Bali, Indonesia’s “Island of the Gods,” has become an internationally sought after destination for health-inspired jet setters. It’s a mecca abundant in world-class yoga, health retreats, whole food eateries, and breathtaking natural locales waiting to be explored. From the shoreline to the jungle, this tropical paradise offers everything you need for a wellness-themed vacation, whether your focus is detoxification, fitness, healing, nourishing food, rest, or rejuvenation.
Although the journey there might seem long, it’s a pilgrimage worth making — plus, armed with these natural ways to beat jet lag, you’ll be able to skip straight to the fun. Here is the inside scoop on three of Bali’s must-visit areas, so you can spend less time researching and more time downing that turmeric almond milk latte, getting into downward dog, and relaxing in a cleansing flower bath.
If there’s one place in the world to inspire wellness wanderlust, it’s green and serene Ubud, which has become known as the spiritual and artisanal heart of the island. Situated inland, a visit to the Ubudian jungle is ideal for health enthusiasts, yogis, and shopaholics alike. This locale also offers some of the most beautiful natural scenery around, such as waterfalls and the famous Tegallalang rice terraces.
No visit to Ubud is complete without experiencing the famous Yoga Barn classes held by world-renown yogis in the artistically crafted studio spaces.
Ubud is also full of healthy outdoor activities that will engage your fitness while you explore the natural marvels. Venture off on a long rice paddy walk, visit Tegenungan Waterfall, and discover the Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon. A local guide will be able to take you on each of these expeditions for a small fee.
Located just outside of the Ubud center, Fivelements health retreat offers a wellness oasis nestled on the banks of the sacred Ayung River that specializes in detoxification and healing. For more central accommodation, Wapa di Ume Resort and the Ubud Village (where Eat, Pray, Love was filmed) are both beautiful and convenient choices.
Alchemy Café has a delicious breakfast and salad bar where you can design your own rainbow meals, plus features an a la carte menu with some impressive raw plant-based versions of traditionally cooked foods, such as sushi, pizza, and nachos. Other Ubud health foodie spots dishing up delicious, healthy fare are Moksa, Clear Café, Garden Kafe, and The Seeds of Life.
Situated about six miles north of the hustle and bustle of the main area of Kuta, Canggu is known to be a hip and happening hub. Just far enough removed from the touristic nature of its neighboring areas, this rice field-spotted area is bursting with trendy cafes and restaurants, surf spots, spas, and yoga and boutique fitness studios.
Book a scrub, massage, and sauna at Amo Spa, nab yourself a spot on the yoga mat at The Practice, try a functional fitness class at Canggu Nest, have IV-delivered vitamin infusions brought and administered to you by a nurse in the comfort of your accommodation by The Dose, and grab a sunset spot on the grass overlooking the ocean at The Lawn oceanfront lounge bar.
Como Uma beach resort is a stylish place to stay right on coveted surf break Echo Beach. For a unique experience, Jungleroom is an antique village nestled in a tropical and creative setting, where you can stay in beautiful wooden houses originally from Sumatra. Other Canggu accommodation picks are The Slow and Theanna Eco Villas.
If Instagram photos of the delicious food scene in Bali have tantalized your taste buds, there’s a good chance many of those healthy meals are served in Canggu. Make sure you try the Avocado Factory, where every dish features the humble avocado in creative, chef-designed dishes. The Loft, the Shady Shack, and Fish Bone Local are other must-visit eateries.
3. The Bukit
If you’re dreaming of those crystal blue waters, breathtakingly stunning views, and white sandy beaches, head to the Bukit area and cliffs of Uluwatu. With some of the best surf spots and sunset vantage points in Bali, this postcard-perfect area is a must on your map.
You’ll find some of Bali’s best surf areas just a stone’s throw away, so hit the waves with a board. If you’re new to surfing, there are plenty of local instructors who can show you the ropes. Make a day of visiting the picturesque Sundays Beach Club, where you can spend your time alternating between lounging on this private beach mixed and partaking in the complimentary water sports. For a different kind of workout, dance the night away at Single Fin, a bar and club perched on the Uluwatu clifftops.
If fitness is the name of your game, you can sign up for one of Journey’s purpose-built fitness retreats in the area, which will have you sweating every day! If relaxation is more your thing, you will find plenty of boutique accommodation options tucked away. Melali at Bingin Beach is like your own villa retreat (serving pink dragon fruit smoothie bowls for breakfast!) or search on Airbnb for some stunning beachfront abodes, such as Villa V. For luxury, you can’t go past the Ungasan Clifftop Resort, or for the budget-conscious, eco-resort Sal Secret Spot is a great option.
Perched atop a 100-meter plateau, Omnia is the latest offering from the internationally renowned Hakkasan Group, boasting expansive views of the Indian Ocean, which makes for the perfect vista as you experience the culinary delights of their Japanese restaurant. Ulu Cliffhouse is another chic venue-with-a-view offering a farm-to-table inspired menu curated by an internationally renowned chef.
For casual, wholesome dining, visit the Cashew Tree at Bingin Beach for the best pokè bowls. Try Coco & Pokè for their vegan coconut soft serve, which you can enjoy from their clifftop spot above Uluwatu surf break.