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My Bali Travels: Eat, Stay, Yoga

Bali is a dream come true for a health-foodie yogi and surfer couple like us! It is a warm, tropical paradise that offers incredible healthy food, a variety of exciting activities, culture, kind people, yoga (everywhere), and of course, many luxurious and affordable hotels and villas. We have been a few times but I must say that this time was most definitely our favourite. Having learned a thing or two from our past travels, I think we nailed it! There are so many different places to go and stay and eat in beautiful Bali, and there truly is something for everyone. I like to think we found some real gems on our recent stay! If you are reading this blog post and follow me on social media, you likely have an interest in health. Read my post here for why I think it isn’t necessary to spend ridiculous amounts on a health retreat if you are after a healthy getaway. Wherever you choose to stay, whether it is one of the below places or not, be sure that it has air-conditioning (no matter what season) and some kind of mosquito protection (either a mosquito net, enclosed four-poster bed, or an in-house zapper!).

Uluwatu / Bingin

Stay

We stayed at Sal Secret Spot (a boutique eco-hotel), Mu Bungalows, and The Temple Lodge. Sal was under renovations in the main area which was a shame. Where we stayed was a little further away down a windy cliff path which I wouldn’t recommend, although this was where the view of the ocean was. The other area has a pool and seems to offer a little more privacy between rooms. I would look into those rooms if going back.

After Sal we went to Mu Bungalows which was stunning. It was a very Balinese experience with dim-lit bungalows and huge outdoor bathrooms. Even more spectacular than the individual bungalows are the grounds. This is what makes Mu! Daybeds and cute sitting areas adorn the garden, a beautiful infinity pool overlooking a panoramic view of the ocean, the best coconuts of my trip (and I had one a day!), yummy fruity breakfast, and in-house yoga.

The Temple Lodge – we didn’t stay here but I went here a few times and looked into rooms. I will be trying it on my next trip!

Yoga

We went to The Temple Lodge, Uluwatu Surf Villa’s and Mu for classes, and my favourite was Naomi at Uluwatu Surf Villas. Her class was wonderful, they offer a cold young coconut after and you really can’t go passed that Shala and the view!

Eat

Cashew Tree

– Soul Bowl, falafel wrap (no tzaki or cheese and add avo if dairy-free), gado gado rolls, pitaya bowl

Nalu Bowls

– Uluwatu bowl or the Pipeline! Sub granola for raw nuts and always, always add dragon fruit and mango 🙂

Nusa Lembongan

Stay

Tigerlillys

Prepare to be in boutique bali heaven! We ended up getting the Suite and it was a two-story bungalow with a large outdoor bathroom. Despite being outdoors it is so clean! Tigerlillys has a cute little pool and also has a delicious cafe on property with some really healthy options – smoothies, smoothie bowls, vegan salads, tempeh, san choy bow etc. Great location and fantastic service.

Yoga

– Yoga Shak

– Serenity Yoga (newer than ^ and probably my preferred choice. It offers “fly-high” yoga too!)

Eat

– Pisang Pisang (in Rama Gardens) – everything is good! Tofu peanut butter shake, pineapple garlic juice (all their juices are unusual and amazing), Japanese hand rolls, tropical rice paper rolls, potato curry, papaya salad… everything we tried we loved! The staff are so sweet and accommodating too.

– Tigerlillys – mushroom tempeh san choy bow, the lychee mint smoothie with coconut milk, super smoothie bowl, the asian salad.

– Blue Corner Dive – this place has a really cool social vibe with beanbags on the beach. Portions are a little small so don’t be afraid to over order. Both vegan salads are delicious, the mini gluten-free tacos and an unusual green juice made with prickly pear!

– Eco Deli – look, it’s not my favourite place but it does offer some healthy food on an island where this is quite limited. I do recommend the above places first but do try it for a smoothie or a juice – The Date Shake is pretty good!

Keramas

Stay, Yoga, Eat

Komune – an all-in-one health resort that has amazing facilities in front of a popular surf break. It has a great spa, two pools (one is a lap pool), a 24-hour gym and yoga on-site. There is a healthy menu at one of the restaurants which was pretty good, however their “health key” is often off and there is no vegan key, just vegetarian (despite some of the items being vegan, but this can get confusing). I would probably only recommend this spot if you surf or your partner does, as there are other health resorts around Bali in a better location and with better food! It is very well priced though, and the spa was divine.

Ubud

Stay

The Stonehouse Villas

Just incredible! There are no words. This is a small facility with 3 rooms/houses and each is uniquely decorated to the nines. We stayed in the longhouse which is a boho balinese paradise! Think four poster bed, draping curtains, an antique bathtub, a swinging lounge, two balconies, and the most gorgeous furniture and decorative pieces in Bali. The staff are lovely, the area is pristine, the décor is one-of-a-kind and the location is central enough yet you feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets.

Yoga

Yoga Barn – you can’t go past the classes here! I highly recommend Les and Denise.

Eat

Seeds of Life – all raw and vegan. Get the mexican lasagne, live pizza, breakfast burrito, granola with almond milk and choc sauce, banoffie pie, creamer tonics, the Inca Gold smoothie, Green Juice with lavender and aloe.

Sage – Must go here! All vegan. Jackfruit tacos, cauliflower frittas, tempeh buffalo wings, vegan gluten-free pancakes, breakfast burrito.

Alchemy – make your own salad and definitely get their sweet and spicy cashews and rawmasen, cauliflower rice sushi, Raspberry Lips smoothie, bounty bliss ball and the “French Kiss” nice cream.

Down to Earth – start your day with the detox special (ACV, cayenne pepper, psyllium husk, maple syrup and betonite clay)! They have a giant menu. We had lunch and recommend the basil tofu rice paper rolls, the vegan burrito and the dragon bowl.

Kafe @ Yoga Barn – pop in here for a quick shake or juice post-yoga but I recommend food elsewhere.

Five Elements – fine dining, a delicious vegan dinner experience at a world-class health retreat. Definitely get the vegan mushroom burger – it tastes like a healthy cheese burger!!!!

La Pacha Mama – Vegetarian Mexican. We went here when it had just opened. Our smoothies were phenomenal, the space is beautiful and the staff lovely. I really enjoyed my vegan mushroom tacos, but my boyfriend who is a burrito connoisseur was a little disappointed with his burrito!

Places we didn’t get to but wish we had:

Bambu Indah (another great place to stay, I hear) and they have an organic cafe

Green School and their cafes (closed during our stay due to school break)

Clear Cafe

The Elephant Cafe

Tips to have you feeling better Post Travel

There’s a lot of information out there nowadays on how to prepare for healthy travel, snacks to pack for the plane, what to do and what to do on board to avoid jet lag etc. but there seems to be very little on how to settle back into the swing of things post travel. After a flight we are dehydrated, our appetite is haywire, our body confused, our circadian rhythm is off, our bowel movements may be on hold, and yet we have to be up and at em to tack a to-do list as long as our arm! So, how are we supposed to do it all when all we want to do is lay down? Here’s what I find helpful to get me feeling better in no time.

Water – 3L! The first thing I did when I got home was guzzle 500ml of water when I walked in the front door. I continued to drink water, infusions and herbal tea all day (ginger and peppermint tea are great for digestion).

Lemon water – if you get back first thing, a good idea is to get back into the routine of starting the day with warm lemon water. Add a pinch of ground cayenne or turmeric or some fresh grated ginger to pep things up. I’ve also decided to switch things up with grapefruit from time to time which has a similar effect.

Chlorophyll – I also like to add 15ml of chlorophyll to a few glasses of water throughout the day. Chlorophyll promotes cleansing, alkalises the body, energises us and fights free radicals (antioxidant properties).

Dry brush – I’ll admit, the first thing I do is take a shower. I am in no mood to dry brush that musty feeling of airplane all over my skin! However after my first quick shower, I then apply oil to my hair (see below) and unpack/organise for 1-2 hours. THEN I dry brush before showering again to deal with that oil….

Coconut oil for hair – Planes not only dehydrate your body and skin, but they also leave your hair dry and brittle. Apply coconut oil to your hair, starting from the scalp and combing with your fingers toward the ends. Don’t forget to massage the roots to promote healthy hair growth. After 1-2 hours (or as long as you like), wash it out, making sure to double shampoo and then condition. Afterward, if you have one, use a split end/dry hair serum whilst hair is still damp.

Unpack – As tempting as it is, don’t leave this for the next day when you likely have to go back to work! It’s just another thing on your to-do list and will only clutter your space and make you feel messy. Get it done early, while you are oiling your hair, and get organised!

Walk – even if just for 30 minutes. Get outside, breathe the fresh air in. Natural light will help optimise melatonin production, managing your circadian rhythm to regulate sleep patterns.

Raw fruit & veg – hydration, hydration! This cuts out the processed foods which can clog up your system and has you gorging on delicious wholefoods which are nutrient dense, alkalising and extremely hydrating. I snacked on fresh berries for a hydrating antioxidant hit, and had lots of raw salad and a smoothie throughout the day.

Supplement regimen – I’m generally a little slack with this while I am away so if you take supplements, now is the time to get back into the habit of having them at the right times during the day.

Moisturise – After your shower, or if you are like me, when you get into bed that night. Our skin is very dehydrated remember from air travel and airports, so lather it on!

Yoga – If you have time, take a class otherwise simply stretch it out on the floor. Downward dog, Reverse Warrior, Triangle, Butterfly, Pigeon, Bridge, and a Supine twist are all great poses. These will stretch out stiff muscles and bring you a sense of calm.

Bedtime – not too early, try to get used to your home timezone, however you want at least a full 8 hours before you have to wake up the next day. I was sleeping like a baby on vacation (sometimes 10 hours!) so this is something I want to prioritise. More sleep! We all need it. See my jet lag tips here.

A Healthy Guide to the Garden Island…K A U A I

I must say, Kauai truly is a special place. From the moment we hopped off the plane we knew it. The warm sunshine, fresh air, friendly smiles and natural beauty all around us (even on the side of the highway!) were all so welcoming and postcard perfect. We went around the corner straight from the airport and found a cute little farmers markets at Vidinha Stadium where we stocked up on fruit and veg for the drive to the North side of the Island. The highlight was a big bag of small but juicy lychees with the tiniest pips!

We stayed on the North, in Hanalei. In my opinion, it is the most aesthetically beautiful area of the island, very lush and green. I’d recommend staying here or closer East (where the majority of cafes are located). In our condo we had a kitchen so we cooked a few healthy dinners with the amazing local organic produce from the markets as well as the delicious products from the health food stores. Exploring health markets is one of my favourite things to do on holiday so it was nice to be able to buy and cook with local produce, plus it felt like we were local! Speaking of locals, there are beautiful chickens roaming freely around the island, unexpected in this lush oasis but endearing all the same! Much nicer than seeing them caged like you come across in other beautiful holiday destinations 🙁 They are pretty much part of the furniture, and are not shy!

Below I have listed the incredible farmers markets, cafes, juice bars, fruit stands, activities, yoga studios and health shops we visited during our stay. I only recommend what I thoroughly enjoyed. It is definitely an active escape, but please, you can make it as energetic or relaxing as you choose. I think Kauai is the perfect place for adventure as well as for pure restoration. Nature’s beauty surrounds you and the tropical, easy-going vibe is contagious!

Travel tip: hire a car. Kauai is a large island with each area offering a lot so make sure you can access it all!

It's my favourite place on earth!!! Beach walks at dusk along Hanalei Bay ✨❤️ #weddingdestination #bestholidayever

Farmers Markets

Vidinha Stadium – 3pm Fridays (East)Farmers markets just around the corner from yoga Hanalei... What a view to drink in post practice! Everywhere we look is postcard picture worthy. And these local #markets were #beautiful! Fresh fruit & veg, soaps, jewellery etc & lots of drinking coconuts which you could take back to get chopped & have the meat scooped! My kinda coconut situation #healthytravel

Hanalei Markets – 9:30am – 12pm Saturdays (North)

Waipa Ahupuaa Field – 2pm Tuesdays (North)

Another day in #paradise, another farmers market, another coconut From tree to me! #local #fresh One of the best ways to replenish the body of water & electrolytes lost on a hot summers day is hydrating with coconut water ☀️ It's no wonder coconuts are prevalent in so many hot climates... Nature has our back! #hydrate #refreshing #summer

 

Fruit Stands

Aloha Juice Bar – Hanalei (North) – for the very best acai! We went here every morning. My toppings were to add blueberries, macadamia nuts and bee pollen 🙂

The last Acai bowl of the trip Best #acai in Hanalei! Delicious crunchy granola, crushed macadamias, bee pollen, sliced banana & blueberries to top What a way to start every day here!!! Mahalo @alohajuicebar

 

Moloaa Sunrise Fruit Stand – (North-east) Gotta get the “date with fate” smoothie!!

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Kalalea Juice Hale – (North-east) … King Kong acai bowl is a must! Chocolate Peanut Butter lovers dream!

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Akamai Juice Company (North) – I adored! Found on the last day and wish I found it sooner. The Magic Dragon juice is a must. Try a hot shot if you are feeling a bit sniffly.

Banana Joes (North) – small juice bar, lots of yummy, organic produce and snacks. They stock some Rainbow Foods dishes!

Kombucha

Potions Kombucha Bar (East) – a must for kombucha lovers! The friendly owner, Gadhai, is a monk with extensive knowledge on kombucha and herbs and has created some carefully and cleverly constructed masterpieces to create tasty brews that deliver all the goodness of kombucha plus more to your bodies.

Kauai Juice Co (North-East & East locations) – juices, health shots, kombucha, kim chi plus more! You can find their kombucha at most supermarkets on the island, some delicious flavour combos!

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Cafes & Restaurants

Rainbow Living Foods (East) – Raw Vegan… a must! Smoothies, wraps, pizza, burgers, tacos, sushi, salads, chia caviar, falafels and desserts…. A health foodie lovers dream!

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Postcards (North) – best dinner spot in the North that offers vegan/vegetarian/healthy options. Mostly we cooked but if we went out for dinner North, it was here.IMG_7732

JO2 Natural Cuisine (East) – A great dining experience with friends. There are a lot of vegan options on the menu – I recommend the papaya tacos, cauliflower bisque and mushroom risotto 🙂

Café Coco – A Jamaican vibe with gorgeous, fresh, colourful creations!

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Sushi Girl – perfect little stop over when coming back from Key beach or the Hanakapi’ai hike. A sushi burrito is a must! We got ours “just veggies”, and it was delicious.

A SUSHI BURRITO??!! 2017 already shaping up We got the "just veggies" version- do add seaweed salad, ponzu & chilli sauce, don't wait to too long to eat it @sushigirlkauai

Health Food Stores/Supermarkets

Papayas Natural Food Market (East) – THE BEST! It has all your needs, beautiful fresh produce, endless aisles of packaged goods, health food products, extensive range of teas, pick-n-mix nuts, seeds, grains, pastas, legumes… It also stocks some of Rainbow Living Foods dishes in the fridge! Plus beautiful oils, soaps and toiletries…. Could spend hours in here.

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Hanalei Organic Market (North) – a pretty good range of products, supplements and snacks. Didn’t have the best Acai bowl here (go across the rd to Aloha instead) but definitely a great stock up spot for the area

Banana Joes (North) – a cross between a juice stand and a small grocery store, it stocks some items from Rainbow Living Foods, fresh produce, dips, kombucha, soaps etc. and has a small smoothie selection.

The Healthy Hut Market & Cafe – a great selection of health food products and fresh produce! Try the spirulina popcorn!

 

Yoga

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Yoga Hanalei (North)

Metamorphose Yoga (North) – we had the best class with Tulasi!

 

Activities

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Na Pali Coast hikes:

  • Hanakapi’ai Trail (North-west) to a beautiful, breathtaking 300ft waterfall… Just gorgeous!
    • You can also do the Kalalau Trail which is 35km so an overnighter, but you can camp! We didn’t do this but I am sure it is definitely worth it… it is rated top 10 adventure hikes in the USA.

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Kayak to “Secret Waterfalls” (East) – a 2 mile kayak to a spot where you can leave your kayak, jump out and hike 1 mile to the falls. 6 miles round trip! A nice activity to incorporate into your stay, not many places I have come across where you can leave your kayak on the side of a river without worrying it will get taken away. However, when we were there the waterfall was a little sad! Not much water flowing, not in comparison to the Hanakapi’ai Fall we saw the day before. I still recommend it for the exercise and experience.

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Paddle Board around Hanalei Bay (North) – you can paddle into town down or up Hanalei river which feeds out into the ocean. Some of the best scenery around. The silence is so calming and the greenery is unparalleled. We saw a big turtle here! I recommend Kayak Hanalei.

Queens bath – a couple of watering holes that are beautiful to swim in, in summer. In winter they can get very rough, wavy and dangerous, however you might find yourself there on a calm day during low swell.

Bathing like royalty in Queens Bath The Bondi Icebergs of Kauai

Helicopter ride around Kauai (East) – we went with a company called Island Tours, which I would recommend. There are plenty of options though, even open door helicopters. They take you to the Jurassic park waterfall, over the canyon and around the coast. Choose the one that suits your budget and definitely prioritise it in your trip. The best way to see the island!

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Snorkel – unfortunately, on our first trip, our snorkel tour was cancelled due to the wind. We hired snorkels for $5 and took them to different beaches around the island. Do the same! Or buy your own from the ABC stores. On the second trip we went on a small boat to view the Napali coast by boat and it was absolutely stunning! You get to see parts of the island inaccessable by land, dozens of waterfalls, secluded beaches, sea caves, and even dolphins and whales!! Afterward we jumped off the boat for a bit of a snorkel. Such a beautiful part of the world.

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Wailua falls – stunning lookout to the falls

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Anini Beach – the most beautiful beach!

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