The cultural, artistic, and spiritual center of the island—the upcountry town of Ubud and its cluster of surrounding villages—is at the heart of Bali’s second, and true, Green Revolution. Our top picks for where to eat organically and stay sustainably.
I’ve been a big Michael Franti & Spearhead fan ever since my friend Leah practically begged me to purchase the Everyone Deserves Music CD in 2003. So I am not surprised in the least to thoroughly love Franti’s green Soulshine Bali yoga retreat.
Look for the sign amid pots of herbs and other plants that are actually a living medicine chest. The sign promises traditional Balinese healing and “vegetarian healthy food.” Here you can still find the ever-gracious healer and café owner Wayan. And her now-famous healing center and lunch place is quite green.
The sun is setting over Ubud’s rice paddies, but I’m simply incapable of walking past a hand-painted farm sign proclaiming “organic” without stopping to investigate. Bali’s energy, as I’ve come to appreciate, opens doors to magical experiences. This mystical evening proves to be no exception—in this case, with twin gems.
World music. Tantric yoga. African dance. Taoism Qi Gong. These are just a few reasons why Ubud’s Bali Spirit Festival is considered one of the world’s top yoga, dance and live music experiences. Another is its growing eco-commitment.
Even though Kuta and Ubud are each only thirty minutes away, it’s hard to imagine a more magical setting for an eco-resort. Still, as I arrive at Fivelements, I sense I am about to have an exceptional experience. And I have learned to trust my instincts on these things.
We breathe deeply; the air up here is clean, intoxicating. To our north, a string of volcanoes, but they are fast asleep. Below us, down steep hills, two rivers and terraced rice paddies. This green hotel offers the perfect retreat and a base from which to explore a quieter, more restful Bali.
With North Bali’s slower pace and uncrowded vistas comes a lagging sensibility about the benefits of green living. But Pemuteran is a bright green spot, not least because of Puri Ganesha Villas. Built on 400 meters of coral beach, its 4 villas are the epitome of a stress-free indulgence in eco-conscious luxury.
Indonesia of our forefathers was never like this, but are we complaining? Certainly not. We are instead content on the veranda of our antique dwelling in traditional rumah tinggal style that once stood in western Java. Now it sits prettily among 23 reassembled houses preserved for our pleasure at this “village resort” in South Bali.
In Indonesian, hijau means green. Great is bagus. We’re all about hijau and bagus, and so is this delightful place perched on the slopes of Mt. Batukaru, a black eagle’s cry from the largest remaining rainforest on the island of Bali.
He hands me a refreshingly cold, freshly opened coconut, and shares his big idea. OMunity Bali is intended to demonstrate that environmental sustainability and community development go hand-in-hand. And underpinning it all is a quiet but profound desire to help lift his community from poverty while preserving ecological balance.
“You really should talk with Delphine Robbe.” Here on the Gili Islands, less than two hours by fast boat from Bali, this has been the refrain to all my questions about the environment. Marine conservation? Garbage collection? Saving horses from neglect and abuse? Delphine. Delphine. And again, Delphine.