Bali is one of those magical destinations—one that blends beautiful scenery, beaches for miles, a deep culture steeped in spirituality and ceremony, and some of the world’s most spectacular resorts.
This exotic island, and its neighboring locales, have so much to offer. Natural beauty that has inspired artists and writers, a serenity that beckons the soulful traveler, and a landscape so exotic (think volcanoes, lush rice fields, and mountains), and there are no shortages of adventure.
That one island can have some many diverse destinations is truly a traveler’s treasure trove.
Here begins a Best of Bali series and we’ve lined up Ubud and the Bukit Peninsula for this post. Stay tuned as we will be sharing more Best of Bali for all types of wanderlust!
Ubud – Nurture the Soul
Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the very essence of the island and its culture are most accessible. It is also blessed with some of the island’s most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments.
Yoga may have originated in India, but Ubud is quickly becoming the yogi’s preferred destination. Here, the art of yoga is a way of living, so pure that they say it has to be “caught” rather than learned. It’s no wonder Ubud is where Elizabeth Gilbert found Love in her famous novel Eat, Pray, Love.
A visit to Ubud would be incomplete without the quintessential spa experience. Spas are abundant in Ubud and offer the ultimate in massages and body treatments. Be warned, the backdrop of lush vegetation, tropical sounds, and intoxicating scents provided by nature will jade you–the spendy Aveda® spa back home will never compare.
Ubud is also the nexus of Bali’s arts scene, home to local (and famed, as in Ed Hardy) artisans, galleries, and markets. Here you’ll find locally inspired paintings, hand crafted jewelry, silks, batik, and many other prizes worthy of adorning your home as a treasured memento of this special place.
Ubud is not all peace and serenity. A world of adventure awaits—imagine Jurassic Park meets Indiana Jones—by strolling through the dense jungle of the sacred monkey forest, biking through the picturesque rice terraces, or white water rafting along the Ayung River. There’s plenty of adventure to awaken the thrill seeker in you!
After a long day of activity, escape to the seclusion of the Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, nestled in the heart of this mesmerizing destination.
The Mandapa, Ritz-Carlton, sits perched on a hillside–giving broad views of the resort’s rice paddies and the rushing arc of the Ayung River.
Each suite at Mandapa, Ritz-Carlton is decorated with meaningful artwork created by local artists. Along with your luxurious accommodations, you’ll also enjoy yoga classes, world class cuisine, and your own private butler.
The Bukit Peninsula – Slow Paced Seclusion and Romance
At the southernmost point of Bali emerges the large limestone Bukit Peninsula. The Bukit (as it’s commonly referred) includes the famous cliff-hanging temple at Uluwatu, some of Bali’s most beautiful beaches, and world-renowned surfing.
The dramatic ocean views and rolling hills lend to a more rural setting with a very relaxed pace. If you’re a surfing enthusiast (of the expert variety) Uluwatu is a dream destination with its spectacular cliff backed beach and waves that are fast and furious.
The Uluwatu Temple sits perched atop the cliffs of The Bukit and overlooks the Indian Ocean. The temple, one of six key temples believed to be Bali’s spiritual pillars, is breathtaking in its majestic beauty. But watching the sunset, and the moon rise, perched from this location are nothing short of heavenly.
Adjacent to the temple is a cliff-top stage where visitors are entranced by the traditional kecak fire dance. If you visit the temple, note you’ll be welcomed by an abundance of grey, long-tailed macaque monkeys who dwell in the area. They add an incredibly exotic feel as they vie for your attention, food, or anything shiny (which you should leave safely tucked in your pockets).
And while Bali has no shortage of beaches, here you’ll also be in close proximity to Jimbaran Bay—a must-do for any trek through Bali.
You can swim at the beach, chill and watch the spectacular sunset, and then enjoy delicious grilled seafood from one of the many restaurants lining the beach.
As you might imagine, there are an abundance of luxury resorts and all are Conde Nast front page worthy. But our favorite? Well, you’ll find it poised on an elevated plateau and overlooking the ocean. This is the architectural masterpiece of the Alila Villas Uliwatu.
This cliff-hanger of a resort delivers ultimate luxury with its striking villas, pools with dramatic views over the cliffs, and personal butlers at your beck and call. The vibe is contemporary, serene, and overall jaw-dropping.
Stay tuned as we will be sharing more Best of Bali for all types of wanderlust in the coming weeks!