The Best of Bali: Yoga, Art, and Spirituality with Denise Wendler.

Bali is famous for its stunning physical beauty, rich spiritual life, and gracious hospitality. 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, rendering it 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.

Denise Wendler

 Bali is famous for its stunning physical beauty, rich spiritual life, and gracious hospitality. 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, rendering it 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

Our trip will bring you into three distinct regions of Bali. We will stay in small, locally owned hotels away from the tourist scene—so you can fully immerse yourself in this unique, evocative culture. In addition to daily yoga classes with Denise, our excursions will include rice field hikes, treks in the rain forest, snorkeling expeditions among tropical coral gardens, walks through coffee and clove plantations, and lush waterfalls. Each day, your tour guides will give you an insider’s view of Balinese dance, music, art, and sacred ceremonies.

The journey begins at elegant Lotus Bungalows Resort perched right at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Here at Candi Dasa beach you will snorkel in the crystal-clear Indian Ocean and enjoy the local mountainous scenery. In the gateway to East Bali we will day-trip to swim in spring-fed pools, explore old palaces, and visit artists in an aboriginal village, and begin our time together as a small traveling community. You will begin to learn about the Balinese people—their language, their culture, and their way of life

From here we travel to Ubud, known as Bali’s “cultural center.” Ubud has much to offer—the possibility of traditional dance and music performances every night, perhaps the best selection of restaurants on the island, a thriving arts community, fabulous shopping, numerous ceremonies, and stunning ancient temples. We will explore a bit of all of these, plus visit the family home of your local guide, Made Surya to tour the compound, enjoy a tasty lunch, and learn about family life in Bali.

Spend your final days on the island at a peaceful eco-resort in a friendly mountain village of Munduk. With its dedication to nature, culture, and healing it is the perfect place to explore and then conclude your journey among the stunning views of rice fields, lush greenery, and mountain peaks. This area is seldom visited by tourists and will provide a soothing ending to our intimate tour before returning to your daily life.


Sat. Aug. 28: USA Departure The journey begins. Depart USA around midnight, groggy but excited. Cross international dateline and lose an entire calendar day, which is made up on your return and which, if you¹ve never experienced this phenomenon, is sort of cool.

Sun. Aug. 29: Candi Dasa BL Arrive at Bali¹s Denpasar airport mid-afternoon, and hop our friendly minibus to our amazing beachfront bungalows at Candi (pronounced Chaan-dee) Dasa in east Bali. Check in and unpack before gathering for opening circle, followed by dinner together. Enjoy first swim in hotel¹s glorious infinity pool because obviously.

Mon. Aug. 30: Candi Dasa BD First morning yoga session followed by breakfast (this is repeated every morning). Then venture off by minibus to our waiting boats and enjoy a snorkeling excursion in a nearby coral reef preserve with views of Bali¹s stunning and most sacred volcano Mount Agung. Back to Lotus Bungalows for lunch, and our first orientation session focusing on basic Indonesian manners & customs, including a demonstration of how to wrap your traditional sarong because that’s sort of important.  At 5:30 gather by the pool for sunset and talk with Made Surya on Bali-Hinduism.

Tues. Aug. 31: Candi Dasa B Morning yoga, breakfast, and our second orientation/language session focusing on Bali’s unique religious composition and caste system. Then we take off to visit the royal palace of Karangesem, and a taste of the age of colonialism. Travel on to Tirtagangga, a stunning “water palace” built by the region’s last Raja. Swim in the crystal clear, olympic-sized freshwater pool, followed by lunch in the gourmet restaurant overlooking the palace grounds. On the trip back, visit an organic chocolate factory. Evening ethnographic film: The National Geographic Special on Bali.

Wed. Sept. 1: Candi Dasa  (B) Morning yoga, followed by breakfast. A day trip to visit Tenganan, a nearby aboriginal village, where Bali’s finest basket making and textile weaving takes place and where we enjoy a personal demonstration of calligraphy and weaving in the homes of some of the artists. Back at Lotus Bungalows we meet at 5:30 for a talk with Made Surya on Rites of Passage in Bali.

Thur. Sept. 2: Ubud (B,L) Final Yoga class in Candi Dasa. After breakfast, check out and board our private busses for Ubud, Bali’s “cultural center.” We stop along the way to visit Bhakti Senang Hati (Happy Hearts Foundation) an NGO for physically challenged Balinese adults, for a tour of their facilities and a traditional lunch prepared by the staff. Arrive in Ubud and check into our hotel. In the evening a performance of traditional dance and music.

Fri. Sept. 3: Ubud (B) Early yoga in the hotel yoga space with Denise, followed by breakfast. Morning excursion with Made Surya to ancient near-by village temples with on-site talks on Siva-Tantrism. Return to Ubud and afternoon free to wander, enjoy a spa experience, swim in the hotel pool, or explore Ubud’s myriad shops and galleries.

Evening performance of traditional dance.

Sat. Sept. 4: Ubud (B) Yoga as usual. Breakfast and morning departure for south Bali, and a performance of the Barong dance exploring  the epic battle between good and evil. Then travel a short distance to the royal palace of Singgapadu for a visit to the home/studio of a carver of sacred masks. Further south we tour the family compound of your guide, Made Surya, and enjoy traditional lunch prepared by family members. Return to Ubud and the remainder of the day at leisure.

Sun. Sept. 5: Ubud (B) Free day, with numerous possibilities, from a bird watching trek, a cooking class, exploring art museums, or traditional healer visit.

Mon. Sept. 6: Travel Day to Munduk BD After early yoga, we’ll have our final breakfast in Ubud and then depart for an island tour to volcano country and north Bali. We’ll wind our way through stunning landscapes and Bali’s fruit and vegetable basket. Our first stop will be the Ogoh Ogoh Museum in Mengwi, gigantic demonic dummies used in New Years festivities, and then stop at  the fruit and flower market, and Pura Ulun Danu, Bali’s most beautiful temple, floating on a small island in a volcanic lake. We will arrive in Munduk mountain village and check into our beautiful eco-friendly hotel, perched on rice fields. Afternoon free. At 5PM meet at the sunset bar for some stunning optics. In the evening we’ll enjoy the first of our family-style  delicious group dinners together, followed by an optional ethnographic film: The Three Worlds of Bali.

Tues. Sept. 7: Munduk BD After early morning yoga, and breakfast, we will hike to one of Bali’s most breathtaking waterfalls through cocoa, vanilla, and banana plantations. If you’re brave, you can climb underneath. Return to hotel for lunch and down-time. Happy Hour seminar at the Sunset Bar and talk with Made Surya on Bali-Hindu concepts to Yoga. Dinner together, family -style.

Wed. Sept. 8: Munduk (B,D) Morning Yoga class. After breakfast, we’ll go on a trek through the neighboring countryside: small villages, rice fields, coffee and clove plantations, culminating at the magical Growing Stone. Return to hotel for lunch and down-time. Happy hour meeting in the Sunset Bar, where Made Surya discusses Balinese history. Evening dinner together.

Thur. Sept. 9: Munduk (B,D) Early morning yoga, then breakfast. The morning is free for those who might want to take a more rigorous trek, take a traditional cooking class, or indulge in spa services. Evening performance of traditional dance by the local village dance company.

Fri. Sept. 10: Munduk  (B,D) After final yoga and breakfast, our workshop concludes, and we head for the airport or stay on, or travel further in Indonesia.


Please note:

Our daily schedule might shift and change as other unexpected opportunities arise ­ cremation festivities or other rites of passage, temple festival and purification ceremonies. You just never know what might be happening depending on the season, the village, or the people we meet. In case any activity must be canceled, another similar activity will be substituted. Sorry, no refunds on any activities you decide not to attend, and anyone who leaves the tour itinerary at any time for any reason is on their own.


Included in this trip:

  • Airport transfers for those flying EVA or China Air.

  • A snorkeling excursion excluding mask and fins.

  • Attendance at 4 traditional dance & music performances

  • Tour of Tenganan aboriginal village, Puri Amalpura royal palace, Tirtagangga Water Palace, Organic chocolate factory, tour home/studio’s of artists and craftspeople, Ulun Danu temple, fruit and flower market, Ogoh Ogoh  Museum.

  • 3 Treks: neighboring countryside, small villages, rice fields, coffee and clove plantations, & waterfall

  • Breakfast each day, lunch in your guides family home and at a local NGO, and four, family style dinners in Munduk.

  • Seminars on rites of passage, bargaining, history and politics, trance and sacred masks, local customs and culture, language, Hindu religion & caste system, rites of passage, etc.

  • Yoga class every day

  • Services of Judy Slattum & Madé Surya, professional Bali specialists.

  • Informational booklet.

  • 4 nights at Candi Dasa Beach.

  • 4 nights in Ubud, Bali’s cultural center.

  • 4 Nights in Munduk Mountain Village.

Not Included:

  • Round-trip airfare.

  • Meals except where noted in itinerary (expect $5.-$12. per meal)

  • Laundry,

  • Overweight baggage fees, additional sightseeing, and snorkeling equipment rental. “Optional “ activities such as another snorkeling excursion are not covered

Trip Cost and Fees:

$3050.00 The price is based on two people sharing a twin or double-bedded room with private bath (all hotels have western amenities). Two have swimming pools. Full breakfast, excursions listed in the itinerary, classes, services of Judy and Surya (Bali guides/experts), along with several orientation and language sessions. The price includes hotel transfers, and land arrangements Those arranging their own air travel on other airlines will be responsible for transfers from the airport to hotel and back.

Deposit: A deposit of $500.00 per person is required at the time of booking. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. Minimum 10 and maximum 16 participants.

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 $200.00 will be collected up to 60 days prior to departure, after which half the ground portion of the final payment will be refunded.
No refunds will be made from one month 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.

Accommodations: All accommodations are based on two persons sharing a double or twin bedded room with private, western-style bath. Single supplement available for $426.00

Roommates: Single people may sign up for accommodations desired on a share basis and will be assigned a roommate as circumstances permit. If a roommate is unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $426.00

Passports, Visa & Health: A passport, valid six months from date of entry with proof of onward transportation. Indonesian visa for 30 days granted on arrival to US citizens. No inoculations are suggested or required.

Trip Organizers/Leaders:

Judy Slattum MFA and Made Surya B.S. are professional tour organizers who have been leading study tours in Bali since 1985. Made 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 After Death. He is 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 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 Bali.

Yoga Instructor: Denise Wendler:


Denise’s classes draw faithful students who appreciate her encouraging spirit and patient instruction. She teaches classes, workshops and retreats all over Northern California and beyond and enjoys working with students of all abilities and ages. Her goal is to not only coach people to greater physical strength and flexibility, but also to guide them toward a focused center of self-awareness, for that is where all great journeys begin. Denise is a CIYT (Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher), a C-IAYT (Certified Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists) and an RYT 500 (Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance).She began studying yoga in 1984, taking various styles with teachers in California and Japan. In 1992, she took her first Iyengar class and connected with it so strongly that it changed the course of her life. After graduating from the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, Denise set her sights on becoming a certified Iyengar instuctor. Comprehensive training came to successful fruition after rigorous certification examinations in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2005, she was fortunate to study with the Iyengar family in Pune at the Ramamani Memorial Iyengar Yoga Institute. In 2007, she passed her third certification exam in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, becoming an Intermediate Junior I instructor. In recent years, Denise completed a 3 year Therapeutic Teacher Training program through Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics and the 4 Module course on the Yoga Sutras in Study and Practice through the Vidya Institute.