Embrace your inner hippie in Ubud
Known as the ‘island of the gods’, Bali is a stunning haven in Indonesia. With it’s beautiful black sand beaches, surf and sun, it is easy to see why thousands of tourists flock to Bali each year. But it is up north, in the mountains, where the real charm lies. Just an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of the south of the island, is Ubud. Famous for its health food scene, art galleries, beautiful rice paddies and the iconic ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ story, Ubud is a magical place.
The word ‘Ubud’ means medicine in Balinese, as it is widely believed that it offers medicinal healing to all that seek it. A man from India named Rsi Markandya is believed to have discovered these healing qualities in a vision, as he was meditating near the Campuan river many centuries ago. These days, you can see people meditating at the same place. And this is another thing Ubud is famous for: bringing all the hippies to the yard. Ubud is a melting pot for all those who seek a spiritual path; you are sure to find it here. The town is very kind to solo travellers and there are many ways in which one can embrace one’s ‘inner hippie’.
1. Visit a traditional healer
Ubud has many healers in the town, but the best that you can see is Ni Wayan Nurisah. She has been practicing for 14 years and comes from a family of healers. She knows all about Chinese medicine and Balinese medicinal plants and massage. She has a traditional Balinese healing centre on Jalan Jembawan, near the post office and across the road from the famous Bali Buddha café.
2. Go with the ‘flow’
Ubud is a Mecca for yogis, with some of the best yoga schools in the world residing in the village. There are many styles of yoga in which you can partake – Vinyasa flow, Hatha flow, Dao Yin Chinese yoga, restorative yoga, Acro yoga plus more. Check out Yoga Barn on Jalan Pengosekan, Radiantly Alive on Jalan Jembawan or for yoga with a view, the Ubud Yoga House on Jalan Subak Sokwayah offers 360 degree views of the rice fields.
3. Do ‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’
Ecstatic Dance is one of the reasons some people visit Ubud. It is a free form, conscious style of dance which promotes uncensored spontaneous movement. Basically, if you like to dance in your kitchen like no one is watching, then Ecstatic Dance is for you. Often held at the Yoga Barn on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, it is a place where you can get your groove on for an hour and a half. However, if you can’t wait that long between dances, check out Paradiso online – sometimes they have a ‘Super Ecstatic’ dance session scheduled for the weekend.
4. Cleanse yourself
Tirta Empul is a water temple that was supposedly created by the Balinese God, Indra. The founding dates of the temple on site are 926 AD and for more than 1000 years, Balinese people have come to bathe in the sacred waters, believing it will heal their physical bodies and nourish their spirituality. The pool is carved out of stone, filled with koi fish and surrounded by 12 sacred fountains. If you would like to worship there, you first make an offering at the temple, then climb into the pool to bathe and pray. Located in the village of Tampak Siring, it is easy to reach via public transport from Ubud, scooter or taxi.
5. Wander through the rice fields
Ubud has a lot of beautiful, peaceful walks through the rice fields, but one of the most stunning walks is the ‘Sari Organik’ walk. On Jalan Raya, just before you arrive at the Campuan bridge, look for the Sari Organik sign. You then follow the signs to Sari Organik and wind up at a stunning little organic warung and farm in the middle of the rice fields. This delightful family-run business grows its own organic vegetables, rice and soya. Not only do they have a health food restaurant, but they also run education programs and tours on being ecologically sustainable.
6. Align your chakras through reiki massage
Along the Campuan Ridge sits the lush Karsa Spa which offers healing massages and Reiki treatment amongst the rice fields. All the Reiki therapists hold a Reiki Tummo certification and they only use Ayuvedic and organic oils for treatments. A reiki healing session lasts for an hour, starts at the top of your head and works its way down to the soles of your feet, cleaning out any negative or blocked energy. You can also have a Reiki Chakra Balance massage, which involves cleansing each of your seven chakras and realigning the energy to flow from each one.
Whether you choose to do all these activities or only one, they are all well-priced and you can enjoy doing them as a solo traveller. Alternatively, you can also try your hand at meditating by the Campuan river, just as Rsi Markandya did all those years ago!