A Fashion Blog By Gemma Talbot

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The Best Of Bali: My Tips & Recommendations

This post contains a slight sun tan and lots of natural waves but better still the best bits of Bali. This trip was my third time visiting Bali and honestly it only seems to get better with each visit. If you are planning a trip to Indonesia then I hope this post will give you all of the inspo and if you are thinking of visiting then perhaps this will definitely sway you to book those flights. Life is way too short to think should I and let’s face it you only live once.  One thing I realised on my stay in Bali is I seemed to adopt a new identity. Say hello to GEMA (pronounced JEM-A). It was definitely a running joke this holiday with Soph and Juli. In Bali I am GEMA. It me. Who knew Gemma would be such a difficult name to pronounce. 

First and foremost, pack your sheet masks for the flight and sleeping pills if you can. My skin gets so dehydrated on the plane and applying a sheet mask half way through my first 10 hour flight honestly did wonders for my skin. If you’re going to be on your period on holiday, pack tampons! They are honestly so hard to come by. I think I went to at least 5 different shops until I managed to find some and think old style Tampax. 

(Dress - Realisation Par, Coin Necklace - Missoma)

Before arriving in Bali download Go-Jek from the app store. If it is one thing you do before you go this is it. It’s basically Indonesia’s equivalent of Uber and you can book both cars, scooters and food on this app and it’s so much cheaper as local taxi drivers will try to rip you off. The Go-Jek app gives you a fixed price once you book your pick up and drop off location. I think the minimum is 4000 rupiah (approx. 22 pence!) and on average I never paid more than 10,000 for a scooter journey. My taxi back from our villa in Canggu to the airport cost me 97,000 rupiah when I booked it on the day whereas some independent taxis will charge you around 250,000 rupiah as it is about 40 minutes away, about 20 if you are coming from Seminyak. The first and second time I went to Bali I spent so much money on taxis so this app was literally a life saver and it’s actually really fun to jump on the back of a scooter to go to the beach or on a night out. If you are wondering the Go-Jek drivers do provide you with a helmet. Safety first people. 

Soph and I purchased some Louis Vuitton items at Heathrow Airport and didn’t realise that when you get to Bali you have to pay tax if it’s over 500USD. In a state of panic, the female customs officer let us off as she could see we clearly were oblivious to it but definitely good to know if you happen to get a bit spenny on your way out. In my defence I had been looking for the Louis Vuitton mini palm springs backpack for over a year so was not willing to walk away from that baby. You may have seen my Instagram stories on the day but the excitement was SO real. 

Upon arriving in Seminyak on a night time flight, we checked into Dash hotel. Located right by Potato Head the location is excellent and so central to everything. Personally, I’d say don’t waste your money on a spenny villa if you are going to arrive late. We got in to Denpasar airport at around 11pm so by the time we got our bags and arrived at the hotel it was late. We just wanted somewhere to rest our heads and would check out in the morning and head to our more boujee villa a short taxi ride away. A little word of warning, this hotel is rather peculiar but in a good way. It’s clean, modern a little eccentric but most importantly, cheap. 

From here we checked into Seminyak Suites which was our home for the next 6 nights. Personally, I don’t really like moving around especially if you have a big suitcase. I would much rather have a base and go from there. Now this villa was boujee af, so if you’re on a budget I wouldn’t say it would be for you but it was amazing. Think the Love Island villa but situated in Bali. Super king sized beds, modern rooms and huge over head showers and the most enormous bath tub I’d ever seen plus a pretty decent sized pool this villa had everything you could want for a super chilled holiday. Except with some portable speakers it did become a bit of a party villa. Breakfast is included in the price (for 6 nights it cost us around £270 each so £810 in total for 3 people but it can sleep 4) which you can either have delivered to your room or you get on a 3 minute buggy journey to a breakfast buffet. If you decide to stay here, I’d definitely recommend going to breakfast if you can. The selection is so much better and the staff are so friendly. They offer massages and other treatments here but you can find them much cheaper elsewhere. 

Seminyak suites is located closer to La Plancha beach than the ‘strip’ of Seminyak. I have stayed a lot more central before and personally I preferred being slightly further out as Seminyak is very busy. We were only under a 10 minute scooter ride from the heart of Seminyak though where all the good bars and clubs are so location wise it was ideal. I'd recommend getting around on scooters because Seminyak is very busy and you can often be sat in traffic in a taxi which isn't ideal. 

If you’re feeling lazy/hungover and want food delivered to your door then Go Jek is the answer to your prayers.  Think Indonesian Uber Eats, the range of food on offer in the app is extensive. From McDonalds to Smoothie bowls the list is endless. Every time our Go-Jek food delivery was delivered the following notification popped up on my phone screen “I hope you enjoyed your meal and your tummy is happy”. Many a drunken night we ordered food from here. We actually ordered the most delicious smoothie bowls from Bali bowls on the app and my favourite café Shelter is also on here too as well as Nalu bowls. 

Places To Visit In Seminyak

Undoubtedly one of my favourite places to go in Bali is Potato Head. The vibe is so chilled with live music and a great atmosphere. Soak up the sun, chill out with a good book on your day bed, order some yummy food and cocktails and go for a dip. The only thing I wish is that we had something so good as this in London. There is even a bar with stools in the pool so you can swim to get that pina colada. Well deserved if you ask me. 

(Bikini - Pretty Little Thing, Backpack - Louis Vuitton)

To secure a day bed there is a 1,000,000 rupiah minimum spend (around £55) which is easily done if you are there for the whole day. We certainly spent way over that ordering food and delicious cocktails. Alternatively, the smaller beds on the lawn are 750,000 rupiah for the day. This is my third time here and I will always revisit. The sunset here is one of the best I have seen especially if you go on a day of pure sunshine. It does get busy here though so I would suggest going early to secure a day bed, say between 10:30am and 12pm. 

Kynd café is a must visit whilst in Seminyak. The salads and smoothie bowls are great but they also have the most Instagrammable pink palm wall. So basic I know. This used to be a lot smaller when I last visited but they have extended it and made it even bigger. I absolutely love it here if you can’t tell by my face below. 

Laca Laca is an amazing Mexican restaurant that I would recommend going to dinner at one night. Everything on the menu is designed and perfect for sharing which I love as it means you can try multiple dishes without feeling too greedy. I’d 100% recommend the chicken tonga tacos as well as the quesadillas but everything is amazing and comes out super quickly even if it’s busy. They also do espresso martinis by the jug. What more could you want?!

Motel Mexicola is a great place to start your evening antics. You can go for some light bites, again everything is designed for sharing and some drinks too. I’ve always had such a laugh here and the drinks were always so strong although this time around they felt slightly watered down. None the less always a good starting point for a heavier night. Usually La Favela to be fair. 

This leads me nicely onto my next recommendation. La Favela. In my opinion the best club in Seminyak. The outside part of this club is literally like a jungle oasis. It’s actually incredible. With three floors there is something for everyone music wise but they play some absolute bangers downstairs and the drinks are strong! Think Cardi B and Ariana Grande to dance the night away. 

(Top - Neon Rose, Shorts - In The Style, Sandals - similar)

You Look Hot In A Bikini is a must if you are looking for a fancy dinner that’s a little bit boujee for sharing plates and amazing cocktails. Would 100% be a Michelin star restaurant in London. Honestly the food here was SO good, I want to go back and taste it right now. They also do amazing cocktails and hands down the best salted caramel espresso martinis I’ve ever had (the perfect mix of sweet and bitter). A few of our favourite dishes from the menu were the chicken satay, eggplant, gnocchi and salmon but to be fair everything tasted so god damn good. Whilst this is a great place for anyone, I can imagine this to be a really good date night spot. 

Neon Palms is a cute little lunch time spot with not only a great menu but also some Instagrammable photo opps. If you sit upstairs by the coloured wall (pictured below) it is also a great people watching spot and directly in front of a fan #thatsweatylife - a girl DM'd me on Instagram and said they do great cocktails here but personally I can't comment as I never tried them. I had the pumpkin satay rice bowl with a side of grilled chicken which was so good. They also have a super cute clothing boutique situated downstairs which you have to walk through to get to the restaurant. 

(co-ord - Revolve, sandals - similar, backpack - Louis Vuitton) 

(gingham bralet - Missguided, skirt - Missguided)

This may or may not be for everyone but whilst I am on holiday I do like to squeeze in a few gym sessions if I can. There were a few good gyms I came across whilst in Seminyak and would definitely recommend Hammerhead for the range of machines. It’s great if you are intermediate to advanced when it comes to training. A day pass costs 100k rupiah which is about the normal rate for a day pass at most gyms I found. They offer week and monthly memberships too but I knew we were only staying in Seminyak for one week so day passes suited us best. We also went to Bali Fitness which is good for the basics. Another good gym we came across was Daily gym. It was quite small and gets really busy/cramped but they have a good boxing ring and what looked like some good group classes although I never tried these.

Shelter Café is a place you have to visit for breakfast or lunch. Shelter can only be described as a jungle oasis for a healthy or sweet meal. The Weffy salad is one of my favourite meals to have here and the iced coffees are some of the best I have tried in Bali. Nut based milk is hard to come by here and as I'm an oat milk gal through and through I did struggle in some places. Generally the non-dairy based milks are almond, soya and coconut although personally the soya iced lattes were the best tasting. They also have Nalu bowls downstairs which you can order from and all of their smoothie bowls are insane. 

Places to visit in Canggu

We stayed at Villa Gracia in Canggu which was a gorgeous two story villa boasting three bedrooms, outside showers and a pool as well as incredible views overlooking the rice paddies of Canggu. One thing I will say is that the road leading down to the villa was littered with dogs and when I say they were terrifying I am not exaggerating. They would viciously bark everytime you walked past to the point where I thought they were going to bite me and I was beyond frightened. Sophie and I were genuinely petrified of these dogs and this was something that was not mentioned on the reviews. 

Cafe organic was a pit stop after a gym session. The menu is quite extensive but they have a good selection of food and drink and also a really good vibe generally. 

Crate is an absolute must if you are staying in Canggu.  It’s situated at the top of a road and is essentially an open concrete crate hence the name. They do really good smoothie bowls. I’d recommend the ‘Why So Cereal’ smoothie bowl and the ‘Veto’. Personally, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the iced coffee here, it came out like a frappuccino whereas I tend to prefer an iced latte. A word of warning, this place gets really busy in the mornings and there is usually a long queue to order but the wait time wasn’t long. It is cash only too. 

Give cafe not only served the best iced coffee with almond milk I had in Bali but it is also a perfect pit stop for an Instagram pic. This café is owned by Kynd in Seminyak but it’s a non-profit company which is really nice. All money is donated to one of three charities. You get given a token at the till and you can put it in the slot of the 1 of 3 charities you wish for your donation to go to, which is located next to the counter. The staff are so friendly here and they also do an Indonesian buffet which is so cheap (8000 rupiah per dish) and SO tasty. All the food and drinks are vegan which I’m not but everything I had here was delicious all the same.

(Playsuit - Missguided, anklet - similar)

Even if you visit Potato Head in Seminyak definitely go to The Lawn in Canggu if you can. It’s smaller in size than Potato Head and definitely way more chilled but we had so much fun here. The minimum spend for a day bed is 1,500,000 rupiah but as there were 4 of us this was easily done. The Coconut martinis were actually so delicious I can’t even begin to explain and it is just a really nice way to spend an afternoon. I also got an amazing swimsuit pic for the gram 💁🏼
(Swimsuit - Missguided, anklet - similar)

From The Lawn we headed to Old Man's which is a stones throw away and actually a lot bigger than I expected. From 5-6pm they offer 2-4-1 cocktails everyday and the vibe is really good at night. It definitely turns more into an open air night club as the night goes on. The dance floor was very busy and very sweaty just as an FYI. Natural hair is the only way forward here. 

(tie dye dress - ASOS, anklet - similar, sandals - similar)

A great pit stop for lunch is Lola’s Shaking All Day (pictured above). I passed it on a scooter and was instantly drawn to the pink exterior. Basic b***h moment I know. It is a vegan café which you’ll find a lot of in Bali and Canggu generally but the BBQ jackfruit burger was so tasty. Sophie and I also shared a banana, cacao and peanut butter smoothie here which was also really good. To be fair the food is amazing everywhere in Bali, genuinely. It also makes a cute Instagram shot so make sure you grab your Instagram husband or wife 😂

Probably my absolute favourite place in Canggu was La Brisa. We went here on my last night and I wish I’d had a chance to go in the day as they have a pool too. The minimum spend here is 500,000 rupiah which is really reasonable especially as the food is SO good. It’s such an amazing chilled vibe, you can sit on bean bags and watch the sunset over food and cocktails. Definitely the perfect evening to me. Waaaa take me back now. It does get quite busy here so if you know in advance you want to go, it may be best to book. 

La Brisa is owned by the same people that own La Favela and La Plancha in Seminyak so very similar vibes. The food is amazing. Definitely go for the grilled octopus, the fried chicken bao buns and the volcano sushi rolls were all so good. You know when you are so full but equally you can't stop eating because it all tastes so good. Well that was me. The espresso martinis are really decent here too.

Pretty Poison is a good night out with a chilled vibe. Essentially an old empty swimming pool is the playing field for skaters to showcase their talent whilst you watch with a cocktail or Bintang. It can get a bit more vibey here as they have live music but I think the best night to go is Thursday night or so I have been told. 

I did train twice whilst in Canggu and both times I hit up the Body Factory. I did pay 250,000 rupiah (around £13) so definitely the most expensive and actually by London standards too but I trained here twice and the machinery is pretty much identical to that where I train at home. I.e. sick. You definitely get what you pay for and both times I trained here I left feeling like I had a really good session. 

If you want to hire scooters they are so easy to come by and cost anywhere between 70,000 - 100,000 rupiah for the day plus insurance (optional). You can get a longer hire if you prefer and know you will be staying here for a while. Our villa owners offered this service if you’d prefer to go down that route. I didn’t find the Go-Jek scooters as easy to book in Canggu compared to Seminyak so if you can drive, I’d definitely recommend hiring a scooter or Scoopie if you’re a beginner as it’s the easiest way to get around and is also so much fun. It’s also a great way to see Bali. 

So there has been a lot of information for you there but I honestly love Bali so much. It is the only country to date where I have felt I could actually see myself living other than London and I’d definitely have a good standard of living with how cheap everything is. If I have missed anything out or there are more specific questions you want to ask me then just leave a comment or send me a DM on Instagram and I will get back to you. 

I’ll end this post here and remember whilst tans fade, memories last forever. You can also check out my Bali lookbook below. 

Photos by Fifi Newbery


  1. Very nice post about Bali! I'm glad you enjoyed your experience at Body Factory Bali. We hope to see you back one day.
    Body Factory Bali Team x

  2. nice post about Bali! I'm glad you enjoyed your experience at Body Factory Bali. We hope to see you back one day.

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