I was looking for a hideaway from the tourist buzz and the maddening crowded life at Kuta, south Bali, and I found it not far from Pupuan on the way to Seririt, at Kebun Kita Villa.
Kebun Kita Villa at Padangan Village is a collection of four eco-preserved Javanese Gladak wooden houses specially brought from Gunung Kidul that the owner has has adapted and refit on cement foundations and positioned over terraced slopes in order to offer each home amazing unobstructed views of the surrounding lush hills.
Each villas is fully made of wood and has a big open space, with glass everywhere, semi-outdoor bathroom open to nature and comprising stones and natural features and Western standard bathroom amenities. The villas are equipped with shower and bathroom amenities, safety box, king size bed. The manager Dewa is a friendly man very passionate about the place. He came to my rescue when I realized that Kebun Kita Villa compound cannot be reached with car, only on foot. We made introductions and walked together the 200 mt that separate the parking lot where I left my car (courtesy of Bali Pro Car Rental) and Kebun Kita Villa.
The house I got accommodated in was special, it fits perfectly with the environment of this hidden place. My room was so nice and full of peaceful tunes, and from the room window glasses and the balcony I immediately embraced the resort infinity garden. I was mesmerized.
I made my way to the reception where Dewa awaited me for a chat and Wayan the cook and house-cleaning lady treated me with a nice cup of locally grown coffee. I took in the well manicured gardens, with flowers of several kinds and colours everywhere, and observed a few local workers: this place place is in continuous evolution with new areas being created and new paths being dug out of the rich terrain. Down below the restaurant area, a bamboo suspended bridge takes to a terraced area at stream level, with hammocks and space for camping for those looking for a more adventurous experience. Tents are provided by the resort. This place has plenty of potential, I immediately thought.
Barely the time to finish my delicious coffee and fried bananas and play a bit with Mollie the cute puppy dog mascot, that Dewa and Wayan got ready for the afternoon trek, which is one of the few activities offered at Kebun Kita Villa.
We strolled alongside tracks made and maintained by the local farmers who mainly grow robusta coffee as this area has the right altitude for its cultivation. Dewa told me that during harvesting time, local farmers descend the infinite slopes to reach the multilevel terraces where they pick rice, cassava, garlic, corn, chili and more produce. I marveled at huge specimen of fruit trees like durian, mangosteen, cocoa, bananas. The coffee plantation itself takes up 10 hectares of land (!) with plants of about 10 years of age that bear huge coffee grains. I was told most farmers dry, toast and grid the coffee at home the traditional way.
There is a lot to see in this nice and relaxed walk. The entire circular walk takes about 1.5 hours at slow pace, in order to take in the beauty around you. Trainers are ok. Most of the tracks are easy to walk on, some of them may become slippery during rainy season, so mind your steps. We followed a water course, which apparently has water all year round, until we reached a small waterfall surrounded by a giant forest of bamboo trees. On the way back, the green lush valley gave out a fantastic view over Gunung Batukaru mountain majestic cone.
During the delicious and spicy dinner of local rice and fish curry skillfully cooked by Wayan, Dewa and I chatted out while looking at the sun set and feeling the heat drop suddenly. Yes, because at Kebun Kita Villa the days are hot and breeze and the nights are chilly. Dewi told me about his background studies in hotel management and his long work experience on cruise ships and at Bali hotels, before he accepted this challenging yet rewarding position. He entertained me with local stories and cheered me up with his contagious smile, while Mollie the dogs attempted to chew up my flip flops and play with my feet. While in the day I could hear a few rare motorbikes in the distance, once the sun sets the only noise I could hear was that of cicadas an birds.
Belly full, surrounded by nature and coffee trees in my villa tucked away in this Bali’s lush paradise, I looked at the starry sky, covered myself with the warm duvet and waved goodbye to the day…
The morning wake up call was great: the birds, the sun, and a nice smell from the kitchen: it was of course Wayan cooking my complimentary breakfast: an amazingly nice serving of local black rice pudding!
The key feature of Kebun Kita Villa is its unique location. Far from yet near civilization, hidden yet easy to find (and wanting to be found by the right customers). Kebun Kita Bali ensures tranquility relaxation, and can easily rejuvenate your mind and soul. There you can embrace nature, enjoy a diverse experience, taste local cuisine and see how nature can make you feel.
If I think about how my parents defined luxury one generations ago, I would say ‘affording to travel from their village to a town, stay at a local hotel, enjoy the city lights, watch TV in the room and eat in a restaurant, getting served food cooked with exotic ingredients by trained staff’. Luxury today for me is quite the contrary, in fact it is quite like Kebun Kita Villa: being able to spend a few days away from the crowd, in close contact with nature, making friends with the staff, eating local dishes cooked with ingredients picked in the local veggie fields, feeling ‘disconnected’ and enjoying a good long sleep with no TV in a dark starry night with no noise other than nature’s sound.
Needless to say, the staff was like a family – despite my short stay we got quite attached – and makes guest feel as part of this project.
A learning visit to the coffee plantations complete of learning how the processing coffee is held is available on request. Internet is available at Kebun Kita Villa reception and at some of the villas.
Bring cash or prepay online, as no credit card is accepted yet, but they are getting organized in this respect and may be able to offer card payment soon.
If you are driving from the south of Bali, pass Tabanan direction Gilimanuk, at the fork take to the hills direction Singaraja/Pupuan, then at Batungsel village turn left and drive about 3km downhill to reach Padangan village, marked by a nice road sign.
Activities offered at Kebun Kita Villa include private yoga, cycling, trekking, balinese cooking classes, gardening, picnic, motor bike rides and even better: volunteering to Sunday School to teach English to children at Padangan Village. Experience nature, green scenery, fresh air, let rest your body and soul with them, and embrace nature. No excuses!
+62 81 237 807 798 +62 85 237 015 616
Bookings taken at http://kebunkitabali.com/contact-us/