There’s a reason that Bali is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia. Its beautiful nature attractions (including beaches, waterfalls, and rice terraces), sacred temples, delicious food, and warm people make it a fantastic place for a spiritual retreat. Hey, if Elizabeth Gilbert can emerge as a new person after doing an Eat, Pray, Love journey, so can you!
In this article, we’ll guide you to the best spiritual sights and activities that will rejuvenate your body and spirit.
1. Visit sacred temples
Bali is home to thousands of Hindu temples, also known as “pura.” These ancient structures are not just religious sites, but also cultural landmarks and architectural wonders. Visiting the temples may help you connect to your spiritual side and also learn about the teachings of Hinduism.
Some of the must-visit temples in Bali include:
- Pura Besakih. Known as the “Mother Temple of Bali,” this is the largest and most important temple in Bali.
- Tanah Lot Temple. This temple is located in the Tabanan regency of Bali, just a short distance from many popular Bali villas and resorts. It is dedicated to the sea spirits and holds great importance in Balinese Hinduism. The temple complex comprises several shrines, pavilions, and a sacred freshwater spring believed to possess purifying properties.
- Uluwatu Temple. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, this temple is known for its traditional Kecak dance performances.
2. Attend a Balinese healing ceremony
The Balinese have a deep connection with their spiritual beliefs and rituals. One of the most fascinating experiences you can have in Bali is attending a traditional healing ceremony called “melukat.” This cleansing ritual involves bathing in holy water to purify the mind, body, and soul and is performed by a local healer (called “pemangku”).
A lot of people swear by melukat, as it can help you feel rejuvenated and more positive.
There are many places where you can experience melukat, including popular temples. Some of the best choices include Pura Tirta Empul, Taman Mumbul Temple, and Camphuan Windhu. Other lesser-known temples offer a similar, often more personalized experience, though you may need to consult a local guide to find them.
There are many Bali tour packages that include visits to these temples you may check out.
3. Take part in a yoga retreat
Bali is a paradise for yoga enthusiasts, with its serene environment and lush nature. There are numerous yoga retreats on the island that offer different styles of yoga practice, from Hatha to Vinyasa.
These retreats also provide an opportunity for spiritual introspection and self-discovery.
4. Indulge in Bali’s cuisine
When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote “Eat, Pray, Love,” she specifically included her food experiences as it is an integral part of her journey. Enjoying good food is part of being human and can remind you to appreciate the ordinary things in life.
Bali’s cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. In addition, many restaurants in Bali offer an array of wholesome, organic meals that cater to all dietary preferences. Traditional dishes like “nasi campur,” a mixture of vegetables, tofu or tempeh, and rice, or “gado-gado,” a vegetable salad with peanut sauce, are not only delicious but also nutritionally balanced.
There are also a variety of cooking classes available, where you can learn to prepare these dishes yourself, adding a unique and interactive element to your spiritual retreat.
5. Experience a spiritual reading
Bali is renowned for its spiritual healers, commonly known as “Balians,” who have been practicing their craft for generations. Among their numerous services, spiritual reading is a unique experience that draws in those curious about their destiny.
Spiritual reading can take the form of palm reading (or palmistry), full body reading, and life coaching. A reading may reveal one’s life journey and future prospects, and perhaps more importantly, offer an understanding of one’s self better. Many tourists have found this experience enlightening and transformative.
So if you need enlightenment about your path, or perhaps an assurance that you’re going to be okay, then a spiritual reading in Bali may be of help.
6. Attend a sound healing session
Sound healing has been a part of Balinese culture for centuries, and it is believed to have a powerful effect on the mind, body, and soul
Many retreats and spas offer sound healing sessions using traditional instruments such as gongs and singing bowls to create a deeply relaxing and spiritually rejuvenating experience.
7. Connect with nature
Despite being one of the most popular spots in Indonesia, Bali has managed to preserve and take care of its nature attractions. While in Bali, connect with nature by visiting its rice terraces – take a leisurely walk through the rice fields, visit local villages, and learn about traditional farming practices.
The island is also home to many stunning waterfalls, believed to be sacred and often have temples or shrines nearby. Take a dip in the refreshing waters and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.
8. Trek to Mount Batur
For the adventure seeker, a trek to Mount Batur is an exhilarating and spiritual experience. Mount Batur is one of the four main sacred mountains in Bali, believed to be the home of Lord Brahma.
Most people trek to this mountain early in the morning. The trail winds through hardened black lava fields from past eruptions. Once at the summit, watch the break of dawn and the first rays of the sun peeking over the horizon. The panoramic view at the summit is awe inspiring – you can see the entire island, the stunning Lake Batur, and the neighboring Mount Agung.
The beauty of the sunrise and sacred ambiance of this mountain makes the trek spiritually meaningful.
9. Meditate at a spiritual retreat
Bali is home to many retreat centers that offer spiritual and wellness programs. These retreats are located in serene locations surrounded by nature, making it the perfect setting for meditation and self-reflection.
You can join a yoga or meditation class, attend workshops on spiritual healing, or simply relax and connect with your inner self.
Some of the most recommended spiritual retreats in Bali include the Yoga Barn, Fivelements Retreat, and Bagus Jati Health & Wellbeing Retreat.
10. Book a tour
If you want to visit Bali for a spiritual retreat but unsure of the things you want to do, one of the easiest options is to book a tour. There are tours for sightseeing waterfalls and beaches, visiting retreat centers and temples, experiencing energy healing and reading, and more. There are also tours specifically for those who’d like to follow the steps of Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.
Bali is undoubtedly a haven for spiritual seekers. Each of these experiences and sights offers a unique opportunity to delve deep into your spiritual practice, rejuvenate the body, and find peace within your soul. You may even find newfound companions who are on a similar journey! So prepare your bags (and spirit) for an unforgettable journey to Bali, the Island of the Gods.
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).