When you picture paradise, you might close your eyes and see palm trees gently rustling in a humid breeze, pristine beaches peppered with prostrate bodies and lush, exotic flowers blooming at every turn, set against a dramatic volcanic landscape. For sure, that’s Bali, part of the island archipelago that forms the nation of Indonesia. In fact, Bali is starting to become synonymous with the idea of paradise. Part of the reason for that – aside from the splendor of the surroundings, the friendliness of the locals and the laid-back lifestyle, of course – is the Balinese near-obsession with pampering the body, and so by extension, the mind and the soul as well.
Bali has become renowned for its variety of spas and spa treatments, which range from beachside massages to upscale, body treatments. Incredibly, you can expect to pay as little as half the cost in a local business for the same services at your home spa – or even less (a two-hour massage with a yogurt body mask and scrub for $15? Yes please!). There are several hot springs on the island, believed to have healing powers, where guests can while away an afternoon while taking in sites at nearby Balinese villages to and from the hot water pools. Need a vacation? Need a truly relaxing getaway? If you answered yes - you might like whats on offer in bewitching Bali.
Normally when you’re on a Bali vacation you'd expect to have a least a couple of people offer you items to buy on the beach. Your first instinct on a Bali tourist beach might be to wave off the woman offering a beach massage, but quell that urge and go for the experience. It will set you back about five dollars, while setting your back muscles into a state of utter bliss. Not a bad deal!
Sekar Jagat Spa
This spa is basically a steal. With a fifteen minute commute between beach and heaven, you can go from sunbathing beauty to ultra-beauty treatment in less time than it takes to paint your toe nails. Take advantage of their wonderful packaged treatments by ordering ahead online; experience the Bali Spa Ritual, a three-hour combination of massage (75 minutes), body lulur (soft peeling, 30 minutes), fragrant flower bath and a 60-minute hair cream bath or facial. If you’re planning something romantic with your sweetie, consider one of their honeymoon packages, which range from four to five hours, include numerous luxurious massages, cream baths and oil treatments. Delicious!
Fivelements won the Destination Spa of the Year 2011 title at the AsiaSpa awards and it is a more than worthy recipient. The upscale atmosphere reflects Fivelements’ mission to provide harmony and beauty to its guests, as well as a commitment to environmental awareness. Fivelements’ spa menu consists of healing, with reflexology and acupuncture treatments, chakra balancing, Boreh herbal scrubs, even prayer and yoga. The spa is also home to a dining room featuring organic, vegan and living raw foods. Five exclusive suites with private balconies and garden bathrooms make the Fivelements Spa a truly world-class destination escape.
Banjar and Toya Bungkah Hot Springs
Thanks to the volcanic activity which long ago played an important role in the current geography of Bali, several hot springs on the island attract visitors from all over the world. If your muscles are stiff from days of surfing on the Bukit Peninsula, consider a trip to the Banjar or Toya Bungkah hot springs, where the warm water will soothe your pains away.
Tours are available to the Banjar hot waters, and it is open from an early 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. with a good location close to the Lovina Beach area and all of its accommodations and restaurants. Toya Bungkah is a lovely upscale location nestled between a lake and a long-extinct volcano, with two hot pools. The entrance fee includes use of a locker, as well as a meal and beverage.
Paisley Powers is a contributing writer who has spent part of her life working at several resorts in the Maldives, as well as Bali and Hawaii.