Known for it’s sweeping landscape, tropical weather and its iconic rice paddies; Bali, Indonesia is a destination that should be high up on anyone’s list. Bali’s natural beauty is complimented by the warmth of it’s people and huge range of activities. From swimming, to boutique shopping, to some of the most incredible food I have tried, Bali really does have it all.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of spending 10 days exploring Bali and if you’re looking for a relaxing beach holiday or a culture to explore, this guide is filled with tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time in the dreamland of Indonesia. I travelled with my friend from home, Connor, and we had an absolute blast soaking up paradise.
Someone once told me I would be hard pressed finding culture in Bali. However as soon as I stepped off the plane in Bali, I saw nothing but. Bali’s culture is so ingrained into everything; their people, their buildings and their way of life.
During my visit to Bali, I stayed in Seminyak, Gili Trawangan and Jimaran Bay but also visited Ubud. We booked everything through Booking.com which is my go to for accommodation. 10 days was the perfect amount for my first visit but definitely left a few places out that I am kicking to go back and visit. The best part about Bali is that it is one Island, but many destinations. Every part of Bali has something different to offer! We did the most whilst we were in Seminyak so that part of this guide will be fairly long, but I promise it will be worth it. We had some incredible experiences during our trip to Bali! I’ve also left a food guide at the bottom for the food obsessed like me.
I arrived into Bali after a short 3 and a half hour flight over from Perth and was immediately greeted with the familiar humidity. Having lived in Hong Kong during my youth I was all too familiar with the overwhelming heat and humidity combination!
After bag collection and customs arrivals, heading out into Ngurah Rai Airport is completely crazy. You will be bombarded with Taxi drivers trying to sell you a ride. Since my flight landed in the early evening, I prebooked a driver ahead of time using BeMyGuest. I gave all of my details online from flight number and arrival time, to my accommodation. It cost me roughly $15AUD and gave me piece of mind; I arrived to a driver holding my name on a sign and easily wove through everyone else feeling comforted I didn’t have to worry about bartering with someone as my first experience there.
Bartering is a huge part of shopping locally in Bali, whether you’re buying from the markets or getting a Taxi, agreeing on a price before handing over money is part of the experience! I was worried I would get ripped off, but a friend of mine told me “if you’re happy with what you’ve paid, then you didn’t spend too much.”
Bartering tip: Always ask them how much it costs before making an offer – it will usually be incredibly high and then you can go in with your offer of how much you actually want to pay. If they keep pushing their price, say no thanks and walk away – usually they’ll stop you and agree on your price because they want the sale!
Connor had arrived a few hours before me, so after a 40 minute drive to our accommodation in Seminyak, I was excited to see my friend for the first time in 6 months!
WHERE WE STAYED: Grandma’s Seminyak Hotel
Grandma’s was the perfect first location to begin our trip. It’s close proximity to both the beach and food was a real winner for us, but it’s low price point was why we chose it. Funnily enough when we booked, Seminyak was not the place we thought would be our favourite. We thought it would be a great start to get our feet on the ground for the first couple of days. We actually ended up cancelling our Ubud accommodation and stayed an extra 2 nights in Seminyak because we loved it so much.
Our room at Grandma’s was small but it was all we needed to sleep at night. We had 2 single beds and it was clean, tidy and airconditioned. Facilities included a pool, a day spa (60 minute massage for 95K is a must!) and an attached restaurant – Miura. You could optionally add breakfast on to the price of your accommodation however we chose not to when booking. We did dine at Miura for breakfast (highly recommend their Spanish Eggs – omit the bread and ask for a side of bacon instead!) for a couple of mornings but ultimately the dinner food was pricier there than other locations. The pool wasn’t huge but not many people used it and it was perfect for cooling off in the afternoon after walking around all morning.
PRICE: All up for both of us for 4 nights with 2 separate beds, Grandma’s was a mere $110 AUD.
The staff at Grandma’s were amazing; they greeted us every morning without fail and from the security to the lobby staff, they were always pleasant to interact with.
WHAT WE DID: Potato Head Beach Club
Potato Head was a half an hour walk up the beach from where we were staying and to be honest we had no clue what to expect. We arrived just before it’s opening at 10am and joined a crowd of people waiting to go in. Having been recommended Potato Head by countless people, I was excited to see what all of the fuss was about. Customer service was one of my favourite things about Bali, and Potato Head was definitely on the forefront of my great experiences. We were all served infused water whilst we waited and when it was time to go in, we were gently ushered through.
It was definitely a sight walking into Potato Head for the first time. Not only is the scenery incredible, but each member of staff is lined up to greet you and a frangipani flower is placed behind your ear for a warm welcome. Connor and I made our way to the front of the Beach Club and settled on one of their massive loungers. To reserve a lounger, you simply have to spend 500K IDR on food and drinks during your time at the beach club. This is easy enough to do when you have someone doting on you like we did! We stayed at Potato Head for hours so it was well worth the 500K.
The food and drink at Potato Head was amazing and has a real emphasis on fresh ingredients. We had dirty pulled beef nachos – not paleo, but the corn chips were GF and all natural so I was comfortable eating them. We also had root vegetable chips, a fruit platter and both of us had a couple of smoothies; I got a peanut milk, dragon fruit and banana number and it was incredible! Not to mention it was served in a cup made from a bamboo chute with a bamboo straw.
All in all we had an incredible day at Potato Head; we were there for around 4 hours or so. The beautiful view, the incredibly attentive and kind staff, the brilliant food and drink as well as an infinity pool and hours of heat and sun – Potato Head is a must visit in Seminyak.
Raw Foodies: Head to Alchemy on your way out – raw bounty bars and black forest cake anyone?
Most of our holiday was spent beachside and Seminyak was no exception. Although I personally didn’t go down too often during the day, I absolutely loved Seminyak Beach at night. A two minute walk down the road from our accommodation at Grandma’s was the best part of Seminyak beach. There are loads of really chilled out beach bars with beanbags and beach chairs right on the sand. Live music, cheap cocktails and a great vibe. Connor and I spent our first two nights at a place called Juice Park. The drinks are cheap, the service is good and the atmosphere is relaxed. I think it was around 75k IDR for a cocktail (roughly $7.50 AUD!) and 30k IDR ($3 AUD) for a Bintang. Anyone who has been to Bali will know about Bintang; the local beer that is both cheap and doesn’t taste too bad. Not being a beer drinker myself, I only tried it once for the experience but it honestly wasn’t too bad! They also have Shisha there for anyone who enjoys hookah. Check out this cool photo that Connor (IG @connorlassen) took of the beach!
The one thing about the beaches in Bali is that there are always people trying to sell you something. A lot of the locals walk up and down Seminyak Beach, especially at night, and you are constantly being approached by them trying to sell you goods. Some of the things they are selling are neat – like paper lanterns you light and set up into the sky, but they also have prints, LED lights, selfie sticks… All sorts of trinkets. Sometimes it does take more than one “no thank you!” to send them on their way but again, it was just a part of Bali life and it didn’t bother me too much.
We loved Seminyak Beach so much that we ended up spending the last of our money on our last night in Bali to take a taxi back to Juice Park. It was the perfect way to finish off our Bali trip with a relaxed vibe taking in the sound of the waves crashing and the lights from Kuta to Canggu.
Day Trip to Ubud
I mentioned earlier that we were actually meant to be staying in Ubud during our time in Bali. We had initially booked 2 nights but decided to cancel them before the trip and leave a couple of nights free to do what we pleased. We ended up loving Seminyak so much that we continued to stay there for those two nights.
Connor and I had met a driver in Bali the day before who had offered us a great rate of around 500k IDR for a full day tour. It’s really common in Bali to hire a driver for a day and basically they take you everywhere you want to go and wait for you in the car. Our driver, Dewa, was really awesome (send me a message if you want his details for your Bali trip!) and explained plenty about the sights and took us to so many amazing places. We visited a temple, a coffee plantation, the rice paddies and Monkey Forest. It takes about an hour to get out to Ubud and it was well worth it. It was great to hear a local’s perspective and a memorable day seeing another side of Bali.
We started off with a traditional Balinese temple. The majority of people in Bali are Hindu and you’ll notice a lot of offerings on the ground dotted all over the place. These usually consist of flowers, incense and food for their offering. It was great to go to one of their temples and see where they go for bigger occasions and see some incredible old architecture. So much time and effort has gone into these places and being able to see it up close was incredible. To go in you are given a sarong to put on and then you make a small donation of your choice before heading in.
The coffee plantation we went to was really cool and free entry. Most drivers have particular spots they take you so if you do get a driver they will likely already have a spot in mind! They show you how the beans are grown, the animals that make their special “Luwak” Coffee, the process the beans go through to get to coffee and a few other cool plants that make their teas.
After you’ve walked through the plantation you get to sample all of their coffee blends and tea for free. Not being a huge hot drinker, I still tried all of the teas and some of the coffee. They were all super tasty and I especially like their coconut coffee (which is dairy free and super tasty – go figure the paleo girl likes something coconut!). You are encouraged to try their Luwak Coffee which does cost. Connor decided to do this because it was cheap and we wanted to support the plantation.
Luwak Coffee is a special coffee that is made from part digested coffee cherries that are eaten by a Luwak animal
(think possum!) and well.. they poop it out. I wasn’t game enough to try it, but its fully clean and hygienic and popular all over the world. I did however purchase a package of the coconut coffee in their store afterwards to show some support to local Balinese! A small price for a different experience!
After the coffee plantation, Dewa took us into the heart of Ubud to see the famous rice paddies. We drove into the hills and he actually took us to a beautiful restaurant that overlooked all of the rice paddies. It was pretty spectacular and we were fortunate to have the view to ourselves. We didn’t go into the rice paddies however, and found out that you can actually bike through them which would have been really cool.
The rice paddies are super beautiful and really picturesque. It’s incredible how something so serene can be right next to a crazy busy road filled with people and vehicles! I definitely expected it to be a little more removed than it was, but it was still beautiful to see nonetheless.
Monkey Forest was our final stop of the day and we absolutely loved it! I had heard so many different opinions from people, but I was definitely glad I went along and saw it for myself. I definitely heeded peoples warnings and made sure I left anything small in the vehicle; no sunglasses or hats and I also made sure my bag was zipped up. Which I’m glad I did because one of the first things a little monkey did was jump onto my shoulder bag and try to pry it open!
It cost 40k IDR to get into Monkey Forest and it was pretty incredible to see the sweeping forests filled with monkeys. If you want photos with the monkeys, you pretty much just need to sit down next to one and it will climb onto your lap. They were pretty cute, but you’re not really meant to pat them so it’s just more of a sit and observe kind of place! I absolutely love animals so Monkey Forest was a highlight of the trip!
On our way back from Monkey Forest we stopped into a place called Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka and if you’re a total foodie this is a MUST STOP! Babi Guling is a local Balinese specialty and is roast suckling pig. It is so delicious and also really cheap. We were told this was the best place to get it and it didn’t disappoint. I got a sampler box for around 70K filled with the suckling pig, crackling and the pork prepared in a couple of other ways. Delicious!
Our day trip to Ubud was really cool and I’m glad we had a driver to show us the best spots. It was also amazing to be able to get into an airconditioned car after walking around in the heat! It was a great way to finish off our first part of our Bali trip before heading out to the Islands for a bit of winding down.
We spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool at Grandma’s and then headed off for dinner and an early night ready to get up at the crack of dawn for our shuttle bus in the morning.
Gili Trawangan (or more commonly referred to as Gili T) is the largest of the archipelago of the 3 islands. Around an hour or so’s boat ride from Padangbai Bay, it’s a tropical paradise of relaxation and swimming. Out of the 3 islands, Gili T has the reputation of being the party island and as soon as we go off the boat we could see why. Although there are no cars on Gili, the island is teaming with activity at all times of the day and night!
As I mentioned previously, we had organised a shuttle and return pass to Gili T through our driver Dewa. We were picked up from our accommodation in Seminyak at 7am and bundled into a shuttle bus. We picked up a few more people and drove around 2 hours more to reach Padangbai. If you’re getting picked up as early as us to take the morning boat, I highly recommend stocking up on snacks the night before. It was too early for us to get breakfast anywhere, so we bought some local fruit whilst we waited but I would’ve loved some nuts and something a little more substantial to take on the boat with me! We were then given our boarding passes and were also given destination stickers to place on our tops and luggage to signal which stop we were getting off at. We used Ganggari Fast Boat for our transfer to Gili T and they make stops at Lombok, Gili Air and Gili T. I got a really good price for the shuttle and fast boat after some bargaining with Dewa; I had seen online an advertisement for 500k return, so Dewa dropped their 700k price down for us. So we booked with him and were stoked with the cost!
Our boat was airconditioned and also had the option to go up on the roof. Being the vampire I am, I stayed indoors for the first part of the trip and eventually migrated up to sit with Connor. It was pretty phenomenal scenery and I was definitely glad I headed to the top.
WHERE WE STAYED: The Pearl of Trawangan
The Pearl of Trawangan was the accommodation where we showed the most love. By that, I mean it was our most expensive but it was worth every penny. I mean, just look at our view from breakfast!
Gili T was more of a chilled out vibe; lounging by the pool, eating good food, drinking plenty of cocktails at our swim up bar so we knew that spending more on accommodation for this part of the trip would be well worth it. And it certainly was!
The Pearl is still right by the main hub of the Island’s activity, but far enough removed that you’re not bothered by any of the late night party sounds and has a fabulously relaxing atmosphere. It had an incredible restaurant (the duck Pad Thai is a must try!) which we ate at many times and our breakfast was included in the price daily. We stayed in the top story of a beautiful villa (pictured below), and had a private pool away from the main pool which didn’t have closing hours. This was great for when the main pool was crowded and when there were no loungers left!
The Pearl also had a section of the beach beside it’s dining area that overlooked the gorgeous scenery which was filled with loads of beach loungers, umbrellas and bean bags which is perfect to get your sun in whilst reading a good book. The awnings made it easy for me to keep in the shade when I needed to; Fair skin and too much sun never works out in my favour!
Our room itself was huge and had icy cold airconditioning. The sensation of stepping into a 16c room after being in 35c heat all day never got old! Our room was immaculate and they even had a turn down service which always goes down well in my books. We were given 4 fresh bottles of water daily and our room had a fridge – perfect for chilling both food and water. Having fresh water makes all the difference as drinking tap water isn’t a good idea in Bali – even when brushing your teeth!
The staff at the Pearl, like everywhere else in Bali, were incredibly kind and helpful. We were greeted kindly every day and any questions were answered with ease. All in all, Connor and I loved the Pearl and I would definitely stay there again!
PRICE: All up for the two of us, with two separate beds it cost $635 AUD for 3 nights. This price also included breakfast and a welcome drink.
WHAT WE DID: Cycled Around the Island
Gili T is a pretty small island and because there are no cars, there are a lot of bikes! We arrived around 12noon on our first day there and after swimming until check in at 2pm, Connor and I were ready to explore the island. We arrived on a Saturday and were just a little too late when we found out about the party boat that night. We were definitely gutted as it would’ve been the perfect way to start our Gili trip and meet a few people. Instead, we kept it tame and hired a couple of bikes from the Pearl and set off to explore. It was late afternoon by that stage so we decided to find somewhere to take in the sunset.
Biking around Gili T is easy enough, but considering they don’t have real roads there are a lot of pot holes to dodge. Mix that with the other bike traffic and their traditional horse drawn carts as well as pedestrians and you can see why you have a bell on your bike! We cycled around to the opposite side of the island which is where we found a beautiful Bureau to eat our dinner and watch the sun go down. Remember to take sunglasses because things definitely get really bright.
After the sunset, we hopped back on our bikes and continued around the rest of the island that we hadn’t seen. It maybe took us another half an hour at a maximum to get back to the centre and we went through all of the night markets which was pretty neat. If you go to Gili (which you should) then you definitely have to hire a bike!
Movies on the Beach
Right next door to the Pearl is an outdoor movie theatre which is a totally different and fun experience! They play movies at 7:00pm and 9:00pm every night and a ticket will cost around 50k IDR and includes a free popcorn. They play a real mix of movies, both old and new. We watched 22 Jump Street and there’s nothing I love more than Channing Tatum to brighten up my night. I loved the outdoor movie theatre; there was something so cool about hanging out in a bean bag with the sand beneath your feet and the quiet sound of the waves behind you. Don’t forget the bug spray though!
I was so excited when we reached Gili to finally get some snorkelling in. I am absolutely obsessed with sea life and I was excited to see sea turtles! There are little sales huts dotted all around Gili advertising snorkelling cruises and they’re all a pretty similar price. We paid 100k IDR for a 5 hour snorkelling tour, and it was absolutely awesome. I wasn’t brave enough to take my phone with me so I didn’t get any pictures but it was one of the highlights of my trip.
You’re given a mask and flippers and taken to 3 different snorkelling spots. The first is where you’ll see the sea turtles, then you explore a shipwreck, followed by coral life before you head off to grab lunch on Gili Air. I would have done this snorkelling trip every day if I could have!
I did however get very sunburnt despite my regular application of sunscreen, so please don’t be like me! Make sure you wear a rash vest to cover your back! Thankfully the next day was a travelling day, meaning I would be indoors most of the day so there was no need to have my back in the sun.
I was sad to see Gili go, but looking forward to getting back to the fun of mainland Bali. I wish I managed to get to Sama Sama, which is a local pre-drinking bar in Gili that I have heard so many good things about! We walked past a couple of times and the live band was pretty awesome. I was gutted we didn’t go, but I have faith I’ll be back again!
WHERE WE STAYED: Keraton Jimbaran Beach Resort
If you want a relaxing resort on the beach then the Keraton is a great place to stay!
With beautiful gardens, traditional rooms, an incredible pool, a day spa and a restaurant perched on the beach, there is not a lot more you could ask for.
Greeted with a welcoming gong, a cold towel and a drink my first impression of the Keraton was a good one. Having just travelled for four hours in what felt like the longest shuttle ride ever, we were excited to get into our accommodation and relax by the pool. The staff were lovely and very efficient, making it easy for us to check in.
Again, breakfast was included in the price of the accommodation and we took full advantage of our favourite breakfast of the entire trip: buffet breakfast! Breakfast buffets have to be one of my favourite things in life, and this one was no let down. They had everything from an egg station, to traditional Balinese foods, to fruit platters, pancakes, waffles and everything you can imagine. Being an egg kind of girl, you can guess that I went the omelette with a good side of bacon and vegetables to fuel me for the day.
The only downside is that unless you want to strictly stay in your hotel and not venture anywhere else, then there really isn’t much to do. Other than the famous seafood restaurants, there isn’t anything within walking distance and for two explorers like us, we found it hard spending loads of time in the resort, as beautiful and comfortable as it was. I would be unlikely to stay in Jimbaran again, but if I did I would choose the Keraton.
PRICE: All up for the two of us, for 3 nights, two separate beds and inclusive breakfast it was $400 AUD
WHAT WE DID: Rock Bar
Rock Bar is one of those stunningly picturesque places you read about that everyone who’s anyone flocks to. Nestled in the famous Ayana Hotel, it certainly didn’t disappoint. We decided to head there one evening for their famous sunset and boy was it beautiful. This photo, for example, overlooking Rock Bar is even beautiful. Beautiful but ridiculously hot! Not only is Bali hot already, but when you’re on the face of a cliff with the sun beating down on you, it really turns things up a notch! Rock Bar however, was prepared. With an umbrella to shield you from the sun, an extensive drinks list, and the always welcomed cold face towel we settled in to our lounger to take in another incredible Bali sunset.
Rock Bar is a must do, but to beat the crowd you need to get there early. We arrived 2 hours before sunset, at 4pm when it opened. We probably could’ve gotten away with arriving an hour later at 5pm though, and I would’ve welcomed the extra hour out of the sun – the lounger may not have been guaranteed though and our spot really was good. To visit Rock Bar you have to spend a minimum of 600k during your time there, and with a drinks list that was more expensive than anywhere else we had been, the two of us racked up the bill in no time. The drinks however were delightful and made the wait for sunset a lot tastier! They also give you free Cassava chips and keep refilling every time you finish; they are amazing and so tasty! It is definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I would highly recommend it to everyone to visit once! You also have the option of heading to their restaurant to dine after the sun has set, but Connor and I decided to go back to the Keraton to cool off. I don’t know whether it was because they thought we were on our honeymoon or was (as did a lot of people in Bali – safe to say we’re just friends!), but in an incredibly sweet gesture, they gave me a single red rose before I left. It totally made my night!
Given the chance I would stay at Ayana in a heartbeat. Set over the side of a cliff with its infinity pools and choice of several restaurant, it is a paradise like no other in Bali.
Half Day Trip to Kuta
After our attempt to explore Jimbaran around our hotel was foiled by well, not a lot to do, we decided to catch a taxi to Kuta. We had heard loads from what is apparently everyone’s favourite spot in Bali and decided to have a look. We had been to Kuta when we visited Waterbom Park Bali (which wasn’t fun enough to make the cut in this already lengthy Bali guide!) but decided to head back and explore some of the streets. Kuta is incredibly busy and filled with a lot of tourists. We mainly looked through the shopping malls for a few hours before grabbing lunch (Chicken & Cashew, hold the rice) at Dulang Kafe and heading back to the hotel for a swim and (another) massage.
If you do like shopping, I recommend checking out Discovery Shopping Mall for some interesting shops mixed in with the classics!
Both Connor and I are more adventure travellers, so we prefer spending our down time out doing things as opposed to shopping! I was glad we didn’t stay in Kuta as it was super busy and didn’t have the relaxed vibe like Seminyak.
Back to Seminyak Beach
Our last full day in Bali was spent with us heading back to Seminyak. We spent the day heading back to our favourite spots, including our favourite food joints and spending the evening on Seminyak Beach back at Juice Park. We just really did love the vibe in Seminyak and the relaxed atmosphere of Seminyak was the perfect place to finish off our trip before my ghastly early morning flight. There is no place I would’ve rather have finished my incredible trip!
FAVOURITE FOODIE PLACES
And now for my favourite part of the whole post… Food of course! Bali has some incredible foodie experiences to offer, although it was definitely hard to stick within my guidelines at times. I got a lot of confused looks when I asked for Gluten Free, so in the end I just chose a lot of salads, meat and veg combos and if there was rice, it landed on Connor’s plate. There were maybe 2 or 3 occasions where I tried things that were definitely no where near my guidelines, but I was happy with my choices and when on holiday I do love to give myself a couple of food passes because food is a huge enjoyment in my life and if I really want to try something, then I will. This isn’t everywhere that I ate, but they are the biggest highlights!
Cafe Organic – Seminyak
If I could have eaten at Cafe Organic every single day then I would have. After initially seeing them on instagram, and then following them in the months leading up to the trip I was absolutely pumped to head there. We went there on our first full day in Bali before we headed to Potato Head and I was not disappointed.
It’s really hard when you want to try everything on the menu, but it’s day one of the trip so you don’t want to blow out on food before you’ve made it anywhere. Especially not before swimming at Potato Head, anyway. However the price was definitely good enough to try everything as I don’t think there was anything over 70k IDR (around $7 AUD!).
Cafe Organic is a vegetarian cafe that supports locally made and grown produce. With an extensive list of smoothie bowls and a kick ass cooked breakfast and lunch menu, you have to visit this place. Cafe Organic is on the top of my list of favourite places to eat for a reason. I had their GF Corn Fritters, twice, which are soft, sweet and spicy all in one. Topped with guacamole and poached eggs, these are the perfect start to a day of exploring. I also had their Afrika Smoothie Bowl which was both tasty and beautiful. I can guarantee I would have something positive to say about most of their menu, and if that wasn’t enough, they also have a raw food cabinet to boot! Serving instagram worthy food all day, every day is something these guys are very good at and this place is a must try.
Moonlite Kitchen & Bar – Seminyak
Moonlite Kitchen and Bar situated on the top floor of Anantara Seminyak is yet another food gem of Bali. Serving modern Asian cuisine, alongside an extensive and incredible cocktail menu, this was by far my favourite restaurant of the whole trip.
We initially went to Moonlite for it’s view of the sunset (we like sunsets, go figure!), but soon found it’s incredible food. Our first night there we ordered the Slow Cooked Butter Chicken Masala and the Crispy Roasted Pork, Pineapple & Capsicum, in a Chili Caramel Sauce with a side of rice for Connor, and what would be my favourite, Long Beans with Sichaun Bacon and Shallots. This. Food. Was. Incredible. This could be one of the best places I’ve ever had the privilege of dining. The food was sweet, sour, salty, spicy, creamy and I couldn’t get enough of it’s mouth watering combinations. The aim of their menu is to share the food and the amount we got was perfect for the two of us.
I have to give a real hand to their staff as well. The staff at Moonlite were completely stand out to me. Each person who served us spent time at our table chatting to us, recommending things to do, and we felt like friends by the time we left. Although that was definitely aided by the numerous cocktails we drank. It was mojito happy hour from 4-7, and well, by the time we tried each of the 4 flavours and another couple of cocktails, we were very happy indeed. Our first night there was expensive, but we were more than happy to pay it. The service, food and drink was well worth the $140 AUD. Keep in mind, the bill did have 11 alcoholic beverages on it… It would’ve been a crime not to sample the cocktail menu!
We loved Moonlite so much that as soon as we saw they were having a Full Moon Celebration, we booked for the following night. Full Moon is a big deal in Bali, and we were treated to incredible dancers and music performances. It was incredible to see this part of the Balinese culture, all whilst eating incredible food.
The second night we had Lamb and Pumpkin Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala Prawns, a side of rice for Connor and the Long Beans with Sichaun Bacon and Shallots again. This food was just as incredible as the first night. Because they remembered us, and probably because we had spent so much the first night, the manager ended up giving us a couple of free drinks which made our experience even better. We got dessert that night too; I had been dying to try their traditional Balinese Black Rice Pudding and it was absolutely divine. We loved Moonlite and would go back in a heartbeat!
The Pearl of Trawangan – Gili T
The Pearl was no exception when it came to good food. We chose to eat there most days not because it was attached to our hotel, but because the food was delicious. The second thing I treated myself to (The Balinese Rice Pudding being my first!) was their Duck Pad Thai. Being a Pad Thai lover since way back, and not to mention duck, this was a stand out meal! During my time there I also had a Beef, Sesame & Broccoli Salad which was amazing and I was also a fan of their Fresh Young Coconut drinks.
If you’re on Gili T, head down and try out The Pearl, they have a huge menu and their specials are always changing. It’s casual beach dining for any time of day.
The prices were also good, a meal like this was around 70-80K.
Scallywags – Gili T
Another excellent eat on Gili T is Scallywags. They have both A La Carte Dining and BBQ with a salad buffet. To do the BBQ dining, you simply order something from the charcoal BBQ and then have access to an all you can eat salad buffet. This was a little pricier, but since we had all you can eat salad, it was worth it. I got a chicken skewer which was around 90K, including the salad buffet and a baked potato. They have every kind of salad from tomato and cucumber, to potato salads, couscous, plain lettuce, capsicum… a bit of everything! They also had mayonnaise (aka my favourite condiment in the world) which was warmly welcomed after its absence for the past 6 days of my trip!
The charcoal grills were one of my favourite parts of Bali food, they gave the food an incredible flavour and they meat was cooked to perfection. Scallywags definitely knows how to do BBQ & Salad Buffet right!
I had so much amazing food in Bali, but these 4 places were real highlights. I have another list ready to go for my next visit, because I will be back. Bali was incredible and an amazing destination for anyone at any age. Whether you like beaches, adventure or relaxation, it’s diverse locations means Bali has something for everyone. I hope this extensive guide gave you a few good ideas for your trip, because I certainly had the time of my life!