How to not do Bali like a Bogan.
Bali. The land of luke warm Bintang beers, fake Nike shoes, dirty nightclubs, taxi touts and gravel rashed tourists that have come off scooters.
There is another side of Bali that is keeping it legit. We just got back from a few days of Caribbean clear beaches, amazing views and incredible meals.
Canggu is a mix of the cool kids that hang at North Bondi mixed with the mega chic coastal vibes of Mexico’s Tulum. Think small boutiques, custom motorbike builders, board shapers & killer coffee haunts.
I spent a day here. Here’s why you should too.
I’m definitely not a yoga type and you will never find me tucking in an Acai bowl at breakfast time. Crate caters to this crowd but also kills it with their Aussie style breakfasts. I tucked into their homemade baked beans, poached egg and bacon dish.
The fit out is simple and looks like it’s been carved out of a slab of concrete. We’re down with that type of thing.
Australians travelling abroad get gravely disappointed when searching for good coffee. Crate keeps things very Surry Hills. You’ll be fine here.
Set amongst the rice fields of Canggu, Deus brings their custom motorbike/surfboard/bicycle vibes to Bali. This place is huge and has a killer Sunday session.
There are loads of areas to sprawl out, take in a Bintang, eat some food and try and score a free tattoo. Canggu & Bali is filled with some unreal custom motorbikes. There is no doubt why Deus set up shop here.
Old Man’s is a bar located right on the beach in Canggu. Once you’ve given up on surf lessons head in to there massively open planned bar.
Old Man’s boasts loads of space with a typical bistro menu and cheap beer. I spent hours here reading a book and sipping 100 beers. You can play table tennis, beer pong, use the change rooms & showers whilst beering away the afternoon.
If you head to Canggu you are destined to end up at Old Man’s.
It’s easy as pie to get to Canggu by requesting an UberX from anywhere in Bali. Canggu is an Uber-free zone for pick-ups. You’re at the mercy of local prices on the way home. Good luck.
I’m not sure what to say about Ubud. It’s not like the mega tourists haunts of Seminyak, Legian or Kuta but it’s not far off. Take a cab up to Ubud and you’ll see what I mean.
Yeah, you can do the spiritual holistic thing here but that’s not my game. Go to Ubud for food experiences.
Smack bang in the town centre lies Ibu Oka. Popular with locals and tourists, Ibu Oka, gets delivered the tenderest suckling pig (Babi Guling) every morning at 11am.
Skip breakfast and get in early – it sells out.
We hit up the house special featuring typical Indo salads, pork, crackling, sauces and the welcome addition of blood sausage. I was starting to miss Coogee after all a.k.a Little Dublin.
This was fun. For AUD$35.00 we were picked up from the hotel and taken to a homestead to learn to prepare traditional Balinese dishes.
We made fish satay, Gado Gado, yellow sauce, chicken curry amongst others. The host/owner is a crack up.
You’ll be blown away by Ibu Oka and will want to know how to recreate the flavours at home. Back it up with Paon Cooking Class and you’ll have the tools you need. Other honourable mentions is Naughty Nuri's Warung about 10 minutes out of central Ubud. They do roadside grilled American Style BBQ pork ribs.
Now – get the #dafuq out of Ubud.
Oh man. This place.
Take a 30-minute fastboat ride to Lembongan from Sanur and you’ll see what I mean.
Lembongan isn’t a party island. Expect world travelers, divers, surfers and a few dozen Chinese tour groups in the mix. If you’re looking for a party, there’s a good chance you’ll find it but don’t expect the club scene like in Kuta.
What’s not to love? Caribbean blue waters, great restaurants, cheap beachfront accommodation & a vibe that is totally un-Bali.
Hire a scooter for $7.00 a day and start exploring the island. From the Warungs (local restaurants), Nusa Ceningan (another island linked by a one-way bright yellow bridge), the bar scene or simply just watch the tide roll in and out with a ice-cold Bintang in hand.
We ate here a few times. Our pick was the Soto Ayam, which is a carb heavy chicken soup. Served with a plate of rice the chicken broth kicks the starch up a level with potato and rice noodles. It’ll soak up that handover in no time.
Live music every night and some wicked murals behind the stage and the bar. Missing home? They do ham, cheese and tomato jaffles too.
Hire a scooter and make your way here for cocktails and tacos. Swim in their pool, take in the tunes which will perfectly round out your afternoon. The soundtrack is is very beach club and if you come at low tide you can see the seaweed farmers harvesting their crop.
We got chatting to the owner who has locations in other parts of Indonesia. He said ‘What’s a Pirate without a Pirate Ship?’
You can soon charter their fully staffed vessel with 8 mates for about AUD$600.00 per night. Discover Indo in Le Pirates beach club style.
We attended the opening of this great little café whilst we were in Lembongan. Set up the hill just out of the main town, you can expect great things once they are in full swing.
Kopi Pondok roughly translates as Coffee Hut. These guys will be bringing over coffee beans from Australia whilst still supporting local produce. They will be featuring a simple food menu and will of course keep the cold drinks flowing.
The café is set in it’s own garden oasis with a great attention to the small details and will soon feature a villa built at the back of the property for holiday makers.
Sanur is the gateway to Lembongan and is popular with travelling families as it is a little less hectic that other parts of Bali. We didn’t spend much time here but it’s worth checking out the night market before you go to the airport.
SANUR NIGHT MARKET – PASAR MILAM SINDU
My time here was super rushed. I wish I had an extra hour up my sleeve. Every night this square gets packed with motorbikes and food vendors dishing up traditional Balinese and Indonesia fare.
Hit up a Bakso Man vendor (Chicken ball soup with noodles), some mixed Gado Gado salad and some satay skewers for under $5.00. Epic.
There is a woman selling beer towards the back – just make sure you return the bottle. She takes them to South Australia to get the 10 cents back.
Now back to the grills. It'll be the only tan we'll be getting for a while. More images below.