Second visits to countries always inspire a more adventurous spirit. I’ll admit last year we followed the tourist trail a little too much, we weren’t going to make the same mistake this time around.
Our first journey inland on Bali took us to the central region of Bali. Close to Mount Agung that erupted last year, but is staying dormant for now. It was a three hour drive from Jimbaran or Denpasar, into the central region of Bali to a village called Plaga.
The drive from southern Bali took us through hilly and mountainous countryside with narrow and winding roads, most suited to motorbikes and not the ever-increasing cars on the road.
Even with all the travel Marco and I have done over the last 12 years we never tire of the simple pleasure, of observing life from the car window, seeing villages and towns and watching the changing landscape and daily life. All whilst trying to understand and learn a little more about a place and culture. Unlike the rest of Indonesia Bali is mostly Hindu, therefore a big proportion of daily life is spent creating offerings for the many ceremonies at the temples.
Bagus Agro Pelaga
Agritourismos are a common sight in Italy and the the rest of Europe, however in Asia it’s unusual to see this concept being used. So we were delighted to be invited to Bagus Agro Pelaga in the central region of Bali near Muduk, to review their take on Agritoursimo concept combining farming of organic fruit and vegetables to be used in the resort for guests.
We received such a warm welcome from the staff, and the grounds of the resort resemble more a country house rather than a resort. With individual rooms and private villas spread across five or six terraces on each terrace a selection of fruit and vegetables are grown and being tended to by workers.
Narrow steps intercept the terraces allowing guests to see up close rows of pineapples and strawberries and a whole host of other fruit and vegetables being grown.
On our arrival the first thing that struck me was the cooler climate, in sharp contrast to the humid heat of Jimbaran on the coast. Plaga sits 900 meters above sea level. I would go far to say that it felt like the most perfect climate.
Our Villa a two bedroom private pool villa located on one of the lower terraces, the large villa is spread across three traditional balinese structures with a very high triangular roof. As always pool villas are always a big hit with both our girls, who are quite literally turning into fish or they would prefer to be called mermaids. Marco and I love pool villa’s too, as we can can watch from afar.
After a hearty breakfast with spectacular views towards Mount Agung, we were treated to a full tour of the Bagus Agro Pelaga property, by the manager.
The girls were particular excited to do the tour, where they explained all the diverse fruit and vegetables grown on the property from Japanese oranges, broccoli, strawberries, potatoes, pineapples and tomatoes and even coffee beans, all produce is organic and local people from the nearby village are employed to tend to the crops.
At the end of the tour, we even got to sample the Bagus Agro Pelaga own brand coffee, with the delicious Luk Luk balinese pancake, made with coconut flour and the perfect accompaniment to a strong cup of coffee.
The staff even surprised us to with a smoothie after the tour using the fruit and vegetable we had picked from the grounds.
Our second day at the resort we ventured out into the surrounding countryside with our driver who was took us to a village called Tanggan, and showed us around village and explained the purpose of the different temples.
Again the Balinese people demonstrated their warm and natural hospitality. A family even allowed us in the their compound to see the traditional kitchen of balinese home with a wood fired oven. Our driver explained the kitchen is also where the grandparents of the family usually sleep to be near the wood fired stove at night to stay warm on cold nights.
On leaving the family home another elderly lady gave us a bag or small oranges for the girls, we wrongly presumed she wanted money in return for them, but she refused and only wanted to give them as a gesture of kindness.
We went on to visit a local temple carved from black volcanic rock, our driver explained the village water supply is a central point near the main temple and is often the women job to collect the water with buckets on their heads. In the mountainous regions of Bali most houses don’t have running water.
Nung Nung Waterfalls
Our next stop was Nung Nung Waterfalls, having already seen some spectacular images of the falls, we were all pretty excited to be visiting. The only part we weren’t looking forward to was the climb down the 500 steps to get to the base of the falls.
Although we had prepared the girls mentally, I think I was more nervous of the thought of having to carry one of them down and up. However I will give them both credit, they did us proud and climbed down with little or no moaning.
Surprisingly unlike other waterfalls we visited in Bali they weren’t many people, the girls couldn’t wait to jump in the pool, so we put our costumes on and made our way in. The spray coming off the waterfall was so strong and refreshing.
It’s such a special feeling being near a cascading waterfall and being so close to the force of mother nature. You could feel the energy of the place and our youngest daughter Maya was especially excited to be swimming and playing in the spray, she made the most of the experience.
Obviously the hike down to the waterfall was much easier than the 500 steps back up: Bella did us proud and made it back to the top with no help, and Maya only had a little help from Mamma.
More Pool Time
Our final afternoon at the resort was spent in our villa pool: the atmosphere at the resort is very relaxing and peaceful. I think the cooler climate really helps, plus the jungle views and Mount Agung in the distance.
Planting Brocoli seedlings
The staff at Bagus Agro Pelaga were all so kind interacting with our two daughters: you will notice in Indonesia that everyone both men and women have a natural affinity with children and always on hand to help and play with the kids.
The girls enjoyed the tour of the farm so much that the staff arranged another activity showing them how to plant some seedlings to grow broccoli. These type of activities are both fun and so educational especially in a world where we have such a disconnect from the food we eat and where it comes from.
Thinking Nomads Verdict
The Muduk region of Bali is quite simply stunning and due to the volcano eruption last year is seeing fewer visitors. I would highly recommend a visit to this region to see true and authentic Balinese culture in a natural and beautiful setting. You could easily spend 7 days in the region, with plenty to see and do combined with just breathing in the clean air and practicing Yoga, Marco and I would love to return soon and do just that.
DO – Visit the local village and NungNung Waterfall, it’s worth the 500 steps down.
STAY – Bagus Agro Pelaga Resort
EAT – Luk Luk balinese pancake with a freshly brewed cup of coffee
DRINK – Fresh Coconuts and locally grown coffee
PLAY – If you are feeling energetic and daring you can organise climbing the active Mount Agung.
GETTING THERE – By car from Jimbaran or Bali Airport it takes 2.5 – 3 hrs. Ask the Bagus Agro Pelaga Resort for free transfer from and to the airport