Elsha McGill


Beauty and aesthetics treatments in Bali: our top 6 list

Aesthetics treatments in Bali. Bali is the island of semi-naked bodies, tousled beach hair and sun-kissed makeup-free skin. It may seem that all that effortless natural beauty is just handed to you by the hot sun and salty ocean. However, the experts know very well that a natural healthy glow actually takes quite an effort.

The tropical sun can give you a great tan and highlights, but also dark spots and brittle dry hair. Motorbike riding grants you an amazing sense of freedom, but the air pollution on the heavy trafficked roads will make your skin look dull and reward you with pimples and blemishes.

But worry not – we are providing you with a list of clinics for aesthetics treatments in Bali that will cater to you, offering professional facials and other beauty treatments from quick pre-party makeovers to Hollywood aesthetic tuning.

 Aesthetics treatments in Bali: #1 AMO Spa

Reception area at AMO Spa Petitenget
Reception area at AMO Spa Petitenget

This is a one-stop treatment facility to get you red carpet ready on a wallet-friendly budget. Start with polishing your body with one of the AMO body scrubs and continue with the ultimate facial experience. If you have only 30 minutes to spare, we suggest you try their oxygen facial that will leave you glowing with vitality as if that alcohol-infused Saturday night had never happened and instead you had been downing wheatgrass shots all weekend. Our favourite treatment is the 90 minute ‘Make Me Beautiful’ package, which includes Diamond Head Microdermabrasion – a deep cleansing of pores via manual extractions – followed by ‘Darsonval’, a device which works by sending high electrical current frequencies through glass electrodes to your skin, and finishes up with an oxygen facial and a cool raw cucumber strips mask. Simply divine!

AMO Spa Seminyak

To complete your new fresh look there are also mani-pedi options, cream baths and ever-so-pleasant foot soaks. They have over 1,000 colours of nail polish across brands like OPI, Debra Lippman, NUDE, CND Vinylux and Shellac. And there are always the latest issues of fashion and gossip magazines available for reading – perfection!

 AMO SPA Petitenget

Address: Jl. Petitenget 100x, Seminyak, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 473 7943/ +62811 397449/+62811 397450
Operating hours: daily 9am – 10pm (last appointment at 9pm)

AMO SPA Seminyak

Address: Jl. Basangkasa 9, Seminyak, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 737 267 /+62 87 861942948 / +62 81 13999860
Operating hours: daily 9am – 10pm (last appointment at 9pm)

 Aesthetics treatments in Bali: #2 La Beaute

La Beaute is the island ladies’ favourite place for that routine weekly upkeep.

They do massages, body scrubs, cream baths and mani-pedis, but are mostly loved for their fast-as-a-flash, clean and affordable waxing.

La Beaute is superb at shaping and tinting eyebrows

Imagine a pair of 90 cm long legs waxed to smooth perfection in 10 minutes, or a whole body (full leg, full arm, underarm, Brazilian) in a record 30 minutes max. La Beaute is also superb at shaping and tinting eyebrows. You can choose from tweezing or waxing for shaping and regular brow colours – light brown, brown, black, blue black. But when tinting, the beautician doesn’t just dump the colour on your eyebrow in one chunky line, instead they draw on your eyebrow with a brush or a toothpick dipped in dye, which gives a more defined and natural effect. La Beaute is more than affordable, so obviously it is pretty packed, which means you have to book your appointment in advance.

Address: Jl. Pengubengan Kauh 18, Kerobokan, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 8476074/ +6281338073387
Operating hours: daily 10 am – 8 pm

 Aesthetics treatments in Bali: #3 Cocoon Medical Spa

Located on a busy intersection of Sunset Road, Dewi Sri, Nakula and Imam Bonjol, this medical spa gives you the feeling of a progressive science laboratory when you cross the entrance doors. The high ceiling hangar hosts numerous separate rooms made out of tempered glass, which look like android cells on a space shuttle.

Each of these rooms are dedicated to different treatments and none is more interesting than the other. The spa’s medical experts are some of the most experienced and qualified aesthetic professionals and have been trained by leading Australian and British cosmetic doctors. Here you will get an international quality aesthetic experience at a price that is 50–80% less than you would pay in Europe or Australia.

Waiting and resting area at Cocoon medical Spa
Waiting and resting area overlooking the treatment pods at Cocoon Medical Spa

Cocoon offers wellness treatments that boost your health from within and make you both look and feel better for much longer. Their specialists recommend doing colonic therapy at least once every six months to detoxify your body and to then follow with the Vitamin IV infusion to boost up your immune system and increase your health.

The spa also has a special salt room for Halotherapy – a method that uses salt vapor to treat respiratory ailments and skin problems and is overall beneficial for both physical and mental health.

Salt Room is made out of blocks of imported Himalayan salt, mimicking the microclimate of a natural salt cave with a saline aerosol dispensed at a high concentration. All you have to do is relax and breathe deeply to absorb important minerals and trace elements that are necessary for a healthy functioning body.

Salt room for Halotherapy at Cacoon Medical Spa
Salt Room for Halotherapy at Cocoon Medical Spa

Rejuvenation treatments include RF micro-needling for skin tightening, Diamond Microdermabrasion, no-needle mesotherapy, Dermapen, Platelet Rich Plasma therapy and many more.

Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is actually one of the most popular rejuvenation treatments nowadays. Have you seen J Lo’s glow? Or Kim Kardashian’s supple skin? Well, both are devoted users of PRP therapy, also known as ‘Vampire lift’, which is the most natural filler and lifting solution there is. Why? Because it is made out of your own blood that is sampled and placed into centrifuge to separate the concentrated platelets, which are later re-injected in your face. This activates your body’s own repairing and regenerating processes, resulting in a more youthful and healthy appearance of your skin.

Have you seen J Lo’s glow? Or Kim Kardashian’s supple skin?

Some of the treatments in the spa are exclusive to Cocoon and you will not find them anywhere else in Bali. One of them is HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) – a facelift without surgery that works with the deep layers of the skin, stimulating the produce of new collagen, which results in tighter and more supple skin.

Highly recommended are the Cleopatra gold facial packages that include microdermabrasion combined with either mesotherapy or dermapen and 24-carat-gold hyaluronic acid serum and collagen moisturiser.

And another exclusive Cocoon treatment is…vagina laser rejuvenation. You will not find this treatment on their menu or website, but trust us – they have it. It is called Femilift, just ask the receptionist.

Address: Jalan Sunset Road, Opposite to Sunset Star, Legian, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 8475997
Operating hours: Mon-Sat 10 am – 7 pm

 Aesthetics treatments in Bali: #4 Rejuvie Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Clinic

Rejuvie Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Clinic

Rejuvie is most likely the clinic in Bali with the highest return of customers. Those who have had treatments here usually come back again, due to Rejuvie’s high quality professional service and very friendly, family-like atmosphere.

Dr. Murino, known as THE botox and fillers specialist, opened Rejuvie in March 2011 with only one nurse. Since then, the clinic has developed, adopting an extended circle of loyal customers and employing 3 full-time doctors, a part-time dermatologist and 5 nurses.

The philosophy of the clinic has always been to offer honest advice, high quality services and affordable prices. The specialists here will never recommend a service that the client basically does not need, even if he or she really wants it.

Rejuvie’s most popular treatment is the Laser360. It is a combination of three different laser treatments that target your skin all the way through from the surface to deep down to stimulate collagen production. And as it has already been mentioned, this place has a reputation for being the best in botox treatments and filler injections.

The latest addition to the aesthetic menu at Rejuvie is called Sygmalift, a brand-new technology that offers laser facelifts without incisions or injections. This treatment has the added bonus of being completely pain free and having no downtime.

Rejuvie uses only internationally recognised cosmetic brands such as Teosyal and Allergan for their treatments. The clinic also offers skincare products by a very popular brand called Skin Medica, as well as more customised skincare products (predominantly for acne-prone skin) made by Rejuvie’s dermatologist.

The clinic’s professionals name different degrees of sun damage as the main concern of most of their patients. And though the most important skincare routine that anyone living in a tropical country should adopt is a regular application of sunblock, sometimes it is just not enough. The AFT laser targets this issue and reduces the damage from the sun and age spots. You can then top it up with a little bit of botox and filler.

AFT laser can be done monthly, botox every 3–4 months and fillers usually once every 1–1.5 years. In between these treatments, doctors of Rejuvie recommend microdermabrasion to keep your skin looking fresh.

Address: Pertokoan Plaza 18, Blok B-4, Jalan Dewi Sri, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 760084
Operating hours: Mon – Fri 10 am – 6 pm,  Sat 10 am – 3 pm, Sun 12 pm – 5 pm

 Aesthetics treatments in Bali: #5 Nano Philosophy

Nano Philosophy wellness clinic in Seminyak has a very specific approach to aesthetics and beauty. Specialists here address the cause of health imbalances and ageing rather than treating the symptoms.

Specialists here address the cause of health imbalances and ageing rather than treating the symptoms

All products and treatments are developed by Nano Philosophy’s founder Dr. Kennis Yam together with dedicated research teams in Japan and Europe. Dr. Yam has dedicated 22 years of her life to the beauty and aesthetics industry, studying intensively in New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Europe. Nano Philosophy currently has four clinics in Jakarta, one in Kuala Lumpur and one in Bali.

Reception and treatment room at Nano Philosophy Bali
Reception and treatment room at Nano Philosophy Bali

The clinic offers plant-based organic treatments using non-invasive, non-toxic aesthetic therapy, which achieves the desired results without surgery and without the use of toxic chemicals, providing healing from the inside out.

Nano Philosophy’s most revolutionary treatment is DNA therapy. In a nutshell, it repairs your DNA, turning back the clock on ageing and cellular damage. For this, the clinic’s researchers combined 2000 years of Chinese herbal expertise with Nobel Prize winning technology of Telomerase activation. It’s a powerful anti-ageing formula, in which high doses of Astragulus root extract are delivered into the bloodstream, bypassing the GI tract. DNA therapy has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties that restore cell function and turn back cellular ageing. It has an amazing effect on skin, hair and nails.

Another popular and very effective face treatment is Organic Superlift, an all-in-one facelift and anti-ageing treatment that combines two powerful rejuvenating agents to immediately tone and smooth the skin, protecting it against free radicals. It’s effective not only on the face but also for treating sagging skin on the arms, abdomen, legs and buttocks. It contains DMAE, which has the ability to reduce any pigmentation build-up and can tighten sagging skin. Another ingredient is Bambousa Arundinacea (Japanese bamboo), which in its turn provides strength, flexibility and resilience to collagen and elastin connective tissues.

Living in Bali, the air that we breathe and the water we use is not always as purified as it is in the West, and due to a certain level of pollution we are exposed to toxins. Calcified induced water here is prevalent. To keep our cells healthy and happy, Nano Philosophy strongly recommends Ozone therapy.

Ozone is supercharged oxygen, O3 instead of O2. The extra O molecule gives this method its remarkable medical properties, like increasing oxygenation of cells and reducing the levels of acidity in the body. Ozone kills bacteria and viruses and in general modulates your immune system. The clinic adds Ozone therapy to most of their treatment packages, which makes your body more receptive to the effects of aesthetic procedures and increases their effectiveness.

Address: Jalan Raya Basangkasa, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 739372
Operating hours: Mon – Sat 11 am – 6 pm

 Aesthetics treatments in Bali: #6 Rob Peetoom Hair Spa

We have talked a lot about skincare here, but a beauty look is not complete without shiny healthy hair. Sun, wind and salt water add their fair share of damage to your locks, and without proper treatment, you might soon sport a bunch of straw on your head. But this can be easily prevented with regular professional care.

Rob Peetoom hair Spa interior
Rob Peetoom Hair Spa

Rob Peetoom takes cream baths to the next level, upgrading it to a hair spa ritual status.

Their restorative treatments vary in duration from 15 minutes to an hour, and they are quite the luxury experience to indulge in. The salon works mostly on Kerastase products and before you start your session, you are invited to check the condition of your scalp and mane with the special Kerastase hair analyser.

This helps determine the products that are going to target your individual needs. Hair spa rituals are performed in an open-air section of the salon that overlooks a beautiful rice field, which definitely adds special charm to the whole process.

Open air hair spa ritual area
Open air hair spa ritual area

Rob Peetoom is the most reliable hair salon in Bali; you can trust their specialists with every aspect of hair care, be it a new haircut or a change of colour. The stylists are happy to offer their advice, taking into consideration your individuality, skin tone, face shape and the structure of your hair.

The salon also offers a brow service based on the ‘Golden Ratio’ technique of celebrity brow specialist Anastasia Soare, which aims to bring more balance to your face by choosing the right shape and colour for your eyebrows. It is much more than just tweezing and tinting; it involves careful measurements and analysis of your facial features and hair colour.

Aside from the above-mentioned treatments, you can get mani-pedis, waxing, massages and makeup services here. The space is beautifully designed and has a great atmosphere that will make you want to come back again and again.

Address: Jalan Petitenget No. 16, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 738363
Operating hours: daily 10 am – 8 pm

So, there you go. Now that you are armed with our ever-so-important info, and have all the essential beauty spots mapped out for you, you have the potential to live forever. Joking. No one lives forever, but everyone can look their best for an extremely long time with proper care and maintenance. Love yourself, spoil yourself and remember that in the modern world, age is just a number.

Planning your wedding in BaliI : tips on how to make the perfect day

With it’s relaxed atmosphere and dreamy landscapes, Bali is top on the list of the world’s best romantic destinations.  It is no surprise therefore, that many couples from all around the world select Bali as the number one choice to enjoy their ideal wedding. From stunning cliff top ceremonies to beachfront weddings on pure white sand beaches, Bali offers a huge variety of options for couples wishing to tie the knot.  weddingIt all sounds amazing right? But where do you even start to organise such an important event? Arranging a wedding in your own country is hard enough, but to organise it on a tropical island is mind boggling.  This is when a good wedding planner comes in very handy! Search ‘Bali Wedding’ on Google and you will find reams of companies that offer you ‘a wedding that will make your dreams come true’, but how do you even begin to select who you will trust enough to arrange your big day? It’s a tricky one, so we decided to get some tips from one of the most experienced wedding organisers in Bali, The Seven Agency.  They gave us a list of watch outs when selecting your dream team.



Check the level of experience of the company as whole and of the person who is helping you directly.  Experience counts for a lot when it comes to event organising and wedding planning in Bali.  The knowledge that comes from someone being based in Bali, who has already experienced every eventuality first hand, is priceless.  They can help to pre-empt most outcomes and give you informed advice based on real experience and direct feedback from previous clients.  Bali is a pretty laid back island and sometimes unpredictable when it comes to weather, climate and traffic so it is important to use a wedding planner that can help you to know what to expect and how to prepare for all possible outcomes.  It is also very useful to be aware of the cultural and religious ceremonies taking place so you can plan the date and the day accordingly.  Check websites for experience and see if you can find testimonials from other couples.  The Seven Agency has organised over 2,500 weddings in Bali over the past few years so they are a pretty good benchmark.

Good network of suppliers

Experience is one thing but if the planner has a weak network of contacts he is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.  So the next big thing to check is what kind of relationship they have with their suppliers.  How do they select their partners? Have they used them long? Do they have different vendors and partners that can accommodate your requirements? Check who they use for decorations, florists, catering providers, photographers and makeup artists.  Any wedding planner should be able to openly and honestly share information about who they are using for your big day so don’t be afraid to ask, the shouldn’t have anything to hide.  Look on the planner’s website for a page talking about their suppliers like this.


Do they speak your language?

Having a planner that takes the time to really understand you, your background, personality and most importantly, wants and desires for your big day, is as important as having the supplier and partners locally based and with an in-depth knowledge of all things Bali. So it is vital that the planner speaks your language, not only literally but culturally too.  A planner that understands and embraces your culture and traditions will make life a lot easier when you are explaining how you want things to flow on your big day.  Make sure that the team at the top convey the same expectation of high quality that you will need to ensure your day runs exactly how you planned.  

Who is behind the emails?

As well as checking who is at the top, you should also have a good idea of who you are dealing with day to day.  With some planners it might just be a small team of one or two people which may offer you a personalised service, but the quality of that service may fluctuate depending on how many weddings they have on their plate! If you can find an agency that offers a good balance between personal service and enough members of the team to ensure solid consistent delivery, then you have hit the jackpot. With one of the largest in-house teams in Bali, The Seven Agency also provides regular training so each member is highly motivated and genuinely wants you to enjoy not only your big day, which is clearly the most important day ever, but also the process of planning it.


Can they really give you what you want?

Every couple is unique and has their own individual take on what they want from their special day. So finding a planner who can provide you with a wide selection of options to choose from can help you to tailor make your big day so that it fits neatly with what you want (and have probably dreamed of since you were a little girl!). No one wants a cookie cutter wedding and you shouldn’t be pushed into an inflexible package that will leave you wanting.  This is your special day so don’t compromise! It is really useful to know what is available and what packages you can choose, but once you have your basic idea, your wedding planner should be able to style it according to your taste. Some planners even have in-house professional stylists who can really get in your head and bring to life your vision, pretty impressive! The Seven Agency provides several options for styling services that can really help you to simplify the process and make the daunting prospect of wedding planning fun.


Who else thinks they are good?

One of the most influential factors in a person’s decision making process when selecting goods and services are the reviews from people with first hand experience.  This has become such a powerful form of marketing that businesses can rise or crumble based on customer reviews alone.  Take some time to read all about the good, the bad and the ugly of your chosen planner so you have a balanced view of what to expect.  It is also worth checking to see if they have been selected by any big established brands to become an exclusive in-house wedding planner.  If a reputable brand name endorses the company you can feel pretty confident that they will deliver the goods. The Seven Agency is a good example of this, they were carefully selected from thousands of wedding planners worldwide to organise wedding events for Club Med’s direct clients and guests at their resorts in the Maldives and in Bali.  


Do they also offer Honeymoons?

Although not essential, it can make a difference if the planner also offers honeymoons, or is able to connect you with the right people to sort out your big romantic break.  The Seven Holiday is a sister company of The Seven Agency and it specialises in romantic journeys with the firm belief that honeymoons should be different from ordinary holidays.  And so they should! This is the beginning of a whole new life together so every moment should be sprinkled with romance.  They must have some extremely romantic people on their team because the unique packages that they craft for each lucky couple look divine!


There are so many things to consider when planning your wedding and honeymoon, it’s so much more than ‘just a day’ right? Look out for a planner that understands romance, with genuine experience and who recognises that every bride is utterly unique, therefore every wedding experience should be one of a kind.  Being offered an array of options packaged in a way that makes it easy to choose, by a team that speaks your language and understands your preferences because they take the time to get to know you, is what will make the process a whole lot easier.  And if the same supplier can also deal with your honeymoon, offering the same level of options, quality and special touches to your honeymoon, you can sit back and relax knowing you have all the boxes ticked .  What a way to begin your amazing journey together!

New Years in Bali 2016

The festivities don’t stop at New Year here… We have a select few of our favourites below starting 31st December and ending 4th January. Why not string out the party!

Da Maria

Ft. Guy Gerber (Rumours, Ibiza) Sneaky Sound System (Sydney).Icebergs iconic New Years Day party arrives in Bali for the very first time +3. Icebergs iconic New Years Day party arrives in Bali for the very first time +3. No Standing Only Dancing. A celebration of handcrafted Food + Drinks + Sounds. Wednesday 4th January 2017.

Tickets from

Da Maria Bali NYE

Potato Head Beach Club

31st December Potato Head Beach Club presents: NYE Tropical Fire Dance with Rudimental. Tickets at

If you are not dying from a hangover after New Years Eve, you can head along on Tuesday January 3rd they will be hosting the first instalment of Island Life Project. Featuring Diplo, the superstar DJ, producer & songwriter behind acts such as Major Lazer & grammy winning duo Jack Ü. Along side an elite lineup of the most coveted DJs in Los Angeles’ music sphere: KITTENS of Fools Gold, HONEY and Neo Fresco to name a few.

For more information and tickets, visit


Potato head NYE

An animal lover’s guide to Bali

So you’re not a big fan of the zoo, or seeing animals in cages, or hideous live animal shows, but you love to get up close and personal with creatures great and small? Well, you’re in luck; one thing Bali is not short of is an abundance of interesting wildlife.

Get your cute fix and experience Bali’s animal kingdom in a selection of open-air sanctuaries and wildlife parks.

Ubud Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud

Ubud Monkey Forest is perhaps the best-known monkey hang out due to its location on the fringe of Ubud’s main centre. Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, and by its official name, Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, Ubud Monkey Forest is not only home to over 300 grey-haired macaques, but also three holy temples that are sanctified by the local villagers.

Ubud Monkey Forest boasts over 115 different species of trees, unraveling stone pathways, a bevy of beautiful statues covered in moss and tangles upon tangles of dense green jungle.

In addition to being a natural tourist attraction, The Ubud Monkey Forest is also a place of scientific research and conservation and is overseen by Padangtegal village.

Other monkey inhabited spaces include the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest in Tabanan and the Uluwatu Monkey Forest. The Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest is located in the village of Kutuh, about 25km northeast of Denpasar. This small 12-hectare forest is home to hundreds of grey long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and is regarded as the island’s ‘other monkey forest’ after the most prominent and often visited Ubud Monkey Forest.

This is probably due to the fact that Kedaton is located further off the beaten track than the assessable Ubud Monkey Forest. Then there is the Uluwatu Monkey Forest that is perched on stunning white cliffs, has a backdrop of blue sea and features the Uluwatu Temple.


Remember that although wild monkeys are fascinating and cute beyond words, they are still, in fact, wild animals. It’s best to enjoy these long-tailed creatures at a comfortable distance in their natural habitat, as actively seeking out their attention can have interesting and often unexpected results i.e. they are lightening quick, have sharp claws and know that most humans carry a few treats on them in the park.

As tempting as the thrill of feeding the monkeys may be, try not to purchase the peanuts and bananas sold at vendor stands; dependence on tourist hand-outs disrupts their natural feeding cycle and tends to impact their health. Yep, living on a diet of peanuts and bananas is just as bad for monkeys as it would be for humans.

animal lover's guide to Bali

Even if it was good for their health, feeding the monkeys doesn’t always turn out as planned. You may be eyeing off that cute baby monkey to offer some peanuts to, but chances are the little one isn’t going to get anything, and the more rotund and angry monkey will step in for first dibs. You seriously don’t want to get in the way of the older generation either.

The macaques are also not shy about grabbing food from your hand, or grabbing your bag to take a peak at what’s inside. The saying ‘cheeky monkey’ didn’t come from nowhere. They are the animal kingdom’s answer to pick-pockets and are as cunning as they are cute.

Ubud Monkey Forest (Sacred Monkey Forest)
Address: Jalan Wenara Wana, Ubud, Bali
Phone: +62 361 971304

Uluwatu Monkey Forest
Address: Jalan Uluwatu, Bukit Peninsula, Bali

Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest
Address: Jalan Kapten Tendean, Tabanan, Bali

animal lover's guide to Bali

Bird Village of Petulu

At around 5:30 every evening, flocks upon flocks of Kokokan birds (herons) fly from all over the Bali island to congregate in the small town of Petulu.

What is fascinating about this occurrence is the sheer number of birds that bunk down for the night in Petulu. The village is relatively small, so there is usually over 100 birds camped out in each tree, testing the strength of their often fragile branches. Talk about high-density, high-rise living. Space here is definitely at a premium.

The villagers believe that the birds are their supernatural guardians, and hold a special ritual once every six months to honour them, expressing their gratitude in having Petula as the place the birds lay eggs and raise their young before the birds migrate in July and August.  There is a bit of mystery surrounding why the herons turned up in 1965 and have come back every evening since. It is said that the herons are the reincarnation of thousands of Balinese who were killed during the anticommunist massacre in Indonesia in 1965 and 1966.

After the riots in the village, people held a ceremony in Petulu to remember the slain and to protect the survivors. Shortly after the ceremony the birds arrived in the village, and have made a daily ritual of flying in to spend the night in Petulu ever since. Naturally, the villagers believe these birds, the spirits of their ancestors, also bring them a bounty of good-luck.

Petulu is near the Ubud botanic gardens, Kutuh Kaja, so combining a day trip that includes both will provide you with an ample fix of Bali nature and wildlife.

animal lover's Bali

Bali Bird Park

Welcome to Bali Bird Park, where 1000 birds from 250 species frolic around 2 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens.

Located in the Batubulan stone carving village, the Bali Bird Park is a popular day trip and is close to Kuta, Sanur and Ubud.

The park has a number of walk-through aviaries and is a safe haven for numerous rare or endangered species such as the cendrawasih (birds of paradise) from West Papua and the Leucopsar rothschildi (Bali starling).

The park is divided into different areas that aim to recreate the natural habitats of foreign birds, such as those from Latin America, South Africa and Australia.

There is a nocturnal owl house in a specially-adapted traditional Toraja house, as well as informative shows and scheduled feeding times where you can get up close and personal such as by feeding a pelican or holding a macaw. Some birds are in cages, where as others roam about the grounds or sit high in the trees.

A perfect day trip for bird lovers.

AddressJl. Serma Cok Ngurah Gambir, Singapadu, BatubulanBaliIndonesia

animal lover's Bali

Rimba Reptile Park

Located adjacent to the Bali Bird Park, Rimba Reptile Park is for those who prefer their animals footloose and feather free. The park houses around 20 different species of reptiles and over 181 specimens of reptiles and amphibians.

There’s a 1.5 metre Komodo dragon as well as crocodiles, flying lizards, iguanas, frogs and geckos.

The park has an impressively scary collection of venomous snakes including the cobra, tapian and mamba as well as an 8-metre reticulated python and an albino Burmese python. There’s a 1.5 metre Komodo dragon as well as crocodiles, flying lizards, iguanas, frogs and geckos.  An assortment of cold-blooded creatures sun themselves on the rocks of different enclosures that are filled with lily ponds, waterfalls and Balinese plant life.

There is also a large canopied courtyard to sit back in and spot critters in the overhanging trees above. This park won’t be for everyone, particularily if your not a fan of snakes and things that bite.

Address:  Jalan Cok Ngurah Gambir, Singapadu, Batubulan, Bali

Bali Safari and Marine Park, East Bali

The Bali Safari and Marine Park is the kind of place you would pester your parents to take you to when you were a kid. Although it’s located in Bali, don’t expect to find a whole lot of native Balinese inhabitants as it is filled mostly with tourist attracting animals from around the world. Here, you will find over 60 species of animals such as lions, tigers, meerkats, porcupines and the Bali Mynah, a bird that is native to Bali.

There are camel rides as well as a large open air exhibit, restaurants, live shows at the theatre and even a night safari. Basically, this is a great place to take the kids but may not be what you are after if you are looking for a more authentic Bali experience. In saying that, the park provides both education for visitors and conservation efforts, so for that we give it the official thumbs up. It is a member of the CBSG (Conservations Breeding Specialist Group) and is involved in the conservation and release of the Bali Mynah, the Sumatran Elephant and the Sumatran Tiger.

Address: Jl Prof Ida Bagus Mantra Km, 19.8, Bali 80551, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 751 300

animal lover's guide

Turtle Conservation and Education Centre, Pulau Serangan

Turtles are a bit of a contentious issue in Bali. Traditionally eaten as a delicacy, green turtles have long been captured and killed in Bali. Now, however, with the turtle population rapidly dwindling due to hunting and over development, there is a conservation effort taking place in Bali. It aims to educate locals about how turtles are better off in the sea than on their dinner plate, part of a religious ceremony or sold as a tourist trinket.

The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) is a small compound that provides a protected space for turtle eggs to hatch and for baby turtles to return to the sea. It also houses a number of specialised tiled tanks for larger injured turtles to recover from abuse or illness. It was opened in 2006 by the governor of Bali, Mr Dewa Barata, as part of a strategy to eradicate illegal turtle trading and to empower locals to help through garnering awareness and providing education.

The TCEC is free to visit, but donations are encouraged and should be given based on the importance and dedication of the project and its staff. The centre is run by friendly locals who are only too happy to share some information with you about the turtles in their care.


Beware of fake ‘Turtle Parks’ that are not part of the TCEC. Check with your hotel to make sure you are visiting the real one if you are not sure, as some of the imitations can be a heart breaking experience as they are more about getting money from tourists than giving a hoot about turtles.

Learn more about the TCEC through WWF Indonesia

Address: Jalan Tukad Wisata No 4 Serangan
Phone: +62 361 857 7881

animal lovers bali

Bali Butterfly Park (Taman Kupu Kupu), Tabanan

Billed as being ‘the largest butterfly park in Asia’, the Bali Butterfly park, or Taman Kupa Kupa, is your chance to see hundreds of butterflies from the 15 known species that thrive in Indonesia, as well as various other insects and arachnids such as beetles, stick and leaf insects, and the less-friendly varieties such as scorpions and spiders.

The park preserves several endangered species in its collection such as the Bali peacock (Papilio peranthus) and the paradise birdwing (Ornithoptera paradisea) and it also functions as a research centre. It’s best to visit in the early and mid-morning when the butterflies are at their most active. You don’t have to be an entomologist to enjoy this park, it’s a magical place for both big kids and small kids alike. There is a massive sign outside the park, so it’s not hard to miss.

Address: Jl. Batukaru, Banjar Sandan Lebah, Wanasari Village, Tabanan
Phone: +62 361 814 282

animal lover's guide Bali

Gili Meno bird park and turtle sanctuary

After you have exhausted the animal lover’s circuit on the main land, it is well worth taking a boat ride to Gili Meno. One of the three Gili islands, Gili Meno is renowned for its chilled out vibe and breathtaking natural surrounds. The beach literally looks like the kind of remote island paradise you would see in movies about shipwrecks, which is probably why it is often described as offering a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ experience. In the centre of the island you will find the the Gili Meno bird park. The park is home to over 300 birds such as hornbills, eagles, pelicans, parrots, peafowls, macaws and more. There has been a bit of negativity in the past about the park’s conditions, but management seems to be taking heed and the aviaries are being rapidly upgraded. As with all upgrades – particularly on Indonesia’s smaller islands where everything is transported by boat – things understandably take time.

If birds aren’t your jam, then there’s a turtle sanctuary on Gili Meno as well. Bolong Turtle Sanctuary is a community run safe haven founded by its namesake (local innovator Bolong) for green sea turtles and Loggerhead Turtles to lay their eggs away from the threat of predators (both human and from the animal kingdom).

As with the TCEC, the sanctuary also nurtures sick and injured turtles and gives baby turtles the chance to thrive. The hatchery relies on donations and has made a noticeable difference to the local turtle population. You can see for yourself by having a snorkel or dive nearby! Gili Meno a popular destination for diving enthusiasts due to its crystal clear waters and abundant marine life.

Address: Jl.Pelabuhan Gili Meno – Lombok barat, Gili Meno
Phone: +62 81 339 599644

Places an animal lover should not visit however:

Elephant Safari Park

Elephant ride is cruel.

This kind of animal should never be promoted as people who don’t know anything about this topic could think that this is a nice thing to do with elephants. However these elephants have been terribly abused in order to ‘tame’ them (they will always be wild elephants and therefore always dangerous).

If you’re not convinced that elephant rides are cruel you can check out this site:

Best restaurants in Seminyak: a complete guide to fine dining

So you moved to a tropical island paradise away from the city life. You happily slipped your feet into a pair of Havaianas, tucked your makeup bag in the farthest corner of your wardrobe, and planned to enjoy wearing a torn t-shirt, eating street food and drinking Bintangs for the rest of eternity. But to your surprise, you started to miss all that glam and champagne much faster than you expected.

Luckily, Bali is the island of contrasts, and the posh part of island life is as well developed as the budget one. So put on those high heels and red lipstick, dress up your date in a nice collared shirt and go dine in style!

Welcome to part two of our guide to the best restaurants in Seminyak.

Teatro Gastroteque – a gastronomic experience for a special occasion

It is quite challenging to write about Teatro Gastroteque  it’s a case of the Chinese proverb “when hearing about it 100 times is not as good as seeing (or tasting) it once”.

A purely Indonesian venture, Teatro is headed by Chef Mandif M. Warokka who has an impressive collection of work experience under his belt, as well as several gold and silver awards from prestigious competitions through Indonesia and the Middle East.

This is a very small restaurant, sitting only 25 guests – making it all the more possible to enjoy the gastronomic theatre, where the open kitchen is the stage, the chef and cooks are the actors and the main star of the show is, of course, the cuisine.

The decor is modest but tasteful: dark wood, granite and velvet, red and dark grey tones and dim lighting with flickering candles. Teatro Gastroteque’s warm atmosphere allows diners to easily focus on the exquisite dining experience.

Teatro food
An artful presentation of food in Teatro

Chef Mandif is very passionate about fine dining cuisine; in all of his dishes he is addressing your taste buds rather than your stomach, choosing a flavour adventure over the feeling of fullness.

The menu is an Asian-European fusion that some consider worthy of Michelin stars. Teatro’s signature experience is the degustation menu involving a minimum of 3 courses, which actually gets served up as 6 to 7 dishes including the aperitif. The other options are a substantial 5 or 7 course Discovery Menu and Chef’s Degustation Menu, which include up to 15 dishes.

The food is prepared with about 90% local produce and served beautifully in fancy plates made here on the island.

The menu changes regularly depending on the availability of ingredients  – Teatro always serves what is in season and at its best. Being a fine dining restaurant of such quality and passion, Teatro Gastroteque is heavily focused on wine pairing, so the wine selection is very broad here, showcasing both old and new world. They also have a variety of Martinis for the aperitif.

Tetro Gastroteque is a restaurant to dine at on very special occasions and heaven for adventurous foodies.

Get ready for an exquisite experience – your dinner might last up to 3 hours, leading to the feeling of gourmet satisfaction without the ghastly food coma.

Address: Jalan Kayu Aya, Blok C No. 1-2, Seminyak, Bali,80361, Indonesia.
Phone: +62361 8700078
Operating hours: Tue-Sun 6pm – 11pm.

Bambu – authentically Indonesian

Bambu is a new kid on Petitenget’s fine dining block, located right next to Hu’u Bar and opposite Salty Seagull. The way Bambu tells it, there is no main mastermind behind this lovely restaurant, it is a group accomplishment and they don’t believe in singling out any one individual – even the owners prefer to remain out of the spotlight.

 Bambu was created in homage to all things we love about Indonesia.

The idea was to create something respectful to the place that Bambu’s creators have chosen to call home for the last 20 years; an idea that has been executed without fault. The architecture, the textiles, the graciousness of the people, the superbly handcrafted materials, and of course, the varied cuisines all hailing from various islands within the archipelago.

The receptionists, all dressed in crisp white outfits, will greet you at the entrance and show you to your table. You will take a few steps across the koi pond, immediately finding yourself in a tranquil environment, very different from the busy world outside on the street. The design of the venue is reminiscent of a traditional joglo pavilion, with modern touches such as eggshell coloured floors and carved wooden screens.


Bambu’s menu was created based on extensive travel and research throughout various parts of Indonesia. Whilst the presentation of the food is more on the exquisite side, the recipes and history of each dish remains true to their roots. The owners like to think of the food here as ‘inspired village cuisine’ or ‘upscale warung’. If the cuisine is supposed to be spicy, it is SPICY – no ‘bule’ discounts here. If you can’t take sambal like a local, be sure to inform your waiter.

The team of staff are immensely knowledgeable on the origins of each dish on the menu, guiding diners through the selections if they need some help. We especially love their dessert menu boasting dishes like green pandan crepes wrapped around coconut and palm sugar and black rice pudding balls.

Bambu’s chefs are currently putting together some sharing menus that will be suitable for larger groups. At the moment, the table sizes are limited to a maximum of 8 people to ensure the best quality service and food for everyone.

Just like the food, the drinks here are also inspired by herbs, spices and tradition. Many of the classic elements found in the bumbu (spice pastes) are used to enhance the flavour of the cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages made in-house.

With rotating menu items to keep things fresh, this is one restaurant to keep coming back to again and again.

Address: Jl. Petitenget no. 198, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone number: +62 361 8469797
Operating hours: 6pm – Midnight.

Urchin Grill & Raw Bar – one for the seafood lovers.

Located in a boutique colonial hotel, this place is minimalistic, unpretentious and brilliant in its simplicity. Urchin Grill & Raw Bar is about seafood, gin and good times.

The centrepiece of the dining room is an open plan kitchen, where you can witness the freshest ingredients turning into a savoury dish that will please your senses. Culinary maestro chef Steven Skelly has an impressive twenty years of professional experience and is renowned for his great talents in the kitchen.

Open plan kitchen at Urchin
Open plan kitchen at Urchin

Surprisingly enough, Urchin’s customers have been raving about the bread. A small but important detail that so many restaurants fail to pay attention to, this meticulous point of difference sets the standard for the rest of the menu and the level of service.

The “raw” section of the menu does not consist of any superfood magic grass, as the word might suggest in Ubud. Rather, you can expect the likes of Tartar and Carpaccio or Sashimi and Urchin Maki – a gleefully fancy affair.

There are also various dishes to choose from involving grilled and roasted fish. For the incorrigible carnivores there is suckling pig, oxtail soup and of course, steak. All the classics for the meat aficionados.

Individual cones of tartar
Individual cones of tartar

Try a small morsel of everything by ordering a tasting menu, which you can also pair with beverages or wine. The specialty of Urchin’s bar is gin; there are nine different blends presented on the menu and almost as many gin-based cocktails. And to top it all off they make their own tonic water! This idea goes straight into the “attention to details” folder, filed neatly alongside the incredible bread.

Digestives are dotted near the desserts menu, right after tea and coffee. After all, strawberry and guava soufflé might taste better accompanied with a cognac rather than a cappuccino.

When it comes to the vibe, the owners themselves refer to it as fun dining rather than fine dining. No candlelit rooms, fancy views or chandeliers. Just top quality seafood cooked in various imaginative ways.

Address: Jl. Laksmana no. 22, Seminyak, Bali 80361 Indonesia
Phone number: +62 361 736 319/+62 361 732 413/+62 361 904 2000
Operating hours: 3pm – Midnight.

Sardine – from Bali with love

Fresh seafood, organic produce, open spaces, a beautiful view and good service. If we had to give you a brief description of what Sardine is all about, that would pretty much sum it up. Or perhaps in a more poetic way, “Cuisine Du Soleil”.

Sardine is hidden behind a stonewall adorned with rice farmer hats, right before Lio Square on one of the most traffic dense spots in Seminyak.

Entering through the gates and stepping through an unassuming partition feels like walking through a wormhole; the peaceful countryside style view is quite contradictory to the hustle and bustle that is left behind. What you find is a little oasis with a tasteful layout and carefully detailed décor. The entire restaurant, right down to the colour scheme, is designed for rest and relaxation.

The feature material, bamboo, has been used to create a unique and contemporary yet warm and inviting architecture with “Bali soul”. The corners of the premises are surrounded by thriving bamboo overlooking stunning rice fields and a large barong head honours the wall next to the entrance.

Stunning rice fields view infront of sardine
Stunning rice fields view infront of sardine

Sardine works mainly with local produce such as organic vegetables from Batu Riti gardens or fresh fish and seafood from the markets, avoiding imported produce as much as possible.

Although the menu is predominantly seafood, some meat and poultry dishes are also present. The dinner menu changes daily due to the availability of produce or what is in season and the lunch menu changes weekly.

The must tries of the house? Start with the Banyuwangi scallops on the half shell with Asian salsa, or the smoked sardines with Bedugul potato salad, crème fraiche, lemon and chives. For the main affair, devour the barramundi steamed in banana leaf with ginger, the grilled whole fish “Jimbaran style” with sambal matah or the pan seared diver scallops with mushroom ravioli and parsley-truffle emulsion. Whichever dessert you choose, consume it at the table next to the rice paddy – this will add an extra sweet taste to your experience.

Grilled Sardines
Grilled Sardines

A cozy bar offers a small selection of tasty dishes as well as a choice of exotic drinks like coconut martinis, raspberry mojitos, passion fruit daiquiris and bloody marys with a celery stalk and a king prawn.

Sardine is the perfect environment for cozy drinks or a romantic dinner as behind it all, there is a love story, which extends into a passionate and gastronomic affair with the Island of the Gods. Everything here really is made with love.

Address: Jl. Petitenget no. 21, Kerobokan, Bali 80361 Indonesia
Phone number: +628113978111 / +628113978333.
Operating hours: 11.30 am – 1 am.

So, there you go. You know where to turn your footsteps for Bali’s food best. When you feel like having that classy dressed up outing, sipping wine and enjoying gourmet dining. Fill up your Bali “to-do” list with our hints and recommendations and get your stomach ready for some serious gluttony and overeating.

You have been informed. You have been warned.

Still craving more culinary creations? Check out part one of our guide to the best fine dining restaurants in Seminyak.

Getting a Bali visa: everything you need to know

About 85% of all legal problems for travellers in Bali are the result of a visa issue. Bali may be a relaxing and intoxicating holiday destination, but when it comes to the business of visas, there are rules and regulations in place.

Bali visas are most definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of deal. So rather than being caught out in customs or deported, it’s much easier to spend a little time getting visa savvy.

Read on for everything you need to know about getting a Bali visa, but were too afraid/ lazy/ busy or disinterested to ask.

Travel tip:

Indonesian visa protocols and requirements are subject to change, so its always a good idea to check with the Indonesian embassy or consulate, as failure to meet the requirements will purchase you a swift ticket back home.

And it doesn’t hurt to see what the custom regulations are either.

Do I need a visa for Bali?

Hells yes! Unless you are a foreign national from a few select countries, you will need an Indonesian visa to enter Bali.

According to Directorate General of Immigration Indonesia, citizens from the following regions can enter Indonesia visa free for short visits of up to 30 days.

  • Brunei, Darussalam
  • Cambodia
  • Chile
  • Ecuador
  • Hong Kong SAR
  • Laos
  • Macau SAR
  • Malaysia
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

There is talk of China, Russia, Australia, South Korea and Japan being added to the list, but as yet this has not been finalised.

What type of Indonesian visa do I need?

What type of Indonesian visa you require depends on the nature of your trip.

If you are going for a quick holiday break, then a Visa On Arrival (VOA) is the one for you, whereas if you are planning on studying, have a work-related business trip or want to relocate permanently, you will need to plan your visa before booking your plane ticket.

Below is a breakdown of the different types of Indonesian visas on offer and what they require from your sweet self.

Visa on Arrival example

Visa On Arrival (VOA)

If you have your heart set on a relatively short Balinese getaway, filled with breathtaking beaches, exotic wildlife and unique culture, then a 30-day single entry VOA is for you.

The ever-popular VOA is available to over 60 nationalities and doesn’t require you to run around before your trip dealing with pesky paperwork.

There are usually no issues getting a VOA, other than having to queue up to get one after a long flight when all you want to do is throw your bags down and get to the beach. There are a few requirements to keep in mind, however, in order to make sure your journey through customs is a fuss-free one.

  • Make sure your passport is valid for another six months – minimum.
  • Have your immigration/arrival card filled out and ready to go.
  • Have a print out of your confirmed flight out of the country handy. You rarely get asked for it, but it’s good to have one on hand just in case, as the more time you spend with airport customs, the less time you have to get your holiday on.
  • You will need to front up US$35 during processing to enter the country. Yes, it was US$25, but things change. Having the right change in USD, AUD or EUR dollars will prove to be the most efficient option for you. If you require masses of change it will be handed to you in IDR.
  • If you are sporting a derelict chic get-up or working a particularly scruffy look, it’s not unheard of to be asked for a copy of a bank statement or something that proves you can actually afford your holiday. To avoid this, do yourself a favour and run a comb through your hair, wear some shoes and make yourself look semi-presentable for the nice customs officials. Or, if no one is intervening with your sense of style – bring a copy of your bank statement.

A quiet word on your arrival and departure card

Let’s go back a bit and get acquainted with your necessary (but quite frankly annoying to fill out) arrival and departure card. You will receive this official bit of cardboard while you are on the plane.

You probably won’t feel like filling it out when you receive it from your smiling flight attendant.

You will most likely be a) watching a movie b) enjoying a mid-flight nap c) just too irritated by flying to fill in a form. But it’s better to do it before you land. On filling out said card you will probably have to have a rustle about in your bag for your passport details, flight details and the address of where you will be saying in Indonesia (you don’t need to go overboard with the location, a hotel name and city is enough).

Keeping these details written down and accessible will be easier than having to get up off your uncomfortable plane seat and crawl over strangers to get to your overhead luggage. Filling it out while on the plane also means you can benefit from the conveniently placed fold-down tray attached to the seat in front of you, rather than using your cocked up knee or friends bent back whilst in the customs queue.

Make sure you sign the card at the bottom of the second page.

You will also be given a tax card. All you need to do here is tick “no”, unless you need to declare something or are swag enough to be carrying over US$10,000 with you.

Sadly, most of us don’t seem to have this issue. Sigh. Keep the departure card for later when, you guessed it, you will be leaving fair Bali. Fill it out if you are on an administrative roll or tuck it in with your passport to get around to later. The customs officers will collect the card when you exit through customs.

Arrival card Indonesia

 card arrival


Don’t be a damn fool and bring the following things into the country – as you might have guessed by now, immigration officials in Bali don’t take too kindly to contraband, with the most serious consequence being the death penalty:

  • any more than 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 100 grams of sliced tobacco per passenger
  • any more than one litre of alcohol per adult passenger
  • any more than Rp 100,000,000 (or equivalent in other currencies)
  • fire arms, knives, explosives or any weapons of mass destruction


You will need to pay a departure tax when leaving in IDR. The amount varies from airport to airport, but expect to pay about 200,000 IDR from Bali (Ngurah Rai) International airport.

Visa policy of Indonesia

Countries eligible for Visa on Arrival are:

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Algeria
  5. Bahrain
  6. Belgium
  7. Brazil
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Cambodia
  11. Canada
  12. Cyprus
  13. China
  14. Denmark
  15. Estonia
  16. Egypt
  17. Fiji
  18. Finland
  19. France
  20. Germany
  21. Greece
  22. Hungary
  23. India
  24. Iceland
  25. Iran
  26. Ireland
  27. Italy
  28. Japan
  29. Kuwait
  30. Laos
  31. Latvia
  32. Libya
  33. Lithuania
  34. Liechtenstein
  35. Luxembourg
  36. Maldives
  37. Malta
  38. Mexico
  39. Monaco
  40. New Zealand
  41. Netherlands
  42. Norway
  43. Oman
  44. Panama
  45. Poland
  46. Portugal
  47. Qatar
  48. Romania
  49. Russia
  50. Saudi Arabia
  51. Slovak Republic
  52. Slovenia
  53. Spain
  54. South Africa
  55. South Korea
  56. Suriname
  57. Sweden
  58. Switzerland
  59. Taiwan, PRC
  60. Tunisia
  61. Timor Leste
  62. Uni Arab Emirates
  63. United Kingdom (British)
  64. United States of America

What happens if I stay longer than 30 days?

Heed the fact that your VOA is only valid for 30 days – counted from the day of your arrival.

If you overstay your welcome, you will have to pay a penalty of about US$20 per day. If you REALLY overstay your welcome and keep living it up for another few sneaky weeks, you could face jail time.

There is a bit of a leeway if you overstay for three days or less, as lots of tourists automatically think of 30 days as a month and discard the fact that some months of the year have 31 days instead of 30. Whoops!

If you seriously don’t want to go home (who could blame you?), it is possible to extend a VOA for another 30 days from within Bali. You will need to consult a local visa/travel agent, which will cost you around US$50. Once your 60 days are up, it will be time to leave the country.


Airport Denpasar, Bali.

Other types of Indonesian visas (Visa in Advance)

If you want to stay more than 30 days or have something more lengthy in mind like starting a business or visiting family, you will need to apply for a visa in advance – as in before you leave for Bali. For this, you will need to apply through an Indonesian Embassy and/or Consulate in your home country.

You can apply for a visa in advance yourself, but it is significantly easier to get the help of a professional travel/ visa agent who knows exactly what to do and how to streamline the process a bit. If things get a bit messy, then you also have the added benefit of blaming someone else.

Tourist Visa

A Tourist Visa lasts up to 60 days and is perfect if you are planning some in-depth island hopping and want to go at your own relaxed pace. For this visa, you will need your passport to be valid for at least another six months and three blank pages left on your passport. No biggie.

Social/ Cultural Visa

If you have a decent reason for staying longer such as studying, visiting relatives or taking part in a foreign exchange program, you can apply for a Social/Cultural Visa. For this, you will need a valid passport and passport photo.

You will also need to obtain an application form from an Indonesian embassy or consulate, and a letter of introduction or promise of sponsorship from a trustworthy person or school in Indonesia. The visa is valid for 60 days, but it can be extended for one month at a time at an Indonesian immigration office for a period of up to six months. Expect some application and visa extension fees. Well worth it.

Business Visa

If you are visiting Bali for work (e.g. a conference or seminar), you can get a 60-day Single Entry Business Visa. If you need to extend your stay, you will need to pay a visit to the local immigration authorities or a visa agent. There is also the option of a Multiple Entry Business Visa that is valid for up to 12 months.

A Business Visa means that you will not be taking up employment in Indonesia, but are visiting for business purposes such as to meet overseas business partners etc. For a Business Visa, you will need to have a passport with at least six months left on it, a passport photograph, a completed visa application form and evidence that you have enough funds to cover the cost of your stay in Indonesia (usually in the form of a bank statement). You will also need two supporting letters that outline the nitty-gritty of your visit, one from your place of work and one from your guarantor in Indonesia.

Employment Visa / KITAS

An Employment Visa is for foreigners who will be employed while in Indonesia. For this, you will need to be sponsored by a company or organisation in Indonesia. This is sometimes referred to as a Temporary Stay Permit or KITAS, and is great for those seeking an extended work-play-stay visit to Indonesia.

Retirement Visa

If you are over 55 years old and looking to spend your twilight years amongst the tropical vistas of Bali, you can get yourself a renewable five-year visa. For this, your passport will need to be valid for at least 18 months and certain insurance standards such as financial capability will need to be proven.

60 Day Tourist Visa ‘211’

It seems many people don’t know about the 60-day tourist visa called “the 211” or “B-211 Tourist Visit Visa”. It can be obtained in embassies and consulates, and is also extendable for up to 6 months (costing about 550k for each month over the 60 days). It is effectively the same as the social visa, but much cheaper in comparison (costing about $50AUD, and there are usually no agent fees). Processing time varies from country to country and this option in particular seems to be quite elusive – it’s worth doing your own investigations.

211 Visa Bali
211 Visa Bali

And then there’s the Visa Run …

A long-time favourite jaunt for expats in Bali, a visa run is a quick return trip to a neighbouring country. This run is usually done on the day their Indonesian visa is set to expire (or in a couple of days before), with most popping across to Singapore in order to reset the visa clock and extend a stay.

Singapore is popular for a visa run as the Indonesian embassy in Singers is known to be quick and efficient. The visas take three days to process, but you can pay extra for an ‘express service’ and secure a new visa in the one day.

NOTE: The jig might be up for this beloved form of immigration exploitation however, with Thailand immigration officials declaring there will be no more visa runs in and out of Thailand from August 13, 2014. At this stage, there hasn’t been a crack down on Bali, but it’s good to keep in mind if this is something you’re interested in doing.

Travel tip: The Indonesian Embassy is an official organisation and has a dress code. Don’t be caught out wearing short shorts, singlet tops, sandals or anything that you would wear day-to-day in Bali. The embassy has standards people!

Good news for Australian travellers

The Indonesian Government has announced that it will cut its US$35 visa entry fee for Australian nationals from January 1 next year.

Indonesia is undoubtedly a popular holiday destination for Australians, with more than 704,000 Australian travellers visiting Indonesia between the start of 2014 and the end of August, according to recent Indonesian immigration figures.

There are even suggestions that a million Australians will visit by mid-December. So we can consider this a thank you for Australian’s dedicated Bali loving. Big yay!

Indonesian Embassy Singapore
No. 7 Chatsworth RoadSingapore 249761
Tel. (65) 6737 7422
Fax. (65) 6737 5037 / 6235 5783

If you want to extend your 30 day VOA for another 30 days, or run into any issues while in Bali, there are a number of places you can visit that will help you out for a fee.

Bali Expat Services
Jl. Kunti I No. 12, Seminyak, Bali.
Phone: +62 361 733744
Fax: +62 361 733744

If you want to DIY and extend your visa in Bali, there are two immigration offices in Bali. Even though ‘Bali time’ applies, it’s best to rock up at the office between 9am and 12pm. And don’t wear what you were wearing at the beach.

Immigration offices in Bali

Ngurah Rai International Airport
Jl. Ngurah Rai, Kuta.
Tel: (0361) 751038

Denpasar Immigration Office
Jl. Surapati 7, (in the Renon Complex), Niti Mandala, Denpasar.
Phone: (0361) 227828.

For anything else, you can also visit the friendly crew at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Pejambon No.6. Jakarta Pusat, 10110, Indonesia
Telephone: (+62 21) 344 15 08

Tenganan: home of Bali’s rarest textiles

How many visitors leave Bali without picking up at least one piece of locally crafted textile, usually a sarong? Even if you are a first time visitor, you can pick up one of Bali’s rarest textiles if you know where to look.

Most people are familiar with batik, a method of painting a design onto cloth with wax before dying it. The dye colours everything but the part under the wax, creating a unique, handcrafted print. And most people have probably seen an ikat sarong, produced by tie dying the warp threads that run the length of the cloth, before weaving them with weft threads of a single colour.

Unique hand crafted textiles made nowhere else in Indonesia

Double ikat weaving is much more difficult, making it one of Bali’s rarest textiles. The weaver tie dyes both the warp and weft threads before weaving them together. This requires exquisite tension control. If you want to see – and buy – double ikat, then you need to visit the people in a small village in south east Bali called Tenganan. This is the only place in Indonesia where double ikat is made.

A very traditional Tenganan house

Getting to Tenganan

Tenganan is one of very few villages in Bali that has never submitted to Hindu rulers from Java. Described by a 1930s writer as “rabidly conservative”, the Tengananis have never become part of the Hindu caste system, and continue to follow their own centuries-old aboriginal customs.

To get to Tenganan, you pass through Candidasa and head north along a 4km dirt road. Travelling mostly through jungle, you come to a village with a curious entrance, like a box office in an outdoor cinema, blocking off part of the quiet street behind it. Outside the box office you will see two or three men sitting on chairs, each waiting for his turn to greet a visitor.

He has just picked the cotton from an overhead branch.

A courteous, softly-spoken man in traditional dress immediately offers to take you to his home, but there is no hurry. In near perfect English, Nengah Dika invites you to turn right and stroll slowly past the house at the end of the street. The building looks very old, with walls made of stones cemented together with mud rather than mortar. He stops beneath a cotton tree and picks a little cotton to show you how easy it is to spin the long fibres into a short thread.

The main street – almost overgrown with grass

There is none of the hustle and bustle common to other tourist destinations. Past the next house, you turn left again into what he tells you is Tenganan’s main street. Hardly anyone is in sight, and it is party overgrown with grass. An open shed on the corner has two wood-and-bamboo bins labelled “leaf litter” and “plastic waste” in Indonesian.

There are several temples further down the street, where it is almost covered by grass.

He takes you past several temples, and tells you how the Australian government sent engineers to repair one of the temples after a recent earthquake (with concrete, not mud). They also supplied a deep underground bore and a water tower to provide a reliable water supply. If you are Australian, he thanks you for this.

If you are an Australian “in the know” you may also see the recycling bins as a condition of the aid, like the anti-smoking signs displayed at events sponsored by tobacco taxes.

Bamboo recycling bins.

Despite these occasional modern touches, the place has a timeless feel. He explains how the village grew so large they decided to divide it into two banjars, or wards, “only two or three hundred years ago”.

The Bali Agas – fiercely independent

Nengah Dika tells a little more about his people, the Bali Agas. These were the first people to settle in Bali, more than a thousand years ago, and the island still has a few Bali Aga villages that remain fiercely independent. “We have never been in conflict with each other,” he says, although clearly they were ready to defend themselves against the Majapahit soldiers who took over most of the island in the 14th Century.

Visiting a Tenganan weaver at home

After this leisurely history lesson, you arrive at his house. He takes you straight through the outer compound, hung with brightly coloured banners, to the main building where you meet his young wife, Ni Luh Suryati. And of course, her double ikat weavings, which are continuous loops of cloth in three or four colours: unbleached cotton, yellow, dark blue and red.

A traditional Bali Aga home.

Making Bali’s rarest textile treasures takes about a year

Ni Luh explains the double ikat process – without, of course, giving away any of the trade secrets needed to produce Bali’s rarest textiles. First, the cotton has to be picked and impurities such as seeds and husk fragments combed out before spinning. She then begins tie dyeing the warp and weft threads in a secret practice using home-made plant dyes and lots of prescribed rituals. The trick to achieving a perfect double ikat is not only in tie dying the vertical and horizontal threads to a matching design, but in making sure they weave together perfectly.

Very few women now make double ikat.

Ni Luh achieves this by controlling the tension on the warp threads with a special loom. Sitting on the floor, she passes the shuttle between the long threads in front of her. These long warp threads are also attached to a device on her back, allowing her to control the tension by leaning backwards with more or less pressure. She controls the tension on the sideways or “weft” threads by pulling more or less firmly on the shuttle after weaving each row.

The whole process, they tell you, takes about a year from start to finish.

Buying a double ikat – or two

Of course, you have come all this way – you don’t want to leave without at least one double ikat. Nengah tells you he recently sold an antique piece, in a design no longer made, to a German collector for seven million rupiah.

This piece is very old and has been darned in several places.

The haggling begins. Ni Luh mentions the price of two million rupiah, which of course, you can’t quite afford. Your companions offer to lend you the US and Australian dollars stashed at the backs of their wallets, and you end up settling for two pieces at three million for the pair. She has reduced the price of one single colour piece because it is not a continuous loop, the threads having been cut. They even throw in two carved wooden display hangers. Everyone is happy.

Lontars – traditional palm leaf pictures and documents

On the way out Nengah shows you the lontars he makes. These are traditional Balinese and Indian documents made by carving letters and images on to long strips of palm leaf with a stylus or knife, rubbing in lamp black afterwards. The original Hindu scriptures, such as the Upanishads, were first written on lontars, as were messages from Bali’s kings.

Lamp black is rubbed into the grooves to produce black lines.

As you came to buy a double ikat, and have blown your weekly budget, you find yourself declining.

Why the village is so quiet

Taking your leave of the lady of the house, you follow the host outside and he offers to show you more of the village. It is getting late, and if you are staying in Ubud or Denpasar, it’s an hour’s drive home. Tenganan has no hotels and no shops. Only local villagers are allowed to stay overnight. You politely decline, and quietly head around the block and up the side street towards the “box office”, which you are still wondering about. Apart from the occasional scooter, the most noise comes from a dozen or so fighting cocks in cages, placed to catch the afternoon sun.

Taking the afternoon sun

The annual pandanus fighting

Once a year, Nengah tells you, crowds descend on the village for the annual pandanus fighting. Protected only by thick turbans and double sarongs, pairs of men square off with the spiny butts of pandanus palm leaves as weapons. Each man attempts to wound his opponent’s naked torso, and they frequently go into clinches, flailing at each other’s backs with the primitive weapons. This looks a lot like a drill from previous centuries, to ready the men for hand-to-hand encounters with their enemies. He describes it in such a gentle voice that it sounds incongruous.

He asks how we found out about his village, as most visitors he meets have been to Bali perhaps five or ten times before they hear of it. You smile. If you go looking for treasure, you don’t follow the crowd, do you?

With so little human traffic, grass covers this side street.

Why these treasures are so rare

Back home, your friends admire your new double ikat wall hangings with just a touch of jealousy. They have been to Bali many times. But you, the novice, have been somewhere they have never heard of and picked up something rare.

Double ikat’s future is uncertain. Some traditional designs are no longer made. Only a few women in Tenganan village now practice the art. You find yourself wondering why. In today’s cash economy, other families may have decided not to welcome curious strangers into their homes to buy Bali’s rarest textiles. Perhaps their privacy is just too precious.

Apart from Tengannan, double ikat weaving is made in just three other locations – two in India (Gujarat and Telangana) and one in Japan (Okinawa). If you can’t make a trip to Tenganan, double-ikats are currently for sale on Ebay for between AUD$750 and $3,500.

Ogoh-Ogoh and Nyepi – Exorcism and Silence

Another New Year!

For those of us who live in Bali, we know how blessed we are. It’s not just because Bali is home to award-wining luxury resorts and posh restaurants. It’s not only because of the magic of the Balinese people or the picturesque landscapes. We are especially blessed because we have the privilege of celebrating our third, yes third, New Year of 2015 (Western New Year and Chinese New Year being the first two). However, this isn’t just any run of the mill New Year celebration. The Balinese New Year or Nyepi, is a day of silence that is preceded by a day of exorcism, or purification to be a little more politically correct.

According to the Balinese Saka calendar, the next new year will start on Saturday, 21 March 2015. This date coincides with the lunar “New” Moon phase, which is on Friday 20 March. The New Moon is called the “Dead Moon” by the Balinese. Why the Balinese call it “Dead” as opposed to “New” is a classic example of Eastern and Western disparity. At any rate, it kind of makes sense that the Balinese New Year starts on the first day after a Dead Moon.


In Balinese philosophy, there is a balance of positive and negative energies. In other words, and perhaps surprisingly, good cannot triumph over evil and vice versa. However, the Balinese culture consists of many rituals and ceremonies that attempt to cleanse (i.e. balance) us of our negative energies. Just like most people want to take a shower and put on their best-pressed outfit before going out on the town, the Balinese will follow a similar process before the special New Year day of Nyepi. But there is a twist, the Balinese will “primp” themselves on the inside rather than primping themselves on the outside.

In Balinese philosophy there is a balance of positive and negative energies.

Continuing with the analogy, in order for us to be ready for that exciting night out on the town, our body and clothes should be clean, right? One would certainly hope so. Think of your banal laundry day as a the day your dirty clothes get purified (happy laundry day!). So, what is the equivalent to washing ourselves on the inside? Like most ancient traditions, the main tools for internal purification are: meditation and fasting. Hence, another name for Nyepi is the “Day of Introspection.”

We can look at the Balinese New Year purification process as a two-step process. First step (external cleansing) includes the Melasti ceremonies at the beaches and the boisterous, festive Ogoh-ogoh parade (kinda like beating our clothes in the washer). Both are one-of-kind and viscerally amazing experiences not to be missed. Second step, an internal, very quiet, day of fasting and meditation (letting our clothes dry on a rack down in the basement with the lights off).


A fascinating observation about the Ogoh-ogoh and Nyepi season is the controversy and contradiction that surrounds these unique events. Contrary to popular tourist belief, the tradition of Ogoh-ogoh is relatively new, with its origins in the 80s. Balinese often say that one of the motivations was to give the Balinese youth something constructive to do when preparing for the upcoming New Year. Ogoh-ogoh are statues up to five metres high, which represent the negative aspects or all living things. They generally take the form of a local demon (some look downright obscene). The Balinese Hindu authorities try their best to ensure the statues are representative of the true spirit of the event, though an occasional Sponge Bob or Spiderman has been known to slip through cracks.

Similar to checking out the floats before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Ogoh-ogoh statues can be viewed sprouting from the villages 3-4 weeks prior to Nyepi. During this time, you can see the Ogoh-ogoh in the final phases of construction.  Going around to the different Banjars (communities) to see all the creative designs and witness the dedication that goes into the statue construction will boost the overall experience.

One of the tenets of Balinese philosophy is honouring the relationship between the divine, people, and nature.

If you did your homework, you’ve probably noticed that most articles on this subject state that Ogoh-ogoh statues are papier-mâché. Unfortunately, what they don’t say is that a large percentage of them are made of styrofoam; which makes things messy if they are burned (not all Banjars allow them to be burned). However, there is hope. Some Banjars and resorts are starting to promote “organic” materials – bamboo, grass reeds, paper, etc. One of the tenets of Balinese philosophy is honouring the relationship between the divine, people, and nature.

Ogoh-ogoh under construction
Ogoh-ogoh under construction


What does one do when you aren’t supposed to do anything? On Nyepi, not even a Hindu ceremony is allowed. This is one day a year where the people of Bali give back to Earth. All 2,000,000+ of Bali’s motorbikes take the day off. There are no fires. There are no planes. Electricity consumption is significantly reduced. Air pollution and noise pollution are next to nothing.

If you have never tried meditation, this is the perfect time to give it go.

If you have never tried meditation, this is the perfect time to give it go. Sit back (or cross-legged if you are a Yogi) and enjoy a fleeting day of silence. This could be challenging if peace and quiet are not your cup of tea.

Despite all of the Nyepi Day restrictions, not everything is closed. If you are staying in a hotel, this is quite obvious. In fact, many, if not all, hotels and resorts in Bali offer Nyepi “packages” to lure guests. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But sometimes, the true spirit of Nyepi gets lost in translation between businesses’ bottom lines and cultural traditions. This is tough time if you are Balinese and work at a hotel, sacrificing an important day of purification is the price to be paid for keeping one foot in the modern world.


Nyepi falls on Saturday 21 March 2015 (New Moon is 20 March). Therefore on Friday 20 March, Pengerupukan festivities usually start in the morning with blessing ceremonies. Ogoh-ogoh parades can begin anytime in the late afternoon, evening, or night time. Parade start times depend on local Banjar rulings. At the end of the parade route, the Ogoh-ogoh are usually placed on display in a football field for everyone to see. Depending on the rulings, the statues could be set on fire at this time.

If you are staying at a hotel, check with their activities team or concierge to find out local Melasti and Ogoh-ogoh parade timings and routes. Not every Banjar will have a parade (this varies from year to year). Be prepared for road blocks, traffic jams, and walking through crowded areas if you plan to be towards Sanur, Denpasar, Kuta, and Seminyak.

Get into the spirit of Nyepi by trying a cleanse over the holiday. Selamat Hari Raya Nyepi!

Stay put on Nyepi Day. Only emergency vehicles are permitted on the roads. Anyone on the street must have proper papers to do so, which will be enforced by the Pecalang. Hotels and resorts will operate but are likely to be quieter than usual. Try a meditation class, fasting or a cleanse. If you miss the hustle and bustle or the sounds of motorbikes in the air, don’t worry, all of it will be there for you tomorrow.

Trendy mini Ogoh-ogoh
Trendy mini Ogoh-ogoh in Ubud


  • Banjar – Community level government organization.
  • Bhuta Kala – Symbolic Demon to be paraded and burned in effigy as an Ogoh-ogoh. Bhuta means eternal energy. Kala means eternal time.
  • Nyepi – Balinese New Year or the Day of Silence according to the Hindu Saka calendar. The root word, sepi, means quiet. The day of no fire, no light, no entertainment, no work, no travelling, and no ceremonies.
  • Ogoh-ogoh – Statue of monster-like character that symbolizes all types of negative energy from all living things. The demons represented by Ogoh-ogoh are awakened and flushed out on the day before Nyepi, Pengerupukan, so that they can be provided offerings to be appeased for another year. The statues are paraded through the Banjar in the afternoon or evening. Some parades can get quite rowdy so be mindful of belongings and out-of-control Ogoh-ogoh statues.
  • Pecalang – Local community security patrol.
  • Pengerupukan The day before Nyepi. The day of the Ogoh-ogoh parades.
Melasti Ceremony
Balinese Melasti Ceremony – Photograph courtesy of Pictures of Bali
Ogoh-Ogoh Parade
Ogoh-Ogoh Parade
Ogoh-Ogoh Negative Energy
Ogoh-Ogoh – Symbolizes our Negative Energy. Photograph courtesy of Frazier Mayor

Don’t let Zika virus ruin your trip

There is much attention at the moment concerning the Zika virus, the media is hyping it to be a potential global threat give or take several countries! So without having to sell up everything and move to those few places not affected, here are some of the key points and tips that should provide people with enough information to help ensure that they can still carry on with their travel plans and not worry too much about contracting the virus.

So without having to sell up everything and move to those few places not affected, here are some of the key points and tips that should provide people with enough information to help ensure that they can still carry on with their travel plans and not worry too much about contracting the virus.

Symptoms of Zika Virus

Zika virus infection arises about 10 days after a bite from an infected mosquito, symptoms including Fever, rash, joint pain, headache and conjunctivitis, most mild symptoms lasting for several weeks.

A Few Facts

The Zika virus is carried by the same mosquitoes as the Dengue fever and Chikungunya virus, known as the Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.

There has recently been a large outbreak in Latin America with many women reported having given birth to babies suffering from Microcephaly, a condition in which the baby is born abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development.  The mosquito itself can be identified by the white spots that it has on its body, for anyone who gets close enough to see one.

Cautions and Precautions

For those people looking to travel to more tropical destinations, there are several things that can be done to help limit and prevent the contraction of the Zika virus.

As with Dengue, the mosquitoes that carry the virus tend to only come out at dawn and dusk. These times can be avoided; however if venturing out, make sure that your body is covered using long sleeved clothes and trousers to help prevent being bitten.

As well as this, After the rain is also a popular time for mosquitos to feast. Be conscious of places that are dark, or areas that are around sitting water (non-circulating), these areas are mosquito’s favourite places to lay eggs and hide out. Mosquitoes dislike air conditioning and the cold, so to help prevent mosquitoes coming into your room, keep the air conditioning on and windows closed! If you prefer fresh air, use netting over the window.

When using mosquito repellent, use a spray that contains at least 50% Deet or Picaridin which should last for around 8 hours after use. With such a high content of deet, the liquid normally feels quite oily on the skin and can always be washed off once inside.

When using sun block, apply any repellent after you have applied your sun block, and spray on top of your clothing and not underneath it. There are also brands of sunblock containing repellent which is super helpful! Never use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old and check any instructions on the bottle before applying to children older than this. Ensure that babies’ cots or strollers are always covered during those times that mosquitos are most present. It I also important to recognise that a person with the Zika virus is still contagious within the first week of contracting it, meaning virus can be spread from the person being bitten by a mosquito to  another person. To prevent others contacting the virus and its spreading, ensure that within this first week you do not get bitten and stay covered up and protected.


No Need to Panic

With health organizations saying it will take several years to research Zika and airlines providing pregnant women free flight changes away from Zika hotspots, it will always play on peoples minds and make them panic and worry, but if people take the necessary precautions, are vigilant and careful, there is no reason why this has to inhibit your travel plans and keep you locked up at home!

As with the Dengue virus, similar rules apply. So cover up, don’t forget to protect yourself with a 50% deet spray and be careful at the prime times for the mosquitoes and everybody should be happy and healthy and enjoying their time abroad without any problems.

Island ink: Getting tattooed in Bali

To most people, the thought of getting tattooed in Bali is synonymous with ten too many Bintangs and a lifetime of regret. Tell a friend you got inked on your recent trip to Kuta and their first response will most likely be “have you had your Hepatitis vaccinations?” But while we’ve all seen one too many Schoolies coming back from Bali with ‘YOLO’ or misspelt names eternally etched into their butts, it’s the drunken spontaneity and poor decision making of some that help give the idea of getting tattooed in Bali a bad reputation.

Too many booze buckets, lax regulations and cheap prices contribute to the bad name of the Bali tattoo industry, with Kuta’s main nightlife areas lined with tattoo shops attracting the young and drunken crowds. Stiff competition means artists will often tattoo patrons who are visibly drunk or drug effected, or without verifying their age first. It’s practices like these that led to a tattoo related HIV infection in 2013, along with several reported hepatitis cases. The last thing any tourists wants to return from a fabulous tropical holiday with is a blood borne infection to go with their suntan.

Sick of the bad wrap, many internationally owned tattoo shops have opened in Bali, following strict hygiene and operational regulations to ensure tourists can enjoy a safe tattoo from a talented artist to memorialise their time on this awe inspiring island. Leading Bali tattoo artists have also banded together to reclaim the good name of this age-old tradition and are opening award winning shops, starting collaborations all around the island.

In reality, Bali can be a fabulous place to get a tattoo, but the standard of tattoo studios in Bali varies dramatically. Just as you should anywhere in the world, always do your research before letting a stranger permanently needle ink into your skin. Of course, scoping out cleaning equipment and quizzing tattoo artists on their qualifications is the last thing you want to do between cocktails during your Balinese adventure, so we’ve done the hard work for you. These impressive and creative tattooists are raising the bar on Bali’s tattoo reputation and giving leading international artists a run for their money.

Here’s a handful of Bali’s best tattoo studios and leading tattoo artists.

Suku Suku Tatau

Artist Albar Tikam and an example of his favourite artwork, done using the traditional Balinese stick and poke method.
Artist Albar Tikam and an example of his favourite artwork, done using the traditional Balinese stick and poke method.

STUDIO OVERVIEW: Saku Saku is a tattoo studio of a different kind, specialising in traditional Balinese tattooing and securing a reputation as the only tattoo studio in Bali to offer traditional Indonesian tribal hand tapping tattoos. If you’re not a fan of the traditional, that won’t be an issue, as Saku Saky Tatau also offers modern tattooing and other body modification services like piercing, scarification and even tongue-splitting (although the latter should definitely be given some deeper thought as a forked tongue is probably the last thing you want to wake up with when teamed with sunstroke and a hangover). Following strict safety standards, Saku Saku is considered the place to go if you want a truly unique, high quality tattoo done in Bali by genuine artists. This studio has received countless accolades for their traditional and modern methods. Booking ahead is highly recommended as appointments fill up fast.

STYLE: Everything from traditional tattooing, to modern tattooing, piercing and body modification. Specialising in manual, traditional hand tapping and hand poking tattoos.

PRICE: Depending on the design, traditional tattoos start around 1.5M IDR.

EXPERIENCE: Resident artist Albar Tikam hails from Jakarta and has been honing his craft since 2007. In 2011 he decided to shift his focus to the manual traditional tattoo style that the studio is now renowned for.

CLEANING STANDARDS: High international hygiene standard using autoclave, medical sterilizer, ultrasonic cleaner, sterilizer sealed single-use needle and an ultra-clean environment.

ARTIST’S FAVOURITE TATTOO: Albar’s favourite tattoo he has done is a free hand Mentawai style done by traditional hand poking, without the use of a machine.

Address: JL Nakula No 99 x, Seminyak, Bali
Phone: +62 815 9691475

Altar Tattoo

Grey, detailed ink at Altar
Grey, detailed ink at Altar Tattoo

STUDIO OVERVIEW: Altar Tattoo is a custom tattoo artist in Bali who has been producing the kind of detailed, grey scale, dot point body art that’s expanding in popularity throughout the world. Combining a love for illustration and design work with a passion for tattooing, Altar has built up an impressive portfolio of high quality work. As of May 2015, Altar will be joining forces with a fellow reputable tattoo artist to open Katarsis Tattoo Collective in Denpasar, a cooperative studio for high quality tattoo and art work. Tattoos are currently done by appointment only, helping to break the mould of spontaneous walk-ins that tourists are notorious for. Email Altar Tattoo to discuss your customised design and book an appointment.

STYLE: Specialising in custom tattoos, especially dot work, line work and black/grey techniques.

PRICE: Prices vary depending on the customer’s request and the complexity of the design. Each tattoo is fully customised and charged on a one-off basis. No design is ever used twice, ensuring each customer has a unique, one of a kind piece.

EXPERIENCE: Altar hails from Bandung, West Java, and has spent the last five years in Bali perfecting his unique tattoo style. He has been tattooing since 2009, where he underwent a year long apprenticeship.

CLEANING STANDARDS: Hospital grade hygiene standards utilised at all times, with seminar experience in medical cleaning.

ARTIST’S FAVOURITE TATTOO: While every tattoo Altar does is of the highest quality possible, his favourite tattoos are ones where he can truly take his time, working session by session to reach the final product.

Instagram: @altaraltaraltar

Tattoo Hut Bali

The team and the tats at Tattoo Hut Bali
The team and the tats at Tattoo Hut Bali

STUDIO OVERVIEW: Tattoo Hut is one of Bali’s newest Aussie run tattoo studios, opening its doors in December 2014. The studio has already built quite a name for itself thanks to the revered reputation of resident artist, Jony, an award winning tattooist who has received several accolades for his work with colour ink. Tattoo Hut follows international standards, producing high quality work, strict hygiene practices and professional, friendly service.

STYLE: All styles and designs, specialising in Oriental and Balinese themed tattoos, well known for producing vibrant, detailed, colour work.

PRICE: Cost depends on the size, detail and colour involved, with a minimum price of $600,000 IDR. As an estimate, prices range from about $6-8M IDR for a half sleeve and $10-15M IDR for a full sleeve.

EXPERIENCE: Head artist Jony has been tattooing since 2004 and hails from the Canggu Villages in Bali, where he operated a successful tattoo studio from 2008 to 2014 before joining the team at Tattoo Hut.

CLEANING STANDARDS: The studio keeps extremely high hygiene standards, on par with any Western run studio. Single use needles are strictly used along with high quality American ink. All chairs and stands are wrapped with disposable protectants and changed for each customer.

ARTIST’S FAVOURITE TATTOO: Loves doing freehand work with some of his best work coming from a simple pen sketch.

Address: JL Benesari, Kuta, Bali
Phone: +62 822-3707-1957
Instagram: @tattoo_hut

Still not sure where to start? Watch this video from New York Ink’s Megan Massacre about how to pick a tattoo studio for extra tips