BALINESE COOKING CLASS
The Paon Bali cooking class in Ubud, was hands down the absolute best thing we did in Bali! Definitely book in advance as it's popular. There are two classes a day - one in the morning which includes a market tour and one in the afternoon. Your booking includes pick up and drop off to your accommodation, as well as a copy of the recipes to take home, so you can wow your friends and family with your new skills! The class is run by a husband and wife in a large semi-outdoor kitchen, which is part of their beautiful home. We met some lovely people during our class and by the end we were all friends and enjoyed a delicious meal together, made using fresh local ingredients and traditional Balinese cooking methods. Check out Elan using the 'Bali blender' below! My favourite thing we cooked was Gado-Gado - green beans, fried tempe and satay sauce. The class costs 350k IDR per person. An absolute must-do when in Bali!
Note: They cater for vegetarians too, which I opted for and it was great.
Another absolute must-do in Bali, is hiking Mt Batur. Mt Batur is the second largest active volcano in Bali. An early 2am start is so worth it when you reach the top and see the sky full of pink and orange (pray you get clear skies!) It takes about two hours to reach the 1717m summit. It is absolutely freezing at the top so remember to bring a jumper! It is a difficult enough climb, as there is a lot of loose rock from previous eruptions and it is quite steep near the top, but it's nothing you won't be able for. Our driver, Yogi - @yogibalidriver, organised the trip for us and it cost 500k IDR per person, including transfers and breakfast. At the top, while you wait for the 6am sunrise, eggs boiled in volcanic steam are served! Sunrises in Bali don't get better than this and it's a morning I will never forget.
Note: We did this tour from Ubud but it is possible to arrange pick up from other areas in Bali.
No visit to Bali is complete without at least one Balinese massage - or four in my case! It is crazy how cheap it is to get amazing massages in beautiful spas, when compared to prices at home. A Balinese massage is a full-body, healing treatment using essential oils. It is extremely relaxing and will ease any tension! My favourite spa we visited was Spring Spa. They have locations in Canggu, Seminyak and a lovely new premises in Nusa Lembongan. Another favourite was Jaens Spa in Ubud. Prices vary from place to place so expect to pay anywhere from 100-600k IDR.
One thing there is no shortage of in Bali is beach and pool clubs! They range from basic to luxury, child-friendly to adult only and most come with a minimum spend, which can be pricey. However it's definitely worth splashing out on at least one, to experience what they're all about. Our two favourites were La Brisa in Canggu and Cretya in Ubud. Both serve great food and drinks and the vibes are immaculate! The clubs are the perfect place to lounge for the day and totally chill out.
Note: Palmilla Beach Club is a new kid on the block and is very popular online but it was probably our least favourite beach club and was very overpriced for the quality.
nusa penida day tour
Nusa Penida is the biggest of the Nusa islands but is not as developed and buzzy as Nusa Lembongan, so I'd highly recommend staying on Nusa Lembongan and doing a day trip to Penida instead. However, Penida is easily reached from mainland Bali with many tour operators offering day trips, so you don't have to be staying on the islands to access it. We did our tour through a family run company called 'Nemo' based in Lembongan. You can contact them via Whatsapp at +6285738257391. They have pre-organised tours for each side of the island but we opted for a hybrid tour of both sides as we wanted to see as much of the island as possible. Including the boat, a private driver and entrance fees, this cost 800k IDR per person. Some of the highlights of our tour included Diamond Beach, Peguyangan Waterfall and Kelingking Beach. The island is incredibly beautiful and is so worth visiting during your time in Bali.