Maria Hedian
Maria Hedian
New York City, New York State, USA
Solo Traveler | Event Producer | Marketing Creative

The Ultimate Bali Guide

Visiting Bali was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had in my life. The island is full of breathtaking sights and sounds. Each city in the area has its own characteristic and is special in its own way. To that end, I have compiled a guide of my favorite cities in Bali, to help you better navigate your way through all of the different areas. We start at the busy city of Seminyak for some shopping and great eats, followed by my favorite place in all of Bali - Canggu, for a more relaxed surfer-town experience by the beach. Then we head to Ubud where I take you through temples, waterfalls and even a mountain climb. Finally, the tour ends in Uluwatu, where the day- resorts are plentiful and the sunset spots take your breath away. Overall, Bali is a place of many different experiences where one can relax, meditate, party or simply fall in love with the friendly people, spectacular views and out-of-this-world temples. 
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1. Flea Market Oberoi

Oberoi Street, Seminyak, Indonesia

Large flea market with many different stalls/kiosks selling everything from clothing to purses to souvenirs. It didn't have too many people the day I visited, which was great for shopping. I found a few dresses I loved. They have mirrors so you can try on and you can negotiate prices for everything. Many of the stalls had similar styles of clothing but everyone was very friendly and willing to accommodate whatever your needs were. Went back twice, it was a great little shopping area.

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2. Zibiru

Jalan Drupadi 7, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Beautiful Italian restaurant off of the main road in Seminyak. Came here my first night in Bali and it did not disappoint. Ordered the arugula salad and asked for a customized vegetarian dish. They were more than happy to accommodate - the chef even came out to make sure everything was ok! Loved the vibe, prices were good and there was even live Italian music. Definitely recommend to anyone visiting the area!

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3. Lacalaca Cantina Mexicana

1 Jalan Drupadi, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Cool Mexican restaurant off of the main road in Seminyak. Margaritas were pretty sweet but still delicious. Ordered nachos with guacamole for appetizer and fajitas for main dish. Both were so good! Service is extremely friendly and attentive. Restaurant itself is very big and has a variety of seats available (high tops, regular tables and couches). Loved the ambiance and the Mexican music.

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4. Bali Shadow Tattoo

Jl. Dhyana Pura No.17, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Bali Shadow Tattoo came highly recommended by the salon across the street. They mentioned that the artist had competed in a tattoo art contest in Australia and won first place. When I walked in, the place looked small but very clean. Music was playing loudly but it made the ambiance relaxing and gave it an at-home feeling. The artist worked closely with me to make sure I was happy with my design. I brought a picture on my phone and he created it but also added his suggestions to make it even better. He went above and beyond to make sure I absolutely loved my design before getting started. It made me feel so comfortable! When it came time to actual get the tattoo, he asked me to open my own needle package to ensure that it was sealed. Everything was extremely professional but also very relaxed. I loved it so much I ended up getting 2 separate tattoos! Highly highly recommend Bali Shadow. They are truly the best.

5. La Karma Spa Seminyak

Jl. Camplung Tanduk No.15X, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Wonderful spa where you can get absolutely everything done! Went a total of 4 times on my last trip, that's how good they were. They were having a wonderful summer special where you could bundle a 1hr massage, gel manicure and pedicure for about $18 USD. Massage was perfect, they ask you how strong you want it to be. Then the 'express' mani/pedi as they called it meant they had two people working on you at the same time, one on your feet and the other on your hands. Overall, you feel like a princess and leave feeling so relaxed. They also offer other services like eyelash dying and extension. I didn't get it, but saw many people come in and leave once they had it done while getting my nails done. Everyone looked amazing and left very happy. I can't recommend them enough. They were the sweetest staff and very professional.

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6. Pande Homestay

Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong no. 1, Canggu, Bali 80361, Indonesia

One of the most beautiful homestays I stayed at while visiting Bali. Centrally located, it was the perfect distance to shops, restaurants and markets. The family who owns the homestay was also extremely friendly - ask for Grumpy! He will take you anywhere you need to go while also giving you a wonderful history lesson about each place, he's extremely knowledgeable. You can rent motorbikes through them at a small fee. The room was huge and so clean. A large terrace provides the perfect place to watch the sunset - the view is incredible! Highly recommend staying at Pande, it was wonderful!

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7. La Brisa Bali

Jl. Pantai Batu Mejan, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

La Brisa has all of the right elements to make it an incredible place. It is huge with a beautiful pool, lots of picturesque places and private access to the beach. All of these things are the reason they got the 2 stars I gave. However, there is a high cover to get in that later goes towards your bill. Unfortunately, the menu isn't very extensive and we ended up having to order french fries and bread with some drinks to make the cover amount. Additionally, the staff is too attentive - to the point of being annoying. They would stand around and just watch you, waiting for you to literally take off the straw wrapper or take that last bite before rushing to grab things out of your way. It felt like you are being watched the entire time. Then when it was time to watch the sunset, we moved down to the beach area to sit on bean bags and left our stuff at our table in the meantime. The staff looked so confused, you would have thought we were trying to leave. I didn't enjoy my time here at all and it's a shame because the actual resort is beautiful.

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8. Peekaboo

Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No.72, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

The coolest restaurant in Canggu! There is artwork in the form of Banksy-ish street art that fills the entire place. The vibe is modern and trendy with mostly white furnishings. The food is ridiculously good. I ordered scrambled eggs on toast with an iced latte, my friend ordered a smoothie bowl and we split banana pancakes with honey. The presentation was beautiful, service was on point and so friendly and the place had the best vibe. If you are in the area, you must stop in - even if it's just for a picture!

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9. Finn's Beach Club

Jl Pantai Selatan Gau | Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan, Bali 80362, Indonesia

Cool beach club and resort to spend the day at. Note: you have to go early - like before they open the pool - to reserve your spot for a daybed. It's no joke. Drinks are pricey but it's to be expected with a place of this size. Awesome music is played throughout the day and it gets pretty packed. The infinity pool is huge and the service is friendly, like most of Bali! The resort itself is quite touristy, so if a local experience in Canggu is what you're looking for, this is not the place for you. However, if you want to relax and enjoy the view - definitely stop by for a few hours and lounge!

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10. Nalu Bowls Dojo Bali

Jl. Batu Mejan No.88, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Bandung, Bali 80316, Indonesia

Nalu Bowls is my favorite cafe in all of Bali. We loved it so much that we followed it around in all of the cities it is available in. All of the food is just so fresh, the bowls are cold and refreshing but also very filling. They make the bowls to absolute perfection. My go-to is the Maverick bowl. Most Nalu Bowls have a restaurant connected to them that offer other breakfast foods for anyone that wants something larger. The staff is always so friendly and the environment is cool and relaxed. I can't recommend this place enough. Go to Nalu Bowls and see for yourself! In addition to Canggu, they have locations in Seminyak and Uluwatu.

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11. Cafe Vida

Jl. Raya Batu Bolong No. 38A, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Spacious and beautiful cafe situated in the center of the city. Large menu - so large you want to order everything just to try it all because it sounds so good. We settled on breakfast bowls, some scrambled eggs and toast. The eggs were delicious. The bowls, while absolutely beautiful, were very watery and lacked thickness. Staff a bit on the slow side, it took a while to get our food, but they were very friendly.

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12. Taco Casa Canggu

on the way to Echo Beach, Jl. Batu Mejan, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361,

Another chain of restaurants that are at the very very top of my favorites list in Bali. Taco Casa is incredible at making the freshest, most delicious Mexican food. Their service is very fast and friendly. Everything is made on the spot and you can tell because the taste is incredible. Their quesadillas are to die for and their nachos are even better. I can't recommend this place enough. Take out and delivery are available. They have locations in Ubud and Seminyak as well as in Canggu. You better believe all of them were visited (more than once)!

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13. Waterfall Kantolampo

Beng, Gianyar Sub-District, Gianyar, Bali 80513, Indonesia

Beautiful waterfalls that are not as crowded as the others in the area, it almost feels like your own private area. There are Balinese men standing around waiting for you to ask if they can take pictures and they happily do for a tip. This is extremely helpful as it's not easy getting up onto the waterfalls and especially posing on the slippery rocks. There are plenty of areas for Instagram-worthy pictures. It is a quiet and very relaxing place. I definitely recommend for anyone wanting to see a waterfall without all of the tourist traffic the other better-known waterfalls seems to have.

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14. Sahadewa House

Jl Sahadewa No 03 Banjar Kalah, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Beautiful homestay a few minutes from the center of the city. It's a very quiet area, so much so that it feels as though you are in a completely different world. The grounds are absolutely beautiful with various statues and prayer areas. A delicious breakfast is included everyday and the rooms are quite spacious. Huge bathrooms that have an open ceiling which is nice in the morning when you can hear birds chirping as you shower. The owners are a very kind family that is always available to help you, including to take you anywhere you need to go for a great price. Highly recommend staying here on your next trip to Ubud.

15. Liyer House

Jl. Raya Pengosekan, Br. Pengosekan Kaja, Mas, Ubud, MAS, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Have you ever read the book (or watched the Julia Roberts movie) Eat, Pray, Love? If so, you know that this is the house of the 10th generation medicine man the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, visits on her trip to Bali. I am a huge fan of the book and movie, so naturally I had to visit the Liyer House while in Ubud. The house itself is huge. There are large beautiful prayer areas and even a homestay in the back. Ketut, from the book/movie, passed away a few years ago but his son is now the person who does the readings. It was 200,000rp but I was told many things that were spot on with my life, personality and feelings. I left there completely shocked and amazed. My friend came with me for support (she said she didn't believe in those things but would come with me) and after seeing my reaction and hearing what the man told me, she also did a reading and left equally as amazed.

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16. Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking

Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud 80571, Indonesia

If you google 'Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking' you will find many blogs and reviews that will tell you the hike is no big deal, just like running on your treadmill on a high incline for a few minutes. Try 3 hours each way. On completely uneven and slippery surfaces (dirt, rocks, almost sand-like) along a completely slanted terrain. With a recently fractured / recovering ankle. Trekking this mountain was definitely an experience. You are picked up at 1:30am from your hotel, given coffee and some cake for 'breakfast' and then brought to the foot of the mountain which is about a 2 hour drive from Ubud. From there, the trek is 3 hours on foot until you reach the top for a spectacular sunrise. Seeing the sun rise was breathtaking. The tour group provides a small lunch which consists of a boiled egg, a slice of bread, jam and a banana. The way down is even harder and scarier as hundreds of people are behind you also coming down. Overall, it is one of the most intense experiences I have ever gone through but well worth it for the view.

17. Dandelion

Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.10, Canggu, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Dandelion is a beautiful restaurant right in the center of the city. We ventured into it on our first night in Canggu as it was close to our homestay and we were starving! I am so happy we found it. The restaurant itself is so beautiful. It is classic and spacious. There is an upstairs that is cozy with rooms that have many books and an outdoor space where you can look over a rice field as you eat, drink or hang with friends. The food is traditional Balinese and is absolutely delicious. The staff is very very friendly and go above and beyond to make sure your visit is memorable. I highly recommend to anyone visiting Canggu.

18. The Pond Pool Club

Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud No.63 X, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Beautiful resort in the middle of Ubud. Spent the day here by the pool on our first day in this crowded city. It was a nice way to relax as it feels as though you are in a different place, a much quieter place. The infinity pool is lovely as are the grounds. The resort itself is very large with lots of friendly staff working. Food and drinks are pricey, but that seems to be the case all around Bali at these day resorts. This one in particular was not as crowded as the others, we were able to secure a day bed with ease. Recommend for a nice relaxing escape while in Ubud.

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19. Kafe Arma

ARMA Museum & Resort, Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Stopped by one night for a few drinks with friends. There was a live DJ and excellent music to dance to. The drinks were well made (not watered down at all!) and the staff was very friendly. It was a great place for drinks and to just relax and have a great time. The food at other tables looked very good, but we did not have any. Overall, recommend for a night of drinking and dancing with friends in a local setting.

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20. Jl. Hanoman

Jl. Hanoman, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

The main street in Ubud, Jl. Hanoman is full of amazing little boutiques, restaurants and spas! I loved walking down this street and stopping in to see all of the different beautiful stores with traditional Balinese products. There are various cute little cafes, including my favorite - Kafe, which offers delicious healthy food at an amazing price. There is also a temple on the way and many areas for prayer. If you are walking around the sunset, you will see ceremonies being performed as you walk down the street. Take it all in, it is one of the most lively streets in Ubud.

21. Ulu Cliffhouse

Jalan Labuansait No.315 Padang-Padang, Uluwatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Amazing resort and restaurant literally situated on the edge of a cliff giving visitors breathtaking views at sunset. Food is delicious, there is a live DJ at night and pool access never ends!

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22. Pura Lempuyang

On top of Mt. Lempuyang, Indonesia

While this is definitely a tourist trap, if you get there early enough - it doesn't have to be. About an hour and a half drive from Ubud, Pura Lempuyang - or Heaven's Gates as many tourists call it, is one of Bali's more beautiful temples. Getting there is a bit of a challenge as you have to be driven up part of the way, you must cover your legs and shoulders with a wrap or sirong before heading up and then you have to climb up a steep hill before reaching the beautiful temple. All visitors must wait off to the side in a covered waiting area as those in front of you get their chance to take their picture, each has 3 poses plus a jump pose. Use this waiting time to think of your poses! Also, warning that people are all watching you as you do this - just in case you're shy. The pictures come out amazing, so it is totally worth the wait. Lines can get ridiculously long though, so make sure to come as early as possible.

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23. Sunset Point Uluwatu

Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80361, Indonesia

A secret surfer's paradise/bar on a cliff with spectacular views - especially at sunset. There is a small bar (cash only) that serves beer and spirits and some bar food. There are lots of bean bags all around so you can sit and make yourself comfortable. Music plays loudly but since it is such an open area, it is not uncomfortable or annoying. There is also a pool off to the side where you can enjoy the music and view while watching the incredible view. It's a little hard to get to, especially on motorbike as the roads are not smooth at all. It's also a bit off the beaten track and hard to find, but is also not crowded for that very same reason. Very chill and laid back spot with amazing sunset views.

24. The Mango Tree Cafe

Jl. Labuhan Sait | Padang Padang, Pecatu, Bali, Indonesia

Pretty Mexican spot in Uluwatu on a busy street with lots of other restaurants, boutiques and stores. Restaurant has green foliage and trees all around which makes for a very interesting place. Food is not bad and place is always full. Unfortunately, there are a ton of flies all around due to the nature of the restaurant (with all the trees) which I didn't like. Service was friendly and quick and prices were very reasonable.

25. Laniakea Spa Bali

Jl. Labuansait, Pecatu, pecatu padang padang, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80364, Indonesia

Beautiful spa with many different packages available. I did the 1hr massage with a full body scrub. It was one of the most relaxing experiences I had in Bali! When you are laying face down, there are flowers on the bottom of the bed that you not only can look at but can also smell while your back is getting massaged. There is a large shower area to rinse off after the scrub as well. The overall ambiance of the spa is amazing and extremely relaxing. I did not have enough cash and they were kind enough to say, just come back later or tomorrow with the rest of the money - no problem. I was so happy I came back the next day for another massage!

Last updated at Nov 27, 2018