The Ultimate Bali Guide
Bali has been a popular Indonesian destination for many people around the world and it’s easy to see why! Ever since the renowned novel and film, Eat, Pray, Love, every traveler has been determined to come here with the hopes of doing some soul searching. From its list of idyllic beaches, terraced rice fields and exotic sunsets, there is so much to see and experience on this beautiful island.
There are plenty of things to do in Bali and whether you start your mornings surfing or stretching in a yoga class, your entire day will be spent exploring the untouched beauty of Bali’s natural surroundings.
A big mistake that some people make when coming to Bali is sticking to one main area. There are so many different regions of Bali that are worth exploring. The spiritual yogis will head to Ubud while the surfer’s will be taking advantage of the idyllic beaches of Uluwatu. Those who venture to Canggu are ready to fully embrace the laid back Bali lifestyle and those who want to experience Indonesian culture will head to the busy foodie hub, Seminyak. And then when you’re done exploring the main island, travelers searching for paradise away from paradise will venture to the Gili T islands, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida. No matter what you do or where you devide , there is a place for everyone.
We have listed some of the best destinations in Bali experience surfing, yoga, meditation, trekking, delicious food and amazing nightlife.
Influenced heavily by tourism, Canggu is famous for its hubs of cute cafes, hip bars and vegan restaurants. Yoga and surfing are the best things to do here and you should take advantage of it! One of the most up and coming spots in Bali, Canggu has come a long way from hotel shacks on rice paddies and a few local warungs where food poisoning was almost always a risk. But Canggu has thrived the last few years and is now THE place to be in Bali.
Where to Stay
We were invited by family friends to their beautiful newly-furnished Bali home in the remote rice fields of Canggu. Of course, the head of the household is a world-renowned celebrity chef in Singapore…so you could imagine how difficult it was to leave the house.
We did, however, manage to wine and dine and spend the day in some of Canggu’s infamous hotels. When it comes to finding the best hotels in Canggu, there are more than plenty to choose from. As always, we have included options ranging from the best hotels in the area to the top quality hostels.
Check out these awesome places to book your stay in Canggu
What to Do
Surfing in Canggu
You have got to do it. Whether you are an experienced surfer or have never taken a board out into the water, this is the place to do it. Canggu first came onto the radar when surfers started exploring the coast of Bali.
Batu Balong is the main surf spot in the area with some of the most consistent waves on the shoreline. If you want to escape the crowds, there are some surf shops by Berawa and once you finish your morning building up an appetite from surfing you can head down to Finns Beach Club and spend the rest of your day at this swanky beach club. Old Man’s is between Batu Balong and Echo Beach -but be careful not to hit the reef when riding your board close to shore! One of the last famous beaches is Echo Beach which offers both a reef and a beach break.
Tip: Right by Old Man’s Cafe you’ll find a few surf shops down the shoreline. Our favorite spot to rent boards and take a lesson was with this small surf shop just before the road takes you left towards Old Man’s Café.
We had surfed before in California, Australia and Hawaii but the lessons we took with these guys were definitely the best. They let you know the best areas and times to go and make your lesson worth the while!
Take a Yoga Class
There are a ton of yoga places all around Canggu, each one offering a different experience in Bali. There are a few famous places like Desa Seni and the Practice but my absolute favorite place was Udara Yoga.
Udara was right down the beach from where we were staying and it offers the most beautiful views of the ocean. It is an integrated healing yoga resort offering retreat, wellness and detox lifestyle. Nestled between the Indian ocean, rice fields and surrounded with ancient temples, Udara has everything from three beautiful yoga rooms, a spa with water healing pool, a sauna, herbal steam room, jacuzzi, ice water plunge and a meditation cave.
Other central and popular yoga hubs:
Tanah Lot Temple
This beautiful temple was actually just a short bikeride away from the house we were staying in. Tanah Lot is among the island’s most iconic temples and is positioned on top of a rock and surrounded by the waves of the open sea that constantly crash against its base. The temple is scenic by day against the blue ocean and sky but the best time to go is definitely during their dramatic sunsets.
Though easily accessible from Ubud, the Tibumana waterfall is about an hour and a half from Canggu but is well worth the trek. It is one of the most beautiful hidden waterfalls and only a few people really know about it. Surrounding the waterfall you’ll find rice fields and palm trees!
Hike Mount Batur at Sunrise
Kintamani is a mountain village in central Bali home to Mount Batur which is Bali’s second tallest peak. The still-active Mount Batur volcano erupted about 24 times since 1800, each time reshaping the surrounding landscape. It’s popular among mountain hikers, with early sunrises from the ridges being its highlight. You would have to depart from Canggu at 2am but once you hike this famous volcano for sunrise-it is absolutely stunning.
Indulge yourself with some pampering at one of Canggu’s many famous spas. You get the best quality hair masks, facials and back massages for some of the most affordable prices. Many of the spas are designed by famous Indonesian architects to inspire nature in the overall atmosphere of these luxurious oases.
Here are some of the best spas in Canggu
COMO Shambhala Retreat
K by Karima
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Not technically located in Canggu, the Jatiluwih rice terraces offers one of the island’s most famous rice field landscapes. The Hatiluwih rice terraces comprise over 600 hectares of rice fields underneath the Batukaru mountain range.
Canggu Beach Clubs
No trip to Canggu would be fulfilled without a day trip to one of Canggu’s many famous beach clubs. Expect high quality restaurants, famous world DJs and infinity pools. Whether you are there for a party or would like to kick back and take in the beautiful views of Bali, these beach clubs are all the hype.
Here are some of the best beach clubs in Canggu
Alternative Beach Club
Located in the uplands of Bali, Ubud has a completely different atmosphere from Canggu and Seminyak. Known as the cultural capital of the island, Ubud is filled with colorful art galleries, decorated temples, and urban jungles set against valleys and rice field terraces all over the area. Ubud is also home to some of the finest dining in Bali and there are a wealth of amazing restaurants that cater to every craving and diet.
Where to Stay
We stayed in this gorgeous villa overlooking the rice paddies of Ubud that we booked through AirBnB. The villa was located in the hills and forest of East Ubud and is hidden deep in the beautiful lush gardens. The owners of the villa hotel are actually art collectors which you can see from the way each room and space is tastefully decorated in magnificent works of art.
Other places worth booking…
What to do
Campuhan Ridge Walk
Perfect for enjoying a proper sunset, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is about an hour long with the most gorgeous views and offers the best scenery out of town. The walk takes you through a lush area of gorgeous hills which overlook valleys and some less developed areas of Ubud.
This beautiful jungle is a sanctuary for monkeys to come and go as they please. Be sure to leave all food behind and hold on to your valuables because the monkeys will definitely climb all over you and take whatever they can. There are probably 300 monkeys in Ubud alone that own iphones now.
Besides watching these playful monkeys in their natural habitat, swinging through canopies and lazing along pathways you can take cool walks along paves pathways through the leafy nutmeg forest. Beautiful ancient temples with eerie guardian statues covered in moss are all over the sanctuary.
Pura Taman Saraswati
This beautiful temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess of wisdom and art is home to some of the most intricate carvings and fountains covered in lush lotus blossoms. In the evening, the temple holds dance performances against the illuminated temple.
Puri Saren Palace
Known as the Ubud Royal Palace, Puri Saren Palace is located in the city center and dates back to the 1800s. The Roayl Family still lives in sections of the palace which is also used for ceremonial reasons.
Visit Goa Gajah
This famous Elephant Cave is famous in Indonesia and it sits just outside Ubud in Bedulu Village