If you have been to Bali (which I'm sure most of you have) then I'm sure you will laugh at me when I tell you that I packed 3 pairs of heels... I was only there 8 days! In my defence I had never been to Bali or Thailand or anywhere else in south east Asia. Being half Greek most of my holidays are usually back to the motherland or somewhere in Europe where those heels definitely would have gotten a work out.
But when you are living the chilled out, pool side #BaliLife, it's all just basics, bikini's and banning the bra!
There are lots of different ways to experience Bali, there is something for everyone, depending on what you are looking for. My boyfriend and I work like crazy and were only able to get just over a week off work, so we wanted the ultimate chill out and relaxing holiday. Plan of attack was to spend as much time horizontal as possible. Admittedly we didn't do much exploring and weren't very adventurous... We were pretty much just a couple of resort wankers. But thanks to our friends at Pared Eye Wear (available at Rebel Muse), we had a heads up on some pretty cool things to see and do.... and yes, most of them involved eating. So here is my run down on Bali, what I liked, what I didn't and a few of my faves that you should definitely check out if you ever visit Bali!
Ayana Resort & Rock Bar- Jimbaran
This is where we stayed, which kind of explains why we didn't leave the hotel much. It has this amazing infinity pool on the cliff edge that overlooks the ocean. Kids under 12 aren't allowed at this pool and there are only a handful of day beds. So it's nice and quiet and the perfect place to rest and recharge.
How most of my day was spentRock Bar
Ayana is home to the famous Rock Bar which is a popular island destination for sunset cocktails. The Rock Bar fills up super quickly so you have to get in as soon as they open to get a prime location, people start lining up from around 5.30. Just a heads up that it is not cheap here! Most of Bali is super cheap, unless of course you are going to be in a Resort. The cocktails at Ayana and the Rock Bar are around $18-$20. *Warning, NO GOOD COFFEE IN JIMBARAN EITHER*.
One of the most popular tourist destinations on the island and where most choose to stay. It's filled with uber trendy restaurants, bars, cafe's and boutiques. It's super busy with lots of Aussies around. You can find some really good food and coffee in Seminyak. But even with the plethora of trendy bars and restaurants, no one really gets that dressed up! Denim, basics and birkenstocks are pretty much acceptable everywhere! Plus you will do a lot of walking around Seminyak, the roads and non existent pathways would be difficult to get around on, even for the most experienced heel walkers.
Unless you have been living under a rock, then I'm sure you have heard of Potato Head. If you didn't go to Potato Head, then you may as well not have even gone to Bali. It's a sort of beach/pool day club. It has an infinity pool looking onto the beach and another pool with a bar in the middle of it. There are a bunch of day beds and then bars, lounges, chairs and a restaurant. We went to spend the day in Seminyak where we planned to spend half the day at Potato Head. We turned up at about 1pm and all the day beds were full. Even the waiting list was full! They weren't even taking any more names for the waiting list, but we could grab a seat around the bar.... Umm no. That did not fit into our holiday plans to spend majority of the time horizontal. The door girl told us that the pool opens at 11am but people usually start lining up at 9.30am!! Once again, no thank you. It is a very cool spot though, so if you are willing to line up and wait then I would definitely recommend it.
After our Potato Head fail, we decided to try W Hotel. Another famous Bali hang out. This was more like it! Still a very trendy cool pool bar, next to the beach, view of the sunset but a lot quieter and relaxing and a really tasty bar menu. We ordered wagyu beef sliders, prawn ceviche, poached prawns on ice with bloody mary sauce and soft shell crab. We spent the afternoon here right through to the evening before we moved on to Sarong for dinner.
Poolside dining at W hotelSarong Restaurant
Well I didn't get any pictures of Sarong. To be honest sometimes I get over having to take pictures and prefer to just really enjoy my time with my man (or the company I am with). We had a really tasty dinner at Sarong and it's another very trendy spot. We recommend booking ahead or if you are happy to wait, you can have drinks at the bar while you wait at the table. The food is a mix of Asian and Indian dishes and flavours. Not the cheapest meal you will get in Bali but still cheap for how good it was. Warning majority of the dishes are hot! So if you don't like spicy food, I would not recommend this restaurant.
Organic/raw/vegan cafe in Seminyak. Made me feel like I was back in Bondi! I'm not vegan, but I sure do appreciate a good fresh juice or smoothie! Plus it has a little store attached to it so was a great place to pick up some little gifts for friends and family back home.
Delicious fresh juices at Earth CafeBambu Restaurant - Seminyak
I loved this place! Half the restaurant looks like it is floating on water. The fit out was amazing and so was the food! Modern Indonesian fusion. Again I would recommend booking ahead. We just walked in and ordered a drink at the bar while we waited for a table. We only had to wait about 10min. Again not the cheapest meal you will find, but still so much cheaper than eating at a nice restaurant in Australia.
Dinner at Bambu Restaurant
We stayed 2 nights at Ubud and I loved it here! Next time I go to Bali I will probably spend most of the time here. Ubud is up in the mountains, so no beach in sight. It is set amongst rice fields and is home to local artist and creators, Temples, yogi's, healers and organic cafe's and good coffee.
Lunch at Pomegranate cafe in the rice field of UbudBisma Eight Hotel - Ubud
I actually have a friend who lives in Ubud who recommended Bisma Eight hotel. The hotel is only a year and a half old, so you won't find that much about it yet on the internet, but I would definitely recommend staying here. A small hotel with an amazing contemporary fit out. Central location walking distance to almost everything and a great restaurant and bar. It also has an infinity pool that over looks the forest. Our room looked out to the forest from our beds and the bathroom had a Japanese style soaking tub!
Ubud and its healers were made famous from the book and movie Eat, Pray Love. Traditionally and by locals they are called Balian but westerners may refer to them as a spiritual healer, medicine man or witch doctor. Jordan and I visited a popular Balian named Cakorda Rai. But I have so much to say about this topic that it is going to have a blog post of its own! So stay tuned... Next blog post will be all about my Balian experience.
Sunsets from Ayana Rock Pool
Hujon Local Restaurant - Ubud
Another delicious and swanky restaurant that my friend Holly took us to. By the same owner and chef as Sarong restaurant who also owns a couple other well known restaurants in Seminyak - Mammasan and Tiger Palm.
Once again I didn't actually get any pictures here because I was too busy enjoying the company of my friends and the super tasty food. HA.
Padang Padang beach - small, cramped, filled with tourists and vendors.Beaches
Honestly, the beaches in Bali are pretty sh!t... Well when you live in a country like Australia, the beaches in Bali do not compare. Unless you are surfer, apparently there are some good surf beaches. To be fair we didn't do any adventuring in the hunt of nice beaches, but we did see a fair few.. and they do not compare to the beautiful beaches we have here in Aus.
The flight from Sydney to Bali is only 6 hours making it so easily accessible. It's perfect for a quick winter escape to rest and recharge. Will definitely be back!
Images: Alicia Xyraxis; Words: Alicia Xyraxis
Tell us, have you been to Bali? Where are your fave. hang out/foodie spots?