Founder Bali Buddies - Your Insider's Guide to Bali
Karlie Cummins is the founder of Bali Buddies, a family business that started after they fell in love with the Island 20 years ago and has been lucky enough to enjoy travelling here regularly ever since. In 2012 Bali Buddies was established out of a deep passion to focus professionally on ensuring that others could also experience the power of the “Island of Gods.”
Bali Buddies have helped many visitors plan their perfect Bali holidays. Karlie works her magic for every type of trip imaginable – boy’s trips, girl’s trips, group trips, family holidays, romantic holidays, weddings and birthdays.
Dine & Wine Bali: Hello Karlie! Please introduce yourself.
Karlie Cummins - Bali Buddies: Hi there I’m Karlie founder of Bali Buddies, I’m an Aussie living in Sanur with my husband and two daughters.
DWB: When and how did you get to Bali?
KC - BB: Bali Buddies started 8 years ago when we were still living in Australia. It came about as we were frequent travellers to the Island and always got asked the same questions for people. looking for advice on travelling to Bali. We figured we’d start a Facebook page to share our tips….and from there it just grew and grew. After 4 years I was spending more and more time in Bali and it became viable for us to relocated to live here full time. It took us about 10 months of planning and selling up our lives in Australia and setting up a new life in Bali. It was a big change as we’d never lived abroad before, but for the past 3 years we have called Sanur home and we love it!
DWB: What is Bali Buddies?
KC - BB: Bali Buddies is an online guide and app to enjoying the best of this beautiful Island. We give tips and information on where to eat, drink, stay and play for all types of budgets. Bali is fast-paced and ever-changing, we love keeping our audience up to date with what is new and happening on the Island, along with giving the best advice to explore it safely and get the best value for money.
DWB: With the pandemic spreading worldwide, and Bali too, how do you see the future of the tourism industry for the island?
KC - BB: As hard as this time has been for Bali (and I believe there is still a lot of tough roads to travel yet before seeing the other side of this), I am hopeful that during this time businesses have had a chance to reassess and make changes that are needed to become more sustainable both financially and environmentally. I’m hoping we see more of a sustainable tourism movement throughout all of Bali post-pandemic and issues like the traffic and waste problems are addressed. I am confident though that Bali will bounce back from what has for sure been its toughest challenge yet. Bali may not look exactly the same as pre-pandemic, but nowhere will right, and hopefully the changes are all for the better. The Balinese spirit is resilient and adaptable, and Bali is an Island that has that certain magic that sees visitors wanting to return often, that won’t change.
DWB: Since Bali destination is your job, could you share an authentic journey for a simple and soothing getaway?
KC - BB: For simple and soothing we love to head North! Everything is at a slower pace up there and the nature is gorgeous to explore. There are many waterfalls and fantastic diving and snorkelling spots. We usually head from our home in Sanur and stop for a night in Bedugul or Munduk where the kids love swinging through the Tree Top Adventure Park, and we all love the cooler weather and sitting around the fire at night. Then we head to either Tembok, Lovina or Menjangan to spend a few nights by the sea and to explore the many waterfalls in that area. Our favourite is Aling Aling Waterfall as it has cliff jumps and you can slide down the waterfall. The whole drive to and from the North is beautiful, we love going through all of the different villages. If you are looking for simple and soothing, you can’t beat North Bali!
DWB: What are your favourite places to dine in Bali?
KC - BB: Now that is such a hard question! Bali has so many great dining options….and we love street food as much as we love fine dining. We are big fans of KILO restaurant in Seminyak, their fusion food just never disappoints. In Sanur, we have a few favourite Warungs who’s local food make it to our dinner plates often throughout the week. Just before things started shutting down this year we also tried the new menu at an old favourite Kudeta, I have to say it was amazing, every dish we tried was so hearty and full of flavour. The ambience at this venue also makes for a special experience, that sunset view is stunning. During the pandemic we have also seen many out of work cooks start up their own micro-businesses selling their speciality dishes, this has been wonderful to see and to taste, we’ve loved supporting them during this time. There is so much talent when it comes to food here in Bali, we really are spoiled for choice.
DWB: What do you like the most in Bali?
KC - BB: Definitely the people, there is a lot to be learnt from the laid back and resilient nature of the Balinese. Their simplistic way of life and genuine love and care of not just their families but their entire community is something that has taught us a lot. During this time, we’ve seen people with barely anything themselves, willing to give some of what they have to people with nothing. We love being part of our local community here and have always felt so welcomed by the people. I think it’s the people and their traditions that gives Bali its “magic” that makes people want to keep returning.
DWB: You work with a lot of different venues across the Island, what advice would you give someone wanting to open a restaurant/venue in Bali?
KC - BB: Do your research and then do it again! Surviving in business in Bali is not easy. There is a lot of competition, and if you are not from Indonesia there is also a lot to learn about how business is done here and your legal requirements. We have seen so many foreigners come in blind and lose a lot of money while chasing the Bali dream life. If you’re serious about going into business here talk to a number of people who have done it before you, get legal advice from a few different companies (you’d be surprised at the different answers you’ll get, things are not always black and white here), and spend time living on the Island before investing too much of your money.
Make sure you have a good location and something unique to offer. We are so lucky in Bali to have some of the best venues and dining options in the world, but as a business owner, that means your offering has to be strong in order to compete.
DWB: Thank you for your time! Stay positive!
Follow Karlie on Instagram: @karlielovesbali
Follow Bali Buddies on Instagram: @balibuddies