Where to go?
After visiting various places in Bali, Ubud and Canggu have made it to the top of our list. Ubud is a peaceful haven with beautiful villas dotted around the luscious green rice paddy fields, whilst Canggu is the perfect place for stylish eco villas, delicious healthy cafes and chic Aussie-inspired boutique shops.
Where to stay?
UBUD: River Moon Villa is a spacious, light, open-plan villa made from white wood and glass in the middle of the rice
paddy fields just outside of Ubud’s main town. It’s calm, tranquil and the views are simply breathtaking. The chefs come in to prepare fresh tropical fruit salad, omelettes and homemade banana pancakes for breakfast whilst you wake up to sunrise yoga outside on your terrace. This place is pure magic and every time we go to Ubud, we always go back here.
If you prefer hotels, for a mid-range budget, Bisma Eight is gorgeous. Using a mix of raw concrete and organic materials, it’s a combination of industrial-style modernism with a retreat feel with their menu ingredients grown locally in their very own organic gardens. Before anything else, make sure you take a dip in their infinity style jungle-view pool to cool off.
For slightly higher budgets, set in the luscious green rainforest, are the outstanding COMO hotels: COMO Uma (pictured) and COMO Shambhala Estate. Uma is nestled in the rice paddies carved out of hillsides with a backdrop of banyan trees and coconut palms. Shambhala is known as a ‘Retreat for Change’ with its holistic 360- degree approach to wellness and expert yoga teachers, Ayurvedic doctors and resident dieticians onsite. They also offer Wellness Programmes - Cleanse, Be Active, Ayurvedic and Bespoke - for those interested.
At Uma, you can also organise an intimate private dinner down a hidden path, touching the edge of the water and lit entirely by candles. They give you the opportunity to create your own bespoke menu too, so if you’re after something romantic, look no further.
CANGGU: Canggu has endless amounts of villas dotted around the main town or along the main road, Batu Balong. The peaceful and serene Eco Gypsy villa consists of three beautiful white houses all to yourself and turquoise glistening waters between them. It’s effortlessly chic and oozes style - in fact Conde Nast were coming in to view the villa on our last day. The king size beds are draped with soft white linen canopies, the bathrooms have jacuzzi-sized freestanding bathtubs and you’re greeted by the most gentle kind staff who look after you wonderfully throughout your stay.
If you’re looking to stay at a hotel, head to The Slow (pictured above). The project of fashion designer George Gorrow, The Slow was intended to be his personal home initially, before being transformed into the 12-suite hotel. Designed with Balinese-style architecture, rustic rattan furniture, tropical plants and offering wholesome, fuss-free and delicious food, The Slow is one place you won’t want to miss when in Canggu.
Where to eat?
For those of you who love plant based, vibrant, beautiful food, Bali has it all. You’ll fine endless Instagram-worthy cafes, colourful healthy smoothie bowls and the best vegan ice cream, especially in Canggu.
Our top must-visit cafes and restaurants, many of which are plant based, include:-
Cafe Organic: Beautiful Bali chic interiors and healthy plant based food in Canggu.
Milu by Nook: All day healthy food with home interiors shop, set in the green rice paddy fields and lit by candles at night in Canggu.
Savage Kitchen: A creative dining concept using regionally sourced and locally grown ingredients in Canggu. *Ulekan: The best upmarket Balinese style food in Canggu with a modern twist. Make sure you order the peanut satay salad.
The Shady Shack: Our favourite place to order healthy and refreshing salads for lunch, all vegetarian, in Canggu (pictured below).
Pentolon Supershop: Another favourite for rainbow coloured lunchtime salads in Canggu (pictured below).
The Sayan House: Absolutely breathtaking views, up in the hills overlooking the rainforest and lit by lanterns at night in Ubud.
Alchemy: Incredible raw vegan food, with the best peanut butter energy balls and salads served in bowls made of bamboo leaves in Ubud.
Where to move / Get pampered?
The most memorable yoga/pilates/meditation sessions we had were in fact on the terrace of our villas. Waking up to the soft sounds of birds tweeting and having guest teachers come in to lead our early morning sessions was pure bliss - and the cost was so minimal. These are easy to book through the manuals provided in the villas listed above.
COMO Shambhala also offers a range of holistic Asian-inspired treatments with a stunning open-air yoga pavilion overlooking the Tjampuhan Valley, which is definitely worth a visit.
When feeling in complete relaxed holiday mode, we had massages booked for after our classes at the villa, which were about £10 an hour and were absolutely magical.
In Canggu, Spring Spa is also effortlessly chic - open plan with hanging leaves, dreamy interiors and water fountains separating each of the treatment rooms.
When to go?
Bali generally has two seasons; dry season and wet season. Dry season runs between May and September, so it’s the best time to visit.
However, we have been at both ends of rainy season (April and October) and the weather was fabulous throughout the day times, with a few downpours at night only - which were even surprisingly refreshing.
Ubud tends to be slightly more cloudy than places like the Gili Islands and Canggu because Ubud is more inland. The whole year is hot though, so don’t worry about bringing any jumpers whenever you go!
What to bring?
The boutique style shops in Bali are incredible, offering everything from Balinese-style homeware, to Australian-designer fashion, to traditional one-of-a-kind souvenirs, so we’d advise packing light as you will most probably end up with an extra suitcase full of goodies from along your travels. If you’re into home interiors like us, just make sure you don’t miss Bungalow Living or Cove Bali.
Despite all the beautiful shops in Bali, there were still a couple of things which we couldn’t live without during our time away. Of course, we are totally in love with our own branded MAIA well co. Papier journal, however as far as design and quality goes - Papier are our absolute favourite. They have lots of beautiful designs, the options are endless. We tend to use ours to write notes, ideas and journalling.
There are endless basket bags in Bali and they cost pennies! This is a similar bag Zara are selling at the moment to the one we bought out there.
By Sarah Body Oil. The most beautiful hand blended face and body oils. These oils are organic, lightweight on your skin so don’t feel heavy or sticky which is ideal in a hot climate and just look at that packaging. Heaven in a bottle!
Make sure you download the app called Gojek. You can order everything and anything you can possibly want from all over Bali to be delivered to the door of your hotel or villa. Food, drink, electrical goods, wellness treatments, homeware items - you name it.
Enjoy and happy travelling!
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