A Healthy Bali Guide
MyMaha expert Anabel Chew shares her favourite spots for a fulfilling vacation in Bali.
It will not take much convincing for me to book the next flight out to Bali – that’s how much I love this little island. Not everything has to be “off the beaten path” and “under the radar”, and Bali is a great example. Countless effortlessly-chic cafes line the sidewalks and lanes all over Seminyak, and here you’ll find only the coolest yet unpretentious beach clubs, trendy boutiques, pampering spas and fancy restaurants for that special night out. For the active, there are lots to do with some of the best surfs, hikes, yoga studios and retreats found all over and especially in Ubud and Canggu. Here, I’ll share some of my favourite healthy spots and ways to stay active to make the best of your vacation in Bali!
This has quite a distinct Australian cafe vibe to it. The main dining area has gorgeous natural light streaming in, the interiors are tastefully furnished with marble counter tops, the hippest of tungsten lamps and a stylish feature wall with wheatgrass, glass bottles and plants to enlighten not only your tastebuds, but sights and senses too! Here you’ll find comforting and hearty meals from salads to sandwiches, burgers, brunch options, sweets and treats, and a pretty impressive juice menu. Sisterfields cafe prides itself in quality homemade ingredients, cooked from scratch and made fresh daily. I couldn’t have enough of the Polenta fries (so moist, fluffy, creamy and completely addictive) as well as the Pumpkin and Whipped Feta Salad (the amazing texture from the vadouvan granola mixed with the sweet and soft pumpkin left me in complete satisfaction). We often order a side of the highly-instagrammable Acai Berry Bowl to share – a delicious and healthy frozen treat!
- Hike up Mt. Batur
Being in Bali is all about the slow life after all and one of the best ways to explore the beautiful nature the island has to offer is to take a leisurely hike up Mt. Batur. There are several hiking options in Bali but personally, Mt. Batur is one of the easier ones if you want to take it easy. There are many tour operators and guides who will take you up to the summit to watch the sunrise, but that also means starting your climb at approximately 4am in pitch darkness. If you are not fussed about waiting romantically for the sun to rise then a good option would be to start climbing at 6 or 7am, that way you are climbing in daylight and can enjoy the views around you, and also there won’t be as much of a human traffic jam on route to the summit! Either way, the views are spectacular: Lake Batur in the distance and further out, the magnificent Mt. Agung.
Down to Earth has a group of cafes and restaurants in Seminyak, Sanur and Ubud. My go-to place would be Earth Cafe & Market and Zula Vegetarian Paradise, both located in Seminyak. The Vegan Burrito, Dragon Bowl Salad and Raw Veggie Burger makes my belly (and waistline) very happy. They believe in serving up organic, unprocessed, and vegetarian food that is not only good for you but extremely tasty! Their philosophy of food and lifestyle is something I stand by fervently: “to share with consumers and suppliers the knowledge we have gained in our many years of collective experience regarding sustainable and health-oriented cooking, labor, farming, and lifestyle practices..We at Down To Earth stand firm in our commitment to exuberant love, compassionate non-violence, and health-conscious living”. All dishes are vegetarian and most of it are vegan and raw. After lunch I had a peek in the retail section located within the restaurant and brought back some dehydrated raw snacks to enjoy by the beach.
The experience at Watercress Bali is like being a guest in a friend’s house. The staff are incredibly friendly, even when they are backed up with orders, and the kitchen staff are always all-smiles. Watercress serves ready-to-eat salads in their impressive display showcase, where you just pick and choose what you feel like for the day! They also have a dine-in ala carte menu (try to mahi-mahi burger!) where you can order hot food, but I love the galore of the salads, quiches, lasagnes and grilled fish skewers peeking from the displays calling out to me. You can count of this gem of a cafe to have one of the best coffees around – anyone heard of Revolver Coffee? Yes, the best of both worlds have partnered to make sure you get the best of your greens and caffeine in one place.
Finally, in between brunches, lunches, cocktails by the beach, make time for a pampering spa treatment. This is, after all, a guide to a healthy getaway and holistic treatments are a great way to get in touch with your well-being. Located conveniently in the hip neighbourhood in Petitenget, Spring Spa offers a range of services from massages (my friend says it’s one of the best massages she’s had in ages!), manicures and pedicures, hair treatments and body treatments. You feel welcome the moment you enter the all-white loft style space with pops of vibrant neons – the spa is fresh, young, hip and even has a live DJ spinning in the afternoons! The spa also uses some of the most sought-after and cult beauty products from Bliss, perfect for the in-house treatments and taking some of your favourite products home after your session.
Yes, almost every other Bali guide you find points you in this direction, but it is not hard to see why. This place is an oldie but such a goodie. It is amazing how much this place packs in – a beachfront venue, a pool, dining options ranging from local cuisines to more sophisticated French fine dining to a casual beach bar. It is hard to pinpoint what kind of a crowd one can expect at Potato Head, and that’s partly the beauty of it, because everyone is just there to have a good time. You can chill by the pool all day and pick at the little bar snacks and party into the evenings dancing in the lawn, or to make a dinner reservation at one of my favourite restaurants, LILIN, located within the club for pre-dinner cocktails and an early dinner, watch the sun set, then party the night away with the resident and visiting DJs and bands. This is definitely one of the places to see and be seen!
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