April 02, 2024

Bali off the beaten track

There is a lot more to Bali than Kuta Beach and noisy bars, Winsor Dobbin reports.

There is something for just about every traveller in Bali.

Looking for bars and nightlife? Sorted. Delicious food and affordable beers? Sorted.
Cultural experiences? Sure.

But what if you want to get away from it all? To chill out in a hilltop resort that’s surrounded
by local villages, temples, and farms.

Tucked away in the hills above the northern Bali coast is a superb rural getaway that allows
guests to experience the authentic sights, sounds and tastes of the holiday island.
The Damai, which reopened last year after a three-year Covid closure, offers a luxury villa
lifestyle surrounded by rice paddies and roosters, rather than convenience stores.
The 15 private villas (in four configurations) all offer an essence of Balinese style (think al fresco garden showers), but each has its own swimming pool and western comforts, including fast, dependable wi-fi. Think simple, but elegant, in a serene garden setting.

The Damai's slogan is: "hard to find; harder to leave" and it offers a rare sense of tranquillity just a winding 4km drive up from the black sand beaches at Lovina, where visitors can go swimming with dolphins on a local fishing boat, and sample the many local warungs, and maybe try some babi guleng (suckling pig).
It is also close to several remote but spectacular waterfalls.

As the light fades, guests can sit on the terrace with spectacular views down to the water below and take in sounds wafting mellifluously across the landscape.
The soundtrack ranges from the call to prayer at local temples, the sound of gamelans practicing their art, resident frogs, and local roosters.

The word 'damai' means "peace", which seems appropriate.
Many guests choose to spend most of their time at The Damai, where local experiences are highlighted and most of the very impressive staff come from the hillside villages.
Think herbal shots made from local plants for breakfast, a daily menu of Balinese food specialities, and cocktails made with local ingredients that the bar staff have marinated themselves.

Meals are served either in the open-air dining room, at poolside, or in your villa's garden, should you be looking for complete privacy.
If you are looking for a local breakfast, try a colourful fresh fruit platter followed by a spicy mie goreng and chicken skewers.
At dinner, there is always a Balinese three-course menu choice, perhaps featuring a half chicken from a local village, or some crabs from local mangroves.
The Western food is also very good with the Balinese-style Angus burger for lunch a standout, and dishes like yellowfin tuna with mango, langoustine and green curry, or fish of
the day with beurre blanc or a spicy soy sauce; served with pilaf rice or steamed greens.

The Damai uses organic ingredients where possible with herbs and salads from the on-site market garden, honey from the Damai bees and poultry, eggs, and fresh coconut oil from the neighbouring village.

When you dine you can see the local fishermen in the distance, out at sea readying for
tomorrow's catch.

The hotel can arrange for you to take a trip further up in the hills to visit "Vanilla Farm";
where you can see vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, and other spices being farmed and dried - as well
as exotic fruits like jackfruit and dragonfruit.

The ambience here is totally relaxing, but if you really want to chill, the signature The Damai
Massage is an excellent excuse to nod off.
The Damai offers a slice of authentic Bali, and a range of packages can be tailored to your
preferences - and drivers are available to take you where you want to go (at extra cost, of
For more details see https://www.thedamai.com/. Villas are surprisingly affordable.

# The writer was hosted by The Damai.

No comments:

Support Traveloscopy - Support Responsible Travel.

Traveloscopy is a freelance journalism enterprise supporting the tourism and travel industries. We aim to encourage people to travel thoughtfully and responsibly and also support sustainable initiatives within the travel sector. You can help us cover our operating costs, even if in just a small way.

Last 30 Days' Most Popular Posts