HAPPINESS. This one word sums up the general feeling of being in Bali. The island has been a popular destination for beach-goers, surfers and yogis since the 1980s. The west coast and its surrounding islands are more chill than other areas that draw crowds of tourists.
With many options, it can be difficult to choose a base-location in Bali. We planned our travels around culture, relaxation and surfing. The best time to visit is during the dry season from May to September.
Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar just south of Kuta. Take a private car or taxi (Blue Bird Taxis) to your base location. Note that traffic can be very congested!
JIMBARAN & Seminyak
Cuca Restaurant Tapas-style dining using local ingredients. Highly recommend.
Kayumanis Resto Modern, traditional Indonesian dishes.
Sea Circus Bali Go to brunch spot in Seminyak sporting a colorful, vibrant atmosphere.
Finns Beach Club Trendy beach club in Canguu.
Rock Bar Bali Scenic sun-downers in Jimbaran.
In both Nusa Lembongan and mainland, we recommend renting a scooter to check out the hidden beaches and restaurants. Our must-dos are below and other ideas pinned to the map:
Bingin Beach Hidden swim and surf spot near Uluwatu.
For a little retail therapy, check out Jalan Petitenget street (From the W to Potato Head) or Jalan Kayu Ayu in Seminyak or several contemporary, beach wear boutiques selling unique prints.
Uluwatu Temple A Balinese Hindu temple on a steep cliff offering beautiful views of the Indian Ocean. Experienced surfers can catch a break here, but there are strong tides.
Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Villas & Spa this tucked away gem is five minutes from the beach and offers a five star experience. Think private pools, spacious (super comfy) rooms and outstanding service. It does not get any better!
Hai Bar and Grill Dinner near Mushroom Bay.
Indiana Kenanga Restaurant For a change of taste from the local cuisine, this European, waterfront spot will not disappoint.
Sandy Bay Beach Club Waterfront beach cafe.
The Deck The BEST views in Nusa Lembongan. We can promise no Sunday scaries here; the bar has live DJs and craft cocktail specials on the weekends.
The island is best toured by scooter and offers surfing, swimming and beautiful beaches. It is a bit less crowded than mainland Bali.
Dream Beach Swimming and relaxing.
Lacerations and Shipwreck For experienced surfers.
Manta Rays Hire a local boat and captain to explore the islands, snorkel and swim with these gentle giants.
Monkey Surfing Beginners can head to Monkey Surfing for lessons.
Mushroom Bay Another day, another white sandy beach.
This island is southeast from Bali and best reached via boat from Sanur (45 minutes). Our recommendation is to stay at the Batu Karang Lembongan Resort.
Fair Warung Bale Casual restaurant in Ubud where 100% of the proceeds support the local community.
Smiling Coffee Bali refreshing stop after a visit to the Tegalalang Rice Terraces.
Mount Batur For some physical activity, opt for the sunrise hike. We organized this excursion through our villa.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary It’s touristy but who doesn’t like monkeys? Go during non-peak hours to avoid the crowds and don’t feed the monkeys!
Tegalalang Rice Terrace Scenic views of rice paddies featuring traditional Balinese irrigation. Go early to beat the heat and crowds.
Ubud Palace Iconic landmark in Ubud and a lovely example of traditional, Balinese architecture