Oh, Bali. It has to be one of the most famous islands in the world. This reverse-liver-shaped plot of land attracts all sorts of people. Remote-working key smashers and pixel pushers. Always-in-bikini Instagram models who have a not so secret affair with Photoshop. Crypto-trading, newsletter-publishing business gurus who launched a functioning business in their sleep once, two years ago. Blonde surfing men with perfect bodies who have never loved a woman more than they love their board. There are definitely more types of people coming to Bali but they're easily eclipsed by the ones above.
If you fit into any of the categories above, I bet all my ETH portfolio (Ξ0.003) you will find yourself at home the moment you step outside the Ngurah Rai airport and get showered with shocking humidity and countless cab drivers offering a reasonably-overpriced ride.
I merely want to list a few places I liked and could recommend from my perspective, and I fall in the Category Number One of my descriptions above.
Use Grab for food delivery and taxi. By taxi I mean a moped driver who picks you up and drives wherever needed. Do not call a cab unless you have luggage. Traffic is insane.
If you want to avoid giving your physical card when paying at a cafe, ask to pay "contactless" instead of "with a card."
Rent a scooter. This is the only way to feel free in Bali. It's not hard to ride on the left side. You'll get used in 30 minutes. It's not scary. If you're tall, there are two of you, or you demand more comfort, get an N Max. Otherwise, a Vario or Scoopy would do. Upon request, I can give a WhatsApp of a guy with scooters in a good condition.
Do not attach your phone to the steering wheel for navigation. It happens that local entrepreneurs steal phones attach this way. Mostly while stuck in traffic. But there were cases of phones being ripped off even on the go. For max safety, use voice instructions from Google Maps via AirPods.
Do not drop off white or light clothes at any laundry. You may get them back two times out of three in a good condition, but absolutely wrecked the third time.
If you hear someone going to Bali, most likely they're going to stay in this village. It has the most bars, restaurants, coworking spaces, clubs, and everything else what a young & motivated settler may be looking for.
There used to be some rice terraces in the past, but now they've all been built over because those villas cannot hang in the air like zeppelins.
Frankly, despite the objective excess of shirtless helmetless pumped men riding on very loud bikes as though they're immortal I liked living in Canggu the most.
It has the ocean — not the best beaches, but not the worst either; it has all the best food places, it has the most vibrant community.
Rule of the thumb: wash light clothes yourself.
Breakfast & one of the last good views on the rice fields in Canggu
SIM card without the "phone tax"
Warung with card payments
Less westernised Warung without card payments
Nice rooftop bar
Good scrambled eggs & European pastries
Cheap and good petrol
There's no lack of roadside petrol dealers serving fuel by bottle but petrol there is shit and is 5x overpriced. Some rentals explicitly prohibit tanking up there.
Tropical Nomad & B Work are the major coworking spaces. You have to come either before 9 AM to get a spot in the A/C'ed space or on the weekend. On the weekend, you also get a free drink at the Tropical Nomad, and it's very empty & chilled. Price-wise, the former is around €12, the latter €18 per day.
Just like Canggu is full to the brink with models, entrepreneurs of all sorts, gurus, & surfers, Ubud is filled with spiritual pathfinders. After a few days here, the state of shock from seeing a fatal amount of people with dreadlocks wearing yoga pants will evaporate.
There are countless yoga classes, mantras, meditations (active, passive, dynamic, dancing, singing, jumping, self-patting, self-beating, in the river, in the cellar, you name it) available here.
I personally have not been to a good yoga or meditation class in Ubud. I have been to a dozen in total during all my tenure in Bali but all of them were targeted at Western people who come to Bali for a week and seek to come in contact with some thing called “mindfulness” they heard on Tiktok once.
If you're really into yoga or mindfulness, I can only recommend to not take classes at Yoga Barn. It’s wildly popular. It has very good site (you can check it out), but absolute worst classes.
Vegan food with a view & sometimes live music
Take a cute walk
Smashing Beyond burger
Absolutely superior massage experience
When it opens again, stay here
That's where everyone goes to see the rice terraces. You can go too if you like to be charged for parking, being asked where are you from every 5 metres, & dragged into undoubtedly authentic restaurants with the menu in all world's languages. Or, you can go to Sideman and see 10x more gorgeous rice fields without the touristy hassle.
No tourists come to Sideman and quite few travellers too. Locals say it’s what Ubud was like 30 years ago. Some say 10 years ago. I hadn’t been to Ubud neither 30 nor 10 years ago, so I cannot verify these “the grass was greener” claims.
The most gorgeous and authentic rice fields in Bali are around Sideman. It’s quiet, it’s authentic, people are warm and friendly and not hungry for a buck like in Kintamani. Sideman is a fantastic place to unwind.
My favourite Warung in all of Bali, you'll pass it on the way to Sideman
Uluwatu is the western part of the Bukit peninsula you will reach if you ride south from Canggu. The road may be somewhat busy but you can do it in below 1.5h usually.
Surfers are obsessed with it. I wasn't so much. It has the best beaches in Bali without the slightest inkling of doubt. But the vibrations were low for me, as people from Ubud would say. Besides that, a lack of good cafes, absence of any coworking spaces and any demographical diversity beyond always-shirtless surfer boys with bleached hair.
But even just for the beaches (and I’m least fond of beach life!) and the Uluwatu Temple it’s worth swinging by Ulu for a few days.
Nice, less busy beach
Probably the busiest yet nice beach with the beginner-friendly waves (even I had some fun)
Absolute must-visit of a temple, beware of the monkeys -- they're nasty robbers of spectacles, jewellery, & other small items
Nice place to stay at
Nice place to eat at
I was planning to spend two days there, left after one night. This region has only thing to offer — Mt Batur. The overwhelming majority of people come at night, ascend the Batur to see the sunrise, have coffee and breakfast at one of the cafes lined on one street, take more photos, and leave right after.
And that's the best way to approach exploring Kintamani.
People there were terribly hungry for tourists. I was followed by various people offering me different stuff I didn't ask for nor was remotely interested. Constant pressure was very annoying. There's nothing to see except the view from the aforementioned cafes.
You could sleep over in a glamping looking over the lake and mountains, but beware of insects. They're much more aggressive in the north than in Canggu.
Do mushrooms in Gili Air (more peaceful experience) or Gili T (more of a party experience). Spend a day or two in Nusa Penida. If you're adventurous, go out to see the Komodo Islands. It requires either a multi-day sailing trip or a taking flight.
Made by @chernikovalexey — enjoy the island of gods, boss!