Take the old tourism slogan, ‘Bali, land of the gods’ and interchange it with ‘Bali, the land of something for everyone’. After all, several different tourist hubs have come into fruition, each with it’s own delicious flavor. This leads you to the question, “which part of Bali is for me?” You’ve heard of the nightlife and the designer knock-offs in Kuta and the glamorous Seminyak with its unimaginable luxury villas But it seems like Bali has so much more to offer.
So where should YOU go to find the Bali holiday that you’ve been envisioning?
(Yes we missed lots of area but we will be adding them in future articles including favourite islands etc.)
Surfer HQ. You’ll find the beaches that you thought only existed in postcards. Many Australian and Brazilian surfer babes flock to Uluwatu chasing waves and famous Sunday sessions at the Single Fin which might just host the most enchanting sunsets on the island, actually the world. Head to Bingin beach for a wave or a snorkel, or just hang out like the cool cats did in the 70’s at one of the Warungs on the beach. Next thing someone turns up with a guitar and you’re involved in an international jamming session singing along to Jack Johnson with a group of new friends. You won’t see a pair of long pants or closed toe shoes for miles but you will see the latest Tigerlily bikini collection paraded in its entirety.
Let me clear something up- Kuta, often criticised for it's aggressive street vendors and even more aggressive night life has it’s fair share of brilliant established restaurants and music venues to it’s name. There is great times to be had in Kuta for the street savvy partier who can spot an irak cocktail before it’s too late (i.e. when you wake up in your hotel bed at 3pm the next day clutching half a big mac. There may even be some fries under your pillow. And where the hell are your havaianas!). Some tips for enjoying Kuta- try to stick to pre-bottled drinks, reputable bars and restaurants and I would recommend the 40% rule when shopping. That’s 40% of the initial asking price for that fake LV wallet or phallic shaped souvenir.
World-class restaurants and bars serving uniquely spiced cocktails and more than modern Asian fusion food are a dime a dozen in our lady Seminyak. For those who have a taste for the finer things- foodies, fashionistas and luxury travellers there is a good chance Seminyak will tickle your fancy. When the weekend comes around international DJ’s play at clubs packed full of restaurateurs and models. Not all visitors to ‘the Yak’ have to take this route though. Book yourself a villa with a banging pool and a chef and spend a week just soaking up the sun and the company of your friends and loved ones with the option of heading out for an up to scratch latte throughout the week.
Yogis and yoginis who like to party, designers and artists that have had had a wind change from their previous 9-5’s, European surfers (where on earth did you learn to cut back like that Estonian surfer?) and a heap of beard donning hipsters on custom bikes make up Canggu. You’ll find yourself in what seems like a low-key café surrounded by people that look like they may have rolled up from an Insight fashion shoot. Some people say that Canggu is the new Seminyak but it’s not - the cafés are still shy of being close to Western prices, people eat at local style warungs and it’s the kind of place where the more dressed down you are the cooler you seem. What makes Canggu brilliant is the interesting people who don't want to fully commit to the surfing scene of Ulluwatu, the alternative scene of Ubud or the glam scene of Seminyak but wants a bit of it all. 20 minutes to Seminyak and not more than 90 minutes to Ulluwatu or Ubud it’s a great place for those who want to do a ‘laid back Bali’. You get Western comforts splashed with the colours of Balinese village life. A relaxed but definitely existent nightlife make Canggu a popular place for people to park up for a month or two. Actually make that a year or two…
We don’t hear too much about Sanur these days but it was one of the first tourist destinations in Bali to come to life in the 1920’s. Sanur may deserve its low key reputation but by no means is it boring. Many artists and expats set up camp in Sanur in the 1950’s and it has its fair share of loyal fans. Great for watersports and a jumping off point for exploring other islands by boat, Sanur has a protected white sand beach with a restaurant lined board walk. The thing about unpretentious Sanur is that no one is pretending to be something they’re not. It’s not about being seen coming out of the waves on a nine foot day, taking Instagram pictures of your food at a new restaurant opening or sipping on a fluro green smoothie made of 25 different superfoods. There is scope to do all of these things, but for the most part people are there because they like it.
Ubud definitely has a compelling spiritual energy. Typically you will go to a yoga class with a dread locked hippie to one side of your mat, and the most unlikely yogi on the other practicing an outrageous back bending asana. The thing about Ubud that seems to get lost amongst all the talk of spirituality is that it is a great place for foodies. You could eat Vegan for a week without even trying, with a myriad of cafés and restaurants with too tasty to be healthy menu options. Busy during the day with day-trippers crowding the handy craft shops, Ubud’s charming atmosphere comes to life at night (mind you not late into the night) with people dining at popular restaurants and music venues. Ubud should be given a chance by everyone even if you have no intention of taking your yoga to the next level this holiday or growing dreads and committing to a life of tie die harem pants. I guarantee that everyone will find something that they like in the natural beauty, the culture and the atmosphere of colourful Ubud.
The feeling of exclusivity exudes the gated resort community of Nusa Dua. The grandest names in the hotel world such as The Conrad, The St Regis the Grand Nikko have planted themselves on the stunning beaches of the Eastern side of the Bukit peninsula. One of the best things about Nusa Dua is that it is unaffected by the plastic waste that washes up on some of Bali’s beaches from around December to March caused by a combination of onshore prevailing winds and overflowing river outlets. That- and the hotels meticulously manicure the white sand beaches to remove all traces of anything less than idyllic, and all surrounding areas for that matter. A lot of the big hotels offer all day Sunday brunches with buffet’s cascading with fresh seafood and aesthetically pleasing pastries. With the option of adding free flow champagne, it is a worthy day trip from other parts of Southern Bali. Nusa Dua will be right for you if you want a polished Bali experience without the hustle and bustle that comes with South East Asian territory.
A two hour drive from Kuta but worlds away is Candidasa. A place to retreat to, with a boutiquey vibe Candi will put you in touch with what Bali is about outside of the tourism mega industry. Local villages are known to be some of the most traditional on the island. The sight of village women carrying large baskets of fresh produce on their head in their colourful traditional dress will enrich your stay. The resound of metallophones played by mallets accompanied by a sort of chanting can be heard and you will come to appreciate the sound as it accompanies you into your afternoon nap. Try putting the phone and emails away for a few days and be humbled by the Balinese culture, or bring your other half and spend a couple days being wooed by the views.
A search of Lovina on Google images will present you with the idea that there will be dolphins everywhere you cast your eye in Lovina. If you find seeing animals in their natural habitat as thrilling as I do, then you may already be sold on the idea of Lovina. To entice the nature lovers even more, there is a shipwreck definitely worth diving and it’s a popular place to hang out for a few days and become PADI certified diver or do a dive safari over a few days. If Candi is a place to connect with Balinese culture, Lovina is the place to connect with nature. Of course there is more to Lovina but it hasn’t quite come into maturity yet. There are whispers of putting in a new airport in the area which makes it a place to watch
With this information in mind, you may now be seeing yourself as a Canggu-Seminyak hybrid, an Ulluwatu-Kuta bandit or a curious Candidasa-Lovina adventurer. The good news is that I’m encouraging you to stay for a few weeks, not one, so that you give Bali (the land of something for everyone) the best chance to offer you what it’s got!
Written by Rosie Pattinson, Account Manager for The Bali Bible
- Feel free to reach out to Rosie for help with your next Bali Holiday!