May 23 2013
Kali Manik is a lovely three-bungalow eco-resort set on the black sands of Bali’s northern coast, about seven kilometres west of Seririt. If you’re looking for a relaxing midrange retreat where you can swing in a hammock, listen to birdsong and not do too much else, you’ve found it. But you could also base yourself here to do some serious north Bali exploration as well, with plenty of activities on offer.
Having stayed at plenty of “eco-resorts” before, our expectations were pretty low — both that it would really be eco, and that it would actually be comfortable. We were pleasantly surprised on all fronts. The buildings — a reception/restaurant, plus a bungalow suited just to a couple, another for a couple that can squeeze in an extra bed, then a two double-bed house (which we took) — are made from a manure/rice husk-based concoction and bamboo, with no air-con and no pool. There’s a large veggie patch where a lot of your meals will be sourced from — and these meals are absolutely top-notch.
We weren’t able to see into the two smaller rooms as they had guests, but they did both have hammocks on their verandas — a crucial part of any real retreat if you ask us. Sadly ours didn’t have one, but it did have a daybed outside that looked onto a little river leading down to the ocean (Kali Manik means “the river is the source”). It was a great spot to just lie back and read, with more birdsong than I would have expected right by the ocean.
The design of the house seemed a little unusual, with the stone-filled bathroom taking the central downstairs space — with even a lounge abutting the bathtub. It was comfortable enough, but the place would best suit a family rather than two couples for this reason.
One double bed is located downstairs, the other upstairs, with amenities like a minifridge, coffee-making facilities and fans included. Water is from a deep-bore well and is kept in a lovely heavy earthenware jug. There’s plenty of storage space too — I could have happily unpacked and stayed at this place for a week or two.
We had just one night here, but spent the morning out fishing with a local fisherman. Other activities on offer include trips to West Bali National Park or other attractions in north Bali including a coffee processing plant, waterfalls, lakes, hot springs and temples (the north Bali tour is 550,000 rupiah per car).
Take a boat out to try dolphin watching or snorkelling, take a Balinese dance or music lesson, learn how to make Balinese offerings, head to the market with a local woman shopping and then learning how to cook a few Balinese dishes, or do some wood carving. You can even learn how to make coconut oil — you see how a day or two here could easily stretch to a week.
Be warned that snakes are found in this area — the information booklet in your room will explain them all… We didn’t see any though.
You could also easily do a trip to Menjangan Island from here — it’s about a 90-minute drive to get to the pier to take you there, where you’ll enjoy arguably the best snorkelling (or diving) in Bali.
Call in a masseuse if you’re feeling lazy — we had a decent rub down in one of the three little salas set by the beach (100,000 rupiah per hour). You can swim on the beach, and there are a few loungers scattered around. The sunset we saw was gorgeous; this isn’t Bali’s most beautiful beach, but it’s a local, working one, which brings its own pleasures.
A real highlight here for us though was simply the exceptional food (order in advance though as it can take a little while to prepare) and the gardens, which were great for kids to go roaming through.
Rates include an excellent breakfast and are reasonable for the quality and seclusion on offer. The Grass Hut is 660,000 rupiah for two people; the Teepee 900,000 rupiah for two; and the Seashell is 1,580,000 rupiah for four people. Rates are reduced slightly for one person and if you stay longer than four days. We called directly; they are not listed on Agoda.
North Bali — 7km west of Seririt
(Look for a sign turning off to the right; head to the end and turn right, you’ll enter the resort if you keep going.)
T: (0362) 706 4888
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