looking for some tips + tricks for your next adventure that don't break the bank (or your finally-developed self-care habits)?! i've compiled everything i found during my favorite trips around the globe so you don't have to
edited: January 2019
oh my gosh bali - where to even begin? the moment that you step foot onto this magical island you immediately feel at peace with yourself and everything surrounding you. there's an air that emanates pure bliss - from the people to the food to the way of life. if you're looking for some real eat, pray love vibes where you can find a vegan cafe + yoga studio on every corner look no further.
I came back to Bali a few months after my first time with D on our long adventure, and gosh do I love this place. It’s just as magical, friendly and beautiful. We explored a few new spots and I’ve added them to the list!
i wanted to see so many things while in bali, so i moved around quite a bit during my 8-day trip. i alternated my stay between two spots - canggu (a beach town) and ubud (the spiritual/yoga center). there are plenty of villas, airbnbs, and cute hotels that are all priced relatively well. most have pools, chefs, drivers and amazing service - all for about $60 per night!! I know - crazy. i will highlight how amazing the service was across the board. the balinese go above and beyond!
canggu: this spot is an adorable beach town that has a bunch of cute, australian-style cafes, a couple of trendy beach lounges and plenty of yoga spots to choose from. it's a bit more spread out than I thought it would be and most people get around on motorbikes (i walked everywhere though!). i bookended my trip with this spot - so i started and ended there. i would highly recommend it for 3 - 4 days to relax, eat some yummy healthy food and soak in the bali sun!
villa lilu: obsessed with this spot. i started my trip here. it's in a great location (very close to the main road but not on it, across from two great yoga studios, and 5 min walk from the beach). it has a beautiful pool, large bedrooms and bathrooms, and a cool hangout area. i would definitely stay here again. also their support team is amazing!!
villa vanilla: this place was pretty cool! it's on the other side of canggu (berawa) but about a 10 - 15 minute walk from berawa beach and other cafes. it definitely has a modern feel to it. the chef is awesome though - yummy breakfast bowls ordered to your liking!
Villa Embra: I stayed here with Dupi on our last trip and oh my gosh - I’m obsessed. Perfect design, location and super cheap. Love it!!
ubud: to me, ubud is more of a city than a town! it's definitely one of the more touristy spots in bali, but it hasn't lost it's beautiful charm and spirituality. there are templates on every street corner it seems, and lots of things to explore. it's less trendy than canggu is for sure, but has a great selection of restaurants, coffee shops, yoga studios and spas. and, there are so many traditional balinese places to explore in the surrounding area!
ubud sari health resort: i stayed here one night because i wanted to have some time centrally located to explore the city. i would highly recommend this place if you're looking for a getaway in the city. it's located on a quiet street in the center of town, and has a beautiful (huge!) area with lots of greenery and areas to lounge. the rooms are also pretty nice for the price ($30/night)! there's a great vegan restaurant onsite as well.
sankara ubud: oh. my. gosh. this might be one of my favorite places in the world. it's located about a 5 - 10 minute drive south of ubud + they provide a daily shuttle (but still walking distance to the town; it took me about 20 min to walk back). this place is magical. the rooms are enormous, the bathrooms are bigger than my apartment at home (with an amazing bath!), there's a beautiful infinity pool, great outdoor yoga space, spa, and the service is impeccable (literally - they come into your room each night to "prepare" it for bed). would highly, highly recommend.
como shambala estate: okay, so i didn't have the fortune of staying here, but i did come visit for a lunch and wow. this place is out of this world. if i was able to afford it (!!) i would have 1000% stayed here. it's about a 20 minute drive north of ubud nestled in these beautiful rice paddies/forest. it's a huge property that is fully dedicated to wellness, and included in your stay you receive one-on-one sessions with their in-house wellness consultants + daily activities + yummy, plant-based food. it's unreal. if you have the chance...go! and look out for some exciting stuff in the future :)
Mana Boutique: Dupi and I stayed here on our last trip and it was paradise. It was a bit outside of the “ctiy” but really close walking distance. It’s a brand new, beautiful villa with an infinity pool, made-to-order breakfast and insanely beautiful outdoor bathroom/tub. I wish I could live here TBH.
uluwatu: this is like the Bali version of Santorini - dramatic cliffs, boogey hotels, and beach clubs galore. I loved it so much - but I also went with D (not alone this time). I would highly recommend for couples or anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle; it feels quite secluded (in a good way). One thing to flag - beaches are beautiful but the public ones are rocky/strong current. Though it’s still Bali-cheap I wouldn’t recommend coming here on an extremely tight budget.
Gravity Hotel: I’m obsessed with this place. It was pretty much a luxury resort without the price tag. We had our own private (beautiful!) villa bungalow and access to two insanely nice pools. The views were amazing and the service was impeccable-but-still chill (room service via Whatsapp anyone?!). Would highly recommend for young couples.
*There are many nice hotels and villas here - but everything is quite spread apart. Here, more than other places in Bali, I would splurge on a nice place, because you’ll probably end up spending most of your time there.
bali is quite a small island when you think about it, but it takes a while to get around due to all the traffic. everyone (and I mean everyone) rides a motorbike - locals and tourists alike. the tiny little streets become crazy because motorbikers swerve around cars and there isn't much room. you feel?
i decided not to rent one - i'm not the best driver and i saw a couple of tourist accidents along the way from the airport! but that being said everyone seems to use them and it is much easier than walking everywhere (there aren't really sidewalks) - though walking is doable.
getting in between cities was really easy. most villas have a driver associated with them, and they will help organize your travels. just make sure that the pricing is fair: i paid about $300K idr (about $22) to get from canggu to ubud/vise-versa. it's about $250k idr to/from the airport, and shorter rides should be about $100k idr. don't feel bad haggling a bit!
where do i begin...literally. i wish that i could transport all of these places back to my apartment and have this food every single day. i went completely plant-based/vegan while i was here and didn't drink any alcohol (who am i?!!?) - i can't even begin to describe how good i felt, but more on that later. here were some of my favorite spots:
alkaline (canggu): this eco-friendly spot is located in the serenity yoga/lodge complex. it's suuuper cute and has really great juices, shots, and loads of great vegan choices. perfect for an after yoga treat!
in the raw (canggu): love this spot. it's right across from the practice (yoga) and close to the beach. it's also owned by the founder of juice press - crazy! super yummy, healthy foods but they also have drinks. seems like a cool hangout spot any time of the day.
pelotons (canggu): this is a super popular vegan breakfast/lunch spot in berewa that has a yummy selection of food and great coffee. if you're on this side, definitely stop here pre or post-beach!
milk + madu (canggu/ubud): unfortunately, when I was in town the original place burned down so there was a pop up nearby. they also opened a spot in ubud too. similarly, cute coffee shop with yummy, healthy food!
cafe vida (canggu): oh my gosh - might have been one of my favorite spots. it doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside there's a beautiful garden area with cool seating and a fish pond! crazy. again, yummy, healthy food - go early so you get a good seat!
sprout (canggu): this coffee shop is on the berawa side and close to where i was staying. lots of plants and great coffee!
seniman coffee (ubud): this is one of the most popular coffee shops in ubud. they roast everything in-house and have lots to choose from. it's not that cute but the coffee was good and they have a great outdoor seating area!
seeds of life (ubud): yuuuum. raw/vegan spot in ubud that has their own alchemist (!). i didn't eat a full meal here but had one of their "potions" and it was magical.
sayuri healing foods (ubud): this spot is super popular with the post-yoga crowd. they're all/mostly raw foods but it doesn't feel like it. great work space, too! they also have a great and inexpensive selection of teas, herbs and other health things that are suuuper cheap so stock up!
earth cafe (ubud): if you need to stock up on some necessities or grab a quick meal - come here. it's like a little health food store in the middle of ubud!
kafe / yoga barn (ubud): even though everyone talks about this place - it is not overrated at alllll. i wish i could have stayed at yoga barn and ate at kafe all the time. great selection of (you guessed it) raw, vegan and ayurvedic foods. perfect for your post-yoga session!
crate cafe (canggu): this place is the spot. Another Australian Cafe that hits the nail on the head. Super popular spot in Canggu that has insanely good brunch, coffee and portion sizes.
Drifter surf (uluwatu): We were obsessed with this place. Healthy food, cool place to chill and really cheap. Highly recommend for post-beach smoothies/salads/anything!
my trip was all about relaxing, healing and finding some great places to write so i didn't too my normal bit of exploring. that being said, i've added in some recommendations from others/what i will definitely do next time i'm back!
do yoga everywhere and anywhere -
CANGGU YOGA SPOTS (IN FAVORITE ORDER): THE PRACTICE, DESI SANI, SERENITY, CANGGU STUDIOS
UBUD YOGA SPOTS (IN FAVORITE ORDER): YOGA BARN, RADIANTLY ALIVE; DIDN'T TRY - taksu
get a massage and flower bath at karsa spa (ubud)
walk the campuhan trail + explore the art galleries along the way! (ubud)
GET A WATER BLESSING AT tirta empul (UBUD)
explore the temples (ubud)
climb mt batur (ubud)
WALK THROUGH RICE PADDIES (UBUD)
spend a day at a beach lounge (canggu)
the lawn was my absolute favorite. definitely go here for good vibes!
finns is a bit overpriced and not as cool in my opinion
other: la brisa, vue, como
VISIT TANAH LOT (CANGGU)
learn to surf (canggu)
chill at a beach club in uluwatu (highly recommend Sunday’s Beach Club!)
Other places to visit in bali i wish i could have seen!