Sunday, February 26, 2023

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Bali, Indonesia (巴厘岛,印尼) 2023

Touted as one of the best travel destinations in Indonesia- Bali is famous for its sheer natural beauty, exciting nightlife and culinary delights. The hospitality is extraordinary, whether you are traveling solo, with a partner or with children; there is always a perfect room/ hotel to fit your requirements. It's easy to travel to Bali from Malaysia, AirAsia offers direct flight from Penang/Kuala Lumpur to Bali. The public transportation in Bali is erratic so renting a car or motorcycle would be a wiser option (unless you plan to chill in the hotel room/ villa. But do consider which area you are staying at as the traffic in Bali can be (extremely) terrible (we basically spent hours on the road a day). Finding an accommodation with strategic location and signing up for day tours can be very helpful.

Renting A Car in Bali:

It's easy to find many car rentals over the internet but we recommend looking for reliable service providers. Indonesian is famous for notorious scams, make sure you take sufficient, clear and visible photos of the car condition before accepting and signing the agreement. Or you will put your deposit at risk; ours tried to "scam" us by saying we dented the car but in actual fact, the dent was already there and fortunately, we had photos to prove it. We booked ours through Traveloka and the service provider- Jayamahe was okay only (quite bad in management and the car condition was mediocre/ one of the the cars ran out of battery and we had to contact them to switch another one for us). 

1) Ulekan @ Canggu
Address: Jl. Tegal Sari No. 34, Canggu Berawa Bali, 80361, Indonesia.
Business Hours: 11 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 821-4594-8624
Price is subject to 16% Service Tax

Nasi Campur Royal (Rp 120,000)

Soto Ayam (Rp 90,000)

Kare Nangka (Rp 80,000)

Jagung Bakar Canggu (Rp 50,000)

Amuse Bouche- Fried Beancurd with Peanut Sauce

Coconut Water (Rp 25,000/ glass) and Traditional Arak (Rp 65,000/ glass)

You can call it an upscale Warung but it's undeniable that Ulekan Bali serves some of the best traditional Indonesian dishes. The lunch menu is a little different as compared to the dinner menu; though some of the signature dishes stay throughout both menus, the lunch offers better values where you will find its signature Nasi Campur Royal. You may argue that Nasi Campur is ubiquitous in Bali but Ulekan's rendition is a class above the rest. It fills up the plate with bits of everything- Beef Rendang, Spiced Chicken, Sayur Urap, Tempeh, Corn Cake and some fresh Sambal... with 3 different rice options- White Rice, Red Rice and Yellow Rice (cooked with Coconut Milk and spices). We opted for the last one and thankfully, we went for the Yellow Rice. It was very good and went well with almost everything on the plate. We particularly enjoyed the Beef Rendang- so rich in flavors.

Also very good was the Kare Nangka- rich and creamy. Young Nangka is used in this case so the dish does not possess the distinctive Nangka-aroma but bits of the fiber, the crunch comes from the Long Beans and it is a dish perfectly spooned over rice. If alcohol is your kind of thing, do try the Traditional Arak, a strong Rice Wine with slight-sweet after taste. The locals recommend drinking it with Coke. It's not cheap to have a meal here but rest-assured, it's all worth it (from quality of food, service attentiveness and dining ambiance). 

2) Krisna Wisata Kuliner @ Kuta
Address: Jl. Raya Tuban, 80361, Bali, Indonesia.
Business Hours: 9 am to 11 pm on every Tuesday to Sunday; 9 am to 5 pm on Mondays. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 822-3774-1095
Price is subject to 15% Service Tax

Ayam Betutu Kuah (Rp 65,000/ half bird)

Ayam Betutu Goreng (Rp 68,000/ half bird)

Avocado Juice (Rp 30,000)

Krisna is probably known best for its Oleh-Oleh (souvenirs) but the company runs a few restaurants under its name. Krisna Wisata Kuliner at Kuta is one of them... right opposite to its Oleh-Oleh shop. The place specializes in serving Ayam Betutu; it has a simple decor and frequented by local Indonesians. The menu is wallet-friendlier as compared to the more established ones. Ayam Betutu is another popular dish in Bali which means Spiced Chicken. We tried both Ayam Betutu Kuah (sauce) and Ayam Betutu Goreng; we must say we prefer the earlier one. Both carried strong distinctive flavors from the spices but the one with sauce seemed to go with rice better. The Chili paste/ Sambal does carry some heat so do be careful. Not sure if it's a good one in Bali but not too shabby... at least the place is clean and air-conditioned.

3) Cuca @ Jimbaran
Address: Jl. Yoga Perkanthi, Jimbaran, 80364, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 12 pm to 12 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 812-3687-0486
Price is subject to 16% Service Tax

Nachos (Rp 75,000)

Sticky Sushi (Rp 50,000)

Lobster Roll (Rp 240,000)

Bali Breakfast (Rp 120,000)

Caramel Apple (Rp 100,000)

Coconut Ice Mocktail (Rp 70,000)

Sparkling Water (Rp 40,000)

Amuse Bouche- Cotton Betutu

Bagged a few awards and helmed by Michelin-trained Chef, Cuca is recognized as one of the best restaurants in Bali. They specialize in serving "think out of the box" Tapas where one will experience some really creative flavor-combos. Cuca is not exactly a place for fine-dining but somewhere between where casual meets fine-dining. The price can be quite steep though, but the experience is definitely one of a kind. We did not manage to try a lot as we were basically hopping from one restaurant to another. We had a fun start- the Amuse Bouche: Cotton Betutu did manage to raise our eyebrows. It was basically Cotton Candy with sprinkles of Spices, it melted in our mouse in a glimpse of an eye and the rest was to let the flavors to do their job. 

The Sticky Sushi caught us by surprise, it was basically sweet and sour Eggplant Unagi served with deep fried Sushi Rice with a touch of Ginger. To some extent, it did resemble the texture and flavor of the Japanese Eel. Their Nachos are definitely worth trying- Purple Potato curls filled with creamy Edamame dip and Tomato-Onion Salsa, dangerously addictive. The Lobster Roll was a let down, probably we expected some chunks of Lobster Meat in the buns but it did not happen. We could not really taste the Lobster, the Mayonnaise somehow overpowered everything. For the price, we'd go for something else. 

The real highlight was their desserts. Do not leave Cuca without trying the Bali Breakfast. The bottom is a bed of frozen Passion Fruit while the middle layer is a Whipped Coconut, topped with a dollop of thick Mango puree. We were blown away with the first bite, it was so refreshing; a clear definition of tropical flavors in a bite. The Caramel Apple did not shine as much as compared to the Bali Breakfast. It consists of slow baked Apples, Javanese Black Pepper Ice Cream and Palm Sugar Caramel. The flavor combo somehow did not work, we would prefer strong Caramel-character here. We also had their Coconut Ice Mocktail, which was lovely. A very good experience, do put this place in your Bali itinerary. 

4) Matcha Cafe @ Canggu
Vegetarian and Vegan
Address: Jl. Pantai Berawa No. 99, 80361, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours:8 am to 5 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 812-3853-6138
Price is subject to 15% Service Tax

Matcha Earth Smoothie Bowl (Rp 65,000)

Seasonal Fruit Bowl with Matcha Yogurt (Rp 55,000)

Matcha Cheese Cake (Rp 40,000)

Matcha Soft Serve Ice Cream (Rp 30,000)

Matcha Latte (Rp 30,000/ small)

A place not to be missed by Matcha/ Japanese Green Tea lovers, almost everything in Matcha Cafe Bali is about Matcha. At least, the name speaks for itself. The menu includes many vegan and vegetarian options, making the place very friendly for those who are practicing plant-based diet. The cafe is situated in the Canggu area with many narrow, busy streets so it is easy to miss the place. The menu consists of many breakfast options, from healthy salad to pancakes to mains or even desserts. We tried a few of their Matcha-flavored dishes; save for the Matcha Soft Serve, the rest barely carried any Matcha flavor... or too mild to be discerned. Good for diet watchers but might be a little disappointing for those who seek for bold, herbaceous Matcha flavor. 

5) Mie Gacoan @ Jimbaran
Address: Jimbaran, 80364, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 10 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 089-7919-2129
Price is subject to 10% Tax

Mie Angel (Rp 10,500)

Mie Setan (Rp 10,500)

Pangsit Dim Sum (Rp 10,500)

Es Genderuwo (Rp 9,100)

Probably the cheapest option available in Bali, Mie Gacoan is the go-to-place for locals. A mere RM3 can buy you a plate of noodles here. It is a big brand that you can find it all over Bali but unfortunately, you need to know how to read a little of Indonesian to order. The Mie is very similar to Kampua, a local delicacy found in Sibu (Malaysia). It is lightly dressed with Soy Sauce, not exactly springy but not slouchy either. The texture is somewhat in between, quite easy to consume and widely loved by the locals. There are spicy and non-spicy versions, with the former option comes with different levels of spiciness. We tried Level 3 and thought it was just alright. For those who love spicy food, try at least Level 5 and above. We quenched our thirst with Es Genderuwo, a nice twist to Ice Bandung- with refreshing fruits and Jelly added. A satisfying meal here costs a little less than RM10 per pax. 

6) Bebek Tepi Sawah @ Beachwalk Kuta
Address: Beachwalk Shopping Centre, Jl. Pantai Kuta Bali, Kuta, 80361, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 10:30 am to 10:30 pm on every Monday to Friday; 12 pm to 12 am on weekends. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 361-8496-007
Price is subject to 16% Service Tax

Bebek Tepi Sawah Crispy (Rp 138,000)

Gurami Panggang (Rp 105,000)

Gado-Gado (Rp 60,000)

Sate Lilit Ayam (Rp 78,500)

Melon Juice (Rp 28,000/ left) and Star Fruit Juice (Rp 30,000/ right)

Since Bebek is a must-have dish in Bali and many recommend trying Bebek Tepi Sawah, a local restaurant specializing in crispy Bebek and Balinese delights. The brand has quite a few branches in Bali (different areas) and the one with the easiest access would be the branch at Beachwalk Shopping Centre, Kuta. It's impossible to miss visiting Beachwalk Shopping Centre in Bali, the mall is the busiest and most happening shopping mall in Bali. Bebek Tepi Sawah can be found on the 3rd floor of the shopping centre. Take a spot at the al-fresco dining area and you get to witness the breath-taking sunset view as well as overlooking the bustling Kuta beach. The place is tourist-friendly with English speaking servers and full English menu but be prepared to be a premium as compared to other local restaurants. 

For the Bebek, we tried their Bebek Tepi Sawah Crispy. The duck was beautifully marinated and grilled to perfection. The sauce carried a hint of sweetness and paired well with the Sambal. The accompanying sides made a good addition to the dish. The Gurami Panggang was just alright, like any Ikan Panggang (grilled Fish), the fish was smeared with some spices before grilling. The rest of the dishes were nothing out of the ordinary, the Gado-Gado was especially disappointing. The meal for 2 came to be slightly over Rp500,000 (around RM150), which we thought it was very expensive. 

7) Venchi @ Beachwalk Shopping Centre
Address: Jl. Yoga Perkanthi, Jimbaran, 80364, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 12 pm to 12 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 812-3687-0486

Regular Gelato Cone (Rp 85,000)

The busiest and best shopping mall for Bali- Beachwalk Shopping Centre, houses many international brands where you will find good bargains and discounts everywhere. On top of that, you will also find many interesting restaurants, local chains in the mall. If you are into shopping, we recommend allocating a few hours here as the mall is pretty big and there are many things to explore. There is a food court on Level 3 but nothing is interesting there. Everything is overpriced and it would be wiser to go to a proper restaurant. On our visit, we stumbled upon this curious Gelateria with long queue. Upon further fact-finding, we noticed that Venchi is a popular Italian Gelato brand that specializes in both Chocolates and Gelato. We joined the queue and we must agree that the Chocolate Gelato was very good. 

8) Krisna Toko Oleh-Oleh Khas @ Kuta
Address: Jl. Raya Tuban No 2X, Kuta, 80361, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: Opens 24 hours a day. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 361-764-532

Right opposite to Krisha Wisata Kuliner, Krisna Toko Oleh-Oleh Khas Bali is another place where you will find a lot of local Indonesian goodies to be brought back as souvenirs. Apart from the local snacks or Coffee, you will also find some apparels here... specifically Batik or Sarong. The prices are very attractive, at least comparing them to those you can find in Malaysia. There are lesser choices here at this particular outlet, for those who prefer bigger variety (and probably more crowded), try your luck at the Krisna Oleh-Oleh Bypass, a multi-storey building that carries a lot of goodies. The place is a mere 10-minute drive away from Ngurah Rai International Airport. 

9) Sangsaka Restaurant @ Kuta Utara
Address: Jl. Pangkung Sari No. 100, Kuta Utara, 80364, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 5:30 pm to 11 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 812-3695-9895
Price is subject to 17% Service Tax

Fresh Oyster (Rp 30,000 each)

Lontong Jamur (Rp 85,000)

Gurita (Rp 100,000)

Ikan Parape (Rp 190,000)

Broccoli, Wood Ear, Greens (Rp 70,000)

Amuse Bouche- Rendang Korokke

Sangsaka at Kuta Utara/ Seminyak is another modern Indonesian restaurant that you should put on the to-visit-list. You will probably find some creative dishes here but they have one common feature- to preserve the traditional Indonesian flavors. Expect to pay a little more but it commensurate with the attentive service and superior food quality. For those who have deeper pockets, go for their Tasting Menu where one gets to experience a carefully designed course meal with unique, surprising flavor combos. We did not try the Tasting menu but ala-carte instead, we were most amazed by Lontong Jamur, a slightly different interpretation from the original version. The rice cake had a soft texture, but not slouchy and worked well with the creamy, savory Coconut milk sauce. The accompanying grilled Cauliflower added a nice crunchy contrast to the dish with a sleek smoky flavor. Another dish that stole the limelight was the Ikan Parape; expertly grilled market fish served with their home-made Sambal. The meat was lovely and the dish was perfectly seasoned. The gigantic fish offered a good value in return, a contenting dish to be shared and perfectly spooned over rice. 

10) Chatwood @ Jimbaran
Address: Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai No.777, Jimbaran, 80362, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 11 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 361-773-777
Price is subject to 15% Service Tax

Beef and Mushroom Quiche (Rp 38,000)

Salmon Rigatoni (Rp 70,000)

Beef Pepperoni Pizza (Rp 88,000)

A modern, casual cafe along the highway- Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai, Chatwood offers a big Western menu... from Appetizers to Mains like Pizza, Pasta, grills or even desserts. There is a bakery that offers freshly baked Pastries and Loaves too. The interior is spacious with a relaxed vibe, extremely suitable for a casual meal over a drink. It sure did not appeal to us from the facade but surprisingly, the food quality exceeded our expectation. We particularly enjoyed the Beef and Mushroom Quiche- light and buttery pastry with thin, but well-seasoned filling. Thai Chili Sauce was provided as a dip and surprisingly, it worked so well with Quiche (at least it satisfied the Asian in me)! The Pizza was alright but definitely not disappointing but nothing out of the ordinary either. The Salmon Rigatoni on the other hand, was nice... with creamy Salmon Cream stuffed in al-dente Rigatoni and served with cheesy-cream sauce. It may seem overly creamy but the flavor combo worked. Not a bad option if you are looking for some Non-Indonesian food option. 

11) Bakso Boedjangan @ Kuta
Address: Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai No. 11H, Kuta, 80361, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 10 am to 11 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 361-4753-969
Price is subject to 10% Service Tax

Mie Instan Bakso Urat (Rp 34,200)

Yamin Special- Taichan Boedjang (Rp 21,546)

Aci BB (Rp 14,999)

Tetelan (Rp 21,546)

Es Durian (Rp 29,546)

Es Kelapa (Rp 19,546)

Bakso Boedjangan was first introduced to us by our tour guide, accordingly, this is one of the go-to-places for the locals when it comes to Bakso. It is again, one of the largest local Bakso restaurants in Bali. The menu can be confusing, while it is supposed to be a Bakso specialist but there are some other unknown dishes on offer as well. We did try a few but did not bother to expore further. The Aci BB was one of the dishes we tried, the texture was peculiar- crispy at first but extremely chewy towards the end... almost like chewing plastic. The after-taste was somewhat similar to Tempura batter bits... which can be quite addictive to some. Another one was Tetelan, basically Beef Soup but the meat was finely sliced and affecting the texture. The Bakso Urat was good- beefy with a springy texture. The rest was just meh. The only item we enjoyed was probably the Es Durian, a nice way to enjoy the Balinese Durian (with Coconut Milk added). 

12) Sisterfields @ Seminyak
Address: Jl. Kayu Cendana No.7, Seminyak, 80361, Bali, Indonesia. 
Business Hours: 7 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +62 811-3860-507
Price is subject to 15% Service Tax

Pancake Red Berries (Rp 120,000)

Brownie (Rp 40,000) and Vanilla Ice Cream (Rp 15,000)

Pash Me (Rp 45,000)

One of the popular cafes in Bali- Sisterfields brings the iconic Australian cafe culture to Bali, offering an Australian-inspired menu. One can find a big All-Day Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch menu here. It is easy to locate the place, it can be found right opposite to the Seminyak Square. For those who are driving, you can park your car at the Seminyak Square and walk over. If you have missed brunch or intend to visit in the evening, do not miss their desserts. We had the sweet Pancake Red Berries and Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream; both were delicious. The Pancake was light and fluffy but the winning factor was the cream. The very chocolaty Brownie was good on its own but even better with the addition of Vanilla Ice Cream. We were so happy with our orders, quality-wise but they did come with rather steep prices. 

DAY TOUR- Private East Bali Tour (booked via KLOOK)
  • RM205.90 per pax
  • Admission included
  • Excludes meals, tips etc
  • Link: here
1st Destination: Taman Ujung Water Palace

2nd Destination: Tirta Gangga Water Palace

3rd Destination: Lereng Agung

Buffet Lunch (Rp 130,000 per pax/ subject to 20% Service Tax)

Bintang Beer (Rp 30,000 small/ subject to 20% Service Tax)

Avocado Smoothie (Rp 40,000/ subject to 20% Service Tax)

We booked the day tour via KLOOK before we even flew in to Bali and it did take them a while to confirm the whole thing. There were some hiccups due to the clashing of the Balinese Public Holiday- Galungan. Many places were closed and prayers were going on everywhere. The tour agency had to replace the destination- The Gates of Heaven Lempuyang Temple as the place was closed for local prayers. Taman Ujung Water Palace was replaced instead. The place has got nothing exciting unless you are very keen to learn about the Balinese Kingdom, you can skip the place otherwise. 

Tirta Gangga Water Palace is a little more interesting thanks to a big pond with a lot of KOI fishes. It has little or very less historical values, but it offers a nice place for tourists to take photo... like the quintessential Balinese travel photo (if you know what it means). The waiting line for the photo spot can be quite long, it took us more than half an hour to get our spot and we queued under the sun. If you are not into taking photos, we recommend ordering a cup of Coffee up the hill and you can enjoy all the view you want. 

The tour brought to us a lunch destination up the hill, a restaurant that offers Buffet Lunch (ala-carte options are available too). Unless informed otherwise, the servers would automatically assume that you are going for the Buffet Lunch. Do not expect a big buffet spread but you are also paying for the view and the cold mountain breeze. After the lunch, you can move on to the photo spot where you will find a swing and a nest (there will be some staff on standby to assist you with the camera/ tipping the staff would be a good idea here). 

4th Destination: Tukad Cepung Waterfall

5th Destination: SW Agro-Tourism Coffee Plantation

Coffee Luwak (Rp 50,000 per cup)

6th Destination: Tegallalang Rice Terrace

It did take us quite a bit of walking to reach the Tukad Cepung Waterfall, this particular itinerary is not quite suitable for children or seniors. The stairs are steep and often wet so it can be quite slippery. The walk can be quite tiring for some and at the end of this part, you might find yourself soaking in sweaty shirt so do be prepared. Wear comfortable shoes or slippers, your shoes will get wet walking across the stream. 

Next we were brought to a Coffee Plantation, where a guide walked us through the Coffee plants and the production of Kopi Luwak. Unless you are a Coffee person, this part can killing. We tried a cup of Kopi Luwak for Rp50,000 and we are not coffee connoisseurs, nor we appreciate good coffee, so we could not really tell the difference. 

Before the tour guide sent us back to the hotel (it was a private tour with guide, so only the 2 of us), we were brought to a very touristy spot- Tegallalang Rice Terrace. Overly crowded and very touristy, nothing overly exciting here unless you are keen to take pictures on the swing (to no where). Sorry to disappoint, but you will need to pay extra for the swing. Not exactly a good place to chill unless you want to be friends with mosquitoes or insects. 

Have Fun Exploring Bali! 

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