Because of how frequently I travel to Bali, I’m always asked by friends and colleagues about things to do and see on the island. So I’m sharing this with you, too, my ultimate, most favourite things to do in Bali:
Stay in Seminyak
Seminyak is the place to be and stay! Kuta and Legian are so over crowded and full of rowdy tourists, especially at night. Neighboring Seminyak, however, is less dense and more sophisticated. The area is good for shopping, dining, beaching and clubbing with accommodation to match – be it a villa with a private plunge pool, a 5 star resort, or a nice boutique hotel. For my recommendation on affordable luxuries in Seminyak (and Bali, in general), click here.
Rent a city car
I only get a car because I can’t ride a motorbike, otherwise I would have rented a Vespa everytime I’m in Bali. Or a moped, if I’m going for dead cheap. Be it a car or a motorbike, it’s better to have your own personal transport so you can explore the many places of interest with ease. Hire a car with the driver if you’re not keen to get behind the steering wheel. Hiring a manual city car can be as cheap as IDR 100,000 a day (excludes petrol) and there’s a lot available in Bali, but since I only drive automatic, I get my car from here.
My most favourite place in Bali. This is one of the reasons you need to have your own transport in Bali: so you can explore the many beaches in Uluwatu. Balangan beach, Echo beach, Suluban (Blue Point) and Bingin beach are among my favourite. Because Uluwatu is uphil, a trip to these beaches will require going down the hill from the nearest parking available. I don’t like Kamakandara because it’s so commercial and always packed with tourists. The places I have mentioned are less known and seem to have more foreigners than locals visiting. I don’t surf, but I can sit around all day watching surfer dudes hit the waves. That’s my idea of people watching in Bali! Apart from secluded beaches, Uluwatu is also home to the biggest Hindu temple on the island. If it’s your first time in Uluwatu, catching a performance of the Kecak dance at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a must. It’s only performed once a day at sunset and costs only IDR 70,000 on the spot.
Check out El Kabron
At the start of 2012, this Spanish cliffside restaurant was virtually unknown. Now everytime I go, there seems to be more and more people at El Cabron.
Go sunset watching at Rock Bar
One of my most favourite places to go sunset watching. This swanky open-top bar is opened only from 4pm onwards. Unless you’re an in-guest at the Ayana Resort and Spa, be prepared to line up over 30 minutes to get into Rock Bar.
Have lunch at Bebek Bengil, Ubud
I’m more of a beach person and so I’m not too keen on Ubud (other than the fact that it’s a bit of a drive from the SeminyAk – Kuta – Jimbaran area). One reason I would go to Ubud is to have lunch at Bebek Bengil. Good ambiance and good food. I think the crispy duck tastes better at Bebek Bengil than at Bebek Tepi Sawah and I especially love Bengil’s sambal matah! I’ve noticed that Bebek Bengil doesn’t list their prices on the menu, probably because it’s expensive for Indonesian standards? Who really knows. Just make sure when you do visit, ask to be seated in the huts at the very back of the restaurant, closest to the rice paddies.
Check out the Ubud Hanging Gardens
Another reason to visit Ubud is to check out the Hanging Gardens’ main infinity pool, considered one of the most spectacular infinity pools in the world.
Visit the temple by the lake
This is my favorite attraction to take people sight seeing. There are so many Hindu temples scattered throughout the island and I find the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan to be the most unique.
Take a break from all the sightseeing at Ippolito Specialty Coffee, Petitenget
One of the few places that I think, makes proper coffee in Indonesia.
Get cheap Italian feeds at Warung Italia
Tasty stuffed mushrooms, gigantic pizzas and a lot more at this Italian owned “warung” in Seminyak.
Lounge on the beach at La Plancha
Also a great spot to catch the sunset in Seminyak. La Plancha sits side-by-side to numerous other beach shacks on Seminyak beach and yet its name stands out the most. Perhaps its because they have the most eye-catching umbrella displays? Or perhaps their oversized and colourful beanbags are the most comfortable? I reckon it’s both, and their glow-in-the-dark-changing-colour tables are quite unique, too.
But if you don’t want to dip your toes in the sand, head for Potato Head Beach Club
They have good cocktails! Compared to the more pricey Ku De Ta down the road, PotHead (as I like to call it) generally has a bigger and younger crowd, which may or may not be to your liking.