Ever feel like you need a six-month vacation, twice a year? Some downtime to rejuvenate your body and soul? Perhaps some time to finally learn yoga, knitting, or simply unwind by laughing with lifelong friends? While most of us aren’t lucky enough to take a year-long sabbatical, there are some special places on Earth that make you feel ten years younger in a span of ten days.
Bali, Indonesia, is a sacred spot. There are miles of white-sand beaches and dense jungles hiding Hindu Pagodas. Bali oozes spirituality in several forms and has become a hot spot for yoga, meditation, religious and wellness retreats. These retreats can be anywhere from one day to three weeks. Travelers have an opportunity to truly immerse in Balinese culture by disconnecting from their work worries and adopting new ways of thinking. Here’s how!
Pack Light and Smart
To reap the benefits of controlled breathing and beach time, consider spending part of your trip at a retreat, and the rest chilling at the beach. If you like shopping and white sand, head to Seminyak. If you want a more secluded relaxation, head to Gili Air or Lombok. If you like surfing, head to Uluwatu. And if you enjoy scoping surfer eye-candy, grab a drink on the deck of Ulutwatu’s famous “Single Fin” restaurant. Most retreats are held in Ubud, Bali’s spiritual and yoga capital, made famous by Eat Pray Love. Ubud is one hour from a beach, surrounded by forests filled with monkeys and temples. And bikinis aren’t exactly temple friendly. This could sound like a packing dilemma, having to squeeze in clothing for two ecosystems.
Do not panic. Put down the khaki, convertible zip-off-pants. Put away the space-saver vacuum storage bags. Put down everything. The key is to pack light. The less you pack, the more you get to shop. Bali has incredible shopping, as fashion-forward Aussies have opened heaps of boutiques with Southeast Asian pricing. You can buy everything in Bali- trendy clothes, yoga apparel, souvenirs, sarongs, and the world’s most fabulous swimsuits. Furthermore, laundry is cheap! For only $1 per kilogram, the local women will wash, dry, fold, and spray your laundry with an addicting “Spring Fresh” fragrance.
You want to pack items that will enable you to travel around Bali with ease. Bring a few staples and gadgets in a backpack, with empty space for keepsakes purchased in Bali. If you want maximum space and organization, try the TLS Motherlode Weekend Convertible Backpack. A backpack is a must for bumpy roads and uncertainty, and its carry-on size will save you from baggage fees.
Bring the Necessities
A collapsible tote bag is perfect for packing in your backpack and then using to go to yoga class, around town, to the beach, or to take bulky souvenirs home. We love the durable Oilily Folding Shopper, whose slightly psychedelic flower pattern reflects all aspects of Bali.
Sunnies are a must-have in equatorial Bali. Bring a chic pair of shades so you can dress-up any local clothes. Even your outfit of elephant pants and Bintang Beer singlet can look fantastic if you own a pair of Elie Tahari Aviator Sunglasses.
A breathable maxi dress is a Balinese essential and perfect for beaches, jungles, and warungs (Indonesia restaurants). The long length of a maxi dress means you can wear it running around temples, since most Hindu temples require women to wear a skirt longer than their knees. The Soybu Dhara Dress meets all of these desires, plus it’s breathable and wrinkle–resistant.
Don’t Forget the Gadgets
Ultra light packing cubes might be the lowest-tech “gadget” in the world, but after spending a month in Bali they were my favorite. They enable you to separate shirts, bottoms, souvenirs, dirty clothes, and undergarments. When you’re constantly on the move, sweating and repacking, these packing cubes restore sanity.
A technological lifeline, also known as a mobile portable charger. The term “lifesaver” is usually an exaggeration, but getting lost in the Indonesian jungle with 2% battery and zero sunlight feels like a near-death experience. Spare yourself and your friendships by always carrying a backup battery so you can make emergency calls and access GPS. The slim Lifeboat Quick Charge Portable Battery enables you and a friend to get fully recharged, with hours of battery and two USB ports.
Water-resistant headphones. Due to Bali’s heat and humidity, you will be sweaty 99.5% of the time. Toweling off after the shower or pool buys you 10 seconds of dryness per day, that’s it. Invest in sweat-resistant gear, like the Denon Exercise Freak Wireless Sweatproof Earbuds. These let you jam in any situation, even a surprise afternoon thunderstorm.
Now, Bali is waiting with everything your heart desires. Take off and touch down in the land of good vibes. Check out our Bali Buying Guide on ebags.com for more select luggage and accessory picks!
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.