A mix of fresh air, refreshing sunshine and a dose of “vitamin sea” are among the common requirements for many people planning fora well-deserved holiday. While exotic islands in Caribbean sounds like a perfect match for this, closer to home there are many destinations within South East Asia that are equally attractive and deserves to be in the list of a perfect getaway destination. While searching for one, we stumbled upon the district of Tejakula in North of Bali, Indonesia. To be even more specific, the village of Tembok within Tejakula.
This is the story of how we pampered ourselves on a short weekend break, the Tembok style.
From the airport in Denpasar, we made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts. Not because we were hungry, but just for me to check out this rare sight of an abandoned plane next to the shop.
A journey up north to Tejakula from the airport takes about 4 hours along small yet scenic roads passing through familiar tourist sites of Ubud and Kintamani. Thankfully, the beautiful scenes of paddy fields and majestic Balinese mountains allow the journey to be more bearable. Upon entering the boundaries of Tembok in Tejakula, the scenery gradually transitions into a beautiful untouched fishing village, a contrast to the busy and touristy settings of southern Bali.
Despite the absence of large hotel chains, finding a place to stay in Tejakula is quite easy thanks to the availability of family-run homestays, boutique hotels and full-board SPA resorts. We stayed for 2 nights in YTL’s Spa Village Resort which is the only 5 star resort in Tejakula.
With such beautiful and balmy settings, activities in Tembok and the Resort are mainly designed for visitors to attain rejuvenation and renewal, or simply some relaxing time with family and friends. The Spa Village Resort carries a wellbeing theme hence everything every aspect of the resort from activities and lifestyle to architecture and cuisine were designed to provide a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Beyond the usual Welcome Drinks, all guests received a nice welcoming foot massage while our bags were delivered to our room.
Traditional jamu drink awaits us in the room.
Yes, there is no TV in the room (there is a common TV lounge), but that is what relaxing is all about.
(OK I was annoyed with the fact there was no TV in the room but I got my iPad as backup).
With only 31 rooms, it doesn’t take long before the staff greeted us by our first names and guests start to know each other.
Spa and yoga sessions are top items on many visitors’ checklist. A session of full traditional Balinese massage is a must as these ancient treatment techniques are passed from generation to generation and has proven to be effective in providing relaxation, improving circulation and re-energizing the body.
Thanks to places like Tembok, Bali has long become yogi’s preferred destination in the region. At beachfront gardens that offer a natural setting in tune with the surrounding environment, it is common to see individuals and groups enjoying their yoga routines.
Accommodations at YTL’s Spa Village Resort in Tembok are usually sold in full board packages which allow us to really enjoy the experience without being worried of what to eat and where to go.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are part of the package but for Muslim visitors, please specify during booking and check-in that you require Halal food. There is Pork on the menu but the Chefs personally met us on our first day giving us assurance that a separate set of kitchen equipment, utensils and halal meat will be used in preparing our meals.
On selected nights, guests were ushered to enjoy traditional performance over dinner. Yes, Bali will come to you when you stay at this Resort.
So what do you do at a resort that is so remote that wi-fi is very slow and there is no TV in the room?
You just improvise and enjoy with whatever you have around you!
But the best part of Tembok and Tejakula is actually the surrounding nature!
For those who love visiting unspoilt nature, there are few attractions around Tejakula that are not-to-be-missed. Bali is known for its scenic golden sand beaches but this part of the Island provides something equally exciting, a long stretch of black sand beaches that remain pristine up till today. Most of the beach goers are locals who enjoy both the view and healing benefits of the black sand.
Another popular activity among visitors is enjoying the sea and sunrise view from a Jukong, a traditional Balinese boat.
On-board this little but stable boats, it is possible to have a 360 degrees view of beautiful nature surrounding Tembok. Mount Batur, the black sand beach and endless view of Bali Sea complements the view of the sun coming out on the same side as Mount Rinjani which is all the way in Lombok. As Tembok is outside the mainstream tourist radar, it is normal to be the only jukong out there enjoying all these amazing sights early in the morning.
There is however a pleasant surprise when we were cruising quietly absorbing the majestic surrounding views. The same area is also a known route for dolphins and we were super lucky to experience being surrounded by schools of playful dolphins in their natural habitat.
As the sun sets, the partying and nightlife in Kuta starts while areas like Tejakula will start to settle down into a quiet evening. This is the time of the day to discover another magical element Tejakula has to offer, a clear night sky full of stars. Pollution-free skies and a noiseless ambience create a serene setting for stargazing. One would just need to look up to enjoy this breath-taking sight throughout the night.
My photos doesn’t do justice of how beautiful the stars were at night. Resort guests were offered the chance to lie down on an inflatable platform on the pool while enjoying a nice relaxing session of stargazing.
After enjoying the stars, guests including us gradually retreat to our luxurious rooms and get a nice sleep after being treated like royalty for the whole day.
And a few hours later, the cycle starts again with a nice sunrise.
That’s just how you roll in Tembok, Tejakula, Bali.
Of course, beyond the border of the resort, there are many other natural attractions. Waterfall, mountains, villages just to name a few. I took a walk to a nearby Mosque for Friday prayer and I made new friends with locals. 🙂
Regardless whether it is for a couple of days or a week, getaways are a great way to get families and friends to spend time together away from the everyday routine of their lives. Like many different parts of the island that offers remote and peaceful ambiance, Tembok, Tejakula is set to please many visitors that appreciate some quiet time while enjoying what nature has to offer.
A simplified version of this story has been published on Malindo Air Inflight Magazine this month.