Bali is magical. As probably the most famous island in Indonesia, Bali blends spectacular mountain scenery and beautiful beaches with warm and friendly people, a vibrant culture and out of this world resorts. It is the essence of Bali, and the Balinese, that makes it so much more than just a fun- in-the-sun retreat.
In 2014 Bali received 3.76 Million tourists while the country in total received 9.3 million. If you know that Bali is only one out of 17,508 islands that belong to Indonesia, you can say that Bali is quite popular. With this popularity also comes the challenge to find hidden gems on Bali that are not in the Lonely Planet travel guide book and haven’t been discovered by the tourist crowd yet.
Together with Ipin who is born and raised on Bali and Vivian who has been living there for a couple of years, we have made a list with the best places to eat & sleep and things to do. So if you love off-the-beaten track, local secrets, or just want to do something new on the island, we’ve found some exciting hidden gems for you.
Best Hidden Gems To Eat
We have found some delicious and special places to eat. One of the most delicious places we found is Betelnut. They offer freshly squeezed juices, healthy wraps and the famous Naga Bowl full of super foods. Betelnut is located in Canggu. Canggu is a little place northwest of Seminyak. It still has a relaxing vibe with many rice fields and a beautiful beach.
Another great place here is Green Ginger: a delicious, cozy, healthy, vegetarian café where they serve some amazing food, from refreshing fruit coolers to amazing coffee and teas.
On the crossing from Kerobokan to Canggu you will find the tiny place of Xich Lo, a Vietnamese restaurant. The back of the restaurant is open so that you have a beautiful view on the rice fields. The food is delicious, healthy and cheap!
In Sanur you will find Little Bird: an amazing warung, which is also really cozy (exceptional!). The people in the kitchen and the family always make music, whether it is singing or playing the guitar.
Our final pick is La Laguna, a hippy-style restaurant at the beach. They serve delicious food and cocktails in a hippie setting. Everywhere they have created cozy corners with cushions, colorful lights and even some gipsy caravans, which add up to this wonderful experience.
Best Hidden Things To Do
Taman festival is an abandoned entertainment parc that was left behind by the owner when he was bankrupt. You nowadays can stroll around and see some great graffiti artwork; trees growing through buildings and even have the chance of seeing a Biawak (a large lizard).
If you want to relax on a beautiful beach that has white sand, then White Virgin Beach is the place to go. This hidden beach is located in Candidasa. It only has 2 warungs and a little toko where you can shop some amazing sarungs and dresses. It will probably not last long before the crowd has discovered this hidden gem, so now is the time to go!
Aling-Aling waterfall is still a hidden spot where hardly any tourist comes. It is 10 minutes from the popular Gitgit waterfall. It has a natural slide and if you dare you can jump off a 7-meter high cliff.
1-hour north of Amed lives Symon, an artist who has created an art zoo from his massive villa. It is an exposition of all his artwork he has made. Even his swimming pool is made into art.
Best Hidden Places To Sleep
Bali has some top-notch luxurious resorts. Nevertheless, these are not the ones we will cover in this blog post. Instead I will focus on some small, cozy and midrange accommodation that have something special.
On Gili Trawangan for example you will find Woodstock, a lovely guesthouse. Every room has its own theme like Janice Joplin or Jimmy Hendrix. The place is full of lovely wall paintings and has a great hippy vibe. The whole place is built out of eco-friendly materials.
If you want to stay at a quiet and beautiful place then lake Kintamani is a wonderful place to stay. Gede is the owner of Villa Jepun. He is a great guy and will help out with anything you want. The villa has a couple of beautiful, rustic bedrooms overlooking the lake. The place is peaceful and exquisitely designed.
If you are looking for a more local experience then staying with Parsa and his family in Jasri is a wonderful opportunity. The coastal village Jasri is located in the eastern part of Bali. Together with all the villagers they started a collaboration to open up their village to people who would be interested to experience typical Balinese village life. You can enjoy lovely home cooked dinners made by Parsa’s wife. Parsa himself can take you for a walk through the beautiful rice fields.