I’ve written a full guide on travelling to Bali which includes everything from getting there and choosing where to stay to a few of my favourite things to do and places to eat.
How to get there
It’s approximately 16 hours total flying time from London to Bali. I chose to travel via Singapore, a route I highly recommend because Singapore is a great city that’s worth visiting. Regardless of your route, I recommend choosing a nicer airline such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific or Singapore Air for comfort. Flights average £600 year round but keep in mind that monsoon season runs from October to April.
Where to Stay
During my solo trip to Bali, I stayed in Ubud, Canggu and Seminyak, three very different parts of the island. Canggu was definitely my favourite, but I’ll share an overview of what to expect in all three.
The price of accommodation is one of the main reasons I love visiting Asia. You can easily stay in a 5* hotel for the price of a 3* in London or New York. My process for choosing hotels deserves its own post, however, I recommend utilising TripAdvisor for traveller photos of the hotel to get the best idea of what the hotel really looks like. Also skim through the reviews as people often mention steep hills, obstructed views and other things that you want to be aware of before booking.
Ubud: best for culture and chilling out
Great choice for couples as it’s definitely an ‘eat, pray, fuck’ type of place. I wouldn’t discourage friends or solo travellers staying here, but if you’re looking for a more active holiday I’d opt for 2 full days in Ubud or just enough time to do a few excursions. Alternatively, you could stay in Ubud last as use it as a time to unwind at the end of your trip.
Tip: I hated my hotel in Ubud. Admittedly I’m quite fussy with my hotels but I’d recommend only staying in the most uber-luxe hotel you can afford, or possibly renting a villa. Also, it’s very remote and transport is poor in this area, the Bisma Eight is the only high-end hotel that seems to be somewhat close to civilisation. Choose wisely.
Canggu: best for health food, chill vibes and surfing
My time in Canggu is what made me fall in love with Bali. It’s not particularly Balinese, but I love it. There’s so much to do on the strip alone (restaurant, bars, shops) and the beach is a short walk away. This is the perfect place for anyone to enjoy if you’re looking for a cool place to hang out.
Travel publications accurately describe Canggu as a gentrified Brooklyn/Shoreditch on the coast but it’s much nicer than it sounds. It’s a surfer town where flip-flops and denim shorts rule the day and rooftop bars/beach clubs rule the night. There’s a strong hipster presence with an abundance of coffee shops, organic eateries and cute boutiques. This definitely won’t be for everyone, but I got my life eating granola and coconut water every day.
Seminyak: best for shopping and international resorts
Unlike Canggu, Seminyak doesn’t wake up until about 10:30 am. It’s a highly touristic area filled with shops and restaurants. This is the place to enjoy lavish dinners and lounge at beach clubs all day. I assumed the shopping would be tacky, but ended up filling my suitcase with reasonably priced linens, silks and snakeskin slides. I’d go back just to shop!
Nusa Dua: luxe resorts
I overlooked Nusa Dua because I didn’t intend on staying in a resort. In hindsight, I may have preferred this Ubud as it has the perfect combination of art, culture, beaches and infinity pools. If I revisit Bali, I’ll definitely consider Nusa Dua.
Kynd Community, Seminyak
Their homemade granola is the best I have ever tasted in my life! This vegan cafe is perfect for breakfast and has a super cute (pink) interior.
Jl. Petitenget No.12, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Ku De Ta, Seminyak
Probably my favourite place to visit. This day-to-night beach club is perfect for drinks and dinner. I’d recommend going just before sunset for the full experience (feature image). The service is incredible and the vibe is unbeatable.
The Slow, Canggu
This hotel/art gallery/restaurant/rooftop bar was an immediate fave. The cocktails are really good and the vibe is chilled and laidback. Go here for drinks and to watch the sunset before dinner.
Roti Canai, Canggu
Specialising in sweet and savoury rotis at a great price. Worth stopping by if you’re in Canggu.
Tanah Lot and Uluwatu temples and both highly recommended (I visited neither lol) as well as the Sacred Monkey Forest.
A bucket list experience that’s worth the wait. I would advise going as early as possible to avoid spending most of your time queuing.
In addition to Ku De Ta, I also liked Potato Head in Seminyak and wanted to visit La Brisa in Seminyak. The cocktails are great and you can also enjoy lunch while you lounge about all day. I recommend visiting at least one beach club during your time in Bali.
Every other day was spa day in Bali because it’s so damn cheap! I literally went for messages to kill time between checking in and out hotels and didn’t pay more than £20. Golddust Beauty Lounge in Canggu has an extensive range of treatments and serve the best ginger tea. While Spa Bali in Seminyak offered the best massages and pedicures. The beautician treated me to a hot stone leg massage while my toes were drying – I nearly melted in the chair!
Ubud market is known for its handmade crafts, sarongs, silk kimonos and straw bags which is great if you’re looking for souvenirs or inexpensive gifts.
The boutiques in Canggu stock bikinis, linens, crochet pieces. Its the perfect place to shop for resort wear and jewellery.
Seminyak is home to international boutiques and brands. There are local shops selling leather goods, handmade sandals and snakeskin bags. Several places offer tailoring services (I saw a few customers shopping for custom leather jackets) and the roads are lined with stalls selling straw bags and woven clutches.
Top tips for your trip to Bali…
- Card skimming is apparently a thing in Bali, so I used my Monzo card. You’ll have to activate the magnetic strip in settings before withdrawing cash at the ATM.
- Download ‘Grab’ the Asian version of Uber but be warned that there’s tension between Grab drivers and the official BlueBird taxis/local taximen. Avoid standing on the street waiting for your ride, let the car arrive first then get straight in.
- ‘You break, you pay’ is enforced heavily here. I saw a girl pay £60 for a damaged hotel lamp at check-out. I was lowkey cackling, but grateful that I didn’t steal a robe.