The Two Sides to Bali

Post Thumbnail

The tropical island of Bali features on many a bucket list, but for some very different reasons!

To some Bali is a place of spiritual awakening, peaceful retreats, yoga and meditation. This part of Bali’s culture has been put firmly in the spotlight by films like Eat Pray & Love, but the island’s combination of spirituality and yoga studios have long been attracting hippies from all over.

But for other travellers, Bali = Kuta, the Indonesian mecca for nightlife, whose pumping clubs, rooftop bars and cheap drinks prove all too enticing for the lively student crowds that descend on the town throughout the year.

So before you go, we thought we’d familiarise you with Bali’s fascinating split personality.


For spirituality & wellness try Ubud:

Healthy Eating


Vegetarians, vegans and even rawists and fruitarians won’t find it difficult to land a meal that caters to their specific needs in Ubud. Try Clear Café, where the sheer variety of colours in each dish implies how healthy it is. The food (when cooked) is generally heated in coconut oil instead of the less healthy vegetable oils. And who says cheesy pizza is out of bounds to vegans? Dairy cheese is substituted with cashew cheese. You don’t have to rule out desserts either, with palm syrup used as a sweetener instead of sugar.

For a shot of good health, you can gulp down elixirs like Jamu, a blend of tamarind, fresh ginger and yellow and white turmeric, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike many of the no dairy, no gluten, no fun food you often find in the UK, these dishes are certainly not lacking in the taste department. A TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and glowing reviews attest to this.


Bali Spirit festival


All the big names in yoga, healing, massage and astrology gather in Ubud each March to create the Bali Spirit Festival. For around £5 per day, you can immerse yourself in this metaphysical fair where you’ll receive healing, take part in meditation workshops and buy crafts of a spiritual nature. Musicians from all over the world add to the line-up on the Coco Love Stage, and while all this is going on, dancers teach esoteric moves to the crowds; if you’ve ever wanted to learn Balinese Gamelan, now’s your chance.



Bali Silent Retreat

silent retreat

Bali Silent Retreat is an off-the-grid refuge surrounded by rice paddies and orchards where the staff grow their own organic fruit and vegetables. Solar energy is used to reduce the retreat’s carbon footprint, and there are plenty of verdant gardens to meditate in, so you may find yourself assuming the lotus position surrounded by the very flowers you are imitating. The guest rooms are constructed from recycled timber and contain minimalistic furniture. As far as eco-friendly is concerned, it’s the real deal.


Yoga Barn


Possibly the most well-known yoga venue in all of Indonesia, Yoga Barn runs daily classes seven days a week and its studios overlook rice paddies. In 2014, accommodation was introduced, offering guest rooms with single, double and dormitory sleeping arrangements. This is good news for those of you who want to go all out with a seven-day detox retreat, which offers a combination of Shamanic Balinese healing ceremonies with spa therapies and yoga sessions, or a three-day cleanse which involves healing, yoga and a lot of juicing.

The Garden Café boasts a healthy vegetarian, vegan, raw food, super smoothies and cakes that won’t go straight to your hips. Buffet style dining is also offered, and you can pick up anything from yoga mats to incense.


Head to Kuta for non-stop partytime:


Many of the revellers who end up in Kuta come from Japan, Australia and the USA, but an increasing number of Europeans arrive each year to see what all the fuss is about. Its home to mega clubs offering dirt cheap drinks and playing mainstream dance music, R&B and Reggae, and swanky rooftop bars with impressive views over the town.

kuta nightlife

Sky Garden


Sky Garden is one of Kuta’s largest clubs, and it’s a go-to destination for tourists and Balinese party goers, because why club-hop when you have access to eight bars and clubs, including a rooftop bar, in one venue? Each room has a different vibe, and a host of international DJs spin an eclectic mix of music on most nights – from deep house to R&B. Sky Garden is no stranger to the student crowds either, with monthly student nights where cash prizes, motor bikes and smart phones are up for grabs.


Yolo Bar


If mega cubs aren’t your thing, try Yolo bar which, despite its name, offers a distinctly alternative atmosphere to the commercial nature of some of Kuta’s more lively bars and clubs. Try hubba bubba-grape-infused vodka, or some orange and cinnamon shots and play a game of Jenga or Uno while curious live performances including didgeridoo recitals delight the senses. Of course, one thing Yolo and Sky bar do have in common is their ludicrously cheap drinks, so you can expect to pay under £1 for a shot.




Centerstage is a lobby/bar in the Hard Rock Hotel. On most nights, live bands fill the silence through a million-dollar sound system, and inject colour into the crowds with lighting worthy of a world stage. On the walls you’ll find Hard Rock memorabilia and clothes worn by rock legends, so learn a bit about the history of the music while you’re tuning your air guitar.


Boche VVIP Club (Karaoke)


With more than 32,000 songs to choose from and a 42-inch plasma in the comfort of your own private room, as well as a dining and drinks service, what more could you want? Apart from lungs like Mariah, that is. Check out their website here.


Hypnotized Club

This swanky venue offers a free bottle of Smirnoff to groups of 10 or more ladies every Wednesday, or to a mixed group of 10 or more every Thursdays if someone in the group is celebrating a birthday. Fridays are for the fashionistas, with a showcase of get-ups by prominent designers, on Saturdays you’ll hear commercial music and Sundays is strictly hip hop. Prices are a little higher here, and it’s the view you’re paying for – Hypnotized Club overlooks Kuta beach. It also has a restaurant which serves international cuisine and hosts live sophisticated opera performances – there’s something for everyone here.

Come experience both sides! Compare holiday to Bali, or find a great flight deal.