THE ULTIMATE BALI GUIDE

Denne eksotiske indonesiske øya tok meg med storm. Det er få steder jeg har følt meg så hjemme når jeg har vært så langt borte. Fargene, menneskene, maten, været, naturen, klimaet ja alt er rett og slett fantastisk vakkert. Bali har en atmosfære som ønsker alle velkommen, øya får deg til å senke skuldrene og føle deg fri som fuglen. Det er et obligatorisk stopp for backpackere, himmelen for yoga entusiaster, et hjem for surfere og et paradis for glutenallergikere og veganere. Her kommer mine beste tips, favoritt steder og anbefalinger fra mange besøk på denne øya. Resten av guiden blir på engelsk, ettersom jeg regner med at de fleste av dere forstår det også. Enjoy! Du kan lese mer om hvorfor Bali tok en bit av hjertet mitt her.

It was love at first sight when Bali and I first met. Yes, again I like to think of us as a couple. There are few places in this world where I feel as home as in Bali even though its so far away from Norway and quite the opposite. The colors, the people, the food, the nature, the climate and the atmosphere makes Bali so special. I finally updated the old guide I made a couple of years ago, and these are my recommendations, favorite spots and the best tips for those of you visiting this island, enjoy! You can read more about why I love Bali here.

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WHERE TO EAT IN SEMINYAK

Seminyak is one of my favorite areas in Bali and the reason for that is because its filled with cute cafes and chic boutiques. On every corner you will see something you want to eat or try on. Definitely not the safest place for your wallet, but hey you are not in Bali every year are you?

Mexicola: The most popular Mexican restaurant in Seminyak, probably in Bali too. Mexicola is filled with exotic and colorful interior, it will definitely make you feel like you are in Mexico for the evening. Their drinks are great ( a little pricey tho) and tacos are tasty too. They have gluten free and vegan options too, and fyi during dinner the restaurant will turn up the music and suddenly you will be clubbing.

Revolver: A different and cool cafe in a narrow hidden street in the center of Seminyak. This place has its own vibe, a dark, cool and none-Indonesian atmosphere. Their coffee and the avocado toast are sooo good! 

Earth Cafe: A vegan/vegetarian cafe in Seminyak, where most of the dishes can be made gluten free. I love this place, and I have to recommend the buckwheat pancakes, buckwheat noodles, Nori Maki and the peanut butter ball. 

Sushimi: The best sushi place in Bali. I would recommend you to visit Sushimi on a Friday night, they have happy hour where every plate is 20K! This is normally a place where the prices depend on which color the plates are. I can also recommend their soba salad and their Vege Awesome sushi burrito! Yum! 

Shelter: On a little rooftop in the neighborhood for Seminyak you will find Shelter. A healthy cafe with delicious breakfast food. On the menu you will find everything from egg and bacon to smoothies, granola, avocado toasts, yogurt, sandwiches and smoothie bowls from the well known Nalu Bowls which is right by the entrance. Shelter has both gluten free and vegan options! 

Nook: A few minutes outside of Seminyak you will find the restaurant called Nook. A big and beautiful place right in the middle of the rice fields. Nook has such a colorful menu filled with everything from pancakes and burgers to smoothie bowls, grilled cheese and salads. A perfect lunch spot for a group of friends where everyone will find something tempting and delicious!

Kim Soo: Our new favorite in Seminyak. I have been there before, but then it was only an interior store now they also have a cafe. Kim Soo is the perfect place to grab a coffee and a cake or eat breakfast in beautiful surroundings. The shop is definitely what people would call #interiorgoals. 

Manik Organik: A new and a little bit lonely cafe in Seminyak. We stayed right up the street last time we were in Bali and Manik Organik quickly became a favorite. They have delicious smoothie bowls (also very cheap compared to other places in Bali) and I also have to recommend their vegan Indonesian dish: Nasi Campur! One of the reasons I fell in love with tempeh. 

Sea Circus: Sea Circus is the restaurant that has the fancy and colorful wall that you have probably seen on Instagram. They have tacos, smoothies, salads, burgers etc. And its definitely the perfect place for a hungover brunch with a group of friends. 

Cafe Bali: A cute bohemian restaurant in the middle of the busy street of Seminyak with delicious Indonesian food and other tasty dishes on the menu. I can recommend the edamame beans and the Nasi Goreng. They also have vegan and gluten free options here! 

Sisterfields: A modern Australian cafe with amazing food and a chic vibe. I can recommend the Acai berry bowl and their ice coffee is the best! 

Nalu Bowls: The famous smoothie bowls of Bali, probably one of the first one that popped up on your Instagram feed a few years ago. A little pricey, but yet very good! 

LacaLaca: A modern Mexican restaurant in Seminyak with funky and exotic interior and tasty menu. They also have happy hour, write that down! 

Mad Pops: The best ice cream in Bali and its vegan! Mad Pops is a tiny ice cream shop in the busy street of Seminyak. I can recommend these flavors: caramel, coffee, rainbow, oreo and chocolate. 
 

WHERE TO EAT IN CANGGU

Canggu is another favorite place of mine. Its the more laid back and chill cousin of Seminyak. The surfy, barefoot one with long curly hair and a couple of random tattoos. Ok, sorry now I am dreaming. But its true, Canggu is cool, and you will like it!

Crate Cafe: On your way down to Echo Beach you will spot the turquoise-ish and well known wall at Crate Cafe. This place is perfect for breakfast or lunch: Smoothies, toasts, salads, eggs, smoothie bowls, chia pudding etc.

Peloton Supershop: My favorite breakfast and lunch spot in Canggu. A 100% vegan cafe, where everything on the menu can be made gluten free! So so delicious! I can recommend the meze plate, the avocado toast, the biker bowl and their pancakes! 

Taco Casa: Looking for a tasty and satisfying Mexican meal? This is the place! Nothing fancy, just perfectly delicious! I can recommend the 8 layer burrito and the Nachos regular! 

Cafe Organic: A bit overrated, but still a cute breakfast spot! Cafe Organic is an all-day breakfast place with a healthy, colorful and vegetarian menu full of fresh juices, smoothies, salads, smoothie bowls, toasts and other breakfast foods. They have both vegan and gluten free options. 

Old Mans: A laid back and chill place to grab something to eat or drink after a long day at the beach. Old Mans is a restaurant and bar next to Echo Beach in Canggu, with funky music and a chill vibe. On the last Saturday of every month Old Mans hosts a market for creatives of Bali selling vintage clothing, jewellery and fresh baked goods! So cool!

The Shady Shack: A vegan/vegetarian cafe in Canggu overlooking the rice fields with a healthy menu filled with delicious and Instagram friendly food! I can recommend the avocado toast and the tempeh burger! 

Barraca: An Italian restaurant with super delicious pasta and pizza, where you can get what you want both gluten free and vegan. They even have vegan cheese for your pizza! Yum! 

Rustica: Another favorite pizza place in Canggu where you also can get gluten free pizza! I can recommend their vegetarian pizza! Just swap the cheese with some extra veggies if you are vegan!

Okas Bakery: A cute bakery in the heart of Canggu, where they have plenty of gluten free options, my go-to is the gluten free and vegan carrot cake, a strawberry and banana smoothie and an ice coffee. My boyfriend says the Fungi pizza is delicious too!

Cafe Vida: An organic cafe and espresso bar in the heart of Canggu. Their menu is filled with delicious options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can recommend their South of the boarder - a Mexican breakfast bowl and their coconut yogurt with homemade granola! They have both vegan and gluten free options! 

Roti Canai: Cheap and tasty Indonesian street food in a cute little cafe. I can recommend the Bali bowl and big daddy roti wrap for breakfast and their vegetable curry and tempeh sate for lunch! Their ice coffee is also great!

WHERE TO EAT IN UBUD 

Ubud has the soul of Bali, a little center in the lush jungle of the island. Cute cafes, bookstores, markets and boutiques surroudned by nature and breathtaking views.

Clear Cafe: One of my first favorite cafes in Ubud. Clear Cafe is now a big and fancy cafe with a healthy and colorful menu. They have raw food, smoothies, Mexican, salads, wraps, fries, soups etc.

Green Key: A new favorite in Ubud. A healthy cafe with a delicious menu, perfectly for people who like to design their own meal. You can build your own salad and your own poke bowl, which is super yummy with edamame beans, tempeh, avocado, pumpkin and a spicy sauce. They also have smoothie bowls, great coffee, avo toast and other breakfast foods.

Taco Casa: One of the most popular restaurants in Ubud, always crowded. Nothing fancy, just perfectly delicious as I mentioned before! I can recommend the 8 layer burrito and the Nachos regular! 

Alchemy: A perfect place for breakfast or lunch! Alchemy is a vegan cafe where you can feel that what you are about to eat is healthy. They also have a health clinic! 

The Elephant: A 100% vegetarian restaurant in Ubud, they have salads, smoothies, porridge, granola, banana pancakes, eggs and toasts etc. Perfect for breakfast and lunch! 

Gelato Secrets: The perfect pit stop in the shade for an ice cream and a coffee. I can recommend the chocolate sorbet and the coconut sorbet, so so good! You can find Gelato Secrets in Seminyak as well.

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THINGS TO SEE/DO WHEN VISITING BALI

Visiting Bali for the first time you have a few things you can't leave the island without experiencing. Some a little touristy and some cultural. Here are some of the things I think you all should consider to check out:

Monkey Forest: If you like monkeys, this is your place. Its touristy, but at the same time the monkeys are wild and you are the one who is visiting them, so be careful. They will jump on you and they will take whatever loose accessorize you have with you. (They opened my bag and took my sunglasses out, but I manage to catch them last minute.) 

Temples: Tanah Lot, Uluwatu Temple, Tirtha Empul, Saraswati Temple: are the four most common and most beautiful temples to visit. One in the ocean, one on a cliff with monkeys, one where you will be able to join a spiritual ceremony and one surrounded by water lilies. Your pick! But a temple visit is definitely a must!

Waterfalls: Bali has plenty of waterfalls, the most visited one is very close to the center of Ubud, Tengenungan waterfall. This used to be beautiful, now its just very crowded and touristy. I would recommend to visit Tibumana waterfall instead and be there early! Around sunrise is perfect, you will most likely have the place to yourself. And whats more exotic than a morning swim in a waterfall?

Tegalalang Rice Terrace: These rice terraces are a must see, beautifully located in Ubud, so lush and green. Be aware of that the locals working in the rice fields will want you to donate for walking through the Tegalalang, bring cash! And also a pair of sneakers would be better than sandals.

THINGS TO DO IN BALI


Yoga: The possibilities for yoga in Bali are endless. Retreats, studios and classes are everywhere. If you are very into yoga I recommend you to go to Ubud and spend more time there.

Surfing: Surfing is definitely a must while in Bali, either you are a pro or want to step on a board for the first time. There are plenty of surf camps and locals willing to teach you! For beginners Seminyak and Canggu will be great, if you have experience you could either do that or go to Uluwatu.

Markets: Local markets are a must when traveling. Its not about the souvenirs is about the treasures you can find. I recommend you to visit Ubud market, that's where I have bought my straw baskets and silver jewellery. I can also recommend the Love Anchor market in Canggu, Flea Market in Seminyak and the market Old Mans hosts on the last Saturday of the month.

Snorkling/ Diving: If you love snorkeling you should go to the Gili Islands or Nusa Penida, such a beautiful underwater world, crystal clear water, turtles and endless opportunities for snorkeling. 

Shopping: Shopping is not my first priority when visiting Bali, but Ive never been able to leave the island without a full suitcase. Bali has plenty of unique boutiques and you will find them everywhere. The best place for shopping is definitely Seminyak. And the markets I mentioned above.

Food: Indonesian food is delicious, don't leave without tasting Nasi Campur, Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. If you are into cooking, there are so many cooking classes to attend! The locals love to teach about their food culture.

Trips: Rafting, hikes, boat trips, temples and nature. There are so many trips to attend if you are the restless kind of traveler. You could hike the volcano, take diving license, go boxing or learn how to meditate. Its up to you.

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BEACHES TO VISIT

Arriving in Bali you will probably most likely stay in Seminyak or Canggu, hopefully not Kuta. When packing and planning your trip you will be dreaming of white sandy beaches, turquoise water and whole lot of paradise. Walking out of your hotel room the next morning jet lagged an hungry will make disappointed. Because the beaches of Seminyak and Canggu aren't the prettiest. In Nusa Dua you will find long white picturesque beaches, in Sanur the more rough and yellow ones, in Uluwatu white sand, turquoise water and steep cliffs and in Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Balian volcano sand = black beaches. If you are staying in around these areas you can jump in a taxi/uber or take your motorbike and check out these beaches: 

Dreamland Beach, Kubu Beach, Balangan Beach, Padang Padang Beach, Suluban Beach, Green bowl, Karma beach, Sundays Beach. 

PLACES TO HANG OUT:

Single Fin: An acai bowl, a poke bowl or a beer during sunset? Yes, please! Single Fin is the ultimate sunset spot in Uluwatu. Definitely the place to be if you want a social afternoon with drinks, music and loads of people. 

Potato Head: Potato head has the typical beach club vibe, if that's what you are looking for? This is the place where you can chill out on double sun beds, take a dip in their infinity pool with a view of the beach and a margarita in your hand. 

Sundays Beach Club: A different type of beach club with a private beach in Uluwatu. You pay an entrance fee and get transported down to the beach where you can spend the day tanning, swimming, snorkeling, paddling, followed by a delicious lunch in the shade and a bonfire at the beach containing marshmallows at sunset. 

Jungle Fish: A hidden gem in the jungle of Ubud. Jungle fish is a beach club in the jungle. If that make any sense? An infinity pool, a restaurant and a bar tucked away in the lush nature of Ubud. This is definitely a cool place to spend a Sunday! 

The Straw Hut: The Straw Hut is a chill out place you will find in the hidden streets of Seminyak. With beanbags, a pool and colorful menu filled with drinks and snacks. A place to spend your afternoon after a long day at the beach.

Ku De Ta: A more exclusive and "party-ish" beach club in Seminyak, where they have a fancy menu and often a famous Dj for their sunset parties. 

Yogabarn: The best place in Ubud for a yoga class followed by a lunch at their Garden Kafe & Juice Bar overlooking the lush beauty of The Yoga Barn garden. Good vibes!

La Plancha: A cute and well known place on the beach in Seminyak, where you can have a drink among their colorful Indonesian umbrellas. Its has become a little bit too touristy lately, but it still has its charm. 

The Lawn: My new absolute favorite sunset spot in Canggu! Which is also a beach club during the day, where you can float around in the infinity pool drinking margaritas and wait for the sun to set. 

Panama Kitchen & Pool: We recently had a glass of wine under the palm trees and light chains by the pool at Panama in Canggu, and it was such a lovely place. I would definitely recommend you to stop by there before you head out for dinner or stop by for lunch and a dip in the pool during the day. 

La Laguna: Ok, this place is so dreamy. If you want to know where you can watch the sunset around a bonfire, while drinking an exotic cocktail and do a tarot card reading, this is it! La Laguna is a beach front restaurant and bar with a spiritual and bohemian vibe, a must visit!

Mrs Sippy: A new pool, restaurant and bar kinda place. Where you can spend the day by the pool drinking smoothies or cocktails while watching people jump from the tower by the pool.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING BALI

  • Uber: Uber is the absolute cheapest way of transportation in Bali, but its not allowed. I have heard stories that Uber drivers have been beaten up, so its important that you don't make it official that its an Uber you have ordered. Do it casually, don't waive at them in public, pretend its your friend not your driver.
  • Blue bird: The taxi company in Bali is called Blue Bird, there is one fake and one real, in other words: one with taximeter and one without. The real ones have a light blue color, a big sign on the top of the car and it says Blue Bird in their front shield.
  • Bali belly: Bali belly is a well known phenomenon for travelers in Bali. You might not get it, but you might as well. If you get it you need to know that you will get the strong stuff you need behind the desk at the Pharmacy. Just say Bali belly, they will laugh at you and they will understand. Another tip is to drink Kombucha, fermented tea. It contains living bacteria's and will help your tummy through your Bali trip. You will get it at the different cafes around Bali.
  • Police: The police in Bali is corrupt, be aware of that when you rent a scooter. They will try to stop you alongside the road and give you a ticket, even though you haven't done anything wrong. Its frustrating, but what you can do is put a 50K bill in your hand, do a handshake and then drive away. It sounds shady, but that's how it works.
  • Maps.Me: is definitely a very practical app to download before visiting Bali. If you are not planning on buying a local sim card this is the best way to find your way around without WiFi. 
  • The most practical way to get around in Bali is definitely by renting a scooter. The traffic is horrible compared to any European country. And you should have driven a scooter before, Bali should not be your first time. If you rent a scooter I suggest you drive around in the area where you are, not from city to city. And no, you are not to cool for a helmet! Safety first!

PLACES TO STAY

Bali has plenty of wonderful places to stay. Everyone will definitely find something they like or love on this island. Either its a hostel, an Airbnb, a yoga retreat, a surf camp, a bed and breakfast, a villa with a private pool or an Eco-friendly resort. I definitely recommend you to move around when visiting Bali. The areas are very different, which if you ask me is the best part of this island. Being able to experience and see so many different things within a short distance. Airbnb has definitely been my go-to when booking accomondaion in Bali. Here are some cool places worth checking out: 

Hide Out, The Shift Hotel, Jungle room, The Sun and Surf Stay, Gravity Hotel, Sal Secret Spot

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WEEKEND TRIPS FROM BALI

NUSA LEMBONGAN, NUSA CENINGAN & NUSA PENIDA

I recently went on a trip to Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan and Nusa Penida. Three beautiful islands right outside the coast of Bali, only a 30 minutes boat ride from Sanur. I am so happy we went here, and this is definitely a must-visit if you have time! Read more about my trip here and how to get there here

GILI ISLANDS 

The Gili Islands are right outside of the coast of Lombok. They are a part of Lombok, not Bali. But people traveling to Bali most likely end up here anyway. You can get here by taking a 2 hour boat trip from Padangbai, north of Bali, or fly to Lombok, take a taxi and then a 10 minute boat ride from there. Read more about my trip to the Gilis here and here.

LOMBOK

Lombok is like the younger sister of Bali, I have written more about that here. I would recommend anyone traveling to Bali for the second time to visit Lombok as well, its less touristy and the nature is so beautiful. There are loads of things to do and explore and everything is much more untouched than Bali.