After turbulent few years in 2016 i finally start to get back on my feet and had saved enough to go on some long distance exotic holiday that had been in my plans for a while. I start discussing it with my childhood best friend who is a yoga teacher in Chicago and she decided to come with me . Picking up our destination was not difficult. Bali was on top of my bucket list and she really wanted to go on a yoga retreat. Those of you who are interested in yoga probably already know that the island is known for its spirituality and amazing yoga retreats places.
We found Blooming Lotus Retreat through a google search and it caught out attention with its cheap comparing to other places price and with the fully five star reviews it had received.
They offer 4 and 7 days retreat options and as we could only spare around 8 days without our children we opted for the 4 days one.It costed 400 dollars per person and they offer payment in installments - 200 dollars immediately and the rest 30 days before arrival. In the price was included three nights in a luxury villa , 2 meals daily , two yoga classes everyday , 2 yoga workshops , daily meditation session and visiting one cultural event. Now i will mention that check ins are only on Sunday afternoon ( 5 pm ! ) and check outs on Wednesday morning ( 12 noon ) . It is actually like having two fully days retreat schedule and a cultural event trip on Sunday and a yoga class on Wednesday.morning. They still offer the best value for money we could find there as their villas are high 5 + standard and the service was exceptional.
The place is situated in Ubud an hour drive away from Denpasar airport. The property can arrange pick up for 35 dollars upon request in advance , if you grab a random taxi at the airport and negotiate will cost slightly higher but similar price. We both arrived very late at night , two days before our reservation there so we decided to stay and recharge our batteries in Kuta as we both had over 26 hours journey to Bali.
We left for Ubud by taxi with organizing with the driver to give us a little tour around the places on the way.It costed us 30 dollars ( 400 000 rupiahs )for the trip. Note that for Bali you will definitely need to exchange money before you arrive there and have cash as cards are not that widely accepted.
For that price we stopped on few places on the way such as Pantai Pandawa beach, lovely seafood restaurant situated in a near beach, temple visit ,the famous Kopi Lawak coffee plantation, which makes one of the most expensive coffee in the world and Turtle island near Benoa Beach.( 35 dollars extra )
we were the only tourists on the beach
We arrived at Villa Ubud Corner 88 -a hotel made of luxurious villas , where the retreat was taking place. We were greeted with delicious flavored coconut water and pandan juice pancake and a leaflet for the schedule for next few days at the reception which is located on top of the property.
After a hassle free check in , we were escorted by a golf car to our private villa which was two floors below .
Our villa was large , made in modern Balinese style with air conditioner , two single beds , dressing room and huge shower and bathroom. We had a private infinity pool which offers a direct view to the tropical forest in the near distance. We shared that and an outdoor kitchen and living room facilities with the residents of the other two rooms who were part of the retreat group . Along with that there is also a bigger pool a floor below for everyone to enjoy.
We had breakfast and dinner included in the price. The food was strictly vegetarian which was great for my taste and preference but if you are a meat lover you might see this as a negative. Breakfast was nice but repetitive consisting of granola or muesli , fruit salad and yogurt. Dinners were made of indonesian cruisine three meals courses and were not very large in size but quite delicious options.
On the first evening we didn't have any yoga activities. Instead they had organised for the whole retreat group to see a cultural event in Ubud. It consisted of some storytelling and traditional Balinese dance . I found it quite fascinating and mesmerizing.
The following morning we started our first yoga class at 7.30 after being woken up half an hour earlier by the staff who gently rang a singing bowl around the villas. The yoga studio was located on the top floor next to the reception. There is a quite soothing calming feel to it with a fantastic view to the near river and jungle.
The teachers Ashley and Megan were very spiritual and knowledgeable and did their best to facilitate and adjust their classes for people who are on beginners level to yogi instructors. They thought us Asana practice and mediation and pranayama methods and breathing techniques. It was great introduction for people who were just getting the grasp of meditation and yoga. However for my friend as being a teacher poses were not much of a challenge. The workshops classes who started at 11 am focused on helping us finding ways to integrate and incorporate yoga into our daily life and turn it into a way of lifestyle. The evening yoga and medidation classes started at 5.30 pm until 7 pm followed by dinner. I discovered Yoga Nidra there and it has been part of my evening meditation practice ever since. For me the information i gathered there set the foundation of spiritual enlightenment and self -healing.
Between the activities we had free time to use if we wanted to go back to sleep , lie down by the pool , explore Ubud and other tourist activities .The hotel offers a free shuffle to Ubud. During our stay there we visited the local shops and restaurants , the rice terraces ( must see by all means if you are in Ubud ) and the magnificent breathtaking Tegenungan waterfall. I would also recommend visiting the Monkey forest but be careful with your possession as the monkeys are known to get a bit mischievous and steal them :) .
My time in Blooming Lotus Yoga is still very special to me. It was eye opening and transforming in any way. Along with being with my best friend again , I met some amazing people from the staff to worked there to the locals and the rest of the residents in the villa. I would definitely recommend paying it a visit if you are looking for a great value for money yoga retreat , honeymoon spot or just place to relax in peace and tranquility.