Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bali - Intro, Eating and After Dark

Ku De Ta Bar - Seminyak

Where? Bali, a beautiful island located in western Indonesia, South East Asia 
Exactly? The Melia Beach Hotel, Nusa Dua and the W Hotel, Seminyak
Why? On holiday with boyfriend
When? Aug-Sept 2011
Best time to go? Its equatorial so all year round is hot, hot, hot. 
Local knowledge? Thanks to Lauren Barge orginally from Australia, now works at Elle UK, has been to Bali every year since she was a child
Top tip? The best place to stay is Seminyak, it's a good central base from which to explore the rest of the island.

Nights Out in Bali
When it comes to restaurants and bars the choice and variety in Bali is fantastic. Seminyak is by far the chicest option for a night out. Kuta is a little tacky but can be fun. Jimbaran Bay is renowned for sunsets & seafood and Nusa Dua has some lovely restaurants. Many of the restaurants are on or around the beach, there's a real sunset culture in Bali. Dinner by the sea, then partying till late is the usual course. Dress up or dress down, its up to you, door policies at bars and clubs are relaxed and the vibe is chilled out and sophisticated.

Restaurant at Cafe Bali

For dinner and early drinks head to Jalan Laksmana and Jalan Kaya Aya, also known as Eat Street. As the name suggests it's a road full of bars, restaurants and cafes. Popular beach haunt, La Lucciola is the place for breakfast. After dark or indeed for sunset head to the beachside sunset strip, where the coolest places in town are located, namely Ku De Ta and Potato Head.

Cafe Bali
Jalan Laksmana

Right in the middle of Eat Street, cafe Bali is a quirky little eatery with a beautiful shabby chic decor. It's open all day, I recommend the delicious fresh breakfasts and lunches.

food on the go, literally
La Lucciola
La Lucciola
Jalan Petitenget
Seminyak 80362

Best for: beachside breakfasts (try the smoothies and milkshakes) and afternoon cocktails.

Khaima Restaurant
Jln Kayu Aya
Middle eastern-asian fusion food, uber trendy, bamboo surrounded interior. Don't leave Bali without trying local speciality Nasi Goreng. Simply fried rice, chicken satay and veggies, topped with a fried egg, it costs approx £4 at Khaima, cheap and cool, whats not to like.

Nasi Goreng at Khaima
Sunset in Seminyak
Ku De Ta
Ku De Ta
Jalan Laksmana 9
Seminyak 80361

The place to be at sunset, Bali's in-crowd fill the swanky beach beds and drink cocktails, watching the surfers as the sun sets. Beautiful views of the surrounding beach and great for people watching (see 'what to wear' section). Stay here till the early hours or if you fancy a bit of dance floor action head over to Potato Head. 
Pool at Potato Head
Potato Head
Jalan Petitenget

Built in 2010 Potato Head is an uber luxe, modern beach bar, restaurant and club. Art works are dotted around the grounds and a stunning shutter installation surrounds the walkways. Partying by the pool moves into the club as the night draws on. The vibe? Think Ibiza, South East Asia style. 

The shutter walkway at Potato Head
Sarong Restaurant bar and lounge
Jl Petitenget 19x

One of Seminyak's best known cocktail and dinner venues, just by The W Hotel and Potato Head. Sarong has an impressive cocktail list and serves up a well thought out asian fusion menu. Prices are expensive but the food is worth it. Try the tuna tartar with ginger, avocado, coriander and chilli. It's delicious!
Sarong Bar
The Rock
Ayana Resort and Spa
Jalan Karang Mas Sejahtera
80364 Bali

Part of the Ayana Hotel Resort, this incredible bar perched on the edge of the cliffs is a totally decadent place to watch the sun go down. A little off the beaten track but amazing for romantic drinks if you're in the area.
The Rock at Ayana

Bali - What to wear when you're there

Dinner at Ku De Ta
Clockwise from left: Snakeprint dress with belt - Goldie Red leather bag Sandals - Office sunglasses - Prism   Icicle ring - Bjorg Blusher colour Sole - Dolce and Gabbana Lipstick colour L25 - Sisley 

Beach Party on Seminyak
Clockwise from left: Neon vest - Topshop Orchid hair clip - River Island Orange skirt - Emilio Cavalini Factor 30 sun screen - Sisley Cloth espadrilles - Havianas by Missoni Lipstick colour L25 - Sisley Nail polish colour 990 - Revlon Huile Celeste hair protection - Karastase Bikini bottoms - Melissa Odabash Neon friendship bracelets - Bex Rox Sunglasses - Miu Miu

Shopping in Seminyak
Clockwise from left: Sunglasses - Miu Miu Coral necklace - Indian flea market, Bikini bottoms - Violet Lake Bikini top Hat - Seafolly Black maxi dress - Zara Belt - Banana Republic Snakeskin bag - Ebiza, Seminyak, Bali. Superbalm moisturising gloss - Clinique Huile Celeste hair protection - Karastase Factor 15 sun screen - Clarins

Ubud paddy fields

Day Out in Ubud
Clockwise from left: Trousers - River Island Coral necklace - Indian flea market. Silk vest - Tucker Friendship bracelet - Links of London I-phone case - Dolce and Gabbana Sunglasses - Watch - Toywatch Factor 30 sun screen - Sisley Bikini top - Suno Camera - Canon S90

Surfer Beach Chic
Clockwise from left: Cloth espadrilles - Havianas by Missoni Orchid hair clip - River Island Bikini top and bottoms - Violet Lake Coral necklace - Indian flea market. Factor 30 sun screen - Sisley
Watch - Toywatch Blue nail polish - Rimmel

Street Style -
Ku De Ta.
The look? Chilled, boho. That 'I just came straight from the beach' vibe is what you're looking to channel, even if you did go home first and have a blow dry. Bikinis under dresses (in case you fancy a late night dip), sarongs (which you can buy here for as little as 50p on the beach), kaftans, jewelled sandals and Havianas. The main street in Seminyak is lined with lovely boutiques full of gorgeous beach cover ups and swim wear if you need to stock up.

Embroidered silk cover ups
Boho harem trousers
Maxi dresses

Street Style - Shopping in Seminyak

Little white dresses are popular

Silk printed kaftans
Where to shop
The main shopping street in Seminyak is just at the end of Eat Street, Jalan Laksmana. It has several boutiques selling mainly kaftans, beach cover ups and silk dresses. Many of the factories making international designer goods are based here, so the snakeskin and leather products here are excellent quality and incredibly cheap. Don't panic if you've left your bikini at home, there are some amazing swim wear shops to choose from. I was shocked at how expensive some of the shops were. For real bargains head to the street stalls in Seminyak and the markets in Kuta are also worth a visit.
Chic art Galleries and boutiques line the streets in Seminyak

Bali - Sight Seeing and a day in Ubud

Rice Paddies in Ubud
Ubud in the centre of Bali is an area of great natural beauty, filled with rice paddy fields on steep ravines. It would be a real shame to go to Bali and not visit Ubud. We went for the day, but next time I plan to stay for a few nights at least.

Ubud Palace

The scenery on the drive up to Ubud is spectacular. Famed for art and culture you can visit local artist's studios, silver smith and gem houses and batik making artisans. Ubud Palace and the Monkey Forest are also worth a visit.

Inspiring environment at the artists studios
Dewa Putu Toris
Artists Studio
BR Tengah
Batuan, Sukawati
Gianyar, Bali

Ubud is full of culture and each small village has a special art, craft or artisanal skill they specialise in. In artists village I visited Dewa Putu Toris, a tiny but exquisitely decorated studio, housing the work of several local painters and craftsmen. These studios also double up as gallery and selling space.

Every building is elaborately decorated
Over the years Ubud has become quite a tourist hotspot, especially since many of the scenes from 'Eat, Prey, Love' were filmed here. There is something very spiritual about Ubud, go for a walk amid the paddy fields and take in the lush greenery. Shopping here is totally tourist driven, think silk sarongs and wooden locally carved sculptures.

Batik studios
Coffee tasting at the coffee plantations

Coffee connoisseurs should visit the Kopi Luwak plantations. Home to the worlds most expensive coffee which is made from poo! Or to be more precise Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee, is made from beans that have been eaten and passed through the digestive system of Palm Civets, which are little weasel type rodents. Oh yum!

Breathtaking scenery on the drive from Seminyak to Ubud

The infamous Durian fruit, eat at your own peril! it smells like sick!
Who are you calling cloth head?
A local rice farmer

Bali - Sleeping

Dreamland Beach
Where to stay
The main resort areas in Bali are Seminyak, Kuta, Ubud, Nusa Dua and Jimbaran Bay. Kuta is effectively the commercial centre, it's the Aussie equivalent of Benidorm, good for surfers and partying. It's quite tacky, a visit is ok but I wouldn't want to stay there. Nusa Dua is aimed at honey moon couples and families, all the main international luxury hotel chains are based here. Some travellers say it lacks character, but it is picturesque and not far from Seminyak (half an hour in a taxi) if you fancy a night out. Seminyak is a great option for holidays with friends, the crowd is young, chic and bustling with great bars and restaurants. For the ultimate in relaxation head to Ubud, where 'Eat, Prey, Love' was filmed. Lushious green paddy fields on hillside platforms, housing some of the worlds most beautiful retreats and spa hotels.

B Villas

There are three B Villa locations in Seminyak so take your pick from town, beach or spa. Uber chic villa option.

B Villas
The W
W Retreat and Spa
Jalan Petitenget
Bali 80361

Recently opened, the latest offering from the international hotel group, W Retreat and Spa Bali is the style travellers hotel of choice in Seminyak. Incredible decor as is expected from the W, but also located next door to Potato Head and near Sarong Restaurant if, heaven forbid, you might want to venture out of the hotel.

W Lounge

The Melia
Melia Bali
Kawasan Wisata BTDC Lot 1
Nusa Dua
80363 Bali

We stayed at the hotel Melia in Nusa Dua. Set in immaculately manicured grounds, the rooms are luxurious, it's the perfect place for couples. Book one of the lagoon access suites, where you can dive into a private pool straight from your bedroom terrace. Bliss!

The immaculate grounds at the Melia

The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah

Ubud is filled with amazing spa hotels and retreats, one of the best is the Chedi.