after year Bali is voted by the readers of all major travel
magazines, 'the most enchanting travel and holiday destination
in the whole world'. If you join us at a Heaven and Earth Workshop
you will find out why. It would be hard to find a more beautiful,
spiritual place on this planet than Bali. The Balinese culture
is steeped in mythology, a sense of the divine and a deep honoring
of the earth and all of life. The Balinese are in general some
of the warmest, kindest, most hospitable people you may ever
meet. They are wise and caring, and have a heartfelt desire
to live in harmony.
ancient traditions of Bali are centuries old and pulse through
every aspect of everyday life, which is lived with a profound
respect for history, their elders and ancestors, community,
family and in particular their children.
The island of Bali is predominantly Hindu, making it unique
in Indonesia, as the rest of the country is primarily Muslim.
In contrast to India, the Hinduism of Bali is gentler, more
joyful, and not quite so intense. Music, dance and theatre
are an integral part of all temple ceremonies, and they are
a delight to behold.
The temples are generally not dedicated to only one god, and
visitors are welcome to participate in most of their many ceremonies.
The writer has been fortunate enough to attend several such
celebrations, and there is a good possibility that workshop
attendees with an interest will have the opportunity to do
so also. Every home has it's own little temple, and the making
of offerings a daily practice, it is beautiful to see the women
performing these rituals everywhere you turn.
Island itself, as well as the people, is stunningly beautiful
and intensely colorful. The Balinese are masters in all the
arts, music, painting, dance, and all forms of craft.
Throughout history foreign artists have been drawn to Bali
because of it's beauty and luminosity, and Ubud is the centre
for all the Balinese arts, and almost every home has an art
studio of some kind.
Although ALL of the above is true... there is still the inevitable
less than rosy side to life 'in Paradise'. Tourism has taken
it's toll in places, and Bali has it's fair share of hustlers.
It is a 3rd world country; there is trash in places (most of
it plastic packaging, a gift from the west, that they are ill-equipped
to dispose of) and pot-holes in the roads, and even a few on
the beauty, tranquility and radiance of the people far outweighs
any of the minor irritations endemic to the human condition....an
inevitability wherever you might find yourself on this planet.
We are pleased to announce that the USA officially lifted all warnings in regards to travel to Indonesia as of May 23rd, 2008 And even although some of us thought the warnings were completely unnecessary in the 1st place, this is still very good news!
The US ends its travel warnings in regards to Indonesia
****As the author of this web-site and facilitator of this workshop, I am
a woman who has traveled extensively throughout the world, mainly solo, and
usually on public transport. I personally feel completely safe in Bali. I
contract a house there full-time which I live in alone and I have traveled all
around this, and other Indonesian Islands without ever feeling any animosity
or sense of danger. Then again, I move around with awareness and don't put
myself into potentially threatening situations, i.e.. walking around unfamiliar
areas alone at night. This is just common sense and a precaution I would
take wherever I might be.
When it comes to staying healthy, common sense is the order of the day. Drink
bottled water, which is available everywhere, and eat only what you know
agrees with you. If you are prone to an upset stomach, eat only cooked and
peelable foods. The writer in many years of living in Bali ate everything
available and never had a problem, but everyone needs to be responsible for
their own well-being, so do what is comfortable for you.
There is no malaria on Bali, and mosquitoes are not as big a problem as they
are in many other tropical places. All beds have mosquito nets, and most
outdoor restaurants burn mosquito repellent coils. Bring your own lotion
and cover up in the evenings when they tend to be more prolific and lively!
insurance to be on the safe side. There some excellent 24 hour medical centers in Ubud.
You will find some of the most fabulous food in the world in
Bali. Refer to www.baliguide.com under "Food & Restaurants",
and you will get a mouth-watering review of what to expect.
They have their own style of cooking and everything is extremely
fresh and, in the writer's opinion, delicious. Ubud is known
for it's cuisine and even has several cooking schools. Workshop
participants will have ample opportunity to try many of the
fabulous restaurants, as evenings are independent time. Expect
to be wowed by the culinary pleasures of Bali.
This is not a requirement in Indonesia, but is of course appreciated, do
it at your own discretion. Many higher end restaurants automatically add
10% to the bill. Only tip in accordance to the price paid... it can feel weird to tip someone
the equivalent of 20 cents... but remember the average wage in Bali is $6
in Bali you can expect pleasant day temperatures between 20
to 33 degrees celsius or 68 to 93 degrees fahrenheit.
From December to March, the West Monsoon can bring heavy showers
and high humidity, but usually days are sunny and the rains
start during the night and pass quickly. Generally the Ubud
area of Bali has warm, sunny days and cools off at night. Rain
is frequent but usually light and of short duration. Bring an
umbrella and light rain gear.
Many participants are rightly concerned about their comfort
while sitting in an open hall, in the tropics, for several days
on end. The hall we meet in is a beautiful open-sided traditional
pagoda, it has a reclaimed floor (wonderful for yoga), and a
high ceiling. There are ceiling fans and floor fans, as well
as plenty of natural ventilation. Although of course we have
hot days, it generally stays comfortable year round. Evelyn
has, over the years, had over a 100 pillows made, all shapes
and sizes... all of them custom made, some with rigid backs
for leaning back comfortably. We have several padded, upright
folding chairs also. If you have any special needs for seating,
please inform Evelyn and she will most happily take care of
it for you. There are bathrooms close to the hall, and purified
water dispensers for the use of the group. We do ask that you
mark and use the same plastic cup for the duration of the workshop, plastic disposal is an issue in
Bali, as it is everywhere.
Ceiling fans are more than adequate year round in the ricefields,
our location is up towards the volcano, so generally cooler than other areas of Bali. There are no AC rooms at Rahasia Manis.
All the rooms are airy and bright, and those who live in the
ricefields (Evelyn being one) have never found the need for
anything more than fans.
Like most places in South East Asia, Bali is known for it's wonderful massages
and body treatments. The writer has personally tried most of the options in the
Ubud area.... for research purposes only of course! You will be able to have
massages or reflexology in your hotel room for about $13 an hour. Spa treatments,
such as full body or head massages, manicures/pedicures, facials, reflexology
or acupuncture etc, are available are also available for about the same price an hour.
The Balinese specialty is 'mandi lulur', an hour long massage, followed by a
half hour exfoliating full body scrub with a special ground up coconut mixture,
then you are slathered all over with a moisturizing mix of yoghurt and honey,
and you finish the treatment in a flower-filled, scented bath sipping on fresh
ginger tea.... need I say more? Our staff will make these arrangements for you, and we highly recommend using the people we are familiar with. People may approach you in the fields, offering massage, but we do not recommend you use them. The people we use are established, professional and do not need to look for business that way
My advise to all visitors to Bali is... 'come with completely empty suitcases!!'.
Ubud is a mecca for the superdeal... and be prepared to bargain. Batiks, clothing,
shoes, paintings, crafts, jewelry and antiques, they are all here in abundance.
Ubud is the perfect place to do all your gift shopping, it would practically
pay for your trip to do so! Ubud in particular is a centre for artists, and
Penestanan, the village where Melati Cottages is situated, specializes in exquisitely
If you plan on using a credit card, please inform your credit card company
before you leave home. They very often assume that your card has gone on vacation
without you when they see a charge from Indonesia, and then simply shut down
your account. This can be very frustrating (as the writer can attest to!),
so put this high on your 'to do list'.
Using a Credit Card in Bali usually means a three and a half percent charge
being added... although not in higher end restaurants. Local shops do not take
them. You can draw cash on CCs at ATMs but we have found the fee rather hefty
(it varies from company to company...check before you leave home with it!).
Traveler's checks, US $s, Australian $s or Euros are all convenient and easy
to exchange in Bali. The higher the denomination the better the rate.
WHAT TO BRING
medications you might need, plus vitamin supplements. Store
these in airtight ziploc bags as the humidity can get to
them very quickly.
seed extract drops are very good for avoiding stomach upsets
if you have a tendency towards them. There are many good
brands on the market, just Google!
tablets are also useful to have.
flannels are very much a western thing, so if it is something
you need.. please bring them with you. Towels of course,
sandals are essential, when it rains the paths can get
very slippery. Slip
on shoes are the most convenient as you often remove them
then entering any living space (including the hall we are
small bright flash-light... for navigating the ricefields
after dark. The head-lamp style ones are excellent.
some I've bought in Indonesia have been on their last
tan lotion and insect repellent.
rain gear and an umbrella.
I'm not joking.... an EMPTY suitcase! Many friends who visit have had to buy another one in Bali.
sure that anything electrical you bring is 240v compatible...
or invest in a converter which you can buy at any at any
good travel store.
are fine as all have 120/240 versatility.
plugs are 2 prong/round, and adaptors for them are easily
found in the West and Bali
A very common question is concerning hair-dryers. Bali is hot and tropical,
so frankly the thought of directing something even hotter directly at my
head is most unappealing. The center does not provide them, if you absolutely
have to have one make sure it runs on 240v. Having said that any style
you manage to procure is likely to last all of 7 minutes in the humidity! .
TIPS & INFORMATION
sure that there will be at least 6 months left on your passport
WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN BALI. If not get it renewed asap, otherwise
you run the risk of being denied entry(this is a common policy
in many countries).
are no innoculations required for entry into Bali.
you are a US, Australian, Canadian or UK citizen(and most
EU countries.. but PLEASE check on this) you may acquire
a 30 day visa upon arrival in Bali. If not please check the
current law according to what passport you hold. Please check
this site for the latest information http://www.learn4good.com/travel/indonesia_visa.htm.
This site also has the addresses of all Indonesian Embassies.
Evelyn will help you with any letters and applications you
may require for a visa. If you need to get your visa ahead
of time, please allow at least a month to 6 weeks before
you leave, and sooner is even better.
arrival in Denpasar some people have found the pushiness
of the porters disconcerting (not those of us used to 3rd
world travel). You are in no way obligated to use them..
and if you do $1 is a perfectly adequate tip. The trick is
to lurk around as you change money, and to get a hefty chunk
of it before you have figured out the exchange rate! Do not
judge the rest of Bali by this, and a firm no is all that
exchange rate at the airport is, as usual, not the best...
but it isn't too bad, so changing a little money as you enter
the country is a good idea, then that is one less thing to
think about as you acclimatize and get over jet lag.
is free broadband wifi access at the center, but we do not have a computer for public use. Please either bring a laptop or tablet if you need to get on-line.
cards in Indonesia for international calls are cheap to buy,
and usually a better deal than International calling cards
from the west. The Hallo card is one of the best and costs
approx $11 US for 50 minutes to call anywhere in Europe or
the US. It is easy to find the shop that sells them. If you have a laptop, it pays to be hooked up to Skype for International calls.
are no phones in the rooms, so again Skype is your best bet.
cards for cell/mobile phones are very inexpensive in Bali.
Bring your own phone, and just switch cards, but make sure
it is tri-band... and UNLOCKED. This is something you do through
your provider, so please call them for details.
This is far less a problem than in any other 3rd world
country we have ever been to, and for that matter many western
cities. Please be aware that any beggars you see in Ubud are part
of a 'mafia' consortium that brings them in daily from the countryside(many
of the babies they carry aren't even theirs'). A red light is seeing
how dirty they are.. this is their 'uniform' designed to tweak
western guilt and discomfort, the Balinese are a meticulously clean
people who bath daily in the rivers and streams.
The Balinese themselves hate to see this encouraged (it is purely for the purpose
of milking the tourists), it is counter to their beliefs and hard-working natures,
and not a part of their culture(as it is in eg, India). You are not supporting
these individuals if you give them money, you are feeding the sharks behind
If you want to donate some money to better the people's lives, Evelyn can give
you information on some wonderful programs that enrich and educate the people
rather than disempowering them and creating a sub-class of beggars. www.balispirit.com.
As group facilitator, I live on-site. My phone number is on all my communications.
For those who may need to reach you from outside Indonesia: contact
Please consider me on call 24/7 for emergencies. I will
be at many sessions (if possible), and in the dining room sometimes
during lunch....and fully available at those times.
workshops in Bali are held at:
Besides the programme that AHeaven and Earth EWorkshops is offering,
there are countless other attractions, adventures and once-in-a-lifetime
experiences to be enjoyed in Bali. We suggest you follow your
instincts on what appeals to you. You will be given a package
with a lot of information and brochures about what is available.
We are providing information only, as a service to the participants,
these are not endorsements nor part of the official 'Heaven
and Earth' program.
Participants are 100% responsible for their
own safety and any decisions to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Evelyn Roberts, D.F.Astrol.S.