These are the list of tours we can help you organise during your stay.
A selection of these are also available during the Yoga Retreats. Normally we can fit two or at the most three of these tours which will be included as part of your retreat fee.
As we continually strive to fine-tune and add new tours as they become available, this list will be continually edited. For any tour of interest not on the list, feel free to discuss or write to our email address.
Amlapura is the biggest daily market, best visited in the early morning when all the action is happening, also cooler. About half an hour to the east by car. Also can include a visit to the ATM.
Apart from all the foodstuffs, the markets (above) sell many types of practical craft work, woven containers, temple accessories, etc. The Ashram car departs between 7 and 8 am to go to the Amlapura market to purchase daily supplies. Those interested in experiencing this shopping, with some minor adjustment to our group’s morning schedule, can tag along and you would still be back well before the 10 am start of the asana class.
For the more adventuros ones, this is also a nice trip by public bus when you can be close to the locals, squashed in with school kids and market goers (and all their purchases). But allow flexible time for free-lance trips (two to three hours round trip) so this may mean sacrificing some of your yoga sessions, or to do it in the afternoon when there is less yoga session is scheduled, although the food section may not be operating as fully as in the morning.
Visit to Tenganan
About 5km from Candidasa is the famous ancient indigenous balinese village of Tenganan. A visit to see traditional village life including exquisite double ikat weaving and inscribed lettering on lontar palm leaf books is well worthwhile.
This place is quite well visited by tourists and generally I will only take the group there if we could get a good guide to accompany us. In the past we have been able to secure the services of Pak Sadra, Vice Chair himself, now the extremely busy MP yet still performs the acupuncture and overseeing the running of the Ashram. This is one of those things that we need to keep flexible with as often we only get a very short notice as to when Pak Sadra is available, if at all. As he is a native Tenganan and a former village chief, so absolutely no better person on the planet to show us around. His NGO involvement with some aid projects will also provide insights into some of the eco projects.
A talk on Gandhian Ashram and meditation
Again by Pak Sadra who is going to ‘make time’ for our group. He has been with the Ashram since its inception, spent an extended stay in India to experience the various Gandhi Ashrams in India, and has recently returned from a meditation retreat of total ‘silence’ with Pak I Gede Perama, a spiritualist who is also an economist and motivational speakers of national standing. He will share his knowledge and I’m sure it would be of great value to us all.
A ‘purnama’ (full moon) puja at the foot of Mount Agung temple
As in most early societies, purnama holds a special magic to the Balinese hence their combining of purnama with the Hindu festivities. There are many good temples to do our night puja but unfortunately (this is my old-fashioned personal opinion) all of them have now adopted the modern flood-lit lighting which absolutely destroys the atmosphere and magic of purnama!
There a couple of lesser known temples that offer similar atmosphere and breathtaking views which have so far escaped this ‘lighthouse’ treatment with either minimal or no electric lighting to speak of. One is a recently ‘rediscovered’ important temple, still being rebuilt and also set at the majestic setting at the foot of the imposing holy mountain. So let us keep them nameless and lesser known as long as we can!
While most retreats are scheduled to coincide with or in the vicinity of purnama, there are times when other constraints come into play such as school holidays which may not offer us the luxury of having the retreat to encompass a purnama night. In that instance we may or may not include the temple puja in our program.
There are a number of these in the easter region ranging from the not too far to the ones of about an hour drive from the Ashram. The bigger ones involved about an and a half of quite steep climbing to a height of around 1200 metres and it’s quite taxing and normally, if we do go, from experience we will schedule this about midway through our retreat to allow for extra ‘toning-up’ of normally unused muscles to reduce the climb’s after effect on calf muscles etc.
The above are just some of the examples and what with ideas or local events/ceremonies during the retreat, we will never be short of activities or tours to tackle.
Snorkelling off Candidasa Shore
One of our former Ashram members is a fisherman who takes guests for fishing/snorkelling trips in a motorised perahu with outriggers, and only when the sea is reasonably calm. Primarily there are two trips on offer: on to the ‘Blue Lagoon’ (about 30-40 mins boat ride south) and the other one is near the ‘Gilis’ (small islands off the Ashram, only about 10 mins ride).
Both are good to snorkel above submerged reef though I would recommend the one near the Gilis which I think is slightly better, also more chance encounter with turtles or dolphins, plus is only a few minutes boat ride, therefore more ‘seasick’ friendly. The only downside is that it requires calmer water due to stronger currents, but the boatmen will keep a good watch and call or pull you back if you stray too far from the group.
Must wear good hats and sun-screen as it’s an open boat and the duration is between one to two hours,perhaps three for the Blue Lagoon. Snorkelling gears are provided. This may incur individual fees that you pay directly to the provider, but we’ll organise the booking for you.
For the ones of you who are even more passionate about the underwater life, we can put you in touch with one of the best dive masters in Candidasa, who happens to be a former Ashram member himself as well. Therefore, you can be sure that not only safety is his hightest maxim – you can also fully trust his expertise on dive sites as well as experience teaching any level of divers, from absolute beginners to dive masters. If you have always wanted to give it a try, but don’t know if you want to invest in a certification yet, you can opt for a discovery dive where all necessary materials and instructions will be provided. And where else would it be better to start this stunning activity in the warm waters off the Balinese coast, being full of all the exotic fish you could dream of.
Whether you want to be “finding Nemo” or “Dory” for a start, use your existing certification to visit the manta rays across at Nusa Penida, dive at one of the best wrecks in the world, or try and meet the impressive sun fish, you can have it all at our door step. If you are interested, just contact us via email beforehand or talk to an Ashram member.
There a number of trekking routes available which we will organise through a local trekking operator, a very good and knowledgeable one with connection to the Ashram. The duration ranges from 3 or 4 hours (through an inland village, bamboo bridge crossing,paddy field, plantation and hill climbing and down to enter the ancient Bali village of Tenganan from the back) to a few shorter ones through the paddy fields etc. The former requires reasonable fitness.
Water and City Palaces
The last rajah of the region built three. The well-known one is Tirtagangga, a beautiful, cool place of large ponds, fountains, flowers and ornamental fish. You can also swim here in a spring-fed bathing pool. About 40 minutes by car via Amlapura.
Nearer than Amlapura is Ujung which is more exposed and nearer the sea. It has been rebuilt since almost total destruction after the eruption of Gunung Agung in 1963 and is worth a visit.
Probably can fit both of the above (or perhaps just one of them) and a palace visit at Amlapura in about 3 hours, unless the group decides to have a dip at the Tirtagangga pool, rather chilly as it must be coming from a deep natural artesian spring water but heavenly in the middle of the day or afternoon in which case the second water palace in Ujung may have to dropped. Else we may reverse the route to visit Ujung first and then Tirthagangga with or without the swim depending on the time available and inclinations of the group.
Klungkung is the first large town going back westwards towards Denpasar about 40 minutes from Candidasa. It has a wealth of important regional history (see guide books) and is well worth a visit. The fabrics and clothing market is also interesting to explore. Before Klungkung is Goa Lawah, (bat cave temple) a well-known tourist destination. By car the total round trip would probably take three hours.