There’s no need to be green with Insta-envy. Head to Bali for even a short stay, and you’ll instantly elevate your feed - it’s just so damn picturesque.
Here are my picks of some well-known and off-the-beaten-track places from my recent whirlwind trip.
El Kabron Spanish Restaurant and Cliff Club, Pecatu
If you walk into this place and don't instantly feel like a rock star, then you don't know Michael Hutchence from Milli Vanilli (they were fake, Mick was the real deal). Perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, El Kabron oozes sophistication with sexy-cool DJ beats (think Cafe del Mar) that start down tempo then heat up as the sun goes down. There’s a whole lot of white - white furniture, white-washed walls and a towering white Moet bottle, which look so chic against the vivid azure ocean. Beach chairs are positioned to take in the breathtaking sea views; the infinity edge pool is inviting (don't forget your cossie!); and the wait staff are super attentive (because you're a rock star, remember?!). Enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant, or bar snacks and cocktails brought to your beach chair. The gold Moet goblet glasses are your first step to Insta-success. They're plastic (‘cause pool), but they are so glamorously photogenic - and that's what we're here for, right?
Kecak Ramayana and Fire Dance, Uluwatu
For a cultural experience, set in a majestic cliff-top setting, the local Kecak dancers are as frenetic as the view is sublime. The show starts early evening and combines ancient ritual, dance, and drama accompanied by a choir of chanting and singing men. Get there early so you can visit the Uluwatu Temple beforehand. Monkeys freely roam around but beware, they're brazen little fellas - they'll grab your phone out of your hand, so hold on tightly to your belongings. (Rangers will help you get them back, but not before the cheeky monkey has called his Mum and taken a whole heap of selfies). Try and nab a seat that faces the ocean to capture the amazing sunset.
Rip Curl Surf School, Double 6 Beach
Okay, so your pics here could go one of two ways - you'll either stand up and feel like a legend (Kelly Slater comes to mind), or you won't. Either way, dude, you can book a professional photographer on the beach who can capture your epic ride or fail. The instructors are patient, explain the techniques clearly, and really make it fun. Everyone in our group stood up (some not for long) but riding a wave even for a few seconds is still riding a wave in my book. The waves aren't gnarly – they're perfect for beginners and the lesson comes with a rashie, helmet (if you think you'll need it) and about 45 minutes of surf time. If you haven't surfed before it will definitely get you amped. We were stoked! Insert shaka here.
Standing Stone, Purnama Beach
Short story: Australia, with its incomparable beaches and never-ending sunshine, learned from Bali and introduced more beach clubs. The End.
Tirta Spa, Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort, Klungklung
Taking in the sights and trying to get the perfect shot can be exhausting! It seems only right that before you hit the bar, you should unwind with a bit of pampering. Bali is renowned for its incredible spas and the Tirta Spa is one of the best! Located in the new five star Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort, the spa consists of exotic garden huts where you can enjoy a massage, or facial and body treatments using traditional healing techniques and quality organic ingredients. All this, with the sound of waves crashing on the beach nearby – it's a simply divine experience. The private huts are also ideal for couples or groups. After your treatment, enjoy a delicious ginger tea on your personal deck and take in the tranquil surrounds, beach, and wildlife (yes, there's even water buffalo in the fields adjacent).
Jivva Beach Club at Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort, Klungklung
Yep, there are my two favourite words again – BEACH CLUB! As I mentioned before, Bali does the beach club thing so bloody well and Jivva Beach Club is no exception. It's part of the resort located on the magical black sand Lepang Beach. Originally from Auckland, my favourite beach is Piha on New Zealand's west coast, a stunning and wild black sand beach. So, the black sand of Lepang Beach feels both exotic and familiar to me. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night there's live entertainment and a resident DJ. Colourful bean bags and festive umbrellas litter the grass, where you can chill out or get on down depending on your mood. Order a meal or bar snacks and work your way through the cocktail menu, all created with fresh local produce. Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort is an ideal place to honeymoon as it's out of the hustle and bustle of the likes of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak. You can stay in total luxury, be pampered, and party, all in the one spot. This spot gets the Honeymoon tick!
Spice by Chris Salans Restaurant and Mozaic Restaurant, Ubud
There's no such thing as a bad meal in Bali – I love it all, whether it's on the side of the road or a flash restaurant. If you're in Ubud, Spice and Mozaic are a must-visit. Crisp, cold cocktails at Spice hit the spot after a day exploring Ubud’s rice terraces, Royal Palace, and markets. The menu is extensive and you'll want to share everything, it's so mouth-wateringly good.