10 Best Places to Visit on a Bali Yoga Retreat
Going on a yoga and wellness vacation to Bali means you have plenty of options for activities and excursions. The majority of the retreats are centered in and around Ubud, the cultural and spiritual epicenter of Bali, about a 75-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar).
Having personally visited and hosted multiple retreats to the Island of the Gods, Drishti Journeys has thoughtfully curated the following destinations and inspiring adventures:
1. Tegellalang Rice Terraces
Bali's traditional, centuries-old cooperative irrigational system known as 'Subak' has created among the most beautiful landscapes in Bali. Tegallalang, a 45-minute drive north of the main Ubud center is famous for its stunning and vibrant green rice terraces. You can stroll through the fields from several entry points and soak up the beauty of Mother Nature. While there is no entrance fee, prepare to make small donations (20K Rupiah) along the way.
2. Campuhan Ridge Walk
For a free nature and all-levels trek in Ubud, try the Campuhan Ridge Walk that offers you an escape from the bustles of the main Ubud streets to enjoy cool fresh air and lush jungle and rice field views. The ridge walk has canyons with flowing rivers on either side and is done best in the early morning to avoid the midday heat. Wear a hat and bring a water bottle, although there are opportunities for refreshments along the way.
3. Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple
Tirta Empul, Bali, is one of the largest temples in Indonesia. The temple was founded in 926 A.D. and is dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu god of water. The name of the temple means 'holy water spring' in Balinese. The water in the pools is believed to have magical powers and local Balinese and tourists alike come here to purify themselves under the 30 water spouts that feed the pools. Entrance fee is around 30K Rupiah, and it’s recommended to hire a local guide or priest to comprehend the purification process. It is required to rent or bring a sarong into the temple.
4. Sacred Monkey Forest
The Ubud Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, on the edge of Ubud. The village's residents view the Monkey Forest as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village. In addition to almost 700 monkeys, you also can see 186 species of trees in 12.5 hectares of forest, where you will get abundant fresh air. The Macaques monkeys are wild, and guidelines for human interaction should be followed including keeping a close eye on shiny objects and food items. Entrance fee is 50K Rupiah with ample parking available.
5. Goa Gajah "Elephant Cave"
Goa Gajah is one of Bali's most impressive archaeological sites, located south of the Bedulu village, a region famous for its collection of historic sites. The temple complex is within a six-kilometer drive south of central Ubud. You will discover a relic-filled courtyard and the main 11th-century 'cave' in which you can enter to view rock-wall carvings and a meditational site. Out on the perimeter are a Hindu temple and an impressive bathing pool with fountains. Entrance fee is 15K Rupiah, and it’s required to bring or rent a sarong.
6. Traditional Balinese Cooking Class
Embark on a culinary adventure unlocking the secrets of authentic Balinese cooking, utilizing traditional ingredients and preparation methods. We recommend Warung D'Carik on Jalan Sri Wedari just three kilometers north of Ubud, with stunning jungle and rice field views where the kind owners and staff will create inspiring dishes, such as sate lilit, fish baked in banana leaves, and the famous Balinese crepe for dessert. The hands-on experience costs about 300K Rupiah per person and includes recipes and a custom apron. Reservations are required.
7. Waterfall day
Bali offers some of the most stunning Mother Nature and mountainous terrain with a wide variety of stunning waterfalls, often fueled during the rainy monsoon season (October-April). Close to Ubud are two stunners, Tegenungan Waterfall, which is sheer power, quite a few steps down, touristy and crowded with many little shops around and the hidden gem, Tucked Cepung. The hidden waterfall can be reached through a short jungle hike and slot canyon. Sunlight will be beaming through the falls from above making for a spectacular display of mother nature. Entrance fees are around 15K Rupiah per person. Plan for 4-6 hours, including roundtrip from Ubud based on the amount of time spent at each waterfall. Early morning departures recommended.
8. Beach day
Bali is known for world-class beaches, both black sand and white sand, and a trip to Bali would not be complete without a visit. Weather and traffic patterns should be taken into consideration as coastal microclimates can be different from inland, and Bali's traffic can come to a snarl near the crowded beach towns in the southern Peninsula. Within one hour SE from Ubud, the lovely beach town of Sanur offers a tranquil environment with a lovely walkway along the beach filled with small restaurants and massage salons. Within one hour NE from Ubud is "secret beach," which is south of Padang Bai and offers more solitude on a gorgeous white sand beach.
9. Offering Making workshop
For hundreds of years, Balinese families have passed down the ritual of daily offerings, called canang, from mother to daughter. Each day, the women create small, hand-woven coconut-leaf baskets. The baskets contain flowers, fruit, rice, and food offerings for the Hindu Deities that the women pray to each day. The offerings are inseparable from prayer in Hindu belief, as the purpose of the offering is to sustain and patronize the Gods, who are then more likely to respond to one's prayers. Excellent place for this hands-on workshop is Warung D'Carik on Japan Sri Wedari about 3 kilometers north of Ubud. Reservations are required.
10. Traditional Balinese Dance Performance
Combining history, art, and culture a Balinese dance performance makes for quite a spectacle, including music and beautiful costumes, which can be accompanied with food and drinks. As there is a variety of dances offered, it is wise to invest in the theme and pick according to personal preference. The two famous places in Ubud to watch traditional Kecak fire dance are performed in Dalem Ubud Temple and Padang Tegal Kaja Ubud while the gabor dance is at Ubud Royal Palace. Entrance fee will be around 100K Rupiah for dance only, and tickets should be ordered ahead of time. Some local resorts and hotels will offer modified versions as well for their in-house guests.
At Drishti Journeys we’ve modernized the traditional yoga retreat by adding wellness and adventure components to our inspiring journeys. We’d love to have you join us.