Soul Journeys Bali

Wellness travel is the fastest growing sector of tourism – if you need a break for body and soul, Bali is a great destination for soul journeys…


Spiritual tourism is now a mainstay of Bali’s economy since the global explosion of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling book Eat, Love, Pray got turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts. Now, you can’t swing a stray dog in Bali without hitting a traditional Balinese healer who’ll poke you with a special, bendy stick and write symbols on your chakras for a not insignificant amount of money.

The town of Ubud is the heart of Bali’s spiritual industry, a buzzing place offering a plethora of meditation and yoga classes, alternative healers and all the various new age accessories such as Tibetan singing bowls and crystal jewellery. We love it!

One of the places near Ubud is the COMO Shambhala Estate, which calls itself a ‘Retreat for Change’ and advocates proactive holistic wellness.

Resident experts at the Estate include a yoga and meditation teacher, Ayurvedic doctor and a nutritionist with a background in diet for patients recovering from a medical crisis such as cancer and chemotherapy treatment, conditions such as arthritis or a major surgery.

The holistic approach combines modern science with ancient healing. Services include spa and massage therapies, yoga centres, activity and nutritionally balanced ‘clean’ cuisine.

For me, it was like arriving at the most wonderful sanctuary imaginable; a Nirvana-like magic land of incredible natural beauty and peace. I stayed in a Teja Suara villa – which means ‘sound of fire’ and is named after the fire pit located at the edge of the swimming pool in that section of the estate. The other accommodation areas are based on earth, water and wind.

Quite simply, being surrounded by acres of lush tropical forest felt like my soul was being healed. For the next three days,

I tried activities such as hydra-therapy, meditation, and swimming in natural spring water pools. I had a Taksu massage – said to release deeply-held patterns of stress – and a deep tissue massage.

I also indulged in the incredible and innovative food prepared at the estate’s two restaurants, dishes like seared kingfish with braised lentils, pomegranate and mint salad followed by a dessert of strawberry, rose apple and watermelon salad with chilled hibiscus soup and strawberry sorbet.

I would go back in a heart-beat.

Although programmes can be individually customised, the various wellness programmes on offer include:

1. Rejuvenation – for anyone who’s exhausted and needs to be pampered and completely unwind. May include facials, massage, private yoga classes as well as a personalized diet focused on anti-aging with anti-oxidant rich foods that are helpful for skin, hair and nails.

2. Cleanse programme – an intense cleansing or detox treatment where the resident dietician oversees your diet and activities. Great for people wanting to hit the ‘reset’ button and harness the body’s natural resources for cleansing and healing itself. Could include colon hydrotherapy.

3. Stress management – overseen by the Ayurvedic doctor, this programme looks at a person’s total lifestyle and dietary health and provides them with the tools to better manage the stresses in their life. Could include yoga and meditative therapies and massage for the healing powers of touch.

4. Ayurvedic – a person is given an indepth assessment based on the principles of Ayurveda from which a personalized treatment programme is drawn up. 

MUST DO – walk to the private natural spring lagoons and swim in the pure waters before taking a pool-side breakfast; a Hydrotherapy class; try something you’ve never eaten before from the raw food menu, eg, raw pizza. 

COMO SHAMBHALA ESTATE is a 15-minute drive from the central Bali town of Ubud and about an hour’s drive from the main airport in Denpasar.

PO Box 54, Ubud 80571, Bali, Indonesia Tel. +62 361 978888

Soul Journeys Bali


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