Welcome to the jungle
Only yesterday we were languishing in a three-hour customs line at Roissy, when today we woke up to the sounds of geckos and starlings in a four-story, all-bamboo Ibuku home. Built on a steep ledge overlooking the Ayung River valley, Sunrise Villa is completely open air, a cross between the Lost Boys' and the Keebler elves' respective treehouses, if the Keebler elves were rich, Asian, and baked fortune cookies.
I never wanted to go to Bali on account of its party island reputation, but Green Village changed my mind with the promise of less-impact living. We don't need air conditioning thanks to ample tree cover and circulating cool breezes. Instead of satellite TV, we listen to the rushing river and watch fat lizards scurry across the vaulted ceiling.
Green Village and sustainability
Green Village's towering homes rise radially from slopes surrounding the ravine, constructed without the aid of cranes or heavy machinery. Careful measures were taken to minimize environmental impact, including a point foundation technique eliminating the need for retaining walls. Locally sourced bamboo, natural stone, copper, and banana leaf form the basis for beams, pipes, furniture, and fixtures (even outlets are bamboo). Bamboo's flexibility, tensile strength, short growth cycle, and carbon sequestration potential make it ideal for designer Elora Hardy's sustainable community.
Each home is supplied with natural spring water and organically grown fruit and vegetables cultivated on-site. We had coconut water and mango juice from trees outside our bedroom, and green sweet potatoes in delicious nasi saleh prepared fresh to order. The nearby Green School boasts a living food lab and raw food bar. Five of the eight villas are long-term rentals, housing families from Australia, Singapore, and America, among others. They're friendly and host potluck dinners in the common area.
Zero-waste travel in Bali
We flew Malaysia Airlines, which meant real plates, glasses, fresh food and unpackaged blankets (not to mention perfect service and brand-new episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians). All I needed was an empty canteen (refilled after customs) and cloth bag of dried fruits and nuts from the bulk bin.
I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to tap water, but water in Bali is non-potable. Local Indonesians don't drink it- Dannon delivers weekly. Green Village furnishes homes with a 19L jug for drinking, returned and refilled after each use. To save plastic, boil tap water for tea, coffee, and teeth-brushing. Carry a canteen and use various refill stations around the island.
Bali packing list
For two weeks, I brought two linen t-shirts, two bikinis, a silk sweater, espadrilles, and a pair of jeans. Toiletries consisted of a bamboo toothbrush, Aleppo soap, homemade bug repellent, hemp towels, homemade sunscreen, and a jar of baking soda. Green Village left us squares of black volcanic sand soap, the best stuff ever- wrapped in banana leaf, it's exfoliating and makes pimples disappear overnight. They gave us a bottle of Utama Spice bug spray, synthetic-free, cruelty-free repellent handmade in Ubud from essential oils.
So far our schedule is this: wake up at 5:30 with the sunrise. Cross a little bridge over the ravine into our pergola and drink homemade chai tea. Wash in the copper soaking tub or rainforest shower. Breakfast is fried rice or local nuts and berries in milk with juice from fruits grown on-site. Explore the valley before lunch (sate lilit and grilled watermelon salad). Read under a palm tree, nap, walk through the bamboo forest, chat with neighbors, and eat dinner watching the sunset. We use Balinese cloth napkins and real silverware and dishware every day. There are even plastic-free GE electrical fans made of cast iron with bamboo blades!
The gluten-free food and service are spectacular and the house is even better than the pictures. On arrival, we found our private plunge pool under maintenance, which nobody told us beforehand. At first I was upset, but it's such a white girl problem and everybody at Green Village is hard-working and nice, so why complain? Sunrise Villa is bamboo Fondation Louis Vuitton with the preternatural good looks of an Instagram filter.