If Bali is on your bucket list, make it happen and if it isn’t, then definitely add it and make it happen. This sweet island completely stole our hearts and we can’t wait to go back.
The sights, from the mountains to the ocean to the jungle to the local markets, everything was so picturesque, in fact even more beautiful than what you see in pictures. The food, the drinks, the shopping, all so unique and outstanding, my mind and taste buds were blown every. single. time. And the people and culture above all, were a true blessing to meet and experience. The Balinese proved to be the kindest, most warm-hearted, generous, free spirited people, I’ve ever met, truly inspiring. Bali was pure magic in all the ways and has left a mark on my heart and soul for years to come.
We had the luxury of a blissful 3 week honeymoon in Bali, with lots of down time, lots of adventure and lots of food and drink. Everything was magical perfection and I want to share it all! Plus, I thought a blog post on Bali would make for a great resource for recommendations, a place to house the details on our journey and a snippet to share with you all of our beautiful honeymoon. Here’s my dish on all things Bali.
Places to Eat & Drink
Uma Cucina, COMO Uma, Ubud
Amazing Italian in Bali…who would have thought? This was one of the best Italian meals we have both ever had and we both come from Italian families. The arancini, tuna crudo and homemade pastas were to die for! Plus, it was one of the few places where we were able to have some incredible wine.
Kemiri Restaurant, COMO Uma, Ubud
Kemiri is the open-air dining pavilion on site at the COMO Uma Resort, serving only breakfast and special occasion/themed dinners. Kemiri places an emphasis on raw, organic ingredients, but do offer some sweet treats too.
During our stay we started each day enjoying their delicious breakfast offering which was included in our stay. They had a great array of options and it was probably some of the most amazing breakfast we’ve had anywhere. I still have cravings for their corn cake topped with smoked salmon, tomato and avocado. So YUM!
A bit off the main strip, this hidden gem is dedicated to bringing an awareness to the Whole Picture: a permaculture garden that brings food and culture from the farm, the village, the society to the table, and then back out again to the community at large. Awakening the senses with all the plant based eats. Moksa blew us away with their raw & heated vegan cuisine.
An award winning garden restaurant, where we indulged in an 8 course chef’s tasting menu. Creations combined French flair and progressive techniques with the warm, exotic flavours of Indonesia fare. A basket of local ingredients joined us at the table so we could see, touch, and smell where the flavours were coming from before we had a taste. We savoured each bite amongst the stars and enjoyed hours of pure indulgence.
Anomali Coffee, Ubud
A super hip coffee shop with a delicious selection of in-house roasted Indonesian coffee beans. They offer several types of brewing processes, including drip, french press, and pour over, to suit your preference. This little gem is steps away from Ubud market. Great spot to sit, sip and people watch.
A very open and inviting shop along the busy street of Monkey Forest, stop here for some healthy nosh and embrace their “Eat Fresh, Live Well” Philosphy. Each dish is perfectly curated and simply gorgeous – you’ll have a hard time deciding what to eat or drink.
The Sayan House, Ubud
Asian meets Mexican, makes for some genius creations. From the ceviche, the salads and their sashimi tacos to the vibrant mojitos, everything was a delicious treat bursting in flavour. Be sure to book a reservation at sunset, the view is amazing!
Nusantara by Locovore, Ubud
Award winning Chefs serve up Indonesian fare and innovative cocktails. This hot spot is super authentic and offers unique versions of the country’s rich culinary signatures. The menu showcases original flavours from across the archipelago yet keeps each dish modern. The spice and the sambal were killer, in all the good ways!! And the cocktails – you have to try them all!! Nusantara is the perfect alternative if you can’t get into the highly coveted Locovore.
Locovore To Go, Ubud
Hipster vibes and some quick eats, To Go is steps away from the famous Locovore restaurant. A great lunch stop if you can’t get into the fancier Locovore. I literally had the best Falafel pita, of life! And Chris was pretty fond of his pulled pork sammy too!
Naughty Nuri’s, Ubud
A popular Warung known for their famous, fall off the bone BBQ pork ribs, for a crazy good price! Daily, we would see guests at COMO Uma, come back with a bag of ribs to enjoy poolside, so we had to dive in and see what the hype was about. Verdict: Delicious indeed!
The Elephant, Ubud
Earth friendly food, offering up vegan and vegetarian options only. The staff, ambience and overall vibes here were super relaxed and fun, making us feel right at home. We really wish we had made it back here for a second round of goodness. Next time!
Hujan Locale, Ubud
Another farm/boat to table eatery serving up local fare and crazy cool cocktails. Hujan has an old world charm where you feel at home. I makes for the perfect spot for a relaxed evening over some good food and drinks. Again, the cocktails here were so unique, you could keep drinking all night…..I am still dreaming of this cool carrot soda cocktail with candied carrot chips. YUM!
Pearl Beach Lounge Restaurant, Gili Trawangan
This was our go to spot for breakfast when we were on the island Gili Trawangan. It was the perfect start to our days with some healthy eats and the sand between your toes. They also had great service, beach side where we often found ourselves basking in the sun, enjoying some stiff drinks and snacking on their super fresh rolls – some of the best we had! We also made it here for a dinner or two! Definitely one of the nicer spots on Gili T.
Santi Lounge, Gili Trawangan
We loved hitting up this lounge every day for happy hour, it was a great escape from the busy crowds on Gili T. A delightful fusion from the archipelago and western cuisines, while dining out back with what reminded me of a peaceful countryside view.
The Banyan Tree, Gili Trawangan
Serving up high vibes and vegetarian delights on Gili T, for all those morning post yoga sessions. From plant based to paleo, slow pressed juices to the finest coffee, Banyan Tree makes for a delicious and quick breakfast on the beach.
Breeze, The Samaya, Seminyak
Breeze was our first stop in Seminyak for a romantic dinner overlooking the deep blue sky and crashing ocean waves. Following a great dinner and knowing the amazing view, we chose to make this out breakfast go to (plus it was included in our stay). We loved starting our day with a walk on the beach or beach side yoga followed by some delicious eats.
Motel Mexicola, Seminyak
A hot spot in Seminyak, Motel Mexicola proved to be super fun and was so energizing! We made a quick stop in for some Guac and Margs, but what a party!
Potato Head Bali, Seminyak
A destination for good times! By far, the best beats and vibes in Seminyak. We spent the better part of an afternoon here and well into sunset. Their musical programming promotes emerging talent of the region and honestly was some of the best music I’ve ever heard (add their playlists into your Spotify rotation- trust me!). Their food and drink options were mouthwatering delicious and locally sourced of course. And they offer one of the best sunset views on the beach. Checking off all our favourite things!
This is a must check out spot, but be sure to go early to get a good spot to sit back and relax.
Woobar, W, Seminyak
Fun and relaxed vibes during the day and then the place to be seen at night. The W’s, Woobar is a hip and stylish destination to eat, drink and play. We spent an afternoon here listening to international DJ’s mix, while sipping on some signature cocktails.
Not our favourite place of the bunch, but still worth checking out. It definitely feels more North American, along with the North American pricing.
Must Do Activities
Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
This was our ABSOLUTE favourite activity while we were in Bali and probably the most incredible experience EVER. It was challenging, fearful, peaceful, enlightening, and SO beautiful. I feel like this experience needs a whole blog post itself, so bare with me, I will try to keep this short.
It started with a wake up call at 1:30 AM, where we then drove in complete darkness for 1.5 hours. Arriving at the base of Mount Batur we were greeted by our amazing guide, Mangku (Bali Trekking Tours), who had all our trekking paraphernalia, brightening attitude for 3 AM, and the best expertise.
Off we were shortly after 3 AM, hiking up a volcano in complete darkness, not knowing what was in the wild next to us, only the light of our headlamps to guide our way. And the Mountain God, Mangku, Thank goodness for him! This Angel needs a special shout out. Mangku, was our everything (my Bali husband, as Chris likes to say), and truly a Mountain God (he’s hiked this trek over 1,500+ times). He sang & played his guitar for us on top of Mount Batur (even some Neil Young), cooked for us (eggs on lava), cared for us when the going got tough or when the monkeys got frisky. He had us laughing, crying (he has lived an incredible life of love & hardship), and shared his heart and soul of his Hindu culture. He had the BEST outlook on life and really contributed to making our mountain journey the best experience in every way. If you’re reading this and plan to do this hike – see if you can request Mangku.
OK back to the hike….
We arrived at the top around 5 AM where we enjoyed some breakfast, a cup of java, and some laughs with our new friends, all wrapped in blankets – boy was it cold up there! We looked out at our view and honestly it was pure grey, all the shades of grey imaginable (the pic below is not black and white lol). We couldn’t see more than 2 feet ahead of us at this point. I was feeling a bit defeated, that on all the days, today had to be miserable, dark, dreary, even a bit rainy. After 1,717m trek up we weren’t going to see a sunrise. But we waited, and waited, ate and waited, laughed and waited… and then it started to clear. You’ll see in the slideshow below – the progression of what we could see.
Bit by bit, the fog parted and the excitement built. I kept thinking this is it, this is as good as it gets, and it’s beautiful and awesome and everything and then BAM! The biggest, brightest, most magical sunrise I’ve ever seen. And hundreds of people on top of this volcano, cheering and screaming with delight. Hundreds of people we had no idea were even there, because the fog was so thick. It was pure rapture!
We enjoyed the sunrise bliss for what seemed like hours and we relished every minute of it. From there we explored the mountain top, felt the heat from lava pots, socialized with monkeys and started to make our descent before it got too hot. It was amazing the difference in temperatures from 3 AM, to mountain top, and back down to the village by 8 AM.
This is my biggest and best recommendation for things to do in Bali.
Balinese Cooking Class
A must do for foodies alike or those looking to learn a thing of two about Indonesian cuisine. A Balinese cooking class made for a fun afternoon on our resort where we had the opportunity of cooking with the Executive Chef of COMO Uma. We were taught how to cook the traditional Indonesian dish of Ikan Pepes; which is a marinated fish, steamed in banana leaf. We had a blast and it was one our favourite meals we enjoyed while in Bali.
Under half an hour from Ubud, this beautiful waterfall is a great trip for nature lovers. Surrounded by beautiful greens of the jungle and an inviting plunge pool, this destination makes for a great day trip.
Unfortunately, there had been quite a bit of rainfall before our visit, which made for dirtier water from the run off and deeper water levels that deemed unsafe for swimming. However, we did find another side waterfall on your way down to Tegenungan which was beautiful, cleaner, and not as busy.
If you want to chase waterfalls without all the tourists, this is a great hidden spot. So peaceful and tranquil, not a single soul in sight; it was one of my favourite waterfalls. Again, too bad for the earlier rainfall or else, this would have been the perfect dipping pool.
Kanto Lampo Waterfall
OK this one was the best hidden gem. Kanto Lampo was by far our ABSOLUTE favourite waterfall, so secluded and so gorgeous! We had the most fun here climbing the rocks while the water cascaded down and frolicking in the waters surrounded by spectacular views of the lush green rainforest. It was only us and a local villager that watched over for safety, so we were pretty lucky. My advice is to go early to avoid the busier afternoons.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
Just half an hour north of Ubud, you’ll be graced with the beauty of the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. So picturesque and peaceful, you must make a stop here. Walk amongst the fields and be in awe, there really isn’t anything quite like it. Pictures don’t do it any justice!
Tirtra Empui Temple
Bali’s Holy Spring Water Temple, was beautiful. We loved being so close to the culture and religion of Bali, with the traditional dressing, to beautiful music chants, the water purification ceremony and blessings upon blessings. We were in complete awe.
Ubud Centre & Market
If you’re staying in Ubud, take the time to stroll the busy streets of this precious village. Check out the beautiful temples, stop for a cheap massage, browse the authentic market goods, chat with the locals and enjoy some delicious treats along the way. It really is a lovely way to spend a few hours.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Campuhan is a great pathway surrounded by lush scenic views in the heart of Ubud. This Ridge Walk makes for a beautiful and leisurely walk, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip. Be sure to go earlier in the day, as there is no shade and it gets quite hot!
Tannah Lot Temple
A historical Hindu Rock Temple built on the edge of the Ocean; a beautiful spot to watch the sun set. You can only make your way out to the temple during low tide to see the Tirta Pabersihan fountain, where you can be blessed by having the holy water sprinkled over your head. Otherwise, admire from the shore and take in the sights around.
Plan a day trip over to the untouched island of Nusa Penida. This was a definite highlight of our trip. It had such breathtaking views and has yet to be really discovered by the wrath of tourism. Our guide referred to it as Bali, 20 years ago, with so much untouched land.
We booked the fast boat over with a private guide upon arrival; who took us to the top hot spots to discover and then we got to spend the better part of the afternoon on a quiet tucked away beach.
Coffee Plantation, Bali Pulina, Ubud
For all the java lovers, you have to stop in at a Coffee Plantation in Bali and try the rare Luwak Coffee. See how this delicacy is produced, along with touring the gardens filled with teas, coffee, cocoa, spices, etc.
There are tons of plantations to choose from, we just happened to pick Bali Pulina, as it wasn’t too far from the Rice Terrace. It was a great hour learning from the locals and enjoying the view while we sampling their coffee and tea offering.
A group of 3 tiny islands, we chose to stay at Gili Trawangan, as we heard it was a bit more happening. And quite happening it was! Luckily, we stayed on the quieter side of the island, with just a short bike ride to the hot spots. Yet the longest bike ride in life, when biking home in complete darkness. In hindsight, we may have chosen to stay at Gili Air or Gili Meno for a bit more seclusion; but we’ll save those for next time!
Gili T is the largest of the islands, but you can still walk the whole thing in about 2 hours, which a great way to explore the whole island and enjoy the beautiful powdery white beaches and clear blue waters. Although, if you wish, most accommodations offer bike service for you to explore the island and get from point A to point B. Gili T does not allow any motorized transit, so you only have the option of foot, bike or pony carts. The latter is pretty much only used upon arrival and departure when guests are carrying luggage.
Places to Stay
COMO Uma, Ubud
A gorgeous wellness resort, that I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Bali. The grounds, the activities, the staff, the food – all 5 star! It is the destination’s unique sense of spirituality and exotic magic that shines through all the places in which we stayed. COMO is the perfect escape from the modern resorts, with beautiful thatched balés that allow you to enjoy the soothing sounds of Balinese wildlife (although it might also keep you up at night – it can get surprisingly loud lol). It really was the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate post wedding hype and a long day of travel.
We got to enjoy daily guided hikes, daily yoga sessions, an educational cooking class, and their fantastic experience offerings. COMO offers a list of experiences, where you are privately escorted around Bali by one of the hotel guides to see some of the main attractions. We took advantage most mornings, and then spent our afternoons relaxing by the pool, enjoying their fresh pressed juice concoctions and pitchers of sangria.
All and all, the service here was top notch.
We stayed at two of the four sister resorts in Ubud. Beautiful grounds, lovely staff, and luxury style villas. We loved the super luxe feel of these resorts and having top shelf accommodations and service to come home to after long days out touring, was so on point.
This beachfront location is simply spectacular. From, feeling the morning sea breeze during beachside yoga, enjoying the breakfast ocean view, and being able to watch the gorgeous sunsets, the Samaya was a stunning place to stay!
Beautifully kept landscapes, incredible hospitality and a villa that was loaded with all the bells and whistles, I have nothing but rave reviews for the Samaya and Seminyak as a whole.
This resort was perfectly located by all the hot spots and made for an easy walk into town. I really wish we had spent more time in Seminyak (we will plan for when we go back) – the beach life there was vibing!
I hope you all have found this super helpful in planning your trip to Bali and or that you enjoyed learning a bit more about our travels. 🙂 I loved reliving these moments with writing this post.
I promise, that no matter what or where you book or what you choose do in Bali, you will do no wrong. You’ve already got so much of it right, with just booking Bali! It is truly stunning in every aspect and it will find the best way of getting into your mind and your heart. Bali is perfect and it will surprise you in many ways, so leave some of the travel unplanned, it’s usually the best way. That’s how we fell into so many beautiful moments.
Happy Travels! xx