Ok I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a Bali queen - I've been there 6 times now, so I suppose that qualifies me. Bali is a special place for me and my family.
We have had so many special nourishing, healing, and transformation times here as a family, we almost moved there when we had the chance, but alas the stars did not align and it's simply now a place for us to retreat to, to recenter in, and to heal in. It seems i'm know as a regular to Bali amongst my circles, and I've been asked a number of times I've been asked about the best places to go in Bali so I've written this post for those keen on my hot tips.
This list is by no means definitive...but if you asked me for my favourite bits. this is what I'd tell you. I will preface this list with saying, I stay in Ubud when I go to Bali - so I'm keeping the list mostly to the area, cause it's what I know and can personally recommend. We have also spent time in Seminyak and very little in Kuta, whilst the beaches are close, it's just not our thing - the pace is just a little too frenetic. There is just so much to explore on the island...so I'll leave it up to Lonely Plant to cover the rest. This is my, healing, wellness, and top lifestyle spots for Ubud Bali.
Food, dining, and drinking
Seeds of Life in town has in my opinion THE best raw food desserts and food, cause it's all prepared with such love and care. Don't be put off by the one dish to choose from on offer for dinner. It makes sense - so much goes into the preparation for these meals, trust them, it's awesome - don't miss it! My advice, get there early, as they do tend to sell out of dishes. SOL also has an Ashtanga Yoga Shala upstairs, which I haven't been to yet, but thinking I will next time around.
Seniman Coffee Studio. Super cool decor, big communal round table to meet new people and the coffee is Melbourne standard. Coffee lovers, don't miss this joint.
Gaya Gelato in Sayan - For seriously amazing authentic Italian gelati. Yes it deserves it's own bullet point.
Alchemey - Alchemy in Penestanan has the best salad bar and juices you'll find on the island. The original Raw Food innovators. Salad sounds like it could be boring, but trust me it's amazing. They also have colonics, treatments and holistic retreats on offer. Go there - it's awesome. The also have swings, toys (that are a touch grubby, but gives you a bit of sanity time). They also have a wellness clinic upstairs that hosts detox programs and provide colonic irrigation.
Locavore - If you want an INCREDIBLE and relatively affordable (by Melbourne standards) fine dining experience - head to Locavore (and don't forget to book). The dishes are like artworks, the locale, the interior, all superb. I'm drooling thinking about it. Delicious! Don't miss this place.
Other notable cafes that I frequent while in town are:
Bali Buddha - They also have a great grocery store
Kafe - Huge selection of everything healthy, the heart of JL Hanuman
Flaming Wok - So good, run by a french ex pat, like a tight ship and seriously yum. Bookings advised.
Down to Earth Bali - Vegetarian Food and grocery store downstairs
Taco Casa - Scrumptious Tex Mex food
Soma - Raw and live food
If you feel like a Salsa and a drink The laughing buddha is always happening, if you prefer some jazz with your cocktails, head to "The Jazz Cafe", buy two cocktails get one free. Can't complain.
Yoga, Healing & Therapy
The place is brimming to full with spa's and treatment centres, and many locals who live in town will also offer up a range of healing modalities. These are my picks.
Yoga: I mostly go to Radiantly Alive - cause I like that they have Ashtanga, and all sorts of other classes on offer. The energy of the centre is welcoming, community minded and the teachers are A-grade. If you like a bit of a yogi sermon with your Yoga don't miss the founder Daniel Aaron's classes on Sundays and Tuesday mornings. The also do colonic irrigation (of which I am a huge fan). I found theirs the most positive experience of it that I've had, not sure if Amy is still there, but she was fantastic last time I was in town.
More Yoga - Yoga Barn of course, the studios are EPIC, the one upstairs is out of this world, again world class teachers - so much to choose from. But the highlight for me is Ecstatic Dance on Sunday mornings - it's like a rave/nightclub but minus the drugs, alchohola seediness and sleaziness. It's all up up up, and so much fun, and a good way to burn up some fuel from all the amazing food you will be eating!
More Yoga - If you are in Changu check out Samadhi Bali - Ashtanag Yoga Shala, and wholefood cafe, and much more.
Dragonfly - Lemongrass sauna like no other. It's a pretty intense experience, and rather primal, up in the rice fields. Just go and check it out, but not if you are feeling conservative, it's shall we say...an experience.
Sound collective healing sessions held at Taksu & Yoga Barn are pretty amazing, and can be a quite profound experience if you are open to it.
There are many, many Balineese healers. Ask around at the usual haunts and you will be guided to the one that is right for you.
Culture & Day trips
For the best Kacuk dance go to the Taman village held one held every Wednesday and Saturday night, it's all the villagers from Taman, very authentic and not touristy.
ARMA - This museum has a large and great range of Balineese artwork, the artwork really gives you a feel for the history of the island, they also have a range of traditional dance performances.
Taro Elephant Park - You can get up close with the Elephants, they are treated well and it's an amazing centre, established by a passionate Aussie.
Sanur - For a kid friendly beach, and to get the famous Bali braids. It's day trippable from Ubud.
There are many many small local galleries, and lots of artists in the area, you are surrounded by art in Bali.
Where to stay
We always go through airbnb.com and stay in a villa of which there are many, but there is so much accommodation available, and to suit all budgets. For us, AIRBNB is the way to go, because we tend to stay for at least a month at a time, and we also rent our house out while we are gone, so it makes our holiday cost neutral. There are some seriously amazing resorts here though, if you are feeling flush you can have an out of this world experience. Resorts are not really my thang though.
So this list is by no means exhaustive - there is just so much to do, explore and experience. But these are my highlights, would love to hear yours. Leave a comment below!