Bali is one of those destinations that has something for every type of traveller- whether you’re looking for a quiet beach holiday, an adventurous surfing trip or simply time to unwind with yoga and be pampered with Balinese massages! Bali has become a bustling tourist destination and is filled with plenty to do, see and eat. Here are my favourite areas of the island to stay and explore!
When to go:
Any time of year is great to visit this tropical paradise with its year-round warm climate. The hot & rainy season lasts from November to March and the busy season spans from June to October, with Christmas and New Years also being popular times for tourists.
How to get around:
You’ll find an abundance of taxis around busy areas which you’ll find are easy to hail down and Uber is now available in some places around the island.
If you’re confident on a scooter, these are easily & cheaply available to hire around the island but you’ll need to do so at your own risk as the roads are busy and mopeds and motorbikes run the streets!
If you’re travelling with a group and looking to do day trips, hiring a driver for the day is the best way to go so that you can tick off all the places on your list without having to find taxis or negotiate prices.
Uluwatu & Nusa Dua
The most Southern area of Bali is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island, as well as some of the biggest resorts. Like the rest of Bali, there are also countless amounts of boutique hotels and guesthouses located in the South if you’re looking for a quieter side of Bali, this is a pretty stunning area to relax.
On the South Eastern coast, you’ll find Nusa Dua which has some of the most incredible world-class hotels tucked away from the bustle of the Island. Nusa Dua boats incredible white sand beaches and is an idyllic getaway for honeymooners or those looking for an all-inclusive holiday.
What to do:
Known for its magical location perched on a cliff 70 metres above sea level, this spiritual temple is an incredible place to watch the sunset over the ocean but be careful of naughty monkeys who might be tempted to tug at your belongings!
A little walk down a cliffside and underneath a cave which is home to some local monkeys (be careful they don’t throw things at you) will have you come out at this little hideaway beach.
It’s located right below Single Fin restaurant where you can head for live tunes and to watch the sunset. In my opinion, the best sunsets in Bali are from the South- anywhere around Nusa Dua will have you seeing the brightest swirly sunsets. If you sit upstairs at Single Fin and get to watch the sun go down, you’ll see countless amounts of fishing boats coming back into the harbour with fresh seafood amongst the wispy skies. It’s pretty darn dreamy to say the least.
Peacefully and privately located on Bali’s most southern tip, Pandawa is an escape from all the Bali bustle. There’s several luxury villas and beach hut cafes sprinkled along Pandawa’s white sandy beach and the water here is crystal clear. If you’re just spending the day, head down early and pull up residence at one of the cafes that offer day beds. There’s an entrance fee at this beach which is about 15,000 IDR (NZ$1.50) but it’s a small price to pay for this piece of paradise.
Another beautiful beach which isn’t as far as Uluwatu, Bingin is home to some great eats and stunning views. Try Kelly’s Warung, Mu and The Cashew Tree for some tasty eats.
With a picturesque steep cliff winding its way down to a white sandy beach, Kelingking is one of Bali’s most instagrammable locations.
Where to eat:
Located down on the beach, pull up here for sunset views and a cheap bite to eat!
A secluded resort located right near Bingin Beach, Mu is is a tranquil escape that offers uniquely designed bungalows and features a private saltwater pool. A chilled out place to stay or just to pop in for lunch.
The Cashew Tree
Located close to the beach, The Cashew Tree has got you covered for a relaxed lunch with a fresh menu of salads, burgers, bowls and smoothies.
Seminyak is the most touristy area of Bali but has some really great places to eat and of course shop. If you’re looking to walk around, shop, eat & drink, Seminyak is the place.
What to do:
There are endless boutiques to explore in Seminyak selling everything from Island made jewellery, homewares, clothing and accessories. Start at Seminyak Square for market stalls and get lost in the streets around here where you’ll find no shortage of beautifully crafted items to take home with you.
The Bali Tailor
If you’ve always wanted to design your own leather jacket, bag or shoes, The Bali Tailor is a reputable place to go with over ten years experience in working with many talented tailors on the island. You’ll want to make sure you give yourself enough time to have something made, with turn around times of 1-2 weeks so head here as a first stop on your trip so you can get your order under way!
Spring Spa is the perfect spot to spoil yourself. Their spaces are beautiful and all of their treatments are top notch. Try their signature 90 minute Balinese massage- a traditional healing ritual that will have you feeling relaxed in no time.
This cheap and simple spa is my absolute go to for a four hands massage! Tucked away just off the main street, this is a hidden gem of Seminyak.
Where to eat:
For mezcal, tacos & a good dance.
An eclectic South East Asian fusion restaurant located right in the centre of Seminyak
This little coffee spot is said to have some of the best cold drip coffee on the Island. It’s a fun laid back spot for a morning brew to kick-start the day or a bite to eat in the afternoon.
For amazing food and drool-worthy interiors, Barbacoa is one of the finest eateries on the Island. Their Southern American menu is full of flavour and the restaurant is always filled with the most drool-worthy woodfire & charcoal smells.
A relaxed spot for breakfast with some of the best poached eggs I’ve ever tried, or where you can come for lunch and order from their salad bar, Watercress has a rustic menu and is all about abundant organic food.
For healthy vegan eats in a cosy setting, Earth Cafe is an absolute must. Stock up on snacks and raw treats at their little store located inside the cafe or enjoy a fresh lunch or smoothie from their organic menu.
For breakfast and brunch that almost transports you all the way to New York City, Corner House is the place to be.
Ku De Ta
For a bougie dinner by the beach, Ku De Ta can’t be missed. Pull up at their bar and enjoy a cocktail, DJ tunes and sunset over the ocean.
Potato Head Beach Club
One of the most popular spots in Seminyak, Potato Head is known for its stunning architecture, upscale menu and beach front day beds.
Dine with dreamy views of the rice paddies- great for both breakfast and dinner, Nook is tucked away from the main streets of Seminyak offering a quiet and relaxing retreat from the chaos!
With incredible treehouse-like interiors and a multiple floors that turn into a dance party later in the evening, this eclectic bar and eatery serves up fantastic fair and the perfect place to dance all night.
Just north of Seminyak you’ll find Canggu which is an expat filled area with an overwhelming amount of cute cafes & restaurants.
What to do:
Yoga at Desa Seni
A beautiful yoga studio located in Canggu offering yoga, meditation and Balinese cottages for rent.
Sunset beach drinks at Echo Beach
Park up at Echo Beach & find a beachfront spot to grab a sundowner drink! There’s plenty of spots along the sand for a fresh coconut!
Surf down at Echo Beach
Canggu offers great waves for those looking to learn or intermediate surfers. If you’re an early riser, you’ll be able to enjoy a sunrise surf with the ocean all to yourself and if you’re just starting out, there’s plenty of surf instructors down on the sand who will be able to show you the ropes and get you up on the board in no time.
Where to eat:
This cafe will always remain as one of my favourites- they serve up fresh & healthy food and their treehouse style restaurant overlooks Canggu & the surrounding rice paddies (and villas on villas). Try their mahi-mahi naked burrito and a slice of their cheesecake!
My favourite vegan restaurant in Bali where everything on the menu is plant based and locally sourced where possible! The Vegan Grill Out bowl is a must-try.
Owned by the same guys who Nook in Seminyak, Milu is a beautifully designed space where you’re bound to want to take all of the decor home, which is perfect because there’s a store within the restaurant where they sell Balinese bags, home decor & accessories. With views of the rice paddies, Milu is stunning first thing in the morning but they also do an amazing dinner. It’s a pretty dreamy setting and feels a bit like a storybook at sundown.
Great for an evening sesh by the water, or for a long lunch with ocean views, Old Man’s is a beachfront beer garden with live music and DJ’s nearly every night of the week.
The Lawn Canggu
The best place for sunset drinks, The Lawn is where you’ll want to pull up for an easy dinner, live music and relaxed vibes. Bring your bathers if you want to take a dip in their pool!
Nalu Bowls serves up fresh acai & smoothie bowls in a beach shack that are all topped with homemade granola.
Two Trees Eatery
A cheery & bright spot for breakfast, Two Trees has got all the breakfast essentials like eggs on toast, smoothie bowls and great coffee.
This vegetarian restaurant serves up healthy alternatives to all your favourites. Try their Shady Burger and relax in their outdoor garden that boasts rice paddie views.
A Day Trip to Ubud
North of Seminyak, Ubud is full of culture, home to more vegan cafes than you can count, and is famously known as a place filled with yoga, meditation, a strong arts scene and stunning rice paddies. If you’re looking for a relaxing jungle escape, Ubud is surely the place.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Try and go early morning or at golden hour! Find a little restaurant to sit & overlook these stunning rice paddies.
Sunrise trek to Mt. Batur
One of the most beautiful sunrises in Bali is from the summit of the Mount Batur standing at 1700 meters. The active volcano is the most popular trek in Bali and if you’re feeling adventurous, this hike is well worth the 3am wake-upcall.
Make sure to book with an authorised guide (don’t try going on your own!).
A super affordable spa located just outside of the centre of Ubud. Try the coffee scrub & massage!
Located about an hour from Ubud but worth the drive to witness this stunning work of mother nature.
This waterfall’s a little closer to Ubud- about 30 minutes drive away and easily reached by scooter.
An indoor/outdoor workspace for entrepreneurs and creatives with it’s own raw foods café. It doesn’t get more digital nomad than this.
The Ubud Traditional Art Markets are a great place to shop but they can get quite busy as the day goes on. If you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, this is a great place to do it. There’s an abundance of beautiful & locally made goods here- from straw bags to clothing, jewellery & homewares.
Where to eat:
Sayuri Healing Food Cafe
With a menu filled with raw, healthy, organic meals, everything at Sayuri Healing Food cafe is good for the soul. You must try the raw banoffee pie and don’t forget to leave your shoes at the door.
You can’t go wrong at Clear Cafe! Their menu is filled with healthy eats and it’s a chilled out spot where you can soak up all the Ubud vibes.
Located right within the rice paddies, Sari Organik is a set on an organic farm with the most magical of views providing a lush dining experience. It’s a short 800 meter walk from the main road til you reach the cafe and is stunning at golden hour.
A cosy spot to enjoy vegan & vegetarian dishes.