There are no other words to describe Bali other than magical. It is therefore no surprise that it is described as, “the island of the gods.” Bali offers an incredible range of experiences from world class spas and hotels, mystical temples, beautiful art, endless surfing, an amazing array of restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. That’s what I love about Bali, there truly is something for everyone.
The place is bursting with life and love and the locals are some of the nicest, kind and caring people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Everyone was so welcoming no matter where we were, be that a market stall, corner shop, hotel or monkey forest. I think that’s what makes the place so special, you really are welcomed into Bali with open arms.
I spent the first two weeks of September there, the weather was perfect, warm, sunny and no rain, so check out my top places to visit in Bali and the Gili Islands below.
Staying at Le Meridien in Jimbaran was nothing short of fabulous and I would highly recommend it, they even upgraded us to a bigger room with access to the pool. After travelling for 30 hours, this was much appreciated. Jimbaran is a gorgeous fishing town where the beach is lined with restaurants selling freshly caught fish and cooked over coconut husks, where the prices are unbelievably cheap! We loved Menega Café and Made Bagus Café which both served us enormous banquets with the local Bintang beer for under £12 each, bargain. After all that food you can relax on the colourful beanbags on the beach, watch the sunset and listen to some chilled out live music, with a beer in hand, heaven.
You must visit Sundays Beach Club in Uluwatu, it’s only a 20 minute taxi from Jimbaran and is nothing short of paradise. You’ll find cool jazz, excellent food, white sand and crystal clear water. We headed to Tanah Lot before the beach club and before the crowds hit, to take in this stunning 16th century temple.
We took a 30 minute taxi from Jimbaran to Seminyak for our next stop. The taxi’s in Bali are crazy cheap by the way and the drivers will often give you their number in case you fancy arranging a private tour of the island. We stayed at the uber stylish beachfront W Hotel and we were not dissapointed. The hotels gorgeous onsite Woo Bar is definitely a place to visit to watch the sunset and enjoy some happy hour cocktails.
As one of Seminyaks most Instagrammable restaurants, we had to head to Sea Circus for lunch. They have a fabulous selection of vegan dishes, which are priced so reasonably and so very tasty. We really pigged out in Seminyak (and why wouldn’t you on holiday) so I would also recommend Kiln and La Luccicola.
If you’re looking for a party atmosphere then Seminyak is the place. We loved Motel Mexicola for the (you guessed it) Mexican food, exotic cocktails and an insanely good DJ, I’m talking Las Ketchup, Outcast and S Club 7, need I say more?
Fancy a chill day? Then hang with the cool kids at Potato Head. We visited for lunch and bagged a beanbag spot to catch the Bali rays. You can’t miss out on watching the sunset on the world famous La Plancha and then heading to the rooftop bar at Double Six to experience their floating pods.
Canggu (a short drive up the coast from Seminyak) was a place also on our list but we didn’t get round to visiting so let me know in the comments if you’ve visited.
After three nights in Seminyak we took a boat over to beautiful Gili Air. We used the Gili Getaway fast boat, who picked us up from our Seminyak hotel and took us to the harbour near Sanur. The rocky boat took 2 and a half hours and if you get travel sick take some sea sickness pills in advance!
Gili Air is quieter that Gili T, but not as quiet as Gili Meno so we thought it was the perfect place to spend 4 nights. We stayed at the newly built Camilla Beach Resort which also owned a bar on the beach, dreamy.
You can walk around the island in two hours on the beach or on the ‘roads’ (there are no cars on the Gili Islands, just bikes and horse and carts). We loved strolling through little ally ways and along the beaches, stumbling across organic cafes and chilled out beach bars. Again you won’t be stuck for places to eat. We loved Mexican Kitchen, Camilla Beach Club, Classico Italiano, Pura Vida, Shark Bites and Captain Coconuts but there really are too many to choose from.
We also spent a day snorkelling around the islands. We were so lucky to see so many turtles and exotic fish in their natural environment and got a pretty good workout from the trip too.
Catching the sunrise over Lombok whilst sat on the beach is a must if you’re an early riser like me and the perfect, most relaxing place to practice a spot of yoga.
It was back on the boat to return to Bali and then an hours drive to Ubud. Out of all the amazing places we visited in Bali, Ubud was definitely our favourite and wish we could have spent longer exploring the museums and quirky shops. We stayed at the Ubud Village Hotel and could not have been happier with the central location.
We spent our time in Ubud wondering around the endless markets, visiting temples and palaces then getting lost in the maze of streets. You can’t stay in Ubud and not pay a visit to the Monkey Forest, there are so many jumping around and it’s only £3 entry, which goes back into the attraction. Buy some bananas once inside if you want them to jump on you, otherwise they’ll just peacefully ignore you.
If you like a bit of a walk, ‘hike’ the Campughan Ridge, for great views of rice terraces and the Karsa Cafe at the top. There is also an amazing artist, Wayan Rana who has a shop at the top and draws in incredible miniature detail.
Looking for nightlife? Head to CP Lounge, where you can have shisha, enjoy a cocktail from their extensive menu and listen to some great live music, and if that wasn’t enough head to their onsite nightclub to dance into the small hours of the morning.
Ubud could not have more spas on offer but we settled on Jaen Spa. It was probably the best, most relaxing massage I have ever received and they even pick you up and drop you off from your hotel. We also sneaked in a foot massage before the airport, who could say no when it’s £3 for 30 minutes? I would also recommend Karsa Spa, situated at the top of the Campughan Ridge, but book in advance as we found out when they were booked up for a week.
Whilst there it was my boyfriends 25th and I really wanted to treat him, so we went to the fine dining Bridges restaurant to eat a 7 course taster menu in what felt like a jungle, amazing experience. They do a vegan tasting menu if you call in advance and they have a vegetarian option also.
Finally, you can’t come to one of the most spiritual places on Earth and not practice your sun salutations, so head to The Yoga Barn for some quit meditation and a range of yoga classes for all levels.
Red Swimsuit ASOS | White Kimono Boohoo | White and Blue Bikini Top Victoria Secret | Blue Bikini Bottoms Misguided | Black Maxi Dress Boohoo | White T-Shirt ASOS | Printed Trousers River Island | Red Faye Bag Chloe | Tan Sandals ASOS | Floral Kimono ZARA | Black Playsuit ASOS
Have you been to Bali? What did you do? Where was your favourite place? I’d love to know.
All photos are originals, please credit me if you share, thank you.