Tirta Empul Water Temple, Ubud, Bali

Vitamin Sea: Wellness in Bali

Bali is known for traditional medicine, healthy food, and spa culture — the perfect place to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Sometimes a new health regimen needs a kickstart, and Bali has an entire town devoted to the cause: Ubud. This mountain haven with its vibrant, green rice terraces and sacred temples has long been famous for being an artistic enclave. It’s attracted many people seeking an alternative lifestyle and is fully equipped to restore body and mind of those seeking health and wellness. The beachside areas of Seminyak and Canggu are also great for the health-conscious traveler. Here are some of the ways to get healthy Bali-style.

Spa Relaxation

Flower-bath rituals are Bali’s signature spa splendor — most spas will run you a warm herbal bath topped with rose petals to relax in after a treatment. Spas are open till late at night all over the island — and there are no shortages of touts handing out leaflets. They are all good and vary in price.

The most opulent of these spas’ baths is at the COMO Shambhala Estate spa in Ubud. Ask for the Javanese Royal Lulur Bath. The therapy begins with a body scrub, followed by an aromatic, flower-filled bath of mixed healing herbs and spices, and then a body lotion to rehydrate. Relax and rejuvenate Balinese style — your skin will thank you. The spa also offers a popular restorative muscle wrap, a warming treatment that relaxes muscles using traditional Indonesian spices. The Warm Muscle Wrap is recommended for those weary from travel and works wonders for those with rheumatic symptoms. The aromatic spices are very relaxing and guarantee a good night’s sleep afterward.

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One way to revitalize while giving back to the people of Bali is to pay a visit to Spa Hati for a massage. This nonprofit spa, with an army of highly trained massage therapists offers restorative massage treatments and fund community health and education projects through the Bali Hati Foundation. For only $15 to $30, it’s worth a visit. Reservations can be made online.

Eat Well

Fueling your body with the right food is so vital to good health that Ubud has become Bali’s capital of healthy cuisine. Find a gentle start to a healthy diet at the organic, open-air restaurant at Soulshine Bali, a retreat located about 5 kilometers (3 miles) outside Ubud. The food is mostly vegetarian (with a few chicken and fish options) and there are many excellent vegan items on the menu. As much as possible comes from their own terraced organic garden which surrounds the restaurant. Breakfasts, chicken-satay skewers and turmeric lattes are sought after by visitors. The local vegetable noodles and tacos seem too delicious to be healthy — but they are. Try the traditional Balinese dishes such as the dadar gulung — vivid green coconut pancakes with organic palm sugar. It isn’t the healthiest item on the menu but it is a local treat of natural ingredients.

In Seminyak, there are plenty of local warung (restaurants) that serve wholesome Indonesian food but if you want organic, Zula Vegetarian Paradise is the healthiest place to dine or pick up local products. Classic vegan options such as chia-seed raw muesli bowls with tropical fruit and coconut milk are on the menu alongside veggie burgers and healthy Asian options like tofu spring rolls and quinoa coconut curry made with local organic ingredients. Cashew cheese and tempeh substitute cheese and meat on sandwiches and pizza very well. Coconut chips and cacao cashews are healthy souvenirs to….

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By Terry Elward

Photo: Bisual Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!