Surprisingly, many people told us to avoid Bali entirely. They said it was overcrowded with tourists on holiday, completely westernized and that we would be underwhelmed.
Although some of that is true, we fell in love with plenty of what Bali offers and it’s still possible to get off the beaten path to experience traditional Balinese culture.
Bali is a massive island, there is a lot to see and so much we didn’t have time to see, but here is a list of the best things we did in Bali.
Brunchin' it at Old Man’s
Located on Batu Balong beach in Canggu, brunch at Old Man’s Bar does not disappoint. Fresh juices, avocado toast, colorful tables and chairs - the perfect way to kick off your day at the beach.
Sunset at La Laguna
Head to this cocktail bar located on a small strip of beach between Seminyak and Canggu. We loved the bohemian decor and all the little hang out spots. Post up for an amazing sunset. Check it out here.
Chowing down on Babi Guling
Known to foreigners as suckling pig and prepared Balinese style, we picked an authentic local joint recommended by our homestay owner. Ask around to find the best spot. We went to Babi Guling Candra.
DRINKS AT DEUS EX MACHINA
For Tacos and Tat-Tuesdays. Get there early for a free tattoo or if that’s not your thing enjoy a cold Bingtang at their bar out back. Make sure to check out the Temple of Enthusiasm at Deus Ex Machina in Canggu.
EATING DINNER AT DANDELION
A small, very reasonably priced restaurant in Canggu. Here you can have local curries and Indonesian dishes while enjoying the ambiance of a lush candlelit backyard with bunny rabbits hoping around your feet (seriously).
Sunset at Single Fin
The famous surfers bar overlooking the Uluwatu surf break. Get there early to grab a good seat and watch the surfers catch every last wave. It might be best to make a reservation for a viewpoint bar seat (Last reservation is 5:00p). One of the best sunsets we saw in Bali and well worth the long motorbike ride from Canggu.
Tip - Uber/Bluebird/Grab can't pick-up in certain locations, Single Fin, being one of them, so plan to pay more to return to Canggu if you hitched a ride there.
Eating local in Ubud
Recommended by our tattoo artist, we headed out of the main city center in Ubud for some cheap, authentic Indonesian food at Warung Janggar Ulum. Dine overlooking the rice fields or in a private gazebo overlooking the fish pond. Try the fresh water fish in coconut milk. And the best part about these local spots – running into friends you've met and enjoying great food together.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
A stunning 8 km walk in the center of Ubud. You can walk part of it or the whole thing depending on how you feel. If your timing is right you can catch the tall grass in bloom. We arrived in December.
Motorbiking (and getting lost) in Amed
Amed was generally a miss for us, but we enjoyed motorbiking around the area. Getting lost halfway up a mountain on our way to a temple was an interesting experience to say the least.
Visiting Tirta Gangga Temple
Easily our favorite temple in Bali. Peaceful gardens, massive koi pond and beautiful Balinese sculptures will have you wandering around for hours. Get there early when they open so you have the place to yourself.