A few weeks ago, Sophie (@coconutandbliss) and I went on our second Bali adventure, basing ourselves between the popular areas of Seminyak and Canggu. Seminyak is always a buzz with people and is packed with quirky cocktail bars, instagrammable cafes and delicious Indonesian restaurants. Canggu, often described as the ‘Byron Bay of Bali’, is arguably Bali’s most up and coming destination, and you are no less spoilt for choice when it comes to healthy cafes and fine dining, as well as luxury villas, spas and shopping.
Both areas are great but there was something about Canggu that we just fell in love with. It is slightly calmer than Seminyak, but there is still so much to see and do from hole in the wall style coffee shops and boutique stores, to sunset pool bars and world-class restaurants.
If you’re travelling to Bali you’ll no doubt have a lengthy list of places to visit. It can be a little overwhelming so I’ll keep this list to the absolute musts. I’ve included everything from where to stay, where to eat and places to visit.
Hands down the best place to go for coffee in Bali (potentially the world – no exaggeration here). They use their own signature Revolver Coffee beans and even make their own almond-date milk. Absolute game changer for any fellow almond milk coffee drinkers.
We started most (if not all) of our days in Seminyak here, sipping almond milk cappuccinos in their famous ‘pink room’ whilst stalking cafes on insta to decide where to go for breakfast.
A cute, quirky coffee shop, as well as a beautiful clothing and homewares store. We stumbled upon countless places in Bali that have combined cafes with little boutiques which I absolutely love (although with a store this good it can quickly turn into a very expensive coffee!)
Between the pitaya bowls with BALI BABY spelt out in mango letters, the stunning pink wall and the most decadent smoothie jars decorated with vegan treats, it is no surprise this is one of the most insta-famous cafes in Bali. Aside from getting a good gram, they dish up some of the best clean-eating food in town.
This restaurant has a strong Indian influence and was among the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted. To start, we had the tuna sashimi betel leaves with lemongrass (absolute flavour explosion), followed by a roast pumpkin cauliflower dish and an amazing vegetarian ‘saag’ curry with crumbled burrata, spinach, crushed cashew nuts and micro herbs. And of course a side of rice and garlic-cheese naan. Tip – arrive hungry!
World class South East Asian Food in a stylish setting. It is no wonder this restaurant has the reputation it does! For me the highlight dishes were the entrees. I highly recommend the steamed snapper dumplings with chill oil, the Thai style curry puffs with sweet potato, pumpkin, coriander and sweet chilli sauce, and the spicy tuna sashimi hand roll. The roti bread is also a must.
A great place to kick back, relax and soak up the summer vibes with a passionfruit margarita in hand. There is an entrance fee of $15 which includes a drink and a beach chair which you can enjoy for as long as you like. Make sure you get a cocktail from the famous Mrs Sippy pool bar, too. It’s the largest salt water pool on the island might I add.
If you’re looking to experience the famous Bali night life, Motel Mexico is your place. It is quite relaxed in the day but by about 10pm it has well and truly turned into a club. The music is great, the cocktails are delicious and if you like Mexican, you will be in awe of the food.
WHERE TO STAY
Villa Phinisi is the ultimate in relaxed luxury, located in the heart of Seminyak. Our villa had beautiful Moroccan inspired furnishings, a spacious living area and two stunning bedrooms overlooking the incredible “fish tank”-like pool. The town centre is a short 10 minute walk.
We stayed at Villa Mimi on our first Bali trip and absolutely adored it. It has a stunning 15 metre swimming pool with a beautiful Balinese bale at one end. The furnishings are quite modern which perfectly accompanies its tropical, beach-chic style. As well, Villa Mimi has overnight security staff so you feel very safe.
Another gorgeous villa. It is located just 50 metres from Seminyak beach, and only 15 minutes walk to the hustle and bustle of Seminyak village. It has 3 beautiful bedrooms (each with its own bathroom), an undercover outdoor living space, a kitchen and its own lovely pool.
If you’re in the mood for some shopping, Seminyak village (and its surrounds) is the place to be. Here you’ll find everything from high-end retail stores to ‘I love Bali’ tees and designer knock-offs.
Seminyak Flea Markets
Definitely worth a visit! You can find great jewellery, homewares and clothing. Note – be prepared to bargain with the store holders to strike a good deal!
If you’re after a quality massage, mani-pedi or beauty treatment, Bodyworks is where it’s at. It can be very busy so make sure you make an appointment in advance.
Not a ‘must’ per say but if you get a chance, pop into an Indomaret supermarket (they’re everywhere) to stock up on some Balinese goodies. We are obsessed with the ‘Chok Chok’ Organic Balinese chocolate range. My pick is the 82% dark with almonds, coconut vanilla and almond butter. You can find them at lots of healthy cafes and day spas but they’re half the price at Indomaret.
Peloton is hands down the best vegan cafe I’ve ever been to. My order is the “Powerhouse Bowl” with pumpkin, tempeh, roasted cashews, hummus, wild rice and all kinds of veg. We swap the balsamic dressing for their famous citrus sauce and of course, add a side of avo.
This is perhaps my new favourite cafe in Bali. Here you’ll enjoy seriously amazing vegetarian food in a lush garden oasis. We had quite the spread… Asian tempeh salad bowl, go-green bowl with tamari roasted almonds and a creamy tahini sauce, a to-die-for vegan lasagne and sides of sweet potato, smashed avo and roasted garlic potatoes with aioli. Can’t fault anything about this place!
If you’re feeling like something sweet try their ‘cacao dream’ smoothie bowl. Tastes like chocolate ice cream, only healthy.
Another Canggu gem. It has a beautiful aesthetic with a strong health focus. We discovered this place on our last day so sadly didn’t get the chance to eat here, but it was recommended to us several times (the falafel bowl in particular) and we did manage to pop in for a fresh juice (/wifi session).
Crate Cafe is located in a large, trendy warehouse. It’s stylish interiors include polaroid feature walls, rustic tables, crate chairs (hence the name), a communal white board style menu and its very own crate clothing store. If you’re a smoothie bowl (/pb) fan, the ‘why so cereal’ bowl with peanut butter, cacao and frozen bananas is a must. Their smashed avocado on thickly sliced rye bread is also amazing.
This is the new kid on the block and has been featured in Vogue, Grazia, Good Food, Bali Bible… you name it. After seeing so many incredible write ups, Fishbone local was bumped to the top of our must-try list. The focus is on fresh, sustainably caught seafood, as well as having good vibes and great cocktails.
We sat outside which has a homely garden feel with fairy lights and giant cushions as chairs. Everything we tried was amazing but my faves were the tuna tostadas, line caught squid and the flatbread with garlic, herbs and ricotta.
One Eyed Jack is a modern Japanese restaurant, very popular amongst both locals and tourists. I’m sure all the food is amazing, but we actually went specifically for dessert… I’m not usually a big dessert person (unless it’s the healthy kind) but my weakness is dark chocolate fondant. We were in awe! Fondants take a little longer to prepare because they are made fresh to order but it is well worth the wait.
Situated right on Canggu Beach, The Lawn would have to be one of my all time favourite Bali destinations. It is a great place to spend the afternoon… you can lounge on cushion chairs, sip on cocktails, swim in the pool and just soak up the atmosphere. It is also a prime spot for sunset drinks, whether you’re on the lawn or their newly refurbished rooftop bar.
As well as having great drinks (Pomelo Margaritas), they have the best selection of small plates to nibble on. The tempeh rice paper rolls with peanut dipping sauce and spicy fish tacos are both incred.
They often have parties on Friday nights so keep an eye out for what’s on! If you’re in the mood for a dance you can kick on to Old Man’s, just down the road form The Lawn.
This is a pool bar unlike any other. It’s quirky decor, fun music and outlook onto Echo Beach makes it one of the most popular cocktail bars in Bali. Another ideal location for sunset drinks!
WHERE TO STAY
This was our second time staying at Jungle Room and it was such a treat. I love the antique wooden villas, the stunning pool and of course, the Jungle Room Juice and Smoothie Bar with a delicious superfood menu. They’re renowned for their chia (when you taste it you’ll know why). It’s the perfect poolside snack.
Villa Hart is located in the heart of Canggu, only minutes from some of the best cafes, restaurants, markets, and day spas in Bali. The flawlessly styled villa has a breathtaking outlook onto rice fields. Its prime location paired with its interiors and stunning view crowned it my favourite villa of the trip. Big call, I know.
If you’re in the mood to be pampered, make sure you factor in some time to visit Spring Spa. They have a few locations, but the Canggu Spa was our pick.
We were treated to a hair revival treatment and blow dry which included a shoulder, neck and foot massage. The hair treatment left our hair feeling silky smooth!
A few tips for transport in Bali…
- Getting taxis in Bali is very cheap – a ride across town is about $4 (although the price will depend on your negotiating skills!). Make sure you set a price before getting in or better yet request for the meter to be used.
- If you feel comfortable I would suggest renting a motor bike. They can be dangerous so be wary but they are by far the most common / most convenient way of getting around, especially at night when it can be difficult to find a taxi.
I hope these suggestions will be useful in planning the ultimate Bali escape!