Amandari, Bali

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AMANDARI “Peaceful Spirits”


LOCATION: The mountainous Balinese village of Kedewatan (60 minutes from Denpasar airport and 10 minutes from the arts community of Ubud)

DESCRIPTION: Authentic, cultural, Jungle setting, nature-lover’s paradise

MUST DO ACTIVITIES: Trek through the Ayung Valley. White-water rafting on the Ayung river. Day-trip to Ubud. Guided Bike ride through the surrounding local villages.


We arrived at Amandari just after sunset. At first glance the structure was modest, designed to mimic an old Balinese Village. It was built with high paras stone walls and thatched roofs. We stepped out of our car into an open air courtyard which was serene and quiet and smelled of incense. The only noise to be heard were the toads and frogs hiding in the vegetation around us. We were immediately greeted by at least four people who all already knew (and addressed us by) our names. One of them took our bags and welcomed us while the others got us cold drinks, talked to us about what type of experience we’d like to have there, gave us our room keys, and a short tour around the grounds.

Upon entering our private rainforest bungalow, a big bowl of local fruits; most of which I had never seen before, and a bottle of champagne awaited us. Accompanying it was a little book telling us about each fruit. (Thank god for this because some of them looked so scary I would have never tried them had it not said how yummy they were in the descriptions!) Soft balinese music was setting the mood in our room and incense had been burning, filling the air with a wonderful yet different smell. The Amandari staff really went out of their way to make this experience one of the best. Our 2 story bungalow was very spacious. It had a thatched roof and wooden beams. The decor was clean and minimal.

The next morning when I woke up I took a look outside. We had our own pool and cabana, which was great, but even greater was the fact that our villa was sitting on a rice terrace. We could sit and watch the local people work their magic on the sprouting rice fields, right from our chaise lounge in the back yard.

I read in a book that the best way to discover Bali was to find a path and follow it. Bali has paths everywhere you look. So we set out to follow the path just outside of our villa. The sound of toads and frogs and crickets filled the outside air. It smelled of that amazing and fresh “just rained” smell which I love so much! After about 5 minutes of walking, the path led us into a jungle. Then to hundreds of moss-covered stairs. Following them down, deeper into the jungle, I noticed a blossoming Ganesha shrine which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, but so well taken care of.

At night we had such different and marvelous dining experiences. The food was magnificent. The first night we had them set up a private candlelit dinner under the cabana in our back yard. It was not just room service. There was a server waiting on us the entire time. And what service it was! I was blown away by the experience.The second night we reserved a private table situated on a little island surrounded by a koi pond. The table was set to the nines and had our names written on a banana leaf in the middle. The third night we had an enchanting private rainforest dinner. If you have never had Indonesian food, you should! What a tastebud delectation!

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