The Bali Essentials : My favourite go to's
There's something about Bali.
Love it or hate it; the humidity, the incessant traffic, the eclectic crowds and perfect - although equally crowded - waves, are part of the island life and is a peculiar mix one can only describe as a 'Dirty Paradise'.
But I love Bali. Most of all, I love the smell.
The mornings are fresh, the smell of the ocean and the promise of excitement lays ahead.
By night, it's a tropical mix of incense and Sampoerna's, the local cigarette, clustered with the humidity.
Bali has a heady, almost comforting smell to me. Probably because it reminds me of growing up in the Caribbean.
Eat Surf Sleep & repeat : My guide to bali
Although I've only been there a couple of times, I often get asked on where to go and what to do there. I am by no means an expert, but I do like to think I discovered a few things I really love and are worth sharing. Depending on what you're into and why you're going, you'll expose yourself to a certain part of the island, a certain way of life. Whether you're there for the surf, the parties, the yoga or doing the whole eat-pray-love-thing, there's something for everyone.
Where to stay (And stretch!)
The Bukit Peninsula is undoubtedly the most picturesque part of Bali, complete with dramatic cliffs and word class surf.
Yoga Searcher Bali - Uluwatu
Yoga Searcher has it all. A small, cosy set of villas/rooms all centered around a pool, with a huge yoga space in the back, yummy food and great massages. In the heart of Uluwatu, it's 3 mins to the surf and is quiet enough to make you feel like you're in the jungle. I will definitely be staying here when I go back. The rooms are simple and beautifully decorated, there are day beds on each front porch. The yoga schedule offers day and afternoon classes, and the food is amazing. If you want the best of both worlds (surf & yoga) at an affordable price, look no further.
Sun & Surf Stay - Bingin
A favourite place to stay is a little Air B'n'B in Bingin that just about ticks all the right boxes. Ocean-side, Clean, Simple and Cool. Sun & Surf Stay is a beach side B'nB with a couple of white, simple and beautifully decorated rooms.
Not to mention, the views are epic. We only spent a few nights here but I would have happily spent the rest of my holiday. The staff is so accommodating (And you will definitely need help climbing your bags up those endless steps).
Where to eat
Okay so this one might be an obvious no-brainer, but you can't not have breakfast at Nalu Bowls. With three locations in Ulu's, Cangguu and Seminyak, you literally can't miss out. The Iconic bowls have filled many a Instagram pages, and are seriously delicious. I like to say it's like ice cream for breakfast.
Tip : If you're into peanut butter, try the J-Bay Bowl.
As part of the Yoga Searcher in Uluwatu, Muzz Kitchen is the vegan/vegeterian joint that recently made its way to Uluwatu. Even though I practically had to trick my vegetable-averse boyfriend into trying, we both really enjoyed the healthy food and morning breakkie's.
They say Bali is cheap, but there's Tourist Cheap and then there's Bali Cheap. Although most of the commercial restaurants tend to have higher prices, there are still a few hidden gems that definitely give you a bang for your buck. Yeye's is one of them. If you have to make a trip across the island all the way there, its totally worth it. The atmosphere at YeYe's is the best, everything is open and there are lights hanging down from the trees while the smell of incense fills the air, it's typical of a bali warung yet it still has the charm to attract even the most dubious of cautious eaters. The food is the best you'll find with a extensive menu and 3$ cocktails. Need I say more ?
The fish shacks on Bingin Beach
If you're down Bingin way, be sure to make a pit stop at one of the small restaurants on the beach at Bingin. Although my memory is failing at the actual name (Did it even have one?), you'll easily find it thanks to all the colorful chairs and tables lined up on the beach. Pick a chair, pick your fish to grill, and enjoy the bingin sunset with the sand between your toes (although you must be warned, mozzies included -- so bring the bug spray)
So many other Healthy Options
Where to Surf
If you're an experienced surfer and already know about Bali, then you're probably rolling your eyes over this part - you don't need to know. But for those of you who find it less obvious, here's the down-low if you're keen for a wave: Most reef spots are not exactly beginner friendly, unless it's a small day.
Also, the places I mention in this post are some of the more obvious spots around the West Coast. There are many, many different places to surf around the island, and I am not at liberty to share the secret ones - you'll just have to discover them for yourself (wink).
Padang Padang - Padang is great on a small day. Usually there are surf schools here but you can totally do your own thing. The beach is small but very picture worthy.
Uluwatu - is worth paddling out just to see the view from out back. I've never really surfed there since it's always been a bit too big for my comfort, but I did paddle out on a flat day and, minus the pending anticipation of a rogue wave, was totally amazed with how special it felt and the view of the cliffs.
Bingin - I had the funnest day surfing Bingin, mostly because my boyfriend and I both got to surf waves that suited our levels. He loved the fast, tubing left and I stuck to the easier waves on the inside. Just watch out for the reef at low tide.
Cangguu - Can I just say : Best wave of my life ? Well, at least one of the very first best waves of my life. Cangguu is great because the bottom is sand and I was particularly appreciative of that feature at the time. Most of Bali being reef, it was nice to get a wave knowing I would not get kissed by the rocky bottom. Cangguu would be my wave of choice everyday.
Where to Party
Call me biased on this one, because I am. Single Fin is for me the only way to party in Bali. Best clifftop bar, best music, best vibes. Although the once-shabby-yet-cool venue has had some updating recently (due in no doubt to the on mass of tourists and cash flow), it's still a great place to experience a Bali sunset and set yourself up for a seriously fun night. Sunday Sessions are legendary, with some pretty up-there DJ's, and Bands that don't disappoint. Be sure to get there early to grab a spot for sunset and to avoid the entry fee after 4pm. Get a couple of Bintangs and a Nasi Goreng while you're at it (The food there is really good too!).