Bali is unique. It sounds cliché, but there really is something magical about Bali. Of course, the beaches are up there with some of the most beautiful beaches of the world, and there is an infinite list of things to do. But there is also a certain warmth and kindness which the Balinese people exude; one of their old traditions “Canang Sari” is still practised daily by many Balinese people. The respect and adoration of their culture is refreshing. This, coupled with the balance of Australian and European influence in bars, cafes and restaurants really gives you the best of both worlds.
Over the past few years, Bali has become a hotspot for Western travellers, so avoiding the peak of summer is advisable. However, no matter when you go, there really is something for everyone. Whether you want to relax and soak up the sun, or if you’re adrenaline junkie and want to surf, scooter and hike, there is something for everyone.
Where to stay
Brown Feather Hotel – Seminyak
We stayed at Brown Feather hotel in Seminyak which is approximately 30 minutes from Denpasar airport. There is so much to do in Seminyak & Canggu that Brown Feather Hotel is a perfect place to stay if you know you are going to go outside and explore. The hotel is rustic and quaint, with a small outdoor pool. If you love flowers and tropical trees, this hotel is filled with them, it even has beautiful long vines which overhang from the rooftop to the ground floor and a large paddy field at the very back. The hotel is conveniently located a 20-minute walk from both the beach and the centre of Seminyak which boasts many shops, restaurants & bars. It is also a 10 minute scooter ride away from Canggu which makes getting to La Plancha beachfront and Finns Beach Club incredibly easy.
Name: Brown Feather Hotel, Seminyak
Number: +62 361 473 2165
Padi Eco Villas – Ubud
We stayed at Padi Eco Villas in the village of Payangan, 20 minutes north of Ubud city centre. Padi Eco Villas has 7 eco-friendly villas, hand built from bamboo, which are all finished with western amenities. Each villa comes with its own outdoor seating area and there is a beautiful communal pool which is surrounded by paddy fields. If you want a place to chill and completely switch off, then this is it. Expect to fall asleep to the sounds of grasshoppers and wake up to the sounds of cockerels. They also offer motorbike hire, local walking tours through the rice fields and neighbouring villages and day tours to all of the must see’s in Ubud.
Name: Padi Eco Villas, Ubud
Number: +62 831 1953 6934
The Mesare Resort – Nusa Penida
Situated in the cool, green hills of Batukandik, Nusa Penida, the Mesare resort offers endless relaxation with 14 intimate huts that overlook the canopies and hill tops. At the bottom of the resort is a beautiful swimming pool stretched across a beautiful lawn, with coconut trees overhanging. The resort boasts an enchanting organic garden, as well as an inviting yoga space set at the top which overlooks the resort (you can pay for a yoga class or use the space to work out). The restaurant beside the pool offers the most delicious and diverse menu, you will be spoilt for choice.
Name: Mesare Resort, Nusa Penida
Number: +62 361 335 0575
Mule Malu Resort – Uluwatu
The Mule Malu Resort is in an excellent location, perfectly situated mid-way on Uluwatu’s western coast. The resort exudes tranquillity and tropicalness with palm trees, hammocks and a divine drinks menu. You can hire scooters next door from Bingin Inn. From there, you are free to explore the many beaches of Uluwatu’s west coast including Dreamland, Bingin & Padang Padang.
Name: Mule Malu Resort
Number: +62 821 4420 7937
What to do
Scooter: Renting a scooter and driving around Bali mainland is unforgettable. As you will find out, a lot of the roads are heavily congested and it is a lot quicker to explore by scooter. Scooters can be rented very cheaply. If you don’t fancy renting one, there are many locals who will kindly drive you to wherever you need to go. When you’re visiting the islands: Nusa Ceningan, Lebongan and Penida, driving a scooter is the quickest and cheapest way to travel (although, not necessarily the safest).
Tours: There are so many beautiful places to visit on Bali and the islands. Ubud offers many tours ranging from Ubud’s elephant sanctuary, rice terraces in Tegalalang, sunrise hiking on Mount Batur and visiting the holy Tirta Temple to name a few. Be sure to do your research before you go, as many of the attractions are becoming increasingly popular with travellers – generally speaking, the earlier you go, the better.
Surfing: Bali is famous for its world class surfing waves. The west & south coasts in particular attract surfers of all abilities, but there are also beaches with smaller waves which is great for beginners. Bali is a great place with many surf schools and board rentals if you want to give it a try.
Sunset: There are so many beautiful spots to watch the sunset along the west coast. Whether you are soaking up the sun and watching the sun go down in one of Seminyak’s west facing beach clubs, perched on a giant bean bag at La Plancha or my favourite, perched on the cliff edge at Dreamland beach, Uluwatu watching surfers as the sun sets, Bali’s dreamy sunsets are magical, and a must.
Spa: The Balinese seriously know what they are doing when it comes to massages, so definitely book yourself into a spa for a relaxing massage or a treatment.
Balinese Food: Balinese food is to die for, make sure you try their nasi goreng, nasi ayam and nasi campur. Their local dishes are so flavoursome, filled with meats and vegetables and usually, hot chilli sauce.
Brunches: You are spoilt for choice for brunches in Bali. You will find many aussie-inspired cafes and restaurants in Uluwatu, Seminyak and Canngu. Some of my favourites were @StrawberryFields & @CafeOrganic in Seminyak and @TheCashewTree, @TheLoft and @TheCafeWithNoName in Uluwatu.