14/10/10 Sections 2, 3 and 4 with firmer dates and advice on cash/TC/currency mix and travel insurance from Australia. Also posted in abhayamyoga.com the latest workshop schedule and (for those wondering how they can squeeze a swim in between programs, or tempted to consider what to miss in lieu of a full high tide – yay!) the detailed tide chart for the whole week.
The purpose of the document is to inform participants who have already booked (if you haven’t and feel tempted after reading this blog, at the time of writing there’s still a couple of spots for ‘last minutes’ – please check abhayamyoga.com or through the Ashram’s website ashramgandhi.com) and also for those who are interested or ‘curious’ what this coming October program contains. Understandably this will be a continually evolving document as more information is obtained and dates are confirmed. Also bear in mind that, in order to get the best out of the week, we need to be flexible to grab opportunities as they arise.
Feel free to write down your thoughts/comments/suggestions as this will help our program – and the yoga workshop participants or even general travelers to Bali. For participants especially, please write should you wish anything change to make your program better. I am also looking forward to ‘blog from the spot’ regularly once I hit Bali/Candidasa to share with our Ashram community and naturally participants will be encouraged also to comment and share. So watch this space.
This document consists of 4 (four) sections:
- Section 1 – Available tours/activities from/at the Ashram
- Section 2 – Schedule for our Yoga/workshop Week
- Section 3 – Daily Yoga Workshop Routine
- Section 4 – General Tips for Ashram stay and travel in Indonesia
Section 1 – Available tours/activities from/at the Ashram
(with acknowledgment and appreciation to Terry Cox, our tireless and very dear friend of the Ashram from NZ, who wrote the initial draft of this short tours from Candidasa while spending his regular two month stint – and was ‘drafted’ to help around the place esp. as a ‘host’ for the first time guests – at the Ashram till last week)
Listed here is only the short list lest we dazzle people with choices. There are some options that may only be feasible once we get to the ashram, if so these will be discussed with the group for consideration.
1. Amlapura Market Visit. This is the biggest daily market in the region, best visited in the early morning when all the action is happening, also cooler. About half an hour to the east by car. Also can include a visit to the ATM (there are no others near Candidasa).
Apart from all the foodstuffs, the markets (above) sell many types of practical craft work, woven containers, temple accessories, etc. The Ashram car departs between 7 and 8 am to go to the Amlapura market to purchase daily supplies. Those interested in experiencing this shopping, with some minor adjustment to our group’s morning schedule, can tag along and you would still be back well before the 10 am start of the asana class.
For the more adventurous ones, this is also a nice trip by public bus when you can be close to the locals, squashed in with school kids and market goers (and all their purchases). But allow flexible time for free-lance trips (two to three hours round trip) so this may mean sacrificing some of your yoga sessions, or to do it in the afternoon when there is less yoga session ia scheduled although the food section may not be operating as fully as in the morning.
2. A visit to Tenganan About 5km from Candidasa is the famous ancient indigenous balinese village of Tenganan. A visit to see traditional village life including exquisite double ikat weaving and inscribed lettering on lontar palm leaf books is well worthwhile.
Latest news (28/09) is that last night I spoke to Pak Sadra, Vice Chair himself, now the extremely busy MP yet still performing the acupuncture and overseeing some of the running of the Ashram, who has given his commitment to be our group guide! This is a real coup and a great honour for us, as he is a native Tenganan and a former village chief, so absolutely no better person on the planet to take us there. His NGO involvement with some aid projects will also provide insights into some of the eco projects. We will slot this visit whatever time is deemed best by Pak Sadra.
3. A talk on Gandhian Ashram and meditation. Again by Pak Sadra who is going to ‘make time’ for our group. He has been with the Ashram since its inception, spent an extended stay in India to experience the various Gandhi Ashrams in India, and has recently returned from a meditation retreat of total ‘silence’ with Pak I Gede Perama, a spiritualist who is also an economist and motivational speakers of national standing. He will share his knowledge and I’m sure it would be of great value to us all which I for one am really looking forward to. Due to a sudden requirement on his time elsewhere later on in the week, he will combine this talk with his ‘welcome and introduction to the ashram’ speech in our Welcome Dinner at the end of the first day (Saturday, Oct 23).
4. A purnama (full moon – well, almost) Puja at the foot of Mount Agung temple
As in most early societies, purnama holds a special magic to the Balinese hence their combining of purnama with the Hindu festivities. There are many good temples to do our night puja but unfortunately (this is my old-fashioned personal opinion borne out of those years doing late night purnama puja after everyone had gone with my parents) many of them have now adopted the modern flood lit lighting which absolutely destroys the atmosphere and magic of purnama! We have a couple of lesser known temples (and hopefully will remain so, hence, nameless here), inland from our Ashram at Candidasa. These temples are both less well known and well ‘hidden’ at the foot of Mount Agung and, most importantly, not yet corrupted by the indiscriminate embrace of electricity for temples and shrines.
Unfortunately purnama is on Friday Oct 22, which is just prior to our group’s workshop and participants would still be arriving. The following night Saturday Oct 23 we plan a ‘welcome’ night for the group where we plan to have briefings on the history and background of the Ashram from one of the senior members of the Ashram, or Pak Sadra himself if available. So the earliest one to schedule is Sunday night of Oct 24, two days out from purnama but would still be close to full moon, yet away from the proper full moon worshippers.
It’s about an hour drive inland from the Ashram with a stretch of steep narrow roads. We’ll make the call as we approach the area as one is perhaps less prone to fogs and rains than the other and perhaps it is also more accessible in the wet. Flexibility and preparedness to grab whatever is on offer!
5. Water and City Palaces The last rajah of the region built three water palaces. The well-known one is Tirtagangga, a beautiful, cool place of large ponds, fountains, flowers and ornamental fish. You can also swim here in a spring-fed bathing pool. About 40 minutes by car via Amlapura.
Nearer to Amlapura is Ujung which is more exposed and nearer the sea. It has been rebuilt with some aid from the World Bank since almost total destruction after the eruption of Gunung Agung in 1963 and is worth a visit.
Probably can fit both of the above (or perhaps just one of them) and a palace visit at Amlapura in about 3 hours (unless the group decides to have a dip at the Tirtagangga pool, its rather chilly water which must be coming from a deep natural artesian well but simply heavenly! in the noon or or mid afternoon heat, in which case the second water palace in Ujung may have to be dropped or rescheduled)
6. Other visits – Klungkung is the first large town going back westwards towards Denpasar about 40 minutes from Candidasa. It has a wealth of important regional history (see guide books) and is well worth a visit. The fabrics and clothing market is also interesting to explore. Before Klungkung is Goa Lawa, (bat cave temple) a well-known tourist destination. By car the total round trip would probably take three hours.
7. Snorkeling on the ‘Blue Lagoon’ off Candidasa Shore
One of our former member is a fisherman who takes guests for fishing/snorkelling trips in a motorised perahu with outriggers (and only weather permitting). I haven’t been on one myself but it leaves even before morning puja time (about 4.30 am) and return around 9, but guests have all enjoyed the swim and feeding the fish. Must wear good hats and sun-screen as it’s an open boat. This may incur individual fees that you pay directly to the provider.
Section 2: Schedule for our Yoga/workshop Week
Bear in mind that market visit can be slotted at any day with minimal time shifting of morning programs. This schedule is to be read in conjunction with Section 3 on Daily Routine.
A summarised version of this is available here.
Fri Oct 22. Participants, if not already at the Ashram, will be arriving and checking-in.
Sat Oct 23. Full daily program followed by a ‘welcome night’ dinner. Intro to Ashram and on Ashram Gandhi and meditation by Pak Sadra himself (now confirmed)
Sun Oct 24. Full daily program with a night time Purnama Puja at Nangka or Puncaksari temple
Mon Oct 25. Full daily program with afternoon visit to indigenous Bali village of Tenganan now confirmed with Pak Sadra (moved forward from Tuesday due to his other commitment later in the week)
Tue Oct 26. Full daily program with afternoon a Yoga Workshop, 2 – 4 pm which Yvonne inserted followed immediately by the already scheduled Housed Yoga 4 – 5 pm with Kawidana.
Wed Oct 27. Full daily program with afternoon Water and City Palaces tour* (or stay behind and attend house yoga option)
Thurs Oct 28. Full daily program
Fri Oct 29. Full daily program with a Yoga Workshop with Yvonne 2.30 – 4.30 pm and a ‘farewell night’ dinner and performances by members (and from the workshop group – so get ready! Yvonne was being ‘set-up’ to sing but appears to be relishing the challenge and will be contributing with her voice and guitar. Program concludes – hopefully one of those ‘all good things must come to an end!’
Sat Oct 30. Check-out for those participants not extending their stay
Section 3 – Daily Yoga Workshop Routine
This is reproduced from the Workshop Info Sheet for completeness as it is nice to see everything in the one document.
Below is the schedule with the group’s specific program written in italics and the normal font denoting shared program with the Ashram members, such as the meals, or part of the Ashram’s routine where where our workshop participants are welcome to join. Breakfast may be put forward say half an hour to allow more time before the Asana class (or conversely the class half an hour later – remember flexibility with our schedule).
- 5 – 6 am Morning Puja (optional for workshop participants)
- 6 – 6.30 am Free period
- 6.30 – 7.30 am Yoga with Yvonne – Sun Salutation and Meditation
- 7.30 – 8.30 am Free period
- 8.30 – 9.30 am Breakfast with Ashram members
- 9.30 – 10 am Free period
- 10.00 – 11.30 am Yoga with Yvonne – Asana Class & Guided Relaxation
- 12noon – 12.30pm Midday Puja (optional for workshop participants)
- 12.30 noon – 1.30 pm Lunch with Ashram members
- 1.30 – 3 pm Free period
- 3 – 3.30 pm Yoga with Yvonne – Guided Relaxation
- 3.30 – 4 pm Free period
- 4 – 5 pm House Yoga with Kawidana (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday only)
- 5 – 6 pm Evening Puja (optional for workshop participants)
- 6 – 6.30 pm Free period
- 6.30 – 7.30 pm Dinner with Ashram members
- 7.30 – 8 pm Night Puja
- 8 – 9 pm Reflection time, either individually or communally
- 9 pm – morning Early to bed, early to rise!
Night reflection time is an opportunity to reflect and also to assess the yoga, tour or free time mix for the following day (no we don’t want to ‘OD’ ourselves or make it a grind rather than something that is fun and rewarding!). A couple of trekking/village/community project/local event of interest visits will be organised in place of the morning or afternoon program, or more yoga sessions added depending on how the group feels. A split group activity is also an option so there’d be flexibility and a scope to cater better for individual’s needs which will be discussed on site.
Morning and afternoon teas will be served at the bungalows.
Section 4 – General Tips for the Ashram stay and travel in Indonesia
- (just added 5/10/2010)anyone still trying to book from Australia – if you are comparing prices, direct flights and availability etc., don’t just compare jetstar and virgin, include garuda-indonesia.com online booking and ‘mix-n-match’ between the three. Just found out Garuda’s Dps – Mel flight is much cheaper – and more flexible cancellation and meal’s included as default – and direct flight
- yoga mats are provided but if you have favourites or other paraphernalia, please take them along. beach towels may be handy as a cushion for joints or makeshift pillow
- electric plugs: I always travel with a small power board for all my appliances (shaver, mobile phones, pc etc) as it requires only one power socket point and one adaptor from local to your own country’s plug. Bali/Indonesia uses the unearthed two round prongs plug system 220V
- insect repellant: all beds are provided with mosquito nets and most of the time the sea breeze would deter the mossies from the sea fronted bale (pronounced bah-leh meaning building) yoga. However, there are times such as meal times (normally at bale puja) when there is very little breeze and a personal insect repellant comes handy. Or do what a young Danish volunteer backpacker taught me at the Ashram, she goes to the kitchen and asks for garlic clove that she swallows in whole as insect repellant. Makes good sense to me as that’s what we feed our pets to rid them off fleas. Light coloured, long sleeve clothing also helps.
- Return/Departing flight: this maybe more for Australians, but also applicable to those on the ‘graveyard’ midnight flights out of Bali and it’s my good wife’s good advice. Once you are through immigration etc you’ll find these airlines crew hawking VIP lounge for IDR 100,000.00 (approx AUD 13.00). You can compare what’s on offer (ask for facilities – shower, internet if important to you; I think buffet style food and drinks are standard) but if you have time to fill – it’s well worth it. You can feed and drink – non alcoholic – yourself silly (as I fly budget flights I don’t have to order and pay for meals/breakfast and, more importantly, you don’t get your sleep interrupted and woken up when a meal is being served at some ungodly hours when all you want to do is sleep), you can browse internet and can even freshen up with a shower. It beats shopping around for a bite to eat at the limited range and overpriced international airport eating places and chances are you’d end up paying more anyway. Also this way you can budget on how much rupiah you need in addition to the departure tax of IDR 150,000.00
- Speaking of taxes, non Indonesian passport holder can apply for 30 day or 7 day visa at the airport for USD 25 and USD 10 respectively. Payment in cash is only in USD, IDR or credit cards in Visa/Mastercard. Carrying the right amount in USD is fastest and also safest just in case there is any problem with the credit card payment if you have no USD or IDR.
- I have also been asked about what cash or currency to bring. Any major currency is fairly easy to exchange at the money changer so there is little reason to ‘arm’ yourself with USD apart for paying for your visa at the airport. Cash attracts slightly higher rates than travellers cheque (also slightly easier to exchange) and then of course there is the ATM (there is a fee of about AUD 9.00 in my case so it’s prudent to ‘plan’ your cash needs and limit the withdrawals). There are plenty of money changers around Candidasa and the ATM whilst its half an hour away at Amlapura the Ashram car goes there every morning to purchase the supplies (also I thought I saw the sign in a service station on the edge of Candidasa on the road back to Denpasar – will try to verify).
- Travel Insurance. I consider this a must esp. if you are traveling on budget/fixed date flights and the horrendous implications of emergency medical needs (from Australia I found that AAMI is offering very, very competitive rates and at AUD 60 for two weeks trip – to Bali and South Pacifics – which makes it simply that we can not go without one). Personally I found the shareholder (500 shares min) annual fee waived NAB Gold Card Visa quite attractive as it comes with free automatic international travel insurance (so if you need to invest some funds anyway, keep an eye for the next low in their share price).
Well, down to day -9 before the yoga workshop or day -6 for yours truly to depart and counting! (yet dread all the must-do’s before hand and as per usual, packing is the worst part of travelling)
Namaste and Shantih,