BALI BUCKET LIST: YES, YOU SHOULD GO!
Summer vacations are upon us and if you’re thinking of adding Bali to your bucket list… DO IT! No part of the 2 Â½ weeks I spent exploring this magical island was overrated. If anything, it exceeded my expectations (which is practically impossible), taking my breath away again and again. It helped that I had the company of a wonderful new friend and travel buddy Jules Hunt of Om & the City! You may already know the story, but we went to high school together and never met. Then all these years later we met online through our blogs and planned a getaway together across the globe! If you haven't already, stop by her yoga and lifestyle blog, she's pretty cool!
Sitting down to write this post, I'm honestly a little overwhelmed. I think I loved the experience a little too much and I'm not sure how to go about explaining its wonder in one post....so bear with me. I'll make this as concise and straightforward as possible! To see more personal posts about our adventure, see the My Trip to Bali post here.
Keep reading to see where to go, what to eat, how to get around, what to pack, and all the extra tips you need for a wonderful time. I give a few more details about each restaurant at the end of the post too. My favorite part was all the eating if you can't tell...
WHERE TO GO
My favorite spot in all of Bali! Not for the white sandy beaches (this one is actually dark sand) or terraces and waterfalls, but simply because it makes you feel at home in a foreign land. It's a lovely surf town full of good vibes and fresh food. This is the one place I wanted to stay the longest.
There are two main streets and they are connected by a shortcut accessible by cars, bicycles, and motorbikes. It's too busy and hilly to walk on. Both streets have fun shops and restaurants but lead to different spots on the beach. Ask a local for directions, they were always incredibly nice and willing to help. I even got a hand-drawn map!
WHERE TO EAT
WHERE TO STAY
Airbnb- Casa Ocean View
Airbnb Casa Oceanview in Canggu (Link Above)
Cafe Organic in Canggu
If you're dreaming of umbrellas, blue waters, and white sandy beaches, this is your stop! About an hour or so south of Canggu and 40 min from the airport, Uluwatu is a beautiful place to enjoy your vacation. You'll find a cliff of restaurants, infinity pools, and bars overlooking a beautiful ocean of daring surfers (Uluwatu Surf Break). Join in (I personally can't surf) or pull up a chair and enjoy the show with a cocktail. Uluwatu Surf Break is a cave-like entrance for surfers to catch some waves. It's at the bottom of the cliff that Single Fin sits on.
Padang Padang beach was what I envisioned in a tropical island, bright white sand and blue waters! There are two entrances to Padang Padang beach; one is the main entrance that you buy a ticket at for 5K IDR (looks like a park entrance), and another is that of a rocky dirt road via a wooden sign on the side of the road (if you're coming from Single Fin and Uluwatu Surf Break, it will be on your left). Take the dirt road if you can find it! It's more like a private beach with chairs and umbrellas for rent at the bottom, expect lots of stairs. The chairs are 100 k IDR for 2 (8 USD), you can buy fresh coconuts and rent surfboards too.
Uluwatu Surf Break | Padang Padang Beach
WHERE TO EAT
WHERE TO STAY
Boho Bingin Villa (amazing!)
Boho Bingin in Uluwatu (Link Above)
Boho Bingin Villa (Link Above)
Uluwatu Surf Break
Padang Padang Beach
Uluwatu Surf Break (view from Single FIn)
Nalu Bowl in Uluwatu, connected to Single Fin.
Right at the center of Bali, this is a great home base to explore all the islands wonders. Surrounded by rice terraces, waterfalls, monkeys, and yoga, you can check a lot off your list with a few days in Ubud. This is also where Jules and I learned to finally ride motorbikes (thanks to a helpful hostel employee). Then, we hired a driver to venture to more terraces, temples, etc. through the mountains and the northern part of Bali.
WHAT TO DO
Aling Aling Waterfall – a two-hour drive north. The main waterfall is too large to swim in but you can slide, swim, and jump from two others there.
Other Waterfalls to consider– Git Git Waterfall, Tegenungan Waterfall, Nungnung Waterfall.
Rice Terraces– Jatiluwih Rice Terrace, big and beautiful!
Other Terraces to Consider– Tegallalang Rice Terrace (most popular and where the Love Bali sign is)
Bali Swing– Google map "Bali Swing" it's 20 USD! OR if you stay at the Airbnb, Zen Hideaway they have their own private swing.
Monkey Forest– Right in the center of Downtown Ubud.
Pura Ulun Danu Beratan (Temple)- Much smaller than I thought it would be haha but still pretty.
Yoga Barn-Stunning yoga room that sits in the jungle with a natural Garden Kafé and juice bar.
WHERE TO EAT
WHERE TO STAY
There are stunning hotels in Ubud built within rice fields and the Jungle; it just depends on your price point.
Airbnb: Zen Hideaway
Jatiluwih Rice Terrace
We didn't have time to stop by this triad of Islands, but I have heard great things! There are three islands Trawangan, Meno and Air. Since I haven't been there myself, here is a helpful review from someone who has!
A vacation from our vacation. We got our fair share of blue waters and beaches here! There are 3 islands, Nusa Lembogan, Nusa Cennigan, and Nusa Penaida. To get there, take a 30 min boat ride from Sanur to Lembogan (we used Scoot Cruise, I wasn't impressed with their service, a little obnoxious but we made it!) Lembogan connects to Nusa Cennigan by way of a beautiful yellow bridge (accessible by those walking and on motorbikes)
To get to Penida, you have to order a Charter boat, which could be priced at 500,000 IDR ($38) which seemed silly to me since that's about the same price as it took to get to Lembogan from Bali. So, you can also hire local boaters to take you from Lembogan to Penida around sunrise.
WHERE TO STAY
Airbnb- Lembogan Ocean Lodge (this is where we stayed, the best part was the view, other than that we weren't too impressed.)
Day Dream Beach Huts
WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO EAT
Nusa Lembogan- Sandy Bay Beach | Day Dream Beach
Nusa Penida ( I didn't personally go here but if I did...) – Kelingkink Beach | Angel's Billabong | Broken Beach | Atuh Beach | Manta Point
The Blue Lagoon on Nusa Ceningan
Airbnb Lembogan Ocean Lodge on Nusa Lembogan (Link Above)
Pirate Bay Beach Club on Nusa Ceningan
Sandy Bay Beach Club on Nusa Lembogan
Sea Breeze on Nusa Ceningan
HOW TO TRAVEL
If you can, I highly recommend renting motorbikes. They basically just ask you if you've ridden before and if you say yes... it’s all yours. Depending on what city you're in, it could cost between 60,000 and 100,000 IDR a day ($4-8). I went to Bali never driving a motorbike before and tried to learn on a busy side street. That didn't go well... I was pretty discouraged at first, outside of riding motorbikes you have to order drivers to get around and it adds up pretty quickly with each way ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 IDR ($4-11 each way). After the second lesson in an empty parking lot from a helpful hostel employee, I was comfortable enough to drive on the road and was FREE! Everything changed, you can go where ever whenever you want and get around so much more efficiently!
Motor Bike– Best option, by far! Much cheaper and more efficient. If you're a beginner see if someone will take a little time to teach you, this made our trip.
Personal Drivers– A very common occupation, many people, restaurants, and hotels have drivers. IF you're looking to go further than 25 minutes away, I recommend hiring a driver, this is what we did to see attractions surrounding Ubud. On one of our more adventurous days, we hired a driver for 10 hours to take us all over the place and it cost about 700,000 IDR total (including gas) split between 2 travelers was about $25 per person... well worth it.
Taxi– Taxi drivers are everywhere! They will slow down and honk at you if they think you want a ride, and ask you on the streets. We didn't take too many of these unless necessary. They can be a little more expensive, but if you need a quick ride they are convenient and all over the place.
Uber– yes, Bali has Uber! But, it is frowned upon since driving is the livelihood of so many locals. So if you order one, keep it on the DL and don't call them an Uber driver. It's really cheap though; one of our rides was 25,000 IDR which is like $2!
You drive on the left side of the road
Honks are friendly, just a reminder that someone is passing by.
There are no stop signs or signal (that I saw)
You are responsible for what you see, so be very attentive!
Wear a helmet, for obvious safety reasons but also you (especially tourists) will be fined!
WHAT TO PACK
When you read that it’s hot and humid, that basically sums it up. I was pretty much sweating the entire trip... and yet oddly comfortable (just embrace it!) Bring airy items that won't show how you're handling the heat. On a positive note, wrinkles basically don't exist here! I would hang my dresses outside or wear it for 30 min and the humidity brings out all the wrinkles, its great!
I wore a lot of flowy dresses and cover-ups, tanks, and shorts. Since it's so hot and humid, denim shorts were not my favorite... My bag was busting when I left New York raising concerns that I packed too much, but I was actually very pleased with my options and had just the right amount (something for each day with a few extra tops.) At night it can get a little chilly on the motorbikes, so bring a light jacket or sweater!
Make sure you pack converters; I ordered three on Amazon, here.
WHAT TO EAT | THE BEST PART!
I highly recommend that you eat your way through Bali. From experience, it's a great way to, well... eat delicious food! Many of Bali's restaurants feature organic, vegan, planet-friendly and homemade food. If you're thinking that sounds bland, you are mistaken! This was some of the best food I have ever eaten, so colorful, fresh and filling! There are plenty of non-vegan options as well, lots of chicken, pork and beef dishes!
Classic Indonesian dishes are nasi gorenge and Sake, basically fried rice or noodles with a meat skewer (sate). Very good!
Here are my favorite restaurants and where to find them.
Milk & Madu– Canggu
You have to stop by here if you're in the area. Amazing breakfast lunch and dinner, including Nalu Bowls (super great smoothie bowls). One evening we even stopped by for dessert and a little live acoustic music, which blew me away!
Peloton Supershop– Canggu
Beautiful restaurant in the heart of Canggu, if you sit upstairs you will have a lovely view or the streets, seems almost like a tree house up there! All of their food looked amazing, we went for breakfast one day and were not disappointed!
Watercress – Canggu (south side) & Ubud
At the top of my list! One of those places you go where you need something from each part of the menu, so go hungry!
It's a beautiful restaurant in the middle of Canggu serving authentic Indonesian food. If you go for lunch, there is a sampler you can order to try just about everything, yum! Also, when you arrive they treat you to a complimentary lemongrass tea, very refreshing.
The Lawn -Canggu
A wonderful restaurant, lawn, bar and pool situated right on the beach! Easily one of my favorite spots throughout our trip. I could happily spend an entire day here! You can lounge on the lawn under an umbrella for free, grab a meal at the restaurant or bar, or reserve a large patio bed by the pool. The pool area cost 3 million IDR (money goes toward food and drinks for the day), which is about $77 total. So if you have a group of people to split it with, it's a great spot for the day!
Sandy Bay Beach Club – Nusa Lambogan
French country restaurant nestled into the bay of a beautiful blue Bali beach! The staff is wonderful, the food is amazing, and the view is breathtaking. We stopped here twice during our stay on Nusa Lembogan. We enjoyed lunch then lounged in the infinity pool (that is on the beach) with a cappuccino (with house made coconut milk) DREAMY!
Dresses, swimwear, records, surf wear, a café with cozy seating and organic outdoor restaurant; this place has everything!
The Elephant– Ubud
If you're in Ubud you must stop by here! It's a lovely restaurant with delicious food and one of the many stops where Jules and I over ordered, and weren't mad about it! If you're walking up to the ridge, it's just a short drive down the street.
Single Fin– Uluwatu
This was the final stop of our adventure. We enjoyed a few watermelon martinis while we watched the surfers roll in while the sun set on our last evening in Bali. There is another restaurant next door to Single Fin called El Kabron that has good reviews and an infinity pool!
Side note: Single Fin, Nalu Bowl, El Kabron, and Uluwatu Beach are at the same location that I would best describe as a little cliff town and the beach entrance is hidden at the bottom. With that, there are two possible places to park. 1. If you park (some women will charge you 3 k IDR = .25 cents.) and then you walk down a ton of stairs...turn around! It does lead the right way, but the stairs are looong and if you stay past night fall there are no lights and it's a rather spooky walk back up. Instead, there is a second entrance closer to Single Fin, at the top, if you Google map it, it will take you right there.
Thanks for following along everyone! If you have any questions I’m happy to answer them best I can. Happy traveling!
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