Travel Guide: Bali

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Karma Beach Bali, Karma Kandara Resort

I’ve been meaning to get this out earlier but admittedly, this was quite a chore to edit and it took me forever to finish. Better late than never, right? It’s not as comprehensive as I would like it to be, but you can use this as a rough guide. Bali is a place I love to revisit over and over, because I’m such a creature of comfort and Bali feels homely to me. I’m hoping to be more adventurous with my next trip to Bali, maybe learn surfing or go island hopping to the nearby islands, but for now, here’s what I like to do while I’m in Bali and some important travel tips!

Basic Travel Information

  • Flight travel time is approximately 2 hours 30 minutes, between Singapore Changi Airport and Bali Denpasar Airport.
  • Remember to set aside 150,000RP for airport tax when departing from Bali Denpasar Airport.
  • If possible, avoid changing money at local moneychangers, as they are known for cheating by miscalculating and slipping money away while distracting you. If you must, only use moneychangers authorized by banks or withdraw cash from ATMs.
  • Only drink bottled water. If you’re really particular, brush your teeth with bottled water too.
  • Be careful of your personal belongings as petty crimes do happen, especially in crowded areas like Kuta.
  • Steer clear of drug pushers on the street.

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Karma Beach Bali, Karma Kandara Resort

Getting Around Bali

When travelling via taxi around Bali, always ask for metered fares before boarding, or agree on a price beforehand. If possible, use Blue Bird taxis; they’re the most honest and reliable ones. You can also call for a Blue Bird taxi at (0361) 701 111. Another common way to get around Bali is by hiring a personal driver for a full day (approximately 400,000RP to 500,000RP). Having a personal driver makes travelling around really convenient, as some areas of Bali are remote and difficult or pricey to get any transport to or from. They make great local guides!

You can also rent scooters to ride around in (approximately 8USD per day), but I would recommend getting the scooters primarily for travelling to nearby areas as Bali’s traffic is really chaotic and the road condition/terrain isn’t easy. I love riding scooters out for meals in nearby bistros or for suppers at the roadside stalls within my area. Also, even though a lot of riders don’t wear a helmet, I would highly advise that you do, because the police are always lurking around (especially in the Kuta area) to “fine” tourists. By “fine”, I mean forcing you to pay a bribe.

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Villa Decadence by Le Chloe – via Airbnb

Settling Down

When choosing a place to stay at in Bali, my first choice would be the Seminyak area. Other popular tourist areas include Kuta, Uluwatu and Ubud. Depending on the purpose of your holiday and your travel likes, each area caters to a different need. Seminyak is the more upscale touristy area, with lots of pretty bistros, cafes, beachfront restaurants and bars. It’s where most of the famous establishments such as Ku De Ta and Potato Head are located. The whole vibe there is really nice and chill, and I love going around on my scooter to different places within Seminyak itself for meals and drinks. Jalan Oberoi is the main street in Seminyak and it’s where you can find most of the dining and shopping options.

As for lodging, Bali offers a wide range of hotels and villas that would suit any budget. You can get decent hotel rooms for real cheap, to incredibly luxurious ones for a lot of money. Personally, private Balinese villas really do complete the Bali experience and are my top choice! Nothing beats skinny-dipping in your own private sanctuary. Some hotels do offer villa options, but the smarter way in my experience would be getting one via Airbnb! There are so many beautiful villa listings on Airbnb at really great prices for you to choose from, it’s going to take you quite a while to pick one. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s how it works. Also, if you sign up through my referral link here, you will receive $34 off your first booking! From there, you can also set up your own referral link to invite friends and get credit when they make their first booking. That’s such a sweet deal, right?

Where To Go?

My ideal holiday in Bali revolves primarily around three things: food/drinks, being a beach bum and enjoying the breath-taking sunsets. I’ve tried doing the really touristy things (water sports, sightseeing, horse riding on the beach at sunset, cultural tours etc.), but they’re really not my cup of tea and I wouldn’t recommend them unless you are travelling with your family, or if that’s your jam. I’m all about vegging out, relaxing and soaking in all the good Bali vibes. Below are some places (mostly food and beaches) that you should definitely check out while you’re in Bali. I’ve divided them into the different areas, so hopefully that makes it easier for you to incorporate them into your own travel itinerary. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

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Suluban Beach (also known as Blue Point Beach)

Seminyak/Kerobokan

Seminyak is an upscale and sophisticated area with lots of beachfront clubs and restaurants, bistros, cafes and boutiques. The beaches here are long stretches of sand and sea, nothing particularly fancy, but clean and properly maintained. Travelling around Seminyak is a breeze as it is a very touristy area and everything is located close to one another. There are plenty of private villa accommodations here, as well as mid to luxury priced hotel lodging.

Ku De Ta
Jalan Kayu Aya No. 9, Seminyak

This probably needs no introduction, but Ku De Ta is a lush spot that I will always revisit just because it is so quintessentially Bali. Come here for drinks and meals throughout the day, they serve breakfast, brunch and dinner. Go early to secure a daybed that faces the beach and sea. Prices are expensive, but well worth the money for the food and experience.

Potato Head
Jalan Petitenget 51B, Kerobokan

Potato Head is similar to Ku De Ta, but the vibe there is younger, much more hip and current. Go early to secure a daybed that faces the beach and sea. Prices are expensive, but well worth the money for the food and experience. Potato Head also organises major music gigs and parties, so be sure to check their website for anything that is happening while you’re in Bali.

If you have to decide between Ku De Ta and Potato Head, I would pick the latter because it is more unique and interesting between the two.

Woobar, W Retreat & Spa Bali
Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan

Another popular spot for decadent chill time, W offers many dining and bar options for you to choose from, with the most popular being Woobar. Prices are expensive, but well worth the money for the food and experience.

Café Bali
Jalan Oberoi, Seminyak

Even though there are lots of better looking hipster cafes and restaurants along Jalan Oberoi itself, Café Bali is my absolute favourite. The cafe feels homely with a bohemian interior and the food is really simple yet satisfying and incredibly reasonable in price. I could honestly eat here everyday if it were up to me.

Revolver Cafe
Jalan Kayu Aya No 3, Oberoi, Seminyak

Great little hipster brunch spot tucked away in an alley, which serves delicious food, cakes and really awesome coffee. Prices are very reasonable and the food is good.

Naughty Nuri’s Warung
Jalan Batubelig 41, Kerobokan, Seminyak

Naughty Nuri’s is famous for its pork ribs and it doesn’t disappoint. Originally located in Ubud, they opened this second outlet because they are just that popular! The place is really casual, but the food quality makes up for it. Their ribs are juicy, tender and the sauce is really yummy. Prices are very reasonable and the portions here are quite large. Be prepared to queue during peak periods, but it’s totally worth the wait in my opinion. While there, try their signature dirty martinis!

Mamasan
Jalan Raya, Kerobokan

Motel Mexicola
Jalan Kayujati 9X Petitenget, Seminyak

The Bistrot
Jalan Kayu Aya 117, Seminyak

Kuta/Legian

Kuta attracts the most tourists, especially young travellers on a budget. You can easily find lots of budget hotels and backpacking hostel options in this area. Most of the shops here sell souvenirs and branded beachwear. The main streets of Kuta are rowdy as it is the party district of Bali, with stretches of nightlife spots that get very messy at night with throngs of inebriated youngsters spilling out of the clubs and bars. The area is generally not well maintained and the beaches are dirty and overcrowded. Travelling around Kuta is easy, but beware of petty crimes.

Sky Garden
Jalan Legian No. 61, Kuta

Sky Garden offers a variety of arenas and music genres within the club itself and the place is massive! The crowd here is international and everyone is out for a smashing good time. Drinks are cheap and it’s a great place to make friends with people from all over the world. Don’t go with high expectations though, clubbing in Bali is very casual and nobody dresses up for it. Just relax, go crazy and have fun! Cover charge is 100,000RP and includes one free drink.

Uluwatu/Jimbaran

The Uluwatu area in Bali is best known for its cliff-lined beaches and luxury beachfront resorts. This area attracts both the budget-backpacking surfer as well as the bespoke traveller looking for luxurious holiday retreats. The main attraction of Uluwatu is its incredibly scenic beaches and world-class surf breaks. It is not as densely populated and places are situated quite a distance from one another, so while travelling around Uluwatu, I would recommend that you hire private transport.

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Karma Beach Bali, Karma Kandara Resort

Karma Beach Bali, Karma Kandara Resort
Jalan Villa Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan

Most definitely my favourite beach in Bali, the Karma Beach Bali is located within the Karma Kandara Resort and it is the best beach experience one can get while in Bali. A tad expensive for Bali standards, but you get what you pay for – a gorgeous stretch of well maintained pristine rocky beach, clear waters with scenic views at every angle, privacy, dining and good service. Entry fee for non-hotel guests is priced at 250,000RP per person, with 100,000RP credit for dining expenditure. You can lie out on day beds or under gazebos on the beach and dine. Water sports equipment such as snorkelling gear, surfboards and kayaks are free on loan. While there, you can also get massages from the resort’s spa.

An alternative to Karma Beach Bali would be Finn’s Beach Club, which is located inside Semara Luxury Villa Resort situated right next to Karma Kandara Resort. It shares the same beach stretch (cordoned off between both resorts) and offers a similar experience. Prices here are slightly cheaper.

Rock Bar, AYANA Resort and Spa Bali
Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran

Come here early to secure seats before sunset as there will be a long queue to enter the bar area and priority is given to hotel guests. This is an incredibly scenic and wonderful experience in a bar that is carved out of a natural cliff overlooking the ocean and sunset. Food and drinks are pricey and of average standard, but the view is spectacular and trumps everything else!

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Suluban Beach (also known as Blue Point Beach)

Suluban Beach (also known as Blue Point Beach)
Jalan Pantai Suluban, Pecatu

This isn’t a typical touristy beach but more of a surfer’s paradise. The vibe here is super chill and casual, with lots of surf bars and cafes offering Indonesian food located on the cliff itself, which offers breath-taking views of the clear waters and surfers riding waves. Walk down to the beach via rocky steps to check it out – there’s not a lot of beach stretch, but it’s still really surreal with the rocky cliffs and there’s even a cave where surfers swim out into the sea from. You don’t have to be a surfer to come here, but try not to stick out like a sore thumb too much because there are not a lot of non-surfer tourists here. Suluban Beach is a really great spot to kick back, relax, have a meal or drink while surf watching and enjoying the sea view from up top!

Jimbaran Beach

A whole stretch of beach with restaurants serving similar menus where you can pick and choose fresh seafood to be grilled while you dine, candlelight style, on the beach itself. As you dine, there will be live entertainment acts such as bands that will serenade you at your table with your choice of songs and kecak fire dance performances. It’s an obvious tourist spot since locals do not dine here, but one that I would always revisit.

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Padang Padang Beach

Ubud

The Ubud area in Bali is more cultural and peaceful, which is a great place for the soul-seeking traveller looking for respite in a zen surrounding. If you’re looking to do a yoga or spiritual retreat – Eat, Pray, Love style – Ubud is your place. There are no beaches within Ubud itself, but you will be surrounded by lush greenery and rice paddy fields and terrains everywhere. Ubud is also the traditional art and culture hub in Bali, which gives it a very natural and rustic vibe. It is not at densely populated and places are situated quite a distance from one another, so while travelling around Ubud, I would recommend that you hire private transport.

Babi Guling Ibu Oka 
Jalan Suewta, Ubud

Suckling pig is one of the most iconic dishes in Bali and this place serves the best Babi Guling in Bali. If you’re looking for an authentic Balinese meal that hits the spot, this is it. The place is really casual, but the food quality makes up for it and prices are cheap.

Bebek Tepi Sawah
Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Br. Teges Peliatan

Another iconic dish in Bali is the crispy dirty duck, which is my absolute favourite! Served with rice and sambal chilli, the Bebek Betutu is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Prices are relatively expensive, but well worth the money for the food and experience as you’re dining in a gorgeous pavilion surrounded by paddy fields.

Naughty Nuri’s Warung and Grill
Jalan Raya Sanggingan

Sari Organik
Subak Sok Wayah

Seniman Coffee Studio
Jalan Sriwedari

3 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Bali

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