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Option to extend into the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival from October 24 – 27

We are advised there are no public events on the 23rd October.
The program begins on the 24th.



Immerse yourself in the magical environment of Penestanan, the artists’ area of Ubud, Bali, where ensconced in a private villa you can escape daily chores and the demands of everyday life and devote yourself to your writing. You’ll be supported by like-minded creatives and our creative facilitators, Dr Betty O’Neill and Steve Castley.


Acclaimed author, creative writing teacher and professional workshop facilitator

See more here.


Writer, reader, painter, traveller, dreamer, villa manager extraordinaire and Penestanan local

See more here.



7 writing days plus arrival and departure days

Our 2024 retreat begins at 12 noon on Thursday 17th October and concludes with a Farewell Dinner on Wednesday 23rd October. Villa check-in is on Wednesday 16th with check-out on Thursday 24th October, 2024.

If you are staying on for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, (website here) check out date is the 28th October. You might also like to arrive early to relax and acclimatise. Let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you for an extra nightly fee. Your airport transfers are included.


Who is this retreat for?


Whatever your level of experience or genre, whether writing fiction or non-fiction, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been writing for years, this writers’ retreat is designed to give you space and supported time to write.

Maximum 12 participants


The Place


Natural Beauty

Enjoy the beautiful surrounds which help calm and prepare the mind for your creative endeavours


From the comfortable air-conditioned bedrooms to the lush tropical gardens and pool, the ambience of each villa creates peace and tranquility

Forget the world

A quiet place to develop your work, nourish your mind, body and spirit and make new connections


The Program


Pre-retreat Zoom meeting. Date and time to be advised.

16th October. Arrive in Bali. We’ll meet you at the airport and bring you to your villa. Settle in and join us for dinner at 7pm at Two Sisters if you arrive in time and feel like it.

17th October. Have a lazy morning getting your bearings and join us at noon for a buffet lunch and orientation session at Betty’s Villa Exotica. We’ll spend some time getting to know each other, setting our intentions and planning for the week ahead.



Suggested Daily Rhythm


This Writers’ Retreat has been carefully curated to provide you with the enabling conditions for your writing project to flourish by escaping the usual daily demands and nourishing your creative core.






*Intuitive Flow here or Alchemy Yoga & Meditation Centre here.


Extra Activites


Afternoon workshops

Included, but optional, are a series of afternoon writing workshops to develop your writing craft and creativity. Final workshop offerings will be decided based on the needs of the group but possibilities are:

  • The importance of a premise – what is your story about?
  • Sizzling Starts and Great Hooks – how to engage your reader from the first sentence
  • Fatal Flaws – common mistakes we make as writers
  • Writing conventions – showing not telling and other ways to make your writing shine
  • Setting the scene and time frame by including historical world events
  • Turning facts and research to story - 9 essentials of a good story
  • Writing Family History – more than places, names and dates
  • Developing scenes from the senses
  • The ethics of memoir – Secrets and Lies; whose story is it to tell?
  • Developing your own Creative Manifesto
  • Drawing on Music – using music to explore your imagination and tap into your creativity


One on one mentoring

Optional daily mentoring sessions are offered to beginning writers. Steve will listen to your story, help you choose a starting point and with you, plan the writing of your story, memoir or novel. Betty will also be available for a one-hour mentoring session.


Extra Activites


Local area activities

(cost not included)



If you fancy a longer break from your writing or are looking for local inspiration, some suggestions include: visit the Ubud food and flower markets, make a woven palm leaf canang sari (offering trays); take a trip to the rice paddy terraces, enjoy a Balinese cooking class or a Cocktail Masterclass. Take a full day out to discover nearby waterfalls, temples, a coffee plantation, the Neka Museum, the House of Masks and Puppets and more; or go for a day’s snorkelling off the coast from Padang Bai to Blue Lagoon.


Accommodation Features


Our two- and three-bedroom villas, each include:

  • King-sized bed in air-conditioned bedroom with ensuite and walk in robes
  • Own writing desk, chair and lamp
  • Large living areas with lounges, TV, cable and a library of books
  • Ceiling fans in open living areas
  • Filtered water
  • Free fast speed wifi throughout the villa
  • A fully equipped kitchen with gas cooktop, microwave, refrigerator/freezer
  • Washing machine and drying rack
  • Pool and outdoor area with seating


Your villa caretaker will make you breakfast each morning, service your room and common areas, clean the pool and tidy the gardens. They will ensure you have everything you need to make your stay comfortable. Individual dietary requirements can be met with notice and discussion before arrival.

See villa's here



This retreat offers the privacy and tranquility to start, continue or finish a creative work inspired by the beautiful surrounds of Bali, with fellow writers and dedicated time.



Australian Dollars

8 nights /7 writing days (plus check-in and check-out days)


Private room and ensuite in two- or three-bedroom villa with shared living, kitchen, outdoor areas and pool



Optional Ubud Writers and Readers Festival extension, 4 nights’ accommodation with breakfast and 4-day festival pass




What’s Included


  • 8 nights’ accommodation and breakfasts (Writing in Paradise Retreat only)
  • 12 nights’ accommodation and breakfasts if you are combining the Writing in Paradise Retreat and the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival
  • Welcome lunch, Farewell Dinner and evening Cultural Kecak Performance
  • 6 morning creativity sessions, 7 afternoon workshops and 7 afternoon writing debriefs
  • One on one daily mentoring sessions for beginning writers
  • Evening reading soiree
  • One hour Balinese massage
  • Wifi connection throughout each villa
  • Airport transfers

What’s Not Included


  • Airfares, passport valid for six months from arrival date, and visa fees
  • Travel & health Insurance (mandatory)
  • Alcohol
  • Additional activities, yoga classes, treatments and meals not listed.
  • You will be steps away from great cafes and restaurants or a short car or motorbike ride into Ubud.




Australian Dollars


  • Please pay your non-refundable deposit of $400 to secure your booking.
  • The balance is payable by 1st September, 2024.
  • Please book your flight to arrive at Denpasar International airport on the 16th of October.
  • Fares to Denpasar can vary greatly so we suggest you book ahead or sign up for the various airline sale alerts to get the best fare.



You can look forward to a world of stimulation and relaxation, the spaciousness of dedicated time for immersion in your own imaginative writing world and the beauty of Bali.

You’ll return refreshed and invigorated, with stories to tell and progress to report.

Beautiful Bali and your story are calling.



On Steve’s Paypal @baliretreat 2024 page, click through Send, enter your $400.00 for your deposit for 2024 Writing Retreat and click on Next for payment steps to secure your booking.

Please add your email address in the Shipping Address information.

Once your deposit is paid, please download the document and complete the questionnaire on the following pages and email to