For many, Bali is the ultimate vacation destination—the way people speak of the Indonesian island makes it sound nothing short of sublime. Affirming that notion is Angela O’Brien of Cleobella, who spends several months out of the year living there with her family. Her brand was founded in Bali and continues to employ local artisans to produce hand-tooled leather handbags, intricate jewelry and bohemian ready-to-wear. Since she has a very special place in her heart for the lush locale (and insider knowledge of its best attributes), Angela shared her guide to Bali, as well as the island’s seven must-visit regions.
Angela's Guide To Bali
“Travel is when I feel most connected with my soul and my truth. There’s something about the journey of it all—the unexpected turns, the discomfort of the unfamiliar, and the shift in perception that makes me feel like my most authentic self. When you’re on the road, you are forced to be in the present moment; your possessions, your familiar comforts and the routines that define your daily life are no longer defining your identity. It is liberating to be free of the attachments and expectations that I have at home.
It is this passion that brought me to Bali for the first time over 10 years ago. Since then, I have lived and traveled throughout Bali and the surrounding Indonesian islands for four to five months out of the year, every year. Even though it is my personal sanctuary, I want everyone to experience all that Bali has to offer. I hope this guide, full of my favorite places to eat, drink, play and stay, leads the way to some meaningful memories for you.”
Seminyak & Canggu
"Bali is a place that attracts creative souls. We live in Canggu, where urban tropicana meets island life. It’s a creative little surf town blossoming with new small businesses, artists, surfers and locals. A little down the coast is Seminyak, which buzzes with restaurants, shops, beach life and a mix of locals, expats and tourists. It's perfect for young adults, families and anyone looking for good times."
- "Go shopping at Drifter, WRKSHP13, Magali Pascal and Deus Ex Machina (they have amazing coffee & food, too)."
- "Spend the day at Desa Seni. Do yoga, eat lunch by the pool and walk through the organic gardens."
- "Hang out and take surf lessons at Old Man’s."
- "Get a gold facial at Goldust."
- Milk & Madu: "Our favorite! We eat here almost daily."
- Sea Circus: "Best breakfast spot in town. You’ll leave a happier person."
- Watercress: "Revolver coffee (the best!), heart-shaped coconuts and delicious plates filled with goodness."
- Cafe Organic: "You must try the pineapple house fruit salad and the coconut smoothie bowl."
- Shady Shack: "Absolutely beautiful plates, and a locals' hang-out."
- Biku: "For high tea, tarot readings and the best carrot cake in town!"
- La Plancha: "Relax on a colorful bean-bag chair with a cocktail at sunset. Best photo op!"
- Potato Head: "Infinity pool and a pretty beverage in hand—enough said."
- Ku De Ta: "Sit under the red umbrellas at sunset. Good music, good drinks, good times!
- Katamama: "A beyond incredible boutique hotel filled with local artisan details."
- Desa Seni: "An eco-village resort filled with art, dharma, yoga, culture, food and wellness—there is something for everyone."
- Chill House: "A tropical lifestyle retreat, perfect if you're craving something good for the body and soul."
- Airbnb Bali: "Find the perfect villa with a private pool, a home stay, or any accommodation to meet your needs."
Bukit Peninsula, Uluwatu & Nusa Dua
"If you're looking for a luxurious vacation experience, go down south to the Bukit peninsula, which is full of Bali’s more upscale towns and decorated with pristine beaches and a line-up of five-star resorts and hotels. We take weekend trips down south for special occasions."
- "Relax at Uluwatu Beach and watch professional surfers from around the world."
- "Swim in the natural tide pools at low tide."
- "Enjoy a Bintang from Single Fin at sunset."
- "Do morning-light yoga at Uluwatu Surf Villas."
- "Walk along Padang Padang Beach at sunset."
- "Grab some fresh lobster or fish at the beach markets."
"If you’re looking for a spiritual retreat, head to the mountains. The magical energy of Bali is most prevalent in Ubud. It's home to some of the most-photographed landscapes, as well as cultural ceremonies, yoga and meditation retreats, resorts and spas."
- "Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary."
- "Enjoy the views at Tegallalang Rice Terrace."
- "Do yoga at any of the local studios."
- "Rent a bike and get lost in the beauty of the landscapes."
- "Hike to the top of the volcano. If you’re really adventurous, leave early enough to watch the sunrise from the peak!"
- "Tour the Green School and Green Village, it’s incredible!"
- Alchemy: "100% raw vegan cafe and juice bar."
- Clear Cafe: "Buzzing with wonderful energy and organic foods prepared fresh from Balinese farms."
- Hanging Gardens: "A perfect romantic getaway."
- Bambu Indah: "Amazing boutique hotel with Balinese architecture and unbeatable views."
- Blue Karma: "A spiritual oasis where you can purify and find your inner balance."
"If you have a day, take a short boat ride to the paradise of Nusa Lembongan. If you have more time, head to the Gili Islands for a laid-back, more remote small-island experience. You'll connect with travelers from all over the world."
Shop Cleobella Vacation Essentials
Cleobella Blaine Dress, $225
Cleobella Kalasin Tote, $187
Cleobella Sedona Set, $189