If you are totally exhausted, in need of a complete recharge and regroup or in a transitionary period in your life then few places offer a better solution then the medicine offered by mama Bali in Ubud.
While a long journey to get there for most people, living in Ubud could not be easier. You can live like a Queen, literally on air and detox without even trying. In fact, never has detox been more pleasureable, the predominately vegan / vegetarian offerings are so good you end up inadvertently treating your body like a temple without even realising it.
The hub is Yoga Barn and yes there are those who will say it has become a cliche of its own success, but hey you are on holiday what do you care? The atmosphere is great, the food sublime, and between the gong baths and copious amounts of coconuts you are consuming, you are feeling rather spectacular and Bali yogi politics is not your thing. And of course best of all the membership costs for a holiday maker nearly justify the trip to Bali over a local yoga retreat. I was there for a week and purchased a 10 class pass which cost 900,000 Rp (54 euros).
Kush, the Ayurvedic Spa in Yoga Barn is also well priced, and their Kati Basti treatment for the stomach weary Traveller is nothing short of spectacular (45 minutes, Rp 265,000 (16 euros).
Yes there is a danger that you may spend your entire time at Yoga Barn and yes there is a danger that you may return a Yoga Ban cliche but again who cares! It is certainly an ice breaker – if two people meet at a dinner party and mention Bali chances are they’ve done exactly the same thing so you know what that’s the dinner party conversation nailed, one less thing to worry about.
If you feel energetic that’s a whole lot of yoga for 54 euros. If you are too exhausted to even think about yoga, there are gong sous most days given by the legendary Swami Arun and no trip would be complete without attending one of Punnu’s legendary meditation class. Although you may think that it is totally not your bag, the woman’s circle held every week is actually really good. You can walk in thinking I am not a yogi and I am not going to have anything in common with these insanely healthy, chilled out people and then have your mind completely blown when the first woman in the circle basically relates your life.
If you are literally a corporate goddess on the run and need office time, Hubud is a beautifully relaxed coworking hub. Do not be fooled by the easy going vibe though. As a bit of a co-working space afficiendo when travelling, I found Hubud to be one of the best run and good value co-working spaces that I have come across with a months pass being just 60 euro and that included printing (handy for the printing the airline passes).
Prepare yourself for the digital nomad crew that frequent Hubud, as a general rule yoga loving tech entrepreneur millennials that can on occasion veer towards the insanely cute, making focused attention on work rather difficult – but hey, you are on holidays.
If it has been a while or may be not that long at all since you last took to the dance floor then the Sunday morning / Friday evening Ecstatic dances should not be missed. This is just a place where everyone lets loose to some amazing DJs and people more times than not arrive solo so you are in good company if travelling alone. It tends to attract all ages and types from tourists to eccentric locals which makes it ridiculously fun to people watch and best of all the 11am Sunday starts and 9.30pm Friday finishes mean that the dances are extremely safe spaces, you don’t have to worry about being in a drugs/alcohol energy space at all if that is not your bag.
In terms of food, Kafe is fabulous, everything is just so tasty, you can’t actually believe the food is that good, and the avocado and coca smoothies at Atman Kafe to die for, you will not be able to let a day pass without having one. If you cannot live without your daily coffee fix Seniman Coffee Studio is the place to go.
In terms of accommodation, Ubud just gives and gives, there is actually no need to go high end but if you want to, The Plataran right in the centre of Ubud and two minutes walk from everything is just great. The staff as with all Balinese people in general are so, so lovely. The grounds are lush (complete with a little private temple).
Equally though, again a tribute to the beautiful, spiritual nature of the Bali people you can go so much cheaper and be treated just as exceptionally. The Artini 2 Cottages, on the Main Street, just two minutes walk from Kafe is a much less expensive option and the staff again go out of their way to make sure you are content during your stay.
Ubud is by its nature, a healthy yogi joint and combined with the Balinese culture makes it one of the safest place for women to stay. Obviously it goes without saying you need to be travel savvy and do anything stupid but it is certainly one of the more deeply pleasant places to travel to.
In terms of Bali medicine, you will hear this a lot and it is hard to explain but you can feel the edges that have been sharpened by work stress, endless office politics and never-ending checklists and deadlines literally melt away. You can and will breathe in this space. While other spiritual hotspots can have the same effect, many make you work for it in a way Bali just doesn’t. it is literally like Mama Bali says you made it here, now just sip your coconut and let me wrap you in a big hug of love and light. It is just pure tenderness for the soul.
This guide is meant for the exhausted and office war wounded with only a little recouperation time to spare. It goes without saying and you will rightfully hear this all the time in Ubud, that there is life outside central Ubud and the rest of Ubud and indeed the rest of Bali should be savoured and enjoyed if you have the time.