Posted by: thediplomaticwife | February 6, 2011

TRAVEL DIARIES ✈ My Bali Hitlist


Monkeys at Uluwatu

I always promise myself I am going to make a post on this list every time we have a friends who visits Bali. I usually end up sending them a messy email list instead. So here I am finally getting on with it.  This is for my friends Ela & her hubby, who are going Bali very soon!

One caveat though, we are not experts on Bali in any way! We’ve only been to Bali a few times. However the list I’ve compiled below is not only based on my experiences but also on the recommendations of our friend E (who has been living in Jakarta for more than 20 years) and our Fab friend Ted (who used to be the Food Editor for Time Out Jakarta). I also tried my best to give the most updated information I could but regrets if there are any errors or if they are no longer up to date.

Click on the links to check out my posts on the various items. For items that I don’t have a post yet, I linked you to their respective websites. This list is far from complete so from time to time I will update this post. Hope this helps you plan your trip! 


  1. THE ROCK BAR – This for me is THE ULTIMATE place to have sunset cocktails in Bali. Again no reservation here so I reco you go at 4pm, buy drinks on the cliff, then go down the elevator with your drinks and get on the waiting list. At least you have drinks while waiting. Make sure to bring SPF here. Also no dinner here just drinks and pica-pica. Have a seafood dinner in Jimbaran after! (My resto reco below)

    The Rock Bar - Ayana Hotel

  2. POTATO HEAD BEACH CLUBPotato Head in Pacific Place Mall is one of our regular places to eat/drink. They’ve finally launched in Bali with a mega bar/complex with several floors and a pool. You can bring your swim gear here because there’s a pool and there’s free towel service. Super chic and apparently even better than Ku De Ta.

    Potato Head Bar in Bali

    Potato Head Bali (image: Travelfishery)

  3. KU DE TA – My friend E’s favorite spot in Bali. This is how my friend describes it: “It is a resto/bar by the beach. Head over there around 4pm to catch the 6pm sunset (Be there at 4 cuz limited seating) Grab one of the lounge chairs facing the beach. Order some appetizers (personal faves: Calamari and Hummus, but everything is pretty good). I like drinking the strawberry caipirinha, but be careful of the prices. If you are on a budget, you can never go wrong with Bir Bintang (local indo beer)…just drink it cold…when it gets hot, it sucks….” Click here to read about my experience going to Ku De Ta.

    Ku De Ta Sunset (image: Brauni)

  4. Other bars that my friend E suggested: HUU BAR – though this is not by the beach it is walking distance from the Legian Beach sunset.

Huu Bar Interior (image: Yazra)


Seafood dinner by candle light in Jimbaran Bay

Grilled Seafood at Jimbaran Bay (image: Mochachocolata Rita)

Grilled Seafood at Jimbaran Bay (image: Mochachocolata Rita)

The best spot for seafood. I highly recommend Radja Cafe. Click here for more details. On our first time in Jimbaran we just asked the driver to recommend a place. We were brought to Ganesha Cafe and it definitely wasn’t cooked as well as Radja Cafe and it was more than twice as expensive. Be wary with driver recommendations because most often than not, the drivers recommend places that give them a commission. We’ve had friends who also just asked the driver for reco and they had the same experiences – not so great tasting seafood at expensive prices.
You will be asked to pick your seafood at the entrance of the restaurant (some are on ice and there are live ones in aquariums)…Crabs and Lobster will make your bill 3x as high, so ask yourself whether its worth it. I recommend getting some prawns, squid, clams (1/3 kilo each) and a fish. Clams is the favorite! Get everything grilled or BAKAR (in Bahasa)!  Rice, kangkung (vegetable) and fruits for dessert are complimentary with the meal. Don’t forget to mix match the sauces. As a good guideline…the cost per kilo should not go over Rp80,000…if they are charging more than that be weary and pick another resto…
TIP: If you plan to go to THE ROCK BAR for sunset, then you should definitely have dinner here because it’s in the same area.


“Of all the dances seen on Bali today, the *Kecak* dance is perhaps the most dramatic. Taken from the Hindu epic *Ramayana*, the dance tells the story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by the evil King of Lanka.”


This is a must do in Bali. The one that E recommended to us is the one in Uluwatu. …ask your hotel for schedule… You should arrive early to get good seats (2 or 3rd from the bottom at the center). Click here to see pictures.  There are also other Kecak dances all over the island, make sure to get the sunset schedule because they are the most dramatic!

This is around the same area as The Rock Bar and Jimbaran Bay.


Tanah Lot (image:

We weren’t able to get to Tanah Lot for sunset last time we were there because we took too long outlet shopping (So sorry TD! Totally my fault!) and traffic was bad. Always account for traffic for travel time.  There are also Kecak Dance schedules for Tanah Lot which is also highly recommended by our Indonesian friends.


Dining by the rice fields at Metis Restaurant Bali (image: Unwrapped Travel)

Dining by the rice fields at Metis Restaurant Bali (image: Unwrapped Travel)

  1. METIS – Bring at least 100 USD per person and dress up. Women wear heels and cocktail dresses here. Do not order the crispy pork belly, but the Foie Gras is to die for (even if I usually don’t like Foie Gras). Metis was Miele Guides Top 4 resto in Indonesia in 2010.
  2. MOZAIC – See section on Ubud below. Mozaic was Top 1 in that same list.


  1. Delicious Onion – One of our favorite places to eat pork in Bali. Click here to see pictures!
  2. Mama’s Kitchen for authentic German (get the Schweinazen—good for two)
  3. Warung Made (Nasi Goreng, Nasi Campur, GadoGado, Sate)


You might need this if you run low on cash – LOL!

  1. Warung Italia
  2. Jef Burgers


If you are staying in Kuta, just around the block are a lot of shops…remember to bargain…initial price will be 6x more than cost…don’t bargain if you don’t have plans of buying because the shop owners sometimes get annoyed.


If you are into hot sweaty Aussie dudes (LOL!) this is the street…The names of the places change so often…just check them out one by one…

–Other Clubs
  1. Double6 (you can go bungee jumping here)
  2. Paparazzi


They also have a lot of surfing outlet stores in Legian. I love the Roxy outlet store here! It’s heaven for beach bums like me! So stock up on not only surf wear but beach outfits and gear too! Prices are cheaper by about 50% compared to Manila. But there are even cheaper non-aircon ones if you are hardcore bargain hunter like me. =P Click here for more details.


Blue Birds in Bali (image: Bali News Online)

They have our beloved Blue Bird taxis as well in Bali. So if you are just going to go to Seminyak or Kuta just get a cab. Get dropped off and walk around and explore.
  • BLUE BIRD BALI TAKSI : (0361) 701 111
  • Customer Care Center : (0361) 701 621
However if you are going to go to Uluwatu (Rock Bar & Kecak), Jimbaran or Ubud then you should make a day of it and hire a driver.  I recommend the company below. Ask for driver Pak Nyoman. He speaks English which really helps because he can tell more about Bali and where you’re going, etc. If I am not mistaken we paid 80 USD for 8 hours. You can negotiate but be wary of drivers who give you a package deal that is based on where you’re going instead of the hours. Usually it’s too good to be true and I’ve friends who bargained with the driver to go to Seminyak and The Rock Bar in Uluwatu for only 35 USD. The driver said they were already in Seminyak (in reality they were only in Kuta) and the driver said not to worry because The Rock Bar was only 15 mins away (if I recall correctly it’s more like 45 mins away). Then he said they were taking too long and he wanted to charge them double already. They never got to any of the places they planned and still had to pay the driver.

Made Bali Car Rental

  • +62 811 385752
  • Driver Nyoman


On our first trip to Bali (3days/2nights) we rented a hotel car to go on a day trip to Ubud. On the way we stopped by:

  • Temples
  • Silver stores  – So cheap & nice here in Bal! Every time I go to Bali I make sure to buy some silver accessory pieces!
  • Glass stores
  • Furniture stores i.e. rattan, wood, etc.
  • Art stores (Sculpture, paintings, etc.)

Note that there are many stores on the path to Ubud and the nearer you are to Ubud the cheaper. Once you get to Ubud:

  • Have lunch in Ibu Oka for their Babi guling is the Bali version of  lechon! Must try! I recommend you get the special and an extra order of crispy skin.

    Spicy suckling pig Babi Guling from Ibu Oka (image: Jeroxie)

    Spicy suckling pig Babi Guling from Ibu Oka (image: Jeroxie)

  • Check out the stores for nice local products
  • Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest – DO NOT feed them or have food in your pocket or bag. They will be able to smell it and they might harass you. don’t wear shades or have hanging objects in your person. My friend had a hand-sanitizer hanging from her bag. A monkey grabbed it and drank it! Many people lose their glasses/shades to the monkeys.
  • Have early dinner at
    • Naughty Nuri’s (cheap eats) – order the baby back ribs and ask for extra sauce (the sauce is the secret), mie goreng

      Pork Ribs at Naughty Nuri's (image: Adventures of the Traveller Em)

    • Mosaic – It was awarded as best resto in indonesia and was ranked 5 in Asia in the Miele Guide . You have to make reservations, there is a dresscode and children are not allowed. It’s a good place to go to if you want a romantic date!
Over the past 9 years Mozaic has established an international reputation. It has been listed in Restaurant Magazine’s list of the best 100 restaurants in the world and is one of only two South East Asian restaurants to be named in the exclusive international fine food guide, Les Grandes Tables du Monde. Mozaic is also the only Indonesian restaurant to be selected as one of the world’s best in the prestigious S. Pellegrino restaurant awards and ranked as Asia’s fifth finest restaurant in the region’s new Miele guide. When it opened, Mozaic was an immediate success and was named best restaurant in Indonesia by Food & Wine, Prestige and Indonesia Tatler. Wine Spectator magazine bestowed an Award of Excellence for the wine list for a number of consecutive years, making Mozaic the first restaurant in Indonesia to receive such a recognition. Additional praise has been awarded by influential publications such as Conde Nast Traveller, New York Magazine, National Geographic Traveller, Times Asia, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

TIP: If ever you do decide to stay overnight in Ubud, I highly recommend Tegal Sari. It’s cheap but nice and clean They are used to catering to an international clientele. If you’re in a group you can get a cottage in the middle of the rice fields. Check out their rates & rooms online. They have a great spa! Rp85,000/hour  and sooo good. They offer free transpo around town for drop off and pick up.
Enjoy your trip Ela & J!!!  Thanks again so much to E who passed on this list to me and TD on our very first trip to Bali. I hope you don’t mind the liberties I’ve taken with it!


  1. Lots of places I haven’t been to yet. Have a look at some of my receommendations for Bali and next time you’re here, let me know and we can meet up for a coffee. Seems you and I both know chichajo of 🙂

    • You haven’t been to some of the places yet? You know that’s usually the case when you live somewhere… the accessibility is taken for granted. For example the province where I come from is famous for it’s waterfalls, yet the first time I visited said falls was to bring my husband to visit. =P So I can totally relate! How do you know chichajo? What a small world. And yes I would love to meet up when I go to Bali in June! =)

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