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Bali | Island of the Gods

Are you looking for an escape from the holiday craziness that is already upon us? Do you find yourself daydreaming of days filled with nothing but ultimate relaxation, massages on the beach and evenings of watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand? Is doing a yoga or surfing retreat somewhere exotic on your bucket list? Or maybe you’re looking for a combination of adventure and relaxation or somewhere family-friendly as your destination? If you answered yes to any of the above I think I have the perfect place for you – Bali, Indonesia “Island of the Gods.”

Bali is my number one destination choice. Quite simply put, it is my happiest place on earth. Yes, it beats Disneyland for me. There are critics out there who are vocal particularly about how Bali has become quite touristy over the years but I choose not to obsess over that one point. There are far too many things I love about Bali that outweigh that one detail. As with most places you travel if you don’t want crowds and tourist traps then just find your way off the beaten path.

What is it about Bali that makes it my favorite? Personally I find everything about Bali to be very relaxing. Well, maybe except the airport but what airport is relaxing? The feelings and constraints we’re accustomed to in our society of rushing around and the “must” dos just don’t exist. Everything moves at a slower pace so you naturally find yourself surrendering to the chilled out vibe. I find the Balinese people to be very friendly. I love the fact you can stay at a private villa with your own pool and have as much privacy as you want or opt for one of the picturesque beachfront resorts with some of the best service you’ll ever experience. There are amazing restaurants that offer all types of cuisine and some prime spots to enjoy a cocktail watching the gorgeous sunset. You can get an $8 body massage, a foot massage or even a little manicure/pedicure while lying on the beach. There is opportunity to learn more about the culture in Bali also. It is known for painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Do a yoga or surfing retreat or better yet a yoga and surfing retreat combined! You can swim, body board, go fishing, ride horses on the beach shop, eat, explore temples or just lay around the beach and pool with a cocktail in hand every day like it’s permanently attached to you.

Are you convinced yet? Are you looking at plane tickets as we speak? Since I love Bali so much I wanted to share some of my personal favorites that I hope come in handy when you decide to venture to blissful Bali.

Ubud, Bali A town in the central part of the island known primarily for its culture and arts.

  • Komaneka at Tanggayuda A beautiful, peaceful resort tucked away in Ubud away from the town center. I highly recommend splurging for the private villas if you’re able. They are well worth it with your own plunge pool and daybeds with greenery surrounding you. It’s your own private oasis! Komaneka at Monkey Forest is more centrally located if you prefer that option.
  • Mozaic Restaurant Hands down one of the best dining experiences I’ve had. Not only is the food delicious but also it is a truly romantic setting. We indulged in the “Surprise Menu” where the chef prepares six surprise dishes based off your likes and dislikes. Do the wine pairing and you’re in heaven!
  • Jazz Café Bali The first live jazz venue on the island. Enjoy your dinner and some cocktails while listening to sounds of jazz. Mellow yet entertaining and lacks the cheese component that sometimes exists in jazz clubs.
  • White-water rafting. I know this sounds a little strange for Bali but it is a really fun time! If you’re seeking a little adventure it’s perfect.
  • Hire a driver and head south from Ubud to Seminyak stopping along the way to see beautiful silver jewelry and Balinese art.

Seminyak, Bali This is the trendier spot on the island at the moment. Seminyak has beautiful resorts, private villas, restaurants, boutique shops, bars and more. Kuta used to be the place to go but in recent years Seminyak has become the new “it” spot.

  • The Legian Resort If you feel like spoiling yourself with an amazing experience at a five-star resort while in Seminyak this is my suggestion. It is truly a five star resort experience situated right on the beach and yet still just a walk from the main area of Seminyak. The service is absolutely outstanding and it is one of the more beautiful resorts I have seen in Seminyak.
  • Ku de Ta A great place to watch a breath-taking Bali sunset while sipping on a fun cocktail like a grilled pineapple and black pepper martini, a lychee and rose martini, a sorbet bellini or keep it simple with a local Bintang beer. Camp out on one of the big daybeds, grab a table or a front-row seat on the deck and chill out to mellow tunes. They serve some great food also. The crispy chicken karage with wasabi mayonnaise and the Indonesian chicken and prawn spring rolls are delicious.
  • Potato Head I haven’t personally been yet; but I had to include it as it gets rave reviews from anyone who goes as a perfect place to lounge around with a cocktail during the sunset.
  • Three of my favorite Seminyak restaurants:
  1. Chandi Much of their food is organic from Bedugal Farmers and their meats are imported from Australia and New Zealand. Their tag line, “A Gastronomic Twist on Pan Asian Cuisine.” Perfectly located smack dab in the heart of Seminyak.
  2. Sarong Unique Asian cuisine with some truly magnificent dishes. An outdoor lounge and an informal dining area with impressive décor.
  3. La Lucciola Beachfront Italian restaurant walking distance from The Legian Resort. Absolutely breath-taking at night with candles sparkling throughout the restaurant.

South of SeminyakJimbaran Bay and Uluwatu

  • Jimbaran Bay Approximately a 30-minute drive from Seminyak and THE place to go for a seafood feast on the beach. A number of casual seafood restaurants line the beach. Ask your hotel or villa for their recommendation. You literally pick your dinner choice out yourself then it is served at tables on the beach. Live music serenades you while you enjoy your scrumptious seafood dinner. Kick off your shoes, bury your feet in the sand and indulge! There are also a number of resorts and villas in the Jimbaran Bay area.
  • Padang Padang Beach A known surfing spot and a much smaller beach than those you will find in the main Seminyak area. Great place to chill, go for a swim and watch the surfers while sipping on an ice cold Bintang.
  • Tanah Lot and Uluwatu temples. Both of these cultural sights offer something different to do than the beach or pool if you find yourself red as a lobster after being a tad over zealous with your sunbathing.
  • Uluwatu Last but not least serene Uluwatu is located roughly 30 minutes from Seminyak. If you’re looking for something away from the hustle and bustle, this is it. There are a number of luxury resorts and villas as well as a variety in different price ranges. Many of these are cliff top that boast magnificent ocean views. This is also a haven for surfers. It also happens to be the place we’ve chosen for our destination wedding in August!

No matter where you’re at in the world a trip to Bali is worth the journey in my opinion. I see it as the ideal mix of blissful relaxation, culture and adventure.

Have you been to Bali? Do you love it as much as I do? I’d love to hear about your experience and tips also!

– Katy

Director of Luxury Travel, Katy Paterson, is living an ex-pat life in Singapore by way of Sydney. Spending the rest of 2012 globetrotting, Katy will be checking-in from her favorite spots in San Francisco, Boston, NYC, LA, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Twitter: @Chamorro_Chica
Disclosure: On occasion, contributors of The Trend Tribe receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence the contributor’s point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the reviewers experience. The opinions are their own.
Katy (19 Posts)

Katy is our Director of Luxury Travel and resident ex-patriot living abroad in Singapore. Having just walked down the aisle in Bali, and back from her honeymoon in the Maldives, she documents her super cool world travels and personal journeys at Chamorro Chica. @Chamorro_Chica


  1. my husband loves Bali for his surf trips! Big fan of Padang Padang.

  2. SIGN. ME. UP.

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