Sometimes a new health regimen needs a kick-start, and Bali has an entire town devoted to the cause: Ubud. This mountain haven, with its vibrant green rice terraces and sacred temples, has long been known an artistic enclave. It has attracted adventurous travelers seeking an alternative lifestyle and is fully equipped to restore both the body and mind.
Here are five reasons to visit this wellness destination.
Flower bath rituals are Bali’s signature splendor — most local spas will run you a warm herbal soak topped with rose petals to relax in after a treatment, but one of the most indulgent can be found at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Spa by COMO Shambhala at COMO Shambhala Estate.
Ask for the Javanese Royal Lulur Bath to receive an opulent service with regal roots. Inspired by a beauty ritual from the Royal Palaces of Central Java, this therapy begins with a spice-infused body scrub followed by an aromatic, blossom-filled bath and then an application of hydrating lotion.
If your body needs a little extra love after hiking through Ubud’s picturesque terrain, opt for the popular Warm Muscle Wrap. Using a blend of traditional Indonesian spices and hand-crushed rice, the healing therapy works wonders on weary joints and muscles — it’s highly recommended for those with rheumatic symptoms. A bonus: the aromatic herbs all but guarantee a good night’s sleep post-treatment.
Another way to revitalize while giving back to the people of Bali at the same time is to pay a visit to Spa Hati. Staffed by an army of highly trained therapists, this non-profit facility not only offers restorative massages, but also funds community health and education projects through the Bali Hati Foundation. For less than $30 per treatment, this special spot is worth a visit.
Thanks to the town’s focus on holistic living (and an influx of like-minded tourists), Ubud has become Bali’s capital of healthy cuisine as well. For a gentle start to a clean diet, stop by the organic open-air restaurant at Soulshine Bali, a yoga retreat located a few miles outside of the village.
Dishes are mostly vegetarian (with a few chicken and fish options) and there are many vegan items on the menu. As much produce as possible comes from the beautiful terraced organic garden that surrounds the restaurant, which is almost as photogenic as the plates themselves. Visitors flock here for bountiful breakfasts, chicken satay skewers and nutrient-rich turmeric lattes, though the pad Thai noodles and tacos are not to be missed, either.
While you’re here, be sure to try traditional Balinese dishes, such as the dadar gulung — a snack or dessert of vivid green coconut crepes with organic palm sugar. It isn’t the healthiest item on the menu, but this local treat is worth the splurge.
For strictly plant-based cuisine, try Earth Cafe and Market in Ubud. Classic vegan dishes such as chia seed bowls with tropical fruit and coconut milk are on the menu alongside Asian-inspired options, like tofu spring rolls and quinoa coconut curry made with local organic ingredients. While you’re here, grab some coconut chips and cacao cashews for a healthy souvenir.
If you want everything that Ubud has to offer in one place, Viceroy Bali has you covered. This Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort is set above one of the island’s most scenic spots — the verdant Valley of the Kings.
In addition to spectacular surroundings, this hillside hideaway spares no comfort with private villas that have plush king beds and plunge pools, custom curated tours and, of course, a stunning spa.
For a holistic touch, book the property’s Bali Wellness Retreat Package, a three-night escape inclusive of daily spa treatments and private yoga lessons. Between those two activities, your time can be spent lounging by the pool or enjoying the fresh, healthy juices at the swim-up bar overlooking Petanu Valley.
Many visitors to Ubud come seeking preventative health advice or alternative approaches to Western medicine. While local spiritual healers (known as Balians) can be found throughout Bali, this tiny town is famous for its abundance of traditional medicine practitioners who use their knowledge of local herbs and dietary requirements to heal almost anything from cuts to chronic ailments.
The Traditional Balinese Healing Center is one of the most well-known and popular places to seek alternative medicine — it was featured in Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel-turned-film, Eat Pray Love. Whether it’s a headache, muscle pain or digestive problem that ails you, the center stocks its cabinets with exotic ingredients to cure almost anything.
Tjampuhan Ridge Walk
For a more fitness-focused adventure through Bali’s remote jungles, opt for a hike along Tjampuhan (or Campuhan) Ridge. The moderately easy 5.5-mile trail — there’s also a 1.2-mile loop — helps you work off those extra vacation cocktails while also taking in some hidden cultural sights.
Along the way, you’ll pass by the sacred 8th-century Pura Gunung Lebah temple, Wos rivers, emerald-green rice terraces, local farmers’ homes and surrounding mountains and volcanoes. Plan your excursion either early in the morning or around sunset for cooler temperatures and fantastic views.