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Sunday, June 11, 2017

How to Create Your Own Yoga Retreat in Ubud Bali

Bali bikini KissesVera-26Bali is one of those places that I can never get bored of visiting, simply because it has such a good vibe about it. My favorite places near the coast would be Seminyak, with all its hip designer boutiques, and then Canggu, which is more laid back.

But going into central Bali, and you'd come across Ubud, which is an amazing congregation of both locals and expats, many of which are very into yoga and green, organic food, or even raw food. You'd also find beautiful layered rice paddy fields, sacred temples and lots of good vibes. Lots of people come to Bali for Yoga and Spa retreats, which can easily cost up to USD2300, but actually you can just easily DIY the trip yourself for a fraction of the cost.


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Bisma Eight's Garden Suite
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Every bedroom opens up to its own luscious balcony
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Lobby area with feature staircase
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Copper Kitchen & Bar
Bali DIY yoga retreat 2 My favorite place to check-in would be Bisma Eight in Ubud as it is located very centrally to the town centers, as well as yoga studios. Besides boasting a gorgeous infinity pool, each of its rooms also comes with its own onsen soaking tub made from American cedar as well as a balcony.

All its rooms are suites, as they come with a sofa and living area, as well as workspace, which segregates the living and sleeping areas. Bisma Eight also comes with its own library for guests to read and chill, and also offers daily workshops and activities free of charge for guests. Some of these activities include yoga, mocktail making, a visit to Bisma Eight's own farm garden and even cycling trails!

I would usually take advantage of the daily morning yoga sessions, before heading to Copper for its ala carte breakfast menu.
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Me with my lovely yoga teacher!
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Wilted kale with roasted pork and hash brown - simply delicious!
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Chia seed and coconut pudding for breakfast and doing yoga at Bisma Eight's rooftop and poolside


After an inhouse session of yoga, I will head to the town area for yoga. There are several yoga studios all located in central Ubud, of which I will recommend Radiantly Alive, as I really loved the variety of classes that they have. The classes will usually last for 1.5 - 2h long, which is longer than your typical 1 hour classes and this gives the teacher more time to guide you into the poses. I have never felt more stretched open and relaxed after their class!

You can go for their 3 or 5 class package, or opt for the 1 week unlimited classes package which will only set you back $60.

Bali Part II-40 Bali Part II-39 Other studios you can check out would be:

  • Yoga Barn - This is the most well known studio in Ubud and their class size is usually quite big, but they offer a wide variety of classes as well. 
  • Intuitive Flow - Their classes are generally more gentle and flow kind of classes, and you can expect Yin yoga, Hatha, and Vinyasa Flow.  
  • Taksu Yoga - The premises of Taksu is very lovely and private, as it comes together with a spa and restaurant. Similar to Intuitive Flow, their classes are mostly Hatha, Yin, Vinyasa and basic. 

Eating Green

To supplement your yoga training, you can combine that with going vegetarian. I've never seen a wider range of green, organic and raw cafes than in Ubud, so you're seriously spoilt for choice. You might think that vegetarian would simply mean greens and more greens, but in Ubud, you will be in for an eye-opening experience at the variety of vegetarian options available from tacos, to wraps and even raw pizzas - you won't be missing meat at all.

The best thing is, instead of paying $6 for a smoothie, and $12 for a salad at most places, in Ubud, the vegetarian meals are much more affordable, ranging from $6 - 10 for a drink and a main.

Some of the favs I've visited would be:
Clear Cafe
Jalan Raya Campuhan
Set in a 3 storey building, Clear Cafe features an open-airy space with pastel wood and bamboo furnishing and gives you a view of the Ubud forest. The menu is extensive, and service very attentive.

Warung Sopa
Jl. Sugriwa No.36, Ubud
Warung Sopa is a family style restaurant that serves nasi campur, which is basically rice with whatever side dishes you want. In this case, it will be brown rice, and the side dishes are extensive, featuring tofu, beans and veggies. A main course with 4 sides will cost you just IDR32,000.

Bali bibble x KissesVera-75 Bali bibble x KissesVera-69 Sari Organik
Jl. Subak Sok Wayah
I love Sari Organik for the small trek you have to make to get in - You would have to walk a distance into rice paddy fields to locate the cafe, but that also gives you a great view of the paddy fields as you enjoy your meal. Expect simple salads but really fresh food straight from farm to table.

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Jl. Subak Sok Wayah
You can spot Cafe Pomegranate a mile away thanks to its distinctive teepee! This cute cafe is located just in front of Sari Organik. 

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Raw pizzas from The Seeds of Life (L), Breakfast situation at Bisma Eight (R)
The Seeds of Life
Jl. Gootama No.2
This is not only a vegetarian cafe, but also a raw cafe. All items on menu are raw - I would highly recommend you to try it for an experience that raw food can taste equally amazing. You'd be very surprised by their raw pizzas as well.

Other than that, here's some others I recommend as well. This list is definitely non-exhaustive.

  • Earth Cafe & Market - Earth Cafe offers a variety of smoothies, breakfast bowls and also vegetarian mains. You can also shop for health and superfoods here - they stock everything from spirulina to chia seeds, and ready-made raw baked goods!
  • KAFE
  • Watercress Cafe Ubud
  • Melting Wok Warung
  • Locavore - For refined dining with local produce. They feature meat dishes here, but you can expect their vegetarian options to be equally good. 
  • Wulan Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant 

You can see some of the reviews of these cafes here and here.

Spa & Massages

Finally, what's a holiday without a massage? Ubud offers many options in the town center but I would recommend the below after looking at reviews online, and comparing prices.
  • Sang Spa - IDR150k/ hour. This spa has 3 locations over Ubud, and offers free pickup and dropoff services. Very professional masseuse and I thoroughly enjoyed my back massage there.
  • Jaen Spa - IDR135-245k/hour. This spa and massage center is very famous and highly rated on Tripadvisor. Free pickup/dropoff service available.  
  • Karsa Spa - 180-200k/hour. Set in rice paddy fields along the Campuhan Ridge Walk, this spa has a glowing 5 stars review on Tripadvisors by thousands of visitors! It has its own vegetarian cafe as well. 
  • Spa Hati - 250k/hour. This is located slightly out of town but stands on its own as a treatment and spa location. 
  • Shambala Spa - 130k/hour. This spa is the most affordable of all five, but judging from the reviews online, you can be expecting a very good service! I tried to book them but they were all full for the time I was there!
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Hope this guide is helpful for you in creating your own yoga retreat the next time you're in Ubud! I can't wait to go back again.

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