t be missed!
Welcome to Ubud! With its rainforests, its temples, its monkeys and its rice fields, Ubud is absolutely magic and is the centre of veganism, zen and activities in Bali.
Where to stay in Ubud:
There’s literally thousands of amazing stays listed HERE on booking.com so check them out! A few of our favs are listed below:
- The Alena Resort – A little over our usual budget but a beautiful stay 10min outside the hustle and bustle of Ubud. Next time though, we would stay right in town.
- Bambu Indah – an absolutely INSANE eco-resort with architecture that will inspire you and have you relaxed in no time
- Pillow Inn Ubud – fun, social, hostel vibes
Best Cafe’s in Ubud (keep in mind most of these are vegan or vegetarian restaurants):
- Seeds of Life – raw vegan goodness in a cool setting
- Sayuri Healing Food Cafe – a really cool space to work from + epic food and a cute little shop
- Kafe – more vegetarian epic food
- Watercress Ubud – if you’re not a vego and are craving a good old eggs bene
- Folk Pool & Gardens – a trendy pool/jungle bar with good food too an an epic insta worthy location
- Zest Ubud – Plant based zesty food
Things to do in Ubud (lots of fun things to see and do in Ubud so here’s a little list of the best:
- Tegallalang Rice Terraces – visit early (like 6am) to avoid the crowds & wander around until your hearts content. This is where you see so many photos of the people on the famous swings. We didn’t participate, I didn’t trust them 😂
- Tegalalang Waterfall & the epic bambu above- Arrived early to an empty waterfall and enjoyed an early morning dip while taking a million photos. The restaurant/bar above the waterfall was sooooo amazing, with so many spots to hang out.
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary – 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!
- Ubud Traditional Art Market – wander through earlier in the day to miss the heat and the tourists. Lots of goodies to be found!
- Take a yoga class or 5 at the famous Yoga Barn – amazing yoga studio that’s loved by many
- Hike Mt Batur for sunrise – we didn’t do this because we got quite sick but it’s on the list for next time!
- Bali Cycling Eco Tour – This is a lot of fun and although it’s a full day adventure (around 6 hours), it’s worth it! You enjoy buffet breaky on top of a volcano, then cycle back down the volcano stopping at lots of little places (think coffee tasting, a Balienease home, rice fields etc) on the way. Its super authentic if you want to learn a bit more about the culture.
- Spa experience at Bali Botanical Day Spa – for a bloody cheap price we ended up with a couples massage, exfoliating body mask + a petal bath that was SO pretty. We couldn’t take ourselves seriously in it though, it was a laugh 😂
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
- Sunset Point – have a cocktail and watch the sunset!
- Famous swings – 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.
- Snorkelling – we had an epic day snorkeling at Gilli T – swam with turtles which was sooooooo sick!
- Dinner at the local night markets – located in the main square just up from where you arrive on the boat. Something different and authentic.
- PARTY – Seriously just do it, get shitfaced and party your way from bar to bar!
Coming soon…Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida!!
Well…thats Bali in a 2306 word nutshell. Thanks for reading guys ☺
Leah | free & addicted