Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Eco Travel Guide to Bali: Visit the Island of the Gods

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From luxe hotels and resorts to natural wonders, Bali has everything you need for the sustainable, tropical trip of a lifetime.

With its white, sandy beaches, scenic views, and luxurious resorts, Bali is nothing short of paradise. Known as the Island of the Gods, the enchanting province is a bustling tourist attraction — bringing in nearly 6.3 million visitors in 2019, according to market research firm Statista.

The tropical oasis is warm year-round and has a short rainy season from November to March. The warm waters and rolling waves also make it a popular surfing destination. But while tourism positively impacts Bali’s economy — bringing in income and more jobs — it does have its downsides. Mass tourism to the area is contributing to Indonesia’s plastic waste crisis, as well as sanitation issues and environmental degradation.

But for those looking to take a trip to the magical island, worry not. We’ve rounded up some of the best food options, places to stay, and sights to see for a sustainable Balinese adventure of a lifetime.

Where to stay

Alila Villas Uluwatu

With private terraces, 24-hour butler service, a holistic spa, luxurious villas, and cliff-side views overlooking the Indian Ocean, this five-star resort is perfect for any eco-conscious traveler. Sustainability is the new luxury,” the hotel’s website reads. The hotel boasts a number of eco-friendly practices, including biodegradable amenities, recycling and upcycling, and the use of lava rocks to absorb the Bali heat and reduce air conditioning energy consumption. All organic waste is composted and used in the resort’s garden. And if that’s not enough, the place even has its own sustainability lab.

Bulgari Bali
Bulgari Bali | Courtesy

Bulgari Resort Bali

This sustainable resort, the home of several bee colonies and a herb garden, doesn’t skimp on luxury. Stay in a villa overlooking the ocean or a five-bedroom mansion. Get some much-deserved TLC at the Bulgari Spa, which features Balinese massages, body wraps, and facial treatments using exotic oils and herbs.

Mana Ubud
Mana Ubud | Courtesy

Mana Earthly Paradise

Nestled in the heart of Ubud, Mana Earthly Paradise is the epitome of sustainable living. The eco-resort features earth-bag domes made with natural materials, including natural stones, reclaimed wood, and bamboo. The perfect blend of modernity and minimalism, energy for lighting is sourced from solar panels and water-saving toilets and showers are used. Sleep soundly on a zero-waste mattress and take in all that Bali has to offer. 

Where to eat

Aperitif meal.
Aperitif seves fine dining in Ubud | Courtesy

Aperitif

Located in Ubud, Aperitif offers fine dining with a nod to local flavors and culture. The menu features a range of healthy, plant-forward dishes like tofu with aged miso, enoki mushrooms, and kelp. Or try eggplant with green tomatoes and coconut or succulently spiced jackfruit.

Secret Spot Cafe
Secret Spot Cafe | Courtesy

Secret Spot

In the mood for a good ol’ burger? Then head on over to the Secret Spot, which has locations in Berawa and Canggu. Sip on fresh, pressed juices, cappuccinos, or a refreshing lavender lemonade. Big on breakfast? Opt for the buckwheat pancakes, available in triple berry or nut caramel flavors. (Did we mention they’re served with a side of scorched banana and coconut ice cream?)

I Am Vegan Babe
I Am Vegan Babe | Courtesy

I Am Vegan Babe

For a plant-based meal to remember, stop by this quaint eatery, which is located in Denpasar. Start your morning off with a coffee and a protein scramble. Or dive into the restaurant’s dinner menu, which includes a soba noodle salad, fajitas, curries, and more.

What to do

A Bali sunset over temple,
A Bali sunset over temple | Photo courtesy Harry Kessell

Natural attractions

From beaches and temples to spas and an eclectic art scene, the sights to see in Bali are endless. For a day spent oceanside, stop at Kuta Beach — a popular spot for surfers — or catch the sunset at Jimbaran Beach. With breathtaking cliff-side views, spend a day exploring Uluwatu Temple, which dates back to the 10th century. And for some time spent with animals, travel through Monkey Forest in Ubud. 

Man on motorcycle at temple
Man on motorcycle at temple | Photo courtesy Oliver Sjöström

Enjoy a cycling tour

Feeling extra adventurous? See all the best that Bali has to offer with a bike tour through its paddy fields. “Our mission: to preserve the nature and traditions of the island,” Bali Natural Cycling Tour’s website reads. Packages include cycling in addition to water rafting, natural hot springs, and sunrise trekking. 

Traditional offerings to the Gods
Traditional offerings to the Gods | Photo courtesy Artem Beliaikin

Take an eco-workshop

From learning about sustainable farming and making your own soap to painting and learning how to surf, there are many educational workshops offered throughout Bali. Visit Tripadvisor for some of the best classes and workshops.

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