Mini Travel Guide : Bali
Where to go? What to do there?
Kuta might be over-crowded. But I just can't stop going there over and over again. I used to swim a lot there, waiting for the sun to set. There's also a time when I found myself building a sand castle with my lil cousin. And I also did surfing several times. But still I can't always stand on the board. Need a lot more practice for that. You can take a surfing lesson class at Odysseys Surfing School. I took my first course for US$35 / 2 hours, and the next day, I just went to rent a board for around US$7 / 2 hours. You better check their schedule before taking the class since the class schedule is always changing, depending on how the wave behaves that season. Or.. if you're about to rent a board, kindly check the waves first before renting one. You don't wanna end up like me, being crashed by the huge waves for a pretty large amount of time.
What I'm saying is that Kuta is like the center point of tourism in Bali. It's crowded, but it feels so alive to be there. It could be a dirty noisy party town at night, and there is probably nothing about Balinese authentic you would find there. And those who prefer a quite deserted beach would definitely hate this place. But since I love people, I love to be around the crowds so I could just have the feeling about blending in, I found myself enjoying Kuta very much! It's a part of town that never sleep. Plus, there's a lot of cafes and restaurants lining up the road. And a lot of locals offering massage / spa too! I mean, come on, how bad could it be? This place offers you the pleasure of living. Starbuck's just around the corner ;)
Highlights : surfing (for beginner), swimming, cafe, restaurant, outlets, massage, spa, sunset, mall
Sanur is where the old live. I mean, people from outside Indonesia who thinks that it's time for them to retire would usually buy a villa or a house at Sanur. They just simply live there, with their dogs or their wife/husband. They walk down the beach first thing in the morning, or late at noon. And they enjoy the jazz music that's played every Friday night. They enjoy life.
I also happened to live in Sanur during my 2 months summer internship this year. It was such a great ambiance Sanur had offered. And what makes me even more excited is that there are several breakfast spots in Sanur which suits my breakfast taste best! Yup. It's The Porch and Bread Basket. I also happened to attend the Weekend Beach Market held by Tandjung Sari Hotel on Friday night. And believe me.... I do prefer how the olds spend their weekend!
If you happen to live in Sanur, make sure you visit the Weekend Beach Market at Friday night. There are some traditional food carts selling traditional Indonesian food, and the most important thing is they're playing the best live music!
Another activity I enjoy so much while staying in Sanur is cycling around the beach! You can rent a bike for only IDR 5,000 / hour (around US$ 0.5 / hour).
I also had the chance to attend one the most popular festival in Bali, which is... The International Kite Festival! It was held at Padang Galak beach, just a little bit north of Sanur. You'll easily find the place. It was an annual festival which is usually held on July.
Highlights : slow music, relaxing beach and restaurants, kite festival, spa, cycling, jogging
The other interesting part of Bali is Nusa Dua. It is where the luxury hotels lie. The atmosphere here is just perfect for honeymoon, or for those who bring children and the entire family! The beaches here are glorious with white sand. And it's safe for swimming too. I once went to this so called Nusa Dua Block. It's where the deluxe hotels and restaurants located. It also has a venue for international conferences and meetings. No wonder why the security system is way too strict. The only place I found to be interesting is Pasifika Museum. There are a lot of paintings, and sculpture. And although I don't really understand about art, I found myself enjoying every piece of them.
Unless you stay at the splendid hotel, there's not much to do here, in my opinion. The beach is gorgeous! Too bad that it rained the day I went there.
Highlights : Pasifika Museum, Geger Beach
Seminyak is located just a little bit north of Kuta. It's where you can find luxury spa and boutique. There are also some good craft and furniture shops you can find along the street. The beach itself is quieter than the one in Kuta. But since it has a black sand and black water, I prefer the one in Kuta (for swimming)
We also find this interesting Italian restaurant named Ultimo. A friend of mine who happens to run a bakery in Bali brought us there. We love it! They served the best spaghetti and appetizer. No wonder it's so crowded, even late at night.
Highlight : double six beach, art gallery, cafe, restaurant, boutique, beach club, spa
An infamous spot in Bali is Canggu, the north of Seminyak. It's actually a small village beside the beach. There are so many rice fields here since it's still a rural area. But then, there's also a large amount of villas owned by many expatriates who chose to live in Bali. I saw some people surfing on the beach. The wave is not as friendly as the one in Kuta. I'm sure it's not a best place for beginner like me ;) But... there's this one place which worth to visit! It's called Deus Ex Machina, the temple of enthusiasm.
It's kinda hard to describe what this place actually is. It’s kind of a store but it is much more than that, a restaurant, a cafe, an art gallery, a surfer paradise, I don’t know… but all of them makes such a perfect combination.
Not far from Canggu, you can find Gusto Gelato & Caffe. Seriously, it's so popular among tourists. You've got to try their gelato! It's fresh and homemade. Anyway, I also found out that Gusto Gelato is run by Italian & French couple. No wonder it tasted that good! They also serves coffee & fresh pastries which are, I’m sure, undoubtedly good.
For lunch, you can have the best pork ribs you could possibly find in Bali. Yup, it's Naughty Nuri's! They have a branch in Kerobokan area. Also not far from Canggu.
Highlight : Canggu Beach, surfing, Deus Ex Machina, Gelato (in Kerobokan), Naughty Nuris
If you’ve heard people talking about Ubud, it must be something about the spa, the yoga, the meditation, the art, the rice paddle, I don’t know… And people who are looking for inner peace, let’s say, will probably stay in Ubud for like 3 days or a week, just to get the feel of the place and relax a little bit and forget about all the works & problems they’ve been through. But hey, I’m only 21 & I got no bill to pay, so.. I’m not going to meditate for 4 hours or get a massage for 2 hours because I’m as fit as a lion, so… what I did is just eat, chill out, relax, eat, hang out, eat, and take the picture. My favorite dining place in Ubud goes to Cafe Wayan & Bakery! We heard so many good reviews and recommendations about this place. They say, Cafe Wayan serves a very good strawberry cheesecake.
And believe it or not, this is the famous Cafe Wayan that was in the Eat Pray Love movie! If you’re going to dine in Cafe Wayan & Bakery, do look for the outdoor seat at the back side of the yard. Ask for a table at the back by the small fish pond & do sit on cushions, not at the tables. And you’ll find yourself relax! I could even take a nap there. Although this place seems small and a little bit “dark” from the outside, back so far of the yard is incredible. We also found Antonio Blanco Museum. It was named after the founder, Don Antonio Blanco.
We had such a great time there looking over so many paintings. Most of them are about sexy Balinese dancer and their famous beautiful breasts. Or the exotic naked fat Russian women. Yeah, there’s a lot of nudity here. As a matter of fact, I don’t really understand about the art thing and I’m sure the same thing goes to Fred. But I just found out that wandering around seeing new things in museum is such a exciting thing to do nowadays! Next up was Campuhan Ridge.
People usually just walk through the path or they go cycling. It's a place you can enjoy the wonderful scenery Ubud offers.
Unfortunately, we went there at 12 pm so the heat was just terrible. I'm sure the best time to go is early in the morning. We also went to Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, but I don’t really enjoy being there. It’s like….a forest, no, a garden, but it looks much like a forest, with so many monkeys wondering around looking for peanuts or bananas. And there’s some temples too inside the forest. And a graveyard too. Can you imagine why I hate being there?
Oh! I got a quote for this pic of me. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Monkey Forest, do as the monkeys do." It sounds just good, right? RIGHT?!
Blue Lagoon, Padang Bai
Padang Bai is a small town in eastern Bali where there's a port for travel to Lombok. We went there for snorkeling. Believe me, the color of the ocean was as blue as the picture I share. The view from up there is beautiful….. and breathtaking that I didn’t wanna go home.
We rent a snorkeling mask (I don’t know how to call this thing) for 15.000 Rupiah and a pair of fins for 15.000 Rupiah. (Both for around US$3). Pretty cheap, isn't it? Anyway, you could read my panic attack story here.
Well, I haven't got a chance to visit Lovina yet. A friend of mine recommended that I go there early at dawn to catch the sunrise and watch the dolphins! Then we can go diving. It's sooo interesting! And Lovina is definitely on my list! If you have the time, you should probably go and tell me what it is like being there :D I would love to hear you story too!
For you who have a chance to visit Bali, you should never ever missed one dinner time at the seashore. Fresh coconut water, fresh seafood, & the beautiful sunset are there waiting for you. Here in Bali, the most popular spot where you can experience dining on the beach sand on the sunset is is in Jimbaran. There are plenty of restaurant lined up in the beach. You can choose any restaurants you want because most of them sell the same kind of food. But don’t be surprised, the food is indeed over priced.
Here's the hint : one of the most popular restaurant was Menega Cafe. But this time, we went to Kampoeng Seafood from a friend’s recommendation.
What to eat?
You definitely shouldn't miss the traditional Balinese dishes! The most popular are Babi Guling (suckling pig) and Nasi Campur. Babi Guling is a stuffed pig that was infused with some kind of spicy concotion before it is roasted. One portion of babi guling is consisted of some slices of meat, fried intestines, pork sausage, satay, the fat, and some shredded coconut, I guess? You could easily find babi guling in almost every corner of Bali! Nasi Campur Ayam is another famous dishes in Bali. I tried the one in Warung Khrisna, Sanur and it tasted sooo good! I even prefer Nasi Campur Ayam than Babi Guling. The restaurant itself is cozy with an open garden setting.
A portion of Nasi Campur consists of white rice, Balinese shredded chicken, some vegetable, sate lilit (minced fish satay), peanuts, chicken skin, and a slice of boiled egg. Oh! And not to forget about the delicious sambal matah. I loooove it. It's somekind of Balinese chili with onions. It tasted so... authentic. However, there are also a great amount of western food available, which are also so inviting. I used to eat grilled pork ribs a lot at Naughty Nuri's. It's so popular among tourists and locals! I mean, it's like nobody leave Bali without even trying their famous ribs.
And I used to spend the weekend on Arena Pub & Restaurant, having affordable juicy steaks.
You can read my review about Arena Pub & Restaurant here if you want to. And there are several breakfast spotsI keep coming back to. They serve a very good western style breakfast. Seriously, the list won't end. There are just so many foods I can't resist!
How to get around?
Well, this one's the most tricky among all. Bali used to not having a public transportation, I mean, at all. But now, there's this city-bus named Trans Sarbagita which can take you around their route. However, the route is not complete yet. There might be some area which is not covered by the bus. But you could always rent a car or a motorbikeeasily. That's how most tourists travel around Bali. Taxi is not so popular here as the rate is quite high.
So.... Are you planning to visit Bali next summer? Let me know if you need some help! I'd be glad to help you.
P.S : It might be a chance for me to update this Bali Mini Travel Guide. There are still so much to write about.