a small guide to being pampered & full in ubud
If you are interested in yoga it is highly likely you will end up in Ubud. You may try to resist it (though why would you) but inevitably, you will find yourself there. For a retreat. For a practice holiday. Because it’s only 6 hours away by plane (if you live in Sydney) and like nowhere is only six hours away by plane for us.
First impressions (trip advisor, instagram) would suggest there is an endless supply of vegan food in Ubud. And in short, there is. You won’t go hungry. A lot of it is raw food. Some of it is underwhelming. Some of it is green powder mixed with water and called ‘cold pressed green juice.’ Some of it is really, really good.
Most of the restaurants and cafes listed are not vegan. To be honest, I’m not sure if anywhere in Ubud is 100% vegan mainly due to the presence of honey in almost every drink and dessert ever. If you’re avoiding honey make sure you ask about it whenever you order something sweet. Especially drinks.
Obvious things for those who have not been before
Getting through immigration and driving from the airport to Ubud takes a really. long. time. Way longer than you think. So be prepared. Have snacks. And water. And unwavering patience. Or book a hotel closer to the airport for your first night and make the drive out in the morning.
The easiest and cheapest (and most fun!) way around is to hire a scooter. This is very easy for me to say because all I had to do is sit on the back and not actually be in charge of the whole living and dying situation. But if you can drive or convince your travel buddy to hitch a ride on theirs, it is so very worth it.
I’ve been to Ubud twice, only for a week or so at a time. Ubud is good for practicing yoga (humidity induced flexibility is my favourite thing about humidity) getting massaged and eating. These are the places I like best. Everywhere listed here has free wifi except Sari Organik and Bagus Jati but it does usually seem to be quite slow, or not working at all, probably due to hordes of tourists (like me) posting a million instagram stories (definitely me.)
Sang Spa is simple, cheap, the staff are super friendly and the massages are really good. Includes free pickup service, tea and fruit after massage. We (and all our friends) had consistently great massages here. It’s not fancy but it’s not totally bare bones. About $20 AUD for a Balinese massage.
After a few recommendations and several attempts to book an appointment when they were full, Bali Botanica became a mystical place that we had to try. It’s not actually that hard to get in, but do book a few days in advance if you can. Definitely a little more upmarket than Sang Spa, and here you choose which chakra massage oil you fancy, but both treatments were equally good. I hear from multiple sources the shirodhara is insane and they offer a full day of treatments (massage, facial, scrub, bath, hair mask and lunch – a ‘special journey’) for something like $125 AUD. On the list for next time. Bali massage is around $18 AUD.
It’s way out of town, it’s a little more pricey, but it’s my favourite Bali massage by far. Describing the environment surrounding Bagus Jati may just be the only time I dare to use the word ‘lush.’ It’s a resort / retreat centre literally surrounded by forest. It has one of the worlds most instagrammable pools and jacuzzis. The treatment rooms are open air on one wall, covered by sheer curtains overlooking the pool and the forest. The colour scheme is coral, gold, stone and a deep rose petal pink. Basically it’s aesthetically the place of my dreams but also the massages are amazing. I hope to one day stay Bagus Jati and try the entire treatment menu. Around $45 AUD for a Bali Massage.
Covered outdoors seating but very cool (temperature wise) and surrounded by lots of greenery. If you followed my Instagram stories while I was in Bali, this is the tofu larb place. If you like fragrant and fresh and a little bit spicy you’ll love it. Order it. Not a lot of vegan options but good iced coffee (just forget about hot coffee in Ubud) really good garlic bread (served with baba ganoush (?) but oh my goodness it works) smashed baked potatoes and iced ginger soda done right with hunks of fresh ginger and crushed up limes. Nice place to hang out. Vegetarian.
Moksa is mostly raw or ‘raw warmed up’ (better than it sounds.) The chefs bowl is one of the best things I ate in Ubud. I was fighting off a cold that day and ordered a juice with garlic and it actually tasted good so they obviously know their stuff (or they forgot to put the garlic in.) Moksa was a little bit out of the way from where we were staying, otherwise I would definitely have gone back again and again. Vegetarian.
Very instagrammable café that will potentially be filled with people having loud conversations about ~spiritual~ things or on a first date after meeting at yoga barn BUT the vegan smoothie is really good. So is the brownie. And the juices. Go here for the sugar rush (and maybe bring headphones.) Omni.
Cheap, Japanese inspired vegetarian café. Otherwise known as ‘the veggie nugget place.’ They’re really good (but we overdid them.) The samosas are nice (but served cold) and it’s usually quiet, which is a plus. Vegetarian.
For the terrifying scooter ride up to the rice paddies. For the soy iced latte and choc orange gelato. For getting out of town. For escaping the heat. For the herbal steam room and salt water pool (when it's not totally crowded, which seems to be always.) Vegetarian.
A few minutes up the road from Dragonfly Village, you’ll find Sari Organik. The food is okay but the view is really special and worth the trip alone. Go for pink rice paddy sunset. I’ve eaten here a few times and haven’t been overly impressed by anything except the longtong, a nice mild curry with banana leaf rice. Also buy at least 3 of the almond chocolate bars sold at the counter because it’s really good and you’ll eat it all quickly and regret not buying more. Omni.
Just like my Tokyo Accomodation post, there are at least six thousand other places to eat and be pampered and if you have a favourite please comment below.