Journals of Conscious Travel & Lifestyle

Category: Indonesia

Bali Silent Retreat

Bali Silent Retreat is a place to unplug, unwind and reflect. Set amongst peaceful rice fields in the rural and less travelled western part of Bali with views of Mount Batukaru, Bali’s second-highest volcano, it’s a truly special, serene and unique experience.

I was there this time last year, and with limited travel due to Covid-19 have been looking back through my photos and thought I’d share my experience.

Bungalows amongst ride paddies

Accomodation options

There are private bungalows and shared dorms with various pricing options. I’m fussy with accomodation so I stayed in the private bungalow – the most expensive option – but it’s worth it. It was quiet and private with a cute verandah overlooking the ride fields above.

Bali Silent Retreat Lounge
The Communal Lounge and Dining Area

The overall experience, location, activities of yoga, meditation etc and most of all the incredible meals – healthy vibrant (mostly vegan) flavoursome food that’s grown onsite. I’ve wanted to go to the Silent Retreat since hearing about it on my trip to Bali in 2015, and finally went in July 2019.

Meditation at Bali Silent Retreat

The style of meditation is relaxed, unstructured silent introspection and reflection. There are daily optional structured activities including yoga, meditative walks and other classes. The rest of the time you’re free to wander through the tropical gardens or sit and contemplate the world.

Tropical Gardens Bali Silent Retreat
Lush Tropical Gardens

Bali Silent Retreat seemed like the ideal gentle intro to silent meditation to me. I love the idea of silence and reflection, yet Vipassana meditation retreats I’ve heard about sound quite intense and formulaic with the 4am starts and rules, and I was looking for more holiday style relaxation this time.

The yoga and meditation octagon bale

Yoga Classes

Daily yoga and meditation classes are held in an open air structure with a fabric roof (above) called the ‘Yoga and Meditation Octagon Bale’ surrounded by trees. Classes are suitable for all levels and lead by different international yoga instructors. You can choose morning, afternoon or both.

The veggie gardens at Bali Silent Retreat

Tropical Gardens

Tours are available of the impressive productive sustainable gardens which use permaculture principles and have some fascinating tropical plants, fruits and vegetables. the garden tour was a real highlight – we tasted the sweet pods of raw cacao trees, and put the bright peachy-coloured sap of the ‘lipstick tree’ on our cheeks and lips!

Bali Silent Retreat Gardens

The whole grounds are surrounded with well kept gardens. Dozens of ripe passion fruit overhand the chillout hammock zone ripe for picking.

What It’s Like at Bali Silent Retreat

The Retreat really is a breath of fresh air, a chance to reconnect with yourself, reflect, relax and unwind from constant stimulation of everyday life. A reminder to be gentler to yourself and closer to nature. It has a really special energy.

Bungalows from the ride paddies at Bali Silent Retreat

Described as a “five star ashram”, Bali Silent Retreat is certainly therapeutic and relaxing with ashram principles. Guests can do as they feel, participating in as much or as little as they wish. It isn’t linked to any particular discipline or philosophy; this agnosticism really appeals to me!

Photos of Bali Silent Retreat

Given the ‘silent’ subject I decided a photo essay is the best way to share my experience. I wish I’d taken more photos but I switched my phone off for most of the trip in line with the recommendations and purpose. Some fo these pics are from a lovely girl I met there.

Lush green rice fields with volcano backdrop!

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and if you have any questions. Or if you’ve been to this or a similar retreat I’d love to hear about your experience.

Bali Silent Retreat Flowers
Flowers in the entrance – one of many thoughtful details
Bali Silent Retreat Ashram
Ashram entrance
Bali Silent Retreat Cushions
Cushions in the lounge
Bali Silent Retreat Dining Tables
Dining Tables
Bali Silent Retreat Kitchen
Kitchen: Delicious teas, treats and meals await!
Bali Silent Retreat Daily Steps
Bali Silent Retreat Daily Steps
Bali Silent Retreat Medicine Herbs
Medicine Herbs
So green!
One of the team in the rice fields
The gong that calls everyone to yoga and meditation each day

Day Tour to Mt. BatuKaru Holy Temple

One of the day trips we did included the stunning old temple below. The history and culture are fascinating.

Water blessing ritual
Temples in the mist
River next to the temple

Day Tour to Hot Springs

We also visited some hot springs with pools to swim in,. They had a swing – I love a swing!

Natural hot spring pools near Bali Silent Retreat
Hot spring pool
Swing at the hot springs
Swing overlooking hot springs
Cute bungalow at hot springs
Sunset Bali Silent Retreat Ricefields
Sunset Over Bali Silent Retreat Ricefields

For full info and programs see the Bali Silent Retreat Website.

That time I tried to be a digital nomad in Bali

Back in 2015 while on my digital nomad quest around Australia I heard about a co-working place in Ubud, Bali called ‘Hubud’. I’d been wanting to see Bali for ages and Ubud in particular – one of those times I was strongly drawn somewhere and just had to go. I imagined eating healthy organic food, working while looking out onto lush rice paddies, chatting excitedly about the future of work and sustainable living with like-minded people. The reality of my month in Bali turned out a little different with a lot less work and a lot more play…a lesson in nomad life and discipline.

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Working Remotely in Bali: The Reality

We’ve all seen idyllic photos of people working on laptops next to swimming pools in exotic locations and imagined how amazing it would be to live a life of travel and work….swimming, sunbathing and sipping smoothies while working on a laptop in-between. Bali is digital nomad heaven, but if you’re considering working remotely in Bali then read on for a few tips.

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Green Village Bali

A Peek Inside a Bamboo House

Ever since reading an article about the beautiful bamboo structures in Green Village I was dying to visit. So when I spent a month in Bali I set about seeing them for myself by booking a guided tour.

They’re built in an incredible lush jungle setting in a village just outside Ubud in Bali, overlooking a winding river with steep sloping banks.

Some of the houses are homes (imagine living there!!) and some are open for tours and rentals. I’ve never been in a house where almost everything is made of the same material – they’re quite amazing. Green Village is an exciting example of a sustainable local alternative to mainstream building methods.

As bamboo grows so fast (a few feet a year!) it’s a super sustainable and renewable building material. It has greater tensile strength (or resistance to being pulled apart) than steel, and withstands compression better than concrete!

It’s incredibly versatile and is used for fixtures and fittings from wardrobes to kitchen units in the homes. The central bamboo spiral staircase was a little creaky when walking up it, but looks so amazing!

Bamboo is trendy and expensive in Europe; ironic given its seen as a poor man’s building material in a lot of places where it grows. I like the fact the creators are taking a traditional local building method and making it aspirational, with live examples of how amazing it can be.

The Green Village was set up by Elora Hardy, daughter of Canadian jewellery designer and Green School founder John Hardy.

I first heard about the green village through an eyecatching online article with beautiful images following that familiar click-enticing formula of “Person quits job to do x amazing thing” (inherent message: “yes you working office dullards could quit your jobs and do something amazing – here’s how”). Woman Quits Job To Build Sustainable Bamboo Homes In Bali. I also watched Elora’s inspiring Ted Talk about it.

Encouraging Local Sustainable Building Practices

The creators of the project hope to change the local Indonesian perception that bamboo houses are less desirable because poor people traditionally live in bamboo homes which don’t last well if untreated. The houses at the village are treated with borax which protects them from insects so they last a lifetime.

The Green School is in the same village surrounded by lush tropical jungle and rivers. It has some super cute bamboo structures including a phone box and science lab. Not a bad environment for kids! The school is popular with eco-conscious local expats. We had a brief look around but didn’t do the full tour as we had to get back.

If you’re in Bali it’s well worth seeing both.

Arranging a tour of Green Village

It’s a 25 minute drive from Ubud – you can either drive yourself to where the tour starts in the bamboo factory (put ‘PT Bamboo Pure’ into Google Maps for directions) or they’ll arrange a driver for you. It’s a scenic drive from Ubud past rice paddies and pretty Balinese villages. We did take a couple of wrong turns on the way back though!

Things I learned from this trip:

  • We should tailor our building techniques to our surroundings, i.e. what grows and works locally
  • Bamboo is even more amazing than I previously thought!

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