WHERE TO RELAX IN BALI
When I initially planned to spend a few weeks (which quickly turned into a few months) in Bali, I imagined I’d split my time in Ubud, Seminyak, Uluwatu and Canggu.
In the end, I ended up living in Ubud, spending only a few days in Canggu.
After driving through Seminyak once, I realised it was most definitely not the kind of place I wanted to live (read: Aussie owned cafes serving Aussie food to Aussies on holiday). And, once I learned how to ride a scooter, I realised I could easily explore other parts of the island, like Uluwatu, Sideman and even Munduk on day trips.
When a good friend decided to come visit Bali, I expected she’d find a fabulous villa in the thick of the jungle. Knowing she’s one for seclusion, I didn’t expect for her to go for anything where you’d find other holiday-goers.
When it came down to it, I was right about the seclusion but would’ve never guessed she’d choose North Bali.
Only having been on the island for a week, North Bali conjured images of Munduk- rolling mountains, gushing waterfalls, sacred temples. I hadn’t even thought to look into other places in the area, but luckily my friend did.
The villa she chose was in Seririt, about 45 minutes outside of Munduk, and 2.5-3 hours from either Canggu or Ubud.
Ranked as the third largest town in Bali, Seririt was once a commercial centre in the north. Now, it’s a dusty, sleeping town with a lively night market.
Those sleepy, secluded vibes were exactly what she was after, and what I realised I needed after traveling around Asia for several months at what felt like breakneck pace. So, when my friend invited me to stay in the villa she rented, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get off the grid in paradise.
If you’re coming to Bali for the first time, you should definitely experience what places like Ubud and Munduk have to offer, and Canggu if you’re after a trendy cafe scene. But, if it’s ultimate relaxation you’re looking for, there are few better places to find it on this island than in Seririt.
Sure, you won’t have the epic cliff vistas Uluwatu offers, or sweeping rice terrace views Sideman boasts.
But, you’ll be able to experience life as the locals actually do in a part of Bali that hasn’t changed much in the tourism boom.
During the week I spent in Seririt, I barely left our villa.
Everything about the week was the epitome of where to relax in Bali.
Set against the ocean with a private beach, huge pool, and plenty of space to relax in the light breeze, there was no need to.
Most days, I’d wake up, meditate and do gentle yoga. Then, move to the back porch to have breakfast, and read or write. Early afternoon usually brought a swim, and a move to one of the shaded huts that lined the property.
Throughout the day, I’d listen to waves crash on our black sand swath of sand. Birds would chirp nearby and dragonflies would buzz through the air.
In the evenings, dinner, listening to a podcast. And, can’t forget to mention the spectacular sunsets with views of the sea, mountains and neighboring Java.
Throughout any given day, I’d hear the call for prayer from the nearby mosque, look up at the swaying palm fronds above me, and just feel overwhelmed with gratitude.
As relaxing as days spent relishing the villa were, there are plenty of things to do in northern Bali.
One day, we hired massage therapists to come to our villa and enjoyed a bit of seaside bliss.
Another day, we hired a driver to take us around a few sites in nearby Munduk.
Insta-famous golf course gates, gushing waterfalls, tranquil rice terraces, a buzzing fruit market and area with swings, and absolutely epic views of twin lakes and soaring mountaintops.
My friend, an experienced motorbike rider took trips to east Bali and west. And, I learned how to ride a scooter on the backroads surrounding our villa before moving onto the slightly busier main roads in north Bali. Excellent practice for moving to Ubud and driving myself around the jungle.
Also in Seririt, I’ve heard the Pulaki Temple, situated on a rocky cliff, is majestic. And, the Banjar hot springs are the perfect place to restore vitality naturally.
There’s nothing wrong with coming to Bali and spending your time in Ubud, Uluwatu, Canggu or even Seminyak. Your holiday should reflect the kind of experience you’re searching for, and activities you’re into.
But, so often, I hear people visiting Bali claim the island has become too Western. That it’s not real Indonesia.
And, that, my friends is simply untrue.
There will always be touristy experiences for those who are tourists.
If you’re the kind of traveller who is interested in going beyond the well trodden, obvious bits, you’re destined to find magic.
Seririt is perfect proof of that.
Do you like to travel off the beaten path? Have you ever been to Bali or elsewhere you tried to take the road less travelled? Where would you visit to relax in Bali?
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