We have decided to come to Indonesia to seek out a perfect paradise location for our brand new Holistic Wellbeing Retreats that we are launching in 2017 and to check out the famous Bali Spirit Festival held in the arty spiritual yogi mecca of Ubud.
Flying into Denpasar, Bali you are surrounded by sprawling mass tourism which plagues the south of the island. This is the Costa Del Sol for Australian tourists and although it has still managed to retain some of its beauty, the high rise blocks, thousands of hotels and drunk tourists are oceans apart from the tropical paradise I have in mind for our retreats so I head straight up to the north where there is a far more local traditional Balinese feel to see how the location fairs.
North Bali has a soirée of temples, hot springs set into wild mountain jungles and hidden waterfalls. It was a truly wonderful experience connecting with the energy of the jungle and meditating in the hot springs. I was left feeling totally invigorated with a completely clear mind. The north in general is totally incredible, but the black sand beaches don't do much for invoking the kind of relaxation that their counterpart idyllic white sands do.
On the plus side, Lovina has a super relaxed vibe and trying ocean yoga on an open beach front deck firmly confirmed the need to bring our retreats to these glorious shores. We just need to find a white one! The sound of the ocean and the early morning bird song create a harmonious backdrop that would surrender even the most distracted yogi into meditative bliss. Next stop.....Ubud
Ubud - a mecca for art,spirituality,wellbeing and soul seeking. This is truly a place that promotes a state of love, for yourself and for each other. A truly international destination, I would live here (for part of the year) in a heartbeat. But be warned, it's a large bustling town with scooters and traffic everywhere. Spotting the elusive pavement should be a national sport and the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are just for show.
If you can get past that though, you will find a chilled out town with vegan/vegetarian and delicious raw food meals served in almost every restaurant. I was in yummy nutritious heaven and loved every minute of it! There are yoga studios, street art galleries and writers events on every corner and in true Indonesian style, EVERYONE is smiling! I absolutely LOVED the energy and free spirit of this place but with no beach (it's about 20km inland), the location for our retreats will have to be taken someplace else. To be continued.......