The people, the beaches, the art and the culture found in Bali have been enticing people for decades. It’s a country so warm and welcoming, that you may never want to leave. And this list of top five places to stay, to relax and to play will certainly have you booking a ticket in no time… maybe even a one-way ticket?

Image courtesy of Luxury Bali

Stay:

1. COMO Shambhala Estate

Located north of Ubud, surrounded by jungle and rivers, the COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali is a unique holistic health retreat and wellness centre. Guests have access to massage therapies, beauty treatment, yoga, Pilates and qigong specialists, guided biking, hiking and mountain adventures, circuit training and white water rafting. For those wanting to delve a little further into their long-term wellness can partake in one of the Wellness Programs on offer – Cleanse, Be Active, Ayurvedic and Bespoke.

2. St Regis Bali

Private villas. White sand beaches. Refined 24- hour luxury service. Located in Nusa Dua, only 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport is the St Regis Bali. Embodying elegance and sophistication, the resort features a spa, private beach and salt-water lagoon and a butler service. An award-winning experience awaits you at the St Regis Bali.

3. The Edge

With a name like The Edge, it’s no surprise that this hotel was built on the edge of a 500ft cliff in Uluwatu. The Edge consists of 4 villas with a spa, pool, gym, wine cellar, cigar lounge, cinema and children’s play area all spanning over about 1.5 hectares. With sea views, butlers and a cliff side spa, there is nothing not to love at The Edge.

4. The Slow

The Slow exudes cool. This boutique island stay, on the coast of Canggu, Bali, is designed to be an immersive experience that will set your creativity on fire. Your senses will have a field day at The Slow with artist displays, sound by LA’s Reverberation Radio and sustainable food and drink with bold and exciting flavours. Described as a “tropical brutalism aesthetic” the rooms feature native wood, voided spaces, indoor gardens and greenery and floor to ceiling windows. The Slow isn’t just a place to lay your head, it’s an experience.

5. Four Seasons Hotel

In the lush green jungle of the Ayung River valley you will find the Four Seasons Hotel. Here you will discover the heart and soul of Bali through locally inspired experiences, Balinese healing rituals and rejuvenating spa treatments. Ibu Fera, the resident wellness mentor says, “Sayan Valley has a sacred energy, and you can feel it in the forest symphony of the river, wildlife and gentle breezes.” So, for a place to relax and find your centre, look no further than The Four Seasons Bali.

Image courtesy of The Four Seasons Bali

Relax:

1. Çantika Zest Spa Bali

Çantika Zest Spa Bali is all about plant wisdom, learning to listen to the Earth and gaining appreciation for our own beauty.This house of natural health and wellbeing uses ancient techniques across areas of massage, beauty and health in combination with new self-discovered techniques. Where do you find such a wholesome spa experience? In the middle of some rice fields of course.

2. DaLa Spa

At the boutique hotel Villa de Daun is a spa, the DaLa Spa. DaLa means leaf in ancient Sanskrit. The philosophy at DaLa Spa is if you can put it on your body you can put it in your mouth. Essentially meaning, every ingredient is natural and fresh and full vitality and nutrition and that if you really wanted to, you could eat it. The old Indonesian rituals at DaLa Spa will make you melt with total body relaxation.

3. Lembah Spa

Atop a valley overlooking the Petanu River gorge is Lembah Spa. At Lembah Spa they combine traditional Balinese practices with western techniques. The local therapists at Lembah have been trained and accredited by Swiss therapists over the years. So, if you want a little bit of both this is the spa for you.

4. Bamboo Spa

Upon arrival at Bamboo Spa by L’Occitane, you will experience a “Welcome Ritual”. The Welcome ritual is a footbath with Aromachologie Effervescent Sugar Cubes, preparing you for your spa treatment. At Bamboo Spa the journey is very important with dedication and personalised attention to each individual. From the relaxing music through to the herbal teas, Bamboo Spa know how to pamper you the right way.

5. Fivelements Puri Ahimsa

Located just outside Ubud is the award winning Fivelements Puri Ahimsa Spa. With a focus on custom-made healing programmes, Balinese massage, acupuncture, colonic cleansing, chakra balancing, nutrition plans, yoga, martial arts and meditation. Everything at Fivelements is tailored to individual needs, all to ensure physical and mental life balance.

Image courtesy of Spa Yoga Travel

Play:

1. White Water Rafting

White water rafting in Bali is kind of like an initiation – if you haven’t done it, have you really been to Bali? There are three of main places to battle the rough waters in Bali:

  • Ayung River Ubud
  • Telaga Waja River Karangasem
  • Melangit River Klungkung

Of those three the most popular are the first two, Ayung River and Telaga Waja River. Which one is the best? Well, it depend on who you talk to. The battle of Ayung vs. Telaga Waja River is almost as ferocious as the rapids themselves. Which ever river you go for, it’ll be an adventure that’s for sure.

If you’re heading to Telaga Waja then Sobek Rafting is Bali’s most famous rafting company which can be found there. If you opt for Ayung River instead, then the Mason Adventures “Five-Star White Water Rafting” is the place for you.

2. Surfing

The epic waves in Bali were noted way back in the 1930’s and since then the surfing scene has continued to rise in popularity. This ocean playground is perfect for beginners and pros, just make sure you go to the right place if you’re a beginner… If you’re a beginner, head to the lagoons and tackle some of the smaller waves. If you’re a pro, hit up the southern Bukit Peninsula.

3. Canyoning

This one is for the adventure seekers. Canyoning in Bali. You will find yourself leaping, swimming, climbing and abseiling through stunning gorges and rock pools taking in all the beauty Bali has to offer. There are waterfalls, jungles and volcanic gorges to be seen; it’s natures playground and it’s not to be missed.

4. Traditional Cooking Class

Want to learn to cook like the locals? Then get yourself to a Balinese cooking class. There are some fantastic experiences you can have in Bali which include some phenomenal vegetarian and vegan cooking classes. You can head to organic cooking schools, try your hand at farm cooking, visit rice paddies and ultimately pick your own fresh ingredients.

  • Pemulan Bali Farm Cooking School is one of the most popular cooking schools for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Casa Luna Cooking School has a Food as Medicine vegan cooking day every Saturday, where you can learn about the history and healing properties of food.
  • Tresna Bali Cooking does a purely plant based 8-course cooking feast where you learn to prepare 13 plant based meals.

5. Yoga Retreat

A Yoga Retreat in Bali… what could be more relaxing? There are so many fantastic yoga retreats to choose from so to help you decide here are a few winners…

With a collection of unbelievable luxury yoga retreats in Bali, of every variety, you will find your centre and feel totally zen in no time.

Image courtesy of Ultimate Bali