It's fair to say that we know Bali pretty well, especially as we now live here half of the year. So, we felt it was about time we shared with you our favourite hangouts - from yoga studios, beaches to foodie destinations. Here's The STARSEEDS Ultimate Bali Travel Guide, written by our founder, Natalia Zawada.
Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali and my favourite place to land and start my tour of Bali. I always go to Ubud straight from the airport when I arrive in Bali, because this is the place where I reconnect with the Balinese culture and tradition.
To me, Ubud is a town that holds a sense of timelessness. Admittedly, the main streets become more hectic and touristy each year and it’s continuously being flooded with new things to sell and buy, but you cannot blame local people for trying to make a living. Yet, on the other hand, if you skip the main streets – J.Hanoman and J.Monkey Forest - indulging in the sound of the Rindick as you walk the smaller quieter paths, you might feel the real spirit of Bali.
I have a full admiration for the traditional Balinese architecture. Each house has its own temple, with the walls sculpted in the traditional Balinese style. The families follow the historical design of Bali’s architecture and build new houses in the same styles as the traditional ones. This mix of old and new is so deceiving that it's almost impossible to distinguish between the two.The surrounding air is filled with the scent of incense, as the family elders bless the house with prayers and offerings of flowers, asking the Hindu Gods for the protection, health and abundance.
Ubud is full of artists, cool cafes and restaurants - it’s definitely a good place to visit for foodies!
My personal fav food spots are…
- Moksa - A plant-based restaurant with a permaculture garden, that offers yoga, meditation, martial arts, cooking classes, events and a farmer’s market!
- Zest - Another vegan restaurant that serves an incredible menu with locally sourced organic ingredients, in a chilled atmosphere.
- Mudra - Mudra is all about experiential dining. A tiny restaurant, serving just 15 people at a time, with locally sourced, ayurvedic island food.
- Yellow Flower Café - Hidden in the Penestanan hills, the Yellow Flore Café serves locally grown food and nourishing Asian dishes.
- Sayuri - Sayuri offers a menu full of mostly raw, vegan, gluten-free and healing dishes. They also do culinary courses!
- Room 4 Dessert - Room 4 Dessert creates a fine dining experience with a set multiple course menu of petit fours, savoury delights and exquisite desserts.
The key events for visitors are…
- Ecstatic dance at the Yoga Barn (weekly)
- Akasha Full Moon conscious parties (monthly)
- Bali Spirit Festival (yearly)
I also love going to Bali Dacha - a Russian founded eco-spa in the middle of the jungle!
Moving up to the north of the island, I would highly recommend doing a tour focused on trekking; visiting the waterfalls, coffee plantations and herb farms hidden in the jungle. You’ll also be able to experience the incredible smell and sight of wild herbs, found growing freely and abundantly in the jungle, from lemongrass to clove.
Lovina is a really nice place to just chill and find some peace. It has a range of good spas and hotels, and is a great romantic destination
Moving down to the west coast, you’ll find Canggu. Originally a surfers village, it is now the best place for a conscious crowd and of course, yogis. It’s great for beginner surfers, foodies and digital nomads. Full of co-working spaces for the creative crowd, the village is also known for art and fashion.
It also hosts some of my favourite yoga studios…
Whilst Seminyak is more touristy, it does admittedly have beautiful luxurious hotels, restaurants and beach bars. If you’re a creature of comfort and don’t want to go too far to explore, this is for you.
Bukhit offers a beautiful unique beach experience with a backdrop of lusciously green cliffs and notorious surf breaks. There’s also a fair few restaurants and beach clubs with great guest DJs.
Amed is a beautiful fishing town on the east coast of Bali. It’s incredible for diving and snorkeling, and at a decent price. If you’re after somewhere that provides a bit of relief from the main tourist hubs, Amed is very quiet and peaceful at night.