Ubud, Bali

Writing Retreat Bali


Meet the uplands of Bali. A centre for traditional arts and crafts above the hullabaloo of Kuta and Denpasar. A treasure trove of rice terraces, waterfalls, banana palms and volcanic views. Where dragonflies and dragon fruit are witness to a constant culture of ceremony and gratitude. 

Photo credit for the main photo above (ceremony): www.visitbalivillage.com

Simply awful scenery

Behind every door is a surprise. Nature, architecture, art, superstition and reverence combine magnificently with the jungle. Breathtaking sunrisings and sunsettings blur the lines of reality and magic. If you’re seeking inspiration, this place is overgrown with it in every colour. A jaw-dropper and a bucket-lister.

Getting to Ubud

Take a taxi from Denpasar airport. It should take around 45 minutes to reach Ubud and will cost 300,000 IDR. 

Getting around Ubud on foot

If you’re staying centrally in town it’s easy to get around Ubud on foot. Many museums, art galleries, cafes, shops, monkeys and markets make it a fun place to do a spot of pottering.

Scooting around

Rent a scooter from one of the many vendors in town. For around 740,000 IDR or £40 GBP per month you can razz off on a Honda Vario 125 or similar, and you can fill up the petrol tank for £3. Don’t use Bali as a place to ride for the first time though, or scurrying chickens, roaming three-legged dogs, random holes in the road and wildly inappropriate road ‘rules’ will have you off in minutes.


Hire a leg-powered bicycle for about 30,000 IDR per day but know that some of the best bits of Ubud are a good distance from the town. Be prepared for serious hills. This is a volcano ladies and gentlemen.

Private taxi drivers

Airport collections, days out and drop-offs can be arranged simply through trusted drivers. Ask us for help and we’ll be pleased to point you towards our taxi heroes.

Getting connected

Buy a local sim with Internet data at a good rate. Just make sure your handset is unblocked. You can pick up a sim in Ubud on arrival. Ubud has good Internet connections and you can easily jump on café wifi anywhere. 

Places to stay

If you’re not staying as a full resident at Bali Swasti, you can expect to pay between £12-£20 per night for a basic room in town. Be aware that the other side of the Monkey Forest can be pretty lively, but Penestanan – just outside of town – is a little haven where you could rent a bungalow.


Residential retreaters will have breakfast, lunch and dinner provided at Bali Swasti. Beyond that there’s so much choice all over the town. Bali has all the colours of the rainbow and great flavours to try. It’s easy to find whatever food you need, and Ubud caters well for food sensitivities and preferences including vegan and gluten-free. 

Take your flip-flops off at our favourite, Atman Kafe, which has hundreds of things to choose from. Zest is a bit fancier and everyone is really, really good-looking. Go super swanky at Bridges if you want, but there really is no need, even the local staples from your average café like gado-gado and nasi campur are the bomb.  Read more about eating on retreat here.

Stuff and things to do around retreat

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

This leading festival of words and ideas will follow our writing retreat. Dates are 23-27 Oct for 2019, perfect if your plan is to stay in Ubud after retreat.

Sikala and Niksala: Essay on Religion, Ritual and Art

The best book for a visitor’s introduction to the real Bali.

Bali Silent Retreat

Quiet meditation with awesome food up in volcano territory.

The Pyramids of Chi

An Australian made had his very own ‘Field Of Dreams’ moment. He then built it and they came. Check out the Pyramids of Chi for super mind-opening sound healings.

Bali Dacha

Who knew that a Russian sauna in the jungle could even be a thing? Coffee scrub, hot tub, steam and shower in a bizarre environment that has to be seen to be contemplated. We’re still confused.

Room 4 Dessert

Jazz and really posh puddings in an Art Deco nightspot. You’d pay through the nose for this in New York. A gem.


Speak to Baru and friends about arranging a trip to his picturesque Balinese village. 


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