With its tranquil and beautiful setting, Bali is a health & wellness junkie’s paradise. Home to some of the world’s leading wellness retreat centres, yoga, meditation, cheap massages and incredible vegan food, Bali might be half way across the world but it is well worth the travel. Our very own Fitness & Wellness guru Tori Porter headed to Bali last month to find out if it really is all it’s cracked up to be. Jet lag aside, she can confirm, it’s more than you could dream for!
Where to eat
Bali is possible THE most perfect place for anyone looking to maintain or even improve a healthy diet abroad. In fact, their plethora of Vegan restaurants and cafes could turn the heads of even the die-hard carnivores. Where it might be difficult to find healthy, delicious food abroad, the health food scene in Bali has practically exploded and you’ll be surprised how food that tastes THAT good can possibly be good for you.
Where to relax
If you want the ultimate spa experience, we tried out the Rainforest Retreat Spa Experience at The Alila in Ubud, set in the beautiful and tranquil setting of the jungle. Amid this enchanting setting, enjoy a relaxing footbath followed by a 90 minute full body massage using an oil of your choice selected upon arrival. You’ll then be treated to a three course healthy lunch made with fresh local and organic ingredients. After lunch, enjoy a 60 minute reflexology massage which might just send you into a restful sleep. Benefits of the reflexology massage include improving the nerve functions, raising energy levels, increasing circulation, reducing stress and reducing pain through increasing the flow of energy and reducing blockages, promoting healing and relaxation. Finally, enjoy the delights of a traditional Balinese afternoon tea, featuring a refreshing herbal tea and a selection of local sweet treats.
For your yoga needs, we recommend the Yoga Barn. With over 130 classes per week and workshops, retreats and spa treatments on offer, you’ll be in excellent hands and spoilt for choice.
Where to learn a new skill
Ubud is the perfect place to experience the more spiritual side of Bali. Surrounded by monkeys, rice terraces and the jungle, you’ll be transported to another world. Take a day trip with a local taxi driver (costing anywhere between 400k and 600k IDR for the day) and visit beautiful waterfalls, temples, the rice terraces, silver villages and the coffee plantation.
Where to watch the sunrise / sunset
With sunrises and sunsets as beautiful as those in Bali, it’s hard not to feel incredible grateful.
Hike Mt Batur for the best sunrise. Granted, setting off at 2am to hike a mountain in the dark isn’t the most appealing idea, but trust us it’s worth it. Get picked up from your hotel at 1:45am and drive to a central point for breakfast at 2:30am. You’ll then drive on to the foot of Mt Batur where you will be split into groups and given torches ready to set off up the mountain at 4am. By 5:15am the sun was already creating a gorgeous red glow behind the mountains – it was a race to the top! Once reaching the summit around 5:50am, we were greeted with the most beautiful sunrise. A magical moment! We then hiked back down for a further 2 hours and were driven back to our hotel. These are easy to organise with your hotel or local taxi drivers.
Enjoy the sunset at La Brisa. La Brisa is THE most perfect place for a sunset. The beach club is a vintage inspired club that feels like you are on a utopian pirate ship, surrounded by boat wood, bean bags, fishing nets, Gatsby inspired fringed umbrellas and fairy lights for a surreal vibe and atmosphere. Sip on a cocktail while watching the sunset from a bean bag on the beach or a beach front table up above.
Tips to avoiding a Bali Belly:
1. Be careful of where you eat. You’re probably ok in regular cafes / restaurants, but if you’re eating on the street or off the beaten track, be careful of meat, fish, rice and vegetables that may have been washed in the local water.
2. Be careful of ice. If you can, avoid it unless you know it has come from a bag. If it is made from local water this could upset your stomach.
3. I ate loads of salads and vegetables, but from restaurants that specified in vegan food and had been recommended. Normally as a rule on holiday I would be careful, again in case washed with local water or contaminated by flies!
4. Drink lots of water – BOTTLED ONLY
5. My dad always recommends a shot of whiskey after dinner to sterilise your stomach – up to you!
6. Local teas that are settling on the stomach.
Let us know if you’ve been inspired, we’d love to know where you visit! And don’t forget to read our roundup of the best fitness studios in Bali.