- this post was written over 8 years ago. Late 2016 I will be writing a new more current blog post on Ubud.
As my next slow rest retreat in Bali is coming up so I feel its perfect timing to share with you my love of Bali. Particularly Ubud and the amazing things this wonderful town has to offer your physical and spiritual health, and overall well being.
Something quite special and very magical happens to me, each and every time I visit Ubud. I instantly feel at home. Strange but true. I begin to slow down, seem happier (I smile a lot more, you can’t help it in Bali, everyone smiles) and start to feel more connected, to my spiritual self, nature and life.
Things that worried me beforehand no longer seem important. Stress and tension in my body starts to dissolve, and my sleeps are very deep and restful. My senses awaken as they are stimulated beyond belief with amazing smells, sounds and tastes of Bali. I feel more, and more alive, as each day passes. Ubud, once again has worked its magic.
The meaning of Ubud:
Ubud means medicine in the Balinese language and it is widely believed that it offers medicinal healing to its visitors. These special healing qualities are said to have been discovered in a vision, centuries ago during a global quest by a holy man from India, called Rsi Markandya. You will often see people meditating on this site near the Champuan river, in the gorge where it is believed his vision took place.
Ubud, which is about an hour from the airport and near the centre of the island, is fast becoming the ideal place re-boot your health and well-being. It has a very peaceful gentle feel and is surrounded by rice fields and lush tropical vegetation.
There are lots of yoga classes, meditation classes, raw cafes, organic cafes, amazing health practitioners, lots of music and art classes, fabulous Balinese healers, exotic flower baths, endless Balinese massages, not to mention the absolutely beautiful Balinese people and their daily spiritual practices.
If you don’t have lots of spare cash (like me, being a mother of 3 boys) then Bali is a fabulous destination where you can live like a queen or king on very little a day. Of course, whatever your budget there’s a price range of accommodation, food and spa treatments to match.
Whether you are taking US dollars or Australian dollars you get great value for your money.
10 great ways to bring out your inner hippy in Ubud
1: Eat at Bali Buddha:
If you really want to find your inner hippy and meet lots of travelers then this is the place to go. Great menu, eat organic, vegan, raw, whatever you want. You are welcome to spend hours lounging around playing board games, reading a book or simply enjoying the atmosphere. It’s a great place to start de-toxing by eating and drinking healthfully.
Start with a dosha balancing drink of banana, almond and dates or a Macao (organic raw cacao, maca, honey and soy milk)
And if you haven’t got time to stay then visit their health food store next door and buy some goodies to take back to your homestay.
2: Papaya body wrap:
After enjoying a 60 minute Balinese massage your body is then covered in a blended fresh papaya body mask and wrapped in a blanket for 15 minutes to marinate. Finish with a very special flower petal bath.
Papaya energetically helps you when feeling overwhelmed, improves your digestion and supports you to let go of the past.
You can find this gem of body treatment as Sedona spa in Ubud. Alternately you may opt for the sea salt scrub to remove dead skin cells and impurities along with any negativity that may be lingering in your auric field.
Or for the ultimate of body treatments experience the duo massage where two therapists work on your body at once. OMG!
3: Take a yoga class or two:
Ubud is the place to be if you are into yoga, and not just every day yoga. In fact Yoga barn offers so many different styles of yoga – Dao Yin Chinese yoga, Vinyasa flow, Hatha flow Japanese, yin yang yoga, restorative yoga plus some wonderful other classes such as drumming, meditation, movement meditations, kirtan and acro kids.
Alternately just on the outskirts of Ubud in Penestanan are Balinese yoga classes with Made Sumantra, or yoga pranala with Linda Mandini’s She offers a fabulous class for those wishing to get re-acquainted with their body no matter what age and includes yoga asana’s, pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), meditation and yoga nidra (deep rest).
4: Visit a traditional Balinese healer – Balian:
Ni Wayan Nurisah comes from family of Balinese healers and has been practicing for 14 years. She is well versed in Chinese medicine and Balinese medicinal plants and massage. Wayan has a traditional Balinese healing centre at Jl. Jembawan near the post office and across the road from Bali Buddha. How handy is that. Wayan is also the herbal healer from Eat, Pray, Love fame.
5: Bali Bike Tour:
Start with breakfast overlooking Mountain Baturs active volcano then cycle down hill for the next 2 1/2 hours. A wonderful way to feel alive, mix with the locals, connect with your body and nature. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate the sheer beauty of the lush tropical Balinese countryside and its terraced rice fields whilst being eco-friendly.
6: Check out the noticeboard at Bali Buddha:
The noticeboard out the front of Bali Buddha cafe is the place to find accommodation, workshops, healers, music classes, batik workshop, yoga classes or whatever else you are into. It’s one of the first places I visit to find out the latest “happenings” in Ubud.
7: Jalan, Jalan (walk, walk) through the rice fields:
When was the last time you walked through rice fields? The only way to get to know the rice fields and locals is to walk the very narrow tiny tracks through water filled rice fields (all within walking distance of Ubud). In fact you’ll find some great stops along the way such as an old man selling coconut water (incredibly healthy for you) or hidden massage huts amongst the rice fields. I’ve had some of the best massages in the most unlikely spots in Bali.
After all the walking, walking, grab yourself a foot massage at one of Kenko reflexology outlets.
8: Grab a foot reflexology treatment:
Kenko reflexology have two outlets in Ubud, one across the road from the Ubud market and the other down monkey forest road. It’s a wonderful therapeutic treatment that is perfect for tired feet that have been jalan jalan all day long. No oil is used just a blended power mixture and the price is super cheap.
Reflexology in case you don’t know is a wonderful therapeutic treatment that works on improving the health of your organs and internal body, simply by pressing and massaging certain parts of your foot.
9: Excite your taste buds with a cooking class:
I love, love, love Balinese food.
The Casa Luna Cooking school is fabulous cooking school run by the awesome Janet DeNeefe (an Australian who married a Balinese and has lived in Bali for around 25 years) Her book Fragrant Rice (which I can highly recommend) is part cook book and part her journey marrying a Balinese, having four children and living in Bali.
Excite your taste buds with a lavish Balinese feast, along with class notes you can take home. Explore the spiritual aspect of food in Bali and get to know the Balinese food gods. There is a cooking class every day with some days including a market tour.
You start your class by sipping on iced chrysanthemum tea and finish with coconut green crepes or black rice pudding. I always include these cooking classes as part of my Womens Rejuvenation Retreats.
10: Eat Pizza or have another massage or another flower bath:
Yes, you can certainly get great pizza in Ubud. Pizza Bagus located Jl.Raya Pengosekan, the best part is they even do home delivery. Every Saturday morning out the front you can expect a fabulous organic farmers market. When my children are craving something other than mie goreng this is where I take them.
Alternately, grab yourself another Balinese massage in the form of a mandi lalur scrub followed by a flower bath. Imagine, laying in a bath filled with 3 cups of tropical flowers and essential oils whilst your head is being massaged. Divine. There are little hundreds wonderful body treatments to choose from in Ubud with prices starting from as little at $4 US, yes Bali can be a very inexpensive place to holiday.