Many stories of Bali have spread like fire throughout the Asia backpacker scene over the years. Hearing these on my (almost) 6 month journey of the battered path around southeast Asia somewhat dampened my eager spirit about arriving to this Indonesian island that seems to be the first sun-drenched destination to appear on my Instagram feed every morning.
It’s smoothie-clad cafes, towering palm trees and stunning white shores are just a few reasons the island has made it to the top of the majority of tourist’s bucket lists but upon getting my first taste of life ‘Balinese’ style, it’s become apparent that the ‘Bali Bug’ is a real disease, affecting wanderers from across the world and drawing a HUGE expat scene to it’s towns.
Canggu, famous for it’s multiple surf spots, was my first destination on the island and what seems like a home to a population of more expats than local Indonesians! You can’t blame them for being drawn to the beauty of this place, surrounded by lush green rice fields and picture perfect beaches, it really does have it all.
There are many ways to ‘make it’ in Bali but one trend that will never leave is the soul enriching Yoga and Surf scene. I was lucky enough to escape to one of the best retreats on the island and a perfect example of expat success at it’s finest. Mondo Surf and Lifestyle Village is a paradise in itself, started by 3 men who came to the island in 2011 and bought this patch of heaven amongst the local rice terraces just out of Canggu town. Whilst back then there wasn’t even a road leading to this escape you can now stay in one of it’s dorm or private rooms where the team will show you how a retreat should be in Bali.
The dorms at the retreat aren’t what you’d expect from the stereotypical accommodation around Asia, spend your nights chilling out under your super cosy duvet with a movie from their DVD collection or party the night away with your hilarious local surf instructors.
Wake up to a rejuvenating yoga session at 7.15am and stretch that hangover into the skies of the open workout hut built into nature. Follow it up with your delicious breakfast, homemade in the kitchen, including the best granola I’ve ever tasted and the all important smoothie bowl – vital to any experience in Bali!
You will be whisked away to the best surfing spot for the day by the Indonesian talent working at the retreat. From Echo beach in Canggu to Kuta and Seminyak, the breaks in Bali never fail to give you a great workout and with these guys on hand, a great laugh too. Alternatively spend your day by the pool at Mondo, receive a traditional oil massage to recover from all your ‘hard work’ (oh retreat life) or attempt some martial arts to get your blood pumping.
The retreat draws an array of visitors from solo travelers to honeymooners that can enjoy a romantic escape in the ground’s most wonderful haven, the Rinjani bungalow. For two blissful nights I relished in it’s fourposter luxury bed, private balcony, with hammock of course, and spa standard bathroom. Dinner gets social as the surfers return and everyone refuels with the amazing kitchen offerings, from Balinese yellow curry to Vegetarian tempeh wraps, you wont be disappointed by anything here and you certainly wont want to leave.
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