June 7, 2019 • 12 min read
Bali – the famed island of the gods.
With lush rice terraces, swaying palm trees and the faint, yet ever-present smell of incense in the air, this little island is completely captivating. Erupting in popularity this past decade, Bali is well-known for its healthy food, wellness, and yoga, attracting people from all corners of the globe.
Many people come on vacation but end up staying much longer. The ease of life mixed with island vibes provide a safe and relaxing haven away from the stresses of real life. There truly is magic here, especially in Ubud, the island’s wellness hub.
Sharing some of the island’s local businesses, eateries and experiences that are leading the way in conscious consuming, keep these places bookmarked for your trip to Bali.
W H E R E T O S T A Y
Bisma Eight | Ubud
In the heart of Ubud lies a sanctuary away from the bustle of the town. Bisma Eight, an award-winning hotel, seamlessly blends traditional Balinese architecture with a streamlined, contemporary aesthetic. Going beyond an accommodation, Bisma Eight is a community deeply woven into the fabric of Bali. Celebrating the island’s craft and people, this hotel honours the folks that stay there, and those who make them who they are, believing that each small act contributes to the whole, as we are nothing without everything.
With a mix of local and international design aspects, the rooms at Bisma Eight all have a handcrafted Japanese-inspired soaking tub, as well as Balinese art to invoke a feeling of home. Railings and details are made from bamboo, with verdant gardens right outside your door, to help you dip into nature and serenity easily.
Bisma Eight offers a variety of local experiences, ranging from yoga and traditional Balinese dance classes, to sustainable farming, cooking, and Jamu-making lessons. The hotel’s rooftop bar, Copper Bar, offers up drinks and fare using locally grown and ethically sourced produce, making natural and earth-friendly meals.
Address: Jalan Bisma, Ubud
The Rice Joglo | Ubud
Nestled in the midst of rustling rice fields, The Rice Joglo is a luxury eco boutique. For those who want to stray from the beaten path and experience an authentic side of Ubud, this hidden oasis is highly recommended. With an organic farm on site, all meals prepared in the open-air kitchen are healthy, fresh as can be, and taken from the garden and surrounding areas. The farm grows rice, vanilla bean, pineapples, herbs, turmeric root, and vegetables. With a friendly staff and resident ducks, this experience is one of a kind.
A joglo is a traditional Balinese structure, usually made from teak or wood. The entire hotel is made from recycled teak, lives off the land, uses solar panel energy for electricity, and doesn’t have any air conditioning at all. Because it is situated in the middle of the rice fields, the breeze that comes through is cool, eliminating the need for AC.
The rooms are spacious, beautiful, and completely private, with outdoor bathrooms overlooking lush greenery. The morning sun filters through, for a stunning view of expansive and uninterrupted rice fields. Read more about my experience at The Rice Joglo here.
Address: Jalan Sok Wayah (off Jalan Raya at Abangan), Ubud
Villa Atas Awan | Ubud
Tucked away in the lush rainforest of Ubud, Villa Atas Awan is a treasure to be had. Facing a spectacular view of the mountains, this open-air villa is great for groups or families. With design details that incorporate architectural elements inspired by the homes of Javanese nobility, Villa Atas Awan is the hideaway for the nature lover and tranquility-seeker. With nothing but the sound of chirping birds and wind rustling the palms, Villa Atas Awan provides a luxurious, yet off-the-beaten path experience.
The two main houses are over 100 years old, and were transported from Java. The architectural style reflects the elements of nature to create a sense of well-being, balance and enchantment. The gorgeous infinity pool divides the two houses, stretching the entire length of the property.
Address: Jalan Sukma, Dsn/br Tebesaya, Peliatan, Ubud
Puri Garden | Ubud
For those looking for an affordable yet chic accommodation, Puri Garden is amazing. It’s both a hostel and a hotel, with dorm-style rooms as well as beautiful privates with balconies. With a big pool, hammock-lined grassy expanse, the vibes here are chill, community-based, and fun. With morning yoga classes held each day on the lawn, good music and food, Puri Garden is a traveler’s dream spot. Right in the heart of Ubud Village, there are shops, eateries, and sights within walking distance, not to mention The Yoga Barn and spas close by.
Puri Garden also has its own restaurant, The Ubudian, which serves a delicious range of smoothie bowls, snacks and meals catering to all dietary restrictions.
Puri Garden is perfect for a solo traveler, looking to meet likeminded individuals, as well as groups who want to relax and ease into the slow-pace of Ubud.
Address: Jalan Pengosekan 63, Ubud
Katamama | Seminyak
Katamama seamlessly blends the beauty of centuries-old Indonesian traditions with a contemporary edge, giving way to a unique architectural design, done by Indonesian architect, Andra Matin. With a consideration for sustainability, this beach-front hotel in the pulsing town of Seminyak is an oasis of calm, intentional living, and purpose. Each design element has been carefully thought-out, with custom-made mid-century, modern furniture, hand-dyed fabrics, locally sourced amenities, and outdoor lounge and artwork by Indonesian creatives.
When looking at the threads of this hotel, you will find sustainability and honour of the local culture everywhere. The bricks of the hotel are sacred, with more than 1.5 million hand-pressed Balinese bricks making up the façade of the building. These hand-pressed red bricks are traditionally used for the island’s holy temples. Keeping with the sacred traditions of the Balinese, Katamama’s own pemangku or priest, Pak Mangku and his daughter Dewi, prepare offerings every morning at Katamama’s three temples, ensuring the spiritual wellbeing of the hotel. Natural indigo from a local dye workshop that uses traditional, sustainable and hand-dyed techniques make the uniforms of the hotel staff, and other hotel textiles.
Katamama’s bar and restaurants also serve up local delicacies, with ingredients foraged by the staff themselves from nearby sources. Even the cocktails are infused with some local Balinese flavour! The hotel offers some amazing authentic experiences like chocolate-making and a tour of the Green Village.
Address: Jalan Petitenget No 51B, Seminyak
The Chillhouse | Canggu
A relaxed, beachy resort in Canggu, The Chillhouse attracts surfers, families, and those looking for an oasis away from the main road. With its white-washed stone walls, open-air bathrooms, and on-site restaurant, The Chillhouse is the perfect place to stay in Canggu.
The retreat has daily yoga classes for all levels of yogis, with a special shala dedicated to the practice. You can take surf lessons as well, and any level of surfer is welcome. Enjoy multiple pools, massage rooms, and a beautiful outdoor eatery for all the healthy food you could want.
Address: Jalan Kubu Manyar 22, Br Pipitan, Canggu
W H E R E T O E A T
Lazy Cats Cafe | Ubud
A unique loft-style café on the second floor, Lazy Cats Café is beautiful, airy and a cool blend of modern within the spiritual realm of Ubud. The eclectic mix of mismatched chairs that look more Victorian than Indonesian, this café serves up some delicious food and is a great space to chat with friends, catch up on reading, or bring your laptop and let those digital nomad vibes flow. A café that is also a bar and a gallery, Lazy Cats encourages guests to indulge in the art of serenity and indolence. Architect Alexis Dornier wanted to bring together an industrial bohemian flair that mixes lush Bali with vintage furniture for a really unique ambience. With regional coffee specialities, vegetarian food made from locally grown produce, the use of paper straws, not plastic, and an open-air, no AC expanse, Lazy Cats is somewhere to escape the heat of street and pass a lackadaisical afternoon.
Address: Jalan Raya 23, Ubud
Clear Café | Ubud
An incredible ecosystem just off the main streets of Ubud, Clear Café brings delicious food, chill vibes, nature and wellness together. Leave your shoes outside, enter through a circular door and be engulfed in a serene space with good music, and even better food. Dine on the floor beside a koi fish river, climb up a winding tree staircase to the second floor, or indulge in a relaxing massage before you eat.
Clear Café uses all-natural ingredients from local Balinese farmers, sourcing the highest quality fruit grown by farmers they personally know and trust. Believing that energy can be transferred through food, the environment is proudly relaxed, cozy and playful.
Address: Jalan Hanoman 8, Ubud
Sayuri Healing Food Cafe | Ubud
This beautiful little spot in Ubud is a retreat away from everyday life. Leave your shoes outside, sit cross-legged on the floor on an elevated platform, and enjoy the cool breeze that wafts in through the open door. This sustainable café has no air conditioning, serves up raw-living, gluten-free, plant-based, vegan, soy-free and organic, ethically-sourced food. With recipes and a philosophy that is rooted in Asian and Ayurvedic wisdom, Sayuri Healing Food encourages us to align with nature and treat our bodies like the temples they are. The café also offers raw food chef training programs, raw chocolatier trainings, and fermentation classes. Their straws are made from a soy wax, so there is no plastic-waste or harm to the environment.
Address: Jalan Sukma Kesuma 3, Ubud
Kebun | Ubud
If you find yourself needing a break from the vegan and Asian-inspired options, Kebun is the perfect escape in the heart of Ubud. Find yourself transported to the Provençal countryside, with Mediterranean cuisine and a beautiful stucco and terracotta atmosphere. Whether you go for lunch, coffee, cocktails or dinner, you’ll find something fabulous and delicious. Breads and pastries are baked in-house daily, and this little restaurant offers a range of food, including sustainably-sourced meats. With no plastic straws, food sourced from organic farms that are artisan-farmed, meaning small-scale and using the traditional methods of farming, your meal will be sustainable in all aspects.
Additionally, all the wood used in Kebun’s décor and furnishing comes from recycled wood. The pizza and cheese boards are made from recycled teak from Kalimantan. All the wood trim is from Java, as is the authentic and vintage 1940s furniture. The old porcelain door knobs have been sourced from a flea market in Paris, and Kebun’s feature wall was constructed from local river rock. Kebun packages their take-out in recycled paper, and any food waste from the kitchen is composted. A lovely and inviting atmosphere in the centre of Ubud.
Address: Jalan Hanoman 44, Ubud
Tukies Coconut Shop | Ubud
If you love coconut, you will love Tukie’s in Ubud. Choose from a fresh coconut to quench your thirst, or coconut ice cream with coconut shavings on top. You can also buy things to take home, like coconut butter, coconut granola and tons of other homemade, healthy snacks. This tiny cafe is always packed because there truly isn’t anything as delicious as vegan coconut ice cream on a hot day.
Address: Jalan Raya, 14, Ubud
Café Organic | Seminyak
Café Organic is a beautiful spot with a few locations. Their Seminyak location is inviting, cute and serves up amazing, healthy vegetarian meals and delicious drinks. The taro latte comes highly recommended! Café Organic has a passion for simple dishes, and only uses fresh, locally-farmed produce. They don’t serve drinks with straws, and if you do need one, it’s not plastic. The bathrooms are eco-designed, with a water saving, low-flush system. Café Organic is also where you can get Jolly Nice Lollies – dairy-free, gluten-free, real fruit ice lollies with unique flavours that are free from artificial colouring and preservatives. Perfect for a hot day!
Address: Jalan Petitenget 99, Badung
Sisterfields | Seminyak
A design-enthusiasts dream come true, this gorgeous café, and eatery are so worth the visit. Conceived and developed by Australian expat, Adam McAsey, Sisterfields filled the gap in the Bali food scene that was looking for quality all-day dining, and one that captured the “brunch” vibe that Australians (and Torontonians!) love. The food is healthy, fresh, and vegan and vegetarian-friendly. All of their straws are made from paper, helping eliminate the plastic straw crisis that the world is facing.
Address: Jalan Kayu Cendana 7, Seminyak
Milu by Nook | Canggu
A beautiful, airy space, Milu by Nook is the best place to spend a long afternoon with friends, or with a good book. Choose to sit inside their beautifully-decorated interior, or let the breeze ruffle your hair on their patio overlooking rice fields. With a contemporary island feel, Milu by Nook serves up amazing food and thirst-quenching flavoured water.
This place doesn’t have AC, is mindful of their plastic usage and aims to provide healthy options that are budget-friendly. A must when in Canggu!
Address: Jalan Pantai Berawa, 99, Canggu
Quince | Canggu
An inviting and beautifully-designed little space, Quince is a must. Delicious food made with mostly organic and locally-sourced ingredients, Quince believes in honest and simple food that has been prepared with care and respect. Definitely try the Jamu– a local Indonesian drink! The café doesn’t allow laptops, and has communal tables to encourage conversations and connections. Quince doesn’t use any plastic at all, and uses cloth napkins, instead of paper. Adjacent to the café is a small home goods shop, with beautiful handmade products and ceramics made ethically by artisans in Bali and Australia, with a unique approach to quality and design.
Address: Jalan Pantai Berawa, 51, Badung
Cassava Bali | Canggu
The Chill House’s restaurant, Cassava, is fully committed to a sustainable way of consuming. Working with local ethical growers who practice methods of farming that encourage healthy soils and biodiversity, none of the food at Cassava is imported beyond Indonesia, cutting food mileage, over-processing and preservatives out of the equation. This means no wheat or almonds on the menu! Instead, try their delicious cassava flour loaf, and other creative fare. The restaurant has a rooftop permaculture garden where they grow their own herbs and veggies, ensuring that their footprint is as small as can be. The Chill House and Cassava are committed to low-waste, with deliveries coming in bulk, reusable crates, and glass bottles and jars. They make their own jams, granola and nut butters, ensuring no chemicals, processed sugar, MSG or excess packaging. Any leftover veggie scraps and plate scrapings go towards animal feed and compost.
Address: Jalan Kubu Manyar 22, Br Pipitan, Canggu
The Loft | Canggu
This airy and relaxed café is just off the main road in Canggu, and will easily become a frequent stop during your time here. With delicious, healthy and fresh meals, The Loft is an AC-free space, allowing the fans and natural breeze to do the work. With the open-air concept, large windows, café seating below and loft on the second floor, bring your laptop to get work done or friends for a casual lunch. The café only uses glass straws in all of their drinks, and even their cold-pressed juices that can be taken to go are in glass.
Address: Pantai Batu Bolong 50, Canggu
The Avocado Factory | Canggu
The first avocado bar to be opened in South East Asia, The Avocado Factory serves healthy and delicious dishes, all centered around this incredible fruit. The Avocado Factory sources their avocados mainly from Bali, and sometimes the island of Java. With a dedication and commitment to supporting local products and communities, this restaurant is inspired by their love for the planet, and their aim to be zero waste. They don’t use AC, are 98% plastic-free, and use biodegradable products as much as possible. Sip on your paper-straw smoothie and enjoy the breeze coming through the open-air windows, and relish your avo-inspired meal while overlooking the rice paddies.
Address: Jalan Tanah Barak 52, Canggu
Gypsy Kitchen and Bar | Canggu
A bohemian yet refined café, this Canggu kitchen and bar is located five minutes from the beach, serving up cocktails and amazing food. A nod to Canada, the bar owner Kevin Latren and chef, Robin Filteau-Boucher hail from Montreal and have a sister location in the Quebecois city. Gypsy Kitchen and Bar Bali is bright, tropical and a must-visit. The objective of Gypsy is simple – fresh and local produce that becomes a unique culinary experience, alongside some delicious cocktails and stellar coffee.
Address: Jalan Munduk Catu 1, Canggu
Bali Eco Deli | Nusa Lembongan
On the beautiful island of Nusa Lembongan, a boat ride away from Bali, is the open-air café, Bali Eco Deli. This casual island eatery sources all their food locally from fair-trade, organic farms, doesn’t have any AC, and encourages a zero-waste and plastic-free lifestyle. The café asks you to bring your own reusable water bottle in order to get fresh water, and they have their own grey water recycling unit on site. They also have their own recycling program, encouraging tourists and locals alike to dispose of waste responsibly. The café uses solar energy to heat their water and ultra-low wattage LED lights. They also have their own 100% pesticide-free garden, and are aiming to be 100% off the grid.
Address: Jalan Raya Jungut Batu, Nusa Lembongan
W H E R E T O S H O P
Monsieur Blonde | Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu
Beautiful, unique jewelry, Monsieur Blonde has three locations in Bali, in Ubud and Seminyak. Their entire production is handmade in a Balinese workshop. The gemstones are hand-carved, as are their bovine bone pieces. Both are meticulous processes, that are all done in Bali by expert craftsmen. A lovely souvenir to bring back with you.
Jalan Hanoman 43, Ubud
Jalan Kayu Aya 43, Seminyak
Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong 96, Canggu
Canaan | Seminyak
A dwelling place for a sustainable life, Canaan is a boutique and gallery located at the Katamama Hotel in Seminyak. Showcasing Indonesian made products ranging from ceramics, clothing, textiles, homewares and accessories, Canaan strives to achieve sustainable and ethical practices in all that they do. Find some beautiful souvenirs for your home or for a friend here.
Address: Jalan Petitenget 51 B, Seminyak
Les Basics | Canggu
An airy, millennial pink boutique in Canggu, Les Basics is owned by Frederique, a French-Canadian woman who wanted to bring the Balinese and woman around the world an ethical label rooted in fun and self-acceptance. All the pieces are ethically-made in Bali, in small-batches. Rather than labeling clothing with sizes, the labels all have hearts on them to unravel societal norms on body image, helping women to feel good in what they’re wearing. Les Basics also carries some other brands in their shop, all of them sustainable and ethical.
Address: Jalan Munduk Catu, 1, Canggu
W H E R E T O V I S I T
Yoga Barn | Ubud
Having become somewhat of a Bali institution, the amazing Yoga Barn is a sustainable and beautiful space to practice in. With a main shala made entirely of bamboo, the Yoga Barn complex is inviting, expansive, and like a community in itself, complete with hangout spots, cafes, and of course, yoga studios. There is no AC and the entire expanse is open-air. Mindful of their presence in Bali, the Yoga Barn gives back by offering more than 300 free community classes a year, taught in both English and Bahasa. They give classes and talks on nutrition, astrology, mindfulness, and conduct charity fundraisers throughout the year, donating to organizations such as Bali Regreen, TRI Hankerchiefs, Borneo Nature Foundation, Bali Water Protection Program and more. A class at the Yoga Barn is definitely a must when in Ubud.
Address: Jalan Hanoman
Campuhan Ridge Walk | Ubud
A beautiful walkable expanse, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is definitely not to be missed. With expats using it as a jogging trail, and lovers slowly meandering along, this is the perfect place to visit right before sunset. The thrum of Ubud city is left far behind, and all you can see is wavering palm trees, swaying grass and the small trail of the ridge walk seemingly going on forever.
Address: Jalan Raya Campuhan
Mount Batur | Ubud
Not for the faint of heart, a climb up Bali’s sleeping volcano is tiring and difficult, but so worth it. With a 4am start, the hike to the top takes about 2 hours, where you will arrive in time to see a breathtaking sunrise and views of the whole island stretching out forever.
Beware of the items you bring with you – there are littered plastic water bottles everywhere, and other bits of trash that foreigners leave behind. Be mindful of this and bring a backpack with your own reusable water bottle and snacks, and take any wrappers or garbage back with you.
T I P S
Water is undrinkable in Bali, so instead of buying tons of plastic water bottles, fill up your reusable bottle from your hotel or at restaurants. If you do buy plastic bottles, buy the biggest one available and pour from there into your reusable bottle so you are using less plastic.
Beach Clean Ups
Beach clean ups regularly happen on beaches in Bali, so if you see one happening, make an effort to attend and help out. Being a tourist in another land doesn’t mean we can leave our messes behind, and this is a fun and easy way to give back.
Something that is becoming increasingly popular, but also increasingly advised against is animal tourism. In Asia, many companies offer elephant rides, tiger petting, and monkey shows. Please do not engage in any form of exploitation when animals are concerned, and even if marketed as ethical, know that it is never natural for a wild animal to perform or take humans for rides. Many of these animals are taken from their families at young ages, are treated terribly, and suffer from depression and anxiety. Click here to learn more about why elephant riding is best avoided (this is Thailand-specific but applies for any area), and why many so-called “sanctuaries” are not at all what they seem.
Also, when in Bali, you will see signs and advertisements for Luwak coffee. A Luwak is an animal in the cat family whose fecal matter makes fragrant and delicious coffee. This has become quite the trend and delicacy, however due to the demand, Luwak’s are now being force-fed in order to produce more coffee. Please refrain from visiting a Luwak coffee farm and from buying this coffee.
Sustainable Packing Ideas:
If possible, bring your own reusable items with you. Things like a stainless steel straw (so many places in Bali have eradicated plastic straws, but less waste in general is key), reusable cutlery (so you can eat any time and not contribute to the plastic problem), reusable water bottle, tote bags, coral and ocean-friendly sunscreen, a bamboo toothbrush, and re-fillable toiletry containers (instead of minis that will get thrown out in hotels).
Uber is not allowed in Bali, so to get around, downloading either Grab or Go Jek is your best bet. These local services bring you taxis and scooter taxis in minutes, giving you the option to pay the driver in cash, so you don’t have to enter in your credit card details.
You might also like: The Sustainable Guide to Malta
Some of these eateries were in collaboration with Forage & Sustain. With stringent requirements, I only work with brands whose visions and ethos align with my own. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.
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