Where is Bali?
Bali is an island and the smallest province of Indonesia, and includes a few smaller neighboring islands. It is located between Java to the west and Lombok to the east, and its capital—Denpasar—is at the southern part of the island.
Bali is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music.
Bali’s central mountains include several peaks over 3,000 meters in elevation. The highest is Mount Agung (3,031 m), known as the “mother mountain” which is an active volcano. South of the mountains is a broad, steadily descending area where most of Bali’s large rice crop is grown.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. Bali received the Best Island award from Travel and Leisure in 2010. The island of Bali won because of its attractive surroundings (both mountain and coastal areas), diverse tourist attractions, excellent international and local restaurants, and the friendliness of the local people.
Getting To Bali
Here are helpful instructions to make your travels to Bali more easeful.
• What airport do I fly into?
Make all travel arrangements into Denpasar (DPS). Please be aware that you will need to depart the US one to two days before the start of the retreat, depending on the flight schedule you chose. The international airport code for Denpasar, Bali is DPS.
• Will I be picked up at the airport?
Yes pickup will be arranged at hotel.
VISAS & SHOTS
• What kind of Visa do I need? A 30-day ($0 USD) tourist visa (often referred to as a Visa On Arrival you can get it when you land at Denpasar International Airport.
• Do I need a visa to visit Bali?
Yes, depending on your nationality. U.S. passport holders will need to show a passport valid for six months after the arrival date in Bali, a return ticket and $0USD for a 30 day visa upon arrival.
• Do I need any inoculations?
Generally speaking, traveling to foreign countries exposes you to new germs and diseases. All inoculations or malaria tablet inquiries need to be directed to your physician for an accurate assessment of your individual need or preference
Here are some GENERAL little tidbits to file away:
· There is free wi-fi at Denpasar airport
· Denpasar airport is about one hour from Ubud where we’ll be staying
Yoga Teacher Training Cuisine
Almost all meals are included, though you may wish to explore on your own at times. Exploration is welcomed and encouraged. You will delight in traditional, healthy, organic Balinese Retreat Cuisine! You will have a choice of vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten free, halal, and many more options.
What is the local cuisine like?
Indonesia is comprised of many islands, all with many culinary influences. In Bali, fresh, raw food abounds, and the locals prepare many delicious traditional dishes, such as Nasi Goreng (the national dish of Indonesia & one of our favorites). Rice dishes served with sides of savory meats & vegetables are often part of breakfast, lunch & dinner.
The arts and crafts capital of Bali, Ubud has excellent cuisine from all over the world – no tradition is left unrepresented and with an abudance healthy, organic, raw, vegan & vegetarian food.
Restaurant Recommendations – Our Favorites!
- Sari Organic: situated in the middle of the rice fields – stunning & delicious
- KAFE: fresh raw & cooked meals – best dessert in Bali with free WiFi
- Bali Buda Cafe: great juices with raw & cooked meal offerings
- Kue: great coffee, desserts, and lunches with free WiFi
- Alchemy: world’s most unique and wonderful salad bar
- Bridges Bali: great for wine, cocktails, live music
- Cinta: exceptional mixed American / Indonesia – free WiFi
- Taco Casa: Mexican, surprisingly authentic and savory
- Pizza Bagus: Italian Food, Gelato – try the Tortellini Al Funghi
- Seeds of Life: healthy raw & vegan offerings
- Cafe Wayan; made famous in the book, Yoga Bitch
- Clear Cafe: under construction after a recent fire – best juices on the island
- Siam Sally: Thai cuisine, fun
- Jazz Cafe: great food, even better music
- Pundi-Pundi: Asian-fusion
- CP Lounge: near the big soccer field, great food & music)
What to Pack and What to Shop For
What TO Pack for Bali:
- A flashlight (or headlamp if you are going on early morning Volcano hiking excursion)
- Camera (bring extra batteries, a backup camera)
- Sunglasses (even a spare wouldn’t hurt)
- Hat! You are close to the equator!
- Sunblock is EXTREMELY expensive in Bali. It is probably because it has to be imported and therefore subjected to a high tax. You will go through sunscreen faster then you expect because you have to put it on everytime you go out in the sun or you will get burned. I would bring one large tube for the week, and then a nicer tube of sunscreen for your face with a higher SPF.
- Light clothes in natural, breathable fabrics. No heavy synthetics, especially not for yoga (sorry lululemon).
- Choose colors that will reflect the light of the sun; white is a staple and you can never go wrong with it.
- Recommend knees covered when possible in Ubud or in smaller villages, out of respect, instead of short shorts. The short shorts are fine at the beach.
- Sleeveless tops are fine, so are tank tops but have a scarf/shawl with you that you can wrap over your shoulders if necessary.
- Light weight long sleeve to protect yourself from the sun for those that are more sensitive.
- Easy, flowy lounge pants, beach pants are a nice option
- Shoes: you need flip flops and a pair of shoes you can walk/hike around in (closed athletic shoe). No need to bring your heavy hikers. And a cute set of sandals but no heels. The sidewalks in Ubud are famous for tripping.
- An extra pair of contacts if you wear them, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- For hiking, be sure to have a lightweight backpack to carry your personal belongings. Also great when riding a Vespa, or riding a bike into town and around.
- Chargers for phone, camera
- A small backpack or bag you can bring your magazines and sun block and such. And can be used for all the cool stuff you buy to take home with you!
- Bug repellent (at least something, then you can always buy more sprays, lotions in Bali for very cheap)
- Little wetnaps or kleenex pack. Most of the nice places will have toilet paper, but it won’t be unusual not to find any or easy way to wash your hands. It is a good idea to keep little wet naps or tissue with you at all times just in case.
- PS What do I personally wear? I a lot of dresses, flowy pants, hats, sunnies, purse over shoulder (with camera, scarf, and temple wear so I’m always ready)
You’ll be wearing on average two outfits a day: yoga and then a travel outfit for excursions later.
o Lightweight longer sleeve tops to protect from sun
o Light and airy beach pant will offer you some extra coverage and still keep you cool from the heat.
o In general? 5 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 dresses, 1 outerwear, 3 swimsuits, 3 pairs of shoes (plus yoga stuff)
o Bring an outerwear piece that is light
· Yoga clothes (but no need to overdo it, we don’t mind if we see you in the same outfit more than once.)
· Scarf to cover shoulders (or buy one there) for entering temples. They will cost $3-7
· Shorts above the knee are fine on the beach or touristy destinations but not in the temples or holy places. You will NOT be allowed entry.
IMPORTANT ETIQUETTE SUMMARY:
- Out of respect for local customs please bring pants or skirts that fall below the knee to enter temples and go anywhere non-touristy.
- Sleeveless tops are ok to wear just carry a lightweight scarf that you can wrap around your shoulders if necessary or a lightweight long sleeve you can layer over when going into temples.
- We will be following local traditions such as wearing a Sarong (both men and women) where necessary. We can buy them there from $3-$7.
What NOT to pack for Bali:
- Tons of clothes: You will end up buying clothes while in Bali, because everything is so beautiful and well priced.
- Don’t try to bring an electric toothbrush because the outlets may fry the charger.
- Lots of shoes: The only shoes you will need in Bali are flip flops and a good pair of walking/water shoes if you want to do any hiking. Do not bring high heels because the sidewalks are uneven and hard to walk on.
- Expensive Shoes
- Jeans. You may see locals in tight jeans but for us we will over heat.
Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave
Goa Gajah ‘Elephant Cave’ is an archaeological site of significant historical value that makes it a special place to visit. Located on the cool western edge of Bedulu Village, six kilometres out of central Ubud.
An 11th century cave used by monks and was named for the statue of Ganesh found inside. A few minutes drive from Goa Gajah is Tampak Siring, a holy spring temple known as Pura Tirta Empul.
Goa Gajah dates back to the 11th century, built as a spiritual place for meditation. The main grounds are down a flight of steps from the roadside and parking area, which is lined with various art and souvenir shops and refreshment kiosks. Upon reaching the base you will come across a large ‘wantilan’ meeting hall and an assortment of large old stone carvings, some restored to their former full glory. The pool, excavated in 1954, features five out of supposedly seven statues depicting Hindu angels holding vases that act as waterspouts.
Various structures reveal Hindu influences dating back to the 10th century, and some relics feature elements of Buddhism dating even earlier to the 8th century. The cave is shallow; inside are three stone idols each wrapped in red, yellow and black cloths. Black soot lines the cave’s walls as result from the current-day incense burning. Several indentations show where meditating priests once sat. The northern side of the complex is dominantly Buddhist while south across the river it’s mostly Shivaite.
At the southern end are beautiful rice fields and small streams that lead to the Petanu River – another natural site entwined in local legends. Goa Gajah was built on a hillside and as two small streams met here forming a campuhan or ‘river junction’, the site was considered sacred and was built for hermetic meditation and prayers.
Ubud Tour and Sacred Monkey Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary of Padangtegal is dedicated to educating people about the importance of conserving cultural resources.
The monkeys within the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary of Padangtegal are commonly called long-tailed macaques. Their scientific name is Macaca fascicuiaris. Macaques are found throughout Southeast Asia and many species of macaques live successfully in areas that are heavily utilized by humans like they do in Monkey Forest. Interestingly, within long-tailed macaque societies, females are typically born into and remain with a single troop for life. In contrast, adult males may migrate between troops. Currently, there are approximately 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques that inhabit the Sacred Monkey Forest.
The cultural importance: Jai Hanuman! Monkeys can be the embodiment of both positive and negative forces. The dual nature of monkeys is especially reflected in the Ramayana (the most important epic Indian poem). Within the Ramayana, Sita (the beloved bride of Rama) is abducted by Rawana (an evil king). Rama (an incarnation of Dewa Wisnu) calls upon Sugriwa (king of the monkeys) and Hanuman (Sugriwa’s General) to help him retrieve Sita. However, within the Ramayana, there are also antagonist monkeys like Subali that attempt to assist Rawana. In the end, Hanuman, along with his monkey army, defeats Rawana’s evil forces and helps Rama to retrieve Sita.
The Temple inside Monkey Forest represents a sacred Balinese Hindu site. In trying to understand Balinese Hinduism it is important to keep in mind that Balinese Hinduism is unlike Hinduism practiced in other parts of the world today. Balinese Hinduism combines aspects of Animism, Ancestor Worship, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
Animism and Ancestor Worship
Some of the first evidence of extensive human inhabitation on Bali dates back to approximately 2,500 B.C. The religion of the Bali Aga (original Balinese) centered around both Animism and Ancestor Worship. Ancestor Worship represents the belief that prosperity is associated with a relationship that exists between the living and the dead (prosperity is something that can only be achieved through intense worship and obtainment of blessings from ancestors). Animism represents the belief that inanimate objects and other elements of the natural landscape can possess souls which can help as well as hinder human efforts on Earth.
A Balinese temple is more than just a collection of pagodas and pavilions. The area enclosed by temple walls and the forest area surrounding it is sacred. These temples and the forest are essential for renewing contact with the spiritual world. The activities associated with these areas are essential in maintaining harmony between humans, nature and the cosmos. Not only are ancestral spirits and gods given offerings and prayers, but also the spirits of trees and statues in the Monkey Forest are given offerings and prayers by the Pemangku and local villagers
The Trees of the Forest
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, in conjunction with Udayana Univeristy in Denpasar have identified 115 separate species of trees.
Some of these trees are considered holy and are used in various Balinese spiritual practices. Examples include the Majegan, which is used exclusively for the building of shrines; or the Berigin, whose leaves are used in cremation ceremonies.
Of special significance is the Pule Bandak, a tree that embodies the spirit of the forest, and is used in the making of powerful masks. These masks are only used inside the temple, and the trees are not killed to make them. An auspicious day is chosen and the Priest asks permission of the tree spirit to cut a small piece of its wood. The spirit thus remains embodied in the mask.
This combination trip includes Monkey Forest where we will feed the monkeys, visit the Temple, feel the vibration of the Trees. It will be a wonderful photo taking opportunity. On that day we ask that you remove your sunglasses or anything that can be taken by a monkey. Wear a closed purse or bag and know that if you carry bananas the monkey’s will find them.
Water Temple Purification Ceremony
Healing, love and transformation.
This experience provides a healing ritual and understanding to the magical mysteries of Balinese spirituality. Water is believed by the Balinese to be one of the key forces of life. For this very unique spiritual experience, we have established a collaboration with a Holy Water Temple located in the outskirts of Ubud, that carries a mystifying and ancient energy.
Upon arrival, you will be provided with a ceremonial sarong and a space to change your cloths at a nearby venue.
After, you will be escorted for a guided tour of the beautiful peace and quiet of this Ancient Site prior to the ceremony, where you will learn the history that is held on these sacred grounds.
After your tour of the temple, the Ceremony will be conducted by a Mangku (Balinese Priest). While sitting in meditation the priest will prepare some holy water in a vase with flowers and incense while chanting mantras in ancient Sanskrit. Following the mantras, you will be invited to receive a holy water cleansing as this blessed water is sprinkled over your head.
You will then be guided into the sacred water pools where several Koi fish swim and live. Once you are emerged in the sacred pools, it will be requested that you bow down before each spring, putting your head under the stream of water.
First you will wash the holy water on your face as the symbol of physical purification, then over your fontanel (crown of the head) as the purification of the tirtha. After, you will also consume the water three times as a symbol of spiritual purification. This will create a full sensation of the body receiving a ‘holy bathing’.
After the ceremony, you will be invited to change your clothing where a healthy, high vibe lunch will be served. Post lunch we will have a closing ceremony in the Yoga Studio including meditation, group sharing, journaling and mantra. Afterwards, you will have free time to either enjoy the swimming pool, spa or visit the traditional town.
Balinese Cultural Dinner & Dancing
We will enjoy a tour of an ancestral home, learn why it is organized as such and what the meaning is behind everything. You will learn how to make traditional Balinese offerings. And we’ll enjoy an incredibly generous dinner buffet with private Traditional Balinese Dance.
The performance is a dance-drama telling stories and expressed through elegant movements detailed all the way into the gestures of eyes, fingers, head and hands. These mudras are learned early as Balinese children are taught to dance with their hands even before they can walk! In December 2015 UNESCO recognized 3 forms of Balinese Dance as “intangible cultural heritage.” This is sacred moving meditation at its finest.
In this dance tradition the practice is an offering to ask protection from the gods and ancestors so they may have peace and harmony. Consider this a blessing.
While at Agung’s home you’ll be treated like family and never want to leave.