Bali Silent Retreat Review: A Practice of Meditation, Yoga, Digital Detox, and Complete SILENCE!!
Last week, I had NO idea what I was getting and that is exactly why I knew it was necessary to write a Bali silent retreat review to share with you all.
I agreed to join my friend, Jiaying, on a last minute trip to a silent retreat in Bali, Indonesia. Gratefully, we are already currently living in Bali so it was only a matter of driving an 1 hour and 45 minutes away to the north of Bali, where you could find true serenity and rice fields flowing for miles, which is getting rarer and rarer with the heavy tourism and large expat culture.
This was the TRUE Bali, well at least it is what you think of when you think of Bali, “the island of the Gods”. It was what I ALWAYS imagined 7 years ago before I ever stepped off the plane and adapted to the busy touristic streets.
We vowed to turn our phones off to indulge in a 4 day digital detox, and spend our time participating in two meditation and two yoga classes daily. When I first signed up, I didn’t think much about sitting and being in COMPLETE silence. I was so caught up with work, kids programs, meal prep, laundry doing, phone calls, I just didn’t really think about the silence of it all and once I turned my phone to airplane mode, I was refreshed and hesitant all at once.
I had read mixed opinions on other Bali silent retreat review pages about the staff or the office angels as they refer to them as. In my opinion they were extremely helpful and made sure we were settled in quickly so we could make the morning itinerary with the rest!
We began the first morning with a trip to the hot springs which really set the tone for relaxation and quiet. I highly suggest going during the week since the hot springs is mon-fri at 10 AM. Thankfully I read another Bali Silent Retreat Review before going so I didn’t miss it on Friday morning!
Very quickly I did not miss speaking or even listening to anyones chit chat, the heavy traffic, or my to-do list. We continued on to a DELICIOUS lunch, Jiaying and I looked at each other without words and a look of fear that yoga was about to begin in 30 minutes because we had both completely overindulged in the buffet lunch, even with the silence and adaptation to mindfulness.
Meal time was literally the most exciting time for me at the retreat. I definitely did not snap enough photos of the food (since I was being mindful and present in the moment) I have always always always been an advocate of slowing down at meal time, I always say be mindful of your meal, taste your food, enjoy the art of cooking, but what happened at the retreat was extremely surprising to me. As I sat down for dinner, I was feeling much more relaxed, and for good reason, we had already been to the hot spring, had 2 hours of meditation and 2 hours of yoga, it was 5 pm and I was sitting in absolute silence eating my dinner alone. I realized that I am never in such silence when I eat that all I can hear is the sound of myself chewing, all I can do is taste each flavour.
I was feeling so awkward, of course I have eaten by myself plenty of times but just being with myself while I ate, free of distractions from any music, any phone, tv, or computer, free of any conversation with anyone else at the table. It was just me and my food. No matter how much mindfulness I preached, I realized never in my life had I actually been truly mindful at a meal until that very moment. I wanted to cry because I realized that time and time again I had eaten I probably never actually focused much at the task at hand and could only have had a level of gratefulness with the consciousness I had which had never been deep, until now. It was such a simple behaviour with such a powerful impact. My mind was quiet and peaceful and my tastebuds were on fire eating up every bit of the succulent vegan sauces and dressings The roles had reversed I was focusing on me finishing my last bites, rather than being sure my son had finished his meal. I was honouring my body and listening to what it was asking for, which I always thought I was pretty good at, until this very moment.
The herbal tea corner was ME, in my element! Say no more, I was one happy gal! They offered freshherbs picked from the garden a few steps away. There was fresh lemongrass, mint, tulsi (holy basil), oregano, turmeric, ginger, cacao nibs, gotu kola, and many others. You can really design any kind of concoction you like in boiled water and bring it up to the reading room, take it for a walk along the flowing rice paddies, or take it back with you to your room.
I couldn’t believe this, but all of this silence was EXHAUSTING, no seriously It was 7 pm and I was ready to get to bed. So I did, I listened to my body and went to sleep to get ready for the 6 am wake up call for meditation and yoga. If you are seeking complete quiet with no distraction, let this Bali silent retreat review be a warning that all of the off site events, yoga, and meditation might be too much for you. When I do return I plan on doing less of the scheduled events, although they were great to experience and many might love them, but I would spend more time in the grassy or meditation areas, with a journal by myself for even more self reflection.
The Bali silent retreat was everything you could ask for in a getaway. I don’t want you to go into it expecting some lavish luxurious “retreat” like you might envision in the west, however I LOVED every bit of it. It is great if you need to relax the nervous system and get your body back to balance.
You can choose between a private villa, a single room on the second floor (which is open to the jungle), there is a single room below which has a door so you cannot hear the insects choir at night, or ladies can opt for the women’s dormitory where you share a room with up to 16 guests. I opted for the second level single room which was a treat. It included a mosquito net, however being out there I was surprised there was not one mosquito in my room the entire trip! You make your own bed ashram style and it came with the most luxurious duvet. I was so used to sharing my bed with my partner for the last 10 years, I just laid there with my eyes staring up at the ceiling, enjoying every minute of the peace and quiet. 🤫
Breakfast and lunch were there most impressive in my opinion, they had OUT OF THIS WORLD oat pudding (you all know me Im an oatmeal fanatic.) Along with many other breakfast options and freshly made nut mylks and green juices made from sweet Ketut leaf! It was incredible and cleansing. At lunch time I always seemed to create a buddha bowl with a mixture of a little bit of everything topped with mango and ginger type dressings. All of the dishes were vegan, with almost every single ingredient coming from the garden that circled around the retreat. The meal time experience is probably like nothing you would experience anywhere else, just a bunch of silent people, walking around being mindful of everything around them, what a concept hey!
The price is right. The retreat was $35 US dollars per day to participate in 2 yoga sessions, 2 meditation sessions, and all meals were included. The rooms begin at $19 US dollars, I Choose the Single Second level room at $45 US dollars per night, and the Villa is approx $110 US dollars per person minimum 2 people. There is a lot of option at any budget. Let me tell you, that experience to me was priceless. Don’t let any other Bali silent retreat review tell you otherwise!
Even when I thought I lived a mindful life with minimal distractions, I realized I could achieve mindfulness at a much more connected level, and I could minimize and simplify many of the ways I was going about regular activities in life.
If you do decide to go or have been, I would love to hear your experience. If you have any other questions about the retreat and my experience, please ask away.
AND if you do go, I might just see you there 😉 I hope this Bali silent retreat review could be of value and help make your experience the absolute best!