In the July Issue of Good Health Choices Magazine I had the pleasure to write about my recent trip to Bali with my family to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. Also talking about how I love to stay healthy while traveling.
The Wellness Vibe of Bali
With its tropical climate, lush landscape, stunning beaches, amazing food, beautiful people and rich heritage it certainly is a popular hot spot destination for travellers around the world.
In recent years there has been a new tribe of travellers flocking to the stunning shores of Bali. With this tribe seeking health, wellness and renewed vitality, Bali is now becoming a trendy destination for people looking to restore their body, mind and soul with yoga and health retreats popping up throughout the country. Hotel chains and resorts are also getting on board with many establishments placing their focus on offering amazing world class spa facilities, healthier food options and an array of yoga and fitness classes.
It was my personal need to restore the body that first brought me to Bali two years ago, booking into a 7 day yoga retreat at Escape Haven. During 7 days of yoga and wellness, I fell in love with this beautiful and exotic paradise that is Bali.
When my husband suggested a family holiday to Bali this year to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary I could not have been more excited! Only 6 months earlier I had begun my return journey to yoga and had this pull to head back to Bali where I took part in my very first yoga class. Booking 5 nights in Ubud and 2 nights in Semiyaka, we would immersed ourselves into the world of yoga and wellness together.
Ubud is located 1 ½ hours’ drive from Bali’s Denpasar International Airport. This natural haven is away from the beaches and situated amongst rice paddies, lush rain forest and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency.
Upon arrival, we were picked up by a private driver who greeted us with a delicious freshly squeezed tropical green juice before transferring us to our hotel, COMO Uma Ubud. Welcome to Bali! As we entered the hotel grounds, we were immediately transport into a wonderful tropical jungle. COMO Uma is situated approximately 30 minutes (walk) into central Ubud town centre and is surrounded by stunning hillsides, coconut palms and banyan trees. A complete and yet welcomed contrast from our traditional family beach holiday.
We booked a one bedroom private villa featuring our own private swimming pool which had spectacular views across the Balinese jungle. The rooms were open, light and chic with a sense of peace and calm. It’s white interior contrasting beautifully with the lush green back drop of the jungle.
I chose COMO Uma Ubud after a recommendation from a good friend. The hotel also had a huge emphasis on wellness, offering healthy whole food menu options, complimentary yoga classes and daily guided morning walks which appealed to me.
Although I am on holiday, I still like to stay healthy and active. Yes, I do enjoy a few cocktails and love trying local cuisine, but I also love to still workout and keep active and always look for healthy food options when dining.
Each morning in Ubud I would get up as the sun was rising and sit outside on the lounger, meditate and journal for about 20 minutes. The way the morning light kissed the panoramic jungle provided the most beautiful and peaceful place to enjoy this morning ritural.
We would then all head down to breakfast, strolling through the narrow paths defined by tall, lushly planted walls which lead between the rooms and down to the main restaurant. I loved the breakfast at COMO Uma. Not only did we dine in a beautiful open-air space with alang-alang roofing beside a waterfall-kou pond, but the buffet was filled with fresh and healthy foods. From the freshly squeezed daily juices, natural yoghurt with tropical couli, tropical fruit (the fresh mango and lime inspired my latest recipe in my monthly column ‘On a Sweet Note’ – my Lime and Mango Mousse Tart) and Bircher muesli. We could also pick from the healthy COMO Shambhala Cuisine menu (Como’s flagship residential wellness sanctuary, also located in Ubud). Cooked options such as a fluffy egg white omelette, green goodness eggs, ricotta pancakes and black rice coconut porridge was also readily available to us.
On our first morning at COMO Uma we enjoyed a guided walk through the rice paddies. Our expert guide lead us though the lush landscape and local temples surrounding the hotel. Each day thereafter, my family and I would head out to explore an array of local sights. The monkey forest, an elephant rescue safari, temples and local markets. I love being active with my family.
It was wonderful to see Ubud gaining popularity in healthy eateries, with raw cafes popping up at every turn. The quality and freshness of the food we experienced was to an incredibly high standard.
One of our favourites was the Clear Cafe with its gorgeous setting and seating on the floor over-looking their kou pond. The menu offered an extensive smoothie, juice and drinks menu with many raw and vegetarian food options. I ended up ordering 3 drinks as I could not make up my mind. A turmeric juice, green juice and a delicious cacao nut butter smoothie.
We also visited the Alchemy raw food café in Ubud. Alchemy is absolute food heaven! Most of the cafes and restaurants visited used local and organic produce. We were lucky enough to venture through one of the local organic vegetable and fruit gardens that supplies these restaurants on our guided walk.
As well as raw and culturally casual cafes, we were also privileged to dine out at some gorgeous fine-dining restaurants within the region. I found the food to be forever fresh, to a very high standard and with a big emphasis on using local and seasonal produce.
When we were not exploring the sights or enjoying the wonderful cuisine, we would be lounging by the pool at the hotel. The pool area, bar and room service menu offered healthy COMO Shambhala Cuisine with lighter, nutritionally rich food. The juice and smoothie menu was extensive, providing the opportunity to try a new and invigorating variety each and every day. One of my favourites was the ‘Blood of Earth’ (1 ½ beetroot, 2 green apples, 1 stalk of celery and ginger).
Every afternoon at 4pm I would head down to their yoga studio for the complimentary yoga class. This daily yoga class was one of my most favourite parts of my stay at COMO Uma. A time for me to connect, flow and relax into the environment. The pavilion was breath-taking, completely open air, over-looking the jungle valley. During one of my classes I was lucky enough to have a tropical thunder storm rolled in. Absolutely magical!
After 5 decadent days in Ubud we headed to Seminyak for a few days by the ocean and arguably the tourist hub of Bali. I was quite familiar with Seminyak as my prior yoga retreat with Escape Haven was located here. We stayed at The Club at the Legian where we were spoilt with an array of healthy food options and also daily yoga classes. On most main streets in Seminyak there will be at least 1-2 healthy food cafes or eateries, the wellness hub of Bali. It’s almost overwhelming deciding upon where to eat – what a wonderful problem to have!
As our holiday came to an end I found myself beginning to plan my next trip. My next adventure being a wellness retreat incorporating yoga and cleansing. I absolutely love Bali and love that there is such a big focus on health and well-being there. Whilst you can enjoy the tourist adventures, you can also stay healthy