Bliss out in Bali: eats + retreats
Ahh, another return to the Island of the Gods. This trip was intentionally a retreat from the real world - and a chase toward our dream reality. My love and I jetted off recently with curious spirits and bellies aching for Balinese cuisine, wander hungry for nature, relaxation and phenomenal food. Yup, it didn't take long for us to sink in to island time... STAY:
:: Sandat Glamping Luxury Tents ::
Stylish and spacious. Private and quiet. Sandat is the ultimate resort for those seeking rejuvenation, ease and a lush sense of being taken care of. The staff are genuine, kind and giving, setting the scene to the generous space of our safari tent - complete with a private pool opening up to dense rainforest. It was love at first sight - my eyes wide with an ecstatic grin as I explored the visual perfection of our slice-of-paradise home for a few nights. Sandat boasts a green philosophy in terms of eco-tourism - respecting the natural Balinese environment by building bamboo structures for their living spaces (the dining hall and the brand new yoga shala) with no impact to the land. The aesthetic of the architecture here is stunning enough - but the natural vibe it creates reassures you that you’re lost in luxury within nature (even though you’re only 3km from the heart of Ubud!). For us, ‘glamping’ combined comfort and escape - usually feelings that contradict each other! I lusted over the european-inspired breakfast that collided with the typical Indonesian menu - vibrant purple dragonfruit with fermented bread + cinnamon scrolls (from slow food extraordinaires Bali Buda). Every detail in this resort is well thought out with care and intention - each room with a different colour theme to set the atmosphere. Our room felt calm, serene and open - the balmy breeze floating on through our tent and invigorating our spirits.
My highlight was having the best of both worlds - showering surrounded by both elegant decor AND rich vegetation, relishing five star service from the lovely staff but also having casual, relaxed and potent conversations about their lives and most importantly, the feeling of home in a place so far away.
Sandat Glamping was a game-changer for my soul - I indulged in presence, gratitude and wonder at this special place.
Scope out the goodness here ↠ http://www.glampingsandat.com ↞
(Our deep gratitude for owners Federico + Emanuela for sharing their beautiful resort with us - I can’t wait to return to teach yoga in this stunning natural space!)
:: Bali Silent Retreat ::
I can’t rave enough about this place. It was my third time here and I swear the food keeps getting better, the solitude more succulent and the landscape more lush. Set in the rice fields of a tiny village 1.5hrs from Ubud, this dreamy delight of a retreat is extremely affordable, easygoing and SILENT. Don’t be scared off by the idea of being with just yourself for your stay - within minutes you’ll feel your shoulders settle and really sink in to the quiet. Its literally like time doesn’t exist, screens are packed away and your timetable is controlled by a wooden gong to signify meal times and activities. There’s a yin yoga practice to begin the day and an energising vinyasa flow in the afternoon sun, along with two sessions a day of guided meditation and visualisation. If you’re less of a bookworm and seek a bit more entertainment, you can take a hike in to the jungle or explore the surrounding villages rice terraces with no bother of any tourists. If a secluded, slow moving paradise is what your soul is asking for, Bali Silent Retreat is your hideaway gem. You’ll come back again and again just for the garden-to-table organic cuisine.
:: Kismet ::
I’m a sucker for killer branding and anything sacred geometry - Kismet nails the whole portfolio: a mystical, suave atmosphere set to jazzy electronic beats and a menu that wows the pants off me. An easy find for those roaming around the main road of Ubud, it rests snug on Jl. Goutama. Order the Drunken Elvis - a cashew mylk + peanut butter smoothie with alcohol. All the yes.
:: The Elephant ::
Giant DIY salads for $5AUD? Bali’s best espresso martini overlooking Tjampuhan Ridge (a glorious view of rolling rice terraces) and a menu boasting earth-friendly food? Oh my govinda, this place has it all. Perfect for a boozy brunch.
:: Alchemy ::
Don’t let the 100% raw vegan part scare you if you need bulk calories - Alchemy will fill you with all the good stuff! A dessert bar, groovy coffee hub for entrepreneurs and health food shop all in one, this open-air + natural-vibe cafe is unreal and puts smiles on even the keenest carnivores (our Balinese friends were living proof when their eyes lit up upon tasting the chocolate cheezcake!)
:: Monkeys, mountains + misty secret waterfalls ::
Lucky for us, Jeremy had met two cheery Balinese blokes on his previous visit and they offered to take us for a day trip up toward Munduk, in the heart centre of the island. You’ll be cruising for an hour from Ubud, but the views amidst the mist up in the mountains is unbeatable. It’s where you feel the magic of Bali, tasting the culture through roadside banana-leaf rice pockets and passionfruit pitstops with literally a hundred wild monkeys at your feet as you look over a ridiculous panorama of the lower villages. Our hidden destination was revealed after a dodgy bridge crossing up way too high for comfort and nearly hitting four stray dogs - Sekumpul Waterfalls: boasting SEVEN separate falls within a short hike of each other. I was blown away - the whole area had such a sacred feel to it and a rare silence that is tricky to find in the busyness of Bali. It was rad to have a day being toured by new + local friends that still raged in to the childlike wonder and joy of the greatness of this natural site. Its a keen hike down, complete with suspect staircases and stream crossings - but all is forgiven when you reach the halfway mark on your way back to be greeted by dudes on motorbikes wanting to ride you back to base for two bucks. Exhilarating, ecstatic and by far my favourite experience in Bali.
(killer photos by the talented @aris_ai)
"TRAVELLING IS LIKE DREAMING: THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT, ON WAKING, NOT EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE JOURNEY, WHEREAS EVERYONE VIVIDLY PRESERVES THE MEMORY OF WHERE THEY HAVE STAYED. ” – EDGAR ALLAN POE –
.... and what they have eaten.
Big Bali Blessings,