My Favourite Places in Bali in 2023 - Restaurants, Bars, Areas

My first time in Bali was filled with so many different experiences and WOW is Bali different to what I was expecting! I was told by family that Bali was a scary and dangerous place, filled with disease and to be careful of everything around every corner, which as you can imagine scared the hell out of me and impacted my experience. Don't get me wrong, bad things can happen everywhere and you always have to be smart however this kind of 'scaremongering' really impacted my experience and I would never want to make anyone else ever feel the same! 

I'm sharing my top places that I visited, some of which I found myself and some I was taken to by friends but all I can confirm are worth a visit. I knew absolutely nothing about the island and what areas are good bar the obvious touristy places, which to be honest I wasn't really bothered about. I stayed in a hotel near where my friends lived because it was the one I liked and accidentally was 15 minutes from their house so that worked out perfectly!

Area - Nusa Dua:

Nusa Dua is the area I booked my hotel in and spent quite a lot of time in. I found out later towards the trip that it's more of a quiet area and most people with kids and families tend to stay there but I thought it was lovely. I found an Instagram page @nusadua.bali with recommendations of places to go and it was really really helpful! Not really somewhere you can walk around that much but there are a lot of bars, restaurants and cafe's, plus it has a cute beach!

Area - Canguu:

This is one of the famous areas that everyone talks about as being lively and party centra, maybe the Bali version of London. We went here for a friends launch event and I did really enjoy it, although I didn't spend much time in the area obviously I saw a lot of it out of the window. I have heard more stories about bad things happening in this area but this probably comes with the fact it's more touristy and has more nightlife. 

Area - Uluwatu:

My absolute favourite area that I visited. I would be staying here the next time I visit and has everything you could dream of. Beaches, bars, shops, cafe's clubs, spa's, sports, everything! Obviously I went alone and even thought I spent a lot of time out with my friends, there were some times I would go places alone. This would be the kind of area I would walk around a lot and visit lots of different places so absolutely would recommend this place. 

Mercure Bali Nusa Dua - Hotel:

This is where I really commend the law of attraction for working it's magic. I booked my whole trip through TUI and found this hotel with the flights attached as the second cheapest option. I wasn't looking for something super fancy, mainly as just a base but I wanted a nice pool and nice food. This fit the bill and it was the second cheapest at around £30-£35 per night (SO cheap). Some parts are a little run down but the service is really good, the food is lovely, the pool is beautiful and the sunset from the garden/pool area is great too. I ended up with the exact room I imagined when I looked at the hotels Instagram and this was COMPLETELY by chance! They also have a small-ish gym which was okay, a little dated and VERY hot in there but it works for purpose and I got to use it quite a few times. 

Cafe's & Restaurants:

Dua Kafe:

A really lovely little place to sit and have lunch or a coffee, they also have wifi and space to work so if you're remote working this would be the perfect spot. Plus they have a little gallery space too! @duakafe.bali

Ganzo Italian:

I found this place on Instagram and immediately wanted to go. It's been open around 8 months and is so beautiful, the food was so lovely and very attentive staff. The owner was also in there and I had a little chat to him about how he moved from Italy to Bali and loves it! @ganzo_restaurant_nusadua

El Kabron Beach Club:

This place really blew me away! I was not expecting Bali to have places like this, it's like a beautiful beach club mixed with a VIP lounge, swimming pool, amazing food and a DJ all in one. Plus the view for the sunset is SO beautiful! 100% recommend. @elkabronbali

Mana Restaurant: 

So many restaurants have pools and bars and I guess it figures in somewhere like Bali but it just took me by surprise. Mostly places with beautiful sunset views are all busiest around the same time. They serve a tea here called Jamu (which is a local health drink that will really help you if you feel ill at all!) and have a really nice vibe. @manauluwatu

Nourish Bali:

There is a real focus on healthy food in so many places and I absolutely love that. Especially coming from the UK where the first options are always fish and chips or a burger. Nourish have a few venues in Bali but this was the one in Uluwatu (my favourite area I went to). The salads were just so good and the pizza was amazing! Definitely one to try if you see it! @nourishbali

Yuki Bali:

The most expensive place I visited but also a very fancy place. Yuki has a lovely open plan dining area and sofa chill areas, all of which you can eat at. They have a great wine list (albeit quite pricey compared to the usual prices of the same wine, but you pay for the venue in any restaurant so fair enough). We had the Tuna Tartare which was so tasty, as well as the Wagyu Beef roll, yes that's right, Wagyu Beef sushi roll. *cue me living my best life @yukibali_

SPA - The Istana:

Well, spa is a word I would use lightly for this majestical place. It is something between a spa, wellness centre, retreat, body movement space and just all round centre of the universe if I'm completely honest. I went to Bali looking for a spiritual experience and my word is this the place for a retreat. I went here twice during my time in Bali, the first was a normal spa booking with my friends, we watched the sunset from the grass and there were people sat around the fire playing a little steel drum type thing which was just so beautiful and serene. We swam and they went in the sauna and steam, ate some lovely food and just relaxed for the evening. * PLEASE NOTE * you cannot take your phones into this venue, it is a phone FREE zone, the reason I have images are from the next trip which was an open event. The event I went to was the night before I left and it couldn't have been better timing. It was a 'Light of Peace' event, part of their project to get group meditation going with 1 million people (across multiple events). It started with a chance to mingle and shat to people, find a space and then we all sat and had a guided meditation while the sun went down. A little bit of body yoga and then some more meditation and honestly I could have stayed there all night it was so entrancing. I would absolutely recommend this place if you love a spiritual experience and I may come back here for a retreat at some point and stay here also. @the_istana

There are also so many beaches and shops and beautiful places across the island and I only got to see a fraction of it! I cannot recommend Bali enough and ever since I got back I've been wishing I was still there. Let me know if you visit any of these locations or if you're thinking of heading to Bali!

Check out my other blog posts on Bali :)