When we were planning our Everest Base Camp trek, mum and I knew we also needed to schedule in at least a week of R&R somewhere warm after that kind of strenuous adventure in Nepal. Neither of us is a lay-on-the-beach-all-day type of holidayer, and we basically wanted somewhere with cheap massages and healthy food. We decided on Ubud as mum had never been to Bali and always wanted to and I’d heard it was a healthy hippie haven in the jungle, which sounded right up our alley! It turned out to be exactly what we were after plus a lot more. We absolutely loved almost everything about this cultural mecca of Bali so I wanted to share with you all of our faves in case you want to put Ubud on your travel list!
Where we stayed:
A secluded and rustic detox center, this resort is located about a 20 minute walk from the centre of town. The accommodation is simple and has a very jungle-y feel. Most people there are on a juice fast, but not us! We were eating at their raw food cafe which serves up juices, smoothies, raw pastas and pizzas. I liked Ubud Sari but I think it would be better to be apart of one of their detox programs if you are going to stay there.
This resort is located right next to Yoga Barn in the heart of Ubud town. It has a fabulous pool, beautiful spacious and sunny rooms, and a free motorbike service in case you get tired of walking to places in town or are just lazy like we were after our trek! This resort had it all in our view and I would definitely stay here again on my next visit to Ubud.
What we did:
Daily yoga at Yoga Barn
Yoga Barn is an amazing space that’s worth checking out even if you don't do yoga. They have some wonderful teachers and roughly 13 classes a day so you can’t pull the ‘inconvenient’ card when it comes to fitting in your practice. They provide mats, props, etc. so all you need is your Lululemon outfit and an open mind.
Walk through the rice paddies
Just outside of town (but still within walking distance) is a dirt track through the rice paddies. The loop takes roughly an hour to complete. You can make an afternoon of it by having lunch at Sari Organiks which is a lovely organic cafe with its own adjoining organic garden. Otherwise, if you don’t feel like doing the whole loop, the restaurant is about a 20 minute walk on the track from the main road.
Play around in the Monkey Forest Sanctuary
There is a beautiful green oasis filled with monkeys just south of town in which you can go exploring. There are bananas for purchase at the entrance which serve to entice the monkeys to climb all over you. That wasn’t my cup of tea, but I watched a lot of other people doing it!
Participate in the Balinese New Year celebrations
If you are planning your holiday in March, try to be there for the Nyepi festival in late March / early April which marks the end of the year in the Balinese calendar. There are giant paper machete puppet parades in streets of Ubud with fire, music, dancers, drums, etc. It’s quite the spectacle. New Years Day is their day of silence during which no one is supposed to speak or leave his home.
Where we ate:
If you’re a health food nut, Ubud has you covered. There are a plethora of organic plant-based cafes serving up fresh juices/smoothies/elixirs, creative vegan/vegetarian dishes, and delicious raw treats, all of which cater to dietary restrictions and food allergies. I, of course, didn’t get to sample the whole menu at all of the below spots but I’ve listed what I particularly enjoyed as a guide since the menus are all so overwhelmingly awesome.
Clear Cafe - diamond detox elixir, raw burrito, raw vegan brownie with coconut ice cream
Kafe - kitchari
Down to Earth - many mushroom soup
Bali Buda - homemade kombucha, vegetarian nasi campur, coconut/passionfruit tart, black sticky rice ice cream
Yoga Barn Garden Kafe - Ayurvedic cleansing soup and rose/cardamom lassi
Alchemy - incredible salad bar and raw treats
Sari Organiks - beautiful atmosphere in the rice paddies serving their own organic, fair trade produce
Atman Kafe - black sticky rice breakfast porridge
Soma - ojas booster drink and raw cardamom brownie
What treatments I got:
If you’re not looking for anything fancy and just want a good, cheap massage, you will have no trouble finding one in Ubud! There is literally a massage place on every corner. For a 60 minute full body massage, prices range from US $6 - 15 dollars at the cheap and cheerful places around town.
4 x Colonics
If you’ve never had a colonic, the first one can be a little scary but once you get over the initial awkwardness of the situation / position that you’re in, I think it's one of the best ways to reset your digestive system when you’re feeling out of whack. I had my first one at Five Elements Resort and Spa because I wanted an excuse to go check it out. It’s an absolutely stunning, boutique, luxury resort about thirty minutes outside of Ubud town. If you wanted to be in the Ubud scene, it would be tough staying here as it’s a bit far out. If you wanted to have a week of divine relaxation and pampering, I would definitely check this place out. They have a wonderful raw food restaurant where we had lunch after our treatments. Be warned: it’s on the more expensive side, especially when it comes to Balinese prices. I had my next three colonics at Kush, the Ayurvedic spa at Yoga Barn, where they use the Woods-method technology which is meant to be far superior to the other kinds of colon hydrotherapy treatments. I felt comfortable with my therapist here so that was key to a successful couple of sessions! Colonics are less expensive in Bali than in Australia / U.S. so get some in while they’re cheap!
Abdominal Healing Massage
At Ubud Sari, called Chi Nei Tsang, this treatment was like reflexology on your tummy. Helpful during detox programs and/or if you feel like there are any blockages that you need help releasing.
At Bugar Sehat on Hanoman St - in the heart of town, cheap and legit (there are a lot of places offering “reflexology” but not necessarily doing the proper pressure points, etc).
At Ubud Aura - this was a beautifully relaxing treatment (massage + body scrub + yogurt rubdown + spice bath) for revitalising the body and stimulating circulation.
Manicure and Pedicure
At Taksu Spa, this was one of the best mani-pedis I’ve ever had! The spa is carved out of the jungle so there were monkeys to watch and other jungle sounds to listen to while I ate tropical fruit and had my hands and feet buffed and primed. Definitely recommend.
As you can see, Ubud is the perfect place for a healthy and relaxing get-away. If you're into vegetarian food, yoga and body treatments, I can think of no better place (that I have been to!) for this. The only problem, I suppose, for Americans is that it's a long haul to get over to that part of the world. As I will be making trips back to Australia on the reg, I foresee many Ubud stop-overs happening on the way there/back! Let me know if Ubud is on your radar and if you have any questions about traveling there. Happy to help!
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