Bali Travel Guide

January 2, 2014

DSC_0190If you’ve been reading Snapshots and My Thoughts for awhile now, you’ll know that my husband and I just got back from our delayed honeymoon to Bali. We were gone for 15 days and loved every minute of the trip. We had a 50/50 split between relaxation and cultural activities, so we saw the best of both sides of the island. We ate some amazing meals, especially those in Ubud and Seminyak (where we believe the best food is on the island). We stayed at the Conrad Bali, which was dream-like. The hotel is located in Nusa Dua, which is at the southern part of the island, near most of the other big name hotels. If we were to go back again though, we would stay in Seminyak at an independent hotel to be close to the beach, quality shopping and delicious food – ideally the Samaya Hotel. It’s also important to spend a good amount of time in Ubud, which is in the northern part of the island and is the heart of the culture and arts scene. My last big tip is to get a good driver. We found Panji of Bali Safest Driver on Trip Advisor, and he was such a saving grace. Don’t rent a car – the driving is out of control. Email Panji and he’ll take you wherever your heart desires, and his rate is more than reasonable. Please contact me if you are planning a trip – I’d love to help!

Best restaurants (all with good vegetarian options)

  1. Chandi in Seminyak: Our favorite meal by far – I wanted to savor every single bite and I’m craving the crispy tofu appetizer right now!
  2. Melting Wok Warung in Ubud: This small restaurant has a limited menu, but they’ve perfected each of those dishes, so you can’t go wrong.
  3. Bumbu Bali in Nusa Dua: Sign up for the cooking class and then eat at the restaurant (in that order), so you’ll appreciate every delicious bite.
  4. Sakala in Nusa Dua: A very fancy restaurant (think gastro-cuisine) with delicious meals and a very Vegas-meets-Bali atmosphere.
  5. Bella Vista in Legian: A gem cafe with a delicious menu – we found Belle Vista on Trip Advsior – the good reviews weren’t wrong!
  6. The Bistrot in Seminyak (shown below): I want this restaurant in Houston. The decor and food were both out of this world. I loved it!
  7. Rin in Nusa Dua: This Japanese restaurant is part of the Conrad, but open to all guests – Sasha liked his sushi and I loved my seaweed salad.
  8. 8 Degrees South in Nusa Dua: You feel like you’re sitting on the beach while eating tasty mediterranean cuisine – the best of both worlds.

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Must-Do Activities

  1. Visit the Tirta Empul Temple – bring a spare set of clothes so you can get into the holy water and pray
  2. Go and watch the Devdan Show at the Nusa Dua Theater – well worth the ticket cost
  3. Go to Jimbaran Bay for sunset and eat at one of the many beach-front seafood restaurants
  4. Take a Balinese cooking class – I highly recommend Bumbu Bali with Chef Heinz von Holzen
  5. Visit Padang Padang Beach where they filmed Eat, Pray, Love
  6. Go to the Elephant Safari with Bali Adventure Tours
  7. Get a massage at the Jiwa Spa at the Conrad Hotel
  8. Enroll in surfing classes at Pro Surf School on Legian Beach
  9. Shop in local markets in Ubud
  10. Try Luwak Coffee at Santi Coffee Plantation
  11. Eat dinner in Seminyak (see recommendations above) and browse in the nearby boutiques
  12. Watch a traditional Balinese dance performance
  13. Play with monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud
  14. Try mangosteen
  15. Play with parrots at the Blanco Museum in Ubud

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Area Guides

  1. Ubud: The yoga-crowd of Bali resides here. There are hippie coffee shops, yoga stores everywhere, gorgeous temples, elephants, and a monkey forest. What more could you ask for? You could easily spend 3 days in Ubud.
  2. Seminyak: Sasha and I loved Seminyak and would choose to stay in one of the gorgeous hotels here and eat all the delicious food nearby. The boutiques have high-end shopping that I was drooling over!
  3. Nusa Dua: This is the more touristy part of the island, so activities and food nearby are price-adjusted (i.e. more expensive!) accordingly – we ended up taking cabs north almost every evening.
  4. South Kuta: Home to Padang Padang Beach, where you must go to see the breath-taking beaches and rock formations (surfing here too). You’ll also find Jimbaran Bay, where you should go for a romantic seafood dinner!
  5. Legian: Just north of Kuta and south of Seminyak, this is a total surfer spot (i.e. Australians everywhere!). Sasha did his surfing classes in Legian, and we ate at Bella Vista – definitely worth coming here if you want to surf or see gorgeous beaches.

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Map by Kate Evans

Love to travel? Check out my other guides to Paris, Durango (Colorado), Austin, Houston, Washington, DC. I’m also working on ones for Istanbul, Athens, and San Francisco. More to come soon!

10 thoughts on “Bali Travel Guide

  1. Mara

    I want to see Bali so badly! It sounds absolutely amazing! I just sent your blog to someone else who is thinking of a trip to Bali… you’re so organized and thoughtful with your commentary. Hope all is well!! xx.

    Reply
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  4. Jae

    And this one, too. My family are planning on spending the New Year’s in Bali, Indonesia next year, so this may come in handy. I hope it pushes through, though!

    Reply
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  7. kyle niare

    Thankyou for your article, it’s so useful for someone who are first time going to Bali. When you wanna watching traditional dance, the best place is in Uluwatu temple you can watching kecak dance while sunset is coming. Not far from padang-padang beach there are suluban beach and karma beach, there are many beautiful beach in south kuta. And also if you comeback to Bali again, you can stay at villa that can you rent in here en.balijetaime.com

    Reply

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