Yes - that's right... Bali has been named 'The world's most popular tourist destination'!

Oct 10, 2017
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This Indonesian island has been a favourite with tourists for years... but why is Bali such an attractive holiday destination over other cities? 

Well, each week, more than 16,000 Australian tourists make the pilgrimage to the small island paradise of Bali. Immersed in sun, beauty and culture, it’s beyond a tropical holiday destination; it's a mood, an addiction, and an escape.  Bali inspires a sense of calm and belonging that only those who have been there can truly understand.

Some tourists go for cheap Bintangs and stunning scenery. For others, it’s all about the party scene, the fine dining, or the Indonesian culture. The weather, of course, plays its part, along with the Balinese people, who welcome tourists with open arms and smiles. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you’ve travelled, Bali is like no other place on earth.

There’s no shortage of amazing places to eat and drink in Bali, and everyone has a favourite bar or restaurant in Bali, but to celebrate this exciting announcement, and to give our own lowdown on the best places to eat, drink, and 'must do' experiences, here are some of our top Bali picks...

If you follow these recommendations, you can't go wrong.

Must see places for 'First Timers'!

Even though millions of tourists pack their bags every year and head to this wonderful island, not everyone has been to Bali. We wanted to highlight some of the amazing experiences on offer for first timers, and provide insight into the variety of amazing activities on offer in Bali!

The Hidden Waterfall @ Tegenungan are an amazing experience and has quickly become one of the more popular tourist activities for those heading to Bali. With all the hustle and bustle of South Bali, it's easy to forget that much of Bali is covered in green, lush rainforests, and hidden beauties like this. Tegenungan isn't the only waterfall in Bali, some other amazing waterfalls can be seen here.

Sundays Beach Club is on a stunning stretch of white sandy beach on the Bukit Peninsula and offers a memorable experience like no other. Relax to the cool tunes and enjoy friendly Balinese service or take out a kayak or stand up paddle board at low tide. Swim or snorkel in the crystal clear lagoon or even wait for dusk as they fire up the beach bonfires!

Feast on Fresh Seafood in Jimbaran with a beautiful sunset view to match. Fresh crabs, some fish and prawns straight out of the ocean, you can actually watch the fisherman bringing in your dinner while you relax with your feet in the sand.

La Plancha, painted in a riot of bright colours, it's the go-to place for a toes-in-the-sand sundowner between Kuta and Canggu. Come late afternoon, the staff turn up the sound-system and set up rows of colourful beanbags on the sand.

See the full list of 'must see' places for first timers here. 


Seminyak restaurants

Perhaps the most influential eating strip on the island, Seminyak offers a restaurant experience for every occasion. You’re unlikely to make any new discoveries, but this locale is home to the island’s most consistent performers.

Merah Putih offers both traditional and modern Indonesian cuisine, surrounded by gorgeous architecture and beautifully crafted food. Try a coconut espresso martini, or a white-chocolate martini. You can thank us later.

Mamasan will whisk you back to colonial Shanghai in the 1920s. Think marble mahjong tables, with oversized tan-leather Chesterfield chairs and reclaimed timber wine racks. The food draws inspiration from Southeast Asia.

La Lucciola is perhaps the most established and well-respected restaurant in Seminyak. Lovingly referred to as “La Looch”, it offers classic Mediterranean fare, with complementary Asian flavours.

Sardine is housed inside a striking bamboo structure, overlooking a field of rice paddies, and is a tranquil setting for afternoon drinks or an evening meal.  Check out the pond, home to a school of rare white Koi Carp which the chef insists are only for ambience.

Bikini is a new restaurant in Seminyak, and quickly become one of our favourites! A collision of technique and flavour, eating at Bikini is a re-discovery of shared plate dining. Inspired by the seasonal produce of the island, their inventive dishes are an expression of contrast, texture and after-five attitude.

Sangsaka Restaurant is a new addition to the Bali dining scene from the team behind Merah Putih. It offers dishes that use traditional flavours to gain a broader experience of Indonesian cuisine.

See our recommendations for Bali's BEST Restaurants here.


Five-star restaurants

Bali has some of the most trend-setting restaurants anywhere in the world. It's hip hotels, cool cafes, slick bars and boutique shopping experiences make it a paradise for luxury lovers.

Locavore is a beautiful restaurant in Ubud offering artistically prepared contemporary European cuisine using local, seasonal ingredients. Don’t miss their five or seven-course degustation, with matching wines.

CasCades at the Viceroy boasts breathtaking views over Ubud and the luscious Valley of the Kings. It’s a fine-dining restaurant with European and Asian influences, perfect for a romantic dinner.

Metis Lounge overlooks verdant rice fields and offers a masterful combination of French and Mediterranean cuisine.

See our favourite 5-star dining experiences here.


Unique dining experiences

For those looking for something a little more extravagant, these Bali dining experiences leave an impression.

Cave Dining at Samabe is set amid white sandy beaches and naturally formed caves. It offers an exotic experience, with a picturesque beach set amid white sandy beaches and naturally formed caves. It offers an exotic experience, with a delicious beach barbeque.

Bird Nest Dining at Kupu Kupu Barong Villas could be one of the most romantic places in Bali. Be seated against a natural backdrop of timeless woodland greenery, whilst listening to the sounds of the enchanting Ayung River Valley flow below you. This private seated niche will be enveloped by the beautiful hums of nature while you dine under a canopy of stars.

Pesta Lobster offers private dining on a wooden jetty stretching 30m out to sea. The highlight is a beautifully presented four-course dinner (including three delectable lobster dishes).

View all of the unique dining experiences in Bali.


Stunning sunset venues

Bali is famous for its kaleidoscopic sunsets, which arrive on cue at around 6pm daily. With hundreds of beach front locations, we've shared some of our favourite, and iconic sundowner spots!

The Lawn in Batu Bolong is an ideal place to chill with the kids as you kick back and view the sunset on beanbags and hammocks. 

Delpi Rock Lounge, Suluban beach is a relaxed cafe-bar sitting on a cliff with stunning views of the Ocean.

Ku De Ta is Bali’s original beach club, a highly acclaimed beachfront destination that has opened its doors to sun-seeking travelers from around the globe for more than a decade. Surrounded by the fragrance of fresh ocean water, ku de ta's recently renovated spaces (and the inclusion of a private pool) seamlessly transition into a lively backdrop for music, dancing, lounging and dining as the sun sets into the evening.

Rock Bar @ AYANA Resort exploits the natural formation and character of the rock on which the bar sits, 14 meters above the ocean at the base of AYANA's towering cliffs. With a 360-degree vantage point, it offers nothing between you and the horizon except shimmering ocean waves (and the odd traditional fishing boat, adding another touch of magic to postcard-worthy photos).

El Kabron Restaurant & Beach Club is perched 50 meters above sea level on the cliffs of Uluwatu. Offering some of the most secluded sunsets on the Island you will experience a truly Spanish atmosphere and a breathtaking 180-degree view of the Indian Ocean.

707 Beachberm is better known by the local expats and rolls with laid-back tunes and a collection of beanbags.

See the full of Bali's BEST Sunset locations here.


Party-starting venues

There’s a host of stylish cafes and bars in Seminyak, many with twinkling candles and tropical house beats to stir your inner party animal.

La Laguna, a bar located along a quiet stretch of sand between Seminyak and Canggu, is an Instagrammer’s dream.

Beach Bar at the Alila Seminyak is a breezy spot for unwinding as sun gives way to moon. Sink into the comfort of a daybed with an aperitif or an Alila signature cocktail, served with locally inspired snacks.

Old Man's is a funky, family-friendly beachfront beer garden, a popular spot for surfers to refuel, and a great location to watch the waves.

The Lawn Canggu is a cool little spot where you can hang and sun tan on the lawn from 11am onwards, while you watch the surfers slide along the Canggu waves directly out front of the premises. What was lacking in Canggu before, is lacking no more. Sunday Sundowns have been taken to a whole new level, where casual meets classy and the ocean meets The Lawn.

Motel Mexicola is nestled in the coco palms and glassy swells of Seminyak. Its hosts are known for kicking every party off with a complimentary shot of tequila.

See the full list of 'party starting' venues here.


Cool bars

There’s no shortage of memorable dining and drinking establishments in Bali, places where you can order creative cocktails, fine glasses of wine, and local and imported icy-cold beers.

La Favela boasts a beautiful timber bar that rests in quirky garden setting and there is something new to discover at every turn. Arrive early, so you can explore the venue over a few cocktails.

Single Fin is a triple-level bar perched on the cliffs of Uluwatu overlooking a line-up of Bali’s most famous surf breaks. It’s known for its Sunday sessions, with live music and DJs.

Sea Vu Play is a hot new tropical and nautical destination for dinner, drinks and parties. A casual set up you can enjoy in your flip flops for a bite or dress up to dance the night away.

Sling Bar could be the setting for a Great Gatsby film. Grab a martini, or select from an array of fine scotches. This prohibition-era-style bar overlooks the hotel’s jaw-droppingly glamorous Plantation Grill restaurant.

Mirror is an escape into a gothic cathedral. Spend the evening admiring its ultra-high ceilings and breathtaking architecture.

See the full list of the Best Bars & Clubs in Bali!


Magnificent locations on the Bukit

The west coast of the Bukit Peninsula in south Bali is dotted with plumes of white sand that rise out of the sapphire sea. Take your pick from Balangan Beach, Bingin Beach and Padang Padang Beach. Families run funky surfer bars built on bamboo stilts over the tide and the breaks are just metres away.

Looking for somewhere more secluded? Head on down to Padang Padang beach, accessible down a few flights of steps and through a limestone crevice beside a bridge. Among the island's most favourite bigger surf breaks, Padang Padang's white sandy beach offers a great view, and a small sandy area for sunbathing and relaxing. Local seafood warungs serve grilled fresh catches-of-the-day and is a fantastic day trip, or stopover if you heading to the nearby Uluwatu Temple.

Looking for somewhere unique? Check out Delpi Rock Lounge at Suluban Beach - a relaxed cafe-bar sitting on a cliff, it boasts some of the most stunning views.

Pandawa Beach is one of of favourite beaches on the Bukit. Named after the five knights of ancient Hindu legends, Pandawa Beach is one of the beaches that you should visit!

Sunday’s Beach Club is the perfect backdrop for a holiday photograph, or an afternoon of activities. Peer over the Uluwatu cliff edge and stare in amazement at the turquoise Indian Ocean below.

See the full list of magnificent locations on the Bukit here.


For coffee lovers

Good coffee was once a luxury on the Island of the Gods, but today, there are plenty of amazing cafes providing delicious coffee that will impress even the fussiest coffee snob.

Revolver Coffee is the holy grail when it comes to coffee in Bali. Sourcing some of the best beans from farmers around the world, the team roasts and blends its own.

Grain is all about the beans. They celebrate the ritual of coffee drinking with a unique Indonesian single-origin coffee.

Sisterfields brings the iconic cafe culture of Australia to Bali. A favourite catch up spot for the islands in-crowds and travelling foodies, Sisterfields serves an all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch menu alongside a wide range of coffees, cakes and pastries. 

Watercress ticks the boxes for great coffee, good food and service with a smile.

See all of our favourite coffee spots here.


Hottest new venues for those going to Bali in 2017!

With so much development happening in Bali, new venues are popping up every week.

The relocated Finns Beach Club boasts absolute beachfront in front of Berawa surf break, only 10 minutes from Seminyak. Laze away the day in the sun from the comfort of single and double day beds on a white sand beach or swim in a stunning 30 metre infinity edge pool with swim up pool bar (and underwater speakers). All who visit this piece of paradise are in awe of its beauty, they leave relaxed, sun kissed and dreaming of when they will return.

Mrs Sippy Pool Club opens just behind the famed Potato Head Beach club in mid-late August and promises to be something special. With success from their Double Bay’s success behind them, we’re excited to see this beach club

Azul Beach Club is the ultimate getaway for social elites. It boasts another spectacular beachfront location and its three levels combine a unique approach to dining, cocktail culture and beach-club atmosphere.

Swim in the Jungle! Welcome to Ubud's 'no beach' beach club! Jungle Fish is a must do in Ubud, where you can experience swimming amidst the lush jungle, in the beautiful landscape of the Ubud area. Open-air split-level restaurant and pool bar perched on the side of a ridge overlooking the Osh River Valley, Jungle Fish is located just 10 minutes drive north of Ubud.

Movida Bali opened late last year and is a unique collaboration combining Melbourne institution MoVida's Spanish cuisine, with Potato Head’s design and architectural expression. Think creative cocktails, an extensive selection of wines, charcuterie carved to order, and tapas.

After raising the bar in the Spa and Beauty scene with their flagship venues in Seminyak and Petitinget, one of Bali’s hottest and most popular Spa’s - Spring Spa is putting the finishing touches on its newest venue – Spring Spa Canggu!

Mad Ronin Bali is a hot new restaurant offering Ramen bowls & craft beers... unpretentious, straight up and delicious!

One of our favourites has recently changed hands and names to KILN @ Petitenget! Opening in May, we're super excited to what is to come to this famous and iconic spot in Petitenget!

Berawa Kitchen is a hot new spot that boasts an outdoor tropical food hall located in the cool hipster neighborhood of Canggu. With great food, great tunes and a variety of stalls open for you to experience, its a hot new favourite of ours!

Da Maria Bali a modern Italian restaurant in the Osteria style, is the brainchild of Australian Restaurateur, Maurice Terzini. Da Maria highlights the diversity of Italian food, wine, music, fashion, art and friends, with more than a little Capri, right in the heart of Seminyak.

See a full list of all the hot new places here.


The Bali Bible has compiled the very best of Bali food and drink, nightlife, getaways, and adventures since 2010 building an audience of more than 1.5 million followers on social media.

If you’re looking to explore the rich culture, food, and nature on Bali, check out the new Bali Bible platform. A place to browse thousands of venues that have been curated by people in the know. View the lists at

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Very informative!
4 years ago