When Johnny Tieu isn’t sprinting alongside the lush, green landscapes of Bali, the chiseled fitness consultant, running coach, personal trainer and Spartan Pro Athlete is busy exploring all that the island has to offer – be they luxury hotels, state-of-the-art meditation and recovery centres, plus the hottest new bars and restaurants.
The native New Yorker moved to Bali from Hong Kong several years ago – ditching a career in finance to live, breathe and share his passion for fitness instead. An avid racer who has competed in over 50 events across Asia, including road/trail racing, vertical stair climbs, functional workout competitions, adventure races and Spartan Races, his training philosophy focuses on improving performance (e.g. strength, speed and endurance) over physical appearance alone.
Hoping to catch this speedy PT around town? Besides joining his community classes at Potato Head (check his IG @quacktieu for timings), here are some of his other favourite hot spots on the Island of the Gods:
The Istana, Uluwatu
For some rest and relaxation, head to The Istana, a breathtaking, cliff-facing health spa, meditation, yoga, and recovery centre in Uluwatu. With an infinity pool, hot tub, cold tub, dry sauna, infrared sauna, steam room, and endless views of the Indian ocean, you’ll wonder why you didn’t come sooner.
Insider tip: Avoid the crowds by coming on weekday afternoons, and stay for the sunsets and fiery skies.
Get off the beaten path and away from the usual tourist routes at Nirjhara, a luxurious tropical enclave in West Bali. With gorgeous tree-top canopy rooms and villas, it’s a great jump-off point to explore the black sand beaches of this part of Tabanan.
Insider tip: Take some time to explore the grounds, especially the yoga shala and zen waterfall.
Potato Head, Seminyak
A must-visit when you’re in Seminyak – whether it’s for the beach club, restaurants, meditation, wellness offerings, and workout classes – you’ll love the unique landscape and sustainability-focused community of DESA Potatohead.
Insider tip: Attend one of the renowned wellness sessions from sound healing and meditation to athletic training to kick-off your day. Soak up the sun on the day beds, enjoy the sunset on the rooftop bar and dance the night away at the beach club.
Shelter is an amazingly delicious Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant in Pererenan, the new, relaxed, up-and-coming part of Bali. With its rustic and homey vibes, this is a place where you can’t go wrong by ordering anything on the menu.
Must try: Whipped chickpea flatbread, pulled lamb shoulder pita, wood roasted salmon.
Segno is a tucked-away speakeasy that’s sure to have you wanting more than one drink. This is one of those rare places where you can feel like you’re transported away from Bali, replete with classy decor and an intimate ambience.
Insider tip: Chat up the master bartender, Sebastian, who’ll work his magic and custom-make a drink for you that’s sure to entice.
As a dessert fanatic and native New Yorker, I was already familiar with Chef Will Goldfarb and his mastery of desserts, but I didn’t expect to stumble across his restaurant in the middle of Ubud when I first got to Bali. The name Room4Dessert immediately caught my attention and captured exactly how I felt about sweets.
From experiencing his first season’s menu and every year thereafter, to watching his Chef’s Table Netflix special and witnessing the growth of this must-visit hotspot for every dessert enthusiast, he is indeed the Willy Wonka of Bali with his ever-expanding factory of dreams.
Must try: The entire tasting menu for the full experience, including the crème brulée and signature Negroni.
Follow Johnny Tieu on Instagram @quacktieu
Headed to the Island of the Gods? Get your hands on the LUXE Bali guide: