Just saying the word evokes images of the international jet-set, all-night-long parties at swanky hotels and clubs, fancy cocktails with hard-to-pronounce-names, and glamour with a capital "G."
But there's another side to Bali, of course...the side of ethereal beauty and lush natural landscapes and silent spiritualism and an aura of tranquility. This is the side of Bali that's been here long before the international jet-set discovered this island (one of over a thousand in the Indonesian archipelago).
The Fivelements Retreat exemplifies this side of Bali. It's a place where people go to get away from the noise and the crowds, where they go to not only experience the silence and the spirituality and the tropical beauty, but to immerse themselves in it. To use a pun from "South Pacific," it's a true Bali High.
At Fivelements, the only sounds you'll hear are the birds greeting you with their morning songs, the soft flows of rivers and creeks and waterfalls, and - if you choose to participate in the special programs - the sounds of deep breathing and re-connecting yourself...to yourself, and to your spiritual center.
Here, you'll indulge your senses rather than your ego, with beautiful tropical cottages with thatched roofs, screens, bamboo, and natural elements that somehow incorporate all modern conveniences. With food that comes from nature, not from factories...and is incredibly delicious. With experts who can show you how to soothe - and indulge - both mind and body. With fresh air tinged with South Pacific mists and essences. And with an aura of serenity that you've probably never experienced before. At Fivelements, you can breathe. You can think. You can be yourself. And it doesn't hurt, either, that you can come upon stunning tropical vistas at every turn.
Fivelements (fivelements.org) offers retreat programs such as "Panca Mahabhuta," including "elements" such as two healing massages, a healing energy session, a water healing dance, and yoga (and, for women, a beauty ritual). The "Tri Kaya Parisudha" program includes Balinese healing therapies for both body and soul, a special organic menu, and sacred arts. The third program is Find Centre: Healing Earth, which involves activities like balancing sessions, listening to your body, meditation, and working with clay to produce ceramic pieces.
You'll take your meals in the beautiful Sakti dining room, covered by a thatched roof and open to the outside, and fronted by a pool with tropical plants floating in it.
The five suites are on the river, facing hillsides with waterfalls. The seven bedrooms in stand-alone pavilions each have wooden floors, flowing white curtains, and openings to the outside. And every room is air-conditioned.
Make no mistake - Fivelements is not a "wilderness outpost." This is a sophisticated luxury getaway devoted to well-being and contentment...to your well-being and contentment. And many guests have made significant changes in their lives as a result of their experiences here.
What are the "Five Elements?" Pertiwi (Earth). Apah (water). Teja (fire). Bayu (air). And akasa (ether - where all other elements come from).
If you visit Fivelements, though, there's a very good chance you'll discover a sixth one, as well - yourself.