Best of Bali Guide

 

bali- the island of gods

I’m in awe of use how beautiful and spiritual this island is. The locals here are predominantly Hindu and their unique breed of Hinduism is an active part of the Balinese lifestyle. Walking down the streets you’ll see flower offerings in front of every shop and small altars in front of homes and guest houses. Processions of Balinese people, all in white, gather at the temple several times a week- there always seems to be a festival or holiday going on.

This spirituality is one of my favorite things about Bali. In NYC, I’m soaked everyday with a certain American orientation about life: getting ahead, pushing and working your ass off for your job, your body and everything else. It isn't just what’s expected. Your hustle is a badge of honor. 

When we'd do anything for the goal, people tend to use each other, get addicted, escape, lash out, struggle privately or erupt publicly. The how, the why, the process, are all secondary questions.

So to bathe myself in a culture where people value the sacred, the yin… I sigh just thinking about it, my heart softens. I’m writing this blog post in a little cafe in NYC wishing I was in Bali.

Below are some of my favorite places in Bali, I highly encourage you to visit Bali and see them yourself.


KUTA/SEMINYAK

Close to Denpasar Airport is Kuta/Seminyak. This area is very Western, perhaps a little too touristy for the 'authentic' experience, but nonetheless worth checking out, at least for a day or two. This is the largest shopping area and hosts some of my favorite cafes. Rent a scooter and take a day to shop and eat. Recommended for people who still want a bit of a city vibe and Western luxuries. You can find reasonably priced hotels and villas here. The northern area near Revolver Espresso, Principle Bali, Bo & Bun and Yoga 108 is a hotspot with a lot going on. South, near Crumb & Coaster and Paper Boy is a little quieter.

Fav place to stay: Villa Ley / villas in the area are beautiful & unique to Bali. Stay at hotels near the beach for nightlife.

Fav place to eat: Sisterfields Cafe, Crumb & Coaster - If you're basic like me and love a good avocado toast with a matcha latte... these are the places to go. Gorgeous, healthy food at super affordable prices. Order a whole coconut while you're at it.

Where to practice: Yoga 108 Bali, small studio on the second floor. Centrally located and very Hatha/Ashtanga.

Best thing to do: Be a tourist! Meet Australians. Shop, eat & nightlife.

Pro tip: Use the Grab app for affordable taxis and watch out for traffic! As you get closer to the beach the traffic can be stop and go in the afternoon/night. Always travel in the morning or rent a bike.

 

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Paper Boy Cafe

Down a small street in Kuta is this cute gem. I loved their wellness shots, watermelon juice, and classic avocado brunch toast.

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Crumb & Coaster

Right across the street from Paper Boy is this busy neighbor. We've had to wait to be seated a few times here, but the food is excellent. I had the Yogi Breakfast several times and loved it. Check them out on their beautiful insta account.

Must Do: Rent a villa! This place was called Villa Ley.


CANGGU

I love Canggu. It's my favorite city.

Canggu is a cute surfer town that has started to flesh out the last couple of years. It has a variety of vegan/vegetarian cafes, the hands-down BEST curated shops and boutiques, and chill, surfer vibes. It's quieter than the ultra-packed and touristy Seminyak. Here you'll find some of the most attractive people- boho women and surfer guys ;) Everything here is instagrammable.

Fav place to stay: I stayed at a super fancy villa as a wedding guest. I would stay at the Aston if I was staying alone or at another guesthouse/ villa on Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong road. When you book, stay close to this road or a direct offshoot. I made the mistake of booking a guest house geographically close, but with no direct road. It ended up taking 20 min. for me to get into the city everyday.

Fav place to eat:  @cafeorganic was my absolute favorite - everything I ordered was fresh and delicious. See the video below! I also loved @the.slow which has a gallery and beautiful, minimal interior design. Watch the sunset and grab a mocktail on their rooftop.  My meat loving friends loved the coconut fried chicken burger at @peakaboo_canggu.

Where to practice: There are a couple of different yoga studios here based on what you like- I loved the ocean vibes of @odysseymvmt and next time I want to try @nirvanastrength for gymnastic strength training. The Practice is a huge shala and super beautiful while Samadhi Bali has more traditional classes.

Best thing to do: Shop! I loved @les.basics and bought so much jewelry from @monsieurblonde. Their moon choker is my new staple.  

Pro tip: The surfing here can be a bit too intense for complete beginners like me, but if you don't mind taking a day off or two whenever the tides are too high, you can get a basic lesson here for $15/2 hours. I had fun just learning how to stand up on the long board.

Click this image to go to my Bali Guide on Google Maps!

Click this image to go to my Bali Guide on Google Maps!

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Canggu Villas

There are some beautiful villas here in Canggu! If you come with a lot of friends it may be worth it to book an epic villa a little farther away from the main center. You'll also find barebone guesthouses everywhere that act as social hubs.

My favorite Cafe Organic in Canggu! All vegetarian. I was traveling with a pretty big meat eater and HE was the one that wanted to come back here! Their insta has 100k+ followers— if you want pretty and delicious food, come here!

I took the Odyssey Surge class- a power flow style that was flexible enough to incorporate handstands and everything else I wanted to do! They also teach HIIT here and if I was staying for longer, I would definitely try those too! PS. They’re located right around the corner from Cafe Organic so if you’re scared of using a bike or don’t have one… it’s walking distance!


UBUD

Ubud is the yoga Mecca of the world. I knew several other yogis who were in town at the same time and inevitably we all passed through Ubud. 

Ubud is a collection of tiny shops on a couple of windy roads. The traffic is horrid, so book near Jl. Hanoman to stay within walking distance of the city center. I loved the area in the north near Radiantly Alive, they had several cute vegetarian cafes nearby and of course I practiced yoga at Radiantly Alive. 

Ubud is also a cultural hub with major temples and landmarks nearby. If you don't mind a little bit more grunge and granola, this is the city for you- or escape the grunge and stay just outside of Ubud at one of the nearby 5 star hotels.

Click this image to go to my Bali Guide on Google Maps!

Click this image to go to my Bali Guide on Google Maps!

These were taken at Bali Swing! Again, go in the morning before the crowds and the heat. And if you want to take THE bali swing photo, make sure you go on the less extreme swing!

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Monkey Forest

A must visit right in the heart of Ubud is this jungle temple. Make sure you don't have any jewelry on you or food in your bag, they will UNZIP your backpack to get to it and take the glasses right off your head!

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Karsa Spa

Make a reservation in advance, this spa books out! I loved the aromatic flower bath and my friend relieved a ton of tension with a deep tissue massage. The spa itself overlooks a rice terrace and is right next to the Campuhan Ridge Walk.

Super fun inversions masterclass with Dyce at Radiantly Alive.

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Melting Wok Warung

Best Indonesian Food in Bali. They don't have a written menu, just a couple of dishes and a special of the day. Maybe that's their secret? Everything on the menu was amazing. I went back MULTIPLE times to get their coconut curry.

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Rice Terraces

This was actually taken in Canggu! But definitely visit the most extensive rice terraces in Bali, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Go in the morning before the crowds.


There are definitely more areas to explore in Bali, these are just my favorite! Let me know if you end up visiting them or if you have your own Bali favorites to add.

Much love,

Em

 
Emily ChenComment