A few weeks ago I grabbed a backpack and headed over to Bali. I’d never been there before and to be honest, it wasn’t on the top of my “to go” list of destinations.
I wasn’t really interested in the cheap cocktails, beach parties, lying on the beach or spending hours by the pool. It’s not exactly something I dream of, and I also hated the idea of going overseas just to be surrounded by Australians.
Thankfully, my lovely friend Em changed my mind. Em had been living in Berlin for the past year and was based in Ubud for a couple of months before returning to Australia. She tempted me with rainforests, berry smoothies, yoga and sunshine and I was convinced. I booked a flight just a few days out and off I went.
The whole trip was just 6 days but I came back home, rested, inspired, rejuvenated, and refreshed.
Here’s my 5 tips to a healthy Bali trip:
1. Go. To. Ubud.
It’s near impossible to be unhealthy in Ubud, unless you overdose on the raw vegan cakes! Ubud is a hot spot for westerners in Bali, with an abundance of Yoga classes, raw food cafes, and co-working spaces. If you’d love to get away for a week but can’t leave your laptop at home (me!) then Ubud is perfect. I spent 3 days in Ubud, which typically consisted of a morning yoga class, followed by a fresh coconut or an organic smoothie bowl for breakfast.
All the local cafes have wifi and there’s plenty of people watching to do. It’s also full of people who understand there’s more to life than 9-5 so there’s usually someone to discuss the meaning of life with, if that’s your thing. Afternoons there’s the local rice paddies to visit, a sacred forest to wander through, there’s local farms growing cinnamon, vanilla, coffee and a local cacao factory which is worth the visit.
2. Go trekking.
A few hours from Ubud is Mount Batur, an active Volcano. It last erupted in 2000 and it’s clearly evident where one side is covered in the black lava which flowed down the hill. I hiked from sea level to the summit in the dark to watch the sunrise. The 360 degree view from the top is worth it.
There are plenty of trekking options in Bali for all levels of fitness, and it’s best to organise it once you arrive there.
On Nusa Lembongan (an island off the east coast of mainland Bali) we hired bikes and covered the whole island in a day, as well as a walk to the highest point of the mountain.
It’s a great way to see the island and you also get an insight into the way the locals live as you’re often riding or walking along local farms and small villages.
3. Go for the Yoga
Everywhere there’s tourists, there’s yoga. The weather is Bali is perfect for yoga. I felt like a flexible and bendy goddess on the mat and all my muscles were relaxed in the warmth. Forget juice detoxes, a few days of yoga in Bali and I’d sweated out every toxin that had ever entered my body!
My favourite yoga location was Bingin Beach. It’s a really chilled out location near Uluwatu. There’s no party vibe here as most people are here to surf. Everyone’s in bed by 10pm and up at dawn. There’s a beautiful yoga class at the top of the hill, it’s all outdoors and the walls are covered in hanging bougainvillea and orchids.
4. Good Food
This is mostly the westerners doing but it’s delicious! I’m usually one to try the local cuisine but there’s so much raw, vegan, and organic produce in Bali that at every meal I couldn’t go past the soul bowls, smoothie bowls, vegan salads, raw lasagnes, wraps, etc.
The first day back to Melbourne I nearly died paying $12 for a green smoothie in Elwood. In Bali it’s easy to find a beautiful smoothie for $1 or $2 and they’re amazing!
5. Take inspiration from the Balinese people
The weather is good, they live outdoors and they smile all day. You can’t come to Bali and not notice how friendly the locals are. It makes number 5 on my list of tips as it’s always your mindset that determines how we see the world. If you want to live a happier and healthier life, take note from the Balienese. Smile and spend time in the sunshine. Could it really be that simple? It’s pretty hard to be grumpy when you’ve got the warmth of sunshine on your face and a smile from ear to ear.
A note on retreats- they sound amazing, but often expensive. My whole week including flights, transfers, accom, surfing lessons, daily yoga, organic raw food and smoothies cost me less than $800 total. A week’s retreat can often be $2,000 upwards. Depends on your budget, and what kind of traveller you are.
Happy to share more info on my trip to Bali – if you’re interested just ask on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kojahealth