I’ve wanted to explore this side of Bali for a wee while, and so finally booked a short mid-winter break to the Indonesian island with my mother and sister (girls trip, caa-ute).
We started our adventure exploring Seminyak for a few days; before making our base the coastal village of Canggu at a women’s-only retreat, which was very much a sanctuary.
The smell of incense, morning chanting and balmy air would constantly remind us where we were – beautiful Bali.
Built into our week-long stay at the retreat (we chose Escape Haven) was a daily yoga programme. While there were options for surf or fitness themes, I wanted to slow everything down this trip; which yoga fit the brief.
We intimately explored the discipline over the week, with discussions on the mind-body connection and history of yoga, as well as twice-daily practises.
I was pretty blissed out by the end, but relaxation was inescapable. Alongside yoga there were daily spa treatments and plenty of chill time. The endless pampering was ridiculously dreamy (albeit completely indulgent).
Make sure to swing by the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud to get up close and personal with these cute littles fellas.
There were three areas we explored in Bali, each with a totally different vibe:
- Canngu. A laid-back bohemian surf town, where serenity rules and the food’s great. Lots of busy spots to explore, mixed with quiet cozy nooks. Rice fields for days, but plenty of development happening. Undeniably cool.
- Ubud. Jungle vibes. An artsy spot and a cultural hub of Bali. No beach, but it makes up in rice fields and temples. If you’re interested in local culture this town will feed your soul over the others. Bad traffic.
- Seminyak. Fancy restaurants, wellness spas, beach clubs, and (spendy) boutiques galore. Bustling and more touristy. Popular with party goers, and the seemingly ‘glamorous’ sister of towns. Nice coffee.
Bali – A Healthy Foodie Paradise
Alongside traditional balinese cuisine, the island offers an endless supply of cafes catering towards a health conscious audience. It’s a land of smoothie bowls and tropical fruit – but so much more.
Dishes are cleverly crafted, innovative, tasty, and, oh my, beautifully presented. If the food was personified it’d be cheery, fun and happy.
Hot spots like Seminyak, Ubud and Canggu have plenty of options on offer. Below were some favourites under the healthy foodie cuisine umbrella:
- Sari Organik. Eating at the uber serene Sari Organik is quite a special experience. To get there, walk 15 minutes off the main road in Ubud, through a scenic walking track that passes panoramic green rice paddies, until you reach the model organic farm and cafe. Despite the seemingly obscure spot, the cafe is bustling and no short of guests. Sari Organik is situated with a tranquil view overlooking the Ubud countryside, surrounded by its own extensive veggie and herb garden. It was pretty affordable too – bonus!
- Sea Circus. Located in the bustling area of Seminyak, Sea Circus is playful and fun in its decor, with fairy-lights dangling from the roof and chairs splashed in every colour of the rainbow. The fare is delicious, with the menu striking balance between nourishing bowls of goodness and indulgent treats. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner, so swing by any time of the day.
- Sister fields. This spot oozed cool. Located near the uber bustling Seminyak square, hip Sisterfields draws inspiration from the iconic Aussie cafe culture, with a focus on both good food and coffee. They uses the highest quality ingredients, prepped daily – and you can really taste it.
- Nalu Bowls. A Hawaiian-inspired smoothie shack, offering a range of thick creamy smoothie bowls, made with local tropical fruit and homemade crunchy granola. Their funky white-washed shack serving as the perfect post-beach pitstop on a hot Balinese day. My bowl tasted like bubblegum.
- Paleton Supershop. Part-bicycle store, part-vegan restaurant in Canggu, with a big focus on conscious living and sustainability. They were a favourite, with easily the best ‘raw’ desserts I’ve eaten, period. After scoffing a raw snickers bar and banoffee pie on my first visit, I made a special trip back just to eat their treats again (when travelling never eat at the same place twice!).
- Mad Pops. A plant-based ice cream shop. Being vegan-friendly, they use a base of freshly-pressed coconut milk for their ice creams – handy given coconuts grow everywhere in Bali! They don’t use artificial preservatives or colours, and aim to use organic locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. Perfect on a hot day.
To Wrap Up
It’s hard not to get recharged in a place like Bali – the vibes are chilled, the food is fresh, and relaxation’s actively encouraged.
Highlights were the food and new found love and appreciation for yoga – I’ve come back and made a conscious effort to regularly show up on my mat.
Given the nature of our stay, being very much a girl’s trip to a retreat, we didn’t venture out too far – next time I’d love to explore Bali deeper, go off the beaten track, learn more about the culture and enjoy more authentic Indonesian cuisine. There’s much more then meets the eye to Bali!