Bob and I booked a trip to Bali on a whim, tickets were cheap. A day later we realized we had no idea what we were going to do there. After road tripping around Aussie we didn’t quite want to sun bake or laze around the beach, so I did what I always did when I needed help – post a question on Facebook: What to do/eat/see in Bali? And we kind of let people plan our trip.
Here’s a warning: if you’re not planning to be by the sea in Bali it will require a lot of traveling. Bali’s places of interests are really scattered all over the country, making it impossible to walk from one place to another. I guess cabs are cheap and easily available; Bob and I rented a car for approx US$15 a day; but 1. roads are narrow and traffic is horrible and 2. there are motorcyclists everywhere and quite a lack of road rules. I think your best mode of transport would be the humble scooter, if you know how to ride one.
Quick lowdown on the places recommended to us that we thought were worthy of visiting:
1. Potato Head Beach Club – Seminyak
Yah, weird name right. Click here for better pics and a write up of the place. There’s a minimum spend to get a pool front table, so Bob and I sat at the bar; which was a blessing because we got to speak to the bartender and observe how he made the drinks. PHBC has an extensive menu of really interesting drinks for affordable prices. I love their menu so much that I stole one. Shh, don’t tell. Generally this was the only place that was really spacious and seats weren’t crammed together – something both of us really appreciate.
There is a very long lap pool in front of the beach.
Seminyak, Bali 80361
T: +62 (361) 473 7979
2. Motel Mexicola – Seminyak
One of my friends mentioned that this place transported her to Mexico. While I’ve never been there, I would think MM has got it right. Just from the exterior facade you get a drastically different vibe. Walking in you’re greeted by an altar of sorts with dripping candlewax, further in is a huge courtyard and three different bars, there’s a second level too. You’ll find yourself bobbing to the background music, and though you might be accosted by bright colours, skulls and a sculpture or two (or three) of Jesus, the whole atmosphere is very laid back. Get there early and order their version of the pina colada. The guacamole was really good too.
The Rock came highly rated and I was bought over by photos of it. Now let me buy you over with photos of it. Truth be told, the drinks were blah and slightly overpriced. But I’m chucking it in this list just because it’s a bar carved into a rock. Apparently there is a strict “smart” dress code; but I got in with flip flops and there were a couple other people in shorts.
AYANA Resort and Spa Bali
Jl Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran
T: +62 361 702222
4. Menega Cafe – Jimbaran
Not quite a cafe; Menega is situated on Jalan Four Season Resort…which should not be confused with Four Seasons Resort (we made that mistake, but they are pretty close in proximity). The entire area is teeming with places selling fresh seafood that offer dining on the beach and a magnificent view of the sunset. Unfortunately it was pelting when Bob and I arrived. Ohwells. There’s a platter that’s approx $45 for two that offers you a medley of seafood, including lobster. We opted for the set that was approx $15/pax; we each got fish, prawns, clams (v good) and sotong, + rice, + drink, + veg. Thought it was pretty worth it. Side note, don’t watch them prepare the seafood. I kind of lost my appetite watching live fish get clubbed in the head, live lobsters get sliced into half and live crabs get de-shelled. Be prepared to wait for this meal!
Jl. Four Season Resort
Muaya Beach Jimbaran Benoa Kuta Selatan Badung Bali, Indonesia
T: +62 812-3933-539
5. Naughty Nuri’s – Seminyak
If I’m not wrong, the original Naughty Nuri’s is in Ubud. We visited the one in Batubelig since it was nearer our hotel. Very laid back. Try the ribs, mee goreng, porn corn (yes. it’s called porn corn.) and if you order a cocktail you will be treated to a special shake shake shake dance. Loved the food here, really down to earth.
Jalan Batubelig, 41 (Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta, Bali)
T: (62) 0361 847 6722
6. MAMA San – Seminyak
We’d initially wanted to visit Sarong, but realized they didn’t open for lunch; the guard at Sarong told us to check out Mamasan instead, and we were glad we did. The food is fusion-asian, kind of reminded us of Chin Chin’s, but for a fraction of the price. Try the pork cheek salad, crispy fish and… kang kung. Service and food was really good.
Humble but very tasty heap of kangkong.
If you ever unfortunately bite into a chilli padi and need some cooling down, ask for cucumbers and ice.
Pork cheek salad
Peking duck entree
Mandarin Mint tea
Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135
Br. Taman, Bali.
T: +62 361 730436
7. Revolver Cafe – Seminyak
Surprisingly good coffee. This is a Melbourne style cafe that serves up a typical Melbourne style cafe brunch (which we didn’t try lah, we just had the free breakfast included with our hotel stay.)
Revolver Espresso at Gang 51
Jalan Kayu Aya No 3, Oberoi
T: 0361 788 4968
THINGS NOT TO DO
“Visit Ubud” they said. Do not do it if you are in Bali for < 3 days and you have the tendency to wake up late in a laid back place like this. You spend more than an hour stuck in heavy traffic, and the Monkey Forest (main attraction?) is really. Just. A trail with monkeys on it. If you had more time you can go white water rafting and stay in one of them eat pray love places where you get to wake up to rice fields and do some yoga.
“Eat Babi Guling” they said. And the dirty duck. And I did. As much as I wanted to enjoy Babi Guling, I was expecting something Chinese style but instead we got a plate of nasi campur (mixed rice) with a few slices of roast pork and some other stuff. The babi guling was quite disappointing, and the HAIR that remained on the crispy pork skin was rather appalling. The entire plate was a greasy mess of flavours, and well, while some people enjoy it, neither Bob nor I did. The dirty duck was much better though – we had the one at The Pond at Seminyak.
“Try Kopi Luwak” they said. I don’t know if it’s because I bought a relatively cheap cup of civet poop coffee, but it was rather blah. The best description I can give it is smooth, sour but not too sour, bitter but not too bitter. You’re better off drinking normal coffee. It’s not worth the hype, imho!