The local expat crowd lives for weekend breakfasts. Crate Cafe on Batu Bolong is a hub for surfers, yogis, and adventure-seekers alike. Blueberry and coconut cream smoothie bowls topped with fresh muesli are best accompanied by an iced latte to kickstart your morning. The breakfast burrito here also earns an honorable mention.
For excellent local fare in a resort setting, head to Paon Bali, one of the restaurants at the five-star Grand Nikko Bali in Nusa Dua. For something more laid back, head to Green Ginger, a little emerald shack in the surf village of Canggu. Their vegetarian Southeast Asian menu is dominated by larb (lettuce cups with lime and chili spiced tofu), gyoza and fresh chai tea. No need to dress up here — most people still have sand on their feet when they walk in.
Clear Cafe in Ubud greets you with a set of stairs filled with flip flops — no shoes allowed in this sunny establishment. They pride themselves on sourcing primarily local ingredients and using them to create an innovative menu that is authentic and refreshing. Perched above a sprawling temple, the cafe offers a stunning view from its third floor windows.
At the southernmost tip of the island is a place called Uluwatu, or “land’s end.” The beaches here are accessed by stairways carved into the cliffs, which are dotted with small warungs (cafes) and the scent of frangipani flowers. Many locals will say that Uluwatu has the most beautiful sunset in Bali. Nearby, Thomas Beach is only marked by small red letters painted on a wooden sign, but the secrecy is part of what makes it so idyllic. Make the trek down and it will likely just be you and the woman selling coconuts on a strip of sand that pours into a shallow reef.
Island hop to Nusa Penida, which is about an hour-long ferry ride east of Uluwatu. They say this nearly untouched paradise is what most of Bali was like 30 or 40 years ago. Crystal Bay lives up to its name with water so clear that it sparkles on your skin as you snorkel past coral and clownfish. On the east side of the beach, there’s a hidden staircase that leads to a secret beach. The locals will cook you their morning catch and you can venture to Giri Putri, a cave temple that is unlike any other.
Nestled in the jungle atop a valley filled with rice paddies, Bambu Indah is a true haven. Wander the paths scattered with petals, jump off the rope swing into a natural pool or try out the newly constructed bamboo elevator. Venturing vertically in the main building will take you to hammocks strung between bamboo beams and a tiny, cozy loft up top.
For a luxurious getaway in Pemuteran, book a stay at Jeda Villa. These thatched-roof villas mix traditional Balinese and modern architectural elements. The sweeping views encompass the village, the sea and a range of Javanese volcanoes. Spend a morning taking a dip in your private pool or wandering the gardens for a sense of total relaxation.
Written by Savannah Roach
Headline photo of Sanur Beach by Bas Van Uyen