Bali: The island of smiles, cafes & yoga
Every time I meet someone going to Bali, I go into tour guide mode and share every single recommendation I can come up with. I've been in Bali for almost three months, and have a few places I really like, so I might as well collect them in a post. I've divided it into the three areas where I spent most of my time (Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak/Kuta) first, then sections (stay, eat, do).
Local SIM card
I know, you might have vacation and be like "hey, I want to disconnect completely". I get that. But for me, the convenience of being connected outweighs the need to disconnect (which you can still do, just don't bring your phone with you when going out). This guide has some good information about how it works.
Maybe the strongest reason for getting a local SIM card. Especially if you're in the Kuta/Seminyak area, where Ubers are everywhere. A lot cheaper than the local taxis, and I love not having to spend time arguing about the price.
You probably want to rent a scooter, especially if you are in Canggu or Uluwatu. A few tips: ask your hotel/hostel where to rent one (they probably have their own as well), take pictures or a video of the scooter when you rent it (to avoid discussions about damages) and always, always wear a helmet.
In Da Lodge (hostel)
In Da Lodge has two great qualities: atmosphere and a pool. I met some really fun people here, but this is also the only hostel where I've ever lost things. Keep all your belongings in your bag, and everything valuable in a locker.
Candra Asri (private rooms)
This location was, for me, unbeatable. Right across the road I had Kafe, it took five minutes to walk to Yoga barn and another five to get to Hubud. Not great for meeting new people, but for privacy and comfort for a good price it was perfect.
Everyone knows Kafe. Healthy, yummy food and nice atmosphere, where you will find a lot of yoga people and expats hanging out. I spent so much time here that the staff were saying "see you tomorrow" when I left.
This is my personal favorite, especially for breakfast. They have a live porridge that I still dream of. Not as hyped as Kafe, so usually more quiet, and has good quality internet and nice staff.
I haven't been to Cuba, so I can't say how authentic the food is. But I can say it's really good. They also have live music and salsa dance nights.
Next door to Kafe is this restaurant. Looks a bit fancier, but not too pricy. And their burgers were surprisingly "realy good" (internal joke, sorry).
Good food, right across the street from Radiantly Alive.
My favorite yoga studio, of all times. Yes, it's crowded, but you don't really need more space than your mat anyway. The energy created by the area, participants and teachers blew my mind every class.
Another yoga studio I enjoyed, where I mainly went for the Fly High Yoga and classes focused on arm balances. Great teachers.
This is part restaurant, but it belongs in the DO section because of the magical infinity pool. You pay 150 000 RP and to enjoy the pool, and you can eat and drink for the full amount.
If you are working while you are here, or just need some quality internet, Hubud is the place to be.
It kind of has to be on the list. Monkeys! Also, the forest is really beautiful.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
I recommend a walk here around sunrise. It's quite the view.
Serenity Eco Guesthouse
This place is the cutest little oasis in Canggu. They have backpacker single rooms for a really good price, so you can get your privacy without blowing your budget. The location is close to the beach, with a nice pool and a cafe with good food. Also - as repeated below, they have two yoga studios.
Farmer's Yard Hostel
Not the most comfortable beds, but it has a great vibe and the evenings are spent jamming in the garden. The staff is the sweetest. If my back wasn't killing me when I was here, I would have stayed longer.
Good value for money, but you need to book far in advance to get a bed or room. Nice people, good food and great surf in the area. German run, most people staying here are either from Germany or Switzerland.
If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be avocados. This place has my dream menu. And the food is great. Eat all them avocados!
One of the places where everyone goes. Good for both breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Indonesian food with a European twist.
Lacalita Bar y Cocina
Delicious mexican food. And the sangria was not bad at all.
Great Indonesian food, and the garden is just beautiful.
Nice studio, with a lot of different classes. Loved the core focused Vinyasa one.
Good food, but you probably want to go here for some of their special events. Like the big party every Sunday, their movie nights or why not Tacos and Tattoos Tuesday.
Wednesdays and Fridays are the big party nights at Old Man's. I've managed to miss all of them, but I've heard the beer pong tournament is lots of fun.
Where the cool kids (and their groupies) hang out. Good drinks and music.
The Island Hotel Bali Hostel
One of my favorite hostels, I've stayed here multiple times. The location is good (quiet, but close to both great restaurants in Seminyak and party life in Kuta, and close to the beach), the staff are the sweetest and they have the most comfortable beds I've slept in during all my travels. The dorm is spacious with an atmosphere that makes it impossible to not make friends here.
I'm here, like, A LOT. Actually writing this while sitting in my favorite spot, having my third coffee, making small talk with the staff. They know me by name.
Come for the breakfasts, stay for the vibe and music.
Another favorite where the staff kind of laughs when they see me (I may have gone there twice on certain days). They have the best coffee I've had in Bali, great food, and the drinks aren't bad either. The AC is a nice bonus, which is not too common and sometimes you do need a break from the 99% humidity.
The food is great, but what makes me come back is the drinks. Their Ginger Martini (yes, I love everything with ginger in it) is liquid gold and they know how to do the perfect Espresso Martini. A bit on the pricy side, but a great place to start your night.
Layali Arabiya Lebanese Restaurant and Lounge
Went here several times, just for the shish tawook, that was simply amazing. The do great hummus as well.
There are not too many yoga places in Seminyak, but this one I can recommend. The studio gets really hot, so I prefer the morning classes. Look closely at the map on the website.
La Favela is a club worth going to just for the decor. Like an inside quirky jungle.
Potato Head Beach Club
Nice place to chill in the pool, have drinks and enjoy the sunset views. Pricy, but worth it.
Sky Garden is a big club with several dance floors. It's a bit on the trashy side, but if you take it for what it is and enjoy dancing, there's a good chance you will have fun here.
White Water Rafting
Not as action filled as I would have thought, but fun and the scenery is beautiful.
Abandoned amusement park (Taman Festival)
I was beyond excited about this one. Abandoned places is a guilty pleasure of mine, which many of my friends can verify. There is a famous abandoned amusement park in Berlin, which I tried going in to, but at the time we were there, the whole area was crowded with guards and dogs. So an amusement park you could just walk right into sounded good to me.
It had its moments and I recommend a visit if you are into slightly spooky places, reclaimed by nature. But it was mainly buildings, no old rollercoasters or other rides that could help you picture what it could have been.
People are apparently really bad at keeping track of their Boeings in Bali. I visited two.
The first one was hidden behind a big fence, and I only got a few snaps from a distance before we got chased out by the security guard. Paying a fee for going closer was not an option. You get photos from above without breaking in.
The other plane was tucked away in the middle of several buildings. This one was easier to get into, we just walked around the fence and couldn't find any security. Not possible to climb it, but still fun.
So, this was some of my favorites. I hope it might be useful for someone!