The lot of the travelers who visit Bali come on spiritual quests, seeking inner peace, physical healing, or the latest lifestyle fad. This Hindu island nation, known for its centuries-old temples and ancient practices, is all about holistic realignment, tapping into your chakras, and getting a major wellness reboot.
But even if you’re not into yoga, don’t believe in chi, and get antsy after 30 seconds of “watching your breath,” Bali can still be a meaningful retreat. You don’t have to follow a guru to be spiritually refreshed by the beautiful beaches, dense rain forests and impressive ancient sites. Get ready to be Eat-Pray-Loved with these cool ways to get spiritual on your honeymoon.
The Sacred Monkey Forest SanctuaryThe Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
No, you’re not in Disneyland. The Sacred Monkey Forest isn’t a theme park attraction or a video game or a weird sex position. It’s a real thing, in Bali, and it’s about what you’d expect. In Ubud, home to the most of the island’s spiritual action, is a monkey sanctuary in an old Hindu temple complex. Hundred of Balinese Macaques monkeys live there, and are considered by some to be as sacred as the temples. Visiting the monkeys is one of Bali’s signature experiences. But don’t mistake them for innocent little zoo animals—they’re thieving scoundrels, and will swipe your food, your sunglasses, even the hat of your head if you’re not careful.
Shrines and templesDesa Besakih
There are shrines everywhere on Bali. Each village has shrines, shops have shrines, trees have shrines. You will not not see them. They are ubiquitous, and always complete with little offerings like cake and bread. Every hotel is required to have one for their staff (though they also let the guests use them, for blessing ceremonies you can arrange through the front desk, such as a traditional karma cleansing). The best shrines are at the temples, some of which date back hundreds of years. They’re sacred to the Balinese, so if you visit one, show respect and don’t arrive in shorts and tank tops. There are temples on cliffs, along the river, in the jungle, at the foot of caves, so be adventurous if you want to see the best ones.
At a healerBali, Indonesia
Speaking of Eat, Pray, Love, there’s that one scene in the movie where Julia Roberts’ character meets up with a local healer/fortune teller. It made millions of people across the world want to come to Bali to see a healer, all of whom now have lengthy waiting lists. The healers here are legit, generally pretty old, and, at least before the movie came out, they were visited by locals to get fixed up (whether emotionally, mentally or physically). If you or your wife want to get similarly fixed up, keep in mind that you can’t find a healer in the Yellow Pages. The operate by word of mouth, so you have to hit up your hotel to help you find a good one.
The spaThe St. Regis Bali Resort, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
The spas in Bali are immersed in beautiful landscapes (in the jungle, along the river, on the beach), and employ centuries-old techniques to pamper their guests. There’s a reason why Balinese massage is known around the world. It will leave you completely and utterly relaxed, as limp as a noodle in broth. Many spas excel in detox, use energy work (like reiki), offer cleansing ceremonies, use organic ingredients, include outdoor rain showers and candlelit couples treatment rooms. You can’t go too far wrong.
WaterfallsBali Sambangan Trekking, Sambangan, Buleleng Regency, Bali, Indonesia
There’s nothing more calming than a waterfall, and Bali is home to several sublime falls scattered throughout its rolling hills and valleys. These pretty little falls cascading into mineral pools have served as backdrops for plenty of photo shoots of models doing that yoga OM pose. They are worth roaming the landscape to find, as they offer prime honeymoon romantic atmosphere, at Gitgit Waterfall (the most famous in the country) where monkeys swing from the trees. More off-the-radar, Nungnung waterfall is also a must, as it’s surrounded by sprawling rice paddies and plantations, while at Aling-Aling Waterfall, you can slide down the rock into the crystal clear pool below.