After spending my first three days in Bali amongst the hustle and bustle of the surfy town of Canggu, driving in to Ubud felt like entering a whole new world. As we pulled up at the Four Seasons Sayan, I could instantaneously feel the serenity overtaking my body. Surrounded by lush, tropical rainforests extending as far as the eye could see, the air was fresh and filled with the melody of exotic birds and the whispering of palm trees.
As soon as we entered the Four Seasons resort, I could tell we were in for a very special couple of days. After walking along an endless bridge floating above the canopy of the rainforest canopy, we reached the entrance of the resort, where we were greeted by smiling faces and refreshing watermelon coolers. As we hopped into a golf buggy and were escorted to our private villa, I couldn’t help feeling a bit giddy. We were far, FAR away from the Bali of noisy scooters, drunk Aussies in Bintang singlets and insistent market vendors. It was time for a complete detox for our bodies and our minds in this tranquil Balinese paradise.
Our Villa at Four Seasons Sayan exceeded my expectations in every way possible. From the private plunge pool surrounded by lush jungle to the luxurious bathtub peering out over the beautiful greenery, you could feel the serenity seep through your bones within minutes in this sanctuary. The Villa was beautifully decorated in a contemporary Balinese style, reflecting the natural beauty of the island through teak furnishings and exotic patterned details. My absolute favourite part of staying at the Villa was being able to have a sneaky little skinny dip by moonlight, then casually rinsing off at the outdoor shower whilst peering up at a sky full of stars. It was simply magical.
Tearing ourselves away from our stunning Villa was a challenge in itself. However, there was a lot of exploring to be done! Our first stop was an hour of sunset yoga at a very spectacular yoga pavilion, which overlooked the beautiful rice paddy field and surrounding jungle. I think it would be impossible to find a better location for yoga… This place was a zen paradise.
That evening, my friend and I headed down to the Riverside Café for the Saturday Night Special- a Fisherman’s Buffet by the water. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t quite in our favour- as we arrived at the café, peering out over a magnificent spread of seafood, salads, sides and sweet treats, the heavens opened, and all the staff had to quickly shift the food to shelter. I felt awful for the staff that had worked so hard to make the fantastic spread. They were very apologetic that we couldn’t experience the buffet in its full glory, which of course we were not worried by. Instead, the chef very kindly brought us out plates with samples of everything from the buffet for us a to try, including six different sweet treats at the end! We finished our meal VERY full and content.
My first morning at the Four Seasons Sayan began bright and early as I met with my local guide, Nova, to take part in ‘A Day in the Life of a Balinese Farmer’ experience. Our first stop was a trek through the jungle of Sayan. As we passed through tiny villages, I savoured the opportunity to have a glimpse into the life of the locals. Nova introduced me to the locals, showed me inside their houses and explained about his own village and their way of life. After our trekking, I had built up quite the appetite, so I was very excited to see breakfast waiting for me.
Surrounding by lush paddy fields, Lilly ponds and a flowing river, I was seated on a cushion at a little wooden pavilion and presented with a breakfast spread unlike any other. Each dish was presented in a wicker basket and wrapped in a banana leaf. I was blessed with the excitement of unwrapping each one, discovering a traditional red rice pudding with fresh coconut cream under the first, a colorful fruit salad under the second, and a fried egg noodle dish under the third. My taste buds were in heaven. I sipped on my fresh fruit juice and look out in awe of my surroundings. All I could hear was the flow of a nearby river, intermingled with the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves. It was one of those moment where I wondered if I was dreaming…
After stuffing myself full of delicious food, Nova came over to take me to the most important part of the whole experience… I was about to step in to the shoes of a Balinese rice farmer. And by step in to the shoes, I mean take my shoes off. My feet were about to get VERY dirty. I was handed over to the farmer, who showed me each stage of the rice-growing process, then allowed me to plant some rice of my own. It was a lot more work than I had anticipated, and the process certainly grew my appreciation for the fluffy white carbs that regularly appear on my plate.
My time on the rice fields ended with my farmer friend climbing a nearby coconut tree and throwing me a fresh young coconut to sip on. With no straws in sight, he made me hold the coconut high in the air and tip my head back to drink , which of course resulted in coconut water soaking my whole front! I could see both Nova and the rice farmer having a good old giggle.
My thirst may have been quenched but I was well-ready for a shower, so I headed to the decadent day spa. After rinsing off and changing in to a robe, I hopped in to the Jacuzzi for the next half hour whilst I awaited the most anticipated part of the whole experience- a sixty-minute traditional Balinese massage. I was led in to a beautiful spa villa surrounded by a lily pond where I spent the ensuing hour in heaven. From the serene Balinese music playing in the background to the sweet smell of essentials oils, I found every part of my body and mind relaxing as I enjoyed the best massage of my life…
I can’t thank the staff at Four Seasons Sayan enough for being so warm, accommodating and generous during our stay. The exceptional level of service we received during our visit really is what made our time at the Four Seasons so special. For anyone looking for a more than just a classic “resort” stay, you need to experience Four Seasons Sayan. On top of the gorgeous accommodation, range of unique experiences, and impeccable level of service, this resort truly is a sanctuary of tranquillity, relaxation and wellness. Plus, a trip to Bali really isn’t complete without visiting Ubud, and this resort makes the perfect place to explore (if you can ever tear yourself away!).
And YES, in case you were wondering, it was very hard to tear myself away from this paradise and enter back to reality!
A big thank you to the Four Seasons Sayan for having me to stay.