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Check our our hand-picked collection of inspiring retreat packages in Bali.
If you’re looking for a getaway where you can do yoga or indulge in wellness, there’s two options you should consider:
Guided retreats. Guided retreats are lead by individual teachers (or sometimes a couple teachers), have set dates, and set curriculums. These are usually yoga teachers or wellness experts from overseas who come to bali with groups from their local community. Guided retreats can be a great travel option if you have a personal relationship to the teacher, or have a deep connection to the intention of the retreat. Guided retreats general have set start/end dates, and a clear intention for what the guests will get from the experience.
The downside of guided retreats are that you may not connect to the leaders or the schedule. It’s common that many people who go on guided retreats without first knowing the leaders can have bad experiences because it was not what they expected from their trip. Guided retreats also have set dates, making them much more difficult to schedule. If you are seeking a more self-guided retreat with an open schedule that allows you to do things your own pace, you should consider a self-guided retreat.
Self-guided retreats. Self-guided retreats are when you go to stay at a wellness resort that has a variety of wellness-based activities you can participate in on your own schedule. There’s a huge variety of offerings for self-guided retreats, including yoga, meditation, personal workshops, nutrition advice, spa treatments, and detox services. At almost any resort offering self-guided retreats, you can pick and choose which activities you want to do and create a custom package just for you.
Self-guided retreats are great for travelers who want to get away on their own schedule and do their activities at their own pace. Self-guided retreats are usually run by staff at the resorts so you can sign up for them at any time. All the experiences on wellbook.co are self-guided retreats.
There are many areas of Bali to travel to, but if you are looking for a wellness-based experience there’s 3 areas you can narrow your search down to:
Ubud is the mecca of yoga and all things wellness in Ubud. When you pictures Eat, Pray, Love Bali vibes, that’s Ubud. Ubud is home to dozens of amazing yoga students, counteless organic and plant-based food options (with ridiculous prices), and a plethora of out-of-the-box spiritual experiences. If you want to relax, get in touch with yourself, do yoga, and explore spirituality, Ubud is the spot. The central part of town gets busy, but outside of town it’s generally very quiet and relaxed with amazing rice field and jungle views.
Ubud full of travelers who are there for yoga and wellness, so the town is NOT a night-life destination. Most of the town shuts down at 8 or 9 o clock, apart from a few select bars and restaurants.
Canggu is the newest, hippest area of Bali, basically a suburb of Australia that attracts surfers and young creatives. If Ubud is the mecca for yoga, Canggu is the mecca for surfing. Lot’s of the resorts offer surf-based wellness activities. It also has a really nice selection of modern, western style gyms including Body Factory and Nest, and is a gathering center for body-builders and fitness geeks. Cangguu has perhaps the best and most diverse food options in all of Bali. Literally hundreds of restaurants with every cuisine and dietary preference you could imagine. Canggu generally has more modern buildings decorated in the western style. There’s a few options for yoga, but nothing close to Ubud.
Many travelers are disappointed by the beaches of Bali, but that’s only because they don’t visit Uluwatu. Uluwatu is a relaxed beach town in south-Bali which is quickly developing as the hottest new location for wellness. Uluwatu is significantly less developed than Ubud and Canggu, making fewer options for restaurants and resorts, but more options for amazing beaches and nature. If you want more solitude and true ocean vibes, uluwatu is the spot for you.
Although by the numbers they are the most popular areas of Bali, if you are looking for a wellness based experience, you should categorically avoid these areas. They have become extremely touristy, dirty, and unpleasant to visit unless you are craving night-clubs and bars. Many tourists visit these places first and get a bad impression of Bali. If you are drawing to healthy living, trust us when we say you can skip these over and not miss anything of value. The true experience of Bali is the amazing spiritual and wellness offerings which you can find in Ubud, Canggu, and Uluwatu.
Bali offers literally hundreds of different retreat experiences, so you shouldn’t settle for one that does not align perfectly with your intentions for your trip. Many travelers book trips without asking themselves what they really are wanting to get from their trip. Are you looking to spend time in silence? Recover from burnout? Detox your body? Learn more about yoga and deepen your meditation practice? There’s specific retreat experiences for all these in Bali, so make sure you get clear yourself before making your travel plans.
What are the Visa Requirements for Bali Retreats?
Tourists from most countries can enter Bali free for 30 days, with a one-time extension of an additional 30 days. Check on the government’s website to see if your country is on the list of free visa entry. If you want to extend your visa to 30 days, you can do so easily. To do this MAKE SURE you visit the visa-on-arrival counter BEFORE going through immigration in the main baggage all. You’ll pay $35 USD, get your passport stamped, and then you’ll have to visit the immigration in Denpasar before your first 30 days is up to scan your finger prints and collect your visa extension. It takes about an hour in the office, and is similar to visiting the DMV.
What airport do I fly into?
This one is easy, there’s only one airport in Bali which is Bali Denpasar Airport or DPS. It’s a huge, international airport with connections to most cities in southeast asia. The airport is located about 40 minutes from Canggu, 30 minutes to Uluwatu, and 1 hour and 20 minutes from Ubud, depending on traffic.
Is Bali Safe?
Yes, in general Bali is extremely safe. The Balinese are and extremely peaceful, loving culture which is extremely accepting and appreciative of foreigners taking an interest in their culture, and giving them opportunities for work. Of all the tourist destinations in the world, Bali has a unique harmony amongst the tourists and the locals. Most travelers experience feeling more safe and protected than in the US or Europe!
The only areas that at times feel unsafe are the over-populated areas of Kuta and Seminyak, which have become hot-spots for night-clubs and bars. They often attract lots of rowdy visitors coming for the nightlife. Most instances of theft and other crimes happen in these areas.
How do I get to my resort when I arrive?
Almost all resorts offer shuttle or pickup from the airport. Many packages on WellBook include airport pickup and dropoff. Even if it’s not included in your package, you can always contact the resort directly to arrange pickup and dropoff.
Which seasons are the best to travel?
The temperature is nearly the same in Bali throughout the year, and Bali is great to travel to at any time. Wet season generally starts in November and goes through February, although it’s been less and less predictable in recent years due to Climate Change. If you're alright with a little rain, rainy season can be a good time to travel to Bali as it’s less crowded and prices are cheaper for accomodations. During the rainy season, it usually rains heavily for 2-3 hours during the day, although it can be longer.
Peak season in July, August, and during the christmas and new years holidays. These periods tend to get extremely busy, driving prices (and traffic) way up. If you want to avoid heavy traffic and overcrowding, you may want to consider avoiding these periods, particularly the more crowded areas.
How to get around in Bali
Great activities in Bali tend to be spread out, so you’ll want to plan to have some transport other than walking. Getting around is important on any trip. Fortunately, Bali cabs are very cheap, which is what most tourists do. They now have apps similar to Uber (Grab, GoJek) which will pick you up from anywhere for a fraction of the price. Another great option which many longer-term tourists do is rent a motor-bike, which can be done for around $6 USD a day. Having a motor-bike definitely makes things more fun and accessible, and you’ll feel more like one of the locals. Riding a motorbike can feel dangerous, and it’s not uncommon to get in minor accidents while driving in Bali. Some tourists make the feeble attempt to travel around with pedal bikes, we highly discourage you from doing this as the roads are crowded and dangerous.
Is Bali a good place to travel with kids?
If you are traveling with kids, we recommend checking out a larger resort in Sanur, or Nusa Dua that have child-centers, pools, beaches, and lagers grounds for kids to explore. Some of the other areas can be difficult with kids, with limited options for family-friendly activities.
With extremely young children, Bali can be great because nannie’s are so wonderful with children, and quite inexpensive. If you child can be cared for by a nanny while you indulge in your wellness, traveling with young children and infants can work well.
Working with a travel agent
If you are traveling with a group, have lots of specific needs, or are unsure what type of experience you’d like to have, you might want to consider working with a travel agent. At WellBook, we have a group of western travel agents who live and work in Bali, and can give you the inside scoop. Our team is all wellness nuts who have transplanted themselves from living in Australia, Europe, and the US to living in Bali. If there’s anyone on earth who can help you design a dream Bali vacation to Bali, it’s us!
If you’d like help designing a retreat for yourself in Bali, you can click here.