Ubud – for wellness, art and culture

Ubud, is an area about 1 – 1.5 hour from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s prime tourist destinations of Seminyak, Kuta and Legian. It is between the mountains and ocean in a forest location, known for its wellness retreats, cultural and artistic centres.

There’s always a swarm of tourists (the area made famous partly due to “eat, pray, love”) visiting ubud and as such you’ll find there’s plenty of yoga retreats, shops and bustling cafes. Tourists also enjoy visiting the nearby rice paddies and monkey forest.

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We did not stay overnight in Ubud, but there’s plenty of hotels, wellness retreats and villas if you choose from. We took a day trip with a driver, which is recommended if you’ve done your research and know where you want to go. Otherwise booked tours can often take you to an array of craft shops, to try and make a sale or two, which may not interest you. A private driver for ten hours should set you back about $500 000 rupiah (or AUD $50) for the car, driver and petrol. We made a list of where we wanted to visit and he took us there, waited and continued on.

Some places to visit

Handicraft markets

The markets are great to visit, with many stores selling basketry, batik (Indonesian print), ceramics and more

Seniman Coffee

Seniman Coffee is a speciality coffee and design studio selling a range of coffee. From espresso to iced lattes, you name it, they’ve got it. They even do cold brew, pour over, syphon and you can watch the masters at work. If you’re not sure what to have, there’s a coffee tasting platter to try. Seniman means artist and the baristas here are certainly that. Your coffee comes out with some beautiful latte art, water class and shortbread which was nice and buttery. We also tried a “Jamu shot”, which apparently can do numerous things like reduce inflammation, prevention of cancer and cholesterol. Wouldn’t that be good!

Take a sip of your coffee as you relax back on your rocking chair. There’s a free wifi and the staff are super nice too. It’s also a workshop and they sell products like coffee instruments, glasses and beans which they can grind for you.

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Yoga Barn

The yoga barn offers classes, workshops, retreats in a large serene environment, perfectly suited for you to find enlightenment and relax. With five studios catering to a range of levels, accomodation, cafe and spa, this is super popular in Ubud.

Tegalong rice terrace

This area is famous for tourists, flicking to the area for a walk around the beautifully lush green rice paddies, where local workers are busy on the crops. Walking higher than the paddies offers scenic pictures and the opportunity to ride a “giant swing”. It’s only a minimal entrance fee so bring small change, but lots of shops charge a small fee too, for a photo on their swing with the paddies behind. Take a walk through the paddies if you’re keen, just be prepared for for a decent walk and bring that insect repellent.

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Monkey forest

This is right in the heart of Ubud with over 700 monkeys and three temples. Only go if you’re not scared of animals, as they’re very confident monkeys here! It’s possible to buy bananas, but beware they’ll grab anything they think looks appealing from you including jewellery and sunglasses.

Tegenungun Waterfall

Another popular tourist destination for its scenic waterfall. Again, a small entrance fee and numerous cafes and shops around. Walk down the trail and see the cascading falls for a beautiful photo and enjoy the peaceful serenity.

Bebek Tebaksarik Resto

This Balinese restaurant is located in the heart of Ubud in a floating gazebo with a beautiful outlook of the rice fields. The decor is bright and colourful amongst bamboo furniture. Staff are exceptional and provide excellent service. The food is upmarket Indonesian food at reasonable prices and we enjoyed our lunch here. It’s populartlity is evidence alone of its quality. We had the driver take us but you can get a free shuttle bus from the Ubud area.

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In summary

Ubud is a lovely and super interesting place where you can enjoy art, eat, relax and find wellness. This list is really just touching at the surface, so enjoy our tips and read around before your visit.

Where to go in Bali

Bali is an amazing place to holiday if you love a nice resort, good food, and a relaxing holiday! It is only a 6 hour flight from Sydney Australia, so it’s also great if you’ve only got a short time off.

If you have made the decision to travel to Bali, first task is to decide which area you want to stay. The main spots for tourists and the areas which have heaps of hotels are Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. That is also more broadly in order of their price. These are all 30mins – 1 hour away from Ngurah Rai International airport (pending traffic). Other popular areas include Ubud, Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and the up and coming Canggu.

Kuta

Kuta is generally cheaper than the other locations mentioned, it has heaps of pubs and there’s always plenty of tattooed up Australians in Bintang singlets. That may be a little bit of a stereotype and you certainly can find nice hotels there too. Best suited to those looking for a bit of a party or the family looking for a cheaper trip, close proximity to the shops and waterpark.

Legian

A little further north than Kuta is Legian with plenty of resorts, smaller hotels and numerous shops, restaurants and bars. We find this to be a bit nicer, also quieter and a bit further from the party atmosphere. Best suited to those wanting a more laid back vibe.

Accommodation wise, we did want to stay in Seminyak, but I was with a friend and we required twin configuration. All the super nice sophisticated places in Seminyak did not offer that. So we went for the Padma hotel in Legian. A huge resort with everything you need! Big rooms, three pools, daily activities, buffet breakfast and more. See our blog on the Padma.

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Whilst in Legian, we mostly ate in the hotel as well as a few places in Seminyak as mentioned below.

Mugshot coffee

Mugshot is a coffee shop close to the beach in Legian. Serving proper quality coffee and has some good brunch offerings, if you’re not at a hotel with an all-inclusive buffet, we recommend you visit here. Even so, make sure you do pop by for a coffee at least. Staff are super nice and the barista has amazing latte art skills.

Seminyak

Seminyak is lovely and a place where you’ll find the more upmarket resorts, beach clubs, and plenty of villas. The restaurants and shops are generally high end and you’ll be paying prices close to that of Australia. But it’s certainly a great spot. Best suited to the socialites and instagrammers, or anyone with a little bit more cash.

Some places to stay (amongst hundreds of others) include:

The Haven

The Seminyak Beach Resort and spa

Courtyard by Marriot

W Bali
Double-Six

Anantara

Places to eat

The Junction House

The Junction House is right opposite Seminyak Village and is a 2 story premises serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We visited here 4 years ago and it has undergone stylistic renovations. A cool house style, with trendy art and cane and plush chairs. We visited this time for lunch and tried the tuna carpaccio and ceviche, as well as a spinach salad and chicken bites. The price was good and servings were generous. I also love their latte art designs. Service was friendly and efficient.

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Sardine

An amazing seafood restaurant in rice paddies, but in Seminyak. Beautiful clean white tables and cane furniture. Impeccable fine dining style service. The seafood is extremely high quality, but expect to pay higher prices.

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Other restaurants: Naughty Nuris, Mamak, Bikini Bar, Clean Canteen, Mozarella, Barbacoa, Merah Putih, Mamasan

Beach clubs: Potato Head, Mozaic, Cocoon, Ku De Te

Canggu

Canggu is an area that has been developing quickly since we visited three years ago to today. A trendy coastal town, not dissimilar to a smaller version of Bondi beach. A resort area with plenty of spots to surf, healthy cafes and coffee haunts. Travel north from Seminyak and you’ll find yourself in Canggu in about 15 minute. Best suited to the surfer, hipster or bohemian babes.

Eats: Deus Ex Machina, Betelnut café, crate café, Ruko cafe

Beach Clubs: Finns VIP Beach Club, The Lawn

Ubud

If you’re looking for a more wellness style holiday, then perhaps Ubud is your thing. It is over an hour drive from the main towns of Bali, so you can do a day trip or stay in the area for a longer stay. Best suited to the yoga and wellness enthusiast. See our blog on Ubud here:

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Where else to check out

  • Waterbom park
  • Bali safari park
  • Tanah lot
  • Nusa Lembongan
  • Uluwatu temple
  • Seafood in Jimbaran
  • Surf breaks in Uluwatu
  • Uluwatu is awesome: see our blog here

Tips

  • Money used is Indonesian Rupiah
  • Tap water is not suitable to drink
  • Appropriate clothes needed when entering sacred areas
  • May-September is the best as it’s dry season
  • English is widely spoken

Six Senses Resort Uluwatu

When it comes to holidays, we love finding brilliant places to stay with great facilities, beautiful views and lovely staff to make it an all-round enjoyable experience. Thus, we spend hours researching to find that place that really pops out. Whilst scrolling Instagram, I saw that Six Senses, a luxury resort chain, had opened up in the destination of our holiday, Bali, and knew this was the place to go. This particular resort is located on the southern-most tip of Bali in Uluwatu, about 3o – 45 minutes (pending traffic) from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Set on a cliff top of Uluwatu, offering uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean.

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Upon arriving, we are greeted by the lovely General Manager, shown to a lounge and offered fresh towels, a welcome drink, snacks of home-made cookies and granola to enjoy as we took in the breathtaking outlook of the site and ocean beyond the resort. Whilst it has been open only 6 months, it is making waves as not only as a beautiful luxury hotel, but also encouraging purposeful travel with its many sustainability features.

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We are met by a GEM, or Guest Experience Maker who will look after you during your stay. He (or she) shows you around the site and can help to book restaurants, arrange activities around the island (like windsurfing or island hopping to name a few). They also can arrange your golf buggy to transport you around site.

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The site has 2 restaurants (to be discussed in more detail here) with ingredients sourced from their own organic garden, there is a cliff top bar, cinema under the stars, boutique shop with local crafts, gelato cart, fully equipped fitness centre and spa. They offer signature therapies and wellness programs, adapted to suit the individual. Onsite are two large pools, including one super infinity pool looking out into the wide ocean, complete with lounges and day beds for you to sun tan or enjoy a book with a beautiful outlook.

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The site and rooms

With 103 suites and villas on an enormous property, you often feel like you’re holidaying in isolation as it is so peaceful and quiet, fitting with its vision of tranquillity and wellness. Select your room of choice, whether it be a one bedroom suite (with or without a pool) or the one bedroom villa. We were lucky enough to stay in the one bedroom villa, complete with its own outdoor swimming pool, deck, outdoor shower and cabana lounges.

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Inspired by Balinese architecture, it’s like you’re in a luxurious version of a traditional hut, with its interior wicker roofs. The rooms brought into the modern day with their design features. As you enter the villa there’s stepping stones to your room, and each villa complete with traditional offerings. Our room was in a twin configuration, as I was staying with a friend. The room was set with two beautifully arranged beds that were super comfortable, complete with a mosquito net. We also had a lounge, study area, fridge, use of a kettle, pod coffee machine and a welcome chocolate fondue set.

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Rooms have European standard sockets and USB ports with plenty of outlets, as well as a portable speaker for you to listen to music in your room. The rooms also feature an electronic safe to store your personal items. Plenty of products are also available in the room for use such as hairdryers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, vanity kits, razors, nail files and more. In the bathroom, there’s a dual vanity, internal and outdoor shower, there’s a deep soak bathtub and high tech toilet, you are staying in absolute luxury. Rooms have air conditioning, ceiling vans and remote operated technologies.

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If you need more, you can always call their guest services. The hotel also has baby-sitting services, laundry services, and in house doctor.

The rooms are serviced twice each day and there’s also an evening clean and turn down service. You are certainly well looked after.

Sustainability focus

The hotel has a strong vision with a series of initiatives and a commitment to sustainability and supporting the local community. This is at the core of their vision and brand, and something that really aligns with our personal vision.

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Some of the sustainability features including the removal of plastics. There are no plastics on sale for purchase, including straws. They even have their own on site water bottling plant, where water is purified and mineralised for drinking. You will find numerous bottles of this in your room and if you purchase any on site, 50% of water sales go towards local projects. There are also some products available for sale, focusing on community crafts, and sales going towards local artists.

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In the rooms you will find all your products in refillable ceramic containers, recyclable coffee capsules and an encouragement to save water. Products such as sandal, hairdryer and washing bags are all made from linen rather than plastic and the site also uses compost for their organic waste.

Six Senses has a strong focus on the community and social equity, with a commitment to employing local Balinese staff, work experience students and internships. They aim to raise awareness amongst staff and guests of being environmentally responsible.

These aspects of the hotel are wonderful and it is great to see that a resort is doing what they can to reduce our carbon footprint.

Spa and Wellness

It is important to focus of your own wellness, to find a clear sense of purpose, relax and find where you’re at your best. Six Senses have a set of practitioners, offering a range of therapies to support improving your personal wellness. From personal training to yoga, and sleep experts, nutritionists and beauty therapists, they can craft an experience for you and you can certainly leave feeling your best.

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Wellness – they offer wellness screening to build you a personalised program for your stay. You can sign up to 3,5,7 night wellness programs that include yoga, meditation, massage, personalised food and exercise programs. Price wise, for a wellness screening, 3 spa treatments, 3 fitness sessions and nutritional guidance, it is approx. 9, 700 000 IRD pp. Their fitness centre is also top notch!

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Sleep – Six Senses offer personalised programs that begins with a sleep questionnaire and then your bedroom is prepared to ensure positive sleeping conditions, combined with a sleep tracker so that the experts can determine the best set of arrangements to enable you to have quality sleep.

Nutrition – Six Senses offer a nutritional plan that suits each person and when dining at the restaurants, the menu highlights appropriate offerings for those on each program, whether it be for a cleanse and detox to improve your digestive system and mind, or the trim and fit to aid toning the body, sleep and resilience to gain energy and rejuvenate.

Yoga – Six senses offers a range of yoga in an air-conditioned yoga pavilion. There’s daily complimentary meditation and intro to yoga (30 minutes each), pilates and Pranayama Yoga. If you’d prefer more intensive yoga for 45-60 minutes, such as Yogic intestinal cleanse, Yoga Nidra (lying down, or sleep with awareness) or a longer Traditional Yoga session, you can request this at an extra cost to yourself. Meditation, combined with a yoga session aims to help improve flexibility, relax, release stress and improve your overall wellbeing.

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Beauty– we all love a good massage and there’s certainly plenty on offer here. Whether it be detox, holistic, tension soother, deep tissue or simply a head or foot massage, there’ll be one that suits your needs. A few more specialised choices are also on the menu. There’s a number of facials including a special crystal healing face therapy, body scrubs and wraps. If you’re prone to getting sunburn, there’s a natural sunburn soother.

Weekly Activity Schedule

The room highlights their weekly activity schedule and during our visit, they offered daily complimentary meditation and intro to yoga (30 minutes each), pilates and Pranayama Yoga. For a small price, there were TRX suspension classes, Aerial Yoga, stretch and mobility.

For families, kids were able to participate in cooking, learning Balinese dance, making tie-dye shirts, basket painting, making soap, dreamcatcher making and more.

This changes weekly, so keep an eye out for the timetable in your room.

Dining at Six Senses

Six Senses have a number of options for your dining selection. In keeping with their sustainable vision, ingredients are mostly sourced from their own private garden or local producers if needed. Thus, menus change seasonally according to what is available.

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In terms of dining choices there is Rocka Restaurant which is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is primarily an Indonesian restaurant for dinner, showcasing the authentic flavours of the Indonesian Archipelego. It has amazing views and you can sit inside or out. Rocka also can host a ‘chef’s table’ on their small terrace, called ‘Rocka Edge’, where you can dine in a more intimate setting by the wine cellar and up close with the chef and special menu.

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Crudo is a fusion of South America and Japan, with chefs following the Robatayaki philosophy, simply grilling the ingredients and adding light flavour of sea salt or sauce to enhance the natural flavours. Cliff Bar is as it sounds, set at the cliff, offerings panoramic views of Uluwatu, its beaches and the incredible sunset. The menu here runs until 7pm, serving sushi, salads, burgers and sandwiches and oven baked pizzas. Plenty of cocktails on offer at each of the bars too. Cliff Bar will be even more perfect when their open air cinema comes to fruition.

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If you’re keen to stay in for the night, then Rocka serves breakfast from 6:30 -10am in the Villa, Ala carte daily food ( a smaller selection of meals from a few of the restaurants) for the rest of the day and all night 11pm-6am.

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You’ll also be pleased to note that free gelato and sorbet is on offer just outside Crudo restaurant and the boutique from 12 noon – 6pm. We are good authority on this being outstanding, with us trying guava, yoghurt and berries, coconut and you’ll be pleased to see salted caramel and rocky road making an appearance. Flavours change daily.

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If you’ve got kids, there’s kids menus at each restaurant and in the villas as well.

Really, you are not starved for choice.

Summary

We would like to comment that the Six Senses hotel is outstanding in every way. We absolutlely loved our stay. The staff are delightful and do everything they can to make your stay the most luxurious, comfortable and relaxing trip. The sunset is also incredible. You will never forget it! We hope to visit again sometime.

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Six Senses Uluwatu

https://www.sixsenses.com/resorts/uluwatu-bali/destination

Address: Jl. Goa Lempeh, Uluwatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia