City Guide: Bali

There’s a running joke that Bali, the popular tropical Indonesian island, is actually a suburb in Perth. Flights between the two are almost free ($200 return) and the island is visited by millions of Australians yearly – making it one of the places Australians visit most frequently. I had been to Bali four times and never been much of a fan but all that changed when I visited last month. It was like a lightbulb moment when suddenly I realised what all the fuss was about! Now I’m a committed Bali fan-girl. I don’t know what changed, maybe it was just me? But I wanted to share some of my favourite experiences from the island which I hope will make your travels there amazing too!

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Relaxing poolside at our hotel. Captured on 35mm film.
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Traditional Balinese offerings on 35mm film.

STAY

Padma Resort Legian

I think when you’re visiting somewhere tropical and the main aim is to relax and refresh, where you stay is the most important element; so I have to thank my mum for putting me up in the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

The grounds of the hotel are spectacular! They have beautiful gardens and the grounds are spread out so you’re not living on top of one another (but don’t worry, the walk between your bed, the breakfast buffet, which is bloody amazing, and pools won’t take you longer than 5 minutes). The rooms are beautiful; spacious and with all the amenities you could ever need on vacation. I also have to commend the staff – they are exceptional and a real testament to the hotel. Always smiling, super friendly and helpful. My grandma had a serious health scare while we were there and they went above and beyond to provide top-notch health care (even at 3am in the morning).

Images courtesy of bookings.com

The hotel was also in an ideal location. When you leave the complex there are endless shopping and food options all a stones throw away. They also have a new hotel in Ubud, a traditional, mountainous area of the island, which looks incredible and is definitely on my bucket list for next time.

EAT

Bali does amazing food + stunning setting better than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

Sardine
Delicious seafood, seasonal fruits and the most spectacular setting.

Motel Mexicola
Damn, this place was so cool! Delicious Mexican, awesome setting and yummy cocktails.

Bambu
Favourite restaurant in the world. Phenomenal food and setting (we went twice) and incredible prices. 

Fat Chow
Delicious modern Asian dishes in a very cool setting. It is very popular with locals and tourists so you’re likely to line up  but the wait is worth it!

SHOPPING

Kim Soo

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Inspiring homewares store specialising in Asian decor. The building and merchandising is stunning and whilst it looks expensive it is actually very affordable.

The Bali Tailor
The go-to place for custom-made leather goods or for buying RTW leather pieces, all beautifully handcrafted in Bali. I’d recommend catching a taxi there though because it’s a little way off the beaten track.

Legian and Seminyak
These two suburbs, conveniently located next to one another, are the most popular shopping areas in Bali. In Legian you’ll find cheaper buys — think locally crafted pieces, cheap cotton clothing and fake DVD’s. It is also heaven for spas and massage parlours. I personally find the Seminyak side of Legian (as opposed to the Kuta side) much more pleasant and the quality of goods much higher. Seminyak on the other hand is known for its designer boutiques and fancier international labels. Whilst Legian is tree lined and somewhat more traditional, Seminyak feels like it could be an Australian shopping strip – meaning its not the most exciting to shop but the stores along here do have some great pieces.

Next time…

Ubud, Uluwatu, Tanah Lot Temple, Bike Riding and White Water Rafting (which I have done before and loved, would definitely recommend), Potato Head Beach Club, Ku De Ta and the Gili Islands.

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