Tourism is Bali’s major industry, so there’s no surprise the island paradise does holidaying dang well! Every corner from Kerobokan to Uluwatu, Nusa Dua to Ubud caters for the eager traveller, apprehensive at first and in love with the culture and lifestyle immediately after arrival. From to-die-for cuisine and jaw-dropping beaches to countless spa retreats and shopping havens, many are unsure where to begin their adventure, and how to stay safe despite Bali’s infamous reputation.
So here’s my to-do list after venturing to the holiday oasis for some R&R, just putting this together has reignited whimsical wanderlust to stir the travel bug at my core.
Sitting atop the cliffs of Jimbaran Bay, Ayana Resort and Spa is a beautiful option for those looking for something extra special. There’s so many incredible Bali Villas scattered around town, so whether you want something utterly private or hip and happening there’s somewhere exciting to explore. Check out the Bali Villas listed on The Luxe Nomad for some inspiration and hot deals.
You could eat and drink in Bali three times a day for a month and still not brush the surface of delicious cuisine the beachside paradise has to offer. From western chains to unique fusion restaurants and Indonesian beach cafes your choices are endless and all a treat to your tastebuds. In terms of drinks, you don’t have to go out to the infamous Kuta nightclubs to have a drink and a good time (although you can), chilled alcoholic beverages are sold on every corner, whether you’re after a tasty cocktail or tall Bintang. Enjoy with your meal, at an atmospheric bar or on the beach with the sand between your toes – the choice is yours.
My favourite restaurants in Kuta were the Bamboo Garden Café to satisfy a midday tickle of hunger and Tubes: The Surfers Bar and Restaurant for a little taste of home and a hearty pub meal. The best spot though is on the beach at Jimbaran Bay where the freshest and most superior seafood is prepared and served from kitchen shacks on the beach to diners sitting alfresco by the water.
For sunset spectating at its best, perch yourself at Tanah Lot, Potato Head, the cliffs above Uluwatu beach, The Rock Bar at Ayana’s Resort and Spa or La Plancha in Seminyak for the best views and atmosphere as the sky transforms into a pastel dream when the sun falls into the ocean.
For a day trip full of inherent charm head to Ubud, the cultural and artistic hub of Bali known for its picturesque rice fields, art museums and galleries, yoga facilities, spa retreats and boutique shops. Dine at Café Lotus overlooking Pura Taman Saraswati, a magnificent water temple surrounded by an oasis of Lotus blossoms and, for a bit of monkey mischief, visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The best way to visit Ubud is to hire a private driver for the day so you can enjoy your pit stops as a local driver navigates the crazy traffic with ease.
If you’ve found yourself in Kuta, you should make your way to the Bali Bombings Memorial Wall on the site where Paddy’s Pub stood before it was bombed with the Sari Club on October 12, 2002. It’s a sobering experience to stand on the site that was obliterated and read the names of the 202 people, including 88 Australians, killed in the blasts.
Shop – Put your bartering skills to the test and do some market shopping or check out the newly erected Beachwalk Mall and the Discovery Shopping Mall for international fashion chains and much appreciated air-conditioning. In Seminyak and Legian you’ll find a host of independent, boutique shops with whimsical. Flowy items that are perfect as beachwear of to accompany your sunset plans.
Surf – The beaches at Kuta, Seminyak and Legian are lined with surf schools and are the perfect stomping ground for beginner and amateur surfers because of their slower breaks and paddling ease. For the keen surfers, the beaches at Uluwatu are paradise, so stop by the famous surf breaks at Dreamland, Padang Padang and Uluwatu beach in peak season for the best of the best.
Island Hop – There are a number of companies operating day cruises to Bali’s neighbouring islands Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and Gili Trawangan. Most include scuba diving and snorkeling options and are a great way to explore off the mainland of Bali. Bali Hai Cruises is one reputable company operating in Bali that will give you a great day onboard.
Get Pampered – There’s an endless supply of day spas in Bali, all offering different packages from beauty treatments to massage of every description. Enjoy amongst rose petals, calming music and romantic scents.
So, what’s on your Bali must-do list? I’ll no doubt be back on the Indonesian island one day and I love experiencing new places, so let me us in your hot-tips to explore the little slice of paradise that is Bali.
All images by Teagan West