BALI UPDATE #2 - GOING NORTH: OUR STAY AT SUMBERKIMA HILL PRIVATE RETREAT, BALI
Collaboraiton with Sumberkima Hill
Hi everyone 💛
Last week, I posted our first Bali update on our stay in Seminyak, where we stayed at the beautiful Montigo Resort for the three first days of our trip. If you didn’t get to read it, you can still read the entire post right here. We’re so happy with our decision of starting our Bali round trip in the Seminyak area, since not only is this area home to some beautiful beaches as well as interesting art galleries, shops and restaurants, but it is also very close to the airport in Denpasar, which makes the Seminyak area the ideal place to start your Bali round trip.
However, Seminyak and the surrounding areas are probably also some of the most touristed areas of the island. Thus, if you’re looking to experience the more authentic and untouched parts of Bali, I can strongly recommend you visit the north and specifically the northweat part of Bali, where the village of Permuteran and Sumberkima is located.
Getting from South to North Bali
After our stay in Seminyak, we went all the way up north to Sumberkima Hill, where we were to spend the next four days at Sumberkima Hill.
In terms of transportation in Bali, I can strongly recommend you get a driver, who will take you wherever you want to go basically. Finding a good driver in Bali is relatively easy, since there are so many drivers all over the island.
We paid 650.000 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), corresponding to 325 Danish kroner, going all the way from South to North, which is really cheap considering how far we went. In general, you can expect to pay around IDR 400-500k for a driver a half day and IDR 600-700k for a whole day. As you see, getting your own driver is definitely the most convenient way of getting around if you ask us. If you’re going to Bali in the near future, I can pass my two contacts to you.
Another point worth mentioning is the Bali traffic, which can be rather chaotic and delayed, depending on what time you leave. If you go early in the morning (i.e. before 8am), traffic typically flows smoothly, yet if you leave after that time, your estimated time of arrival is likely to change. We experienced that quite a few times while in Bali until we finally learned that we’d have to leave or be at a point of departure at least one hour prior to the agreed time. Just a little tip that will make your journey flow a little easier. 😉
SUMBERKIMA HILL RETREAT
On the Northwest side of Bali, we were so lucky to have partnered up with Sumberkima Hill Retreat, which takes its name from the small seaside village in which it is situated, namely Sumberkima.
As mentioned, Sumberkima is situated on the Northwest part of Bali close to the (slightly bigger) village of Pemuteran, and borders Barat National Park from where there is about 10km to Menjangan Island, which offers THE best diving and snorkeling options in Bali (more about those later in this post).
Climate at Sumberkima and north Bali
Sumberkima and northern Bali in general is drier and has less rainfall compared to other parts of Bali. Even during the rainy season, it rarely rains continuously; it is common to experience a few showers in the morning or evening/night, and then the clouds break. Also, Sumberkima is less humid compared to other parts, which makes the air more pleasant around here – perhaps due to less pollution, I’m not sure, but coming straight from the south, we actually did feel the air was fresher up here.
So, the way it works at Sumberkima Hill is that Bernard and Jane help building villas that basically everyone can purchase, live in and also rent out, where the latter is managed by the staff at Sumberkima Hill. It functions as a community in the sense that there are shared central facilities like restaurants, cleaning, transportation and shuttle service, a yoga pavilion, spa, massage etc., which makes it quite like a boutique style resort. Super cool if you ask me.
Another cool feature of the Sumberkima Hill project is the focus on sustainability; not only are the majority of materials used sustainable (e.g. bamboo), they use natural spring water, collect and store rainwater, use energy efficient equipment and solar power to supply part of the energy needed, while simultaneously aiming to positively impact the local community by engaging and hiring its people to work at the place. I really love and appreciate when projects like these take more than mere profits into account.
Our Villa – Villa Gajah
… was so incredibly beautiful, and definitely one of the most beautiful places both either of us had ever stayed at before – especially when taking the scenic and highly picturesque surroundings into account as well. I mean, look at this paradise.
Villa Gajah is a 3-bedroom villa suitable for 2-6 people. All bedrooms have their own private bathroom, whereof two are outdoor showers. This was such a cool feature being able to shower under the open sky – especially at night where you could see the moon and all the stars.
In our villa, there was a large combined lounge/living room and kitchen in one with windows on three sides that all could be opened to fully enjoy the beautiful landscape of Sumberkima Hill.
And now to our favorite part of Villa Gajah, namely the outdoor area and garden with its beautiful round infinity edge pool overlooking the lush green landscape at Sumberkima Hill. It was so peaceful and quite here – basically a magical experience.
Below the house itself, there was this cozy veranda space with loungers as well as the cutest and most comfortable swing bed. Although the weather is typically better in the north, we did have one rainy day, and that’s where the veranda came in handy. Sitting down here enjoying our breakfast was soo cozy.
Dining at Sumberkima Hill
There are two restaurants at Sumberkima Hill; one called Suma and another called Senia. They are open to guests of the villas, but also people from outside can drop in and enjoy one of their delicious meals.
Breakfast from Restaurant Suma
You can either enjoy breakfast at the Suma restaurant – which is beautifully located on the northern part of the hill, so you can enjoy a panoramic view of the bay of Sumberkima and the mountains to the south – or you can have your breakfast served at the villa. We chose the latter option, as we wanted to spend as much time as possible at this lovely spot. After all, we were only here for three nights, and time really flies fast, when traveling like this.
Romantic Sunset Dinner at Restaurant Senja
Ok, so I’m not sure if we just have an aura of romance around us (I like to think so, haha :D), but… nonetheless, even at Sumberkima Hill, we were invited for a romantic sunset dinner – lucky us hihi. We got there early just in time for sunset.
However, even though Sumberkima and the Permuteran area are considered to be among - if not the the driest areas on the island, you will, as mentioned, experience some rain in this area – and of course it started raining just when we sat down and were ready to order. 😏 Luckily, the Senja restaurant is super cool and there’s almost as amazing a view form inside as there is from the outside, so we were totally fine moving our table inside.
For dinner we were free to order what we wanted form the menu so we (as always) opted for some of the more Balinese and Asian specialties, and basically everything we had here was so tasteful and delicious. I think Senia Restaurant served us the best chicken curry we had our entire trip, and that says something, as we had one almost every evening – Bali ritual, I suppose, haha.
If you’re in the area, I can definitely recommend you swing by, especially for dinner, which was very delicious at the Senia restaurant.
Activities at Sumberkima Hill
Even though the north part of Bali is a lot quieter compared to the south, there are still plenty of things to do here – especially around Sumberkima Hill as well as the Permuteran area, there are LOTS of activities, sights and attractions that indeed are worth visiting.
For this post, I've chosen to focuse on activities AT Sumberkima Hill, and then I've made a seperate post on activities AROUND Sumberkima Hill, such as diving and snorkeling options at Menjangan Island etc. 😊
Yoga at Sumberkima Hill
At Sumberkima Hill, you will find the coolest yoga studio with the most spectacular view. Doing our morning yoga class here was nothing short of amazing. I mean, look at this view. Also, if you get up early enough (around 0530am when we were there in April), you will see a pretty spectacular sunrise as well.
Sumberkima Hill also offers actual classes taught by their teacher, Erna, who gives private and group lessons for beginners and medium level. However, since we’re used to doing lots of yoga, we just did our own program, and that is absolutely fine – you can use the studio as much as you want as long, as there are no classes taking place.
Hiking Around the Hills
The landscape and scenery of Sumberkima Hill is diverse, incredibly beautiful and is perfect for hiking. In fact, this part of the island is home to some of the most beautiful Hindu temples you’ll find in Bali.
Both Martin and I love hiking, so this was a great area for us to visit.
One morning, we started our day with a small morning hike to a small temple in the nearby area. Since the area isn’t very touristed – in fact, it was probably one of the most untouched areas we had seen in Bali – together with the fact that there weren't many signs, if any, to follow to get to the starting point, we were taken here by some of the Sumberkima staff, who is always happy to arrange transportation to the nearby areas for you.
The hike itself wasn’t more than one hour in total and thus way less than what were used to when hiking. However, that suited us perfectly fine, since already after 9am it gets pretty hot and humid, making it less comfortable to venture our on longer hikes during day. We hiked up tp a small temple on top of a hill, but unfortunately, the temple was under maintenance, so the sight here wasn’t the prettiest after all (haha). The view, on the other hand, totally made up for that though.
Up here (Sumberkima Hill) you really get the feeling of being far away from any civilization really. I can definitely recommend you try one of the hikes in the area. The Sumberkima Hill staff is happy to help you finding a good one.
Yoga and hiking are of course not the only things to do at Sumberkima. However, as we were here for only three days we had to pik and choose what seemed more exciting to us.
If we were to stay any longer, we would of course have to try their treatments, i.e. massages and spa , the cooking classes offered at the Suma restaurant as well as a the canoe trip around the Sumberkima Bay.
Our stay at Sumberkima Hill was undoubtedly one of the best stays we’ve had. Staying up on top of Sumberkima in our amazing villa surrounded by beautiful nature with its beautiful lush green forests, mountains and water everywhere you looked definitely falls under the category of unforgettable experiences.
Even though we were invited here and this was a collaboration, I can strongly recommend it - this is THE place to stay when visiting the north part of Bali. I don’t think it gets any more peaceful, spectacular yet at the same time down-to-earth as what you’ll find at Sumberkima Hill. Do check it out if you ever plan a trip to Bali, which I can strongly recommend you do.
Have a great evening everyone, and safe travels.;-) <3