One month ago I set out on the trip of a lifetime. I went to (Ubud) Bali, Indonesia. My husband (sorta) surprised me with it until he ruined his own mistake a few months back, haha. Surprised or not, I was ecstatic either way. Bali has been on my bucket list for years and now I can't wait to go back. My husband and I, no kidding, started looking at houses to buy because we loved it there so much. The energy of this country literally cleansed and nourished my soul. (Basically, you will not be disappointed by Bali, it will fix all your problems lol jk.)
We visited Ubud (ooh-bood) and Canggu (Chon-Goo). I am sharing my faves of Ubud. I have to be honest, I was not a fan of Canggu. It was very...Americanized, but really felt like it was taken over by Australians. There's nothing wrong with that, but if I wanted to experience Australian culture, I would have visited there. ;) So without further adieu, here are my top to-do's!
1. HIRE A DRIVER
If you take one thing from this post, please let it be to arrange airport transportation (if your hotel doesn't offer it) I had a mutual friend highly recommend a driver she had previously used on her trip, but I thought I could get a better deal finagling at the airport. Even if that was true, that's definitely not what you're in the mood for after a 11 hour Red Eye flight.
If you're not sure who to trust for transportation, follow @gundultrip on instagram and message him to set up your pick-up. (Pictured) I know how sketchy this sounds, but this is highly common in Bali! Plus our driver was such a sweet guy and I now am highly recommending him. FYI: Instagram is also a very popular medium in which Balinese business owners utilize; as all you need is wifi to access it! He also charges considerably less than what we paid at the airport (355k vs 455k rupiah)
2. UBUD CITY TOUR
Another friend we made on our trip, also on instagram @ubudvwtour or online: www.ubudvwtour.com, was our tour guide to experience all the major sites. I was hesitant on this because I wanted a true, Balinese experience but the owner of this tour company took us to some places off the beaten path including this AMAZING, secluded restaurant for lunch. It overlooked the rice fields and they served the most amazing banana juice I've ever had. Ubud VW Tour also offers the tour in a vintage VW convertible with the top off, as you ride the crazy roads of Ubud. We weren't aware of this option since we booked through his friend but I HIGHLY recommend him. We did a 6 hour tour and it was SO worth it.
MY FAVE FOOD SPOTS
4. Herb Library
Our hotel, Alaya Jemawan Resort, had a great restaurant which was very near the center of Ubud. It wasn't purely vegan/vegetarian but there were plenty of options for both herbivores and carnivores. My husband was obsessed with their Nasi Goreng (a popular Balinese rice dish picture) for breakfast...and dinner ;) I have to admit it was VERY tasty!
3. Sayuri Healing Foods
If you're into healthy eating or want to try some amazing vegan, raw food, you have to check out Sayuri Healing Foods. There was such a calm and restorative vibe in the restaurant. We sat on bean bags, while we indulged on wellness shots, buddha bowls and fresh green juice.
5. Bali Buda
I know, I know I spelled Buddha wrong but this is really the spelling of the restaurant. It's another great option for those wanting to eat fresh and healthy in the A.M! They had a smoothie bowl that was to die for, which they even made dairy-free on request! A cool feature of this restaurant was their "Earthing Trays," which are literally trays of grass you can place under your feet while you eat. I thought it was such a sweet touch, but I could see how you could think it was hippy...but c'mon it's Bali!!
6. Nia Ubud
Okay, maybe I'm a little biased because nothing EVER uses my name. But I will say if you want good pad thai, YOU HAVE TO VISIT THIS PLACE. I had to force myself from eating the large portion because it was so good. They also serve these cracker-chips thing as a free appetizer and I only wish I could find something similar here in the states.
Oh, before we exit the topic of good, wherever you go, try Bali Coffee. It gets a little concentrated at the end, but as a non-caffeine drinker, I broke this "rule" because it was heavenly.
WHAT TO DO
7. TREAT YO SELF TO A SPA DAY!! (or 5)
Because our dollar goes a lot further there, an hour long massage costs you under $10! My husband and I received several spa treatments during our 10 days there and now being back for a month, I really am missing the constant pampering. Karsa Spa is a very popular spa and also has a cafe which overlooks the beautiful jungle. We didn't get the time to make it there, but I would definitely check it out during your next trip (because your going to Bali, right?!)
8. Visit a temple
There are several throughout this very spiritual land. Our tour guide took us to the holy water temple, Tirta Empul. It was beautiful as we watched the me and women "sanitize" their energy with this holy water and then line up for the second "pool" to cleanse.
9. Gitgit Waterfall
There was a little bit of a walk to get to the actual waterfall but it was totally worth the picture. It actually wasn't crowded because our guide took us around 9:30am so I suggest getting there early as possible!
10. Bali Swing
There are numerous companies that have created these swings to swing high throughout the Balinese jungle. I was a little nervous for this one due to my fear of heights, but it was SO fun. We used the company literally called "Bali Swing" and paid $35 for a driver to pick us up and drop us off, unlimited access to the swings and picture set ups (they have a lot), lunch, and they advertised a pool...but I didn't see one haha. I think ours was a little overpriced but compared to the other areas I saw, it was definitely less crowded!
11. Pyramids of Chi (pictured at top)
I randomly found this amazing sound healing place from the instagram account, @thebalibible. We happened to go on a Thursday and participated in their sound healing-cacao ceremony. If you are new to sound healing experiences, I would start with their sessions at 11am or 3pm. The Cacao Ceremony was 3 hours long and definitely a little more on the far-out end of spirituality, so unless you're ready for it... don't say I didn't warn you ;)
12. Practice Yoga
I visited Radiantly Alive and took their acro yoga class, it was definitely challenging but also SUPER fun! Popular yoga studios that are on my to-do list when I return are the Yoga Barn, The Yoga Centre, and Ubud Yoga House.