Don’t we wish we were all escaping the brutal winter and in Bali right now? We spent a luscious September in Bali, exploring some of the island highlights below… [Nic & Shails]
The heart of Bali, a cultural hub of green hills, yoga, good food and art. Head here to escape from the busy coast and remember Eat, Pray, Love! I would have easily stayed here for more than 2 weeks, but with only 4 days to spare we managed to fit in quite a bit. Ubud is relatively small and most things are a short taxi / walk away.
- Bali Eco Cycling Tour – An excellent half day out to see the breath-taking rice paddies, traditional Balinese compounds and enjoy a hearty Balinese meal. An 8am start of a breakfast buffet overlooking the picturesque Mount Batur is followed by a coffee plantation tour. Then, on your bikes for a cruising downhill ride through the rice paddies and a traditional home visit. http://baliecocycling.com/cycling-tour/
- Sacred Monkey Forest – At the end of Monkey Forest Road. This lush forest is full of cheeky little macaques all competing for your attention (and food). Be warned that they WILL come after any snacks you have on you, so do check your bag and pockets for any food before you enter. Usually takes about 1hour to tour this mini jungle and mingle with the monkeys.
- Lobong Cooking School – A delicious opportunity to learn some Balinese cuisine. The day start with a local market tour where you will be shown the local ingredients and spice and then onto making a delicious 6/7 course gourmet feast! http://lobongcooking.com/
- Sang Spa – A visit to Ubud cannot go by without a spa visit. This local spa is open late and even does hotel drop-off / pick-ups. Their speciality is the Good Kharma Body massage – a unique experience of being massaged by 2 people at once. http://sangspaubud.com/
- Yoga Barn – This is an idyllic retreat providing daily yoga classes at all hours led by genuine, friendly, unpretentious teachers. The surroundings are astonishingly beautiful and relaxing and the prices reasonable. Escape here for some peaceful meditation or a challenging Vinyasa class. http://www.theyogabarn.com/
- Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique – This is a special treat in Ubud and definitely on the higher end of the price range. Get the tasting menu and you will not be disappointed. Impeccable service and mouth-watering dishes in a romantic candlelit garden setting . Book in advance! http://www.mozaic-bali.com/
- Sari Organik – This is an excellent lunch spot off the beaten track in the middle of rice fields. A small trek to get there, but highly worth it for the meal that awaits. Focusing on locally sourced and sustainable farming, the menu here is a vegetarian’s dream. http://www.sari-organik.com/
Located on the west coast of Bali, Seminyak is the more upmarket beach with mostly luxury accommodation and fashionable high-end restaurants and bars. The atmosphere is much more sophisticated and laid-back than Kuta, and the beach in particular is quieter during the day. This is the place to dress up and party! Hiring a private villa at some point during Bali is a real treat (not to mention cheap!) and this is where we got ours – private pool and massages in-house… what more can you ask for?
[EAT & DRINK]
- Ku De Ta – A place to be seen, a great bar/restaurant on the beach, pricey but delicious cocktails and excellent music. Have dinner inside and then retreat to the outside bar for some night time cocktails. http://www.kudeta.net
- Sarong – A delicious mix of Indonesian, Thai, Indian & Sri Lankan cuisine. The flavours all come together for fantastic dishes and a great night out. http://sarongbali.com/restaurant/
- Biku –We loved this place so much we went twice- once for lunch and again for dinner. Part tea lounge, restaurant, antiques and book store, the space is so warm and inviting. The space is 150 years old, adding to the charm! The food is delicious and comforting, definitely save room for dessert. The homemade cakes and baked goods are displayed for all to admire on a long rustic table. If you are feeling adventuresome, you can even have a tarot reading. http://bikubali.com
- Potato Head- This is the place to party. We happened to be here for their end of summer party where Foster the People performed. Bottle service, beachfront pool and fireworks to cap off the night- can you ask for anything more? Bring or better yet- wear your bathing suit, because things are bound to get rowdy and odds are you will end up in the pool. http://www.ptthead.com/#
- Seminyak has some great little boutiques featuring designer labels, home ware, handicraft and contemporary artwork line Jalan Raya Seminyak and Jalan Petitenget, between Bali’s top restaurants and cafés. Pick up a chic boho kaftan or browse the boutiques for a glamorous outfit to wear at Ku De Ta that evening. The home ware ranges from modern to ethnic chic and you may struggle to fit all that tempts you in your suitcase! Most of the street side shopping starts from the corner of Jalan Raya Legian and right up to Jalan Laksmana
After all the partying in Seminyak, this is the perfect place to retreat and relax. Consisting of resorts with a laundry list of amenities, there is little reason to venture off the grounds. Soak up some rays on the beach or lounge by the pool- can’t go wrong with either option.
- Conrad Bali – This hotel is great for lone travellers, couples, and families alike. The place does not feel crowded even when fully booked with 4 separate pools and a gorgeous private beach which is clean and hassle free! The breakfast is a real feast with almost too much to choose from- but that’s a good problem in our books. A great place to unwind and relax. http://www.conradbali.com/
[EAT & DRINK]
- Bumbu Bali – This is the place to go for traditional Indonesian cuisine. Great service, friendly staff who will explain all the dishes carefully and a varied vegetarian selection for a very reasonable price. The vegetarian tempeh is cooked in delicious marinades and Nasi Goreng fried rice a delicious accompaniment. They also have special nights with local dancers and music so try to get in on that for a more festive dinner experience. http://www.balifoods.com/
- Rock Bar – An amazing place to spend an evening and especially watch the sunset, but do go early since seating is limited and priority is given to hotel guests. An inclinator close to the hotel takes you down cliffs for an unforgettable drinking experience! A funky DJ in the background and an extraordinary setting makes for an enjoyable evening. http://www.ayanaresort.com/rockbarbali/wp/