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Bali's best kept secret: BatuKaru Mountain Farmstay.

During our last trip to Bali we took the opportunity to rent a cheap Suzuki Jeep ($11 per day) and, in a week and a half, covered as much of the tropical Island as possible. Exploring the island by Jeep will remain one of my absolute favourite things that we’ve done on our travels. The first stop on our trip was Batukaru Mountain Farmstay, where we spent two unbelievable nights.

Getting There.

Our first morning in Bali saw us set off stop number one; a farm stay on the slopes of Mt. Batukaru, the second highest mountain (and dormant volcano) in Bali. The farm stay is located about a 2-3 hour drive from Kuta Bali at the end of one of the most scenic routes we’ve ever driven.   As we left the city the roads became less congested, hotels melted away and tourist traps were replaced by local dwellings and authentic Balinese villages.
Armed with a full tank of petrol, an email with directions to the temple Pura Luhur Batukaru and our trusty Google Maps we began our ascent.  Heading up the mountain along the narrow roads was mesmerising. The higher we went the more remote it got, yet, surprisingly, there were still plenty of self-sufficient villages at every altitude. Each bend revealed the most dramatic views, be they terraced rice paddies, Balinese village’s, rivers flowing beneath old moss covered stone bridges or the simple but decorative “gates” to each village.

We eventually reached the temple, after stopping one to many times to take photographs, and met our local chaperone who would be guiding / driving us the last leg of the trip – a short, exquisite, drive but we definitely needed some local knowledge to navigate the steep hills.

Narrow roads and rice fields – two constants in Bali.

Friendly Villagers

Loving the Jeep!

Batukaru Mountain Farmstay.

Arriving at Batukaru Mountain Farmstay we were met by our host Simon, who lives up in the mountain with the local villagers.   Simon is a fantastic character who has gone to great lengths to learn Balinese and encourage the villagers to invest in this project. He is the person behind this Farmstay project but not the owner.   Thanks to Simon the locals have learnt to take their own land and culinary skills and combine with the touches that western tourists will appreciate.
We found ourselves in the unique position of actually being in a foreign land, living near the locals, learning from them, their way of life, were integrated in their culture yet we had our own beautiful and private personal space to return to.
Our days consisted of waking up to crisp, and refreshingly cool, mountain air with the sounds of a babbling brook not far off (actually a pond near our cabin.)   After living in Southeast Asia for three years, let me tell you that this fact alone (the cool air) had won me over.   Everything could have been an absolute disaster and I would not have cared. I wore a long top in the evenings and long pants in the mornings.    I was in Heaven.

Our Bed 🙂

The outside of our two person room, family rooms are available too.

Perfect shower and loo space. Open roof and hot water!

Our hut was small and stunning. A perfect space for two people (and cam with an open roof shower!) Coffee trees by the thousand (which meant delicious, local coffee on tap 24 / 7), three friendly dogs and memories that will last a lifetime.

Everything we ate was harvested from the farm or neighbouring farms, which meant no bacon and eggs but did mean 100% local food, wonderful meals of the most incredible variety turned up every few hours and kept us filled to the brim. We ate all sorts of plants, roots, flowers, fruit, vegetable and a small amount of meat too (chicken and pork) my body absolutely adored the change in diet.

Simon taught us so much about the Balinese villagers, about their culture, their beliefs, what they do, why they do it (side-note: almost everything in Balinese culture has a meaning behind it) etc.

I wasn’t prepared for how much I would end up respecting the Balinese and loving their way of life.

Lunch mmmm

Carrying a Banana tree

COFFFFEEEE! (Can you tell how much we love coffee yet?)

Before this review gets out of hand though, because I feel like could probably write about our stay and every intricate detail all day, I’m going to wrap it up and allow you to sift through some pictures and decide for yourself.

Overall we adored our time at Batukaru Mountain Farmstay. It was everything we hoped to find in Bali. Really and truly. The cool mountain weather, the beautiful, lush vegetation, the friendly faces. Solitude. Peace. Privacy. The fact that we could see what we were investing into and contributing towards.

I can fault nothing. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea (in the same way that not everyone likes an outdoorsy place) but to us, it was heaven and if you’re anything like us, you will absolutely love it there. My only regret is that we did not stay longer. Thanks for being a superb host Simon – please send our regards to all, especially Keo and Walloo 🙂

One more thing for people interested in staying there – the farmstay is an AirBnB affair, here’s the link to book through should you need it –

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Little Keo

These young guys from the village tried to teach us how to play these – Fun!

Walloo – our guard dog that slept later than us. Wake up Walooo!

Breakfast 🙂

Were invited to take part in a special ceremony – it was huge and we walked alongside the locals in local gear!

It was HUGE!

Simon with the land owner and some of the guys. They actually smile all the time but just not in front of the camera! Lol 🙂

Suzuki Jimney Jeep

Just some of the views up here….

Thank you to Simon and Batukaru Mountain Farmstay for making our visit possible. As usual, all opinions expressed are our own.

Image credits: Vaughan and Lauren McShane

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