Bali Pros + Cons

Everyone I talk to seems to absolutely love Bali. I spent three weeks there and found some things I loved just as much as everyone else, and a few things that I wasn’t quite so fond of. In hopes of helping you decide whether Bali’s right for you, and in addition to my Guide to Navigating Travel Recommendations, below are my pro and con views on Bali.

Relaxing and Tropical Dream Vibes at Boho Bingin Beach

I spent my last two night in Bali at Boho Bingin Beach. Boho has such a nice, relaxed, light, and calm vibe. Maybe not such a big surprise, seeing it’s only a few minutes walk from one of Bali’s most beautiful and secluded beaches. I picked Boho at Bingin beach exactly for that reason - as I was researching beautiful, less well-known beaches in Bali I came across Bingin, and Boho looked like the perfect boutique hotel in the area. (They also have Boho Hills Dreamland and Boho Hills in Canggu opening soon).

Hydrangeas, Coffee, and Infinity Mountain Views at Munduk Moding Plantation

It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Munduk Moding Plantation (MMP). Being located high up in the Balinese mountains, the drive there was beautiful. Just before we arrived at MMP, we drove past numerous hydrangea fields - possibly my favourite flower ever. Hydrangea farming is the main business and source of income for people living in Asah Gobleg, the closest village to MMP. Seeing the flowers everywhere got me excited.

Villa Sungai - a Luxury Home Away From Home

Sungai isn’t just another hotel. Sungai and its little sister Sungai Gold are a unique version of luxury villas, located in Cepaka, a secluded area of Bali’s inland, yet only a 20 minutes drive away from Canggu. They come with everything you could ever ask for - elegant interiors, an intimate and bespoke experience, extraordinary service, and a luxury atmosphere. Sungai really takes a five star hotel experience to the next level, especially if you’re travelling with friends, family or a partner - it’s the perfect place if you want to spoil yourself in a private setting. You can either book either one of the two villas on their own, or the entire resort if you’re with a bigger group of people.

Hideout Beehive - a Bamboo Adventure in the Midst of the Balinese Jungle

Hideout is absolutely stunning! There’s not much more to say than that. It’s impressive, different, unique. Definitely unique. Hideout is a group of three individual eco, all-bamboo houses. They’re built by a small group of very talented Balinese workers, two of them bamboo specialists. The houses are situated right in the middle of the Balinese jungle, in Selat, just east of Sideman. It’s a hidden (not so secret anymore) retreat, perfect for anyone from solo travellers to couples to families or groups of friends who want to escape the crazy Balinese traffic, and experience an authentic, sustainable, connected-to-nature adventure.

Indonesian Food Explorations at Nusantara by Locavore

My trip to Bali was quite a spontaneous adventure, so most of my planning happened last minute. I was hoping to visit Locavore for their famous 5 or 7 course dinner, but being so popular all the days that I was in Ubud for were of course fully booked. Instead I tried Nusantara by Locavore, which must have been at least just as good. I went for lunch on a weekday, which was a great time. It wasn’t empty, but it wasn’t busy either.

Vegetarian and Italian Dreams come true at Dumbo Ubud

Just like The Elephant, Dumbo strives to be an ethical, clean, green and earth friendly restaurant. They use fresh ingredients, serve free osmosis filtered water, good Italian wine. All the fresh ingredients are grown in compost enriched, spring fed soils on the shores of Lake Bedugul and the slopes of Mt. Batukaru, and their permaculture garden next door provides fresh herbs for the meal and garnish for cocktails.

Spice by Chris Salans

Spice by Chris Salans is a French and Indonesian fusion restaurant in the heart of Ubud, owned by Chris Salans. He is a culinary genius and has become somewhat of a celebrity in Indonesia. He’s best known for his innovative approach to food, which first became obvious when he opened Mozaic, Spice’s sister restaurant. He keeps inspiring chefs to be more experimental and has won multiple international awards.

Workouts and Evening Cookies at Plataran Ubud

Plataran Ubud was my third stop in Bali. My first impression was that of a comfortable, relaxing hotel that you can retreat to, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A welcoming and warm place that feels easy to stay at. It is much bigger than some of the other places I’ve experienced with 51 rooms plus one residential accommodation and one villa. There are also two pools, a gym, a big reception area with a restaurant opening up to the street, and another restaurant at the back of the hotel where they serve an amazing and massive breakfast buffet.

An Ayurvedic Health Retreat at The Yoga Barn

Anyone thinking of doing yoga in Bali, must surely think of The Yoga Barn. It is a bit of an institution in Ubud. A holistic centre for wellness and healing, offering plenty of yoga classes, workshops, retreats, Ayurvedic treatments, detox and meditation sessions, alternative healing, a vegetarian cafe and juice bar, and accommodation. The Yoga Barn provides everything you need for a body and mind cleanse and to feel the healthiest you ever have.

The Elephant, Ubud

The Elephant is one of the three vegetarian, ethical and slow food restaurants opened by Jonathan Alexander Russell in 2013. Their aim of being at least 110% awesome in everything they do is very obvious, and many of our dishes can be adjusted to become vegan and gluten free. I love that The Elephant, along with Dumbo and Green Ginger, focus on serving healthy, organic food in a conscious and sustainable manner.

A Culinary Adventure through Kuala Lumpur’s Food Maze

Before making my way to Bali, I had a stopover in Kuala Lumpur. Instead of just passing through, I decided to stay for the day and explore the city.

What I hadn’t taken into account or even known about when booking my flight, was that the day I would be in KL was the day the elections took place. KL was a very different place that day. Still, I organised to meet up with TK and May, both of whom run food tours in KL and knew each other beforehand. TK runs tours with Withlocals, May (also known as MK) through her own company Jalan-Jalan with MK. Both offer bespoke and uniquely curated food tours through KL’s food maze.