We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong we may begin to use it with love and respect.
High in the hills, in a valley shrouded in morning mists and perpetual tranquility, Bali Ecovillage provides a welcome sanctuary from the excesses of southern Bali.
Bali Ecovillage is set in a mountainous valley to the west of Kitamani, surrounded by bamboo trees, rainforests and coffee plantations. Original plans were for a weekend house built in bamboo, a place for the owners to relax and revel in the beauty of nature, but as the walls grew, so too did the idea of turning this peaceful sanctuary into an eco lodge that others could also enjoy; guest bungalows and a couple of spacious villas were soon added to the plans.
Bamboo is increasingly popular as the eco building material of choice; a fast growing woody grass, it absorbs four times as much carbon dioxide as slow to harvest timber, is lighter than steel, and five times stronger than concrete. Plants can grow several feet in a day and a field of bamboo can be harvested and used for construction purposes within three years of planting. If well treated and maintained it is also super resistant. The simple elegance and quiet strength of the bamboo plant is mimicked in the rustic buildings at Bali Ecovillage , thousands of poles in shades of light and dark have been tightly bound together creating rich textures and dimensions. The building design was largely experimental and the results are quirky and enchanting with a hotchpotch of influences from around the archipelago, with a good measure of Italian flair thrown into the mix. The lodge is fitted with comfortable sofas, great books, a pool table, and a dart board, while evocative artifacts from Papua New Guinea are scattered throughout the lounge and bungalows. Sunlight peeps through the skylights and an expansive deck offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, this is the perfect place to soak up the silence, and breathe in air that is so fresh that the blast of oxygen makes you giddy. The atmosphere is cozy and homely, with evenings spent warming toes by an open fire, perhaps curled up with a book or a board game, and a mug of steaming hot chocolate.
The word ‘eco’ is often just a catch phrase, but at Bali Ecovillage it is given full credence, the aim is to become a fully sustainable tourism facility, and to ‘give back’ to the local community, providing employment, training and education as well as acting as a model for eco tourism in the region. Waste is segregated with recycling handled by Eco Bali, and organic matter composted or fed to the animals. Water is locally sourced, and garden water recycled, while the river has been harnessed to create hydro electricity that supplies some of the property’s power needs. Activities are wholesome and ‘back to nature,’ visitors can learn how to make Balinese offerings; enjoy traditional massage; bathe in the river or hike through the jungle. Rafting, cycling and rice paddy tours can also be organized. Guests are encouraged to explore the organic farm, with its extensive vegetable gardens, free range chickens, ducks and pigs. The homegrown cuisine adds to the wholesome atmosphere, and is even more enjoyable with an appetite stimulated by the fresh mountain air. Pick your own salad from the thriving greenhouse and enjoy homemade pasta, breads, jams and cakes.
Bali Ecovillage gives a glimpse into another side of Bali and is truly a place to recharge body, mind and soul.