Cooking classes in Bali: suitable even for those who dislike cooking

LIETUVIŠKAI – Maisto gaminimo pamokos Balio saloje

First of all, I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of cooking. While living in Lithuania, I used to cook (simple dishes) mainly at home, because it was cheaper than eating out and I didn’t have enough free time to go to restaurants. However, since I’ve moved to Indonesia, I stopped cooking almost completely. It is often much cheaper to eat out at local places than prepare meals at home (especially because I know a number of cheap places that serve delicious food), and it is more convenient: you avoid shopping, preparation and washing dishes. Also, I am one of those people who follow a recipe to the letter and who will not start cooking until I carefully prepare all ingredients which takes a really long time. Also, I can only look after one pot at a time! I was always really envious of people who possess that magic touch, who can open their fridge, have a quick look round and effortlessly create culinary masterpieces.

This long introduction is to show that cooking and I often go our separate ways. And I really wouldn’t have believed that one day I will be the one who not only takes part in cooking classes but also recommends them to others. I’ve discovered that, even for somebody who is not a natural chef, cooking classes in Bali are not only a great pastime, but also an opportunity to get to know Bali and its everyday life.

I’ve taken part at a few different cooking classes and want to bust some of the false myths about them. Do any of these seem familiar and is a reason why you haven’t yet chosen this activity while in Bali?

Maisto gaminimo pamoka Balyje

Cooking Classes in Bali – False Myths

“I cook loads at home already and don’t want to make food while on holiday”
Believe me, you won’t need to cook as much as you do at home. Everything is done much simpler, easier and quicker. Chefs have their assistants, who will gladly take over from you if you had enough of cooking. You will be able to observe the remaining process and eat delicious food at the end.

“It’s not worth it because I won’t be able to make this at home”
After the lesson, all participants receive recipes with clear description of the ingredients, exact measurements, and cooking process. During the lesson, chefs also advise which local ingredients can be swapped for products that are easier to come by in Europe.

“I don’t know how to cook, so there will be nothing for me to do”
If you know how to use a knife and can distinguish between a chopping board and a bowl – it’s more than enough. You don’t have to be a master chef. Chefs and their assistants will always be around to show the best way to chop ingredients, etc. Also, cooking classes in Bali are not only about learning how to make traditional food, but also deeper knowledge of Bali and opportunity to taste real, authentic dishes.

“It will be too hot”
Almost all cooking classes in Bali happen in outdoor gazebo with perfect natural air circulation. These tents even have powerful fans (although you shouldn’t expect them to have air conditioning). I never felt too hot during the lessons I’ve attended so far.

Do you have some other doubts about cooking classes in Bali or reasons why you wouldn’t try them? Share your thoughts and I’m sure I’ll manage to prove you wrong.

Maisto gaminimo mokykla Balio saloje

Why attending cooking classes in Bali is a great idea?

It’s a chance to see everyday life in Bali and to know more about local delicacies. Before the class, many chefs offer a trip to local markets where you can get to know Balinese/Indonesian spices, fruit, vegetables and seafood. Chefs tell you everything you need to know about any unfamiliar products, so you won’t need to stand there guessing “what on earth is this?”.

During one class, you will taste 5-9 different local dishes. So later, when you are at a local restaurant, you will be able to either order something new or go for your favorite dish tasted during the cooking class.

It is very easy to include these classes to your trip. They are often organized twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, nearly every day. So, you can choose a time that suits you best. Cooking classes and tasting the dishes (that you have made) takes around 2-4 hours, so you can easily spend the rest of the day doing other things.

Making food will be pretty simple. Chefs and their assistants are always on hand telling you what, when and how to chop, etc. You will never be left on your own with an unfamiliar recipe and ingredients. And if you ever get too tired, the assistants will happily take over and finish making the dish.

The menu will be adjusted to your needs. If you are vegetarian, vegan, have food allergies or avoid certain foods – chefs will always offer alternative ingredients or dishes suitable to your eating habits.

Maisto ruošimo pamoka Balyje

With whom I had the cooking classes in Bali?

With chef Ketut (Ubud)

Cooking classes in BaliHe is the most positive person on earth. Ketut will make sure you have a great time during your cooking class. Before opening his own cooking studio where he employs his relatives and friends, this chef spent quite a few years working in different restaurants. His studio praises itself for its hygienic environment, everybody works with disposable gloves. The space is very simple (as you can see from my photos), but this shouldn’t deter you from cooking with Ketut. Two people share one workspace. What you make together, that’s what you eat at the end. You can add stuff to your own dish if you like it to be more spicy or salty.

The place: 10 min. driving from Ubud center
Time: morning classes (8.30 am-1.00 pm) and evening classes (3 pm – 7.30 pm). Monday to Saturday
Menu: you will learn how to cook 9 Balinese dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu.
Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 30 people
Language: English
Advantage: free transportation to/from the lesson to your hotel in Ubud (possible pick-up/drop-off from other places but for an additional cost). Includes a visit to the local market.
Price: 350 000 Rp (~ 22 EUR)/person. Minimum 2 people.


With chef Mudana (Sanur)

Balinese food classesThis Balinese chef is very attentive and helpful. Previously he worked abroad and in a few restaurants in Indonesia, and now, together with his family, he opened a small, but very cozy cooking studio at his home. The food is kept and made following strict hygienic standards. They also have a small corner where you can get various cooking souvenirs. Two people share one workspace, but, at the end of class, all food is put on individual plates and shared amongst all the participants.

 

The place: 10 min. driving from Sanur center
Time: morning classes (7 am-2.00 pm) and evening classes (5 pm – 9 pm). On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays – Indonesian dishes. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – Balinese dishes.
Menu: you will learn how to cook 7 dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu.
Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 12 people
Language: English
Advantage: free transportation to/from the lesson to your hotel in Sanur (possible pick-up/drop-off from other places but for an additional cost). Includes visit to the local Jimbaran fish market (not possible during evening classes).
Price: 750 000 Rp (~ 47 EUR)/person, morning class. 500 000 Rp (~ 31 EUR)/person, evening class. Minimum 2 people.


With chef Wayan (Bangli)

Wayan cooking class in BaliWayan is a very experienced chef. He is quiet but very professional and friendly. He’s established his cooking studio in a rice field. It is a perfect environment for cooking and then eating the food, you simply don’t what to leave there afterward. Everything is also very hygienic. I especially liked that he donates some of the takings to the local community in his village: to fix the roads, help those in need, etc. Two people share one workspace and, after the class, all food is put on individual plates and shared amongst all the participants.

 

The place: 40 min. driving from Ubud center
Time: morning classes (9 am-1.30 pm) and evening classes (2 pm – 6.30 pm). Monday to Sunday.
Menu: you will learn how to cook 7 Balinese dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu.
Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 27 people
Language: English
Advantage: includes the local market visit. You can watch or even participate in the rice planting process. Near the cooking class, you can also visit traditional Balinese homes, spend half of the day with Balinese people and help them on their daily activities (but this is a separate service for additional fees).
Price: 680 000 Rp (~ 43 EUR)/person (transportation not included). Minimum 2 people.


There are other chefs who also organise cooking classes in Bali. I haven’t tried them myself, but heard some good things about them. Here are a few of them:

Maisto gaminimo pamokos Balio saloje

Finally, a few observations and pieces of advice:

  • The cost of cooking classes in Bali differs. So, before booking, check if the cost includes free travel to and from the cooking studio and free water (you will have to pay extra for any other drinks). Also, ask what else is included in the price.
  • I would strongly advise to attend cooking class during your first days in Bali. It will make it easier to choose meals from restaurant menus because you’ll be already familiar with the dishes, or choose to taste something new.
  • I would recommend to go for the morning cooking class. In the mornings, markets are busier and the stalls offer more varied products. Also, in the morning you will have more energy and after a great lunch will be able to continue with your exploration of Bali.
  • Before coming to cooking class, don’t eat at least for a few hours. Believe me, there will be enough food to not only have while you are there but also plenty of leftovers to take home with you.
  • If you choose to have your cooking class at the hotel, double check if it is happening somewhere else or at the hotel itself. Unfortunately, not all hotels have cozy spaces for cooking.
  • If you enjoyed your class, you can always leave a tip (but it’s not obligatory).

You know, even I, who clearly has a very conflicted relationship with cooking, really enjoyed to move around the kitchen during the cooking class in Bali. And I got to taste new dishes. Maybe I should rediscover my love of cooking also here, in Indonesia?

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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Do you think a cooking class in Bali will make it onto your wish list now?
  • Maybe you have already attended cooking classes in Bali and would like to share your experience and thoughts?
  • Have you participated in any cooking classes in other countries? How was it?

 

 

 

 

If you haven't decided where to stay in Bali, here are some places I've stayed (click to read):

 


Interesting? Great! :) You might also like these:

Unique Bali ceremonies, festivals, rituals
Facing my fears – first scuba diving in Bali

Tips for traveling in Asia

So far all my tips for traveling in Asia in one place. Hope it will be useful for your travels.

Tips for traveling in Asia Indonesia

Tips for traveling in Asia Malaysia

Tips for traveling in Asia Vietnam


Have more questions? Need more tips for traveling in Asia, especially in Indonesia? Contact me and I will try to help you :)

Tips for booking via Airbnb: save money & avoid misunderstandings

I like to book via Airbnb while I’m traveling because it helps me to save some money. As well it makes me feel like at home. For example, if I stay in a flat I can cook there and do other things that I usually can’t do in the hostels, guest houses. Also you can find some authentic places to stay, be a bit closer to a local culture. Here you can check more my pros and cons about staying or renting through Airbnb.

If you are new with Airbnb, I suggest to try it at least once and see by yourself if it suitable for you. But before booking via Airbnb you should pay attention in some things that I learned during my experience. I believe that these tips can save you a bit money and will help you avoid surprises.

How to start use Airbnb?

It’s easy!

  • Sing up. You can get discount for your first booking via Airbnb by using Airbnb code.
  • Create informative profile and verify it. Some hosts may not accept you’re booking if you don’t have a verified profile. You want to book a place with host who tells more about himself? Host wants to know more about people which he will let inside his home as well.

TIP: you can check places in Airbnb (see the prices, free days in calendar and etc.) without signing in, but some of the functions you won’t be able to use.

You sign in. What’s next?
  • Write your destination, how many days you want to stay and how many people will be (in search box that appears in the Airbnb landing page). You will get all results that suit your search request.
  • Now you can mark, choose, use all filters to get only those results that fit exact your needs: choose room type, price range that you want to pay for a stay. Click “More filters” and check all boxes that are important for you. Then click “Apply filters”. You will get all results in the list that suits your search. Also all those places will be marked in the map on the right side of the list. So you can easily see which place is in which part of the city/island and etc.

TIP: in the right-bottom of the page you can change the currency and language. All search result information will be given by currency, language you want.

How to use Airbnb
I marked places where you can find information, change settings and select what you need

What you should pay attention first before booking via Airbnb?

When you will get all list that match your detailed search, choose some hosts that you like.

  • Check the pictures of the place – is it exactly what you are searching for?
  • Read the reviews about the place – but be objective reading them. People’s understanding of cleanliness, distance and etc. can be different from yours. But those reviews can give you general impression of the place. As well what I like in Airbnb – reviews appears only when both sides (guest and host) write them. So if guest wrote bad review, host don’t know it till he will write review about guest – there can’t be “revenge” – you wrote bad, I read and I will write bad about you as well.
  • Check the profile of the host – you will find there information that host provides about himself, picture, guests reviews and list of other places that he rents (can be that host have several different apartments or renting more rooms in the same house but with different conditions). I had experience in Oslo, when the couple was renting 2 their rooms – one was bigger and more expensive, other – smaller and cheaper. I didn’t know that because I didn’t check the listing of the host, so I booked bigger one when the smaller was free as well. At that time I could save a bit more money. But it’s my lesson that I learned for next Airbnb booking.

TIP: if you like several places add them to wish-list (button under the calendar – see the picture above). If during booking via Airbnb process something won’t work out with your choose place, you won’t need to start the new search and spend again your time. You can pick the places from your wish-list and contact those hosts.

Airbnb guide
Check information about the host, reviews about him, other places that he rents
Places that you picked match your needs? Check other important things

LOCATION

Till you won’t make booking via Airbnb you won’t see exact address but it will be shown rough area where it is. Usually the host in the place description writes distances till main tourist objects. If not, sometimes you can find this information in guests reviews.

DESCRIPTION, RULES

Check carefully host information about the place. What is the place rules, check-in, check-out time, booking cancellation policy (different hosts can have different cancellation rules), is it easy to get to the place with local transportation, what kind of equipment host provides and everything else that is written

PRICE

You should know that host can put different prices depending on the dates. For example on weekend or holidays the price can be higher than on low season. When in the first search step you add dates you want to stay, the prices already shown of those dates. But if you will decide to change the dates, the price can be different. As well Airbnb take some service fee – it can be different amount depends on duration of your stay, the booking price. Some hosts as well put extra fee for cleaning, extra bed and etc. (even if you selected that will be 1 guest and later change your mind – will come 2 people, the price can be not exactly just double, but even more). Sometimes depends on some countries rules, can be added even special tax fee. So final sum can be a bit different that was shown in the beginning.


Not a member yet? Try Airbnb and save $20 on your 1st trip through this link.

Airbnb discount for guest


BOOKING PROCESS

Some hosts allow you to book the place instant (please, check the first photo, I marked it near the price). In this case you don’t need to get any approval from host. You like the place, rules and etc. you just book it.

If the place doesn’t have instant booking, after you will make reservation, the host during 24 hours can accept it or reject. Yes, sometimes even if you choose free dates in calendar host can cancel booking without any explanation (maybe he doesn’t find information in your profile, maybe he didn’t update calendar and those dates already booked).

BOOKING CANCELLATION

Different hosts can choose different cancellation policy. Before booking via Airbnb be sure about your will to stay there, dates. If you will change your mind and the host has strict cancellation policy you will lose some of your money, if it’s flexible cancellation policy – only Airbnb won’t return their fee but other money will be refund to your account.

CONTACT THE HOST

If in place photo you saw that something is missing what you need or you didn’t find information in the description – before booking via Airbnb, contact the host and ask what is important for you. As well if you need something extra to be prepared for you, you can ask host if he can organize it. If it’s not written and you didn’t ask but expected that something will be – don’t be disappointed. The host provides all information that he thinks it’s important, but for you can be important something else.

People are different and different things matter for them, but I usually ask such things (if don’t find it it in description):

  • What is in the neighborhood? Who is living around? Is there are any noisy bars, busy streets around?
  • How far is the public transportation stop?
  • Will I have separate set of keys? Will my room where I will stay have a lock?
  • Is there is coffee, sugar that I could use?
  • Will be there any other guests during my stay (if I’m renting a room in several rooms apartment)?

TIPS: some hosts give discounts if you stay longer – for a week or month (it’s written in place description). I never tried but I know that you can contact the host and negotiate the price as well. Even if he don’t give the discount for longer stay – you can ask for it.

Tips for using Airbnb
Read carefully rules, description, contact host if needed before you will decide to book the place
Time for booking!
  • Final step from your side – click the “Request to book” and booking process will start.
  • The booking should be accepted or rejected by host during 24 hours otherwise the system without host approval will reject it automatically. If it will happen – no worries – you still have other places that you liked in your wish-list.
  • When host will approve your booking you will get email with all information. The phone number of the host, most of the time the exact place address (if you won’t receive it – ask from host).
  • After booking is accepted your money won’t go straight to the host account. Airbnb will “keep” it till your end of the stay. So if something will be not exactly how was agreed and etc., you can claim for Airbnb, they will inspect the case and if you are right – they will return your money back.
  • Keep in touch with host – before coming agree the time and how you will meet, how you will get the keys and etc.
Using Airbnb
One of places that you can book via Airbnb in Bali

What else you should know about booking via Airbnb?

Booking via Airbnb pinterest
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  • Not only local people rents their homes, sometimes you can find hostels, guest houses and etc. who suggest to stay in their place. If you find such – before booking via Airbnb, check their prices in other websites, for example Agoda, Booking, Hotelscombine and etc. Maybe in these websites have extra discount or even better price (you can see below one of examples of different prices of the same place).
  • Sometimes it happens that the host cancels the booking even couple days before you arrive. Not nice, but no worries, try to contact other hosts from your wish-list.
  • If the host asks you to pay in cash or make a transfer straight to his account – never do it. If something will go wrong, Airbnb won’t protect you or refund your money. All renting through Airbnb should be done only by their system.
  • If you found amazing place, the price looks extremely cheap and there is no review yet, be vigilant, maybe something is not right. You can just save picture of the place on your desktop and add it to google search. If it’s not real place or the picture is stolen you will find it in google. In this case you can report Airbnb that somebody try to cheat.
  • Don’t book the place instead of your friends, because if something will happen you will take the responsibility for it (because you booked the place). Better after you will join Airbnb share the discount code and ask them to join as well – they will stay cheaper, you will get discount also and won’t need to worry about anything.
  • Using Airbnb doesn’t mean that the host will be all the time around. The host can help you as much as he can but don’t expect that he will become your guide.
  • After your stay don’t forget to leave the honest review that could be useful for future guests.
Let’s see quickly in practice how to choose the best place, for example in Bali

In price range I choose the cheapest places (9-20 EUR/per night). The result – more than 300 offers. I pick randomly 4 of them.

1. Shared room, shared bathroom in villa (South Kuta)

1 guest 9 EUR/per night, 2 guests – 19 EUR/per night.  Service fee – extra 3 EUR. In total for 2 people will cost 22 EUR/per night.

Airbnb booking

  • Instant booking – so can take it if you want straight now.
  • Flexible cancellation policy. But charges extra for extra people.
  • 24 hours check-in, pets allowed, kids/family friendly.
  • No air condition, now parking (but if you want to reach this place you need to drive a motorbike).
  • This room by itself doesn’t have reviews yet, but host in general has 160 reviews.

If you click for host listing he offers 10 different rooms in the same villa just conditions are different. For example, other rooms have air condition, strict cancellation policy, check-in, check-out times, free parking and etc.

2. Kenari guest house (Ubud)

Even if the price written 9 EUR/per night, already in March all dates are with higher price. No matter 1 or 2 guests the price the same 10 EUR/per night. Service fee – extra 1 EUR. In total for 2 people will cost 11 EUR/per night.

Booking through Airbnb

  • Already from the name you see that it’s not a person’s home it’s guest house with breakfast, 24 hour check-in, but no WI-FI (just simple internet).
  • You can book it instantly.
  • The prices changes to higher after April.

If you click for host listing, he offers 10 different places in Ubud. From guest houses to hotels and villas. I hope I won’t offend anyone but renting via Airbnb it’s this person business.

Like it’s guest house I found their offer in Booking. The same dates for 2 people there costs 12 EUR/per night. But they charge extra 2 EUR for breakfast. As well in booking.com written check-in/check-out times, in Airbnb it’s not mentioned. If you would like to rent this place – this time booking via Airbnb is cheaper (except if you have some discounts in Booking or rewards that you can use and get better price).

3. NauHere Capsule Beds (Kuta), but Seminyak, Legian beaches are more closer than Kuta beach

1 guest 9 EUR/per night. Service fee – extra 1 EUR. In total 1 night per person will cost 10 EUR. But prices are different depends on the dates.

How to book via Airbnb

It’s a dormitory with check-in/check-out time, breakfast, air condition, strict cancellation policy.

I found this dormitory in other websites as well. In Agoda you can get bed for the same dates for 8,15 EUR/per night. In TripAdvisor you can see other prices from different websites as well.

 

4. Bamboo birds-nest rice field (Ubud)

The place offers to stay in 5 meters up with  traditional Balinese shower and toilet. Could be interesting experience?

1 guest 15 EUR/per night (2 guests, the same). Service fee – extra 3 EUR. In total 1 night for 2 people will cost 18 EUR/per night. But prices are different depends on the dates.

Tips for booking in Airbnb

  • Has chek-in/chek-out time, breakfast, strict cancellation policy
  • Don’t provide any amenities.
  • 21 review with 95% recommendation.
  • The host has 531 reviews in total and 10 different listing in Ubud.

 

 

Now you see how different can be conditions and why it’s important to check everything before booking via Airbnb.

Do you have other tips and hints for booking via Airbnb? Maybe some stories that other people could learn from? Please, share in the comments.


Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

Is it worth to stay / host via Airbnb?
Tips for traveling in Asia
Travel resources

 

Free stay Airbnb