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Uluwatu

Uluwatu

Uluwatu was one of the more surfy and relaxing spots we went to. Lots of Australian accents drifting past, and lots of modern dining options. We were advised to stay near Padang Padang beach, and although our hotel’s description of ‘beach front’ was pretty misleading, Padang Padang was a pretty cool spot. The Uluwatu Hotel Guna Mandala was all round pretty dingy, but although it wasn’t beach front, it couldn’t have been much closer.

Padang Padang Beach was just across the road, past the entry fee (!! Thankfully not much) and through a long narrow tunnel, around which the monkeys tended to frolic. The beach was incredibly small, and far too crowded for any of our likings, but if the beach had been deserted it would have been positively stunning. The water was clear, warm and shallow for days. There was also a cave right nearby which was extremely fun to explore.

 

On our second day there we hired scooters and hit the road running. We made our way to Bingin beach, and clambered down the hill (over far more steps than what we could count). Bingin beach was a popular surf spot, evidenced by the boards in the water and the schools lining the shore.

After a delicious lunch stop at The Cashew Tree (read about all the yum places we ate at here) we kept on scootering to Dreamland Beach. This place had massive waves that broke really shallow, which made for some hilarious people watching as people took tumbles more often than not. After observing for a bit, we were confident in our ability to master the timing and make it out past the break without being dumped by the waves. Once past the break, it was easily the best beach we swum at our whole time in Bali. The water was crystal clear and like being in a bath; we literally stayed in the water for hours.

To get our daily dose of culture we headed along to the Uluwatu Temple for sunset and then bought tickets (100,000 IRD) to the Kacek dance afterwards. Again there were monkeys frolicking about, so again I had to take a wide berth. The dance show went for about an hour, so it is actually worth getting there about fifteen minutes early in order to secure a good seat. I would also recommend taking water and snacks… it gets a little slow in places. By the end of it, the others were quite impatient to leave – however I still thought it was really good to see.

Ubud

Ubud

We left Nusa Lembongan at 8am and caught a ferry to Sanur. From there, our pre-organised taxi driver (courtesy of our Lembongan hostel) met us and drove us to Ubud. It only took about 1.5 hours, so we were there by mid-morning. Our Air BnB was lovely, and our host organised for us to be picked up almost immediately and taken on a tour. We went to a number of spots across the course of the day, and our driver Gede would just wait for us at each spot.

First we went to the Tegallang rice fields in Gianyar. This would have to be one of the most photographed sights of Bali, and it was easy to see why. Loads of people (unsurprisingly) but still worth the trip. We actually ate lunch at a wee restaurant overlooking the fields, and it was such a beautiful setting for a meal. It was a really nice way to appreciate the fields from afar, because there is not much else to do there besides walk around the fields (and then you are right up close). After lunch we headed down into the terraces; it was extremely hot and I was very glad for my waterbottle. We probably spent about 45 minutes walking around and taking plenty of photos.

From here we headed to Tirta Empul Tampaksiring, a temple where people go to bathe and be cleansed in the holy water. The queues were massive, and to be honest the water looked pretty grotty (especially when filled with so many bodies) so none of us were keen to get in. We ended up walking around for a bit and then moving on. Leaving the temple actually required walking through so much market space, where the vendors were all highly competitive and almost confrontational. I think we all actually ended up buying something – probably mainly to shut them up! It was definitely fun though, and provides for an interesting experience.

 

From here we went to Mount Kawi. This was a temple with a lot of steps! We noted that both temples we had visited had made all four of us (i.e. the boys included) cover up our shoulders (they lend scarves). We set off down the steps (sooooo many steps) into a wee temple valley, where there were lots of temples (slash remains) surrounded by pretty dense bush. It was rather beautiful. The hike back up the hill was much harder, and we were very relieved to see a sign for ice-cream as we approached the top.

The last stop of our tour was Monkey Forest. It was such a cool experience, and that’s coming from someone who is extremely hesitant about monkeys. It is quite a big park in which you can just wander around and watch the monkeys play. You can also buy food to feed them (they will happily climb all over you) but I was much happier watching from afar. They can get pretty aggressive – I would definitely recommend leaving your valuables in the car (sunglasses being a classic example of things they love to pinch!).

Ubud was certainly the most cultural feeling place we went to. There is some very cool markets and shopping generally. There are loads of places offering massages, and The Yoga Barn is certainly famed for its yoga and all round zen habitat. I think that of all our destinations in Bali I thought Ubud was the most interesting and had the most to do (with the obvious omission of no beach). The food was also extremely delicious (check out that post here).

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan couldn’t be more different than Gili T. Given that we had just jumped from one island to another, we had expected them to be somewhat similar, so it was exciting to see such a massive change. Gone was the party, the hectic streets and the mass of vendors; Nusa Lembongan was all about the scooters, the rural villages and the different spots to explore.

We stayed at Lembongan Hostel. Upon arriving on the island we got into a tuk-tuk which dropped everyone on the boat at their respective accommodation. We weren’t sure whether it was free or if it was part of the ferry ticket, but it sure made our journey hassle free. The hostel was clean and very well air-conditioned. The bunks were incredibly high (the kind that I hate to imagine the damage caused if you fell off the top). The showers were a bit gross, and the breakfast pretty simple, but the staff were so incredibly helpful – they were the real highlight of staying there. The hostel was down a long gravel road which had too many potholes to count.

There are a few different spots you can stay when you are at Nusa Lembongan, although it doesn’t really matter because you basically have to scooter everywhere you go anyway. Down in the village would be ideal, not only is there a good beach, but most of the bars and restaurants are down there too. On our first evening there we hired scooters (70,000 IRD per scooter) and headed to Sunset Point to, you guessed it, watch the sun set. The scenery is certainly spectacular. Not far from there is Devils Tear, which is another awesome spot to watch the sun go down. It’s also absolutely incredible at high tide; it reminds you just how powerful the ocean can be.

 

There are two spectacular day trips to be had from Nusa Lembongan and I don’t even know which one I would recommend more.

The first is doing a snorkeling trip. There are so many cool spots to snorkel at, including swimming with manta rays. This was one of the coolest things I have ever done, even though I felt the execution of the trip was nowhere near as good as it could have been. We were picked up from our hostel at about 2 pm, and taken to Mushroom Beach were we climbed aboard a pretty small boat. There were six of us snorkeling, and just the one driver (who only spoke limited English). We set off, and about half an hour later pulled into the first of our three snorkeling spots where we were told to ‘jump in’. It was my brother’s first time snorkeling, and he looked at our driver as though he was joking. Upon realizing that he was deadly serious, he questioned where the life jackets were. And understandably so. The swell was huge, and we were surrounded by sheer cliff faces that didn’t look all that pleasant to crash into (in fact, they looked deadly!). What was worst though, was that right next to where we had stopped the boat,there was a floating, bloated dead DOG. It was awful. We spent our time in the water taking ‘dog shifts’, because we wanted to stay as far away from that thing as possible. There was a stack of rubbish in the water, which was actually really sad to see, because the ocean in those parts of the word is so painstakingly beautiful, and receives next to no TLC from its people.

However, the real purpose for jumping in the water was to see the manta rays. The moments that weren’t spent watching for a certain dead dog were spend with our heads underwater, absolutely in awe of these massive creatures that were so majestically gliding about. Occasionally they’d pop up for air, and if you happened to be looking at the right spot at the right time, you could this massive animal launching itself about the surface. It was quite scary when they came close – they are so big (and quite ugly!) but they certainly lived up to their gentle giant reputation.

After our time with the mantas we headed to snorkel spots #2 and #3. Firstly we snorkeled on a coral reef, and lastly on a mangrove reserve. I was actually feeling pretty sick and contemplated sitting the last stop out, until the others jumped in and stressed just how much I was missing out on this spectacular mangrove reserve. So in I got, and man I did not regret it. The mangroves growing underwater formed a thick grassy terrain, which provided the most spectacular backdrop for some pretty interesting fish. It was definitely one of the best snorkeling sites I have ever visited.

The other day trip well worth making is one across to Nusa Penida. It is possible to stay on this island, and I daresay we would have if there was any more time. Instead we got up early and headed down to the Yellow Bridge where we negotiated our way to a return fare to Nusa Penida. The boat ride took about an hour, but felt so much quicker because the whole way we were entertained by the smallest puppy I have ever seen. Once we got to the island we hired two scooters and we were off (80,000 IRD each).

The island is actually pretty big, and so much bigger than I ever realised. From the get go we were going to be pushing to make it to all the places that we had talked about, but we decided to give it a crack anyway. Our first stop was Ahtu Beach. We headed off around the island through villages and along the coast, up and down hills; boy it was even further than we realised. We got to the top of the biggest hill yet and noted that Andy and Summer’s scooter was almost on empty. Because we were basically in the middle of nowhere, we thought we should make filling up a priority. After about half an hour I think we found what must have been the only petrol station on that side of the island. Half an hour behind schedule, we continued on.

Following the signs to Ahtu Beach we made our way onto a gravel road, which got increasingly bumpy and narrow. Summer and Andy kept suggesting we park up and walk the rest of the way but Jamie and I wanted to press on as much. Well, until we saw Summer and Andy’s scooter hit a rock and slide out sideways beneath them. Summer was a bit grazed, but the worst part was that the scooter wouldn’t start. Panic set in, and Jamie and I helped the other others drag the scooter to the side of the ride and park it. We fiddled for a bit and realised that it definitely was not about to start. Jamie and I managed to convince the others (I’m not kidding when I say it took some serious persuasion) to lock the scooters and just head along to the beach anyway. It was quite a trek down, and everyone was pretty tense. Unfortunately it made the beach trip a little less enjoyable, as the others would pretty worried about how the afternoon was going to play out. It wasn’t entirely unwarranted, given that we were literally in the middle of nowhere. The beach was beautiful to look at, but average for swimming as the undertow was full on. I thought it was far too hot not to swim; but I was the only one.

We were so incredibly thankful to get back to the scooters after the hike up the hill (it felt like forever!) and then a miracle happened when both scooters started on first attempt. We were keen to get out of there pronto and back to civilisation… just in case. We stopped at The Gallery on the way back for lunch – even though it was such a hot day the curry sounded too good to resist; it was definitely the right decision by moi!

Up next was the iconic Klung Klung beach – or more famously known as the T-Rex beach. Another long scooter ride (and in the opposite direction) saw us bouncing over many a pot hole, topping up with petrol (AGAIN) and all getting rather a lot of sun. The views at this beach were absolutely incredible. We didn’t go down to the water’s edge (it was a very long way and it looked so hard and steep that we didn’t know if we would have the energy to climb back up!) but we did manage to get some epic photos.

In the end we had to forego the waterfalls we had planned to visit, because we were just too pushed for time. If I had the option, I would probably choose to stay two nights on Nusa Penida, just to ensure a more thorough exploration of the island.

 

Canggu

Canggu

The first place we stopped off in Bali, Canggu is essentially Australian owned and Australian based. Canggu isn’t a patch on Kuta or Seminyak when it comes to drunk Australians though, and the Australian influence sure creates a good recipe for brunching options. It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that with so many Australians around, good surf is inevitably not far away.

We stayed at the Lay Day Surf Hostel. For only $16/night it was pretty decent, although you could probably get somewhere cheaper if you wanted. The hostel was supposed to be a ‘party hostel’, it wasn’t at all – but our jet-lagged selves were somewhat relieved to see that it didn’t live up to its name. To describe it as ‘incredibly social’ would be entirely accurate; everyone tended to lounge around the pool area making it a fabulous way to meet new people. The facilities were decent, and the location wasn’t too bad either.

Canggu is definitely a beach town. There is one main street, with stacks of cafes, bars and shops that touch on both rustic and boutique. There are a fair few stray dogs (my least favourite part), and stacks of scooters. If you are in Canggu predominantly to surf and you stayed close to the beach, you could almost get away without even a scooter (although a scooter does allow for better exploration). Nearby is Echo Beach, which also has good surf. The beaches themselves weren’t particularly nice for swimming though, so if you don’t actually intend to surf, you really only need a couple of days here. My favourite thing about Canggu was the vibe and the food – brunching was 10/10 (you can read about it here)

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan

One of my favourite things about going to a new place is trying the new food. Nusa Lembongan was no exception; and I had gone prepared with a list of must visits.

On arrival we hired scooters and headed straight from our hostel to Sunset Point. We hadn’t intended on staying for dinner but the view of the sunset was just so jaw-droppingly beautiful that we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave. The waiter was incredibly friendly (he was very keen to chat with us about our adventures so far) and his service was great. There was a range of Western and Indonesian dishes available, but our main qualm (mainly from the boys) was that the portion sizes were so small – Andy had to order another whole meal. In saying that the pizza was pretty tasty, and the scenery alone makes this place worth the trip.

Another spot that serves up pretty decent pizza is The Deck, and it doesn’t do half bad on the views either. At the far end of the village beach lies The Deck, and it is perched up halfway up the hill. It has a really classy, intimate feel about it. Despite being incredibly busy, a bit of reshuffling saw us comfortable seated outdoors. We’d been told to go for the pizza, and we were happy with that recommendation – especially once we’d seen the prices for the rest of the menu. We made our order and waited… and waited… and waited… and waited. Eventually our meals came, but all at different times and not in a way that made us feel better about the excessive amount of money we then had to hand over. The staff were super apologetic, but I just wasn’t that impressed. On the plus side, our overly expensive coconuts were the brown eating ones and when we were done with drinking them the staff cut them up so we could eat our fresh coconut for pudding.

As per usual the healthy fresh places caught my attention and that is why we found ourselves heading down to the village to eat at Eco Deli. After parking outside we headed in through the lush, pebble garden (very zen feeling) to the cafe, where we joined a table that was already occupied by a few other people. We took a look through the menu and ended up making the decision to just share a bunch of stuff because it all sounded so equally good. A few smoothies (mine was a little heavy on the mint but still tasted fresh and healthy), some decadently rich chocolate fudge brownie, some moist and nutty banana bread and a scrumptious fruit salad and granola bowl. It all tasted heavenly. They had lots of healthy products on offer in addition to several flavours of healthy nice-cream. This spot was a personal favourite of mine – made even more funky by the big open kitchen behind the counter where you could see all the staff hard at work.

Last but not least comes Blue Corner, located at the other end of the beach of the village to The Deck. Mexican themed, Blue Corner makes for an awesome beachfront bar with beanbags and cocktails and a number of friendly dogs all begging to be your friend. We went early to catch the sun go down and over some tapas and cocktails we enjoyed the glorious views of the ocean. Once the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon we picked ourselves up and headed over to the rooted section to place our orders for our mains. Once we had done so we cracked into a game or ten of cards and waited… and waited… and waited… and waited. I’m not sure why we had such a run of bad luck but we had yet another meal forgotten. We were so busy thinking ‘surely not’ that it didn’t occur to us we should say something until about 45 minutes later. To our disbelief, they had entirely lost our order (and must have been thinking we were the worst customers ever!). Finally we got our food and it was a 7/10 – similarly to The Deck and Sunset Point. I would highly recommend this place as a place to watch the sun go down (and an okay option for food).

If you’re staying at Nusa Lembongan, chances are you will make your way across to Nusa Penida at some point. If you do, The Gallery is a fantastic stop; a gift shop run by a lovely British man with a yummy, reasonably priced menu to go with it. The vegan coconut curry was superb, and the fish and chips were interesting (a small fish deep-fried whole – bones and all!) but tasty.

  

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan

A tourist destination as popular as Gili Trawangan usually means one of two things: lots of incredible food (survival of the fittest and all that) and lots of tourist scams. Unsurprisingly we got both, despite our best efforts to avoid the latter. Fortunately, we stumbled onto some real crackers very early on, so we always had some great go-tos during our stay there. Of anywhere we went in Bali, Gili T was the most hit and miss. It’s absolutely worth loading up Trip Adviser if you are going somewhere new – because no-one really wants to endure a tourist scam if possible. If you have got the time, check out the following:

 The Banyan Tree. An early discovery, and located so close to our accommodation we sure made ourselves at home at The Banyan Tree. Serving a wide range of extremely healthy food, this place sure knew how to do some killer #cleaneats. Both vegetarian and vegan options were in absolute abundance, and even the most healthy unusual dishes sounded delicious. All of the seating is upstairs and you can sit inside or out. Takeaway options are available, and the staff were absolutely fantastic; extremely attentive and accommodating. I would highly recommend a stop here, and don’t forget to take your shoes off before you go inside.

 

‘Same same but different’ is how some would describe the Kayu Cafe compared to the Banyan Tree. Serving up healthy numbers from sunrise until mid-afternoon, the Kayu Cafe has a huge selection of smoothie bowls, raw treats, pastries and brunch items available and a super relaxing vibe to enjoy them in. The food is moderately priced – perhaps before expensive that what you’d find elsewhere in Bali, but still cheaper than anything you’d find at home – and definitely one of those places where you can take confidence that whatever you order will be tasty.

While on holiday there is only so much healthy food that one wants to eat, and as soon as you’re feeling like a more indulgent meal, head right over to Regina’s. One street back from the main drag lies one of the best pizzerias you may ever visit. The prices are cheap (I’d almost go as far to say half the price of a few of the places we ate at), the pizzas were massive (the four of us ordered four pizzas and ended up taking the equivalent of a whole pizza home) and the food was as authentic as what you could find in Italy. As always, full marks for great service – the Balinese way it would seem, and we left as very content customers.

Last but not least The Roast House. Sooner or later you’ll probably crave a taste of home, and when you do, head along to The Roast House for some pub-style grub. Admittedly the decor is slightly odd (kind of dark and vintage feeling) and the kitchen is across the road from the restaurant. However, the food is really tasty. Ironically, I went for the mi goreng (when in Indonesia right?) but everyone else ordered meals like sausages and mash, chicken parmigiana and fish & chips. Although the food was pretty tasty, I thought on the whole it was relatively overpriced for a sub-par meal that we’d get at home.

 

Canggu

Canggu

Canggu was our destination number one in Bali. An up and coming hipster’s paradise it was only appropriate that there were foodie spots to follow suit. We didn’t have long in Canggu, but being our first stop, we were more than ready to fill our bellies.

First up was Canteen. We arrived on scooters and based on the number of scooters already in the car park we predicted a wait for a table. We weren’t wrong, the place was absolutely packed and we were warned there would be a 20 minute wait. We agreed to this; we had heard so much about the place we were hardly about to leave. Fortunately for us, the turnover was incredibly quick (we shouldn’t have expected any different with the incredible service that seems to be the norm) and we were seated in no time. My first morning on a tropical island meant there was no way I could look past the chia fruit bowl. I love the exciting fruit that comes with being in warmer climates – think pineapple, mango, dragonfruit and coconut to name a few. All of the breakfasts that were served to us were extremely tasty, and sadly we were out of there in no time.

They say you can’t visit Canggu without a visit to Old Man’s, and I have to admit, I think whoever ‘they’ are, they know exactly what they are talking about. This iconic beach bar is perched so close to the ocean, separated only by the car-park that it overlooks. It seems to be open (almost) round the clock, it is extremely spacious and it has a very extensive menu offering both Western and local options. It isn’t cheap, but it’s certainly fun. There is a stack of seating options both indoors and out, including picnic tables, cushy seats and bar stools. With live music and other various events throughout the week Old Man’s has something for everyone. While you may pay a dollar or two more than what you would elsewhere, at least you know it’s going to be good.

The third and final gemstone we discovered in Canggu was Crate. Located on the main road (as is Old Man’s), Crate exists as a rather inconspicuous little institution which serves up absolutely fantastic food to visitors who come far and wide to eat here (I know this is true because we counted six different countries on the business cards people had scattered underneath our glass table alone).

After making your order downstairs (allow yourself time to appreciate the quirky and clever names of some of the dishes) either take a seat or climb the steep staircase past the rack of merchandise to the second storey. With outstanding views of the street below and the nearby surrounds, this is my pick of seating. The meals were absolutely outstanding – fresh, healthy and decent sized portions (something we were yet to discover as a rare occurrence in Bali). There were a huge number of vegan and vegetarian options available also. Crate would easily have been one of my top 5 eateries while I was in Bali.

 

 

Ubud

Ubud

Ubud had been described to me as Bali’s food capital, so I was pretty enthused to be going there. We were staying in an Air BnB about a 20 minute walk from town, and without scooters it made getting around sometimes inconvenient. We did our best though; and I managed to eat at some pretty awesome places.

The best of the bunch was an incredible spot known as The Clear Cafe. We were the first customers of the day (we were on our way to The Yoga Barn) and I can only imagine how amazing the vibe would be when the place is full. You enter through a massive circular door (think ‘Open Sesame’), which straightaway makes you feel as though you have entered somewhere magical. It has an open air feel, close to nature and big comfy couch seats that make you never want to leave. The cafe sprawls for what literally feels like miles, and there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.

The menu was somewhat intimidating because it was so large, but thankfully at 7am the menu was essentially cut in half. It still took us a while to decide though – when you know a place is good you can afford to take a risk with some of the more adventurous options. The food was delicious, the prices reasonable, and the staff lovely. I could not recommend it more – and I highly suggest you take a visit to the bathroom!

 

Completely in contrast to the spaciousness of The Clear Cafe is GrandPa’s Cafe. This place is teeny tiny, but gives rise to an atmosphere of hustle and bustle. An ideal place to go with just one or two people, but with the group of four we had, it was a bit of a squeeze. Goodness knows how they even cook in the small space they call a kitchen! Another tasty menu; the coffee was cheap and delicious, and my brother claimed that his pulled pork was his favourite dish in Bali. The portions were massive – which sure makes a change. Right near the markets, GrandPa’s was the perfect spot for some people watching, so long as you didn’t feel pressured to move on for lack of table space.

  

We were lucky to be staying right next door to Juno’s. Having only opened in the last year or so it radiated tranquility – we felt like we were in the waiting room before a spa treatment. Designed by someone with serious taste, it was a beautiful area to spend some time in. The bathroom was absolutely unreal; I had never seen anything like it – I won’t reveal any spoilers, but again I suggest it as a must-visit! Oh yeah, and the food was pretty good too!

  

  

 

We had been recommended a number of places that we unfortunately didn’t make it to, including Kafe Ubud (vegetarian, burgers), Seeds of Life (raw food), AA Juicery & Cafe (breakfast bowls) and for a good ol’ cup of Luwak coffee, Seniman. Another must visit is Ibu Oka, where you can order the local specialty pork suckling. The meat is delicious, the crackling even more so – and while you wait (which won’t be long) you can check out the squirrels and cockatoos outside.

Food in Seminyak

Food in Seminyak

Seminyak. So many options, so little time. As one of the more commercialised areas of Bali, I had high expectations; and in the short period of time I had there I have mostly good things to report.

On the beach front lies Capris (which incorporates the Coffee Library). Despite hearing from other bloggers that the coffee was good (admittedly true) I thought overall that this place was extremely average and not worth a visit. It was massively expensive for what it was. The portions were teeny tiny – all of us walked away dissatisfied and making jokes about where to go for lunch 2.0. The views of the beach were undeniably great (especially if you omit to notice the sewage tinge to the colour of the water) and the service was pretty good.

For what we paid at Capris, we each would have got at least 2 full meals if we had gone straight to HoneyBees. Located in the heart of Seminyak, HoneyBees caught our attention with its “Number 1. Cheap Eats” title on TripAdvisor. We weren’t to be disappointed. Everything was between IRD 40 – 60, the servings were pretty substantial, and the service was incredibly fast. Had we longer in Seminyak, I have no doubt that we would have eaten there again; especially as it’s reputation for brunch on TripAdvisor also sits pretty high.

 

Instead, for brunch we visited Sacred Ground. It was situated just down the road from our accommodation, so made for a convenient stop on the morning we flew out. We had noticed it the previous night, with its advertisement for ‘free pizza when you buy a bucket of beer’. The cafe is bigger than it looks on first appearances, tucked down the alley is several more booths and tables. The menu is several pages long and pretty well priced. The meals were better than okay, but we all thought that the eggs tasted a little odd; as though sugar had been added. On the whole I wouldn’t go out of my way to return here for brunch (mainly because there are so many other places worthy of trying) but I would be happy to come back for a meal later in the day.

Food in Uluwatu

Food in Uluwatu

Uluwatu; the ultimate southern point of Bali – most famous for its surf, and understandably so. But with good surf comes Australians, and inevitably, good food. Uluwatu is quite a spread out area; you definitely need a scooter to get around – which is handy not just for beach hopping, but also for cafe hopping.

The beach bunny that I am means that I tend to migrate towards accommodation options that mean I can situate myself as closely to the beach as possible. In the case of Uluwatu this means staying near Padang Padang, Bingin Beach or Dreamland Beach. In this instance we chose Padang Padang Beach; small and overcrowded, but otherwise idyllic.

The best spot we ate at in Padang Padang is Bukit Cafe. While the food wasn’t the cheapest, it certainly wasn’t the most expensive, and it was worth every dime.  It still wasn’t as expensive as what you’d pay in New Zealand – probably between $5 – $15 for a meal, so I would happily pay the same again. The Bukit Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also offers drinking water for free (and it won’t make you sick!). With outdoor and indoor seating, it has an overall chilled vibe, a place where I would find it easy to pass the time. Our favourite meal was a burger special: the pulled pork burger with a black sesame bun, and french fries.

Just down the road from the Bukit Cafe (same side of the ride, heading towards the beach) is Trattoria, hosted within the Pink Coco’s resort. The space and vibe here is definitely the highlight. It is massive, and has both cool seating areas inside and out. With large comfy seats and tables there is something for everyone. The menu is (obviously) Italian and is several pages long. While we were deciding we were treated to some bruschetta, which always goes down well, but especially as a budget traveller.

Pizza is always a safe option, and the pizza that was ordered was mostly pretty good. You can order pizza for one, or pizza for ‘2 or more’ (which was a good size for 2 to share as a main, but it would only feed more if you weren’t hungry / were buying other food). One of the pizzas we ordered came with chilli on it, and there was certainly no shortage! The pizza was so spicy we actually had to buy another bottle of water. Some of the more adventurous ordered meat dishes – which although presentation was a little average, the food itself tasted okay. On the whole the place was pretty expensive, but for once we walked away full – so it was overall a pleasant experience.

Last but not least, The Cashew Tree. For me, this was probably my favourite dining experience in the whole of Bali. Located nearby (but not on) Bingin Beach, the Cashew Tree is fresh, delicious and beautiful. It is spread around a courtyard, with a range of seating including picnic tables, open bungalows and sprawling couches.There are spots both in the sun and shade and the middle of the courtyard is home to a large grassy area, which I suspect (but don’t know for sure) serves as the stage for live bands (Thursday nights) and yoga.

The menu is healthy, need I say more. The range of meals and ingredients available inspires confidence in the quality of the food – and rightfully so. Between the group we ordered an array of different juices and smoothies (all of which cost about IRD50) which were all cold and freshly made. We also ordered a variety of meals for lunch – my Burrito Bowl was the best meal across my two weeks in Bali. It was plentiful; an abundance of freshness and colour. The prices for meals were no more expensive than anywhere else. I would definitely recommend The Cashew Tree and was disappointed that I didn’t get to come back for dinner.

 

Other places in the area that we heard were also good are Buddha Soul (Pedang Pedang) and Nalu Bowls for breakfast, and on Wednesdays, Single Fin – a bar with incredible views.