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Bali’s sensual healing

<p>The supercool and newly rebranded town of Ubud may be more hippie chic than hippie chick these days but there’s still balm for the body and soul.</p>

Why go now?



A recent Metro travel survey showed Bali to be our readers’ favorite destination in the world. So we thought it was time to take a closer look at one of Bali’s most sublime towns — Ubud.


Ubud is not a beach resort, as it lies pretty much in the middle of the island, but for more than a century it has been the island’s center for fine arts, dance and music.


It was traditionally a haven for backpackers, would-be gurus, and bohemians, and they are still very much there. But Ubud is now also a major hot spot for the discerning traveler.


Yes, five-star hotels now overlook the most prized views in Bali, but Ubud’s supercool “alternative” feel and its magic is still very much intact. So, we’re going to make the case for using Ubud as your base while traveling through Bali.


It’s my first time – what should I do?



Banyan Tree Bike Tour


To squeeze as much Bali in as possible, you’ll need two wheels. After being picked up, you’ll have breakfast looking over sprawling paddy fields, then ride through Bali before finishing with a home-cooked Balinese meal.


What’s the nightlife like?



Ubud nightlife is a refreshing change from the clubs of the coast resorts. It is more relaxed and you’ll find much traditional dancing and music here. For drinks, try the Laughing Buddha Bar with its street-side tables and view of Monkey Forest Road or the Jazz Cafe, which offers fabulous cocktails.


I’ve been there before — what should I see this time?



Ubud is positively dripping with new-age healing holistic hippiness, and frankly it’s best not to fight it.


So embrace the healing, and treat yourself to a yoga session and massage. Our favorites are The Yoga Barn (theyogabarn.com) for its beautiful location, and Nur Salon for its massages.


Where’s the best shopping?



Shopping in Ubud is an eye-boggling time.


The main shopping areas are Jalan Raya, Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Dewi Sita, which are three interconnecting streets. You’ll find everything from ancient antiques to modern art, and cheap souvenirs to precious artifacts. There’s also the multi-storey Ubud market, a bustling maze of stalls and shops.

 
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