One of the many reasons why travellers visit Bali is to temporarily escape the woes of life and simply soak up the sun and immerse themselves in the rich culture that is Indonesia. While there are plenty of beautiful, secluded gems or retreats you can escape to, you might just like to get a taste of the Bali nightlife before you hide away. We’re not sure what resembles a night out on the town for you but we’re quite sure you’ll find something that tickles your fancy.
“When I follow my heart I wake up in Bali” – unknown
Where to find the best sunsets
One of the best things to do in Bali is to watch the sunsets. The magical Bali sunsets are known the world over for their fiery colouring over cotton-like clouds spreading across the entire skyline. There are a number of recommended spots to watch the sun drop into the ocean, but be careful of the time of year you plan your trip as the seasons will have an effect on the sunsets. The dry seasons (May to September) are recommended for the best sunsets as the rain clouds don’t build up clouding the visibility.
1. Gili Islands
As mentioned all the Bali sunsets will take your breath away but the Gili Island sunsets are unmatched. Away from the hustle and bustle of the main island you can find a beach bar of your preference on the sunset-side of the Gili islands (West) and settle in for a couple hours while enjoying chilled vibes and relaxing beats as the sun disappears into the ocean. If you arrive early enough you can get a few cocktails over happy hour and maybe even find one of the iconic swings to take that obligatory Instagram worthy pic.
2. Jimbaran Bay
Where seafood meets sunsets, the Jimbaran Bay golden beach sand stretch is an absolute must for travellers visiting Bali. This fishing village on the south west of the island is speckled with budget-friendly beach bars and seafood cafés but also caters for those with an affection for a bit more luxury.
Dolphin sightings are a common occurrence on the northern coastline of Bali. Lovina’s charm lies in its absence of crowds tame evenings and serene waters, which all make for the perfect sunset. Coupled with the dolphin sightings and black sanded beaches, you’ll find it difficult to tear yourself away.
4. Tanah Lot Temple
You’ll struggle to find a quiet spot to enjoy the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple but that is simply because it is hands down one of the most famed spots to watch the sunset in Bali. The silhouette of the temple perched against the outlying rocks against the backdrop of the glowing skyline is a sight to behold.
5. Uluwatu Temple
Apart from being one of the top ten things to do in Bali, the Uluwatu Temple is also another rival for Bali’s favourite spots to watch the sunset. The 70m high temple cliff provides ample space for many to marvel over this postcard-worthy sunset. Not only will you be witness to another extraordinary sunset, but you’ll get front row seats to the famous local performance of the Kecak ‘fire dance’. Be sure to get there as early as possible as most visitors would argue that your experience of the Bali nightlife wouldn’t be complete without watching the Kecak ‘fire dance’.
6. Petitenget Beach, Seminyak
Petitenget is home to one of Bali’s most celebrated sunset locations. You’ll find an array of restaurants and bars to choose from including great beach clubs, such as Ku De Ta, Potato Head, and Woobar, some of the more popular beach clubs which have become world-renowned as Bali nightlife must-see spots (even if it’s only for one cocktail).
Chasing the sun for the best sunset before hitting the town is always fun. Here are a few more sunset locations we think you might enjoy.
- Echo Beach, Canggu
- Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Lembongan Island
- Tegalwangi Beach, Jimbaran
- Ubud Beach, Ubud
Best restaurants in Bali
After spending a few hours marvelling over the sunset on a golden sandy stretch of your preference while sipping on a few cold ones, it might be a good idea to indulge in some delicious cuisine. From fine dining to authentic local cuisine, we’ve compiled a list of a few hotspots we think might blow your mind. It’s good to know that there are hundreds of restaurants in Bali so you’ll never be at a loose end for a bite to eat.
For some fine dining options, you could try out:
1. Aya Street, Petitenget
It’s not just a restaurant, but rather an eclectic combination of street art, cocktails, a ceviche bar, and tapas all while tapping your feet to soulful beats as you watch Chef Marco woo you with his culinary charm. The new Peruvian establishment, which only opened its doors in October 2017, has been the talk of the town ever since. The artwork includes murals done by international artists and is available for purchase. If you see anything you like you shouldn’t think twice as the pieces are rotational so it may not be available again.
2. Cuca Restaurant, Jimbaran
Expect nothing less than a gastronomical explosion of the taste buds. The Michelin-trained chef will take you on a culinary journey using local fresh Indonesian products and transforming them into internationally inspired tapas. Arrive hungry because while the dishes may seem small, looks can be deceiving.
3. Pearl Restaurant, Seminyak
The Bali nightlife is made up of a tapestry of interesting unexpected little gems. Tucked away in an intimate garden setting away from all the traffic, guests will stumble upon Pearl Restaurant where they will be seduced by a French and Balinese affair. Early evenings will see repeat guests returning to continue exploring their love for French-inspired cuisine paired with wine under the blue fairy lights. If you’re planning a romantic dinner for two, you might want to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Bali is a hub of delicious cuisine with new establishments popping up where to tempt your palate. Below are a few more fine dining restaurants you should look out for among many many more. The list is endless.
- Cucina at Sofitel, Nusa Dua
- Locavore, Ubud
- Soliel, Nusa Dua
- KILN Petitenget, Kuta
- Merah Putih Bali, Seminyak
- Musubi Modern Japanese Kitchen, Kuta
- Nebula, Seminyak
Authentic Balinese cuisine
Food and travel go hand in hand when it comes to cultivating authentic experiences. Which is why we simply couldn’t resist sharing our pick of the many authentic restaurants we thought you might love. The truth is, there is a warung (roadside food stall) on every corner so just throw caution to the wind and brave something new. Its guaranteed to be super flavoursome, and extremely affordable.
1. Jimbaran Seafood Cafés
Who doesn’t like fresh locally sourced seafood? As we already know, Jimbaran is the king of seafood cafés along with sunsets and sundowners. The beach is made up of three clusters with the North being the nicer more luxe side, the middle more rustic, and the south side a happy medium of the two providing a modish but laid-back environment which is still easy on the pocket. By now, you should be adequately convinced that the Jimbaran Seafood Cafés should definitely be added to your list of best places to visit in Bali.
2. Rumah Makan Kedaton Kuta
The Rumah Makan Kedaton franchise is not just another warung. It’s a classier version catering more to office blocks in the surrounding areas. The takeaway serves ‘nasi campur’ (a mixed rice plate), and allows you to pick your meat and veg and in whichever quantities you will. Once you are satisfied with your helping, head over to the counter to pay for your meal. Unlike many of the other roadside food stalls which often cater to late night dining so not, you’ll need to make sure you get there before 21:00 to not miss out.
3. Warung Rujak Gula Bali, Denpasar
Balinese food at it’s best. Locals flock to this warung to get all their favourite treats. It may not be for everyone but if you are looking for authentic cuisine at its finest, this is where you’ll find it in bustling Denpasar.
Be as adventurous as you can when you travel. It’s all part of the fun. Below is a few more authentic local roadside food stalls which should certainly spice up your Bali nightlife.
- Babi Guling Pak Malen, Seminyak
- Sate Plecing Arjuna, Denpasar
- Warung Mak Beng, Sanur
- Ayam Betutu Gilimanuk, Tuban
- Nasi Ayam Kedewatan, Ubud
- Warung Nasi Bali Men Weti, Sanur
- Kedonganan Seafood Restaurants, South Kuta
Where to boogie the night away in Bali
Bali’s nightlife is found mainly in the southern part of the island. Areas such as Kuta, Seminyak and Legian are riddled with bars, pubs and your more serious dance clubs. Your bars and clubs range from beach bars to rooftop bars, to hotel bars or actual stand-alone clubs. While most bars will open from about midday, the clubs will only open at midnight. Below is a list of some of the more popular bars which have frequently featured as the best bars and nightclubs to visit in Bali.
Check out Single Fin in Uluwatu, Potato Head Beach Club and Woobar in Seminyak. These beach bars are open during the day and run late into the night so there will be no rush for you to go anywhere.
Be sure to visit these rooftop bars. Spectacular, sunsets coupled with great cocktails, delicious sharing plates and easy beats will make it difficult to want to leave.
- Rock Bar, Jimbaran
- Folk Pool & Gardens, Kuta
- Grow Up Rooftop Bar Bali, Seminyak
- Sky Garden Rooftop Bar, Legian
- Haute Rooftop Bali, Seminyak
- Ku De Ta, Seminyak
Nightclubs may not be for everyone but they certainly don’t sit empty in Bali. Most of these clubs have seen some of the best international DJs in the world. Dance the night away in style!
- Mirror Bali Lounge and Club, Seminyak
- SkyDome Super Club, Legian
- Engine Room, Legian
- Jenja, Seminyak
- Red Ruby Club, Seminyak
- La Favela, Seminyak
- OPIVM Nightclub, Seminyak
- Pyramid Club, Kuta
Live theatre is a great way to introduce yourself to the Balinese culture. The performances range in diversity from local folk tales to the more modern contemporary dance performances performed in bright coloured costumes to vibrant music. The shows are of a storytelling nature and will take you through a journey of fascinating culture and traditions. We have picked three shows which have unpacked their stories so beautifully and, as a result, are probably the most in demand of all the shows.
1. Uluwatu Temple Amphitheatre
One of the best places in Bali to watch “Kecak”, a traditional dance performed by over a dozen men as they chant “Chaak, chaak, chaak”,hence the name “Kecak”.
2. GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana) Cultural Park, Jimbaran
Highlighting Barong dance, a dance form illustrating the battle between good and evil.
3. Devdan Show at Bali Nusa Dua Theatre, Nusa Dua – Treasures of the Archipelago
Unpack the treasures which make up the Indonesian Archipelago. Enjoy this exciting visual tour of Indonesia’s culture and diversity.
A few other shows you should definitely make the effort to see if you are in these areas of the island include:
4. Surya Mandala Cultural Park at Tanah Lot, Tanah Lot
5. Bali Agung Show at Bali Theatre, Gianyar
6. ARMA Open Stage, Ubud
7. Jambe Budaya Barong Dance, Batubulan
Finding things to do in Bali will be the least of your worries. The tricky bit is deciding what it is you wish to see in the short time you are there.
Also check out: How to experience the essence of Bali
Have you experienced Bali’s nightlife? Please share your comments with us.
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Blog written by Zeni Meiring
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