Travel Dates: January 28 – February 13, 2017
Spending every waking/sleeping hour with your spouse for 6 months straight is bound to drive any person a little mad. Back home we had our work, family and friends to help balance our lives. Now being on the road, it’s just the two of us (ALL. THE. TIME.). As much as we’ve enjoyed our time together, we both agreed that it would be good for our relationship and our sanity to spend some time apart. Bali provided the perfect opportunity for us to do just that. Amit set out for surf camp in Kuta, while I checked into a women’s yoga retreat in Canggu for the next week.
Accommodations: Escape Haven
I’ve never traveled alone internationally before Bali and even though Amit and I technically flew from Australia to Indonesia together, it was still my first time venturing out on my own in a foreign country. After we made our way through immigration, we said our quick goodbyes and were each whisked away by our respective drivers.
My retreat was located an hour from Denpasar, in an up and coming village in the southern coast of Bali, nestled amongst the idyllic rice paddy fields. It was the perfect setting for a yoga retreat. I arrived late in the evening, missing both the opening ceremonies and the welcome dinner but was greeted by the huge smile of Gede, one of the staff butlers who promptly showed me to my beautiful villa, a short 2 minute walk from the sanctuary grounds.
The next day I met the rest of the staff and the diverse group of women attending the retreat. Later I would find out that some of these women had recently lost a loved one, or were going through a divorce, or had cancer, and here I was just needing a break from my husband (boy does that put things into perspective). As the week progressed, everyone’s stress and anxiety melted away.
My days were packed with yoga classes, relaxing daily massages, and delicious group meals. I even had a couple “Eat, Pray, Love” moments cycling through the picturesque rice paddy fields of Ubud (albeit in pouring rain) and a traditional Balinese healing performed by a High Priestess.
By the end of the week I had significantly improved my tree pose, crow pose, perfected my downward dog (still working on my head stand though!) but most importantly I had developed a strong bond with all the ladies over our shared experience. It was hard to say goodbye to Escape Haven and the incredibly kind and attentive staff that made my stay so memorable. I left with a new found love and respect for yoga. Anyone whose ever said it’s easy is doing it wrong! I would definitely recommend a retreat like this for any women needing to get away, recharge, and find clarity.
After a week of yoga, meditation and pure pampering, I’m ready to be reunited with my hubby – I miss him!
Accommodations: Como Uma
A week apart doing separate activities in Bali really did our relationship some good. Amit and I were reunited feeling refreshed and ready to continue our world tour. We checked into Como Uma, a beautiful resort centrally located close to the city center. The hotel grounds were stunning, especially the view from the yoga pavilion overlooking the the Tjampuhan Valley and the river, but the best part was the impeccable service.
It’s really easy getting around Bali. There are taxis everywhere or if you’re even bolder you can hire a motorbike. If you do go with a taxi, never accept the first quoted price. You must “Bali Bargain” — it’s expected!
We spent the week absorbing the Balinese culture while exploring Ubud. We hiked the serene hillsides of the Campuhan Ridge, visited the famous Tegalalang Rice Terraces, explored the Tirta Empul water temple where Amit took a purifying bath in the holy spring water and Gunung Kawi, the stone temple, where we descended 300 steps to see massive rock shrines carved directly out of the cliff’s edge.
A couple evenings during the week we also attended cultural shows featuring traditional Balinese dance performances. At the Ubud Palace we watched the Legong Dance and in a nearby village we watched the Taman Kaja community perform a Kecak Fire and Trance Dance. In this dance, human voice (chanting) replaces musical instruments and a Hindu story of Prince Rama is told amongst a choir of men sitting and swaying in concentric circles.
But my favorite activities of the week were taking a Canting Bali cooking class where I learned how to make homemade Balinese cuisine complete with peanut sauce (Amit’s favorite!) amidst scenic rice paddy fields and visiting the Monkey Forest where we fed bananas to cute, mischievous long tail macaques.
After a week in Ubud, we’re heading to Seminyak to spend a couple days by the beach before heading to Singapore where we’ll begin the Southeast Asia portion of our tour!