June 12, 2024

Travel In Bali

Travel & Tour Tips

Tips from an expert expat

Tips from an expert expat

THE EXPAT

Fashion designer Desiree Deravi is the creative director and founder of S/W/F Boutique and Desiree Deravi brands. Born and bred in Elsternwick, in Melbourne’s east, she moved to Bali in 2012 and lives in the Umalas district, east of Seminyak and Canggu. See desireederavi.com 

SEE

The medium gallery (themediumdesign.com) is a favourite of mine – a creative space with artwork and furniture in Canggu. But for the best natural sight, climb Mount Batur, an active volcano in Bali. There is nothing more magical and satisfying than a trek to the top to watch the sun rise.

DO

I love Nusa Lembongan, a divine island of untouched nature, with crystal clear waters you can surf and snorkel in. It’s covered in colourful bougainvilleas and there is a serene feeling to the island. About a 30-minute boat ride from Sanur, you can stay a few days or make a day trip of it. 

EAT

Bali is a culinary haven, and must-visit is the John Hardy cafe, a traditional Balinese style building connected to their flagship boutique and gallery. Unassuming from outside, inside, the cafe overlooks a Balinese temple framed by two striking gates and lush green surroundings, which feels like you’re in Ubud, not hectic Seminyak. I love that the menu is traditional and contemporary Balinese food, cocktails and healthy drinks such as jamu, which is an age-old Indonesian herbal elixir that uses turmeric, tamarind and other herbs and spices. The Long Table lunch is very special, they collaborated with Locavore restaurant in Ubud to create a menu that delivers family style dishes inspired by the farmers, fishers and slow food artisans of Indonesia, using seasonal local produce. See johnhardy.com 

DRINK

Sunset Park is Potato Head’s rooftop bar, with incredible views of the ocean and a perfect spot for a sunset aperitif. They make a great Nangka Negroni which is jackfruit arak, pangi dark rum, sweet vermouth, Campari and cynar amaro; it is the island’s take on a classic negroni. Potato Head Desa (seminyak.potatohead.co) is a creative community where music, art, design, food and wellness collide. For something more cosmopolitan, Bar Souvenir (instagram.com/bar.souvenir) is inspired by the streets of Hong Kong and Tokyo. Tucked away in Berewa, this 10-seater bar delivers an excellent choice of sake, whiskey, cocktails and organic wines. The must-try there is the Bang Bang, which is their take on an Old Fashioned. Delish!

AVOID

The monkey forest in Ubud. I’m not sure what the attraction is here.

THRIVE

Embrace Balinese traditions and beliefs. Bali is a spiritual island, where the main religion is Hindu. They believe strongly in spirits and the moon indicates strong spiritual days. My favourite day on the island is Nyepi, the day of silence. It falls in March and marks the start of a new year. It is a day to cleanse the island from the previous year’s misdoings and omens, establishing a pure and positive year ahead. All the lights on the island are turned off, everyone must stay inside for a full 24 hours. It is when the sky is the clearest and the stars are the brightest.