Bali has had mixed reviews over the last decade. The country has received a lot of backlash after the Australian citizen’s death penalty controversy.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion but, I personally wouldn’t let a feud between two nationalities stop you from visiting this beautiful country. I would stay impartial and make your own mind up about Bali.
Bali is a bohemian haven. With its chic boutique shops, earthy foods and the locals relaxed nature -it’s hard to not to become descendants of Bob Marley…..
Where to stay:
Bali is renowned for its impressive resorts. Rightly so – they are incredible! As a couple on holiday you would 100% book a stay on one of the beach front resorts. Those on a tighter budget however need to think outside the box.
Scattered on the outskirts of Seminyak there is lots of budget hotels. If you are planning to spend most days out and about then this is a great option. We however wanted a place where we could cook so we tried out Air Bnb for the first time!. We hit jackpot. We stayed at Villa Attu with Canadian George and his Wife Irene. We had a self-contained suite equipped with cabel TV, patio area, kitchen essentials and the comfiest bed known to man. (Seriously even comfier than our bed at home). The villa was situated just outside of Seminyak in Umalas. Umalas is a little rural Balinese village surrounded by rice fields – beautiful doesn’t do it justice. We grew so fond of our Bali Suite and the locals that after 3 nights in Ubud we we’re itching to return – (the itching may be due to the fact Ubud is full of creepy crawlies).
What to do:
Surfing (£££): If you want to learn how to surf then Bali is the place to do it. If you just want a couple of lessons then just head to Seminyak or Kuta beach where you can barter a few lessons for a great price. If you are serious about surfing then book onto one of the Surf Resorts. Ripcurls surf camp is renowned for being one of the best in Bali
Eco Tour (££): When we headed up to Ubud, the place where EAT LOVE PRAY was filmed, we booked onto toe Eco Bike tour. This tour was incredible as we got to meet and enter Balinese family homes and learn about their culture. You also get to go out to the rice fields and help the locals farm!
– Pick up / drop off from hotel
– Mountain top breakfast
– Coffee / food tour (trying various Balinese fresh coffees including coffee that’s made from CAT POOP)
– Balinese family tour
– Traditional Balinese Lunch
– Bike ride down the mountain and optional ‘experienced bikers’ ride to lunch
Potato Head Beach Resort, Seminyak (£££)
Wheres the party at? Cocktails from 10am and open till early hours everyday. If you want food though you have to book in advance. The sun beds are snatched up quicker than you can say BENIDORM get here early if you plan to spend the day. We visited Potato head a couple of times and really enjoyed the atmosphere as the sun set. When the sun goes down though it gets a little lively.
Kuda Kuda Beach Resort, Seminyak (££):
This is a great alternative to Potato head as it’s much quieter. If you head here around 10am you are more than likely able to get a sun lounger. You can stay there as long as you like as long as you order drinks. We often would go for a few hours, paddle in the sea and order a couple of coffees and sparkling water. The beds are much comfier than those on the beach AND the locals charge a fortune!
Where to eat:
The Earth Café , Seminyak (£££)
We we’re excited to visit this place after hearing so much through social media. We tried both The Earth Café and the sister café ‘Divne Café’. Surprisingly we we’re a little disappointed. We ordered raw porridge, that looked like glupe and Buckwheat pancakes that took the whole ‘earth’ café analogy way to far – no one likes soil tasting pancakes. Not only was the food disappointing but we found the staff disinterested. When asked about the food they had little to no knowledge. By all mean if you fancy a little pick me up they have a great range of protein balls, cakes and treats but for lunch or breakfast we would say money is better spent elsewhere.
Sea Circus , Seminyak (££)
Situated on the outskirts of Seminyak, The Sea Circus was our breakfast go to! The food is fresh and they accommodate to your needs. We often just had gluten free toast with egg whites and some smashed chilli avocado. The coffees are also great and they come with fun little quotes to make you smile! The price is a little on the higher side but worth every penny.
The Junction, Seminyak (££)
Literally as it says on the tin – on the Junction is Seminyak. We had several meals here and we we’re not once disappointed. Ash fell in love with the chicken risotto dish – to the extent that he was nick named ‘Rissotto Man by the staff.
Watercress, Umalas (£££)
We we’re recommended Watercress by one of the Yoga Instructors and Jiwa. We only wish we hadn’t left it to the last day before visiting. The food and service is exceptional here. We ordered Sea bass on a bed of sweet potato mash with homemade lemonade. Everything was cooked perfectly and the lemonade was simply lemon and soda crushed with natural sweetener. Perfect.
The Little Green, Sunrise Highway (££)
Veggie Galour. This place is great to pick up a fresh juice or salad. It is a little difficult to find but if you make it to the ‘old prison’ you’re nearly there!
The Shelter and Nalu Bowl, Kuta (££)
I loved it here. Nalu bowls are Balinese for ‘Smoothie bowl’. All the bowls are freshly made and topped with homemade granola and rich fruit. The décor and atmosphere is very native. The Shelter host evening events every other Wednesday too – a great way to meet like minded people.
The Single Fin, Ulawatu (£££)
The Single fin is sister of The Shelter and Nalu Bowl but with a view. We drove our moped over to Ulawatu and what a drive. It’s not for the faint hearted mind as you go up some big hills however the final destination is breathtaking. The Single Fin is situated at the top of Ulawatu overlooking the famous Surf break. This is a MUST visit. Also if you have time head to The Single Fin ‘Sun Down’ event every Sunday. How you play the event is up to you, go earlier for a drink or two or dance the night way till early hours. People usually get taxis from Kuta or Seminyak for around £15 a head and the taxis will wait and take you home too. Just remember to pre-book.
The Clear Café, Ubud (££)
If you are a fun loving vegan or follow a plant based diet then this place is for you! The café overlooks one of Ubuds largest temples too. We loved the dragon bowl! A little note…is situated up in the trees so be prepared for a few creepy crawlers!
Bali Buddha, Ubud (££)
Bali Buddha is a great go. They have several chains running across Bali. Unlike your usual chain restaurants Bali Buddha have a unique menu and provide fresh and delicately presented food.
Hammerhead (£) At 80 rupiah a session (£4.00) you cannot go wrong. Although it would be class as a ‘body builders’ gym, the guys here are super welcoming. The gym is a little rough around the edges but if you are an experienced Gym goer or have a fitness regime then its great value for money.
Celebrity Fitness (£££). As you can tell by the name this is the more luxurious gym. If you are passing through you may be able to get a few days passes or sign up for a trail. A LITTLE TIP ** Say you are working there for a few months and they will give you a 5-10 trail** Although the gym facilities are very impressive and we loved out time here unless you are joining up the cost of day passes are pricey!
Motion Fitness (££): For one of classes this place is great. If you are looking to do your own thing then it would be better to check out the ‘Daily gym’ across the round.
Jiwa yoga (£££): I loved the yoga at Jiwa. I was only a blt to go to two classes but the bikram was very well taught. The classes are on par with prices of bikram at home but if you have a little extra cash its worth a go. Otherwise there are loads of yoga studios all over Bali.
Ubud Fitness centre (£££): This gym was pretty hard to find and is quite a walk from the centre. It was a nice local gym tailored towards an older (60+) cliental. We loved that it had a little healthy food café inside though. For ease we would recommend booking a hotel in UBUD that has a fitness centre. The gym was pretty pricey however this was out only option as the cheaper gym called ADAMS GYM (Located next to Bintang supermarket) is a male only gym.
Beach workouts (FREE): We loved getting up early and doing a beach workout. It was great to see lots of people on the beaches in the morning walking dogs or jogging. We either jogged or did a 20 minute HIIT workout. It’s worth noting though that it gets hot pretty early on in Bali so if you want a work out without passing out from the heat aim to be there no later than 7:30am.
Just after we arrived in Bali Ash fell ill with ‘Dengue Fever’. We we’re extremely lucky that with out lifestyle we have very good immune systems as often you are admitted to hospital. On this note make sure you get HIGH DEET insect spray. Make sure that you always close your doors at night so no creeper get in.
Local supermarkets are scattered around Seminyak. Having our own little kitchen area was perfect for us as we could save some pennies by preparing some basic snacks or cooking simple even meals.
Protein shakes – all the restaurants are happy to add your protein to their smoothies so carry around a couple of sachets for emergencies !