Breathe deeply… The air is clean at tropical eco resorts in the heart of Bali, Indonesia. While Ubud is commonly considered the yoga capital of Bali, its rapid growth, traffic congestion and poorer air quality is now sending nature lovers further into the hills of central Bali where not only is the air clean, but you can also drink and bathe in pure mountain spring water and eat clean local food.
The traditional heart of Bali is rich in culture, the way Bali used to be before tourism ran rampant in the south of the island. Here in central Bali you navigate your way by which volcano you are on. The largest volcano, Mount Agung in the east rises to over 3,000m. The slopes are too cold and barren to be inhabited but Agung provides a stunning sky scape that can be seen from nearly anywhere in Bali. Heading west, the steaming active volcano of Mt Batur rises inside the collapsed volcano of Kintamani.
On the western slopes of Kintamani at 1007m elevation, surrounded by nature, near Plaga and the famous big long bridge, is Bali Ecovillage. Here the days are mild but be prepared to rug up in front of an open fire of an evening. Bali Ecovillage provides two yoga spaces and free classes for guests when they have guest yoga teachers from April to November to help guests connect with the beautiful location. Yoga makes more sense in nature and many guests have experienced the joy of their very first yoga class here in the mountains. Both yoga spaces, one indoor and one large outdoor bamboo bale have views across a valley to a wall of trees where often the mountain mist can be seen rolling down the valley. The 19 bed resort is available to hire for yoga and health retreats. Bali Ecovillage has more of an earthy farm stay feeling than a resort and is a wonderful place to connect with nature.
Further west, closer to central Bali is Bedugal and another volcanic mountain Batukaru. On the south west slopes of Mt Batukaru, in north Tabanan district, you will find two Eco lodges in even greener rainforest surroundings. Bali Eco Stay, a boutique and very comfortable 5 bungalow eco resort can expand to 14 beds for small retreat groups. The lovely rectangular timber yoga bale has food forest views and is available for self practice or for yoga retreats. The grounds of the resort have lovely mixed tropical gardens over looking rice paddies with views to the ocean. The resort sources the purest of water from a mountain spring and is on the banks of a small mountain stream that tumbles down a stunning waterfall, providing hydro power to the resort. At only 400m elevation, the weather is mild and you only need a light cardigan on the coolest of evenings. www.baliecostay.com
From Bali Eco Stay take a 20 minute drive through jungle, food forest and coffee plantations, with a slight climb in elevation up to 750m, to find the award winning Sarinbuana Eco Lodge. It’s round yoga bale makes a stunning presence as you wander down a winding stone path towards the forest. With timber floor and a towering woven bamboo roof, this is a happy place to breathe in deeply the clean mountain air while you stretch and twist your body through yoga. The bale was built for retreat groups up to 14. Do your own yoga or book a private yoga lesson from Val who lives just 100 m up the mountain. www.baliecolodge.com
Val and her husband Craig plan to open their own rainforest retreat and spa, complete with forest yoga bale by mid 2014. www.balicascade.com So eco lovers… Head to the mountains of Bali to discover unique and wonderful Eco lodges where you can breathe in deeply the fresh clean air and stretch and twist to give your body a yoga holiday. Be prepared to get off the beaten track where the roads are bumpy, but doesn’t that just add to the adventure and make you feel clever for finding these special secret places in the heart of Bali. By Miss Ronnie Eco Tropical Resorts Journalist 2014.