Flashback: This time last year I was exploring the lush island of Bali, Indonesia. I thought it would be best to share in case anyone is planning their winter vacations abroad or still trying to decide where to go, I can give you some ideas!
This island has something for everyone from tucked away hidden luxury resorts to happening beaches, clubs, and restaurants to spiritual yoga retreats surrounded by temples and rice paddies. Also, there are several accommodations to chose from but here are a few of my recommendations. I did not stay at any private villas this time but recommend it as an option (you can find some amazing deals).
I started my trip at the Bulgari Resort located on the the Bukit peninsula near Uluwatu (a surfer’s paradise). This breathtaking resort is located high up in the cliff tops offering unrivaled views of the Indian Ocean. Each villa has it’s own butler and pool with complete privacy except for the occasional cute monkey that might peak in. And while you might be a little sad you are not directly on the beach, don’t be, there is an outdoor elevator that will bring you down to the ocean. There, you can enjoy an incredible lunch at La Spiaggia (one of my best meals in Bali) and continue down to the loungers on the beach where you can see schools of dolphins in the water and families of monkeys on land. I highly recommend this resort! Other recommendations in Uluwatu would be Alila Villas or the Four Seasons in Jimbaran Bay (located nearby but directly on the beach).
Next I headed to Seminyak where you find the trendy restaurants, shopping, nightlife and beaches (side note DO NOT stay in Kuta, you will thank me later). Here you are more immersed into the Balinese culture and city feel. I stayed at the Samaya. It was nice and clean, again with private pool and butler, but it lacked something special. Next time I would choose between The Legian, The Oberoi or The W Bali Hotels. I did find many enticing restaurants – my tops – Metis (a must for dinner), Chandi, The Junction (great lunch), Ku De Ta (popular hangout), Nammos Beach Club (yes same glam spot as Mykonos). The beaches leave much to be desired, but if you decided to surf, it becomes your world. I learned how to surf through The Rip Curl School of Surf - highly recommend it. As for shopping, there are many sweet boutiques. My top shops – Magali Pascal, So Clothes, and Niluh Djelantik, but all the boutiques on the main street are worth popping into. The unfortunate part about Seminyak is the rubbish in the streets. The locals offer gifts to the gods daily (consisting of woven leaf baskets filled with anything from rice, flowers, fresh fruit, to incense) and the city has not arranged a proper clean up program. Pity.
My last stop was the tropical town of Ubud – amazing how different all the cities are from one to another. Ubud is located closer to the center of the island, surrounded by rice paddies, plush foliage and balinese furniture shops (aka where to buy your Buddha). You automatically fall into the zen mode, feel at peace and understand why all the yogis come here to practice. I stayed at the Four Seasons Sayan - I cannot even begin to describe how stunning this resort is. Imagine a massive flying saucer stuck in the middle of the most exuberant, well manicured greenery you have ever seen in your life. I recommend getting a riverfront villa. And do save some time to practice yoga and go shopping for your Balinese trinkets or furniture – this is the place!
I accomplished this trip in approximately 11 days. If you can extend your trip and travel around the island more, I think it would be an excellent idea. I am sad I did not have more time.
Overall, Bali is an incredible destination and a place that everyone should go to at least once in their lifetime. Bisous NYS