Information before you go
Enjoy ancient and traditional Bali Spa treatments...
A visit to the spa can be one of the best things you can do in Bali. Or the worst, especially if it is your first time. If you are not used to parading butt-naked (don't worry this won't happen) then you can feel pretty vulnerable when lying flat on the table. Not to mention if the spa-therapist left you alone to get undressed without explaining if you have to go naked all the way or not (answer: leave your underwear on....;-)
So make sure you know exactly what to expect and what to look for when you plan to go to a spa during your stay in Bali.
Enjoy a wonderful spa at one of the many Bali resorts
So first things first. Let's start off with some basic questions you need to ask yourself in order to choose the right spa:
1. Is it a real spa?
First of all we want to get one point clear: in Bali a spa treatment is a spa treatment. That's it. There is nothing sexual about it. Most spa therapists are women and are professionally trained. So if you have other intentions you will need to go somewhere else.
That said, in Bali many people seem to think that running a spa only involves a spa table and so some do look dubious. For instance hairdressers also offer spa treatments. It might sound nice and it is very cheap but don't go there. These salons don't have a private massage room and you are very likely to end up on a table behind a yellow silk curtain. Believe me, we've seen it and it is definitely not a great way to fully appreciate the spa experience.
2. How are the spa treatment rooms?
Make sure the room is clean and has at least a window or some kind of ventilation system. We usually just go for semi-open treatment rooms which are surrounded by a garden, are located near a river or nearby rice fields. It's always nice to feel and hear the breeze during a massage.
Most treatment rooms have a bathtub
there a shower in the spa room? Or just outside?
The best time to go to the spa is after a day of walking or touring. So you can imagine that it is a pleasant thought to be able to take a shower first before being covered in massage oil. If the spa therapists says it is not necessary, at least make sure you can take a shower after the treatment.
4. What kind of spa products do they use?
To keep it all 'green' and eco-friendly check if the spa uses 100% natural products. Usually the spa promotes their products, especially if they are homemade like Cantika Spa in Ubud. They use local natural ingredients such as herbs, flowers, fruit etc.
5. Do the spa therapists speak a bit of English?
Don't expect to have long conversations during your spa treatment but it is always comfortable to know what they are asking and for you to let them know if they are massaging way too hard.
Natural herbs are used to make the paste for scrubs and masks
5. Last but not least.... Do they have disposable underwear?
A small yet important detail. If you keep your own underwear on it will be covered in oil at the end to the treatment. It's fine it you have a spare one with you. But if you don't, ask for a disposable one. Even when it is not provided they are supposed to have them.
If the answers to these questions suit you, only then should you choose the spa treatment you want.
So what can you expect from a spa treatment?
As soon as you enter a spa building you will have the possibility to choose which treatment you want. Usually there is a long list of treatments together with an explanation of its purpose such as releasing toxins, creating energy or relaxation.
At Cantika Spa they have a clear explanation for each treatment
Treatments such as manicures, pedicures, cream-baths (head massage and hair mask) or head and shoulder massages last around 45 minutes to an hour.
The most popular are the various types of full body massages. These treatment can take up to 90 minutes including an optional scrub or mask.
There are many types of oils and scrubs you can choose from each with a positive effect on your health and beauty.
We recommend going for the real thing. Choose the Beelines Body Lulur, a scrub made out of rice, herbs, roots, spices and flowers that will have your skin feeling smooth as silk. It is said that the royalty of Bali and Java uses this scrub too.
Another traditional treatment is the Balinese Boreh. Originally created by rice farmers, this paste consists of a combination of roots, herbs and spices.
It's hot but it relieves aching joints, muscles and headaches and increases blood circulation. You will be feeling relaxed in no time.
At an upscale spa you can expect posh products and amazing service
Once the paste is taken off you can choose to soak in a flower petal bath or milk bath. But if you prefer to hit the shower, you can skip this part. All spa treatments end with a warm cup of ginger tea.
If you want a real spa experience go for a spa package. You will be there the for at least 3 hours enjoying a head massage, a full body massage, a facial treatment, manicure and/or pedicure.
The ultimate spot to have a flower petal bath at the Maya Ubud Resort...
So which type of spa is for you?
Generally it is safe to say that the spas in Bali which offer full body massage treatments for 50 USD to 150 USD offer the ultimate experience. The spa treatment rooms are beautifully designed, there are all sorts of treatments to choose from and the entire atmosphere feels comfortable and very luxurious.
So you can imagine that this is the ideal place to really pamper yourself. Luxury resorts and fancy independent spas are usually the best place to be if you don't mind spending a bit more money.
If you don't need the luxurious feeling and just want a good massage then you can easily find a good mid-range spa in Bali. These spas are found all around the island of which some are owned by mid-range accommodations.
There are many great mid-range spas in Bali such as the Pertenin Spa in Ubud
Expect to pay around USD 50 or much less for a 90 minute full body massage at for example Pertenin Spa in Ubud, Mandurah Spa in Sanur, Bodyworks in Seminyak or Boutique Spa Sekar Jagat along the Jimbaran bypass.
If you want to avoid all that hassle of going to the spa you can also just lie on the beach and wait till a Balinese lady will walk by and ask you if you need a massage. It might not be the ultimate experience but at the end you can just doze off or jump in the water straight after.
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Bali is a paradise for any shop-alcoholic. Not surprisingly, the local items are beautiful. People who usually avoid shopping will even end up buying something.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.