Bali: the home of spiritual yoga, laid-back surfing, colourful culture and exquisite cuisine. With so much on offer, here’s how DOSE writer Rosie recommends spending ten days on the Indonesian island…
DAYS 1-3: UBUD
It’s not for everyone, but to get a real sense of the spiritual, somewhat hippy side of Bali, Ubud is the place to go. Get your raw food fix at The Seeds of Life, Sayuri Healing Food or Alchemy, or stop by Seniman Coffee Studio for some of the best coffee you’ll ever have – perfect fuel for a yoga class at the iconic Yoga Barn or Radiantly Alive. Recover afterwards with delicious vegan cuisine overlooking the stunning rice fields at either Moksa or The Elephant, or vegan Mexican food accompanied with live music at La Pacha Mama, making sure you save room for raw cacao truffles from Ubud Raw Chocolate Factory for dessert.
Having had a taster of the beautiful rice paddies in the region, a must-do for every visit is a trip to Tegallalang Rice Terrace. Rent a scooter and brave the traffic on the 20-minute journey outside of Ubud – the view once you arrive will be well worth it.
If you’re craving something carnivorous after all the vegan food, book a cooking class with Lobong Bali Cooking and learn so much more than simply how to make the perfect sate. This family-run business will take you to the local market (not the one in central Ubud which is overrun with tourists), teach you about the traditional way of life, then invite you into their family compound where you will be expected to participate in their customs such as a blessing at the temple, before you learn how to make an eight-course meal.
For a special treat, consider spending a night at The Four Seasons Resort at Sayan, where the River Ayung runs through – you can even raft on it. Wind down after the adrenaline rush with yoga in quite possibly the most beautiful setting you’ll ever see, the Dharma Shanti Yoga Bale, a bamboo structure in the middle of rice terraces, surrounded by jungle.
Photo: Shanti Bale, Four Seasons Resort at Sayan
DAYS 4-6: SEMINYAK
Having made it to the coast, make the most of the famous beach club scene at the Potato Head Beach Club, Ku De Ta or Mrs Sippy. Or, if you want to maximise the poolside experience, book a stay at the stunning <a href="http://www.wretreatbali.com">W Bali – Seminyak and spend your days lounging around their huge pool complex – read our review here.
If you’re in need of a bit of a spruce up before you bare all, book in for a mani-pedi, wax, facial or haircut at Amo Spa – or do all of the above for the cost of a mere pedicure in London…
Before you start sipping poolside margaritas, stop in for breakfast at one of the countless Instagrammable cafes Bali has to offer, such as plant-based Kynd or Cafe Organic – or if you need your meat fix, now legendary burger joint BO$$ MAN is not to be missed. Its juicy creations can be eaten at adjoining restaurant Sisterfields if others in your group would prefer a Aussie-style all-day brekkie or sublime salad. And for those trying to keep on track with their macros, Coffee Cartel’s menu lists all the figures you need – and the food is damn good too.
Having partied long into the night, perk up with phenomenal coffee at Expat or uber-trendy hangout Revolver, whose hidden entrance down a side alley is in keeping with its prohibition era bar theme. Or, if you’re in need of something sweet to accompany the caffeine fix, try afternoon tea at beautiful Biku or Angelita Tea Salon.
For excellent value local food and some of the friendliest service you’ll find in Bali, make sure you pay a visit to Honey Bees. Save room for dessert and pop around the corner to either Sore Sore for artisanal ice cream or next door Dough Darlings for delicious doughnuts.
Photo: Beach, W Bali – Seminyak
DAYS 7-10: CANGGU
Finish your trip with a chilled few days in laid-back surfer town Canggu. It’s the perfect place to take lessons if you’re new to surfing, or grab a beer at Old Man’s and watch the pros at work while soaking up the sun.
Alternatively, channel the chilled-out vibes in a yoga class at stunning Desa Seni – an eco-friendly resort that you won’t ever want to leave (conveniently, there are rooms on site for those who really can’t drag themselves away). Or drop in for a class at The Practice to experience an amazing community of talented, supportive teachers.
Canggu is home to so many healthy food spots that you’ll struggle to fit them all into your stay. For brunch with a view over the rice fields, grab a sofa spot at Crate – it’s super popular, so if there’s no room head to The Shady Shack for plant-based cuisine among the trees, or Nude or Peloton for some of the yummiest salads and smoothie bowls around.
For something a bit more local, the Gado Gado and Beef Rendang at Ulekan are absolute must-haves, or head to Echo Beach and pick your fish, which will then be barbecued for you. Be sure to save room for coconut-based ice cream at Mad Pops – the salted caramel flavour might just be the best thing you’ll ever eat…
Photo: Desa Seni