[TRAVELOGUE] 4-DAY ESCAPADE… BALI, I’M BACK!

After almost 2 decades, I’m back in Bali!

Never thought much of Indonesian cuisine, nor much of everybody’s favorite island, Bali. But, an impromptu 4-day trip has changed all that 🙂

Almost 2 decades since my last visit. It was off to a good start the moment we arrived, to a brand new airport. It was big and clean and cheery and modern and efficient and welcoming! Immigration was smooth and hassle-free. We hopped on to a chartered ride arranged by good friends C&C. 20 minutes into it, we dozed off in the midst of Bali’s infamous traffic!

Over an hour later, we arrived at Villa Nedine, a 4-bedroom bungalow in Canggu. Except for the bedrooms, the ample house is cooled merely by the natural sea breeze. The beach is barely a kilometer from us. Sunsets can be watched on the top floor balcony. The rooms are spacious and well laid out, with good distance from each other for privacy. The air conditioning is strong which is wonderful after returning from the day’s gallivanting under the hot Bali sun, and there is your typical Bali-styled outdoor bathrooms stocked with all necessary toiletries and fluffy towels. The pool is big, clean, and there’s plenty of space around to tan or catch a nap under the sun.

All day sunshine by the pool!
The dining area on level 2. The Villa provides butler and chef services to see to your needs. We enjoyed local breakfasts every morning with fruits and coffee.
Master Bedroom on the top level.
Master Bedroom Balcony
Level 2 Living Area
View from the Master Room Balcony

Villa Nedine is away from the hustle and bustle of popular areas like Seminyak or Kuta but it is not out in the boonies either. We enjoyed a good day of shopping within Canggu and there are lots of restaurants and cafes right outside our doorstep. And once you’re back at the villa itself, it is peace and tranquil, you forget the buzz is still out there!

VILLA NEDINE @ Echo Beach, Jl. Pura Batu Mejan Gg. Mawar, Canggu, North Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia Phone +60 3-7931 8883

FINNS

Welcome to The Best Beach Club In The World!

Being a short trip, we wasted no time and kick off the very first afternoon with “The best beach club in the World”. A bold claim… we needed to see it for ourselves!

Not 1, but 4 swimming pools; and 2 with swim up bars. The restaurants (6 in total) serve everything from burgers to sushi to Nasi goreng. Chill music, cool vibes, friendly service and a handsome crowd. Come for lunch and stay till the sun sets. Then party some more.

Spoilt for choice! And this is from just one of the many eateries at Finns!
Spicy Tuna Roll- Maguro Maki with a spicy dressing.
Bento box with everything!
Dragon Roll- Unagi and Prawn Maki with tempura flakes.
Healthy grilled fish with pumpkin purée.

Frankly, the food was just mediocre, but the ambience and extensive drinks list totally made up for it.

Finns is definitely worth checking out and you could easily spend an entire day here… just moving from one pool to another, one bar to the next and a different restaurant for every meal! Before you know it, night falls. But things will just begin to heat up!

FINNS BEACH CLUB @ Jalan Pantai Berawa, Canggu. Bali – Indonesia. Phone +62 361 844 6327 / 28

MERAH PUTIH

Possibly my favorite meal in the 4 days was here at Merah Putih. Modern Indonesian cuisine in a gorgeous house that looked like Gatsby’s party hall. We ordered a variety of meats and seafood and honestly, I could not fault a single dish! And if I had to pick a favorite, the oxtail was totally marvelous!

Pre or post dinner drinks at the bar.
Merah Putih’s gorgeous style.
The Menu wasn’t too big, but every item was tempting!
The complimentary starter. Soto Ayam (Chicken soup) was rich and robust!
We ordered a variety of dishes to share. From fish to beef to pork, seafood, vegetables and soup, and not a single dish disappointed.

I was a little worried at first, since I am not good (at all) with spicy food. But to my surprise, Merah Putih’s dishes were very mild; extra chili, dips, condiments were all served on the side. This worked perfectly for everyone at the table. It was such a memorable meal, the ambience was elegant, but not stiff. Service was efficient. Totally enjoyed the evening and can’t wait to go back again!

MERAH PUTIH @ Jl. Petitenget No.100x, Kerobokan, Bali, Indonesia 80361. Phone: (0361) 8465950

DI MARE

Brace yourself for an hour’s drive (from Canggu, in good traffic) to Di Mare at Karma Kandara Beach Resort. When you finally arrive, you wonder if you’ve ended up in Santorini! It is an endless horizon of blue seas and skies. We literally stood there staring out at the gigantic moving postcard! Taking in the pure beauty of it all!

Karma Beach Resort
The quiet entrance to Di Mare.
Be blown away by the view at Di Mare.
A paragliding company operates nearby, adding wow factor to the already gorgeous horizon!

After a million photos and videos of the breathtaking views, we finally sat down to order! Di Mare serves a 2 or 3 course set lunch from their menu. Hits and misses on the food. We were all happy with our starters but not so with our mains. Coincidentally, 3 of us picked the Bali Fried Fish and unfortunately, all 3 were overcooked and dry.

The Di Mare Menu.
The bread basket… fresh and toasty warm bread… need I say more!?
Calamari… could be crispier, but, tasty nonetheless.
Chilled Spirulina Noodles with Seafood was a nice refreshing starter that’s despite the carbs, really light and appetizing.
Crispy Balinese Duck… a tad dry but very flavorful!
Tempura Golden Snapper… poor fish was overcooked!
The beach was quiet, and most just lazed around with a cocktail to tan or read!

After lunch, we took a rickety box lift down to the beach where we snoozed the afternoon away to the sounds of the waves. There’s a little kitchen by the beach and pizzas and sammies were flying out of their window! Perhaps its worth trying out! As for Di Mare…Although we weren’t quite blown away by our lunch there, the views from there surely took our breaths away. And its definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re in the area!

Di Mare @ Karma Kandara. Jalan Villa Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan Bali, 80362, Indonesia Phone +62 3618482202

ROCK BAR @ AYANA RESORT

The Ayana Resort

The Rock Bar has appeared on countless social media platforms and I can see now, why the rave. We arrived at the Ayana Resort where the Rock Bar is located, at about 5pm. It was already packed! Contrary to what I thought, “packed” is fine. Cuz “packed” gets you into! On good, or rather better days, you’ll have to queue an hour just to smell a seat! So here we are, swiftly strolling through the vast grounds of the huuuuge resort to the edge, where a lift takes us to D Rock Bar! Obviously we couldn’t score a seat at the main rock which was already spilling over with merry makers. But our seats at the far end served its purpose nonetheless. We had an unblocked view of yet another beautiful Bali sunset.

The hottest seats in the house.
The Rock Bar had expanded over the years to accommodate more guests.
But honestly, you get a fantastic view where ever you’re seated.
Another sunset in Bali is just what everyone is after…
Beer Bomb Shandy, one of the Rock Favorites. Don’t be intimidated by the entire bottle of beer! This was delicious!
Rock My World. A concoction of vodka, yuzu, pineapple juice, kaffir and dill leaves; plus a spicy sugar candy stick. Explosively refreshing!
Cheers to another gorgeous sunset and another must-visit, Rock Bar- checked!

The vibes at Rock Bar is awesome. Service is friendly and quick. The place is huge; but they’ve managed to carve out seating arrangements strategically so nobody feels shortchanged. The music, wherever it’s coming from, reaches far and wide. It is infectiously mesmerizing and together with the gorgeous sea view, cool breeze and warm sunset, puts you in the best chill mode you’re capable of! We had a couple of their signature cocktails and those too, impressed!

ROCK BAR @ AYANA Resort and Spa, BALI
Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera Jimbaran, Bali 80364, Indonesia.
Phone +62 361 702222

MILU BY NOOK

Milu’s simple, warm and welcoming front.

Milu makes you feel welcomed the moment you step through the doors. The restaurant, set in a beautiful house by a padi field exudes ethnic colonial and rustic vibes with its antique furnishings, retro tiles, faded cushions and handcrafted fittings and warm smiles. Natural sunlight penetrates throughout the spacious house cooled by high ceiling fans. Potted plants sway gently overhead as you stroll pass the house to the outdoor patio dining area. We had a wonderful lunch facing the vast padi field. The air was fresh, there was a light breeze. We sat down to a homely local lunch without breaking a sweat despite Bali’s infamous heat.

Green Seafood Curry & Rice – wiped clean and empty!
Gado Gadoan Indonesian cult classic. A typical Gado Gado looks nothing like this! Honestly, I was quite skeptical. But this baby came through and triumphed with its quality ingredients and despite resembling a Christmas salad, it was every bit a creamy peanutty Gado Gado!
Nasi Campur – a top favorite at Milu. The generous portion and aroma that hits you when it arrives… where is that second stomach when I need it!!!
Nasi Goreng Seafood- perfectly fried short grain rice in local kecap manis seasoning. Every glossy little rice grain is coated with flavor and heat. Accompanied by big juicy prawns and squid and crunchy veggies. I was dreaming about it again the very next day!!
Red velvet with Cream Cheese- The strange red velvet that started off plain and uninspiring despite its deep moisture. But eat on and the magic happens! Its sorcery! Its super moist and perhaps because it’s not overly sweet, it gets better with every bite! I went from an uncertain hmmm, to a damn-this-is-good mmm..mm..mm! And this is coming from not-a-Red-Velvet-fan!!
Vanilla Coconut Tapioca Pudding- soft tapioca pearls infused in creamy coconut cream, with flakes of sweet coconut flakes. Dig deep for the strawberries!
End your meal with this incredible cuppa! The Milu Iced Coffee was potently delish! Rich, creamy and a good strong shot of espresso!

Milu’s menu isn’t huge. But they’ve got most of your local and western favorites covered. The portions and prices are reasonable and it is a really cozy spot for lunch, tea or dinner. I totally see myself coming here a lot if I lived in Bali.

Milu by Nook @ Jalan Pantai Berawa no. 99 x, Canggu
80361 Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia Phone +62 822 4711 4441

JI

If you feel like you’ve been transported to ancient China at Ji, you’re not entirely mistaken. The house that Ji sits in was in fact originally a temple from the Kang Xi period in the early 1700s. Upon the migration to Bali, it now houses the exquisite Ji restaurant, serving Fusion Japanese cuisine amidst furnishings, artifacts and architecture of mix ancient China and Bali. It’s a beautiful place and the food was just as remarkable. We dined on the rooftop terrace overlooking Canggu. There was a light breeze that evening, except for the lights from some restaurants and bars twinkling from afar, the night was quiet and dark… we could only hear the sea. We were starving after a long day of shopping in Seminyak. On the menu were sushi, rice bowls, steaks, salads and noodles. We selected a mixed variety of Japanese and western dishes, plus a Sangria while we wait. Normally, I am not confident in restaurants that serves everything under the sun, and fusion too, just too many things going on and no specialization! But things seem to tie in nicely this evening. And the ‘fusion’ part wan’t too extreme. The sticky pork ribs in particular, were sweet, tender and finger lickin’ good! Oh, and of course, that Sangria? Delish!

A fusion variety greets you on Ji’s menu
An interesting read on Ji’s background.
Start with a Sangria? Why not!
The food arrived promptly.We had the best time digging into sushis, steaks, ribs and managed a healthy haloumi couscous even!
The old temple is decked out in ancient Chinese and Indonesian artifacts.

JI RESTAURANT @ Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong Canggu Beach, Bali ● Indonesia +62 361 4731701

There were many other places that I had visited this trip. There was the yummy small plates at Como Beach Club; the big breakfast at Cinta Cafe; the juicy burgers at Bang Bang Burger! This island is filled with restaurants and cafes of any cuisine you can imagine. The shopping is pretty incredible. The spas are aplenty. Indulge in something fancy or hop into a basic one for a quick rub before you move on with your day. The people are friendly. Minus the one nightmare, the traffic, everything else has been rather delightful. I am gonna need another 4+4 days to really explore and discover Bali. And I have a feeling I might like it a lot!

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post!

3 comments

  1. Oh my goodness. The views, the drinks, the food!!! It’s too bad that any kind of meat or fish gets overcooked these days at good restaurants – I’d be miffed about that as well. But wow, a fabulous time you had!

    Like

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