Beautiful, beautiful Bali. Have I mentioned that it’s beautiful? Bali is one of our all-time favorite destinations and trips. I have zero shame in admitting that I booked our trip to Bali, particularly focusing on Ubud, largely because of my love (okay, fine; my infatuation) for the ever-popular book Eat, Pray, Love. As an ardent traveler and avid reader, that book spoke to me and still remains with me nearly eight years later. Elizabeth Gilbert’s obsession with traveling, fervor for food, and love for all-things-Italy mirrored so many of my own passions. It was like I was Elizabeth Gilbert. In my head, we were kind of the same person. Well, minus the part where she felt trapped and suffocated in her marriage, her conversations with God on the bathroom floor, and her quest for spiritual enlightenment at an ashram (although, in the past year, I have developed a deep appreciation for ashrams. But I digress; surely that’s another post). But other than those minor details, Elizabeth and I are basically twins. Or maybe we just both like to travel and eat. Whatever.
Without question, Bali exceeded our expectations and is undoubtedly one of the most memorable places we have ever been. It’s no surprise that Bali is consistently regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. From the splendidly landscaped rice terraces to the stunning beaches (um, so we kind of never went to the beach, but we heard the beaches are beautiful) to the lush forests, Bali really took our breaths away.
One of Ubud’s shining stars is its spa and wellness scene. We learned that the culture and traditions of Bali encourage the renewal of the mind, body and spirit and its Hindu philosophy aims for spiritual and physical well-being. The abundance of high-quality, yet extremely affordable, spas available in Ubud is absolutely sublime. Our very favorite spa was Sang Spa. We loved it so much that we became somewhat regular clients, visiting on three separate occasions. How do I even begin to describe the joy and magic that is the Balinese massage? Our hands-down favorite spa treatment was the Good Kharma Body Massage. For about $24 USD, you get two masseuses simultaneously massaging you for sixty glorious minutes. That’s right. The sensation of having four hands working on you at once is pretty spectacular. To this day, no other massage, whether it be at the Four Seasons or the Mandarin, has even come close to rival this amazing experience. A Balinese massage, however, is certainly not for the conservative and self-conscious. These masseuses go where most masseuses dare not to go and I’m pretty sure T and I cheated on one another multiple times during each magical session. And we quickly decided that we’re both okay with that. More than okay, if I’m totally being honest. In between all of the wonderful kneading and squeezing, our masseuses would frequently ask, It’s okay for you? Yep, Bali, it sure is.
Where so much magic happened. This room quickly became our own little Balinese sanctuary.
Real men rock saris. And yes, you better believe T loves this photo of himself.
With my girl Eli: my all-time favorite masseuse
Other treatments we enjoyed at Sang Spa:
*Holistic Combination Massage: This treatment is a lovely blend of Balinese massage techniques: traditional massage, deep tissue, Thai reflexology, face and hand massage. Ninety minutes, approximately $20 USD.
*Herb Aromatic Facial: While it was by no means the same kind of facial I received at the Mandarin Oriental a few months ago, considering this hour-long facial costs about $15 USD, I’d say it was downright delightful and delicious.
*Hair Cream Bath: Like a facial, but for your hair. No blow-dry magic like I typically get at my DC salon (shout-out to you, VSL! You go, Glen Coco!), but soothing and relaxing nonetheless. One hour, approximately $15 USD.
*Manicures: T’s very first manicure! Our manicures were totally fine, but definitely not to the standard that I’m used to at home. This was the only treatment we found that wasn’t a total bargain compared to the states. One hour, approximately $15 USD.
Another spa we really liked was Eve Spa. Our love affair with the two-therapist synchronized massage continued as we opted for the Four-Hand Massage on two consecutive mornings. Although we preferred the masseuses and facility at Sang Spa, we did like that Eve Spa offered a ninety minute two-person massage, as opposed to Sang Spa’s sixty minute option. An extra thirty minutes of therapeutic pampering and pleasure for a mere $8 USD more? Yes, please. That’s okay for us, too, Eve Spa.
I also really loved the Thai Reflexology Massage at Eve Spa (Forty-five minutes for less than $10 USD?! I knowwww!)
I’d say this photo pretty much sums up our entire Balinese spa experience.
So thank you, Ubud, for leaving us restored and revitalized. And for reminding all of us that every day really should indeed be a spa day.
We traveled to Bali in Spring 2011.