If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind destination for your next getaway, look no further than Bali, Indonesia. Known for it’s breathtaking beauty and mindfulness retreats, you will find no shortage of attractions here to keep you feeling refreshed, renewed, and grateful. To bring you the best of what this island gem has to offer, we buddied up with Director of Bisma Eight boutique hotel, Tarun Melwani, to give us all the best recs (can you say Monkey Forrest Sanctuary?). Selamat jalan!
The destination known as The Island of the Gods is inspired by the installations of iconic temple complexes, ornate pagodas, and spellbinding rituals that surround the many hamlets and villages. The respect for the divine is embodied in the spiritual events that take hold in the form of daily life, a rich cultural fabric that is weaved into and embedded into the hearts of the Balinese.
And that is only where the magic of Bali begins. Bali is so much more than a cultural cornucopia; it is a world-class tourist destination offering a stark variety of landscapes, sights, and experiences for people of all interests and ages. Come with us as we take a few moments to uncover and explore the stunning destinations and neighborhoods that make up Bali’s finest sights and experiences.
Tiger Palm – Helmed by the fabled Will Meyrick, this Malaysian-themed restaurant in Seminyak Village sources the roots of its recipes from his visits and experiments with the finest street stall chefs in South East Asia. What results is a reinterpreted yet elevated presentation of hearty classics of rich Penang curries, vermicelli noodles, and line-caught fish, while still keeping true to the nature and intentions of the cuisine’s masters and origins.
Nalu Bowls – Stroll along Jalan Drupadi in Seminyak and discover their highly sought-after tropical smoothies. Made from fresh, local, and sustainable ingredients, with offerings and toppings like dragon fruit, raspberry, mango, bee pollen, chia seeds, and like the Uluwatu to name a few, the delights are served in wooden coconut-shaped husks out of an upcycled, white-washed beach shack catering primarily to surfers and beachgoers as an alternative and nutritious post-surf respite.
Bale Udang – Loved by locals, expats, first timers, and return visitors alike, this favorite haunt in Kuta showcases the finest of Indonesian cuisine culture by providing rich culinary offerings like succulent satays, honey grilled prawn, spicy fried carp with crunchy red paste, and punchy rice dishes. The restaurant is modeled after rural and rustic chalets surrounded by fish ponds teeming with koi and flanked by bucolic landscapes and lush greenery to create an unforgettable experience and a great first impression to what a country’s holistic experience has to offer.
Copper Kitchen & Bar – A famous restaurant in Ubud that houses its own organic farm and serves up contemporary Western while paying homage to Ubud’s farmers and surroundings. Favorites such as the free range pork belly with celeriac and apple remoulade and the confit local duck leg with pickled rosella are not only thoughtful but extremely fresh. Produce is all sourced locally, while drinks such as the Mexican barrel-aged Manhattan and honeysuckle piscos are inspired by the thorough approach of the old world. The experience is aptly heightened by the surrounding lush valleys, rice paddies, and starry, starry skies.
Folk Ubud – Arguably the best brunch spot in Bali, this quaint little mudhouse-themed coffee shop serves elevated breakfast favorites, including the likes of smashed avo and poached egg on house-made sourdough, fruity acai bowls, and juicy soft shell crab burgers. Oh and their bloody marys pack a serious tropical punch and is the perfect accompaniment to those sunny tropical afternoons. Great with groups and friends.
Bisma Eight – Ubud’s most talked about boutique hotel is located between the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary and Ubud Market. Touches like handcrafted Japanese-inspired cedar wooden tubs, a lofty living space, and nods to Balinese art and craftsmanship make a stay here feel understated yet luxurious. With a temperature-controlled pool facing stunning views of the neighboring rice terraces, lush forest valleys, mountain range, and the majestic Agung Volcano, this hotel experience is not one to miss.
Peppers Seminyak – Known for its winding tropical pathways, landscaped pools and ponds, and spaciously designed luxury villas, this well-manicured resort in Petitenget gives one a home away from home feeling. Service is attentive but not intrusive, and is a favorite spot for short stays, weekend getaways, and when traveling with groups. Spend time walking around this area and you will find a lovely selection of shops and cafes.
The Ungasan – The Greek-meets-Bali inspired resort offers a jaw dropping view of the sweeping Indian ocean and an accessible surfer beach from the compound’s private funicular train that leads to a thoughtful beach club. It will not only harbor and sweep you away for countless hours but also provide you with an envy-inducing Instagram opportunity like no other.
Frii Echo Beach – Located near the famous Canggu beaches of Batu Bolong and Berawa, this surfer’s hotel has a killer sundeck with communal bench chairs, beanbags, almost like a tropical co-working space, with rooms that are finished in a very tropical Miami theme, complete with surfboard racks, and scooters with racks on hire. During downtime, visit the many beach clubs nearby, such as Old Man’s and Finn’s.
Bamboo Blonde – the ideal beach and party wear shop on Jalan Raya Seminyak offers tropical and indigenous inspired playsuits, dresses, skirts, and accessories and has just the right mix to let you shine in between checking out the best parties, getting sun-kissed, and indulging in a daily dose of vitamin sea.
Uluwatu – Walk into the leading lace designer outlet in Bali and get ready to splurge on wavy, tropical, and lightly hued dresses and skirts fit for various occasions. And for those who would like to extend the effortless look and feel to the home, the store also stocks a variety of fine table and bed linens. Multiple locations in Seminyak, Kuta, and Ubud are available.
Biasa – The retail favorite on Jalan Raya Seminyak is known for its deconstructed and unique kaftans, drapes, dressed, and tunics created in lightweight, natural fabric, with a combination of creative cuts and artisanal details ideal for tropical destinations and warm weather. The impression, look and feel you get is a gentle and sophisticated elegance.
Threads of Life Ubud – This quaint little workshop on Jalan Kajeng houses rare and intricate textiles sourced from hardworking, passionate women from throughout the Indonesian archipelago, representing the various age-old cultural techniques of dyeing, weaving, and sowing to create beautiful wearables and household accessories alike.
Tanah Lot – One of the most frequented sites, this famous temple on the sea is around 20 kilometers north-west of the capital Denpasar and is separated by the long tide of the ocean and the rock island on which it sits. The gushing of waves crashing onto jagged rocks and skittering black sand is a sight to behold during both the high tide for when it’s calmer, and low tide, for when an open passage to the sacred temple itself is revealed. And if mother nature is on your side, those epic purply-orange hued Bali sunsets will surely appear…and dazzle.
Uluwatu Kecak Dance – Believed by the locals to be one of Bali’s spiritual pillars, the temple sits 70 meters above sea level, with views overlooking the Indian Ocean and boisterous waves caressing cavernous limestone rocks. Around sunset, a Kecak dance, based on the epic Hindu tale Ramayana, is held by the community and is a symbol of a battle of good over evil, complete with an ending spectacular lightshow that aims to please and enthrall.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary – Housing a colony of long-tailed macaques, this awe-inspiring sanctuary built on rock, wild moss, and ancient temples not only offers a stroll into a wildlife environment in the center of Ubud, but has scientific research and conservation projects to learn more about the relationship of macaques and the environment and humans.
Yoga Barn – A wellness institution that has sparked both a dynamic cult following and highly communal feel that focuses and favors health and yoga activities. The setting is very open and natural and is practically reminiscent of scenes out of a Tomb Raider movie.
Bali will always remain in your heart, and you will always yearn to come back and embrace it. It will always embrace you.
Images via: Booked.net, Bisma Eight, Linked Sites