Many people think Bali and automatically think bustle. But actually, this tropical island is perfect for invoking quite the opposite. There is bliss with that bustle, calm amongst the chaos and seclusion beyond the surf. Whether you're looking for an hour, a day or a whole week of R&R, it's all right at your fingertips. Here are five blissful ways to unplug and unwind in Bali that don't involving holing yourself up in a luxury hotel.
Indulge in a spot of pampering
Slip into a state of zen without lifting a finger. Bliss is only ever a spa booking away. Melt away stress with a traditional Balinese massage, primp and prime those hard-worked tootsies with a pedicure or walk out glowing bright thanks to a pampering facial. Days spas and beauty salons pop up around every corner in the streets and hotels, with many offering both half-day and whole day spa packages touting the works. From age-old healing techniques to modern skin treatments, the best of wellness and beauty from east and west will have you coming home a whole new person.
Stretch it out in a yoga den
Breath in, breath out and strike a pose – or asana as they call it in yoga. Blessed with a myriad of yoga dens and retreats nestled in peaceful pockets, Bali is a paradise for keen yoginis looking to stretch the limits of their nimble limbs – and minds, for that matter. A practice that goes beyond the physical and into the spiritual, there’s nowhere better than Bali to explore what it’s all about; the island has a long history and spiritual connection with the discipline. Both pros and amateurs alike can find a one-off class or multi-day yoga program that caters to their abilities, interests and price range.
Pedal through the rice paddies
Swap the ocean for a sea of green and take to the winding trails on two wheels. Ubud is well-known for its lush scenery, where rice paddies stack up into meandering hills and jungle-clad valleys give way to trickling streams, tumbling waterfalls and quaint villages. The best way to explore is by bike. Why? Because you can go further than on two feet! Saddle up and pedal along one of the many lovely paths or easy loops in the region. Don’t be surprised to hear a motorbike zoom up behind you in even the most remote sections – the locals use these paths too.
Find a secluded beach
Avoid the rows of sun loungers, beachside bars and surfers – it’s still possible to find a beautiful stretch of shoreline that isn’t completely smothered with tourists. For your best chance, get off the beaten track and leave Bali’s south behind. Lovina and Candidasa on the northern shoreline both cater well to tourists while maintaining a quiet, low-key atmosphere, and around West Bali National Park, there are a couple of secluded seaside resorts. If it’s just a day of seclusion you seek, get chatting to the locals! Some insider tips and a driver for the day can take you a whole world away.
Catch an island sunrise
Even in the thick of Bali’s most bustling hotspots, there is a window of peace to be found. It comes early in the morning, before the crowds start filing out of their hotel rooms, when the dark and moody sky transforms into a wispy palette of pastel colours on the horizon. There’s just something innately calming and special about watching the start of a new day breaking. If you think you’d rather wait for the sunset show, trust us when we say you won’t be the only one. Set that alarm clock and catch the magic.
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