THE TRAVEL GUIDE: BALI
Bali is such a special place to me, no matter how many times I visit, is it just one of the most beautiful destinations and probably the easiest holiday you'll have. Being so close to us, it is always high on my list when looking for a low cost, relaxing holiday, because it always ends up being more affordable to travel to Bali for two weeks than it is to head anywhere else in Australia just for a weekend away.
Bali is tainted by it's reputation of ten years ago, when Kuta was the place to visit and night clubs was it forte, but to be honest, I have visited Kuta maybe once when I was younger to go to the water park, other than that, it is not worth the visit. Seminyak, Canggu and Ubud are a billion times more luxurious, safer and beautiful than Kuta is.
The last time I visited Bali was February this year and I'm sure many more places have popped up since I've been back. Bali is one of the most diverse destinations food wise and places pop up out of nowhere so I'm going to tell you the hot spots to visit and the places you must see.
When it comes to finding accommodation, be prepared to find the most incredible villas for next to nothing, every time I visit, I use airbnb and always seem to be blown away by how insta worthy the villas are and for less than $100 AUD a night for two people. The only thing to be aware of is location, so stick to anywhere within one kilometre of Potato Head Beach Club, or if you're going for Canggu, between The Lawn and Deus Ex Machine is your best spot. I recommend a week in Canggu for some R&R and exploring, and then a week in Seminyak for a spot of shopping and lots of food delivered. In Canggu we stayed at The Slow, which has two villas run by @ciscoandthesun model/artist/foodie/businesswoman/#girlboss and several boutique rooms, built above the most beautiful breakfast venue and gallery space. It's visited by Lindy Klim and her girl gang.
When it comes to food, Bali is the hub of incredible food, with some of the best restaurants opened by Australians. Head to Da Maria for the most delicious Italian food, late night pizza and bar, with Bondi Icebergs as it's brother and The Dolphin Surry Hills, it's little sister, you cannot go wrong, plus it's featured in Maurie and Eve's campaigns, so plenty of photos to be taken. U Look Hot In Bikini is another must visit, from the owners of Sisterfields and Expat both next door and the best for coffee and breakfast, Bikini is dark, intimate and the best served with cocktails. Be prepared to take a photo of every plate you order, because they are masterpieces. For your Chinese fix Happy Chappy Chinese, looks like your typical Chinese Yum Cha restaurant, but it is modern and the food is incredibly fresh. You're craving Mexican? Sea Circus has a taco Tuesday deal, with $10 AUD Tacos and Margeritas, but be sure to book because it gets busy. The best Mexican and the restaurant I go back to everytime, is Motel Mexicola, and boy does it get better every time I go, it's just like being in a funky street in Mexico. In Canggu, Deus is always a great option and even just to see the space is enough. Newer spots like the Lawn, Single Finn which has taken up its new location and Old Man's are definitely the best, for their beachy laid back vibes, sunset cocktails, and even if you have dinner plans elsewhere, you'll end up staying for tapas and a few more cocktails.
If those dinners aren't enough, then never fear, Breakfast is one of bali's forte's. Peloton Supershop in Canggu is a cycle shop slash vegan cafe with a great smashed avo. Sisterfields as mentioned above is always super tasty and is my go to, along with Revolver for the poached eggs and decent coffee. Lunch if you have room, is either a poke bowl from just about any cafe, or download the GoJek app and get BO$$MAN Burgers delivered to your villa, so you can enjoy by the pool.
If you're staying in Seminyak or Canggu, plan your own day trip to Ubud and surrounds. You can ask where you're staying or find a taxi and negotiate a price for the full day, which should never be more than around $60 AUD. If you plan your own trip and tell the driver exactly where you'd like to stop, they'll cut out taking you to unnecessary tourist destinations and save you a tonne of time. Ubud is the most chilled out suburb in Bali, it's yoga retreats, vegan cafes and tourist markets, surrounded by rice terraces, bike tracks and abandoned temples. Head to Ubud for brunch or if you're there on a Saturday, then visit Moksa for lunch and explore, before heading to the Tegalalang rice terraces, which are amazing to see by bike if you have the time to hire one, but are just as easy by taxi if they're on your way to somewhere else, but I can assure you no matter what season you do visit, the terraces are a beautiful spot. Further on, Pure Ulun Dani Beratan temple, floats on water and is one of my favourite temples, plus it doesn't get the crowds that the more popular temples do.
Brunch at The Mulia resort is also a must do if you feel like getting out, and I'm sure you'll recognise their pool from Instagram, with many celebrities staying in the Number one Beach Resort in the world. Don't be afraid to sneak in for a swim and spend the day by the pool.
Shopping in Bali depends on the season, yes it is cheaper for some things, but many of our Australian Designers have opened doors in Bali and sell for the same price as here so do be wary in boutiques as most things you can purchase at home, and you don't want to be using your luggage allowance for pieces you can get here. Look for small nooks and up coming boutiques, linen is cheap, along with homewares so pick up some beautiful linen pieces from LJC designs for your next Summer. Kim Soo is the most gorgeous cafe slash homewares store, with plenty of photo ops so be sure to test out the menu and pick up some gorgeous bags and homewares while you're at it. Look out for the stores attached to the Day Clubs like Mrs Sippy, they tend to have incredibly little brands and the latest pieces. Gooseberry Intimates, Faithfull and Arnhem, are also gorgeous stores and it's nice being able to see it in front of you, as us Aussies can mostly only get these brands online.
Just thinking about how beautiful Bali is, makes me want to go back already.