The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper

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Travel

Tastes of travel: Bali

Is rest and restoration on your list?

Bali. A prized emerald slice of Hindu culture, waves and meditation in the realm of Indonesia. Bali’s many beaches, forests and hidden waterfalls create a tranquil tempo of trickling water and foaming waves to fuel your experience. 

They say that travel is a tonic for the mind and soul, and that is certainly true for this Indonesian island. An alluring aspect of Bali is that it is a home of yoga disciplines, from Ashtanga to Vinyasa denominations. To those of you that don’t know the yoga lingo, the healing Hindu arts have the effect of a warm bath for strained muscles and minds. If you seek to harness this particular wellbeing skill for your everyday life, Bali hosts numerous drop in sessions and festivals dedicated to the practices of yoga throughout the island. You can take several sleepy hours (or days) to meditate and drift away from the jaws of daily life.  

“I believe that one doesn’t run away or retreat to somewhere like Bali. Instead, run towards it with open arms. Bali isn’t a restful retreat, but a restful progression for the mind and body.”                      

Now, you might well be asking why I am advertising a place of meditation and yoga to some of the student crowd fuelled by Red Bull and vodka. Well to add an extra shot of adrenaline to your travelling the island of Bali comes to the rescue again. If you prefer gliding (or tumbling in my case) through the tropical waves, then surfing courses at the Batu Bolong schools just off the seaside town of Canggu are available when you visit Bali. Alternatively, plunge into the dive site of the USAT Liberty military warship wreck from 1942. The carcass of the battle ship is preserved in the clear blue waters, its hull is now dotted with a fringe of tropical coral and aquatic life. Get acquainted and swim with the cast of Finding Nemo, from sea turtles to manta rays.      

To get your blood pumping even more, you can also set your sights on Gunung Agung, Bali’s largest peak. The mountain is known to be the ‘spiritual centre’ of the island and provides stunning views of Bali’s landscape, as well as the other gems of Indonesian islands crowning the distant horizon.

For those of you with more sloth-like tendencies, it would be considered a crime to pass up the Ubud spa days, where you can experience a traditional Balinese massage. The thoughts of deadlines and pressures can be sponged from the mind as you reach peak relaxation. The beaches that gracefully arc around the island also offer a perfect place to relax and fulfil the classic holiday objective of topping up a tan (or leaving the same colour as a cherry tomato).      

The word ‘retreat’ is often associated with travelling to a place like Bali. People describe such vacations as a ‘restful retreat’. Yet ‘retreat’ is a verb entirely in the wrong place when it comes to Bali. I believe that one doesn’t run away or retreat to somewhere like Bali. Instead, run towards it with open arms. Bali isn’t a restful retreat, but a restful progression for the mind and body.

If you plan to visit Bali on your travels, or have already done so, then feel free to comment and tell the Galleon about your experience and whether it was a positive or negative one.