I have been blessed to travel to Bali three times in my life thus far and I know I will return again. And again. It is a supremely heart focused country that is filled with natural beauty, soulful food, spiritual wonder and – most of all – divine people. I have travelled to many parts of Bali however Seminyak and Ubud are my favourite areas. If you are thinking about travelling to these special places I hope you find my favourite suggestions helpful to you in this Seminyak and Ubud Guide.
Pura Petintinget: This beautiful red brick and sandstone temple is easy to miss in Seminyak amongst all that fabulous shopping you might be doing, but this ancient central landmark is a must visit to understand Balinese culture. Petintinget is considered to be a ‘magic box’ and there is a very special and quiet power to the entire space. The best time to visit is just before sunset when the stunning light captures the beautiful structures throughout.
Bodyworks: Recommended by my beautiful hairdresser, the spa experience here is heavenly. A beautiful indoor/outdoor complex with both Indonesian and Moroccan influences the massage I had was perfection, followed by a cooling flower bath and a fresh green smoothie. It’s clean, cool and when your feet are being rubbed or your nails painted in the outdoor area with the smell and sight of the frangipani trees wafting above you – I guarantee you’ll be plotting how you can live in Bali for months at a time before you get out of the chair! Expect to pay half to a third for beauty and spa treatments in comparison to Western and European prices.
The Dipan Resort: This is a lovely resort. Hubby and I like to stay in places that are quiet but not too far from the action that we cannot walk to places we would like to see and experience. We also like accommodation that is not in a huge complex but more casual and intimate and that’s exactly what The Dipan is. The rooms are super comfortable, the lounge areas perfect for reading and relaxing and the pool with a lovely waterfall was gorgeous. And the wifi was super fast! A must if you’re a travelling worker like me. There are certainly places you can stay in Seminyak that are a lot more exclusive and expensive than The Dipan if total luxury is your thing, but we loved it and found it a great mid price place to call home for a few days.
Cafe Organic: I love Cafe Organic so much I’ve eaten there a number of times and think it’s particularly strong as a breakfast choice. The juices are amazing and the acai bowl served in a half coconut shell the best I’ve ever eaten. If you’re in the mood to indulge – the raw vegan sweets are divine. And coffee lovers rejoice! The brews we had here were as good as any hipster barista has served us in Melbourne. Now that’s a big call!
Mama San: Hubby and I ate here based on an incredible review in The Age newspaper which praised Mama San for it’s local and ethically sourced food supply and superb Asian flavours. And it rates as one of the best meals we have ever had. The hot. The spicy. The sweet. All there. And the cocktails were deliciously dangerous and inventive. Highly recommended.
Ku De Ta: Somewhat hesitant to go to Ku De Ta after hearing reports it may be a bit too chic for us simple folk, we decided to adventure in anyway based on the fact that the sunset views were reported to be magnificent. And they were. This is a beautiful place to enjoy a refreshing drink on a comfortable ottoman as you watch the sun sink slowly into the Indian Ocean. An amazing DJ spins soulful tunes while a cool breeze washes over you. We also indulged at the restaurant here and while more expensive than most Balinese eats the food was simply incredible. Fresh, beautifully prepared and delivered with a smile. We didn’t want to leave.
Tirta Empul: This Hindu water temple located within half an hour drive of Ubud is a must visit and experience if you are a spirit seeker like me. It is a deeply special and spiritual place for the Balinese people who welcome visitors here as well, to not only look but experience the water purification from holy water on offer. The Balinese believe the water here has magical powers and you can wade into it and the twelve fountain springs as well. You will need to wear a sarong and sash which you can hire on arrival and then walk through the rest of the temple to witness local prayers and the beautiful fish ponds surrounding it.
Maya Ubud Resort and Spa: We found ourselves at this very exclusive resort by accident one day, as one does when you’re wandering through a tropical paradise like Bali! And so we simply went with it and were glad to find ourselves sitting riverside surrounded by divine trees and birds. Our vegan organic spa lunch was not the cheapest meal we had in Ubud – but all was forgiven when we tried the raw cake! It’s a truly lovely spot to have lunch in a space that feels like you are being luxuriously taken care of within the arms of Gaia herself.
Yoga Barn and Garden Kafe: There is really no other word to describe this now world famous place in Ubud and that is – special. Yogi’s and people who simply love great food travel far and wide to take yoga and meditation classes here or undertake a healing session. And most would be a wee bit mad to not then follow their time there with breakfast or lunch in the Garden Kafe sitting in a beautiful outdoor space with a warm breeze that wafts over your deliciously healthy and organic food. I’ve taken classes and eaten here many times – and it never disappoints.
Clear Cafe: This simple cafe is a must in Ubud if you like fresh, organic food. And if you’re a fan of nut milks – you’ll be in heaven – the iced cashew milk chai is amazing. There is an extensive menu of amazing salads, smoothies and even scrummy nachos. And the fresh juices are fittingly fabulous. Clear Cafe also has free and super fast wifi so it’s the perfect place to sit for a few hours and catch up on your emails if needed. Iced chai in hand of course!
Locavore: On our first trip to Ubud this restaurant was consistently rated as one of the best in Ubud and we now rate it as the best restaurant we have ever eaten ate. And we are foodies people! Foodies who take their dining out super seriously. It is hard to describe how incredible the organic degustation is here. It just is. European and Asian influences combined into the most mouth watering and delicate but also robust and hearty food we have ever eaten. And you get a birds eye view of the chefs and kitchen working their magic and just how seriously they take the plating of every morsel, vegetable foam and edible flower. Expect to be dazzled.