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Bali Cheat Sheet – save this for later

This Bali cheat sheet is your passport to adventure, guiding you to the most captivating tourist gems.

As someone who loves Bali, I’m lucky enough to know what’s going on, what to do, the best places for a meal, party, sunset drinks, and what to do with the kids.

Beach Clubs

Bali is known worldwide for some of the most incredible beach clubs, and here are some you have to visit:

Finns: Nestled in Berawa, Finns is one of southern Bali’s most renowned beach clubs. For those seeking an elevated experience, there’s the exclusive VIP club, a haven for party enthusiasts. While entry is free, you can rent a day bed or cabana. However, the value is undeniable, as it includes drinks and food. With its three pools and 9 bars, Finns is a sprawling venue that’s a must-visit. It’s open from 10 a.m. to midnight.

Visit: Rent a Bali villa near Finns

Finns Beach Club

Potato Head: As one of Seminyak’s pioneering mega beach clubs, Potato Head is a vibrant hub located in the heart of Seminyak’s Petitenget area, a stone’s throw away from our Seminyak Villas. Here, you can indulge in cocktails, fine dining, and daytime grazing by the pool, all while soaking in the lively vibes. Enjoy the rooftop bar (Sunset Park) for sundowners, nibblies, and unforgettable moments with your friends.

Mari Beach Club: I love this beach club because it’s less busy than the others. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still busy, but it’s geared more for chilled times by the pool, where you can pay for a day bed or bean bag and get food and drinks included. It’s in the Batu Belig area, wedged between Canggu and Seminyak, making it an excellent locale, especially if you’re in a Canggu villa and want to take the kids somewhere for the day to play in the pool.

Old Man’s: Aussie pub on the beach meets Bali in this rough-and-ready hot venue in Canggu. Everyone loves Old Man’s, and it is an institution for twenty-somethings looking to party hard with two-for-one drink offers. Bintangs are plenty here!

The Lawn: A boho-styled beach club on the shores of Echo Beach has panoramic ocean views of surfers’ laid-back vibes and is where loads of people come every night for sunset drinks and dinner and keep an eye out for their legendary parties.

Cafe Del Mar: One of the first new-breed beach clubs to start gravitating north from Semintauy, it’s an uber-stylish venue with sensational beach views, a gorgeous swimming pool, top dining, and mega parties. Right between Seminyak and Canggu at Batu Belig, it’s conveniently located for a fun day out, romantic dinner, girls’ night, or just a quick sunset drink.

Ulu Cliffhouse: If you’re holidaying in an Uluwatu villa or want to head up to The Bukit for the day, why not park yourself at Ulu Cliffhouse? It offers excellent food, lots of chill-out spaces for sunbaking, and the best views at Padang; make sure you come here for a sneak peek for the day and enjoy the wonderful Bukit area of Bali.

Savaya: Rebranded Savaya is an iconic beach club in Uluwatu with a jaw-dropping pool, fabulous food, and many daybeds to hang with the crew. There are also loads of events with DJs flying in worldwide, so keep an eye out for this. It’s voted as the # 1 club in Asia, so it’s got to be worth it.

Things to Do

La Plancha: Head to Double Six Beach and enjoy the vibes at the beach cafe La Plancha. Its cheap, family-friendly food makes it the perfect place to come with family and friends to eat, drink, and soak up the balmy afternoon Bali vibes.

Waterbom Bali: In Kuta, Waterbom Bali is a massive water park with slides, rides, and fun activities for kids and families. It is excellent for keeping the kids happy and busy while the adults spend the day shopping for souvenirs around Kuta.

Monkey Forest: The famous tourist attraction in Ubud, The Sacred Monkey Forest Temple, combines picturesque temples with cheeky monkeys roaming around. Take care!

Cretya: It’s like a beach club but set among the jungle in Ubud, with pools, day beds, dining, and breathtaking views—OMG, they are so unique. Definitely come here for a day of Instagramworthy shots.

Visit Cretya

Yoga Barn: Famous throughout Bali, it offers daily classes for holidaymakers who want to keep up their yoga, down dogs, and chanting. It’s the most prominent yoga studio in Ubud and has a cafe for a post-session protein shake. It’s worth a visit to see the zen vibes and yogis in their Lululemon gear.

Cooking classes: Nasi Goreng, sate ayam and sambal; who doesn’t love their Balinese cuisine? And you can always join a cooking class wherever you stay in Bali. Learn from culinary chefs who give you an insight into their tips and tricks to produce delish Indonesian meals when you’re back home.

Kecak Fire Dance: A traditional Balinese spiritual fire dance that is captivating, melodic and hypnotic. A dance for the senses the kids will love – go for the experience. You’ll be able to see it in Ubud and Uluwatu Temple.

Jungle Padel: All over Canggu, Jungle Padel centres have sprung up, which is like tennis but on a smaller court. You can rent all the equipment you need.

Visit: Jungle Padel

White water rafting: Enjoy the scenery by cruising down the Ayung rapids in inflatable boats. They are rapids, so be prepared for some fun while navigating these waters. Obviously, you’ll be guided by an experienced guide. A fun day out for everyone who loves a bit of adrenaline.

Love Anchor: Great markets on Jalan Batu Bolong in Canggu where you can buy souvenirs, tricks, clothes and artwork from the local vendors. Probably the most famous market in Canggu.

Quad biking: Explore the forest, rice paddies, waterfalls and rivers in central Bali on quad bikes. Easy to operate, and you’ll have a guide, this is a fantastic option to see Bali from a fun quad bike.

Ubud waterfalls: The waterfalls around Ubud are now really popular, with every tourist heading there for their must-have waterfall pic.Brave the crowds and queues and enjoy this scenic experience.

Learn to surf: Bali is an island, and there are lots of places where you can rent a board or instructor and hit the waves. Popular surf spots are in Seminyak, Uluwatu, Canggu and Kuta.

Chat with the locals: Remember you’re in Bali, and the locals are one of the reasons you’re here. Yes, you can party and eat at fancy restaurants, but take the time to speak to a few Balinese people and make new friends. They are so lovely, warm and engaging, and why not sit and have a cup of Bali coffee with them?

Tourist Trips

Gili Islands: Catch the boat over the Gili Islands just off Lombok for a couple of days to chill out, sun bake, eat fresh fish, and catch up on that novel or a romantic few days – well, at least try to, as Gili Meno is popular. But it’s worth it for the snorkelling and sealife and pristine beaches.

Lovina Beach: There’s another side to Bali, right up north in Lovina. Escape the crowds, make the 3.5-hour journey, and experience Bali like it was 20 years ago before it got too touristy. Stay in a homestay for the added experience.

Mt Batur. Get up super duper early, drive to central Bali, climb the famous Mt Batur, and watch the sunrise. Your villa manager will be able to arrange this.

Nusa Penida/Lembongan: Off the east coast of Bali is the gorgeous island of Nusa Penida, famous for its white beaches, chilled vibes and snorkelling. Take your choice with this or perhaps Nusa Lembongan for a 3-day trip.

Fly to Sumba: It’s about an hour plane flight (Wings or Nam Air), and I hate to give secrets away, but this untouched paradise is a slice of heaven. Do your research and get over there for the surf, culture and scenery – you’ll be blown away.

Sideman: Visit this wonderful, untouched part of central Bali, where you can see stunning rice fields and how Bali was yesteryear. Here, you can walk around the area, meet locals, eat great Balinese food, and enjoy this calm part of central Bali.

Party Time

Motel Mexicola: With two locations (Seminyak and Canggu), Mexicola has been wowing holidaymakers to Bali for years with its Mexican 1950s-themed restaurant. Get ready for lots of dancing, tequila shots and yummy food.

Visit: Mexicola

Shi Shi: In Seminyak, Shi Shi is a restaurant (where you can pay around $75 for two people for all you can eat) and a pumping nightclub. Everyone goes here for a big night out, so put it on your party bucket list.

Visit: Shi Shi

Luigi Hot Pizza It’s more than an Italian restaurant and pizza joint; it’s an actual party destination. Great vibes, good food, and lots of partying are happening here in the heart of Canggu.

Visit: Luigis

Da Maria is another Italian party restaurant in Seminyak for those who want to eat and party. Make sure you go there on Sunday night for some seriously good music and fun times.

Visit: Da Maria

La Favela: As the name suggests, enter the Favela of Rio but in this uber-hip restaurant and nightclub along Eat Street (Jalan Kayu Aya) in Seminyak. Favela is one of the oldest nightclubs in Bali and is so popular that you need to get in early to avoid the queues and party until late.

Visit: La Favela

Sand Bar: At the end of Jalan Batu Bolong is Sand Bar, and this place goes off with people (mainly 20-somethings) dancing on the beach, lots of alcohol and high energy. Only for the serious party people!

Visit: Sand Bar

Areas to Stay

Seminyak is great for families and groups who want to be near shops, cafes, and beach clubs. It is definitely a family-friendly area. Check out Eat Street, Seminyak Square/Village and KU DE TA.

Visit: Seminyak Travel Guide

Canggu: Popular with families, beachgoers, surfers, and groups who like to party, go to cafes, hop, go to schmick restaurants, and go to day spas. Check out Old Man’s, Batu Bolong, Milk and Madu, Obsidium Gym, and so much more!

Visit: Canggu Travel Guide

Uluwatu: Surfers, families, and beach club enthusiasts love Uluwatu. It’s a huge area that spans from Bingin to Pandawa and Uluwatu cliffs. This more relaxed area is great for getting away from the madness of Canggu, etc. Expect great waves and lots of beach time. Check out Drifter Surf, Alchemy, Suluban Cliff, Single Fin, and Mason.

Visit: Uluwatu Travel Guide

Ubud: Ricefields, majestic jungle views from your Ubud Villa, organic vegan food, long walks, and visiting artisans are the order of the day at Ubud. And, yes, there’s also yoga and lots of adrenaline activities. Check out Campuhan Ridge Way, which is obviously the Monkey Forest, Ubud markets, and Bali Buda.

Visit: Ubud Travel Guide

See more all Bali Travel Guides

Must Eats

Nasi Goreng: The most famous and well-known Indonesian dish is nasi goreng, which consists of fried rice with chicken, beef, or veggies and a side of prawn crackers. If it’s good, it’s at the next level. Our favourites are Nook Umalas, Tiga in Canggu, and Moodest in Kerobokan.

Sate: Succulent chicken or beef sate sticks, grilled to perfection over charcoal and served with a rich and creamy peanut sauce. The taste is simply divine!

Klepon: Balinese sweet cakes perfect for those early mornings. Klepon is typically bought at local Balinese warungs or shops.

Bakso: Meatball soup is one of Indonesia’s most popular dishes, and the Balinese love it. Make sure you only have Bakso as a restaurant and only off the street if you are super game. Our favourite is Rudi Bakso in Canggu at Semat Markets.

Here’s a quick, no-frills list of fun things to do in Bali and some tips on where to stay. You’ll need about 2 to 3 weeks to do all of these activities, so this will be hard for most folks who come to Bali for just over a week. I advise saving it for your next trip or cherry-picking the most appealing ones. For more information about our range of Bali holiday villas or the complete list of types of villas you can rent in Bali, please get in touch with the very helpful team at Bali Villa Escapes.

Things to Avoid

Traffic: Some areas of southern Bali will have massive traffic jams, which must be avoided during peak hours, like Jalan Raya Canggu, Jalan Kerobokan, and Eat Street (especially on weekend nights).

Dodgy Money Changers: Only use accredited money changes; if you have to walk into a smallish cubicle in a side alley, you must avoid this.

Taxi Drivers at the airport: It is best to download the Go Jek or Grab App (same as Uber) before you come to Bali and use that instead of the taxi drivers at the airport as they’ll try to get as much as they can to newbie tourists who are not used to prices in Bali.

Dangerous surf breaks for beginners: Watch out for big and dangerous reef breaks, as the consequences of falling off and hitting the reef can ruin your holiday.

Food stalls: For Westerners, try to eat in restaurants or cafes and avoid local food markets or mobile food vendors, as getting the Bali belly is not fun.

Here’s a quick, no-frills list of fun things to do in Bali and some tips on where to stay. You’ll need about 2 to 3 weeks to do all of these activities, so for most folks who come to Bali for just over a week, this will be hard. My advice is to save it for your next trip or cherry-pick the most appealing ones. For more information about our range of Bali holiday villas or the complete list of types of villas you can rent in Bali, please contact the very helpful team at Bali Villa Escapes.

Best Gyms

Bali has some great gyms, but most are in Canggu & Seminyak. If you want to work out on your holiday, who doesn’t? Here are some great gyms to check out.

Canggu

Bull Gym: for those who like to work out hard and like lots of free weights.

FINNS: luxury gym at Finns Recreation Club

F45 Training: quick 45-minute workout.

Body Factory Bali: for epic workouts and an uber-hip environment

SOMA Fight Club: techniques for boxing, fitness and fighting

Wunderlust Fitness Village: The largest and most equipped CrossFit gym in Bali.

AvenueFitness: sleek and fully-equipped gym with every piece of fitness equipment you could want (spa pool included for post-workout bath)

Bali MMA: gym with a focus on MMA.

Fortitude Bali: uber-cool gym that’s all about unique, customisable programmes for all different fitness levels.

S2S CrossFit Bali: CrossFit for fitness junkies wanting to keep their six-pack.

Nirvana: work on stretching, mobility, joint pre-habilitation, and full-body core workouts.

Victory Fitness: affordable gym where you can pump hard.

Seminyak

Soham Wellness Cente: Upmarket gum with a large outdoor pool, ice bath and a top vibe.

CrossFit Seminyak: sweat hard with weightlifting and functional fitness classes.

The Bar: personal training and excellent gym equipment –  It’s the only gym in Bali where every membership includes a personal trainer and personal development plan.

Hammerhead: one of the oldest gyms bordering Seminyak & Legian

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About the author

Steven is a die-hard Bali island addict and committed surfie. When he's not writing or taking videos of the latest restaurants or cool places, he's at Echo Beach surfing or riding his scooter around Seminyak, Berawa or Canggu. Steve is part of the Bali Villa Escapes marketing team and has been living in and out of Bali for the last 15 years.