I wish I could say that I was going to break the stereotypical Yogi mould and tell you how horrible and underwhelming Ubud is, but unfortunately I can’t. It’s simply amazing and blatantly obvious as to why Yogis and those seeking spiritual solace flock here. With more greenery than a green room, the rolling hills and rice paddy fields provide the perfect backdrop for self-discovery and some much needed silence. With a name that comes from the Balinese word Ubad, which means medicine, Ubud has long been known as a mystical place, rich in healing powers and I whole heartedly agree.
As more people gravitate to Ubud, more amazing restaurants, health spas and yoga shalas pop up. So I’ve gone ahead and created a list of ‘best of’s’ for anyone visiting this beautiful haven.
The best organic vegan food: Sage
Sage have got organic vegan Mexican food completely down pat. I’ve worked my way through most of this menu and EVERYTHING is a winner, which is why it has earned the nod for the best organic vegan food in Ubud. Located just a little further out of the centre of town, this new restaurant boasts clean, simple and stylish decor with friendly and professional waiters. Upside – because this restaurant is relatively new, you can always manage to find yourself a seat and are guaranteed a healthy and tasty meal. Downside – compared to a lot of other cafes and restaurants in Ubud the menu is relatively small, however if that’s what it takes to keep up this quality of food then Amen to that!
The best health food store: Earth Cafe
Although Earth Cafe is probably most well known for it’s restaurant (with a huge array of vegetarian meals, snacks and drinks) they also have one of the largest range of organic food and health products in town. Stocking a decent array of international and local products, Earth Cafe has everything from organic Balinese wine to facial products. Their dried organic fruit is definitely worth a mention as is their locally made Konscious Kombucha. Upside – you won’t be without natural and organic products during your stay in Bali. Downside – if you compare the range to places such as Wholefoods or Terra Madre you will be disappointed.
The best health spa: Taksu
Taksu is a hidden gem located just down the road from Earth Cafe near the markets in Ubud. At first glance the facilities look clean, simple and humble. Then came time for my massage. As I was escorted down into a valley with with tropical vines, flowers, palms and shown into my private room I was left wondering is this what nirvana is? It was ridiculous. But in the most beautiful way possible and the massage didn’t disappoint either. Compared to other places you may go in Bali, this place is on the more expensive side but compared to Western prices it is still an absolute bargain. Worth every cent. Upside – everywhere you look is stunning. There was so much beauty, my little brain didn’t know what to do with itself. Downside – it’s not wheelchair friendly.
The best place to do yoga: The Yoga Barn
The Yoga Barn is an institution here in Ubud. Located right in the heart of town, The Yoga Barn hosts and houses some of the best international yoga teachers in the world. No matter what studio you find yourself in, you will be guaranteed a lush green view. Their ‘Garden Kafe’ is also worth a mention if raw vegan food is your thing. Upside – huge schedule of yoga classes and other holistic practices all of a world-class standard. Downside – classes are almost always full, so get in at least 15 minutes early to ensure you can squeeze your mat in. I also recommend bringing your own mat or better yet, spoiling yourself with a new ZenFlow Air. It’s superior grippiness is a must in this humid weather!
The best view: Clear Cafe
Clear Cafe is a huge 3 story restaurant situated opposite the Blanco museum with a million dollar view (USD not rupiah). I would do it a huge an injustice if I tried to describe it to you, even the picture doesn’t do it justice. Words that come into my head include vast, breath taking, inspirational – I even got a bit teary. This is a DEFINITE must see and the organic/all natural menu is filled with options and also deserves a nod. Upside – you will always be able to find a table here. Downside – it’s not wheelchair friendly either.
That’s a wrap! I’ll be heading back to Ubud before trekking to Thailand, so keep your eyes peeled for part 2! Next stop, the Gili Islands for some much needed beach time and diving. See you there!