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Getting off the beaten path is the best way to discover the local culture
In addition to your holiday in Ubud try to live like locals in a traditional Balinese compound in Sebatu village. Here you will be surrounded by many local families and hindu temples but zero yoga studios or vegan cafes. Only forest and rice fields around, Sebatu is ideally located close to holy springs and waterfalls.
If you are interested in tropical gardening, farm animals and endless rice fields with famous day trip destinations that is what’s in store for you in Gadungan village.
For a real remote village off the beaten track with a breath-taking scenery and overwhelmingly friendly people we advise you to choose Munti Gunung. This northern village is in one of the least developed regions in Bali and the chances of running into another tourist are very few.
If your holidays in Indonesia do not include a stay in Bali but in Lombok, or if you want to combine both islands, a place far less touristy than anything you’ll find in Bali would be the Muslim village of Kotaraja in East Lombok.
How to get there?
our villages are off the beaten path but not impossible to reach
As in Bali the public transportation is rather non-existent, for some villages the best is to hire a motorcycle or get a private car with a driver. Munti Gunung is located in the north part of the island and we recommend you to have a stop in this village if you are heading for diving or snorkeling on the northern beaches. Munti Gunung is also close to volcano Mount Batur, which is a popular destination for sunrise hiking!
Sebatu and Gadungan can be easily combined with your holiday in Ubud, which is located in the middle of these two villages. From Ubud, it takes only 30 min. to Sebatu and you can see the famous Tegalalang rice terrace on the way to the village. Both villages are also located 1,5 hours from the airport by car, but the easiest way to get around Bali is definitely to rent a motorbike!
The village of Kotaraja is located between the Lombok international airport and Mount Rinjani, which gives you a good opportunity to stop there for a few days on your way to the mountain.
Good to know about Indonesia
Bali’s Nyepi Day, “Day of silence”, is the local New Year, usually celebrated in March-April. It’s Balis’ biggest Hindu festival and even though the actual celebration day is a national holiday, with everything closed, the days before you will see people preparing for the celebrations by cleaning the statues and holding ceremonies. The next day of Nyepi you can see people bathing in the sacred water of the springs of Sebatu.
As Islam is an important religion in Indonesia, Ramadan is part of the yearly celebrations in Kotaraja for instance. In 2018 Ramadan takes place from mid-May until mid-June.
Indonesians celebrate Buddhas birthday between April and May, as Buddhism is one of the official religions in the country as well.
Thanks to the tropical climate, Bali and Lombok both enjoy a good weather the full year, although they have wet and dry seasons.
The dry period is from April to September, when the weather is mostly sunny and temperatures around +28 C. Note that the high tourist peak is from June to September.
The rainy period is from October to March but the rains are brief tropical showers rather than days of monsoonal downpours. Lombok is drier than Bali during this period, and on both islands the temperatures are always between +21 to +30 C during the rainy time.
Bali is the only island in Indonesia with Hinduism as their religion. In Lombok people live according to Islamic values. Here are the must knows for your stay.
Most Balinese villages are respecting the Hindu culture with temples and ceremonies forming an important part of the village lifestyle. Be respectful towards local culture and religion.
As Kotaraja is a muslim village you should also remember to dress more conservatively and cover your knees and shoulders.
Islam and Hindu cultures usually do not allow alcohol, please do not drink it in these villages!
Don’t act in public too intimate – kissing, hugging, excessive touching.
How is it like?
This is what our travellers say
"After some nice, but really crowded and touristic first days in Bali, my travelmate and I were looking for something different. Something like the real Bali, real balinesian people and their real culture. With Duara and the opportunity to not just visit, but live in a really local mountain village, we found exactly, what we've been looking for.
Duara's local contact person helped during the first two days, so that getting to know each other and everything else worked out quite easy – even with a huge language barriere. It was impressive to see, how the host family gave us the warmest welcome and was happy to show us their daily life, even if this is limited compared to "our standart".
If you're looking for the true side of a country but just haven't got enough time for a whole voluntary program, Duara is just right for you."
Isabel & Daniel, Germany, stayed in Munti Gugung near mount Batur
"Agus and Bonita were amazing and unstoppable in showing me around Ubud and Sebatu and especially teaching me about their culture! They both have beautiful hearts and were so patient with answering all my questions and taking me basically everywhere. Agus family was always ready to help me with anything, even though some of them didn't know how to speak English (which was never really a problem and gave me the opportunity to learn some Balinese). They took me to see their village, gave me the opportunity to taste delicious Indonesian food and even took me to a ceremony in the village's temple. This was the first time I travelled alone and they made it so easy and pleasant for me. I would not hesitate to go back. Thank you Duara for this amazing opportunity and I wish you loads of success with this amazing project! Bonita and Agus, I hope to see you again soon!"
Maria, Portugal, stayed in Sebatu village, near Ubud
"These days were one of our best in our whole Bali trip and here is why:
On our first day, we met the family. Era, Nyoman, and their daughter Ayu. We tried to communicate with them via hand gestures and a little English. Their nephew Adi was a really good translator, which made it easier to have a conversation. And maybe it’s because of the language barrier that we felt a great connection with this family.
They took us to their farm nearby where they grow all kinds of fruits, vegetables and even have their own rice factory with some employees.
We spent two days with this local family in Gadungan, helping at their organic farm, teaching them English, and they showed us some incredible beautiful sights. We now have a second home, which is located at this family!"
Nick & Hannah, The Netherlands, stayed in Gadungan in Tabanan area
Help! I still don't know which village to choose?
Don't worry, just send us message and explain what puzzles you. Elina from Duara will be in contact with you shortly. You can also email Elina directly at firstname.lastname@example.org