Kubu Carik: Experiencing the “Real” Bali

Imagine waking up to this in the morning.

For all the bungalows and villas that Bali has to offer, there isn’t another place on the island like this one.  Tucked deep into the hills of the rice paddy fields of East Bali, Kubu Carik is an oasis in a sea of a green.   It’s not really a hotel, but rather the beautiful home of one Claudia and her daughter Sara, as well as Claudia’s father Otto.  They are quite the fascinating family, splitting their time between Germany and Indonesia, while traveling the world all at once.

Otto built Kubu Carik from the ground up in the style of traditional Balinese housing compounds.  The short time I spent with the fascinating book Architecture of Bali by Australian-turned-Balinese architect Made Wijaya was just a small insight as to how complex these structures are.   The compound comprises several different buildings, each with a different function: the main sleeping quarters, an outdoor living area, a kitchen and dining room, guest bungalows, and so on.  Much of the space is open-air, with thatched roofs and bamboo shades to keep out the frequent rain.  The Balinese religion also dictates a lot of how the architecture must be constructed — the family temple must be located at a higher elevation than the bathrooms, the master of the house must sleep with his/her head pointing north, etc.

The hillside on which the house is built overlooks endless rice paddies, with Bali’s stately volcanoes rising in the distance.   Stroll down the hill into their vegetable garden, or cool off in the pool while soaking in the view.   Take a deep breath.  You’re in the middle of nowhere, and it feels amazing.

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Kubu Carik’s biggest draw can also be one of its biggest disadvantages.  Its location in Kuhum, Bali is remote enough that most Balinese have no idea where it is.   You’ll need to have them arrange a driver to pick you up from the airport, as the taxis/transports will have no clue how to get there.   If you plan on taking excursions during the day, you won’t have the luxury of bargaining hard for a driver — the going rate for the East Bali area is about Rp 500.000-700.000 per day (including gas) depending on where you want to go.

The location is convenient for enjoying the historic and geographic parts of East Bali, the “real” Bali that has not been completely overrun by tourism: the water gardens of Tirtagangga and Ujung, the salt-harvesting city of Amed, the small town charm of Amlapura, the dive-friendly sites of Padangbai and Candidasa, the active volcanos of Ganung Batur and Ganung Agung, its neighboring areas of Kintamani and Besakih, and of course, the hidden white sand beach of Perasi — the only white sand beach among many black sand beaches in East Bali.

But don’t try and cram too much into your schedule… it leaves a lot less time to enjoy the beauty that is Kubu Carik. End the day on the private patio with a quiet meal cooked up by the lovely house staff.  It will be some of the best Indonesian food you’ll have all trip.  But nothing really beats home cooking, does it?

Kubu Carik
Banjar Kuhum, Ababi,
Kec. Abang, Kab. Karangasem,
Bali – Indonesia
Rate per day: Rp 500.000 (about $55 USD), cash only
Dinner: Rp 25.000-45.000 for main dishes

4 Responses to Kubu Carik: Experiencing the “Real” Bali
  1. gourmetpigs
    May 3, 2010 | 5:35 pm

    What a great find! Do you have any photos of the bedroom part of the bungalow?
    The rates are surprisingly cheap too, I’ll have to keep this in mind for my next trip :) Thanks for the report!

  2. tallnoe
    July 12, 2012 | 9:51 am

    Wow. Gorgeous. Is it at all reasonably close to any diving? Or just more land-based sights?

    • Nancy
      July 12, 2012 | 9:58 am

      It’s actually very close to some great diving… about 20 minutes by car and you can get to Perasi white sand beach, Candidasa and other well-known dive spots. The owner of this place has a sister (also German) who married an Indonesian — the couple lives near Candidasa and owns some bungalows there that you can stay at right on the beach (as in your shower overlooks the ocean). http://www.damuhbali.com/

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