How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

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One of my goals at 23 was to get in the best shape of my life, and where better to do so than beautiful Bali? But as a budget-conscious backpacker I knew I couldn’t afford a $1,500+ packaged yoga retreat- so I devised a plan to do a yoga retreat on a budget.

More specifically, I decided to DIY a budget yoga retreat in Bali, rather than go to Bali on a packaged multi-thousand dollar yoga retreat.

By DIY-ing my yoga retreat, I not only saved hundreds of dollars, but I also got in great shape. And over my three weeks, I came to know and adore Ubud, the landlocked cultural hub of Bali that became my home for three wonderful weeks.

Here are some of the ways I crafted an inexpensive but amazing DIY yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali. (And some ways you can splurge if you need a night off of backpacking- no shame!)

 

Accommodation

Save: Balinese homestay, $20/night (less if you negotiate)

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

The standard, complimentary guesthouse breakfast.

Budget accommodation in Bali is different than the rest of Southeast Asia- there are no hostels! (Gasp!) Instead, there are lovely Balinese homestays where you rent out a room in a Balinese family compound. And plus, they all offer complimentary breakfasts of freshly cut fruit, coffee, and banana pancakes.

My two favorite homestays in Ubud were Jangkrik and Latugu House.

Jangkrik was the clear standout of all my homestays in Ubud – it was clean, comfortable and centrally located, but the best part was the family- both the parents and kids were so sweet! Plus every morning they serve you a beautiful breakfast of tea, coffee, fresh fruit, and fresh pancakes or scrambled eggs.

 

Splurge: Alaya Ubud, $155/night

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

My room at the Alaya. Swoon.

If you have rupiah to spare I’d highly recommend The Alaya. The Alaya is a boutique hotel with chic decor, verdant views of the rice paddies and the world’s most amiable staff (considering the entire staff is Balinese this isn’t surprising.)

And it only costs $155 a night! Have I mentioned the luxurious pool deck and the free, gourmet hotel breakfast? And best of all, it’s only a stone’s throw from The Yoga Barn.

Check out hotel deals in Ubud here.

 

Yoga Centers

Save: Radiantly Alive

While I never took classes at Radiantly Alive, I walked past the beautiful studio often and was very impressed. And I wasn’t alone; many Ubud yogis reported that Radiantly Alive’s classes are top-notch. And best of all, the classes are reasonably priced, about half the cost of Yoga Barn.

For those looking for beautiful facilities at a reasonable price, head to Radiantly Alive.

Price: a one-month unlimited class card is 1,200,000 IDR (about $100).

 

Splurge: Yoga Barn

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

Words can barely describe how much I adore the Yoga Barn. And it’s hardly a yoga studio, it’s more of a yoga compound: Yoga Barn has a café, a holistic healing center, an Ayurvedic Rejuvenation center, guesthouses, and five yoga studios.

From lounging on the Garden Kafe’s comfy outdoor couches to blissing out at the spa under a $27 massage, I loved every moment of my time at the Yoga Barn and could see myself returning someday.

And have I mentioned how beautiful it is?

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

My favorite meal of Meg’s Big Bowl salad and a glass of green juice at the Yoga Barn’s Kafe.

My favorite part about the Yoga Barn was, of course, the classes. The Yoga Barns has an all-star staff with some of the best yoga instructors in the world- hello, Les Levanthal! And the 90-minute classes allow you time to really explore each pose- no more rushing through Vinyasa Flow.

I also loved the Yoga Barn’s focus on yoga as a complete physical, mental and spiritual exercise- sometimes in the U.S., I feel like yoga is seen as just a way to work up a sweat.

How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali

The spa at the Yoga Barn. I miss $27 massages.

Yoga Barn also offers a variety of other classes like Capoeira, Acro Yoga, Mantra Vedic Chanting, Tibetan Bowl Meditation and Sound Healing.

Price: 30 day unlimited pass for 2,200,000 IDR (about $180). I instead bought a 20-class card for 1,200,000 IDR (about $100) which meant I went every day for three weeks. (Though sometimes I skipped a day and doubled up on others.)

Note- one way I racked up a big Yoga-Barn bill was at the café- while the food is delicious and healthy, the prices are relatively high for Ubud and the service is slow. Try to eat elsewhere!

 

Budget food in Ubud

For a small Balinese city, Ubud has quite the bevy of restaurants. The Balinese “warungs” (“warung” means restaurant in Balinese) are the cheapest option in town and the expat spots are a bit pricier.

Here are some of my favorites:

Balinese options: Dayu’s Warung, Taksu

Expat options: Mamma Mia (Italian), Taco Casa (Mexican)

Healthy options: Sari OrganikKafe, Bali Buddha, Soma, Tutmak

 

Yoga Studios on the Ocean:

Yoga Shala in Canggu

Canggu is where I’ll be headed on my next trip to Bali; it’s like Ubud on the beach. I’ve heard travelers wax poetic about its black-sand beaches, dazzling tangerine sunsets and world-class surfing.

Yoga Shala is supposed to be a great yoga studio – and it’s on the water! Nearby Echoland would be a great choice for budget accommodation at about $15 a night for a dorm and great TripAdvisor reviews.

 

Yoga Shack Lembongan in Nusa Lembongan

If you want to do sun salutations with a sea breeze and go scuba-diving after, Nusa Lembongan’s the place.

Nusa Lembongan is a small island located off the southeast coast of Bali. I’ve heard really good things about Yoga Shack Lembongan, a yoga studio on the island.

. . . . . . . . . . .

My yoga retreat in Bali taught me so much. It taught me how to do crow and how to look forward in Chaturanga. But my retreat was so more than just the physical- It taught me how to be present. To be grateful. It taught me I want to do yoga for the rest of my life.

While practicing yoga for three weeks in Ubud, Bali, was the priciest things I did on my Asia trip, it was also the most worthwhile.

 

P.S. You may also like:

Should I Do a Yoga Retreat in Bali or India?

Climbing Mount Batur, Bali’s Most Active Volcano

Chasing Eat Pray Love in Bali

What I Miss About Bali

 

Essential travel info:

As mentioned, my two favorite homestays in Ubud were Jangkrik and Latugu House. My favorite boutique hotel in Ubud was The AlayaCheck out rates for accomodation in Ubud here.

Before agreeing to a price, barter the price with the homestay owner. I met a girl who had also been staying in Ubud for a few weeks and she was shocked when she found out how much I had been paying. “You pay $20 a night? I’ve been negotiating down to $12.”

Make sure to purchase travel insurance before your trip to Bali – it could save your life. I’ve used World Nomads for years and highly recommend it.

Have you ever done a budget yoga retreat in Bali? Would you?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

103 thoughts on “How to DIY a Budget Yoga Retreat in Bali”

  1. I just got back from yoga class and was thinking to myself on the walk home about how much I’d love to do a yoga retreat in Bali – so PERFECT timing! This all sounds heavenly.

  2. Thank you for directing me here this is EXACTLY what I needed! This makes it seem so much more do-able….although from what I’ve found the flight is going to be pretty pricey. I definitely think it would be worth it though! As a teacher I don’t think I could get 3 weeks but maybe 2 weeks at Christmas or 1 next spring, which would also cut down the costs. How did you find your homestay?

  3. Oh, wow! I have considered doing a Yoga retreat when going to Bali in the next few years, but your post made it even more tempting. I had no idea that there are also such cheap but even beautiful places to do Yoga in Bali.

    I tried out Hot Yoga last August in my hometown in Cologne and absolutely LOVED it! I also got a fantastic deal: a starter package which was valid ten days one after another for only 19 Euros (about 26 US-Dollars). I will definitely do it again, but as it is normally very expensive and time consuming this might take a while.

  4. Thanks so much for doing this post, Ashley! Your very first post in Bali was what first got me interested in Yoga – I have only recently started practicing Yoga myself, but I loved it from the very first class! Since I’m planning to visit Bali this summer, I’m also planning to take some Yoga classes there, so your post is really, really helpful! I’m already so ridiculously excited to experience all that Ubud has to offer! :)

  5. Just yesterday I spent half my day at work researching budget yoga retreats! And then what should show up on my feedly, but this awesome post- thank you!
    $100 a month is such a bargain, I definitely need some Balinese Yoga fun in my life.

  6. How did you make it to Bali without realizing you could negotiate?!? Did you never haggle while in Asia, or did you never do so for rooms, or did you think Bali had different rules?

    There’s actually a fair selection of budget lodging on Nusa Lembongan, however, most of the homestays, etc., don’t have websites so you need to be prepared to just show up and poke around. Without fail if you book online, you’ll wind up paying a lot more than if you just show up. I believe the place we stayed charged us $20/night, but it was brand new, had wifi, and we also got a free fish dinner every night if we wanted it!

  7. Yoga Barn looks stunning! I started yoga when I first got to India while on the “backpacker trail” as it was offered everywhere for like 50 cents a class, but now that I’m settled in Goa, and in more of a real life setting I never can find the time for it… I really need to find a class, thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I want to do a yoga retreat in Bali so badly. It never occurred to me to piece it together independently but it’s the perfect idea! Thanks for the tips!

  9. Wow! Thank you for this post! I will go to Bali in May:) I would loe to try yoga at the yoga barn but I think it is too expensive for me. But I might try it somewhere else:)

  10. This is a lovely article on DIY travel-style. I really enjoyed reading it. If there’s a will, there’s a way, especially for us thrifters! I also think that a lot of the time it’s cheaper to do tours and other travel things on your own (not always, but most of the time). I spent 6 days in Ubud in November and you’ve explained it really nicely here! I saw the Yoga Barn, but never made it there, unfortunately. You’re spot on with the eateries though! I also stayed in an Airbnb for $30 per night in a ‘villa’. There are many great deals to be found!

    It seems like you had a lovely time in Bali! Thanks for sharing your tips. I’d like to go back and do a yoga retreat like this..

    xx. Jillian
    http://www.roadtohereblog.com

    PS I also miss Balinese massages! I even found some for $10! Le sigh.

  11. Amazing guide, Ashley! I too dream of doing a yoga (and surf combo) retreat somday, but at the moment it’s just not in the cards! So glad you loved The Alaya and Yoga Barn… while my stay in Ubud was much shorter I adored both.

  12. Hi Ashley, thanks for this post. We will be going to Bali in the summer so any extra info is welcome. I’m not a yoga person although I hear that the Yoga Barn has a nice reputation. I prefer hiking and skiing activities but count me in for a spa and a massage :)

  13. Great idea to do a DIY yoga retreat.

    I have always wanted to do one but it is SO expensive! I remember I got excited one that there was a retreat in Sardinia, because I love it there and what could be better than a beautiful island, Italian food, and yoga. Well, the price was ridiculous – 1000 pounds or more for 5 days!

    I have always wanted to visit Ubud. Being Australian unforuntately the idea of Bali was a little bit ruined thanks to Aussies in Kuta, but after reading about Ubud I have dreamed of visiting. I might have to make my own yoga retreat when I get there!

  14. Ashley, what is the minimal number of days you suggest to go to Bali for a wholesome yoga retreat and have time to do a few more variety things like beaches and hiking?
    My goal is to use your travel guide and hit this up in June or July!

  15. I just booked my flight for july/august! So excited! :)
    I think I’ll do the one month unlimited – should I book anything in advance or just show up?
    Also, this blog is awesome. I would have never done this if I hadn’t stumbled across this sweet advise. Thanks. :)

  16. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks for writing this entry! I was thinking of doing my own retreat and got inspired by yours. I got a couple of questions for you.

    1. How did you get around in Ubud? I heard that there are no taxis there.
    2. How did you book your stay at Jangkrik? Will email work?

  17. SO happy I found this! As someone living in NYC, I use yoga to unwind and escape the city grind, so I’m looking forward to going to Bali in September and having a beautiful experience.

  18. Ah, I’ve been wanting to go on a yoga trip for so long now. I’m from Delhi, India, but it’s so hard to find the kind of budget experience I’m looking for. I don’t know if they don’t exist or if they’re just not online :/ I just saw in a previous comment that you were in North India till April. Could you find something suitable? I’m going to look through your blog now though!

  19. Hey Ashley, I have been in Canguu the past two weeks for yoga and absolutely love it there. I stayed at Echoland, serenity and oka home stay and did yoga at the yoga Shala at serenity and at Desa Sini. Desa Sini is super expensive but incredible!! I’m staying at jangkrik homestay at the moment in Ubud and find this super helpful. Yoga barn is amazing. If you ever go to Canguu email me :)

  20. Dear Ashley

    I am so inspired by your DIY yoga retreat. I am planning a trip to Ubud in Sep. My flight arrived Bali around 10pm. Shall I stay somewhere near the airport for the night or is it still safe to travel to Ubud on the night ?

    Thanks.

    Han

  21. Hi Ashley,
    I thought I would finally leave you a message on this post as this page has been saved on my desktop for months and I visit it frequently. I recently quit my job where I was overworked and underpaid and (much to my parents dismay) will be backpacking through southeast Asia solo. Your blog has completely inspired me and I plan on spending as much time at Jangkrik and the Yoga barn as possible. Your tips and experiences have made my planning much easier. I appreciate your blog..keep doing what you are doing :)

  22. Hi, Ashley!! Stumbled upon your post when I was searching for the budget way to have Yoga retreat in Bali. I have to say, thank you so much for the information! Thank to you, I can now fulfil one of my bucket list without breaking the bank!

    I would like to ask you, how far is the Jangkrik home stay from The Yoga Barn?

  23. What a great article. Thanks for sharing your insight! I’ve just decided to do a DIY yoga retreat in Ubud in January/Feb 2015. I was deciding between Koh Phangan and Bali, but after reading your reviews, I think Ubud’s going to win out. Quick question: While I think I’ll spend a lot of time taking classes at the Yoga Barn, I’d like to check out some of the other yoga studio options as well. Do you have any other accommodation recommendations? I don’t necessarily need names of places, but more of an idea of what part of the town I should stay in as I’d like to be quasi-centrally located to the studios (not necessarily to the city-center). Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks! And, again, great article!

    • I stayed at about 5 homestays in Ubud (I moved around a lot!) and really didn’t like Monkey Forest road as there were tons of touts and tourists. But I liked the area around the Yoga Barn a lot!

  24. Thank you so much for this post! Going to a yoga retreat is on my Bucket list but there’s no way I will pay 1500$ for it, as you said. It’s so much cheaper to do the same by just booking every part ourselves. I didn’t think it was possible.

  25. Now I know where I am going to celebrate my 50th birthday! I’ve been looking for a yoga retreat and just moved to China, so Bali here I come! Thank you for your lovely site!

    Oh, what is closest (international) airport to The Yoga Barn/Ubud?

    :)

  26. great article, exactly what we are looking for on our upcoming visit to Bali. Any reasons you favoured Yoga Barn over Radiantly Alive? Both look good on the internet but difficult to tell the difference, appreciate any thoughts
    James

  27. I do not quite understand about Yoga. Maybe you can give an idea about the satisfaction of doing yoga? I know, yoga requires a dynamic location, quiet and dami. I agree, Ubud is one appropriate location for the event in Bali. Because Ubud has a lot of accommodations for that activity. and primary, Ubud away from the bustle of activity that crowded tourist beaches. Thanks for share.

  28. Hi, I’m considering going to Bali to do just this in 2 weeks – thanks for your article, it’s super helpful. Did you do yoga every day, all day? Or were there other activities you did aswell? Just wondering if your experience was like a proper retreat where you kind of stay at the retreat all day doing their activities or if you ventured out to do other things. I’m a little concerned that as a solo female traveller I won’t be able to find tours to do with other people. Thanks :)

    • Great questions, Jesse! That’s awesome you’re going to Bali as well :)

      So most days I would do two yoga classes and then spend the rest of my day writing, reading and exploring. I also hiked Mount Batur one of the days and then hired a driver to take me around Ubud’s sites. I was there alone as a solo female traveler and I found plenty to do so I wouldn’t worry!

  29. Thank you Ashley for your article! I read it just before I arrived in Bali so .. I did also my DIY Yoga retreat :) I rent a room for 11 USD a night on Hanoman street and went to Yoga Barn, and you were right the food is delicious my favorite dishes was spinach lasagna….:) hum I already miss Ubud but … I ll be back !!

  30. Hey! I NEVER leave comments on blogs… I think this is actually my first one. But I had to because, WOW! This was so helpful. After teaching English in Korea for a year Ubud has been on my radar… About to travel SE Asia for about 3 months and I’m so excited to explore my practice and grow as a yoga teacher. These tips are amazing and are going to be so helpful in planning my trip! Thanks so much, Ashley

  31. Hey Ashley,
    We love this article! We respect your cause of making yoga available to anybody of any budget; down to earth and unpretentious. It is a shame you did not have enough time to drop by. If you do come by, we would love to offer a 5 class pass

    hope to hear from you soon!
    With Serenity,
    Krishna
    (Manager of Yogashala at Serenity Eco Guesthouse)

  32. Hey Ashley!
    This post is exactly what I have been looking for! I am going to Bali on my own DIY yoga/meditation retreat for 18 days in February! I had already booked the Serenity Eco Guesthouse in Canggu for the first three nights of my stay before reading your article so I was thrilled to see that you mentioned it! I am thinking of breaking my stay up into 3 nights in Canggu/Seminyak, 4 in Ubud, 3 in Sanur to visit the power of now oasis yoga center, 2 in nusa lembongan, and 3 in uluwatu to finish. Maybe I should extend my days in Ubud and just hit Uluwatu for the temples for my last day in town. Any thoughts? Thank you so much for your post! Reading it made me heartsick to leave Bali and I haven’t even gotten there yet! Much love and namaste!

    Katie

    • Hi Katie! That sounds like a great schedule to me. To be honest I was in Bali for a month but only saw Ubud, Sanur and Kuta (briefly). I was by myself and super burnt out on travel. But it sounds like you have an awesome itinerary!

  33. Hi Ashley,

    I’ve found your post really helpful regarding accommodation but regarding negotiating, if I plan to book in advance to secure my room reservation (June 2016) how will I negotiate a price via booking site? If I just turn up, how do I know they’ll have availability in order to get a great price? I’m stuck on what I should do!!

    Thanks

    • Hey! So it really depends. If you want to stay in any guest house, there are plenty so you can just go between them and compare prices/barter. If you really want a specific place, I’d recommend booking it. Though in that case you most likely won’t be able to barter. It’s up to you!

  34. Ahh what a fantastic little Google search find, inspiring my trip to Bali ? I can’t wait to read more of your blogs while planning my yoga paradise!!

  35. Hi Ashley,

    Your post is great, it is very informative! I will be in Bali at the end of March but am still struggling on accommodation! Do you recommend staying at a villa/resort with yoga classes available or stay at a place with close by yoga centers like yoga barn? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Grace

  36. Thank you very much for coming up with this post! Just curious, you arrived at Ngurah Rai International airport right? So how do you make your way to The Yoga Barn/ Ubud area? How much does the journey cost?

    Also, accommodation wise, I believe I can just easily get accommodation there right? There wont be a need to deliberately book a home stay via airbnb etc right?

    And thank you very much for coming up with this post! Really appreciate it!

    • Yes, that’s the airport I arrived to. I took a taxi for about $25 I believe. No need to book, though if you show up you may have to check out a few different guesthouses. Glad you found the post useful!

  37. You blog is truly great. It has developed another feeling of motivation in me to begin my very own setup. I simply cherish the way you portrayed everything. In the wake of understanding this site I think anybody can accomplish what they need.

  38. Thank you Ashley ,i found your block very useful and just in time,coz me and my daughter are going to Bali for a yoga course. Ashley how do you think my daughter would like to take a teacher course would it works with the yoga burn.I mean the qualification of the teachers.Do we need to book accommodation in advance.
    Thank you once more adore people like you.
    Tatsiana

    • I’m glad you found the post useful! Yes I imagine your daughter would enjoy the course. And you can book accommodation in advance but you don’t have to – I never had trouble finding accommodation in Ubud. Best of luck!

  39. Just came across this – thank you so much! heading for solo adventure there for the winter will check out yoga shala while I’m over there. saw your work is featured in national geo – that’s amazing how did that come about and on what?! thanks again

  40. Hi Ashley

    Thanks for the post, great read!

    I’m planning a 3-4 week DIY trip in July and was wondering if you could advise on the following:

    1: How to get from the airport to ubud town?
    – is there a bus or cheap taxi service?
    -How much should I expect to pay?

    2: Can you recommend any good healers to visit while out there?

  41. HI

    I’m wondering about the homestay’ ? :)
    I’m planing a “yoga” trip this October, and your post is really interesting!
    But about the homestay’. Had you booked before you got here? Or was it always possible to get a place to stay ?

    Signe

  42. YES! This was the perfect time to come across this post as I’m recently getting into yoga and am looking to do something similar. Thanks so much for sharing!

  43. Hi Ashley!
    LOVE your page – so inspiring and so useful!
    I am planning my own little healthy solo adventure(DIY yoga retreat):) You mention bartering pricing with the homestay owner. If I were to book online is this still an option thereafter? Or would you suggest I book only a couple nights and try to barter the rest of my month stay from there? My only fear is finding another spot if there isn’t available spots if I don’t pre-book. Any help is appreciated!
    Thanks so much :)
    Chelsea

    • Hi Chelsea, I think if you book the whole stay with the owner you’d be locked into that rate – so maybe book a couple nights and try to barter the rest, like you said. There are SO many places to stay in Ubud though I wouldn’t worry about finding a place on arrival!

  44. Hi Ashley,
    could you kindly recommend for three Aussie yogies to attend 7 days in Bali for a Yoga/meditation and spiritual retreat (cheap) we are all over 45ish LOL. I just need some guidance as we never done this before. We are all very adventurist.
    want to stay up to 7 days and also learn lots of their culture. All your advise will be so welcomed.
    Please help me
    Marie

    • Hi Marie, thanks for reaching out. As I mentioned I really loved doing yoga at the Yoga Barn. But there are lots of other studios on the beach if that’s more your thing! I’ve heard great things about Canggu.

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