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  • Writer's pictureDorothy Snyder

The Little Known Piece of Heaven In Bali


Have you ever wanted to do something different with your travel experience? We decided to go off the beaten path and found ourselves in the most fantastic place. We had heard that Bali is a heaven-like experience but the people, the culture, and the island's natural beauty surpass anything we could have imagined. We wanted a unique travel experience, and we found Heaven ..Literally


 

Munduk Heaven Luxury Villa was opened in 2019, just prior to the covid pandemic. Due to the collapse of the tourism market in Bali, this piece of heaven has largely gone undiscovered.


 

It all started with a trip to the travel agent and our decision to visit to Bali, an exotic destination we had heard of but never thought we would get to travel to. There were lots of beach destinations around Denpasar, similar to ones we visit in Cuba or Mexico each year. Then there was the option of Ubud for the more cultural experience. But finally we found Munduk Heaven Luxury Villas. It was a bit “off the beaten path” but we fell in love with the idea of living in a luxury treehouse high up in the hills, waking up every morning looking out over a picturesque valley. It sounded relaxing, refreshing and exciting…just what we were looking for.


Here I will give a guilt-free plug for all our travel agent Clare Dos Santos with RAA; she was a pleasure to work with and took care of the flight bookings, airport to hotel transfers and the hotel itself. With COVID rules and immigration requirements changing daily, having a travel agent who knew what to do was the element that made our trip planning a completely stress free process.... and it didn't cost us anything to book with her! This was a win-win situation. Clare ensured that we filled out the customs declarations online and that we had the pedu-liLindungi app, mandatory requirements for entry to the country. She provided us with a printed package including all of our bookings, reservation numbers and contacts which came in handy numerous times during our vacation. Side note - We got the pedu-liLindungi app ( which seems like a contact tracing app), but not one single person asked to see it, and I had no cell data while on vacation, so I quickly deleted the app once we were through Indonesian immigration.


 

Top Tips

  1. Make sure you have WhatsApp. Everyone uses this app for communication in Bali.

  2. Arrange your travel to/from the hotel before going.

  3. Study up on the culture. Remember to remove your shoes outside of your room or building.When in doubt, just follow what the locals do.

  4. Confirm in writing your hotel booking if you did not use a travel agent.

  5. Bring gastro meds, just in case.

  6. Don't buy water/fluids in the Denpasar airport "for on the plane" once through security, they will screen you again right before you get on the plane and will take any and all fluids.


 

The Flight We were booked with Jetstar, not because we wanted to fly with them, but because they were the only airline that offered direct flights from Adelaide to Denpasar. It was the most uncomfortable and unclean flight we have ever taken, and we have taken some sketchy airlines in the past. I have been in worksite bathrooms that were cleaner. It was a terrible experience, and I was shocked that they don't even offer a glass of water without you first producing your credit card. I swear I heard them say, "in the event of an emergency, masks will fall from the above compartment; swipe your credit card to the left if you would like a supply of oxygen". The poor man behind me ordered 2 cups of tea and two small water bottles, and I believe it was $18.00 AUD. I felt terrible for him, as I think he wanted to tell them to stuff it, but his travel companion wanted the tea. If you are unfortunate enough to have to use this airline, make sure you have a full package of sanitizing wet wipes, trust me you will need them. Don't bother upgrading either; we both paid for an "upgrade," and the only benefit we received was that we were seated in the first six rows, no extra legroom, no extra amenities.


Arrival We landed in Denpasar and made our way through the airport. First, there was the COVID station where they checked our vaccination certificates. Then we went to VOA (Visa on Arrival AKA Tourist Tax), which was $35.00 USD. Don't worry about having correct change, they have credit card payments available for a small service fee. Next was customs. There was a lineup snaking as long as you could see as there were other flights that had landed. I swear there were only 4 customs officers working that day, and we spent the better part of 2 hours standing there taking baby steps towards vacation. Once we completed the passport checks, we grabbed our luggage and went through the immigration line. Since we followed Clare's direction and pre-completed the form online, we just had to swipe the QR Code from my phone and walk through - then finally we were free! There were a bunch of people on the sidelines as we walked past trying to complete the form at the desk as they didn’t do it online, guess they should have used a qualified travel agent! We made our way outside where there was a sea of people holding name signs. Somehow, we were able to locate our driver Komang. He was kind, efficient and got us loaded into his van, and we were off on the next leg of our journey. Komang spoke excellent English and pointed out the sights and landmarks as we drove. His vehicle was clean and well maintained. Although we booked through an agency, Komang owns his vehicles and drives for the agency, like an Uber in Bali. He has a large vehicle that can accommodate 4, or a larger 12-15 person vehicle if you travel with a group.


Contact Komang by email Komangady82@gmail.com




We spent the next 2 hours manoeuvring the very busy streets of Denpasar until the roads melted into the winding beautiful countryside. Climbing up into the mountains, the roads continually got narrower and vehicles (and lots of mopeds) jockeyed for position. We were glad that Komang was skilfully driving while we enjoyed the stunning views of mountains, villages and endless forests. And then we were there! Munduk Heaven Luxury Villas

Munduk is a small town in the northwest of the island that is surrounded by rice terraces, coffee beans, waterfalls, and pristine forests. The people here are incredibly friendly and hospitable (more on that later), and they welcomed us into the Villa, ensuring that we were fed and settled as soon as possible. From the first onsite moments, we knew we would have the best experience during our stay. The resort is built on the side of a hill, with the reception and restaurant at the top.



The resort is equipped with what they call an 'Inclinator", a hillside gondola which the guests can get a ride from the top down to a mid-way point where rooms built on 5 story tall pylons literally float at tree top level. Continue down the gondola and you reach the forest floor rooms, 5 rooms in a building at the bottom of the hill. For those who are willing, there are also elevated walkways and stairs connecting all of the resort, but the walk from the forest floor to the top is quite the hike!

Watch The Video Here!

The Room We were led to Villa 4, and felt at home immediately. As soon as you walk in you are taken by the large open feeling in the room, and the spectacular view offered by the 180 degrees of sliding glass doors and sky-windows above them that allow starlight to fill the room at night. There was also a wrap-around deck with two chairs and a table that hosted our morning coffee dates every day.


The room is centred by a king size bed in the middle that allows unobstructed views through the windows. In front of the bed is a seating area with two comfortable chairs and a coffee table. There is separate shower room, a separate toilet room, and separate double sinks, allowing you and your partner to prepare without being in each other’s way. Just to the side of the bed, there is a two-person whirlpool tub that provides fantastic views over the valley as you bathe. Essential oil, bath salt and bath foam was provided to keep with the luxurious feeling of our treetop home. The double sink area was stocked with toothbrushes and paste, mouthwash, shaving and mending kits that are all individually wrapped. The large walk-in shower has shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and sealed body scrubber, which is bamboo on one side and microfiber on the other. As if that wasn't enough, the Villa also had a loft with another king bed. We didn't use that bed as we thought the view was better from the main bed.




The amenities were impressive as well. There is a counter /kitchenette area with a mini-fridge, coffee pot (a grinder and perk all in one unit), microwave and all the things you need to fix your coffee in the morning. There are "for purchase" items such as snacks, beer, and pop in the fridge or arranged on the counter. On the counter, you will find sealed refillable bottles with the label "Still Water" We used this water to drink, make coffee and brush our teeth, and we did not have any gastro issues. There are also bathrobes, sandals to wear inside the room (as you leave your shoes outside), umbrellas, a hairdryer, an iron and board, bug spray, and USB plug-ins to charge your devices.


The On-Site Amenities Upon walking in the front door of the lobby, you will be greeted by colour and splendour. Someone has taken a great time and effort to express the culture and love of this Villa. No matter where you look, you will find the details that you may have overlooked at first. Sculptures, wood, tile and stone will treat the senses and add to the overall welcoming feeling you get. There is a pool table and a seating area on the main floor by the reception.


On the second floor, you will find the open-air restaurant /bar and an infinity pool that overlooks the valley. This area is where we would spend most of our time. The restaurant is open from 7:00am- 10:00pm. We would often eat our meal and remain in the area, sipping the exquisite Munduk coffee, reconnecting and enjoying the million-dollar views. With the use of elevated walk ways that connect all of the buildings and unobstructed views over the forest, you constantly have this feeling of floating along the forest canopy. It can’t be described and really needs to be experienced.


From the restaurant, there is a glass walkway that takes you to the enclosed eating area. This area is ideal for the perfect wedding or large group gathering. Again, the attention to detail was unbelievable, and we found some artistic detail we had missed the days before.


Below the "enclosed" eating area, you will find the spa. The hotel will call in the spa staff when you want them and will need about an hour to arrange your massage. The prices were great, and the massage was better!!! Pamper yourself and try as many of the massages as possible. I'll admit, this was my guilty pleasure, and I even forced my husband to partake in a couples massage...it was heavenly!



The Food and Drink Our Villa package included daily breakfast, and wow, what a breakfast it was! It included coffee/tea, fresh juice smoothie, fruit plate, bread of choice, and a large breakfast portion. There is a menu that has something for everyone, both Bali style and western style hot breakfast selections. I did not see bacon, but the sausages and eggs were delicious, and I am not usually a sausage fan. The evening prior, the staff brings a carbon paper selection sheet where you can pick what you want, what time you want it, and if you plan to eat in the restaurant or enjoy your breakfast in your room.



Because the breakfast was so large and our tendency to eat fairly late in the morning, we found that we did not require lunch. Most days, we would aim for an early supper and spend time cuddling on the sofa, enjoying the atmosphere while drinking hot Indonesian teas. If you did find that there was a chill, the staff has throw shawls/blankets and propane tower heaters that they are so happy to set up if you request. The Menu Wow, Just Wow. We had the opportunity to meet the chef, and what a chef he is. Chef Febry is one of the most talented chefs that I have had the pleasure to know. This man has one priority, the guests' happiness. The quality of the food and the presentation demonstrates the care and ability of Chef Febry and his team. When we had a moment to speak with him, we found out that he was educated abroad, and he is so happy to be at Munduk Heaven, and it shows. Each day, seeing his smiling face whenever we entered the restaurant was a pleasure that added to our experience. The food is reasonably priced, and the portion sizes were impressive. Most times, despite our best efforts to finish, the plates went back with uneaten food remaining. The menu has a bit of everything: steak, chicken, seafood, and tofu offered in a diverse international flavour. Even though we were here for 6 days, we didn’t get a chance to try every dish we wanted.

If there was ever a point when we couldn't decide what we wanted to eat, Chef Febry was the first to offer "off Menu" items. Teppanyaki, romantic dinner, tabletop grill...he was happy to oblige; he can even provide a one-on-one cooking class. Yes, there is a charge for these services, but they are entirely worth it! Just ask the chef if you need some inspiration.

No matter what you order, the staff will ensure that you are happy. I would recommend that if you have a special preparation request or a food allergy, use google translate to ensure the information is relayed appropriately (you don’t want to take a chance of miscommunication when medical conditions may not be fully understood). The Drinks If you are a drinker, you will be happy knowing they have a very well-stocked bar, and if you enjoy a hookah (shisha), while you drink, there are full set-ups at the bar for your pleasure. The drinks are reasonably priced and made with care. There is a wine selection that you can purchase by bottle. We also stopped duty-free before leaving Australia and bought a bottle each that we used to have a nightcap or sip while we enjoyed the whirlpool bath when we were back in our room.


Activities There are so many things to do and see in this area, so it is hard for me to list them all. I will say that no matter what you want to do, talk to the front desk, and they will recommend a tour, or they will find you a driver that you can hire for about $10/hour-ish. Be specific about what you want; I am sure they will accommodate. In the alternative, Komang, our driver from the airport, was happy to come to Munduk and take us around. One recommendation I will offer is if you want a guide who will go with you and explain the sights and history, be sure to request that upfront. We took a tour and did not express what we were looking for, and I regret that. Our driver was just that; a driver. He was nice enough, but he was not as interactive as I would have liked.

Munduk Wilderness Tours is an adventure tour operation that is located onsite. They offer tours and adventures throughout the local area and their staff are excellent hosts. We did the buggy off-road adventure and enjoyed every moment, with the driver taking time to show us different plants in the forest and explain some of the local area. The highlight is when they take you dirt/mud racetrack and allow you to drive, getting totally drenched in the process.




The Staff

I left this to last because it is the most important. This is a small resort, and the staff is dedicated to making your experience the best possible. When you first meet a staff member they ask your name and then refer to you as Ms or Mr firstname each time they see you. Whenever entering the lobby or restaurant, they will immediately stop what that they are doing, bow with hands clasped in the customary style, and ask what they can help you with. They will openly engage in chats with you as you ride the gondola, asking how your trip is going and if there is anything they can do to make it better. They will make every effort to ensure have everything you need, as we learned when we made an offhand comment that we might be interested in a massage that day and two hours later they contacted us to confirm if we wanted one.

The staff is amazing, they are polite, quick, and efficient - always keeping an eye out to be ready when needed. They are a huge reason why this resort is so successful at offering the relaxing and restful experience you will get.


I did not get a picture of everyone which I regret, but here are a few of the smiling faces!


In conclusion, There is a significant difference between the forest room and the villas. The forest rooms are very nicely appointed but they are like your basic hotel room. In order to take full advantage of this beautiful place, spend the extra and book the villa. Bali is a land of beauty and wonder, where the people are kind and welcoming, and your experiences will stay with you forever. If you're looking for a place to rest and relax, Munduk Heaven Luxury Villas is definitely worth checking out. With its lush surroundings and dreamy atmosphere, it's easy to see why this place has become so popular among travellers. We were able to have the vacation of our dreams without spending top dollar. We are so grateful to all the staff who went above and beyond to make our stay perfect. Have you had the chance to visit Munduk Heaven Luxury Villas yet? What was your favourite memory of Bali? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!






Dorothy Snyder is the Production Manager for Counter Balanced Publications and, in her free time, a Travel Blogger with a passion for travel and tour experiences. Dorothy loves sharing what she learns while touring the world, with the hope that you will find inspiration for your own adventures. You can see many more travel pictures and recommendations when you follow her on IG @OnTheSpotWithDot







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