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Spiritual Travel Experiences Shrines Bali

Stories Of Spiritual Travel Experiences From Travellers Across The World

Be it accidental, a fortuitous coincidence or simply something meant to be, we all experience different forms of spirituality at some point in our lives. Even if you’re not by nature a spiritual person, one can always appreciate different cultures and celebrations. And that is exactly why us travel bloggers love to traverse the globe so that we can experience these wonderful moments and tell a story. Here are some spiritual travel experiences as told by those fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time.

#01 – RISHIKESH, INDIA

by Kartika Nair @ Ingenious Katty

This was the time I visited the most divine and spiritual destination in India, Rishikesh. No matter how atheistic you are when you’re in Rishikesh, you are going to find a certain sense of holiness within you. This place has an abundance of Hindu temples and people visit here to take a dip in the holiest river of India, Ganga. Worshippers believe it will clear them of all sins.

Rishikesh also has many ashrams where you can practice yoga, cleanse your soul, and feel spiritual calmness, hence dubbing it as the “Yoga Capital of the World.” This fair city is filled with tourists from all around the world and Hindu pilgrims.

Around 6 in the morning and evening there is a ritual called Arti which is performed by the river banks in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to the river Ganga. These are the most spiritual travel experiences you can ever have the pleasure of being exposed to. Watching this ritual will make you a believer. I was blessed to have this opportunity.

Spiritual Travel Experiences Riverbanks of Rishikesh India

Riverbanks of Rishikesh by Ryan.

#02 – NYEPI CELEBRATIONS IN BALI, INDONESIA

by Tamara Belinda @ World Wide Curls

If you love the calm and peace provided on any given Sunday, then you will love being in Bali on Nyepi. While Bali is known as a spiritual haven filled with sacred temples, forests, and waters, it is a completely different experience to be in Bali and participate in Nyepi. Nyepi is a public holiday also known as Silence Day celebrated mainly in Bali, Indonesia. It is a day of self-reflection, fasting and meditation.

There are several restrictions for this holiday, the main and heavily enforced ones being that the roads are kept empty and no during of fires. (The Balinese burn their rubbish) Even the only airport on the island shuts down. Others include minimum use of lights, no working, no traveling and for some no speaking. To enhance the dedication to the holiday, this year the internet was turned off for both Wi-Fi and mobile devices. Though Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from the restrictions. This is a great holiday for any solo traveller as the solitude enhances the purpose of the day.

Since I was visiting Bali alone, I was very excited to participate in this holiday. To be in this beautiful land with only the soundtrack of wind, chirping birds and. On this day, I inadvertently woke up just as the sun was rising in the sky. An unexpected happenstance that I was completely grateful for. At sunrise, my day began with meditation, a practice that I had been enhancing since the beginning of the year. The day continued with various healing practices. Essentially I turned the day into a DIY spa day- facial, hair mask, cleanse and moisturizer, body scrub, and bath soak. As a reward for the mindful practice of this day, and because all external light is off on the island, the sky is so clear that the milky way could be seen.

This is a rare experience in Bali since it is very polluted from smoke, vehicle emissions, light and the regularly cloudy skies. So far, this is the most spiritual place I have visited because it allowed for conscious awareness, mindful reflection, and an in-depth look at where I am currently in my life. More places should practice a Day of Silence and reflection, if only to allow people to question their actions and intentions.

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Spiritual travel experiences Nyepi celebrations Bali

Nyepi (Silence Day) Celebrations in Bali, Indonesia.

#03 – SEFAD, ISRAEL

By Ashleigh Lauren @ Tearavel (travel with the Tall English Adventurers) 

Israel is tiny, but it has a large and lengthy history of mighty miracles, myths and legends taking place within its ‘lively’ borders (to say the least!). There are many reasons it’s considered ‘the holy land’. I discovered my own during a special stay in Sefad. Stepping off a 3-hour bus from the ancient walled city of Akko and arriving to the northern province of Sefad, the home of Jewish mysticism and Kabballah, a strong sensation hit me. I was meant to be here. I was not actively seeking a dramatic or ‘out of worldly’ experience. But, that night I dreamt vividly about entering a dark, cavernous tunnel. The visions played so real I woke, terrified, before reaching the end.

It’s difficult to describe ‘a spiritual feeling’. The hairs on your arms stand to attention, your heart pounds faster than usual and the idea you are facing ‘the unknown’ races through your mind. The next day, while exploring the stone castle ruins atop the mountain Sefad is steeped on, this was what reached out and grabbed me.

I had been here before.

The deep, gloomy foundations of Sefad’s 1000-year-old citadel were the tunnel-like caves I had entered in my dream. Shaking, I followed the narrow passage to find the end I’d missed the night before. But, it turned out there was no ‘end’, not in the traditional sense, anyway. The path led me to a wide and circular ‘middle’, a dome-shaped, high-ceilinged chamber, where an age old, open-air window letting natural sunbeams flood in from the highest point above was the only source of light. I was in awe.

Coincidence? Cliché? Maybe. But, what cemented the experience was a guy from my hostel over-hearing me tell my tale the following evening and showing me a video of him inside the same dome-like center, singing at the top of his voice earlier in the day. A powerful and tangible presence is to be found in Sefad; a tricky town to leave, because it follows the mountain round and around.

Have you ever had accidental spiritual experiences during your travel? Here are some personal stories from travel bloggers from around the world #spirituality Click To Tweet
Spiritual Travel Experiences Sefad Israel

Ashleigh Lauren in Sefad, Israel

#04 – WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

by Amy Chung @ Family Globetrotters

The laid back Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai is a stark contrast to that of its hectic sister, Bangkok. Upon arrival we were struck by the sheer number of temples in every corner of this fair city. On our second day in Chiang Mai, we decided to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of Thailand’s most sacred temples. Doi suthep is actually the name of the mountain of which this majestic wat sits.

As I was in holiday mode, I completely forgot it was the first day of Chinese New Year. As we approached the wat, it was filled with worshippers amassing the steep flight of 300 stairs guarded by 16th century Naga (snake) figures. Although I am not a practising Buddhist, I was happy to be spending my first Chinese New Year in the realm of so many worshippers.

As we removed our shoes to enter the upper terrace of bells, golden umbrellas, and small shrines, I was deeply moved by the intensity of the worshippers and the presence of the saffron clad monks. As the Chinese lit their joss sticks in prayer for happiness, prosperity, and longevity, I closed my eyes and breathed in the familiar smells of the fumes.

I was quite overwhelmed by the sheer number of worshippers surrounding the chedi or the stupa. Coupled with its gleaming golden splendour, I felt very privileged to have happenstance upon this day.

As we moved around the wat, we found a smaller room with a beautiful shrine and a praying monk sitting on a pedestal. We walked in and kneeled on the floor in silence. The monk looked up and with his hand, ushered my partner to him. As a Caucasian, he was unsure of what to do but I encouraged him to move forward. Upon reaching the monk, he placed his hand on my partner’s head and blessed him. When he finished, he tied a blessed string bracelet around his wrist. We left the shrine in complete awe of our experience.

I will never forget this day. To be surrounded by devout worshippers and monks on a mountain top amidst one of the most beautiful temple grounds I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

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Spiritual Travel Experiences Doi Suthep giant golden bell

Amy Chung at Doi Suthep, the Most Visited Wat in Northern Thailand

#05 – MYRTIDOTISSAS ON KYTHIRA, GREECE

Elly-Grace Rinaldis @ Watch This Space

Every year, on the 15th of August, the biggest celebrations are performed at the church of Myrtidotissas on Kythira, Greece. This is the name day for Mother Mary and therefore multiple services are held over the weekend to celebrate not only her, but also the icon (gold picture) of her that was found near the church. The picture reveals two faceless figures and is said that if you can see the faces in the icon (Mother Mary and Baby Jesus) than great miracles can happen. There’s no point trying to focus on seeing the faces, it’s just you either see them or you don’t.

Stumbling out of the car I made my way to the entrance of the church where it is tradition to go inside, light a candle for someone and kiss the icon. I looked around at the glorious interior of the church and then at the people inside who were all very dressed, more than me! I stared down at the plain clothes I was wearing (in aid to keep a simple, non-materialistic life) and began to feel like I didn’t belong. At all. I left the church quickly and noticed a smaller church underneath it. This was the original church built on these grounds.

I find it difficult to exactly put into words how overwhelmed I felt upon stepping into that smaller enclosed church. An incredible spirit came over me and I had to sit down in awe of it all. You know how they say that when you enter different places you get certain feelings about that place. Well this church was one of those moments where I couldn’t describe how I was feeling but it felt like my whole body was being cleansed and renewed. Although, I didn’t see the faces in the icon that day, I still encountered some truly spiritual travel experiences of overwhelming peace.

Spiritual Travel Experiences Church of Myrtidotissas Greece

The Beautiful Church of Myrtidotissas in Kythira, Greece

From the holiest city of Rishikesh to Northern Thailand’s most revered temple, these spiritual travel experiences bring new light to how we all view and partake in the world’s cultures and religions. We as travel bloggers certainly hope you will experience this at least once in your life.

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5 of The World’s Most Spiritual Travel Experiences

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41 comments

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Scott Johnson June 17, 2020 - 12:58 pm

These all sound like amazing places; thank you for your knowledge. We loved Chang Mai but unfortunately, we did not make it to WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP; there is just so much to see in that wonderful area of Thailand. I also very much am a fan of silence as a form of spiritualness and meditation. Bali sounds like they have it right. I keep hearing so much about India as an amazing place of contrasts and deep spiritualness; guess I’m going to have to go some day. Thanks again for your wonderful story telling. Gasho

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Maria September 14, 2019 - 5:19 pm

Agree with most….but where is Varanasi? one of my favorites.

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YUKTI Agrawal June 10, 2018 - 1:16 am

Spiritual travel experiences are my favorites as we ground our negativity and rejuvenate ourselves once again. I have been to Rishikesh and loved all those Ganges tour and felt something divine there. Also went to some monasteries in Greece which were also lovely part of our travel. Nyepi celebrations in Bali look great to attend.

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Paula June 9, 2018 - 9:34 am

Interesting post! Very often we link the spiritual travel to India or other Asian countries but it was great to read about this place in Greece as well. I have been to Greece several times but I have not known about this event. Now I am intrigued to learn more about it. Great stories!

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blair villanueva June 8, 2018 - 6:21 pm

I’ve seen Rishikesh in many movies, and I find it so spiritually magical. I wish to pay a visit and many discover something from myself. I find this place sacred and a good calling.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 7:57 pm

I’ve seen so many photos on social media too and everytime I see it I think to myself that I need to go and experience ot myself. Looks so stunning doesn’t it?

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Cat June 8, 2018 - 11:38 am

I have heard of Nyepi in Bali before. It is great that the locals keep that ritual despite the tourism development. It will be interesting to experience that in person.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 4:06 pm

Most tourist are respectful of cultures and traditions so I think its great that we are able to witness such special and spiritual celebrations/festivals. The Balinese are deeply rooted in their religion and I’m glad that we can experience that whenever we are in Bali.

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Amar singh June 7, 2018 - 3:06 am

A great collection of destinations all focus on spiritual goodness. I ha e travelled to Rishikesh myself and without a doubt you feel that special thing. Thanks for sharing a great post. Visuals are great as well. Wish I can visit some of the other places in time.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 3:55 pm

So glad you managed to go to Rishikesh. I have no doubt it was such a special experience. One day, I’m sure you’ll be able to visit some of these other places.

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Katie Werthmann June 7, 2018 - 3:04 am

I have had that experience before, a few times- the one in Israel. that unreal feeling of deja vu or something that you cant explain, but you know it well. I always go with it.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 3:54 pm

You did?? I wonder what it is in Israel that it has happened to numerous people! A feeling like you had been there before. I know that feeling.

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Jen Morrow June 7, 2018 - 2:07 am

This is proof that Spiritual experiences are not bound by one religion or one place. I love the variety of locations and cultural views in these five experiences. We have all different ways to make that connection.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 3:53 pm

Oh I couldn’t agree more. Spirituality is such a personal thing and if we’re open to it, we can find it anywhere. I loved these stories:)

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Hendrik June 6, 2018 - 8:27 pm

Bali and Thailand I can totally agree about the spiritual connection, since I visited also these places. The spirituality there is absolutely intense, but in a very good and peaceful way. India is also on my list, I assume also many spiritual vibes, especially in places like Rishikesh. You gave me some very nice inspirations here, thank you.

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 3:18 pm

You welcome! Hinduism and Buddhism provide for spiritual experiences even if you’re not very spiritual generally. You can’t help but feel the peace and how wholesome each place is. Well, that’s how I always feel when I’m in Bali and Thailand anyway:)

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Anne June 6, 2018 - 5:28 pm

What a lovely post. I think one of the joys of travel is that we have more time to reflect and take in the moment. I love the story about Israel and I definitely felt incredibly moved in Jerusalem especially in the church of Mary Magdalene. I am also a massive fan of Rishikesh however

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 3:06 pm

Wow Anne! This post did resonate with you. I sense you are a very spiritual person at heart and you’re able to identify with these stories. I loved reading them all and the wonderful experiences every one had.

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Anne June 8, 2018 - 4:27 pm

Ha ha I have my moments of zen when I unleash my inner hippie and disappear to India to meditate and find myself!

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Family Globetrotters June 8, 2018 - 7:56 pm

hahaha! Love it! At least you have the freedom to be able to do that. Good for you!

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Mai Taup May 3, 2018 - 4:19 pm

It is amazing that in every corners of the earth one can find a spiritual experience. I haven’t had that kind of connection yet. Maybe because I usually travel with a strict itinerary. But it would be nice to travel and just be in that place. Like being there and being still. It would probably beautiful.

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Family Globetrotters May 4, 2018 - 3:41 pm

I think in this busy world of ours, spirituality is a great way to just be well. If you go searching for it you may just find what you’re looking for.

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Iuliana Marchian May 1, 2018 - 2:43 am

I am planning to go to Thailand next year. I haven’t known that Chiang Mai is such a spiritual place. Would be happy to check that great temple and the surrounding area.

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Family Globetrotters May 4, 2018 - 2:26 pm

Oh there are so many temples and retreats in Chiang Mai. And as its so cheap as well, it makes for a great destination. So much to see and do and it such a calm and beautiful space.

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Mayuri April 30, 2018 - 10:33 pm

You have compiled a great list of places here. I would have never imagined Greece to be in this list – it’s a pleasant surprise. I always wanted to Chiang mai to relax, meditate and do some yoga – thanks for sharing this, beautiful pictures too

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Family Globetrotters May 4, 2018 - 2:24 pm

Thanks Mayuri. Chiang Mai is a lovely little city with lots to do and see. It is such a digital nomad hub with travellers passing through from all around the world.

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Divya April 30, 2018 - 6:45 pm

It makes a great post for the people who are seeking spirituality while travelling. Great job on the collective. Although it never it interested me when travelling, but I have been wanting to visit Israel for a very long time now. I am sure, I would love to experience Sefad one day.

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Family Globetrotters May 4, 2018 - 2:22 pm

We all travel for different reasons and sometime spirituality finds us without us even looking for it. I would love to go to Israel too. I have heard so much about that country. So much to offer.

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Anna April 20, 2018 - 5:37 pm

Such a wonderful post! I´d really love to visit Rishikesh and to stay in one of the ashrams. Love yoga and meditation, and I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from friend who went! I’ve never been to Bali or Israel -would be great to visit one day!

Anna
http://atlifestylecrossroads.com

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Family Globetrotters April 24, 2018 - 1:18 pm

Any of those places on the list would be amazing! Bali is great…. so much to see and do.

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Wandering life - Catarina Leonardo March 31, 2018 - 11:49 am

I´ve heard for the first time about Silence Day a few days ago. Very interesting. I really love this culture differences.

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Family Globetrotters April 3, 2018 - 6:12 pm

And I guess that’s why we all travel so much. So we can experience different cultures across the world. Spiritual experiences seem to be all the more special too.

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Ketki March 30, 2018 - 11:13 pm

This is such a unique post. I have read about people seeking spiritual experiences and traveling to places for the same but have read their experiences for the first time. Lovely read 🙂

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Family Globetrotters April 3, 2018 - 6:09 pm

Thank you Ketki. For some of us these spiritual experiences found us without out seeking it out on purpose. I think those experiences were even more special. To be bestowed on us without asking. I thought these stories were truly special.

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Aisha March 30, 2018 - 5:38 am

This was such an interesting post to read as its from a rare angle you don’t see a lot in travel blogging. So refreshing for a change! I thoroughly enjoyed reliving these experiences through the words of these bloggers and hope to eventually take them all in first hand but I have definitely added the Nyepi Celebrations to my to-do list for my Bali trip!

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Family Globetrotters April 3, 2018 - 6:07 pm

Thanks Aisha! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Always interesting to read the perspectives and personal stories of other travellers. I have been to Bali on many occasions but never during Nyepi. I really should try and time it so I can experience it for myself next time!

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daniele March 29, 2018 - 6:27 pm

I have to do an experience like this. I think it’s still authentic as it is shown in your articles.

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Family Globetrotters April 3, 2018 - 5:58 pm

Thanks Daniele! I hope you’ll get the opportunity to do so soon!

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Lev Leetian March 24, 2018 - 4:58 pm

I didn’t realize there were so many spiritual experiences to be made in Asia. When you talk about spiritual, the first thing people would think of is the Holy Land too. We’re actually planning to head there this Christmas, but some of my relatives are scared of the political unrest. However, you look like you had a great trip so that should ease their mind 🙂

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Family Globetrotters March 28, 2018 - 9:12 am

Asia is a highly spiritual and holy destination mixed with a multitude of different philosophies and religions. But spirituality also extends to that of the health and mind too so I loved hearing all these experiences. As for the biblical Land of Israel and historical Palestine, its a tough call. But if its a journey/pilgrimage you feel you need to make, just make sure you practice all the safety recommendations and always make sure someone knows where you are. I think it would be an incredible experience.

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Bianca Termulo March 22, 2018 - 5:26 pm

This is very interesting. There are really some places around the world that holds a sort of spiritual connection with the land and the people itself. Would love to experience this someday.

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