Alright, this is about the three places in Bali known for – dine, drink, shop, surf and play!!
I have mostly explored the beaches located in the Southern region of Bali. Honestly, to go beach hopping in the entire island or even in one particular region, needs a few more days of stay in Bali. I was able to go around the beaches along Seminyak, Legian and Canggu only, because whenever I see the beach and ocean, I end up spending at least 3-4 hours – swimming against the waves and/or just being there, lying down/take a nap/sipping up some icy drinks.
While Canggu beach is ideal to have a quiet time and relax, it could be a bit more cleaner. The waves are good for surfing and too rough for swimming. The beach at Legian is mostly an extension of the Kuta stretch. The usual with a lot of people and vendors on the beach, swimmers and surfers in the water – reminded me of the overtly commercialized Katong beach in Phuket.
A lot of surfers throng the waters during the morning hours and late afternoon. Even during mid-day you can see a lot of the more enthusiastic and professional surfers catching the waves. The waves in Seminyak and Canggu are ideal for surfing – beginners or professionals!!
The beach along Seminyak was the best among all the others. It was clean, the waves were on most occasions BIG, commercialized yet the beauty of the entire area is kept intact and some amazing sunsets.
There are some really nice small cafes and restaurants along the Double Six beach and Seminyak beach stretch that serve reasonably decent food and drinks. The best part about those restaurants starts late afternoon onward – just before sunset, they put up bean-bags and patios on the beach which provides an ideal setting to relax and enjoy the sunset. These places get filled-up soon with locals and tourists alike – oh and there is music too!!
Also, during the late afternoon, a lot of locals make small groups to enjoy some football on the beach and a many kids and tourists are welcomed to join in. It makes up for a wonderful atmosphere all around from late evening till dusk.
Away from the beaches, there is a lot to explore if you know what you want. The streets and by-lanes can be a bit tricky to drive/ride, especially around Kuta Square and Legian. For me, it was really fun riding all the way to Jimbaran along the occasional sharp curves and uphill roads.
While Seminyak area is quite chic with some trendy shops, F&B outlets and lesser crowds – yet there are some really nice places to have a quiet hangout or go partying around. The Mirror club and The Red Carpet champagne Bar are really popular with the tourists. Although Legian and Kuta are considered to be the party hotspots, for me it was watching a lot of barfing folks outside Sky Garden and Bounty nightclubs. So yes, classy Seminyak is what I prefer.
I wasn’t much impressed by Kuta square because well, the usual fare – big crowds, a lot of shops and I am sorry to say, some filthy stuff around. But there are some nice shops too if you like local souvenirs. A couple of shops where I spent a lot of time were two local souvenir shops. I like to see the local stuff more than anything else when I visit somewhere.
Rent a motorbike!! This is the best way to go around in Bali. If you are up for it though!! Usually you will just need to provide a copy of your Passport while renting the bike.
The beaches are beautiful, yes, but get off the beaches and explore the other areas around. There is something for everybody here. Visit some of the many shops that sell paintings if you are into art or you think that it just looks good on your wall. They are really really nice!!