Bali is a beautiful island although it can be an island of two halves depending where you visit. We flew into Denpasar airport, on arrival you need to purchase a visa at US$35 per person, and from there went to Ubud in the centre of the island, after staying there for a few days we moved onto Kuta for the last couple of nights so the recommendations are split into two parts.
The cultural centre of the island and recently voted the most lovely city in Asia by Conde Nast Traveller, so it is very popular and also because of the book and film Eat, Pray, Love. Most places will arrange a pick up from Denpasar and the journey time is between one and one and a half hours.
Check out the usual booking sites such as www.booking.com or www.venere.com, there are places to suit all price ranges and we chose Alas Petulu Cottages, the web site is www.alaspetulu.com . They are lovely and a short walk from the main street, the owner and staff are very helpful and the price is incredible value for what at times seems to be your own jungle paradise.
If we were to return we might choose somewhere nearer Monkey Forest Road, Jalan Dewi Sita and the adjoining streets where there is a wider choice of places to eat and drink nearby.
The main street and the side streets off are full of places and we felt spoilt for choice during our stay.
Melting Wok, Jalan Gootama, owned by a French lady and her husband, you need to book as this is a small place and with a short list of dishes but great cooking and lovely service.
Ibu Rai, Monkey Forest Road, excellent place with some really good local dishes and good service, again very popular so worth booking.
Nomad, Jalan Raya Ubud, Main Street, has reasonable food and very busy because of its location.
Kafe Batan Waru, Jalan Dewa Sita, we didn’t actually eat here but ate in the Kuta branch, the one in Ubud is the original and if the food and service in Kuta is anything to go by it should be a must.
Warung Babi Guling, Ibu Oka, roast suckling pig and cheap, that is all you need to know, anyone will direct you.
Bebek Bengil, aka Dirty Duck Diner, Jalan Hanoman, is a large place and the main reason most people visit is to eat duck and also look at the ducks in the rice fields at the back so the further away from the main entrance you can get the better. The duck is good but the portions are a bit mean still it is worth a visit.
Bars & Cafes
Warung Schnitzel, Jalan Sriwedari, we didn’t try the food but the drinks and nibbles in the early evening and the lovely service made this somewhere we would have liked to try, there are many good reports about food.
Opps, Jalan Raya Ubud, Main Street, has great happy hour mojitos, they serve food and have a lovely terrace at the back.
Café Lotus, Jalan Raya Ubud, Main Street, just beside the Puru Taman Saraswati.
Mingle, Jalan Dewi Sita, small friendly bar with excellent happy hour and also food, the owner has another bar in Monkey Forest Road called Maha.
Kue, Jlana Raya Ubud, Main Street, chocolates, baking and café with an upstairs terrace.
Jazz Café, Jlana Sukma, a very popular place with a variety of live music not just jazz, busy with a selection of residents and visitors. They also have another venue called the Laughing Buddha in Monkey Forest Road.
Devilicious, Jalan Gootama, a bar with a local feel, seems popular with residents, friendly staff and also does food but that seems to get poor reports !
This is a regular destination for many Australians and also a very popular for other nationalities, therefore whether it is an upmarket spa in Ubud or a family holiday in Kuta there is no shortage of places to drink. Bintang beer is the local brew and is extremely popular, you cannot avoid tee shirts, shorts, and hats bearing the logo in Kuta. In Ubud it is very much more cocktails and wine along with some beers. Prices in the main are very reasonable.
The Monkey Forest Sanctuary, at the foot of Monkey Forest Road is worth visiting with three temples and of course the monkeys, unless you want the monkeys climbing on you obey the instructions not to take in food, they will find it.
The Puru Taman Saraswati temple and the adjoining gardens are beautiful and well worth a visit. There are a number of museums and of course temples around the town, some of which can be visited.
The walks around the town and into the rice fields are fabulous but you need to do them early because of the heat, for one of the best known walks the aim is a café in the middle of the rice fields 2kms away.
Someone we spoke to was correct, there are no quiet bits of Kuta, it is just that the main Kuta beach attracts a younger crowd and the Kuta South area as it is now known an older crowd, mainly large family groups from Australia.
The beach is pleasant and not very busy but not great for swimming, it is also difficult to find access from the main street unless you go through the Discovery Mall or one of the beachside resort hotels.
The only reason I can think of to stay here is the proximity to the airport, there are much more pleasant places to stay.
I am not recommending where we stayed unless you like signing the rules first of all when you check in. Check out the usual web sites and pay the extra and stay at a beach side one if you decide to stay here.
Kafe Batan Waru, Jlan Kartika Plaza a real find, we ate there both nights we were here, Excellent Indonesian food, lovely service and reasonably priced.
Bars & Cafes
Pantai, on the beachfront has a good reputation for food. It doesn’t look much and we only stopped for a drink but the staff were pleasant.
Which ever bar does not have blaring music or karaoke will do for me.
There is none.