MAMAMIA MUST-GO: 'I visit Bali once a year. Here are my top recommendations.'

Mamamia Must-Go is your insider guide on what to see, do and eat at popular holiday destinations. It's where you'll find honest recommendations from the women who've been there. This week, Mamamia's senior lifestyle writer Charlotte Begg shares her Bali recommendations.

It was a no-brainer to start our series with the Australian-favourite holiday destination Bali. The minute it gets even a little cold here, it seems everyone heads there; myself included. 

I've been to Bali more times than I can count. 

I was there as soon as it re-opened for tourists post-pandemic, I've just returned from another trip on the weekend and I've already lined up my 2024 trip. Yep, big fan.

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Bali is the kinda place that never gets old, and every time I visit, there are new areas to explore, new restaurants to eat at and new beach clubs with day beds calling my name.

But there are also many, many places I always go back to. 

Here are my favourite places to visit in Bali, and where to go, stay and eat while there.



Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.

For as long as I can remember, I've stayed in Seminyak when visiting Bali. It's always been the hub for the best restaurants, cafes and shopping.

Everything is within walking distance and there's so much to do and see, all in one place.

Where to stay in Seminyak.

Renting a villa is my go-to when staying in Seminyak. You've got your own space, usually your own pool, and they are similar (and often cheaper) in price to a hotel.


There are some epic hotels though.

Two I recommend are The Colony Hotel – which has the trendiest cafe and homewares store, Kim Soo, next door – and the Alila Seminyak, which is on the beach and is home to my favourite fancy restaurant for special occasions, Seasalt.

My partner and I at Seasalt:


Tip for booking hotels and villas: always check Luxury Escapes. 

Not in any way sponsored, but in case you aren't across it, Luxury Escapes has new hotel deals weekly that include various extras like transport from the airport, daily meals and free drinks.

My parents are currently staying at Alila Seminyak (lucky buggers), thanks to a LE deal that includes a bunch of extras you wouldn't get otherwise.

Where to eat in Seminyak.

Cafe Balimy favourite lunch spot. Biggest menu and everything is delicious. If you order anything to drink, make it a caprioska. 

La Lucciola: really popular Italian right on Seminyak Beach. Highly recommend going for sunset.

Revolver: for coffee! There's a bunch of them around.

Da Maria: another Italian, this one owned by Iceberg's Maurice Terzini. It has the best pizza and turns into a club on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Ling Lingsone of my favourite dinner spots. Asian fusion cuisine with great sushi and even better cocktails.

Sisterfields: an all-day breakfast cafe in the heart of Seminyak... with really good Bloody Mary's.

Ryoshifor more traditional Japanese sushi, head here.

Made's Warung: one of the oldest warungs in Bali. Try the Nasi Campur.

Nasi Babi Guling Jero Kawan: my family won't shut up about Babi Guling, otherwise known as suckling pig. This is the best place to get it.


What to do in Seminyak.

La Planchaseen all the photos of the colourful umbrellas? That's here! Go at sunset.

KU DE TA: another epic sunset spot. Pricier but definitely worth a visit, at least once. The restaurant is great too.

Waterbom Bali: yep, there's a water park in Bali. Not exactly in Seminyak but we've been a few times when staying there and it's always fun.

Shopping: Seminyak has by far the best shops. Start at the top of Jalan Raya Seminyak and work your way down.


Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


More recently, I've been staying in Canggu when going to Bali. It's where most of Bali’s expats live, and in recent years, has become "the new Seminyak" just 20 minutes north of it.

It has a really cool boho, surfer vibe and is home to the best cafes, restaurants and beach clubs. It's my favourite place to stay when travelling with friends, and again, we always book a villa.

Sorry, no specific recommendations there!


Where to eat in Canggu.

Deus Ex Machina – Temple of Enthusiasm: we always head to Deus when nearby. The Australian motorcycle brand has a huge store in Canggu with a cafe attached. The food is great and so is the coffee.

Luigi's Hot Pizza: go for the pizza, stay for the tunes. Highly recommend going on a Monday for their $6 pizzas and $8 cocktails.

Lusa By/Suka: my favourite breakfast spot in Canggu. Fresh and yum.

What to do in Canggu.

Tanah Lot Temple: Tanah Lot is something that's not-to-be-missed. The temple is located on top of a boulder with the sea underneath and is there to worship Bhatara Segara, or the sea God. Go at sunset.

Finn's Beach Club: on the other end of the spectrum, my favourite day with friends was renting a day bed at Finn's. It's not cheap, but it's worth it. Drinks, sun, swimming. Bliss.

The Lawn: do the same at The Lawn or just go for sunset drinks. Great with friends or family.

Nusa Lembongan.

Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


Nusa Lembongan is quite possibly one of my favourite places on earth – I've just returned from a week there. Just 45 minutes via ferry from Bali, it's like the main island before all the tourists.

One of three 'Nusa' islands – there's also Nusa Cenigan and Nusa Penida – Nusa Lembongan is much quieter than the Bali you know or think of. 

The water is some of the clearest I've seen, the food is delicious and mostly local, and the main mode of transport around the island is on motorbikes. For a proper relaxing holiday, please consider spending a few nights here.

We stayed in a villa both times – one high on the hill and the other on the beach. Both were great.


Where to eat in Nusa Lembongan. 

Sandy Bay: this is one of the more expensive places to eat on the island, but it's a great spot for sunset drinks or a celebration. 

Dhipa Warung: my favourite warung. The owner is so nice and the mie goreng always hits the spot. We went three times.

Thai Pantry: if you need a break from mie or nasi goreng, this place has unreal Thai food. Order the Khao Soi, trust me.

The Deck: one over from Thai Pantry is The Deck. Delicious breakfast and a view that'll have you pinching yourself. See below:


What to do in Nusa Lembongan.

Ohana's: the best beach club on the island. Spend the day here.

Go swimming with manta rays: with water this clear, it's no surprise that there's incredible snorkelling off the Nusa Islands. If you're lucky, you'll see turtles, dolphins and manta rays.

Spend the day at Nusa Ceningan: if you cross a skinny yellow bridge, you'll arrive on the other island, Nusa Ceningan. It has the best smaller (and cheaper) beach clubs.



I highly recommend heading up to Ubud to see the more authentic parts of Bali. Tucked away in the middle of the island, it's known as the spiritual and cultural capital and is famous for nature and yoga retreats.

I haven't been recently so I can't speak to where to eat, but previously I've loved visiting the temples and rice paddies.

My mum insists I include doing laughing yoga in Ubud. I'm yet to try it, but she's been raving about it ever since. And tbh, sounds like a hell of a time.

As for where to stay, I would fork out an arm and a leg to stay at Capella Ubud.

With all this in mind, Bali is cracking down on tourists after a string of disrespectful and illegal behaviour.

So remember to be respectful of the culture and obey Indonesian law while enjoying their island.

It's a good one.

What did I miss in my guide to Bali? Tell me in the comments!

Charlie Begg is Mamamia's senior lifestyle writer. For more beauty, fashion and homewares recommendations, read her articles here and follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.

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