A haven for nature lovers, Sarinbuana Mountain Eco Lodge is located at 700m on the slopes of Mount Batukaru in central Bali, just 1½ hours drive from the popular tourist centres of Kuta and Ubud. With stunning views down a lush, forested valley to the sea, a towering mountain peak behind and the largest protected rainforest in Bali only 10 minutes away the lodge is not only a delightful place to stay but also an award winning example of how responsible tourism can benefit remote communities.
Sarinbuana Eco Lodge is managed for the enhancement, rather than the degradation of local cultural, economic and natural environments. Owners Norm and Linda contracted a small piece of land with a local family back in 1989 and built a simple bungalow from coconut wood and bamboo. They were married at the lodge in a Balinese ceremony in 1992, then slowly added guest accommodation as more and more people asked if they could stay. In 2000 Norm, Linda and their 2 boys Larz and Oska moved to Bali full time and developed their home into a comfortable, stylish lodge where others could share their experience.
Sarinbuana Eco Lodge strives to meet and exceed International Standards for Eco-Tourism. The accommodation and infrastructure is low impact, both visually and environmentally, with buildings sited in harmony with the natural contours of the land. Local craftsmen used predominantly traditional Balinese designs and building techniques with local timbers and materials harvested from the property where possible. These include bamboo, coffee wood and jackfruit timber for furniture and living spaces.
The hand-crafted bungalows are surrounded by a lush tropical “food forest” of cacao, coffee, coconuts, vanilla and jungle fruits. Local cooks prepare delicious healthy meals made from vegetables grown in the lodge’s organic gardens and sourced from local farmers. The lodge also uses natural cleaning products made from eucalyptus oil, baking soda, linseed oil and natural essential oils, as well as using natural, locally produced liquid soaps and insect repellents made from Neem, Citronella, Patchouli and Vetiver.
Sarinbuana Eco lodge aims to combine best business practice with best environmental practice, maintaining amicable, open communications with the local community. As well as supporting local villagers through employment, the lodge creates new opportunities for locals to enjoy profits from eco-tourism. Farmers have been trained as trekking guides and take visitors on a range of enjoyable and informative walks through the local countryside and nearby forests, pointing out edible and medicinal plants and explaining how they live and work. Guests can also learn new skills from local people such as Balinese wood and stone carving, calligraphy, Balinese massage, how to prepare local herbal medicines and play traditional Balinese instruments.
Beyond the resort itself, Norm and Linda are still very active in the village. Norm runs the local kids’ football team and Linda teaches English classes for local children. In 2006, they were instrumental in seeking a $20000 Seacology Grant for the area. This paid for a 17m x 12m Community Hall in the village, 2 computers for the school and 1 for the village office, “NO TAKE” signs and pathway improvements in the rainforest, plus a 15-piece Gamelan orchestra for the children.
The recipient of a Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award, Sarinbuana Eco Lodge stands out as an impressive example of how environmentally and socially responsible approaches to tourism can have a positive, sustainable impact on the natural and human resources that draw people to Asia’s most beautiful destinations.