Wanna unwind in a comfortable and peaceful hideaway? Simply try to feel the uniqueness of Puri Taman Sari Umabian. This rural tourist accommodation lies among the pristine and authentic social life with the spread of verdant rice fields located at Umabian Village, Marga Subdistrict, Tabanan Regency, or about 18 km in a northerly direction and can be reached within 45 minutes from Ngurah Rai Airport.
The hotel filled with the nuance of Balinese décor offers an atmosphere of rural community life with the pristinely beautiful culture. Well-maintained environment of rice field, crystal clear water of the river, unburdened life of rural communities, clean air and fresh surroundings will become distinctive features to visitors. Being here, you can enjoy a leisure holiday without hawkers.
Hotel Puri Taman Sari is truly populistic. A total of 6 rooms lie in the central area of the hotel while the rest denotes the cooperation with local communities. As a result of the cooperation, there are four rooms in the north, two rooms in the south and six rooms in the west. All the units present a typical Balinese home living whose quality is improved to comply with the standard of tourism such as sanitation, hygiene and the environment. Every unit offers an exotic bathroom, outdoor shower, international standard toilet and four-poled pavilion used to enjoy breakfast.
Especially for lunch and dinner, guests are invited to gather in the center of the hotel to have dining while enjoying the art of Balinese culture. When having dinner, you can enjoy a rural cultural night. It consists of cultural procession, dance, beauty and sweetness of the waitresses serving the food where a girl brings along one meal. These women walk captivatingly accompanied by melodious bleganjur gamelan music.
This cultural night involves more than 200 people, including the dancers and gamelan players. Special for dinner function, the hotel also involves professional waitress from the local community and school children. They are actually natural artists.
Living here, guests will encounter the peace of mind because people are the native inhabitants who are still faithful in maintaining the Balinese tradition. The community heavily upholds the life ethics, mutual assistance, togetherness, without stress and free from hustles and bustles. Moreover, the countryside panorama is immortally verdant as filled with enchanting rice fields. The village is relatively isolated because it is surrounded by river with crystal clear water, like the Sungi River, Padang River, Bekak River, Gede River, Tinjak River, Menjangan River and Mengwi River.
If you are a spiritualist, staying in the village is very appropriate. Other than offering high spiritual aura backdrop, this village also has the Dalem Tungkub Temple, a special temple for those who pursue spirituality. It perches at a pristine location and only particular people who can get inspiration here. Uniquely, location of the temple is different namely in the middle of rice fields and above three rivers. For the Hindu community, location like this is considered a very sacred place.
On that account, aside from being a comfortable retreat to live in, Puri Taman Sari Umabian also provides spiritual tourist attractions such as yoga, meditation and spiritual enlightenment. Most uniquely, it is also equipped with healing treatment for various diseases totally with organic ingredients grown and cultivated directly at this village. The herbal ingredients comprise assorted fruits, leaves, roots and tubers.
Aura of the mundane and invisible realm is appreciated by the spiritual leader who has the ability to communicate with the tree-dwelling invisible spirits, and samar. Large trees in the surrounding of hotel area are inhabited by creatures of faerie realm, so there are some tourists (especially spiritualists) usually present the food to the inhabitants of the tree.
Well, those having an adventurous spirit can try the cross-country sporting with two options of routes and they will take respectively some 2 hours and 3 hours. Route of the trekking will be able to encourage your holiday in Bali. Aside from the allurement of verdant rice fields, you will also be able to observe the natural Balinese life.
Among them, you can witness the persistence of Balinese society in sustaining their life, preserving the environment and maintaining the culture. In addition, there are also unique activities like bathing cows, plowing rice field with animals, leveling the land pulled by animals, flattening rice field, farmers eating rice on the bund, deliciousness of assorted fruits in the plantation and farmer families chatting in simple huts.
Similarly, you can also try the activities of local community like catching eel at night under flashlight, putting up eel pot and fishing. The subsequent activity is to prepare a spice such as making the raw condiment from onion and this consistently involve tourists.
You can also try and watch at the same time how the Hindu communities in Bali maintaining their culture. A variety of local cultural uniqueness will be introduced through offering preparation; plaiting works using bamboo, palm leaves and other; as well as cooking and preparing steamed ritual cakes. You can wear clothing as Balinese people usually put on.
The countryside’s ambience will be truly felt when you enjoy a meal in the hotel. The food served is very distinctive and all are prepared from organic ingredients. For example, the vegetable of moringa leaf with coconut milk, winged bean with sweet sauces, young papaya with residual coconut milk (after traditional oil-making process), tempeh-tofu curry, snail soup with banana inflorescence where to get the snail flesh it should be sucked, raw condiment, grilled eel and chicken betutu and accompanied by ginger tea to warm the body.
Staying in the Puri Taman Sari Umabian will give you more comfort and tranquility because its location is away from traffic crowds. It is nestled in the middle of rice fields and some 2 km from the highway. Nevertheless, it is very strategic to several tourist objects and attractions, such as about 30 minutes to Ubud, 40 minutes to Seminyak, 30 minutes to Bedugul, 10 minutes to Alas Kedaton and 20 minutes to Tanah Lot. Additionally, it is in close proximity to entertainment premises and shopping oasis. Major markets of the hotel are France, the United States, Holland, Germany and Australia.
A model of community-based tourism
I Gusti Agung Prana, owner and operator of the Puri Taman Sari Umabian, said the tourism development model at Umabian was purely community-based tourism management. Local people were directly involved in the operation. Besides, this model of tourism development was believed to be very effective in preserving the natural environment, not vice versa. “Tourism does not destroy the environment, but tourism is preserving the environment. The whole village communities get involved in this kind of tourism, so the rural economy can rise,” he said.
The tourism coming into the society was also conceptualized as a means for cultural preservation. Entering the global era, people sometimes did not realize the variety of praises about the magnificent of Bali that was not internalized. For example, based on the concept of ngayah or devotional works, the life was actually learning and serving the self, parents, people, ancestors and God. There lay the ability to control the greed. “Well, when we can perform the ngayah we will have untold feeling,” he said.
Without the exception of the local community, the hotel also involved the tourism vocational school (SMK) of Mengwitani in the management of this popular community-based tourism. The students who had internship in the hotel, as waitress for instance, were given professional debriefing. “They are more pleased to undergo internship here than elsewhere. Aside from being given theories and practice, they are also taught about skill, work ethics, etiquette, body language, and facial expression when dealing with guests,” he explained. (BTN/15)
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