TRAVEL DIARIES ✈ My Bali Hitlist
I always promise myself I am going to make a post on this list every time we have a friends who visits Bali. I usually end up sending them a messy email list instead. So here I am finally getting on with it. This is for my friends Ela & her hubby, who are going Bali very soon! And of course for all of my readers and friends who are planning a Bali trip!
One caveat though, we are not experts on Bali in any way! We’ve only been to Bali 3 times this year and twice last year (though we are returning one more time to make it a total of 4 times this year). We stayed in the following for each visit:
- Seminyak and Ubud
- Nusa Dua
- Nusa Dua
- Nusa Dua and Sanur (for our last trip to Bali this year)
Map image via
However the list I’ve compiled below is not only based on my experiences but also on the recommendations of our friend E (who has been living in Jakarta for more than 20 years) and our Fab friend Ted (who used to be the Food Editor for Time Out Jakarta). I also tried my best to give the most updated information I could but regrets if there are any errors or if they are no longer up to date.
Click on the links to check out my posts on the various items. For items that I don’t have a post yet, I linked you to their respective websites. This list is far from complete so from time to time I will update this post. Hope this helps you plan your trip!
Bali sunsets are gorgeous when watched from one of Bali’s chic bars. Here’s a list of bars I recommend. With Rock Bar being my highest recommendation! It’s a bit far from Kuta & Jimbaran though so you have to rent a car. Don’t believe your driver if he says it’s only 15mins away – which happened to my friends.
- THE ROCK BAR – This for me is THE ULTIMATE place to have sunset cocktails in Bali. Again no reservation here so I reco you go at 4pm, buy drinks on the cliff, then go down the elevator with your drinks and get on the waiting list. At least you have drinks while waiting. Make sure to bring SPF here. Also no dinner here just drinks and pica-pica. Have a seafood dinner in Jimbaranafter! (My resto reco below)
- POTATO HEAD BEACH CLUB – Potato Head in Pacific Place Mall is one of our regular places to eat/drink. They’ve finally launched in Bali late 2010 with a mega bar/complex with several floors and a pool. You can bring your swim gear here because there’s a pool and there’s free towel service. Super chic and apparently totally kicking Ku De Ta‘s arse. According to @GourmetTravel, food is still better in Ku De Ta but this place is great for drinks. With 3 restaurants, a pool and a shop – I have to agree!
- KU DE TA - This used to be the best spot for sunsets in Seminyak. I hade to say I prefer Potato Head now. My friend E’s favorite spot in Bali. According to him”It is a resto/bar by the beach. Head over there around 4pm to catch the 6pm sunset (Be there at 4 cuz limited seating) Grab one of the lounge chairs facing the beach. Order some appetizers (personal faves: Calamari and Hummus, but everything is pretty good). I like drinking the strawberry caipirinha, but be careful of the prices. If you are on a budget, you can never go wrong with Bir Bintang (local indo beer)…just drink it cold…when it gets hot, it sucks….” Click here to read about my experience going to Ku De Ta.
- Other bars that my friend E suggested: HUU BAR – though this is not by the beach it is walking distance from the Legian Beach sunset.
Ikan bakar (grilled seafood) is highly recommended and rightly so! It reminds me of our Dampa style dining in manila wherein you buy your seafood then bring it to the resto to have it cooked. In Jimbaran though each resto has seafood on ice or live in aquariums and you pick out what you want, it is weighed then you are asked how you want it cooked – BAKAR (grilled) is the way to go!
You will be asked to pick your seafood at the entrance of the restaurant (some are on ice and there are live ones in aquariums)…Crabs and Lobster will make your bill 3x as high, so ask yourself whether its worth it. I recommend getting some prawns, squid, clams (1/3 kilo each) and a fish. Clams are the favorite! Get everything BAKAR with special sauce (grilled with their special sauce)! Rice, kangkung (water spinach) and fruits for dessert are complimentary with the meal. Don’t forget to mix match the sauces. As a good guideline…the cost per kilo should not go over Rp80,000…if they are charging more than that be weary and pick another resto…
“Of all the dances seen on Bali today, the *Kecak* dance is perhaps the most dramatic. Taken from the Hindu epic *Ramayana*, the dance tells the story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by the evil King of Lanka.”
This is a must do in Bali. The one that E recommended to us is the one in Uluwatu. …ask your hotel for schedule… You should arrive early to get good seats (2 or 3rd from the bottom at the center). Click here to see pictures. There are also other Kecak dances all over the island, make sure to get the sunset schedule because they are the most dramatic!
This is around the same area as The Rock Bar and Jimbaran Bay.
SUNSET AT TANAH LOT
We weren’t able to get to Tanah Lot for sunset last time we were there because we took too long outlet shopping (So sorry TD! Totally my fault!) and traffic was bad. Always account for traffic for travel time. There are also Kecak Dance schedules for Tanah Lot which is also highly recommended by our Indonesian friends.
image via Virtua♥TravelR
- METIS – Bring at least 100 USD per person and dress up. Women wear heels and cocktail dresses here. Do not order the crispy pork belly, but the Foie Gras is to die for (even if I usually don’t like Foie Gras). Metis was Miele Guides Top 4 resto in Indonesia in 2010.
- MOZAIC – See section on Ubud below. Mozaic was Top 1 in that same list.
- EIGTHY DEGREES SOUTH (Conrad Nusa Dua) – wagyu beef and seared foie gras with black truffle sauce (the only other exception to my foie gras dislike) and Chocolate Bar for dessert (trust me this is eye rolling good!)
OTHER RESTO RECOMMENDATIONS
- Delicious Onion – One of our favorite places to eat pork in Bali. Click here to see pictures!
- Mama’s Kitchen for authentic German (get the Schweinazen—good for two)
- Warung Made (Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur, GadoGado, Sate)
SUPER CHEAP EATS IN BALI
You might need this if you run low on cash – LOL!
If you are staying in Kuta, just around the block are a lot of shops…remember to bargain…initial price will be 6x more than cost…don’t bargain if you don’t have plans of buying because the shop owners sometimes get annoyed.
Here are my must visit stores in Bali:
- Jenggala Factory Showroom - it’s cheapest to buy exquisite ceramic Jenggala items here than in Kemang in Jakarta so I highly recommend going there if you love Jenggala. Click here for contact details and pictures of Jenggala items that I love. Their items are pieces of art!
- Shell Museum – for gorgeous capiz and shell items. Don’t forget to check out the second floor too! They ship to Jakarta if you buy lamps or other bigger items. Click here for contact details and photos of items I’ve purchased from them.
- Krisna Bali – Bali souvenirs at local prices. Click here to see photos of what they sell and their contact details.
- Swimsuits/surfer brand outlet shopping – Brands like Roxy, Quicksilver, etc. are made in Bali so there are tons of outlet stores here. They are dirt cheap if you go to outlet stores that don’t have airconditioning – but the selection is more limited. Click here for more details on hardcore outlet shopping. However if you go to the nicer outlet stores like my favorite Roxy/Quicksilver VIP outlet store in Legian, it’s a bit pricier, but still have the price of Roxy in Manila. You can stock up on swimwear, and beach bags and outfits! cheaper non-aircon ones if you are hardcore bargain hunter like me. =P
BAR HOPPING IN JALAN LEGIAN
If you are into hot sweaty Aussie dudes (LOL!) this is the street…The names of the places change so often…just check them out one by one…
- Double6 (you can go bungee jumping here)
- BLUE BIRD BALI TAKSI : (0361) 701 111
- Customer Care Center : (0361) 701 621
- +6281 2396 3048
- Rate starts at Rp 350,000 for 10 hours. However if you want a newer car which I recommend if you are prone to being carsick (Bali’s tiny roads have twists and turns that make me nauseus) you can add 50,000. The rates are inclusive of parking and drivers food already. But if you are feeling generous, feel free to tip extra.
- Surya is a part of a group of drivers so if he is not available you can ask him to refer you to the other drivers in his team. Different drivers have different rates so make sure to ask for the other drivers rate before committing
Made Bali Car Rental
- +62 811 385752
- Ask for driver Pak Nyoman. He speaks English which really helps because he can tell more about Bali and where you’re going, etc.
- If I am not mistaken we paid 80 USD for 8 hours.
CAUTIONARY TALE: You can negotiate but be wary of drivers who give you a package deal that is based on where you’re going instead of the hours. Usually it’s too good to be true and I’ve friends who bargained with the driver to go to Seminyak and The Rock Bar in Uluwatu for only 35 USD. The driver said they were already in Seminyak (in reality they were only in Kuta) and the driver said not to worry because The Rock Bar was only 15 mins away (if I recall correctly it’s more like 45 mins away). Then he said they were taking too long and he wanted to charge them double already. They never got to any of the places they planned and still had to pay the driver.
DAY TRIP TO UBUD
On our first trip to Bali (3days/2nights) we rented a hotel car to go on a day trip to Ubud. On the way we stopped by:
- Silver stores - So cheap & nice here in Bal! Every time I go to Bali I make sure to buy some silver accessory pieces!
- Glass stores
- Furniture stores i.e. rattan, wood, etc.
- Art stores (Sculpture, paintings, etc.)
Note that there are many stores on the path to Ubud and the nearer you are to Ubud the cheaper. Once you get to Ubud:
- Have lunch in Ibu Oka for their Babi guling is the Bali version of lechon! Must try! I recommend you get the special and an extra order of crispy skin.
- Check out the stores for nice local products
- Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest - DO NOT feed them or have food in your pocket or bag. They will be able to smell it and they might harass you. don’t wear shades or have hanging objects in your person. My friend had a hand-sanitizer hanging from her bag. A monkey grabbed it and drank it! Many people lose their glasses/shades to the monkeys.
- Have early dinner at
- Naughty Nuri’s(cheap eats) – order the baby back ribs and ask for extra sauce (the sauce is the secret), mie goreng
- Bridges Bali - OMG we were so happy with our dining experience here. It’s not as expensive as Mosaic but food, wine and service is amazing!
- Gaya Gelato (best gelato in Bali!) and Gaya Fusion restaurant!
- Mosaic – It was awarded as best resto in indonesia and was ranked 5 in Asia in the Miele Guide . You have to make reservations, there is a dresscode and children are not allowed. It’s a good place to go to if you want a romantic date!
Over the past 9 years Mozaic has established an international reputation. It has been listed in Restaurant Magazine’s list of the best 100 restaurants in the world and is one of only two South East Asian restaurants to be named in the exclusive international fine food guide, Les Grandes Tables du Monde. Mozaic is also the only Indonesian restaurant to be selected as one of the world’s best in the prestigious S. Pellegrino restaurant awards and ranked as Asia’s fifth finest restaurant in the region’s new Miele guide. When it opened, Mozaic was an immediate success and was named best restaurant in Indonesia by Food & Wine, Prestige and Indonesia Tatler. Wine Spectator magazine bestowed an Award of Excellence for the wine list for a number of consecutive years, making Mozaic the first restaurant in Indonesia to receive such a recognition. Additional praise has been awarded by influential publications such as Conde Nast Traveller, New York Magazine, National Geographic Traveller, Times Asia, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.