Happiness in Indonesia is all about celebrating life. How we came to this conclusion we’ve put in our blogpost with all our findings talking to the locals. In this blogpost, we share all the places in Bali to put on your bucketlist.
Indonesia has got 17.000 islands and we would love to visit all. But, we have time and budget constraints so we choose Bali and Flores. Balis because it is more developed and very spiritual. Flores because it is one among the economically least developed parts of Indonesia and consists of a blend of Christian and Muslim. The contradiction between both islands is very interesting for our project happiness around the globe … and they are both beautiful so it is not a big effort visiting these amazing places. In this blogpost we share our places in Bali to put on your bucketlist. Everything about Flores you can read here.
Bali is an amazing island, it still is. Not too big, very spiritual, a lot of nature and the Balinese are very friendly and inspiring. We spend most our time in Canggu, Seminyak, and Ubud. During previous trips, we also explored the black beaches of the north and made trips to Nusa Lembongan.
There is one downside to Bali. The roads are very busy in the southern part of the Island. Once you’ve past Canggu on the east coast or you’re heading up to Ubud it get’s better. So just accept the traffic, don’t get in a hurry, relax and enjoy this majestic place! Before we mention our highlights there is one advice. Wherever you stay on Bali, rent a scooter. Its cheap, its fun and it will take you everywhere! Just be careful. If you don’t want to ride a scooter, Uber taxi is a great and cheap alternative except when trying to get one from the airport. Here are our places in Bali to put on your bucketlist.
Canggu is the new place to be on Bali and it is easy to understand why. Beaches, shops, surfing, Yoga, massages, party-scene and so many great places to eat. And the thing we liked most was that it’s not that crowded … yet. We loved it so much that we spend most of our time in Bali here! There are so many options to spend your night at Bali. We stayed in Gangga Guesthouse which was very good value for money but there is much much more. Just check the daily deals on booking.com or agoda.com and pick your best deal.
Breakfast & Lunch
Nalu Bowls – Our favorite place for breakfast and lunch in Canggu. This amazing place serves deliciously blended bowls that taste good, look beautiful and feel really good in the tummy afterward. They offer free wifi and it’s a really cozy cool space to just sit and chill for a while. I would like to have one of these bowls every day of my life, if possible.
Crate Café – We pretty much went to Crate Café every morning for breakfast. Crate Café really is the ultimate hipster place: here surfers come together for coffee or pink, super healthy juices. For breakfast, there are different Müslis and granola as well as more hearty options like sourdough bread with egg, bacon, and avocado.
Café organic – Café Organic is the formal name but we like there ‘second’ name ‘Garden Gangstas’ a bit more cause it sounds much cooler. Not a budget place but they have a really nice and diverse menu and the food tastes great!
PokePoke – Getting some shopping done in Canggu we passed this place and were attracted by the colourfull swing chair that is the eye catcher of this place. It’s a Canggu-based Hawaiian style street kitchen. For Poke lovers, this is the place to be, from the original version to the Thai Dynamite with sweet and spicy sauce.
Lunch & dinner
Peleton Supershop – You have to take your scooter to get to this combination of a plant-based cafe & bicycle Store but it is worth it. The owners want to share the fun & ease of a conscious lifestyle and call themselves a one-stop planet friendly shop, serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. It’s not only salads here and we had our best veggie burger ever in this place: the jackfruit rendang burger!
Bu Mi and Warung El Passo – Bu Mi and Warung El Passo are some of the best places for delicious local food. Especially Warung el Passo has tucked away from the main roads and loud noises, you’ll find this place an oasis between the rice terraces.
Canteen – We loved Canteen for lunch. The place is rather small but the surfboards on the wall make it really cozy. We generally went for the sandwiches, try the ones with steak or chicken, they are really big and fill you up well. And if you are not in a sandwich mood, the salads are super tasty and breakfast is great as well!
Deus Ex Machina – Who doesn’t know this amazing custom-your-motorbike brand. They have also the hippest caps and in Bali, they also produce custom-built surfboards! But … what we didn’t know was that they also have the hippest bar and restaurants with simply the best burgers on Bali!
The Savage kitchen – To have an all-night-out in style, this is where to go.
This place is beautiful and stylish and we love their concept. It is a wild health-driven food concept that evolves around the way we are supposed to eat. They use regionally sourced and locally grown ingredients from all around Bali.
Take your time here to enjoy an aperitif, a first course, second course, main course, dessert, another dessert, digestif … you will enjoy your evening to the max!
Blogging, remote working & chilling
Ok, sometimes you just need a place with good wifi to do some remote working, blogging, uploading photo’s or updating your instafeed. In Canggu, we loved both Cloud 9 and the Dojo.
Cloud 9 – Cloud 9 is a beautiful spot with rice field view, fast free WiFi and the best juices and food. This was our favorite office with a view spot near Canggu.
Especially for a daydream about the cool van. Must try the apple pie!!
The Dojo – The Dojo is a more formal co-working space with several membership options. So just for 1 or 2 hours, this place is not the place you’re looking for, but to really work remote for a few days, weeks, months … this is where you want to be! Alissa even held a workshop about Happiness for Entrepreneurs.
Chill party & drinks
Old Man’s – Old Man’s is the place to be in Canggu. Before, during and after surfing, and even if you’re not into surfing! It’s a huge open-plan bar and dining space that offers views of the water, perfect for sunset drinks. The food is ok and is a bar-food style so don’t expect anything special.
The lawn – This place is tucked away between the beach and the heart of Canngu. It is an old day beach club like venue with a little more class than the regular places near the beach.
La Brisa – The newest hipster place in Canggu goes by the name of ‘La Brisa’. Like the Lawn and Potatoe Head, this place suits best if you go there for a full day. It is beautifully decorated in a vintage style and feels a bit strange to Bali. It is so popular that reservations are probably required. Beautiful place but we prefer the more traditional places like the Champlung in Seminyak.
There are many surf schools in Canggu so we simply went to the next best one on Batu Bolong Beach, right by Old Man’s. You will recognize the school by the many colorful boards.
The beach is really good for beginners because you have easy access to the water and one side of the beach is entirely free of dangerous cliffs. 2 hours of surf instruction will cost you around 15 Euros, surfboards are available for as little as 5 Euros!
Ubud is the yoga center of Bali but of course, there are also yoga studios in Canggu. Our favorite studios are Samadi Bali, is super nice with its open yoga room, garden and use of wood, Desai Seni Village Resort and the Serenity Eco Guesthouse. There are classes for beginners and more advanced Yogis alike.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Almost every place in Bali has got an all-day dining concept so we put them all in one category.
Sea circus – You’ll find this amazing place on a busy road on the north side of Seminyak. It’s a beach shack that isn’t placed on the beach. The best place for breakfast, lunch, tapas’ and even dinner, but also just for ice cream, a cocktail or coffee. And their bathroom is probably the most photographed one of Bali.
They even have a takeaway coffee window, that also caters to orders for its gourmet gelato and ice cream.
Clean Canteen – Almost every place in Bali has got an all-day dining concept. We loved this place, especially for breakfast and lunch. Their motto is to put passion and love into every dish that fly’s out the kitchen and that is how the food tastes! Not the coziest place to go to as it looks a bit too clean, but they know how to do some magic with food.
Sisterfields – They represent the iconic café culture of Australia, bringing a love of good food and great coffee to the heart of Seminyak, Bali … is how they describe themselves. If this is how the Australian café culture looks like then we love it! Sisterfields serves an all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch menu alongside a wide range of coffees, cakes, and pastries.
Kiln – We stumbled across this restaurant looking for a place to have dinner without having googled for a place to go to. And thank god you still do this sometimes because you will end up in places like this. It is a bar and restaurant, where the food is forged in fire, made for sharing, and inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean. They serve the freshest meats, seafood, and vegetables, all cooked over a fire in their signature copper oven. Here you will experience culinary excellence with good vibes in a spectacular location!
The Shelter rooftop cafe – A nice and relaxing open place on the first floor that is a great place for hanging out in Seminyak. They serve fresh all day breakfast and you can also design your own breakfast. Their smoothie bowls are the best and as it is hidden away from the chaos you will want to stay here just a little longer and take another fresh coconut!
Saigon street – Why eat Vietnamese in Bali?! Because we love Vietnamese food and this place looks great. Vietnamese with a Balinese twist. Not the typical Vietnamese cheap streetfood but it tastes great.
Chill party & drinks
Seminyak is so full of places to chill out and party that it is hard to choose, and it’s up to you to decide what you are in for. Best advice is to go with the flow!
The west coast of Bali has the best sunsets in Asia and the most famous place to enjoy it is at Double Six beach.
Champlung – Our favorite place, and that of many others is the Champlung beach bar. It’s colourfull, has nice lights and almost every afternoon there’s acoustic live music.
Still, the most famous beach clubs in Seminyak are Potato Head and Ku De Ta, but we recommend spending a full luxurious day on the beach to experience it to the fullest.
Strawberry fields – This place was next to the place we stayed in Seminyak, Indah Homestay. Forget healthy food for a few hours and enjoy this non-healthy bar-restaurant full of crazy details.
The best place in Seminyak to go surfing, both for beginners and more advanced, is Double Six beach. You can rent a board for USD 10 and just go and try for yourself. It can get quite busy during peak hours in the afternoon so if you want to have the waves for yourselves or don’t want anybody to see your wipeouts go in the early morning.
In Seminyak, we took a drop-in class at Yoga 108 Bali. The class was extremely good and professional and the yogi was taking really good care of all the students. Other studios we’ve heard positive words about are Olop Iyengar Yoga Studio, Jiwa Yoga, and Yoga Shala.
Imagine yourself the greenest ricefields, the smell of vast green paddy fields all around, stagnant water in the grasses, a series of monozygotic Hindu temples, and neighborhoods so traditional that you feel the needles on your clock running backward. Imagine yourself sipping on artisan coffee or drinking cold-pressed juices, nibbling on crispy fried duck or gobbling up a plate of Nasi Goreng. Put all of this together and that’s how one can begin to describe the beauty that Ubud is.
There are a number of things that we loved about Ubud and we didn’t get the chance to do them all. Here are our highlights of a few days in this magical place.
Things to do in and around Ubud
The first thing you should do is rent a scooter. It is cheap and an amazing way to explore Ubud and its mesmerizing surroundings.
Explore the rice terraces – From Ubud just drive north to the Tegallalang rice terraces. This exquisite terrace is located precisely on the hill bank, with a breathtaking valley panorama with coconut trees.
Witness a bird invasion in Petulu – Every day at sunset, thousands of herons from all over Bali fly to the village of Petulu. This is an incredible and beautiful vision of white to witness. The birds are believed to be the guardians that watch over the villagers and protect them from harm. Just go to the south of the village where there’s a look-out point ideal for bird watching.
Tegenungan waterfall – For waterfall lovers, the Tegenungang waterfall is a must see and do. The rich green surroundings and perfectly flowing fresh water will make a pretty sight for all.
Eating in Ubud
Nalu Bowls – After Seminyak and Changgu now Ubud also has got its own Nalu Bowls. Same concept of tasteful bowls in a laidback environment!
Atman Kafe – Our number 1 breakfast and lunch place in Ubud. We just walked by looking for some breakfast options and were pulled in by the laidback and zen look of the Atman Kafe. It’s a vegan cafe with an amazing menu even if you’re not into vegetarian or vegan. It is a peaceful hideaway where you can relax to the fullest while having some healthy food.
Watercress – This healthy cafe was already a real hot-spot in Seminyak when it opened a place in Ubud. They have it all: Coffee, herbal teas, smoothies and juices, and of course all day breakfasts! They even have their own wine bar located upstairs!
Cafe Lotus – This is one of our favorite places to have dinner in Ubud and it’s not hard to see why. The place looks out over an immense lotus pond bordered by tall flowering trees. A more luxurious option to have dinner.
Bridges – The place for a whole night out in style! Start around four p.m. with an aperitif in the bar with an amazing view at the bridge and jungle and continue at the restaurant for a 3, 4, 5 or even a 6-course meal. It is a little more expensive but worth it. Leave your flipflops home and dress up for the evening, you won’t regret.
Paradiso Ubud – A unique concept café in Ubud not only serves up vegan and vegetarian gastronomical delights at affordable rates but also has an in-house cinema you can enjoy while eating.
Blogging, remote working & chilling
Hubud Coworking space – Like the Dojo in Canggu, the Hubud coworking space in Bali is not just to pop in for a cup of coffee and some good Wifi for a few hours. According to the Guardian Online, co-working spaces are springing up all over the world )including Ubud’s very own Hubud. It is a really traditional, relaxed two-floor bamboo location.
We only stayed for a few days in Bali so we didn’t get much yoga done. But based on some local yogis our top picks for yoga in Ubud are the Yoga Barn, radiantly alive and the Ubud Yoga house.
places in Bali to put on your bucketlist