Experiencing Nyepi—The Balinese New Years in Bali with yoga March 16-29, 2017

  • Bali is famous for its stunning physical beauty, rich spiritual life and gracious hospitality. It’s a lush, emerald gem of an island, full of majestic volcanoes and terraced rice fields that spill gently into an azure sea. Bali’s rich cultural heritage and deep reverence for life are legendary; more than just another tropical island paradise, Bali-Hinduism (an exceptional mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism) guides every aspect of life. Ritual and reverence are everywhere you look, creating an artistic and spiritual mecca unlike anywhere else in the world.Bali may be the only place in our contemporary world that ritually and oficially honors nature by enforcing a day of silence and stillness once a year, regardless of the disruption this incurs upon trade and commerce.Nyepi is a Balinese holy day devoted to quietude and contemplation. It is the one and only day the entire island Stops. Shops close. No cars or motor bikes are allowed on the streets (except during emergencies) and no airplanes depart or arrive. Lights are turned off or kept to a minimum by residents. Even local television is suspended for 24 hours in order to encourage personal reflection. Nyepi, the beginning of the new year on the Saka calender, is seen as a time for introspection, a fresh opportunity to make a new beginning, to be more aware of ones purpose in life—to become a better person.On the eve of Nyepi, in order to rid the island of dark forces accumulated over the year, villagers lure them to a feast, and then escort them away in a rowdy procession of ogoh-ogoh images made in their imagined likeness.Turning off the lights and keeping quiet is also a way to fool the evil spirits into thinking that Bali is empty of people, as they will have little interest in returning to a place devoid of human prey, and so are tricked into leaving the island in peace.On the day of Nyepi, peace rules the island, the air is clean of pollution, and song birds seem to attain a rare volumn and clarity, as if birds and animals have re-inherited the earth.Days begin with yoga instruction. Excursions include rice field hikes, rainforest treks, snorkeling, strolls through coffee and clove plantations and walks to roaring waterfalls.Additionally, nearly every day you’ll get an opportunity to experience Balinese dance, music, art and sacred ceremonies, with Judy and/or Surya along to lend their expertise.



Thur. March 16: Passage

The journey begins. Depart the homeland around midnight. Cross international dateline and lose an entire calendar day, which is made up on your return and which, if you’ve never experienced this phenomenon, is sort of cool

Fri. March 17: Munduk

Arrive at Bali’s only slightly insane Denpasar airport, and hop a friendly minibus to our amazing hillside treehouses in Munduk, overlooking misty, terraced rice fields you’ve only ever seen in postcards and dreams. Check in and unpack before gathering for Happy Hour at the sunset bar (6:00PM, give or take), followed by first group dinner. Rest well.

Sat. March 18: Munduk (B,D)

  • 6:30-7:00 Coffee & tea service in yoga space
  • 7:00-8:30 First yoga session
  • 9:00AM – Buffet breakfast, with first orientation (on manners and customs) and basic language session with Judy & Surya, including a demonstration of how to wrap a traditional sarong because that’s more important than you might think
  • 10:30 trek through lush coffee and cove plantations to Bali’s second highest waterfall, with a chance for the brave to plunge
  • Return to hotel for lunch, and downtime
  • 5:00-6:30 Meet at the Sunset Bar for afternoon seminar with Made Surya on the Balinese perspective of yoga.
  • 7:00 – Dinner of local cuisine together, family-style
  • 8:00 – One-hour film screening: National Geographic Special on Bali

Sun. March 19: Munduk (B,D)

  • 6:30-7:00 Coffee & Tea service in Yoga space
  • 7:00-8:30AM Yoga
  • 9:00AM Buffet Breakfast, with second orientation & language session, during which Judy teaches everyone how to barter in Balinese, with appropriate amounts of drama and gesticulating
  • 10:30 Depart by minibus for trek around Lake Tamblingan, with stops at several small but important temples. Chance for short meditation at one. Return to hotel for lunch
  • 5:00-6:00 Afternoon talk at the Sunset Bar with Made Surya on Bali-Hinduism.
  • 7:30 Group dinner, family-style
  • 8:30 Movie screening: The Three Worlds of Bali, focusing on the amazing water temple irrigation system

Mon. March 20: Munduk (B,D)

  • 6:30-7:00 Coffee & Tea service in Yoga space,
  • 7:00-8:30 Yoga
  • 9:00AM Buffet Breakfast, with third orientation (on the caste system) & language session
  • 10:30 Depart for trek through small villages and rice fields to the sacred and amazing Rock That Grows (!)
  • 5:00 Gather for Happy Hour at the Sunset Bar and talk/discusssion with Made Surya on the truth about Tantra.
  •  7:30 Dinner together, family-style, followed by dance and music performance by local villagers.

Tues. March 21: Candi Dasa (B)

  • 6:30-7:00 Coffee & Tea service in Yoga space,
  • 7:00-9:00 final yoga class in Munduk
  • 9:00AM buffet breakfast, and final language session and talk with Surya on the upcoming holiday, before departing misty Munduk en route to the coastal beaches of Candi Dasa
  • Stop along the way at Pura Ulun Danu, Bali’s most beautiful temple floating on a crater lake for amazing photo ops and general gorgeousness
  • One more stop for lunch, and then onward to the small village of Candi Dasa, and check in to our beachfront bungalows in early evening. Dinner at the hotel

Wed. March 22: Candi Dasa (B)

  • 7:00-8:30 Yoga, followed by buffet breakfast
  • 10AM Depart (by bus) for snorkeling excursion to small, coral-packed lagoon near the port of Padang Bai (northwest Bali). Return to hotel. Afternoon free
  • 5:00-6:00PM Meet with Made Surya for discussion on yoga mantra
  • Dinner on your own, at the hotel or in Candi Dasa

Thur. March 23: Candi Dasa (B,L)

  • 7:00-8:30 Yoga, followed by breakfast
  • 10:00 Depart (by bus) for a visit to the nearby aboriginal village of Tenganan, home of traditional weavers, basket-makers and calligraphers
  • Around noon, transfer by bus to the local ashram for a delicious local lunch
  • 5:00 First workshop with Made Surya on Wiweka Mudra Pranala
  • Dinner on your own, at the hotel or in Candi Dasa.
  • 8:00PM Ethnographic movie night: Ceremonies for new Babies and Childrearing in Bali (totally fascinating).

Fri. March 24: Candi Dasa (B)

  • 7:00-8:30AM Yoga, followed by buffet breakfast
  • 10:00 Depart (by bus) for a visit to the last Raja’s Water Palace at Tirtagangga, with a chance for a swim at the crystal-clear, spring fed pool because it’s incredible
  • Lunch overlooking the pools and statues
  • On our return to the hotel, a stop at Charley’s Chocolate Factory for tour and tasting. Swing on the swing over the Indian Ocean for a return to childhood.
  • Second workshop with Made Surya on Wiweka Mudra Pranala. Time TBA
  • Dinner on your own, at the hotel or in Candi Dasa

Sat. March 25 : Ubud (B) Hari Melasti (Purification by water)

  • 7:00-8:30 Yoga, followed by buffet breakfast
  • 10:00 depart Candi Dasa for Ubud, arrive and check in to our hotel
  • 3:00 We travel south to Sanur beach to watch hundreds of Balinese in their finest apparel and with their sacred objects march in procession to the sea where prayer for the new year and a trance ritual is held. You may join them in prayer if you wish.
  • 7:00 Walk from hotel to a 7:30PM performance of classical Legong dance for which Ubud is renoun.

Sun. March 26: Ubud (B)

  • 7:00-8:30 Yoga, followed by breakfast
  • 10:15 Depart (by bus) for visits to artists and craftspeople including a carver of sacred masks. On-site talk on the process and beliefs.
  • Return to Ubud for lunch
  • 4:00-6:00PM – Third workshop with Made Surya on Wiweka Mudra Pranala
  • 7:00 Gather at hotel entrance for casual walk to a 7:30 performance of the not-to-be-missed Kecak Dance at Batu Karu Temple, followed by dinner on your own

Mon. March 27: Ubud (B) Hari Mecaru (Purification by fire)

  • 7:00-8:30 Yoga, followed by breakfast
  • Free day. Suggestions: Monkey Forest, bird walk, rafting trip, cooking class, visit a local healer, shopping, volcano climb, journaling until….
  • Final workshop with Made Surya on Wiweka Mudra Pranala
  • At 6:30 we depart for the capitola city of Denpasar to observe (and perhaps participate) in the parade of over 200 giant dummies called Ogoh Ogoh. We will use the veranda of a hotel as our base, so you will have access to chairs, bathrooms, and a bar, but the real fun is in the streets with the young people who are proudly marching with their creations. Return to our hotel about 11.

Tues. March 28: Ubud (B) Nyepi-the “Quiet Day”

  • Today we will follow the Balinese customs for Nyepi—meditation, contemplation, yoga, resting, healing, purification. It will be up to you if you wish to fast, or abstain from erotic activity. We will be engaging an exceptional yoga Instructor for on-site sessions during this day. We can fill our mini-fridges with snacks the day before, and minimal cafe menu available, and we may wander anywhere (including the pool) in the hotel compound. Keeping the volumn down is essential.

Wed. March 29: Passage (B)

  • 7:00 – 10:00 Farewell breakfast. The morning is free to get last minute body work, go shopping, or veg out by the pool.
  • Check out 1:00 – Depart for Denpasar airport


New Years in Bali includes:

  • Round-trip airfare from San Francisco or LAX
  • Airport transfers (unless you did not book air with us) and all mini- shuttles
  • Daily yoga
  • Snorkeling excursion in Candi Dasa (excluding mask and fin rental)
  • Attendance at four traditional dance & music performances
  • Guided tours of Ashram Candi Dasa, Tenganan aboriginal village, Tirtagangga Water Palace, visit to home/studio of a master carver of sacred masks, Ulun Danu Temples, fruit and flower market,· Treks through the neighboring countryside: small villages, rice fields, coffee and clove plantations, culminating at the magical Growing Stone, Tambligan lake, and Bali’s most magical waterfall
  • Breakfast every day, lunch at Gandhi Ashram Candi Dasa, four family-style dinners in Munduk, and special traditional Nyepi box our final night in Ubud.
  • Seminars and talks on rites of passage, bargaining, history and politics, trance and sacred masks, local customs and culture, language, Hindu religion & caste system, tantra and traditional healing.
  • Undying services of Madé Surya & Judy Slattum, Bali specialists
  • Four nights in Candi Dasa
  • Four nights in Ubud cultural center
  • Four Nights in Munduk mountain village
  • Pre-trip information. On-site handouts. And more


New Years in Bali does NOT Include:

  • Meals that are not noted in above itinerary (expect $6-$12 per meal)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Laundry services
  • Overweight baggage fees
  • Snorkel equipment rental (just a few bucks)
  • Any additional activities or excursions not listed


Trip Cost: $3137.00, includes airfare from LA or San Francisco.

NOTE: Price is based on double-occupancy room, each with private bath (all hotels have western amenities and two have swimming pools). Includes full breakfast, excursions listed, classes, services of Judy and Surya, along with several orientation and language sessions. Also includes all hotel transfers, land arrangements. Those arranging their own air travel will be responsible for transfers from the airport to hotel and back. Ground only, deduct $850.00.

Cancellations and Refunds: For the flight portion, cancellation will be governed by the rules and regulations as listed in the flight contract by the participating airline. For the land portion, a cancellation fee of $350.00 will be collected up to 60 days prior to departure, after which half the final payment will be refunded. No refunds will be made from one week before departure. Trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance is highly recommended.

Baggage: Two (2) pieces of luggage, not exceeding 62 inches. Each cannot exceed 50 lbs. Pack light. It’s Bali.

Accommodations: All accommodations are based on two persons sharing a twin bedded room with private, western-style bath. Single supplement available for $348.00 additional

Roommates: Single folks may sign up for accommodations desired on a share basis and will be assigned a (totally awesome) roommate as circumstances permit. We draw some very cool people. If a roommate is unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a single supplement: $348.

Passports, Visa & Health: A passport, valid six months from date of entry with proof of onward transportation. Indonesian free visa for 30 days granted on arrival to US citizens. No inoculations are suggested or required, except the one against fear and/or worry your guides.


Trip Organizer/Leader: Madé Surya B.S. is a professional tour organizer who has been leading study tours in Bali since 1986.

Judy Slattum and Made SuryaMadé Surya has translated and worked with scholars and educational film and video crews, including National Geographic, and lives in Bali half the year. He was senior research assistant for several scholarly books relating to the Balinese view of the afterlife, and serves on the advisory board for Sacred Sites International and has been a contributor to Hinduism Today. He has lectured frequently at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and performs traditional mask dance in both Bali and the US. He is noted in Lonely Planet Guidebooks as the top authority on Balinese Traditional healing and healers.

Judy Slattum has been organizing and leading study tours to Bali continuously after first visiting the island on sabbatical to study mask dance in 1978. Six months later she returned with the first of many unique travel/learning experiences. Judy has published many articles on Balinese culture and her book, Masks of Bali; Spirits of an Ancient Drama was released by Chronicle Books in 1992, was featured in Time Magazine and sold over 17,000 copies, and was reprinted by Periplus Editions in Sept. 2003. Her museum exhibition on Balinese Masks toured the USA as part of the Festival of Indonesia for 5 years and has now relocated to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and performs traditional mask dance in both Bali and the US Bali.

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