Hi girls! I’m back from Bali, which was brilliant, spectacular and crazy and today I’m tipping you the best of the best. I’ll be zooming in on a smaller area. Me and Kim (who you remember from this big bestie post and this badass bestie article) dropped by and Ubud, Uluwatu and Nusa Lembongan and for the largest part set up camp in Seminyak and Canngu.
The way I like to travel is not about ticking as many tourist boxes as possible. I like to take my time to really got to know one or two places, to make new friends and really feel connected. To make it a home away from home, in a way!
Obviously, there are endless ways to get the best out of Bali. You could travel as low-key or luxurious as you want. You could do a home stay, book a cliff-lined hostel or get an open-air bedroom villa. You could eat at a Warung for a dollar or try a Balinese star chef’s menu that you normally wouldn’t be able to afford. Whatever floats your boat!
I’m also really recommending that you go out and explore on your own, without neurotically trying to hold on to hotspots. That being said though, some inspiration is always welcome. So this is my super sized essential go-to guide for Seminyak and Canggu. If you have any questions, drop ’em in the comments and I’ll answer them personally.
For the best brews of Bali (if you’re into strong coffee), check out Anomali and Revolver, both in Seminyak. There’s a tiiiny Revolver coffee shop with just two tables – we called it Baby Revolver – and their brew is served at a lot of brunch places in the area.
BRUNCH AND LUNCH
Let’s face it people: brunch food = the best food. I wish all of my meals could consist of avocado, poached eggs and any sort of caramel french toast. To kick-start your day, you might want to take advantage of all of the Australian influences around Seminyak and Canggu. Those Ozzies work some kind of brunch magic.
Crate. A little too-cool-for-school, but a big crowd fave in Canggu. If you’ve locked eyes with any of the cute surfers from Old Man’s beach, chances are you’ll run into ’em here.
Peloton. Serves a totally vegan brekkie, has just opened and is very close to Milk & Madu.
Watercress. For great coffee, rustic salads, big burgers and… all day breakfast. Win!
Milk & Madu. My #1 brunch spot because everything on the menu is ridiculously delicious and you can sit in a breezy garden or inside for hours. The smoothies are unreal.
Canteen. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, coffee and deserts (until 5.30), this place is cheerful, friendly and perfect for a big after-surf meal.
Olive. Right across the street from Potato Head – my fave beach club – and a few doors next to Dash hotel and Amo spa, you’ll find Olive for a decent juice, coffee, lunch in a cozy atmosphere.
Like I said, there’s local food on the corner of every street. Just see where people line up, and perhaps try a veggie option to be safest. We never visited the same place twice, so got to experience a ton of different kitchens. These are the restaurants that really stood out to me.
Betelnut. Easy going, healthy and affordable in Canggu. The noodle bowl is a tip.
Sarong. A mysterious, sultry and slightly more upscale spot for dinner. There are tables outside, there’s a bar that would make a perfect date location and the food is divine. Dress up a little, flipflops or board shorts won’t cut it and you need a reservation.
Mama San. A similar vibe as Sarong; cool, crazy good food, with an original spin on traditional Asian dishes. I’d kill to have another coconut mojito with coconut shaving on top and the beef salad is a must. Definitely go here if you have something to celebrate or are simply a major foodie.
La Laguna. A hangout for day and night; La Laguna is something I’ve never seen before. It’s a huge gypsy wonderland overlooking the ocean, right in between Canggu and Seminyak. Straight out of a fairytale, you can have dinner in a vintage gypsy caravan or any of the other boho-meets-Bali areas.
La Baracca. Whenever you feel like going Italian, this is the place to be. Tomato salad, grilled zucchini, fresh pasta; all is served with a smile.
Dandelion. A soulful warung in between Canggu and Seminyak, with affordable fresh, local food and super sweet staff.
Republik45. Indonesian cuisine with a twist, in a beautifully designed and slightly upscale venue. Their soto ayam soup and chicken satay were the best I’ve tasted. (Perhaps bring an extra cardi because the A/C makes it a bit chilly).
Lello lello. Finish off a great meal with a giant scoop of (salty caramel!) ice cream.
Bali is packed with breathtaking bungalows and cute boutique hotels. There’s really no need to book a ton in advance, just look around and see where you feel most comfortable. Tip: book through Agoda for the best rates.
Dash. A crazy, funky, brand new design hotel right across from W Hotel and Potato Head. Dash has hidden fun twists everywhere, like a giant five meters tall bunny by the pool, and bunny bathrobes in the room. Rooms start at about 50 dollars and the beds are like clouds.
Calmtree bungalows. A traditional set of wooden Balinese bungalows built around a small pool. Calmtree Bungalows is right next to Betelnut and Crate and a minute to Old Man’s by motorbike so you’re right at the heart of Canggu. The rooms have a fan, no A/C.
Frii surf hotel. An affordable surf style hotel by Echo beach with some rooms directly connected to the pool through a sliding door. Best. view. ever.
W Hotel. If you’re looking to go luxurious for a night or two, this is the place to go for stunning rooms, poolside tunes and mesmerizing sunsets. Not a guest? Drop by for cocktail happy hour that takes place before sunset and comes with pizza. seminyak
Brown feather. A much loved (and much ‘grammed) boutique hotel with some of the cutest interior corners in Seminyak.
Bali is a spiritual place, with yoga retreats, vibrational healers and age-old rituals to cherish. There’s not a ton of nightlife (except for Kuta, which isn’t my fave) and a lot of bars close around midnight. If you do feel like dancing and meeting new people while sipping some Radler, there’s a steady route of 1) Old Man’s, 2) Deus and 3) Sand bar on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Old Man’s. The beach bar by Old Man’s beach in Canggu is laid-back after surf fun from mornings ’til noon.
Deus. A clubbier vibe with either hiphop or live music and Tattoo’s & Taco’s on Tuesdays. (It’s not my fave for food though).
Sand bar. There’s sand. There’s a bar. It’s one of the few places that still goes strong after midnight.
Jenja is a club with a European vibe and fun hiphop nights on Wednesday, La Favela (also in Seminyak) is a club with a seductive garden theme and is packed on Wed-Sun.
Helter skelter. Just opened and I haven’t had a chance to visit, but apparently it’s a hot new thing.
BEACH AND SPA
Relax in the sand, at a private beach club and get the best after-surf shoulder rubs on the corner of a street.
Old Man’s Beach is my favourite (in Canggu); it’s a small beach that’s perfect for surfing, has a beach bar with the same name and a few beach beds to rent out for a day.
Beach clubs: There are a ton of totally on-point, beautiful beach clubs where you rent a day bed and chill all day. El Kabron is one of them, Ku-De-Ta is a crowd favourite and Potatohead is what my holiday dreams are made of (lining up at 10-ish is a must!).
Desa Seni. A resort that apparently has good yoga classes.
Amo spa. Nearby Potatohead, for a good back rub and the best mani pedi’s in town, hands down.
Spring spa. Looks adorable too and supposedly does nice nails as well.
Amy’s massage. It’s not about the looks; this is a typical Bali spa right up the road from Old Man’s beach. Go there for an affordable and amazing pressure point massage.
Billionairs cut. This one is for the boys. Go here for an old school barber shop experience.
New boho buys are best sourced in Seminyak. These are my top spots.
Auguste. Bohemian dresses, tops and kimono’s that take you from the beach to an afternoon adventure with just a quick brush-up.
Kiosk. One of the funkiest stores in Seminyak, selling clothes (I got a jumpsuit in a print that looks like bacon strips), gadgets (including Ban.do!) and rad sunnies by Pared.
Gooseberry Intimates. The Aussie Instagram sensation has a lingerie shop in Seminyak, around the corner of Auguste.
Favourites that are a little more upscale (think boho-meets-French cool in terms of style) are Magali Pascal, Lulu Yasmin, Shakuhach and Natasha.
AND THEN SOME…
A quick roundup of other spaces in different places.
Pinkcoco (in Uluwatu). Everything is pink in this cool resort, from the rooms to the pool to the walls. You could hang here for days and not move.
Single Fin (in Uluwatu). Not to be confused with Finn’s; this is where the people watching and partying goes down in Uluwatu.
Finn’s bar (in Uluwatu). A beach resort with a tiny elevator that takes you down to a breathtaking private beach to spend all day.
Tigerlilly’s (in Nusa Lembongan). A handful of beautiful bungalows. A pool lined with egg chairs. A power plate breakfast. Need I say more?