|Touching lion cub!|
There are many famous beaches but we avoided them completely and stayed in mountains and jungles, and we are glad we did. It was the untouched Bali; filled with art, culture, village living and very close to nature, away from all commercial tourists things and parties. I read so much about 'Bali Belly' before going there, it is diarrhea famous amongst tourist who visit Bali. But from our experience I would say food of Bali is the most eco feature of Bali, if you stay away from commercial coastline, if stay in mountain where local stay. Because they grow almost all the vegetables, fruits and even spices in their garden. They also keep ducks and chicken in their rice paddies, which almost like a backyard! So there is very less chance you get Bali Belly, we never did.
One incidence I would like to share about how fresh the food stock could be. Being Indian we missed spicy, oily food and requested at a point turmeric powder to be added in our dish. After a little search they came back to tell us they don't have turmeric powder. We were totally surprised, be we had tasted traces of turmeric in their food (local dishes). But then chef visited us and told they don't have turmeric powder because they use fresh turmeric roots in their food. That was the point I fall in love with the freshness of the Bali food.
After visiting stone and wood carving places in Bali, one starts wondering how the art also could be sustainable and green thing! In Bali I think they can making art out of anything, the rice terraces is the best example. Firstly how they thought of growing rice on the mountain steps? I haven't seen any green mountain more beautiful than those in Bali. And the most notable thing about those rice terraces is the water management system. For this same reason these rice terraces are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Amongst all the rice terraces in Bali, Jatiluwih rice terraces are the widest.
|Snake fruits on tree|
|Drying cocoa beans|
Tranquility is filled in air of Bali, once you leave behind coast and start going to mountain. Even in Ubud you can just seat back in your hotel balcony and hear the sound of nature; wind, rustling trees, chirping birds, ducks it's heaven! One morning I got chance to see and capture some interesting birds in camera, couldn't find names but you will enjoy the pics.
One of the best thing for any nature lover or animal lover in Bali will be Bali Safari! I won't talk positively about the monkey's in the temples like Uluwatu etc. Because those monkey's are aggressive, sometimes they hurt people as well. But not because of their behavior, our local driver told us the Uluwatu area in Bali is arid, there is not enough food for these monkeys so they grab things from tourists hoping it is food and the worst is the Temple management who earn good money from entry/dance fees don't feed them. So it is definitely a very non-sustainable example.
|Orangutan at Bali Safari|
Highlight of our Bali vacation was the Sarinbuana Eco lodge! http://www.baliecolodge.com/ winner of 2013 Wildforest best Eco lodge. We never stayed this close to Nature in tropical rainforest before, the nights were so calm and still loud with all the natural sounds, it felt like an adventure (with all comforts ;D)! This lodge was truly an eco lodge, we could see so many sustainable features around us all the time. The wooden Balinese style villas and rustic furniture were made up of local timber. The washroom was covered but outside, it was an ecosystem in itself. Very intelligently there were plants on the side and walls of shower, which were thriving on washroom water or rainwater. I saw few insects and snails thriving on these plants too!
|Sarinbuana staff picking fruits from garden|
There was dedicated compost area, seeds area and recycle area, which explains how that vegetable garden must be working. There are organic, recycle waste bins are kept in all villas too. Linda, the owner of lodge showed me around for the sustainable features. The grey water from the washroom is taken to leach fields and on that water vegetation is grown for which doesn't required fertilization too. A fishpond is made near spa, which keeps control over the insects. There is lamp installed near the surface of water, the insects are attracted to lamp and the fish can eat them all.
|Vegetated leach field|
We could not sleep longer after sunrise, but we all were very fresh, energetic and happy.
|View from treehouse living room|
Stay at Sarinbuana felt like a staying with local Balinese family. Those lovely Balinese ladies, from nearby villages made fantastic food, played with our son while we had dinner. An elderly lady was called from nearby village when we booked our Balinese massage. All the staff right from driver to caretakers and Linda made us feel at home! So I would say it was not just an eco lodge, but it was truly sustainable for the environment as well as for the people living in surrounding villages.
Road from Sarinbuana to Denpasar goes from mount to mount through crowded trees, rice terraces, beautiful villages and millions of village temples.
Eco living in Bali was so fantastic that I would have never left from there if possible.
Finally I would like to inform about Bali kids charity, http://balikids.org/ this organization provide medical care for ill orphans in Bali. Here you could do donations or donate their wish list items. I preferred to buy medicines from Dubai, which were listed on their site and asked them to arrange pick up from my hotel in Ubud. If you can manage to spare some time, you can visit them and drop your donations.
Till next eco vacation, I need to start finding more ways to live Green at home!
Happy Green Living you all!