Despite its relatively small size, there is a remarkable amount of diversity to be found throughout Bali and to get a real taste of all that it has to offer and really make the most of your time there, I would recommend staying in 2-3 different places.
A great place to start is Seminyak. This is close to the airport (30-60 minutes depending on traffic) so you won’t have too far to travel on your first day and it also makes a great place to get acclimatized to island life. Seminyak is generally considered to be Bali’s style of capital and is full of trendy boutiques, artisan coffee shops, and some fantastic restaurants. It also has a great beach with a healthy surfer scene and its location makes it a great base from which to see many of the other must-see sites in south Bali.
Where to stay?
The One Boutique Villa
This is a luxury villa resort, comprised of six beautifully designed villas set amongst stunning landscaped gardens. All the villas come with their own private pool and even a basic package has a few extra luxuries like free local transports (including airport transfers), welcome drinks, all day breakfast, daily afternoon tea, and a free 60-minute massage. If you go for the honeymoon package, they really throw the boat out, with all of the above and romantic decorations, a honeymoon cake and a romantic candlelit dinner (including wine).
Location: Jl. Cendrawasih No.99, Seminyak, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
What to do?
Head over to the Spring Spa and enjoy one of their ‘Perfect Pairs’ massages. You can choose from either 60 or 90-minute options, but either way, you get to experience a blissful Balinese massage lying next to the one you love. The spa, a former winner of the Asia’s Best Day Spa category at the World Spa Awards, is on the top floor of the of the Seminyak Village mall and comes complete with a great view of the ocean and surrounding neighbourhood, as well as a live DJ playing relaxing tunes in a laid back bar.
Location: Rooftop Level, Seminyak Village, Jl. Kayu Jati Basangkasa, Seminyak, Bali 80361
Where to eat?
Ku De Ta
This is one of Bali’s most famous culinary destinations and has been for many years now. The food is a mixture of local and international cuisine, made using only the finest ingredients, but, the Ku De Ta is as much about the location as it is the actual food – right on the beach, with an uninterrupted view of the ocean. Perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail and sunset session.
Location: Jl. Kayu Aya No.9, Seminyak, Badung, Bali, 80361, Indonesia
Where to drink?
Potato Head Beach Club
This is another of the island’s most famous venues and is one of the most popular places in Seminyak to come and enjoy a drink or two. There is a large pool, an even larger cocktail menu, a live DJ every evening and, best of all, you can walk straight onto the sand.
After Seminyak, head up into Bali’s highlands and spend a few days in and around Ubud. Often considered to be Bali’s cultural and spiritual heartland Ubud happens to be located amidst some of the most romantic natural scenery you will ever see. Dramatic mountains rise up out of the lush tropical jungle and sacred rivers cut through a landscape dotted with ancient Hindu temples and traditional villages. Fans of romantic movies may recognize Ubud as the place where Julia Roberts’ character meets her one true love in ‘Eat Pray Love’ – long favored by artists and bohemians, it’s easy to see why this was the chosen setting. The main strip is full of colorful local markets, art galleries, sublime spas, and an incredible royal palace.
Where to Stay?
Como Uma Ubud
This is a beautiful resort in the hills just outside Ubud. Its 46 rooms and private villas offer the perfect combination of contemporary design and traditional Balinese style. Book their ‘Romantic Escape’ package and you will get to enjoy a spacious Garden Pool Villa with a private pool and an internal koi carp pond, daily breakfast, guided walks, yoga classes, and transport into town. In addition to this, each day you can pick from a list of special activities, including spa treatments, romantic dinners, and private tours.
Location: Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Banjar Lungsiakan, Kedewatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
What to Do?
Make the most of your time up in the hills and spend an afternoon taking a romantic stroll through some of the beautiful countryside surrounding Ubud. Check out the Campuhan Ridge walk, for a panoramic view of the landscape or explore the Tegalalang Rice Terrace to experience one of Bali’s most famous and picturesque features. Tegalalang also has, not one, but two swings that will send you soaring and provide some perfect Instagram moments.
Where to Eat?
Bebek Tepis Sawah Restaurant
Enjoy the best of international and local food in this traditional Balinese restaurant, along with a great view of the surrounding paddy fields. If you want to keep the romantic vibe going you can book a candlelit dinner which will be served in your own private pavilion.
Location: Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Br. Teges Peliatan, Ubud, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Where to Drink?
Juice Ja Cafe
Ubud is all about healthy living and this drinks choice reflects that. Assuming you have been making the most of all the cheap cocktails and Bintang, you may be after detox and there is nowhere better to go for that than Juice Ja Cafe. This is an ethical cafe with a wide range of blended juices and fruit-shakes – I recommend the ‘Monkey Forest’, a delicious mix of passionfruit and banana.
Location: Jl. Dewi Sita, Ubud, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
This relaxing part of southern Bali, with its laidback surfer vibe, is the perfect place to end your time in Bali. The area is known for its beautiful natural scenery, dramatic cliffs, and hidden beaches. It’s also not too far from the airport, meaning you will be able to maximize your beach time as much as possible.
Where to stay?
The Ungasan Clifftop Resort
Perched high on the clifftops of Uluwatu, the real star of this resort is its incredible panoramic view across the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. I recommend booking one of their luxurious private one-bed villas all of which come with butler service as well as access to a shared infinity pool and media/lounge spaces.
Location: Jalan Pantai Selatan Gau, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan, Pecatu, Kuta Selatan, Pecatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
What to do?
Kecak Fire Dance and the Uluwatu Temple
Bali is famous for its traditional dance and the Kecak Fire Dance, which tells the story of the Ramayana, is probably the dramatic example of this. Performances take place daily at sunset and culminate in a fiery spectacle.
The dance is held on the grounds of the Uluwatu temple, one of the most important Hindu sites on the island and another must-see place for all visitors to Bali – just look out for the monkeys!
Location: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Where to eat?
Jimbaran Bay Seafood Club
This is not a single establishment, but rather a strip of about 30 or so restaurants that run along Jimbaran Bay. It’s not fancy dining, but coming here for seafood is pretty much a ‘must do’ experience when in Bali. Just walk along the strip and see which restaurant takes your fancy, then pick your seafood and head out onto the sand. Expect plastic chairs and tablecloths, but you will get a fantastic view of the sunset and some of the best seafood around.
Location: Jl. Pantai Kedonganan, Jimbaran, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Where to drink?
Sunday’s Beach Club
Perfect for those staying at the Ungasan Clifftop Resort, as this chilled out beach club can only be reached by taking a quick trip on a funicular railway which departs from inside the resort. Once you get to the bottom of the cliff, you will find yourself on a pristine stretch of private beach. The club serves a wide range of foods and cocktails (my pick would be the Tangerine and Passion Mojito) as well as a range of complimentary watersports. Basically, this is the perfect place to hang out on a relaxed beach day. When night comes around, kick back on a bean bag and enjoy a campfire under the stars.
Location: Jalan Pantai Selatan Gau Banjar Wijaya Kusuma Ungasan, Pecatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80362, Indonesia
NOTE: This article was contributed by Bali Villas. With extensive experience in servicing Australian clients, Bali Villas know exactly what families are looking for in terms of location, style and pricing. Each of their family friendly villas situated on the beautiful island of Bali have been hand-picked by their ‘family expert’ – someone with children who knows exactly what families are looking for. Contact Bali Villas for a short consultation, and they will be able to find you the perfect villa. Bali Villas aim to take the stress out of planning your holiday, so you can concentrate on creating lasting memories with your family.’