A new breed of ecochic is evolving in Bali and Sandat Glamping has to be one of the most luxurious eco luxury camping sites in the world. Beautifully designed around structures that have no environmental impact, yet total has been encapsulated in this beautiful property, to create eight stunning and spacious suites.
Blended perfectly into the landscape of lush rice terraces, Sandat melds effortlessly into the surrounding landscape by using natural materials, such as bamboo, and tents that are more often associated with African safaris. The effect has been to create the perfection of green glamour.
Interiors are sumptuous and airy, letting the natural beauty of Bali flow in and out of the individually decorated suites. Interiors draw off traditional Balinese themes and each have their own character to reflect the traditions of the island. These encircle an infinity pool that seamlessly flows into the surrounding terraces and balmy trees.
A central elegantly rustic dining and lounge area under a traditional alang-alang thatched ceiling and open living. Balinese tropical design has always embraced the concept of open living, combined with green architectural techniques. It is however the interiors that are exceptional without any of the discomforts associated with camping.
The individual tents and houses are reminiscent of the boutique hotels that grace the shores of Europe and savannahs of Africa. Huge comfortable beds dominate, surrounded with art and refined furniture, leading to open-air modern bathrooms. Detail and design have combined with an eco ethos to create a beautiful little hideaway just outside of Ubud.
On the way out of Ubud before the Camphuan Bridge, a small steep road will lead you to a footpath meandering through the lush paddy fields, which finishes at Bodag Maliah, the restaurant of Sari Organik.
The restaurant, Bodag Maliah, evolved from Sari Organik’s farm, growing a multitude of produce next to the restaurant, and also on its farm near Kintamani. It adopted methods of Organic farming to encourage other small-scale Balinese farmers to maintain these methods for a “Green Bali”.
The food is all incredibly fresh and everything including the soya feta and fruit wines are from the farm and made on the premises.
The signature Indonesian dish is the nasi campur that comes in vegetarian and non –vegetarian options. It’s a mixture of taste sensations and incredibly fresh. All sorts of salads and main courses are available in a vibrant mix of colour and taste. The daily specials change depending on what is in season and straight from the farm next door.
To accompany lunch or dinner there are lots of healthy juices and smoothies but the cocktails containing homemade wine from rambutans, papayas, dragon fruit and other tropical fruits are amazingly good and worth a try. Just be careful on the slow route back through the verdant rice fields.
Ubud market has recently been renovated and is a little less chaotic and cleaner to navigate your way around to buy Balinese handicrafts and spices. Balinese silk sarongs are available with many made into kaftans and silk pants.
Jalan Hanoman is a great little street to find lots of little boutiques selling clothes and jewellery. Located here is We’ar (www.wearyogaclothing.com) a yoga label that is made from organic cotton and bamboo, produced by a family run business and profits going towards fulfilling their social ethos.
Threads of Life (www.threadsoflife.com) is another fantastic shop that is non-profit and uses culture and conservation to help fight poverty in rural Indonesia. All pieces are made using local materials and natural dyes in harmony with nature to revive and preserve textile knowledge throughout the Indonesian Archipelago.
On the way to Sari Organik you will pass the small traditional Cantika Spa looking out onto the rice fields. This is one of the locations of this totally organic spa that offers a traditional Balinese Spa experience using 100% natural, freshly made ingredients. It also sells a whole range of wonderfully aromatic shampoos, conditioners and body washes you can take with you.
Indulge in some peaceful pampering with views over the paddy fields and ever changing green hues of the sweeping view. Massages, facials and traditional hair masks are some of the rituals to relax and refresh. All the products are handmade according to Indonesian traditional recipes, using plants from the garden and sourced locally. If you book in advance, Jasi the owner, or one of the therapists will show you how the products for your treatment are made.
If you are interested there is also a workshop with Jasi that takes a tour of the gardens, gives a basic lesson in making creams, oils and beauty products using these botanical ingredients. With beauty products increasingly becoming chemical laden and causing increasing incidences of allergies, this is a fantastic skill to take home with you and translate to other herbs and plants.
Cantika is a lovely family run spa immersed in the rice fields, mere minutes from the bustling center of Ubud. In an open bamboo structure, this is a feel of old Bali with totally naturally products and surroundings.
The traffic in Bali is getting too much for a lot of visitors, another great alternative is to take a bicycle tour from the slopes of a volcano, away from the main roads, to enjoy the beauty of paddy fields and Balinese villages.
There are stops along the way at a Balinese village, a coffee plantation, a temple and a Banyan Tree shrine. You can also walk through the paddies to observe planting and harvesting and observe the traditional rice farming methods of the Balinese. This is based around the subak irrigation system that is now UN World Heritage protected as an ancient knowledge system.
Bali Budaya Tours (Bali Eco) offers a downhill tour that begins near Lake Batur and goes through paddies and plantations, offering a relaxed way to take in the vista, as well as forays into the countryside to learn about medicinal plants, coffee plantations and the flora and fauna of Bali.
Bali and Ubud are full of temples and shrines to visit, as well as the Royal Palace in the centre of Ubud town opposite the market. One of the most famous attractions is the SacredMonkey Forest of Padantegal, located at the bottom of the aptly named Monkey Forest Road. Filled with cheeky long tailed macaques, this is a spiritual and natural spot.
This is a mystical little enclave, obviously teeming with monkeys, is what is left of a much larger forest that once covered the area. It is a cool little respite from the sun with its big shady trees, temples and quite a few tourists. Over 115 tree species exist in the forest, many of which are used in sacred rituals and hold spiritual significance for the Balinese.
Inside there are two temples and a Bathing Temple area. Although you cannot enter the temples there are regular ceremonies here and you will witness the beautiful rituals of offerings and prayers. Intricate sculptures and staircases are scattered throughout the grounds and amidst the trees. The Pura Purana, a historical record of all temples built in Bali, records that the first temple was built here in the mid 14th Century. However the other temples are hard to date.
It is a wonderful little place to retreat into and spend a shady hour and experience a little of the spiritual balance between man and nature in Bali.