Calm. The moment I arrive to Sarinbuana Eco Lodge and walk down the narrow path surrounded by lush jungle vegetation, a good two hours from crowded roads, I feel it. It’s everywhere as I walk towards the main part of the grounds, in the soaked pathway, in the droplets clinging to the leaves, in the thick, humid air.
The tension I’ve been housing in my body for months (despite indulging in massages nearly every day in Thailand for two weeks prior) leaves my body. Apparently, I need this calm and respite more than I know.
As I walk towards the main building, a gorgeous dining area with a cozy table and cushions to sit providing a view of Bali straight on out to the water, I know staying here is one of the best decisions I’ve made on this three week break from Las Vegas.
I’m escorted by my driver who picked me up at the airport (a small fee, but honestly necessary so there aren’t any hassles to get to the lodge two hours from the airport), and arrive to the Monkey bungalow, a dark wooden room with queen bed, as well as a day bed. At the top of the room is a door that leads to a tiny walkway that leads to a private bathroom. Let me get this out now: I love open-air anything. Bathrooms. Showers. Bedrooms. Restaurants. All of ’em.
The bungalow is in the middle of the lodge’s organic farm and next to an enclosure housing two rescued monkeys, hence the name.
With clouds rolling in from the volcano towering above us, I drop my bag and head back to the dining area to feast on freshly harvested greens, tofu and a glass of wine.
I don’t lock the door. There actually isn’t a lock (but there are safes if needed), because it honestly isn’t needed.
Officially opened in 2005 by Linda (New Zealand) and Norm (Australia), the property originally simply served as their home where they raised their children. It’s grown since then and today is a place people from all over the world visit to enjoy retreats at the Responsible Tourism Award Winning property (so you know immediately I love anything that is responsible!). The lodge is impressive and incredibly sustainable, more so than many places I have visited in the past.
Sarinbuana Eco Lodge is comprised of five bungalows ranging in size from single beds to family. They’re all hand-crafted from sustainable materials or materials harvested from the grounds or nearby, unique, gorgeous and designed to give a rustic and beautiful experience complete with doors and windows that open and create a wall-free living space. Cleaners, laundry detergent, soaps and more are chemical-free, and there is no palm oil used in anything at the property (including no tea lights which contain the oil).
I spend two nights in the Monkey bungalow, a budget option at Sarinbuana. Made of 80-year-old Javanese hand-carved teak, it’s a perfect place for me to enjoy listening to the Sumatran monkeys, watch staff garden and marvel as the dark thunder clouds roll in down from the volcano which towers above.
My final night, I move over to Orchid, a breathtaking light and airy bungalow with sitting area, bistro table, balcony, outdoor patio, garden shower and an entire wall of doors that open up allowing you to touch nature.
It’s the perfect option if you’re a couple looking for breathtaking views and privacy.
The other three bungalows range in size, fitting anywhere from one to two people to up to five.
First and foremost, there is the restaurant — the hub of social activity and where you meet the other guests. Of course, I love it because they have vegan options. So. Many. Vegan. Options. Prepared fresh daily with spices, herbs, fruits and veggies fresh from their organic garden when they’ve got it, the restaurant serves up homemade Balinese specialties (you must try the rice bread!), as well as homemade soy milk, lemonade and desserts (most of which are vegan). The meals here are slow cooked or raw, sourcing items that don’t come from the garden in a 20 km radius around the lodge.
Every day, there is breakfast, lunch and dinner meal service during set times. At breakfast, you select your meals for lunch and dinner so staff can go pluck the fresh organic eats from the grounds. It’s vegan heaven with so many nutritious, gorgeous, nourishing meals and juices to enjoy. If guests are craving western eats, they have some options, but the menu is far too flavorful to opt for those dishes when there are the others to enjoy. The food here is incredible. I’ve never had ingredients so fresh before, and everything is made from scratch. Don’t skip the chocolate pudding — it’s divine. You can even learn how to cook some of the dishes in a cooking class offered.
Aside from the restaurant, Sarinbuana also offers trekking tours, nature walks, bike rentals, rides and more. While I opted to take the time for me to breathe, read, write and listen to my body, the other guests here all did tours and reported back they loved them.
Guests can also arrange for tours of the garden, which provides information on what they are growing and also how the lodge is sustainable.
The grounds here are beautiful, and include a massive yoga bale which opens up to jungle, at the bottom of which is a waterfall you can hike down to (it’s about 200 steps because I went down there, and yes, I counted).
There is also a massage bungalow and guests can book various massages in advance. I booked three. And they were all spectacular.
Sarinbuana is a place to disconnect. Bungalows don’t have wifi, AC or televisions. Honestly, it goes unnoticed. If someone needs to get in touch with reality (but why when this heaven exists?), there is wifi in the restaurant.
You’re in the jungle, baby. The gorgeous, breathing, pulsing jungle. Sarinbuana is located outside a tiny village about two hours (if there isn’t a lot of traffic) from Denspar airport. From here, there are plenty of jungle treks to experience, plus a bike journey that takes participants down the mountains via rice fields all the way to the shore. This place is made for peace, quiet and calm, and it’s location echoes that.
The Bottom Line
This is the first time in a long time I’ve truly listened to myself, listened to my body and allowed myself simply to be. There’s something about Sarinbuana Eco Lodge that encourages time to nourish oneself, to listen, to journey inwards and outwards in one visit. There isn’t anything about this property I didn’t love. Maybe because it delivered me exactly what I needed, and maybe because it truly is perfection. I think both.
Side note: Sarinbuana is in the jungle, which means there are insects (nothing poisonous, you’re cool) and little animals that hang out and co-exist (they are managed and kept from being pests in your bungalows with all-natural repellents). Be at peace with that if you’re headed here. Or really anywhere in SE Asia that doesn’t entirely shield you from the elements.