Lindy Rama-Ellis’ Instagram account inspires the kind of life-envy that can turn a person green. Splitting her time between the idyllic island life in Bali and her business interests when in Melbourne, this Balinese princess personifies jet-set style.
As if being creative director of her recently launched resortwear line, Rama Voyage, wasn’t enough she is also mother to four very beautiful children. Here, she gives us her local’s guide to the tropical paradise she calls home (for half the year, at least). From the best yoga classes in town to day spa treatments that will you have floating away on a Balinese cloud, Lindy’s travel tips for Bali are widely-shared for good reason.
The best restaurants for a casual meal:
The Slow, Canggu: A super-cool, minimalist boutique hotel and restaurant.
Milk and Madu, Canggu: Has the best breakfast and lunch menus.
The Lawn, Canggu: For sunset drinks and a casual dinner.
Lacalita, Canggu: Fabulous Mexican food and killer cocktails in a fun and lively environment.
Bambu, Seminyak: Delicious local cuisine, but the hero of this spot is the floating bungalow and enjoying dinner under the stars.
Saigon Street, Seminyak: Tasty fusion of modern and traditional Vietnamese cuisine, but more importantly this is the restaurant to be at or be seen at for locals and visitors alike.
Barbacoa, Badung: A culinary institution serving all things woodfired and delicious.
Hanks Pizza, Badung: Tasty food, a cocktail list to keep you there all evening, live music and DJs most nights of the week.
The best breakfast/lunch cafés:
Sea Circus: Great coffee that can lead to fun cocktails in this colourful cafe.
Grocer and Grind: A great place to stop in for a coffee anytime. The big breakfasts are unreal.
Canteen, Canggu: The perfect relaxed local chill out location. Stop in for a long, late lunch.
La Lucciola: Simple beachfront luxury with great seafood.
Watercress: A social spot serving colourful cocktails and moreish meals with a smile.
Best restaurants for a special meal:
Mejekawi, Kudeta: Easily the best fine dining restaurant in Bali.
Mama San: Lounge in luxury and enjoy elegant dishes all evening.
Metis: Sophisticated modern french Mediterranean menu to be enjoyed by candle light.
Urchin: With a new menu daily of the freshest sashimi on offer you will struggle to stay away. Leave the kids at home for this one.
The best place for a sunset drink:
Old Mans, Canggu: My local.
Ku de Ta: An oldie, but a goodie!
The best places to shop:
The best places to stay:
The Slow, Canggu: A super-cool boutique hotel and restaurant.
Como Shambhala Estate in Ubud
Alila Resort, Uluwatu.
The best beaches:
I love to go to a secret beach called Geger Beach. The beaches are all beautiful anywhere in the Bukit peninsula; they are white sand.
The best places to swim:
The pool at the Alila Resort, Uluwatu.
The best place to take a first-time visitor to Bali:
A journey up into Ubud on the side of the Ayung River.
The best spas in Bali:
For a less expensive, but still an incredibly relaxing option I like to go to Therapy in Echo Beach. I always ask for Yuni for a massage. The Spa at Sentosa in Seminyak is my absolute favourite. Goldust Beauty Lounge in Canggu, where you can get a 24K gold facial. I also really enjoy a good old local massage on the beach for $10. But I always take my own oil!
The best retreats in Bali:
Desa Seni A Village Resort
Desa Seni is an eco-village resort, specialising in Indonesian culture, art, yoga, organic farming and wellness. This amazing eco-village is located close to Seminyak and is the perfect escape when you need to peace out.
The yoga studio here is like no other studio that I have ever experienced anywhere else in the world! It’s such a beautiful studio, which makes waking up at 5AM a pleasure! The music at Desa Seni makes this studio and the experience so special.
Fivelements Puri Ahimsa
Fivelements is an eco-conscious healing and wellness retreat situated on the banks Auyng River in Ubud. Its main focus is on ancient Balinese healing techniques, which are designed to tune into the psychical, emotional and spiritual levels of your being, aiding in the organic healing process. The traditional Balinese healers use ancient wisdom, passed down through a direct lineage. I love the water blessing ritual and fire blessing ritual. Also, any of the bathing rituals that are held in the privacy of your own villa are a must!
Not only does the retreat improve your emotional wellbeing; your health and wellness will also benefit as the retreat only serves raw food, designed by world renowned chefs, guaranteed to have you glowing from the inside out. I can honestly say that it is truly delicious and life changing!
COMO Shambhala Estate: Como Shambhala is a holistic retreat, which combines modern science and luxury accommodation. For me, it is perfection! I promise anyone that experiences Como Shambahla will walk away from this retreat feeling like anything is possible!
The best yoga studios:
Yoga Barn: Set amongst a terrace of rice paddies the Yoga Barn is one of Ubud’s most famous yoga studios. Although this is not as intimate as Desa Seni, it’s an amazing yoga experience.
Serenity Eco Guesthouse: This is my parent’s favourite yoga studio – they are devoted yogis. It also has an incredible raw food café.
Dharma Shanti Yoga Four Seasons Sayan: I always feel very blessed to practice Yoga at Dharma Shanti; the surrounding gardens are so beautiful and blissful.
The best cultural experiences:
I suggest walking to the top of Mount Batur, which is an active volcano located at Mount Agung. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences. To see the sunrise here is spectacular!
Anyone visiting Bali must do one of the many rice paddy walks in Ubud and experience the Gitgit Waterfall, a fresh water waterfall located in the centre of Bali. An amazing experience and fun for kids! Tanah Lot Temple is another must do, it’s a cultural experience. The Tirta Gangga Water Palace near Ababi village Karangasen is one of the most magical places on earth.
The best way to feel like a local:
You’ll really feel like a local if you’re riding a scooter in Bali, so hire a motorbike, but wear a helmet and remember travel insurance won’t cover you if you don’t have a bike license!
The best way to indulge:
The W Sunday brunch is the ultimate indulgence, followed by a spa treatment. Bliss!
The best souvenir to bring home from Bali:
I would like to think that the best souvenir to bring home from Bali is a relaxed body and mind!
The best local attractions:
For me the most special attraction on the island is to climb Mount Batur at sunrise or visit the cleansing waterfall at Sebatu.
The best books to read on a holiday in Bali:
Bali can be everyone’s own little version of Eat Pray Love. The island is such a magical spiritual place that I think self-help books are the best books to read while holidaying in Bali.
The most important thing to pack for a holiday to Bali:
My advice would be to pack a bikini, camera and yoga pants.
Anything else we should know about Bali?
Bali is magical! When people visit Bali they seem to settle in just one place, but the island is really diverse, so I would suggest travelling around. It’s possible to experience an extremely indulgent side of Bali or you can take experience a very authentic, raw side of the island.
The east coast of Bali is fantastic for diving and has the best fish satay that I’ve tasted anywhere in the world. You can buy it off the colourful little carts on the side of the road! My favourite thing to do with my kids or with friends who are visiting Bali is to dance to sunset beats at The W or at Potato Head. You can have a great dance to some of the world’s most famous DJs and still be at home by 9pm!
The best organic eats in Bali:
Sari Organik: Dine on the freshest locally grown product in and amongst the rice paddies.
Earth Café: Healthy food heaven.
Café Zucchini: The best salads in town!
Bali Buda: Great wraps and snack food.
Betelnut Café: Betelnut is where I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner almost daily. It’s fresh, easy, healthy Asian-inspired cooking at Bali prices!
You can find Lindy on Instagram at @lindyklim