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A Wellness Retreat Convert

A Wellness Retreat Convert

Jed Doble
06 August 2022


I have never been to a wellness retreat, mainly because of the food aspect, but COMO Shambhala Estate was something special.


As a foodie, all of my travels and vacations always revolve around food. I remember on a trip to Hanoi many years ago, I had listed down over 20 food places I wanted to visit. But my friends wouldn’t have it, as we were going to be there for only 4 days. So I tried my best to steer the group to as many on my list as I could. In the end, they did enjoy the food but we didn’t cover as many places as I wanted.

So it was with a bit of hesitation that I accepted this invitation to come to COMO Shambhala Estate. I knew that it was a beautiful resort set on 19 hectares of rolling land in Payangan, and that they had gorgeous villas with different themes. I knew that they had massages and therapies which were to die for. I knew that there would be a lot of physical activity. I even heard of ‘The Source’ the holy natural spring at the edge of the property where all the water emanated from. I wanted to experience all that. But it was the food aspect of the stay which I was worried most about. I didn’t want to starve while staying at one of the world’s best resorts. We’ve heard about other wellness retreats where food was tasteless and bland, with guest fed salads and raw food. I would later find out that all my fears were unfounded. But more on that later.

The visit to COMO Shambhala Estate started a day before with an online consultation with their wellness manager, Prasanth Vayanakathu, who by the way is also an Ayurvedic doctor. He asked me what my wellness goals were for this visit. I promptly said that I wanted to kick-off a weight loss regimen. I wanted to move more, do more exercise and lose some unwanted pounds. There was a thorough Q&A about my health and my current fitness state. I was told that they would try to tailor fit a short program for me.
The following day we arrive at COMO Shambhala Estate and what a treat. There is immediately an air of calm at this place. The staff are warm, friendly and attentive. First order of business, lunch at their glow restaurant. I immediately remembered by apprehensions about food at wellness retreats but these disappeared as quickly as they came. We were served Indonesian food which was amazingly good. You knew these dishes were not rushed, you knew they used the best ingredients and to top it off, they knew everyone’s dietary requirements. One of my companions was served a personalized portion of perkedel jagung since he was allergic to terasi which the original recipe contained. We had rich and unctuous Beef Rendang, a red curry of prawns and pineapple, a Balinese soup which was so flavorful. We had a choice of white or red rice, I chose red, not my personal choice but yeah, I was at a wellness retreat so I went with the program.
First meal down, and I was happy. We were all then ushered to our villas. I was to stay at the Wanakasa residence, which was close to the edge of the property. And my room was three levels down. My room was gorgeous, it felt like I was in a tree house, surrounded by tall trees on all three sides. I said to myself, I was lucky to have one of the most secluded rooms. Little did I know that this was part of my wellness regimen. Having a room three flights down meant, every time I had to leave for an activity, I had to ascend the stairs, thus giving me a mini-workout every time. In the afternoon we had a yoga class for immunity and that was followed by dinner again at glow restaurant. This time we could order ala carte and I chose Western dishes, I had a vegetable soup and a steamed fish dish. Both very flavorful and enjoyable. End of Day 1.
Day 2 was going to be a busy day. We started with a delightful breakfast at Kudus House. Dishes were all well prepared, I had a banana smoothie and the famous COMO Shambhala ginger tea. After that we did a healing hydrotherapy session. This was a first for me, we had to do exercises against the hydro jets in the pool. Low intensity but fun also.
Next was my most dreaded part of the whole itinerary, the Estate Walk. We were to walk all the way down to The Source, where a Water Purification ceremony would be done. And we would continue to a picnic lunch at one of their water gardens. Sounds lovely actually, but it was the walk back ip that I knew would be a killer. In all it was a delightful and calming experience. I did struggle quite a a bit on the way back up. I really appreciated the water purification ceremony. Highlight was the picnic lunch though, which was Indonesian food again, beautifully arranged and oh so delicious. We must have all been tired and hungry as we were eating very quietly and concentrating on our food. With enough sustenance, we walked back. I shall not put the expletives I spoke out while heading up, suffice it to say I struggled, but in the end survived.
After the climb back up, we were rewarded by a massage. I had the Taksu massage, which was a combination of long and short strokes. A few minutes after the skillful therapist touched my legs, I was in dream land.
In all, it was a wonderful stay at COMO Shambhala Estate. Beautiful surrounds, elegant design, great attention to detail, healing therapies and most of all, healthy and delicious food. I’m looking forward to my next visit!

Como Shambhala Estate

Banjar Begawan, Desa, Melinggih Kelod, Kec. Payangan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571

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