Bali is paradise. But some things have changed, especially after the Pandemic.
After visiting the island since 2010, running Women’s Wellness Retreats each year from 2013 – 2018, and now living on the island for the past four years… I’ve definitely seen the island change over the past decade.
Now that the borders are open again, we are watching things shift, adapt, grow and change even more so.
In 2019 Bali had 6.5million visitors (to put it into perspective, Australia had 9.5million visitors that same year – think of the size of Bali compared to Australia!).
Then the Pandemic hit, and like everywhere else, Bali closed its borders, shut down, and no one was allowed in for almost two years. I’m sure – for those of us that were living in Bali at the time – we will look back on those times and forever be grateful for experiencing a quiet version of Bali and watching the island be able to breathe again.
However, now that things are open up, we are also grateful to also have people come back and visit again!
The locals are excited for tourists to support their economy, and us ex-pats are thrilled to have visitors who require a reset and recharge.
Over these past few months, many people planning to visit Bali have asked me the same questions. I feel that, more so now than before, it’s important to share this information because things are different to before the Pandemic. Your favourite beach Warung that was there last time, may have been bashed down; or your best accommodation spot might have gone out of business; or your best Yoga studio may have loud construction noise going on next door. It’s important to know what is going on NOW – post the Pandemic – and from someone who has been here through it all!
So, what are the main things you want to know before travelling anywhere?
- What are the best accommodation spots?
- Where are the best towns to visit?
- How much will it cost, or what is an estimated budget to spend?
- When is the best time to visit?
In this Blog, I will share all that info with you, plus so much more!
Here are my 10 Top tips for visiting beautiful Bali post the Pandemic
Enjoy the read!
Getting to Bali
1) Things to know before you go
Where you come from will depend on the best route and airline to get to Bali.
Singapore Airlines is the best from South Africa. Other options are Jetstar or Qantas from Australia and Qatar, flying via Doha.
It’s just over a 6hr flight from Sydney, and a 3.5hr flight from Perth, so if you are in Auzz or heading through there, Bali is a great place to visit along the way.
If you are fully vaccinated with a booster shot, you don’t need any tests to enter Bali.
You can also come to Bali with an exemption letter if you don’t have the vaccine, but you will need a negative PCR test (3×24 hours) before departure. However, these details are changing all of the time, so I suggest you research updated info at the time for your particular trip. For all entry requirements, have a look at this helpful website here.
You don’t need any other mandatory vaccines to come to Bali – no yellow fever or malaria shots. I would watch the mosquitoes, though, because Dengue fever can be brutal. But Dengue is not malaria; you can’t get a shot against it.
Random Fact: Bali is one of 17,000 islands in Indonesia and the only Hindu island amongst the rest of Muslim Indonesia.
VOA – 30 Day visa with an option to extend to 60 days.
Bali has opened its Visa On Arrival (VOA) visa option again!
If your nationality is from one of the 75 countries listed here, you can enter Bali on a VOA visa. You don’t need to get a Visa beforehand! This Visa you get at the airport on arrival, before you go through immigration (look for the VOA stand before you queue for immigration). You can pay for this Visa in IDR local currency or on your credit card, which currently is IDR 500.000 (about $34).
The VOA is valid for 30 days, but you can extend it for another 30 days without leaving Bali. If you wish to be here for longer than 60 days, you can do a visa run and return on the same VOA.
Note that you can’t work here in Bali on this Visa… it’s a VISITORS Visa.
If you wish to work in Bali, if you don’t have the correct Visa, you could pay a hefty fine, get deported or even be blacklisted. The Indonesian government takes this law extremely seriously (I’ve learned the hard way). So you want to ensure you are always sticking to the rules and are legal. That said, the rules are unclear, and there is a lot of grey area. So, if Bali is somewhere you would like to live and work long-term, I would suggest getting my Bali Living online course which has much more in-depth information on other visa options and the best visa agents to use!
3) A summary of what you need for entry into Bali
- Your nationality (passport) to be on the list of 75 countries allowed, NOT the country you are flying from.
- A passport valid for at least six months beyond the visit date.
- Purchase the VOA at the airport
- Proof of full vaccination, or COVID-19 recovery letter, or exemption letter (doctor’s certificate from the Government Hospital of the country of departure).
- Peduli Lindungi App – sign up for an account and download the app (they are not too strict with this anymore, so you may not need to do this. You can download on arrival at the airport if needed – they do have free wifi at the airport when you land).
- Completed e-CD (Customs App) – fill this in beforehand to save yourself standing in the customs queues.
- A return ticket or a one-way ticket to continue the journey to another country. for VOA & eVISA holders
4) The best time to visit
Because Bali is only 8 degrees from the Equator, the island has a tropical, humid & warm climate all year round. Bali and the surrounding islands don’t work with Winter, Autumn, Spring & Summer Seasons.
However, there are still seasons and two main seasons that are important to note… The Rainy Season and the Dry Season!
Dry Season: April – October
Dry Season is High Season in Bali. The Dry Season is from around April to October. We have noticed a shift in the weather patterns over the years, so the dry season seems to be starting much later and ending much later in the year than it usually did. But on average, March/April until September/October/even sometimes Nov can be good months weather-wise.
You still get some rain in the middle of the year – especially if you are up North in the mountains or inland in Ubud – but most rain happens over December, January & February. On average, you get rain 3 – 9 days during these months.
The temperature during the dry season ranges from a low of 22 – 25 degrees Celsius and a high of 28 – 32 degrees.
It does feel cooler during August. During the ‘Winter’ months, the temperature can drop to 22′ during the day – which feels much cooler to the locals and ex-pats who are used to higher tropical temperatures and more humidity.
August is the only time I’ve worn socks to warm my feet and put a jersey on to keep me cosy. At night, especially when riding on a scooter, you need a windbreaker or jacket to keep you warm and wrap a sarong or pashmina around your shoulders. But other than that, 23′ is pretty much the coldest it gets during the day!
Wet Season: November – March
Wet Season is Low Season in Bali. The Wet Season is from around November to March. It is when Bali typically becomes quieter and less touristy. The sea gets rough, and the heavy rains bring in debris from the ocean to the beaches, making the beaches quite dirty.
On average, you get rain 22-27 days during these months. In typical tropical fashion, rain can last an hour, then the sun comes out, and other times it can set in for a full day. It mainly rains in the evenings and the days can be clear. Thank goodness for the rain this time of year, bringing some much-needed respite from the hot summer temperatures. When it starts to rain, it comes down in bucket loads! So, having a rain jacket or umbrella handy is always good.
The temperature during the wet season ranges from a low of 23 – 24 degrees Celsius and a high of 30 – 33 degrees.
The humidity and heat can become quite intense when it is not raining, especially in the months before the rainy season. In 2020, up until late November, we experienced temperatures around 33′ with 80% humidity and not much rain.
Once you have arrived
5) Getting around
Bali is not the country to expect any trains and bus services. The mode of transport is via scooter! If you are uncomfortable riding a scooter, I suggest you don’t! Especially when navigating crazy traffic and local families of five scooting past next to you on the highway. It can be a little overwhelming!
Here are two options for you for airport pick up and getting around the island
Option 1 – Book your own personal Taxi driver.
My taxi drivers usually do a special deal for me at IDR 200 to Canggu or IDR 300 to Ubud. This is a fixed rate, not a metered fare. It’s always good to know that someone you can trust is meeting you at the airport. Many of the men in Bali are taxi drivers. With the decline in tourism in 2020, this is one of the job sectors that has suffered. I know fantastic and reliable taxi drivers who have collected me at all morning hours when returning to Bali in the past. It’s lovely to arrive and see a beaming smile and a familiar face on arrival.
All arrangements, bookings, or communication happens via WhatsApp.
Below I have listed my most trusted driver. WhatsApp Wayan a few days before your arrival to book the taxi. He will require your name, flight details and arrival time. That’s it! Easy:)
Once you are settled in at your hotel, you can either arrange a hotel taxi for your stay or use Wayan for the duration of your trip. He is friendly, speaks excellent English, and is happy to share a wealth of knowledge about his home island.
Wayan – Connect with Wayan via Whatsapp +6285937039888
Option 2 – Order a Grab Taxi
Grab, or GoJek, are the ‘Uber’ in Indonesia. The prices can be 70% less than official taxi companies, so Grab & GoJek were banned from the airport for so long. Sometimes the taxi mafia does get involved, so check if you can get a pick-up from your location (it changes all the time!).
The Grab taxi’s cost around IDR 140 to Canggu or IDR 200 to Ubud. This price varies according to the demand and availability of taxis near the airport.
To book your Grab or GoJek taxi, you must download one of the Apps before you arrive at the airport. Then, before you walk out of the international airport terminal, make sure you either 1) have international roaming activated on your phone or 2) have bought a local SIM card. You can buy a SIM card easily at the airport. The kiosk is just as you enter the duty-free area after you exit the arrivals building. It is slightly more expensive to buy your SIM card at the airport but much cheaper than paying for data roaming. You get different packages. Purchase the smallest option for now, and then top up at your local supermarket store with more credit at a later stage.
Then you go to the Grab App, select ‘Car’, and choose your location (make sure you specify international arrivals). You should see the ‘Grab Pick up Zone’, walk to the parking garage, and your driver will collect you at area C80.
Once settled in Bali, you can order a Grab or Gojek car or scooter taxi to take you around. They even deliver food or will go shopping for you as well! Check out the Apps for your different options.
6) How much time to spend in Bali, and is it safe?
How much time do you want to spend in various places in Bali?
That is totally up to you!
I once went to Gili Air Island for two weeks and stayed for two months!
Bali, and the surrounding islands, are magical and perhaps where you can stay forever – so your trip duration depends on how much time and resources you have.
I would suggest not booking everything beforehand. Create some space for adventure and be open to going with the flow!
Bali is definitely safe for women travelling on their own, and easy enough to meet like-minded people and make friends. However, you do need to be careful and conscious. If you are reckless or irresponsible, difficult situations can happen.
7) The main hubs to visit
Bali has a few magical locations! What I’m suggesting here is a little off the tourist route and are my favourite places to visit.
I live in Ubud, and although it’s not close to the sea, it has magical healing energy that I love. Ubud is known as the spiritual, cultural and healing centre of Asia. But, some people come to Ubud, do some touristy sightseeing, experience the heavy traffic on the main roads and leave… and that is their experience of Ubud. They don’t depart with the best impression, I’m sure!
If you are finding Ubud to be too busy and too much traffic, head off the beaten track a bit (which is only normally one or two roads away) and you will find the tranquility of the rice fields.
These are a few of my favourite things to do and places to stay (from an Ubudian local)
The Rice Joglo – http://www.thericejoglo.com/
Connect with Sonu and tell him Sharni has sent you. The rice Jolgo is a magical ‘fairy tale’ style joglo based in the rice fields and off any main roads. In actual fact, the only way you can get there is walking on the beautiful path, or riding a scooter. Don’t worry, Sonu will sort out your luggage for you! You will enjoy the more calm, peaceful side of Ubud when you stay here. Oh, and there is a pink rooster, hamsters, bunnies and ducks… a real sense of living with nature!
Trinity Gardens – http://www.trinitygardensubud.com/
Trinity is along the same path as the Rice Joglo. Friends stayed there throughout the whole Pandemic. I highly recommend it! However, it is about a 15min walk from the main street in Ubud and you can’t get there via car. If you are looking for a peaceful, quaint location. This is perfect for you!
Artini Dijiwa – https://www.dijiwasanctuaries.com/at/theartiniubud
If you are looking to be walking distance to the Yoga Barn, main roads and restaurants, but still get that rice field away-from-the-busyness kinda feel, then this is the spot for you! They have a great pool and outdoor area, and lovely local style Balinese accommodation. Perfect to get a feel for the culture and serenity right in the hub of Ubud.
Blu Mango [BUDGET] – https://www.booking.com
Blu Mango is in the centre of Ubud. It’s just off the main Hannoman Street, and so is easy walking distance to The Yoga Barn, Monkey Forest, the market shops or lovely restaurants.
Connect with Ketut via the booking.com link, or through Whatsapp – +6281999618667
Zest – (Best plant based menu) – https://www.zestubud.com/
The best Plant based menu in town! Plus it has a great vibe and doubles as a co-working space for a few of us locals as well. I love their vegan Sushi!
Dragonfly – (Best vegan pizza & rice field view) – https://www.dragonfly-village.com/
Dragonfly is a Retreat Centre on the same gorgeous rice field walk as Trinity Gardens and The Rice Joglo. It’s my favourite spot for gluten free vegetarian pizza and Chai Tea! They also do a Herbal Steam Sauna night on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Not to be missed!
Casa Carundara – (Best river walk and outdoor venue) – https://www.instagram.com/
Casa Carundara is one of the most picturesque spots in Ubud. Great for breakfast and lunch. It’s quite a walk from the main Penestanan area (near Alchemy), but it looks like they do do taxi scooters down there. Otherwise, follow the sign posts and enjoy the walk. There is a river further down from the restaurant, so take your bathers and go have a dip!
Things to do:
The Yoga Barn – https://www.theyogabarn.com/
The Yoga Barn is a whole Yoga and healing village! I work there as the Life Coach and I’m one of the facilitators of their 3 Day Transformational Retreats. The Yoga Barn was one of the first places I came to in 2010 and it was intrumental in my healing journey. DEFINITELY head there for a Yoga class, breathwork session, sound healing or any healing modality. Ecstatic Dance at the Yoga Barn is also THE THING TO DO on a Friday night or Sunday mid-morning in Ubud.
Beji Griya Waterfall – https://www.tripadvisor.com.au
Yes, you can go to the Tirta Empul Temple like everyone else, or you can visit the Beji Griya Waterfall (which also has holy water). It is more expensive than other waterfall entrance fees, but it’s so worth it.
Pura Gunung Lebah Temple – https://www.thebalibible.com/
If you are heading out on the Campuhan Ridge Walk, take some time to visit this ancient elaborate temple in the jungle.
Sunset walk by Cafe Pomegranate – http://cafepomegranate.org/
This is one of my favourite secret spots in Ubud. It’s easy to walk off from the main road, but you go down a random alleyway and so most people don’t know that on the other side are beautiful rice fields and open spaces. Along the way you can have passion fruit cocktails at Monkey Bar, a vegan gelato ice cream at Dragonfly, a meal at Cafe Pomegranate, shop at one of the local market stalls, and walk all the way until you come out at the Pyramids of Chi.
Tour guide – https://www.balitravelexpert.com
Joe is the BEST tour guide EVER! His English is great (with an Auzzie & UK accent), he has the best sense of humour, and I’ve known him for years! Him and his brother have various tour companies, so contact him and ask for what you want, and they can create a tailor-made trip for you. Tell Joe I sent you:)
My brother lives in Canggu, and I spent a few months living with him there during the pandemic. In those days… beaches were closed, restaurants were quiet, and the shortcut was not congested. Post-pandemic, things now seem to be returning to crazy busy again. But, even so, Canggu has a great vibe if you are looking for a bit of a buzz and to hang out with other influencers, digital nomads and ex-pats.
These are a few of our favourite things to do and places to stay (from Canggu locals)
Serenity Eco Guesthouse – https://www.serenitybali.com/
This is my Yoga go-to place. You have the Yoga studio, spa, pool and accommodation. They do a lot of Teacher Trainings here, so check availability. Often you will find people hanging around in the cafe, or chilling on the couch – its a great place to connect with like-minded yogis and conscious souls.
United Colours of Bali – https://www.booking.com
I haven’t actually stayed here, but my friend has… and he raved about it.
Canggu HBD [Budget] – https://www.booking.com
If you are just wanting something cheap and cheerful to stay in the hub of Canggu, then check out Canggu HBD. It’s close enough to everything, but not too noisy at night. Super simple and the more traditional Balinese style, but it does have a pool. Bonus!
Cafe Vida – (Best organic cafe) – https://cafe-vida-bali
YUM! This is the spot to meet friends, eat a delicious organic meal and be in the hub of Canggu
The Shady Shack – (Best vegan nachos) – https://www.instagram.com
One of my favourite spots. I lived on their delivery meals during lockdown. Much better to go there during person though because the restaurant has the ‘Bali vibe’.
Shelter – (Best date vibe) – https://www.tripadvisor.com
Shelter is the latest date spot. It’s gorgeous, the food is delicious and its one of the places you can get a little dressed up to go out.
Secret Spot Canggu – (Best green bowl & Sunday live music sessions) – https://www.yogitimes.com
I love their ‘Go Green Plate’! Delicious, healthy food – and if you go there on a Sunday they have live music to entertain you.
Things to do:
The Practice Yoga Studio – https://www.thepracticebali.com/
If you are looking for a more traditional Yoga studio, then this is the place. The Practice has a variety of Hatha based yoga classes, as well as incredible healing events. If you wish to stay in Bali for longer, they do incredible Yoga Teachers Trainings as well.
Beach bars –
Canggu has loads of Beach bars which are perfect for watching the sunset. Pick your vibe from La Brisa, to The Lawn, to Finns, to Potao Head… you could go beach bar hopping all the way to Seminyak!
Sunday Market at La Brisa – https://www.thebalibible.com
Wonder around the market at La Brisa on a lazy Sunday morning for organic fruit & veggies, natural beauty products and more… then go sit around the pool while you watch the surfers in the ocean. It’s a great way to spend a chilled Sunday.
Best gyms & dance studios –
Canggu is definitely the gym mecca of Bali. You can do any form of exercise from spinning, handstand classes, Salsa or Jazz dancing, Cross Fit, boxing, tennis.. the list is endless. Nirvana Strength , Canggu studios, and Just Dance are some of the popular gyms and studios.
Ulu has the best beaches on the island!
It has a great surf vibe, gorgeous cliff side accommodation, and sunset views.
I lived there for about five months during the pandemic, so I got to know the local hangout spots. Although, much more is open now, and new restaurants and yoga studios are opening all of the time!
These are a few of my favourite things to do and places to stay.
Dreamsea Surf Camp – https://dreamseasurfcamp.com/bali/
The location of Dreamsea is incredible! It’s at the bottom of the stairs on the cliff side. Plus it has it’s own secluded beach – which is a bonus during high season. When it’s low tide you can walk across to Padang Padang beach as well. Checkout my Instagram for images that I posted in July 2020!
Temple Lodge – https://www.thetemplelodge.com/
Temple Lodge is also cliff side accommodation, but it’s at the top of the cliff, not down by the ocean. They have a variety of uniquely decorated and designed rooms – all with incredible views.
Mu Boutique Resort – https://mu-bali.com/
Another gorgeous cliff top resort! Mu has yoga classes in the morning, a gorgeous pool to laze around during the day, and a stunning outdoor dinner venue at night. You can go there as a guest to enjoy the space, even if you don’t stay at their Resort. But the rooms are gorgeous… and when you get there you may never wish to leave… so I suggest to just book a room.
Lakra Villas – https://www.facebook.com
Lakra Villas was my second home when I lived in Ubud in 2021. It was my beach villa getaway that I used to drive to when I needed some ocean time. Mary and her family are lovely. Its a family owned villa, with 8 quaint guest villas set around the pool. The villas don’t have a view, but it’s a short 5min walk (down the stairs) to Bingin beach. Quiet, peaceful and a great location if you wish to be out of the busy side of Uluwatu.
Bombora Surf Camp [Budget] – https://www.bomborasurfcamp.com/
If you want to be in the heart of the Uluwatu strip and walking distance to many reasturants, shops, massage locations, and not wanting to break the bank… then Bombora Surf Camp is a good option for your stay.
Drifter – (Best surfer hangout) – https://www.instagram.com
A great hangout of you want to connect with the local & holiday surfers. They also have delicious cinnoman buns (the cafe, not the surfers 🙂
Mana – (Best views & internet) – https://www.instagram.com
Go there for the view, the coconuts, the fast internet, teh food and the live jazz
La Baracca – (Best Italian food and wine) – https://www.instagram.com
My favourite Italian spot (yes, they do have gluten free & vegan options) with cozy couches out in the garden and fairy lights for atmosphere.
Things to do:
Massage at Ours – https://www.instagram.com
They have the BEST massages at Ours. A little more expensive than others, but so worth it!
Sunset sauna from The Istana – https://www.instagram.com
A trip to Ulu wouldn’t be complete without watching the sunset from the sauna on the cliffs. The Istana is a yoga & meditation centre, detox and spa, and going for a sauna at sunset is the ‘thing’ to do for the local expats!
Beach walk from Padang Padang to Binging Beach
When the tide is lowest (usually at full moon time), the ocean goes out enough to be able to walk all the way from Padang Padang beach to Bingin. It’s a glorious walk, but make sure you don’t get caught when the tide comes in.
Yoga at Morning Light Yoga – https://www.instagram.com
Morning Light Yoga is the Yoga studio at Uluwatu Surf Villas. Picture doing Yoga in the outdoor studio, while watching the famous Uluwatu surf below. That’s one way to relax your body and mind!
Sundowners at Single Finn – https://www.instagram.com
The charm of Uluwatu is that it’s on this magestic cliff face. Single Fin is one of the best spots to watch the surfers at sunset and have a sundowner cocktail.
Best beaches in Bali – Padang Padang, Bingin, Uluwatu cave
Bali does not have beautiful beaches (in my oppinion anyway). The beaches can often be rough and dirty (Canggu, Kuta & Seminyak), or they are black sand beaches because of the volcanoes. The best beaches Bali has to offer – which have white sand and beautiful clear water – is in Uluwatu. Head out to Padang Padang, Bingin, or the beah at Uluwatu which you can access at low tide by walking under the cave. If you are looking for prestine water, and chilled white sand beaches you can walk along, then it’s best to visit one of the close islands.
8) Heading up to North Bali
I have given you tips for the popular 3 locations in Bali – Ubud, Canggu & Uluwatu – but of course there are many more incredible locations to go and visit. If you would like to know more about traveling up to North Bali, read my other Blog here.
Other islands to visit
9) The best surrounding islands
Lembongan is my go-to spot when I need relaxing and gorgeous beach time. It takes me the same time to get to Lembongan (a different island) than it does from Ubud to Uluwatu!
Yes! It’s only a 3min boat ride from Sanur! Plus, Lembongan is still part of Bali, so you get the incense, temples and gentle Balinese culture on the island as well.
These are a few of my favourite things to do and places to stay.
Indiana Kenanga – https://indiana-kenanga-villas.com/
If you are wanting a luxury experince right on the beach, Indiana Kenanga is the perfect location for you. They have a fancy french restaurant, a beautiful pool, and a luxurious spa. Go on, spoil yourself!
Ohana’s – https://www.ohanas.co/
Newly renovated Ohana’s is the picture perfect beach resort. If you are wanting more of a vibe with sunset music tunes and an Instagramable setting and people, then Ohana’s is for you!
Ombak – (Best morning bunch spot on the beach) – https://www.instagram.com
Wih zero waste vibes, great food and the local ex-pat community meet up spot – Ombak is the best place on the island for a morning brunch before an ocean swim or snorkel
Thai Pantry – (Best sunset vibes) – https://www.instagram.com
Thai Pantry has delicious & healthy Thai food, plus matching magestic views of the ocean and Bali Agung Volcano. It’s a must do on your list when visiting Lembongan
Ginger & Jamu – (Best healthy food & beach vibes) – https://www.instagram.com
For chilled ocean vibes and yummy healthy food.. head over to Ginger & Jamu
Things to do:
Massage at Tonic Spa – https://www.instagram.com
Yes, you can have a massage anywhere, but Tonic is not just a massage… it’s a whole experience! Finish your massage with ginger tea and Angel cards, while you relax in the garden setting and de-stress from all this tough island time.
Beach walk from Ombak to the Beach Cafe at Lago
It takes about 45min to walk from Ombak cafe to the Beach Cafe at Lago. Go at low tide so that you can walk down past the harbour without getting swept away. The Beach Cafe is a new cafe at a cute secluded beach. You get to walk along the European style walkway past all the gorgeous villas along the way.
Sunday Mermaid snorkel adventure (for men as well)
Every Sunday, my friend Storm gathers a group of 10 or so conscious friends, and they go snorkelling and freediving at the best spots around Nusa Lemongan and Penida. You get to set your intentions, connect to the ocean in a healing, powerful & fun way
Stand Up Paddling is a great way to get a great workout in, see the island from a different perspective, and watch the sea life from above (yes, the water is that clear). Rent a board from one of the surf shacks for about 100k per hour and enjoy your chill time on the ocean.
GILI AIR ISLAND
This is my favourite island ever!
It takes 1hr to walk around the whole island, and there is no motorized transport (so no scooter or taxi noise!). You either walk, get a horse cart or ride your bicycle.
The water is clear and turquoise blue, the beaches are white (different to Bali’s black sand beaches), and the sunsets are gorgeous! It’s just magical.
These are a few of my favourite things to do and places to stay.
Slow Villas – https://slowgiliair.com/
If you are needing some pampering time in a luxury villa, Slow is your place! Its gorgeous and each villa has its own swimming pool and huge garden. It’s owned by a friend of mine, and if you book with the bokking code SHARNI_BALI_LOVE you will receive a special surprize!
Pink Coco – https://www.pinkhotels.com/gili-air/
Pink Coco is on the sunset side of the island and it’s on the beachfront, so it’s the perfect place to watch teh sunset while you sip on a fresh young coconut. They also have a great spa, beautiful pool and everything there is very pink:)
Bambu Cottages – https://www.booking.com
The Bambu Cottages are on the sunsrise side of the island. This is the better side for swimming and snorkelling.
Beranda Eco Lodge [Budget] – https://www.booking.com
If you are heading to Gili Air on a budget, then Beranda Eco Lodge is like a hostel, but with a difference. They have dorm rooms, but you can also book your own villa as well. There are clean shared bathrooms and a great pool where everyone gathers. The only thing is that you are closer to the middle of the island, which means closer to the Mosque… so bring your earplugs if you dont want a 4am wakeup call!
Mowies – (Best beach lunch spot) – https://www.instagram.com
How does eating yummy food, while chilling on beach beds and gazing out into tropical blue ocean water sound? Mowies has a delicious and healthy menu (I love the quinoa salad) and their wifi is really good. So, thats where you will find me if I have a coaching call or some work to do during the day.
Mama Pizza – (Best Italian sunset vibes) – https://www.instagram.com
My friend Luca owns Mama Pizza, and yes… he is Italian. This is one of the best Italian resturants I’ve ever eaten at, and it has the best view! The tables and chairs are literally on the beach, so you can settle your toes in the sand as you enjoy your pizza and an epic sunset.
Gili Bliss – (Best healthy local food) – https://www.instagram.com
Local, local, local! Support the local community by eating at Gili Bliss, and you will be blown away at the creative menu and great food.
Barefoot Blondie – https://www.instagram.com
Situated in the main road from the harbour, Barefoot Blondie is a great place to enjoy a coffee before you leave.
Things to do:
Stand Up Paddle – Enjoy a sunrise paddle session at 5:30am and watch the sun come over Rinjani Volcano as you paddle along the island. It is the most magnificent experience! Hire your boards from 3W dive centre and if you are going early, make sure to organize the day before.
Beach walk around the island – It takes approximately 1hr to walk around the island, but could take a whole day if you decide to stop for swims, coconuts and lunch. Don’t give yourself a timeline! Just let yourself wonder and see where you land up. Eventually you will make it the whole way around (it is only about 1km from East to West after all).
Live sunset music at Gili Lumbung – The sunset side of the island is the place to be around 5pm for sunset cocktails. Enjoy the island vibes, bean bags, white sand beach and live music at Gili Lumbung as you watch the sun set behind silhouettes of the Bali volcanoes. When the sun has gone down, the fairy lights come on and the dancing starts. No need for dancing shoes… everyone is barefoot dancing on the beach!
Snorkel by the statues on Gili Meno – Snorkelling around the islands isn’t what it used to be 13 years ago… however, there are still some great spots to visit and ocean life to view. Head out to the statues just off Gili Meno to see the restoration they are doing there with the coral, or snorkel on the north East side of Gili Meno to see turtles. You can easily find a local tour guide to take you out for a reasonable price, or get the local boat across to Meno and rent snorkels and fins there.
Watch the fun adventure my friend Julie and I had when we went on our Stand Up Paddle Boards between Gili Air and Gili Meno.
10) Living and working in Bali
I’ve given you a lot to start off with! However, if your Bali holiday turns into an ‘I want to stay in Bali forever’ moment… then check out my online course on how to LIVE & WORK IN BALI here.
I hope this info provides you with insight, inspiration and some local tips on how to explore these islands in a conscious, healthy and happy way.