Set in the lush rainforest of Central Bali, on the slopes of the Ayung River valley, the Nandini Bali Jungle Resort and Spa was the perfect oasis to spend a couple of quiet days in Bali. A one and a half hour drive from the airport or a 20-minute drive from Ubud, the resort is really off the beaten path. Actually, I was a little worried that we had picked a resort that was too tucked away especially when we started driving through small, bumpy village roads and the car had to climb up a steep valley (very unnerving!). But the unique experience was totally worth the drive.
What you have here are traditional private villas built onto the slopes of the valley, each with a spectacular view of the rainforest. It was an amazing experience watching the monkeys play and listening to the peaceful sounds of the jungle. At night, we laid back on the deck chairs and gazed up into the open sky. With hardly any street lamps or lights from the nearby villages, the sky was lit with hundreds of stars. This ‘suaku’ city girl also saw fire flies for the very first time. I never knew that they looked like little twinkling christmas lights, and sat mesmerized on our balcony.
The only downside of this whole resort-on-a-valley business is the stairs (lots of it!). But the resort has this rather interesting contraption which looks like a wicker basket on a monorail that helps transport guests from the lower valley levels to the higher levels where the restaurant and resort lobby is located. Even then, there is still a little bit of stair-climbing and we got a pretty good workout this past week.
I suppose you can’t be on the slopes of a river valley without making the river part of the whole resort experience. The river is located right at the bottom of the resort and after climbing down a precarious flight of a couple of hundred of steps, we were rewarded with the cool waters of the flowing river.
We had resisted Bali for the longest time because we always felt that it was too touristy. But this trip opened my eyes to a whole different side of the island. Nandini was a truly special experience and highly recommended for those who just want to hide out for a couple of days and soak in nature.