Indonesia Expat
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Take Time Out in Seclusion and Culture at Arkamara Dijiwa Ubud

Arkamara Dijiwa
Reading at the balcony

Ubud has had a special place in my heart since I celebrated my 21st birthday.

It’s Bali’s cultural heartland, providing insight into the appealing Balinese way of life that wouldn’t be feasible in more touristic locations. Ubud’s allure of magnificent old temples, lush green rice terraces, and dark, untamed forests endlessly draw tourists to pay a visit. 

Indeed a lengthy trip from Seminyak to Arkamara Dijiwa Ubud, managed by Dijiwa Sanctuaries, traversing through rice paddy fields and local residences was calmly entertaining. Nearing the resort, the road became narrower, to the point only one car at a time could take turns to enter the driveway. It was as if I was entering the jungle; Ubud’s lush surroundings awaited. Stepping foot into the open-air lobby felt earthy, tranquil, intimate, and quiet. A deep connection to nature was built even before I explored the property!

Staying at Arkamara Dijiwa Ubud, managed by Dijiwa Sanctuaries embodies Ubud’s true essence. It’s a retreat to an evergreen wonderland that combines nature and Balinese culture with a panoramic design serving as a wonderful hideaway deep in the heart of Ubud, far away from the hectic pace of daily life and thus, enabling one to reconnect with their inner selves. 

With its veiled location, seclusion is a trait some people prefer to live in where they can enjoy privacy away from bustling city life. A private property betwixt the jungle, like Arkamara, is a unique opportunity to  experience whilst enjoying nature’s beauty. The serenity of the natural environment to some extent is refreshing and rejuvenating. 

This resort is the true definition of wanting to take time out and stay still. I was, unfortunately, sick throughout my stay. Bali’s whirlwind weather caught up with my well-being. I took it as a signal from the universe to slow down, so I did.

Chill by the pool the whole day; dine at Kakau restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; have a warm bath before bedtime; sleep; and repeat were my activities.

Stretching out approximately a hectare is this boutique five-star resort, located around 15 minutes from Ubud’s city centre. Arkamara can be a holiday lodging for individuals, as well as a relaxing work ambience to find inspiration for business travellers with its 38 units of non-smoking suites and villas, made up of three Suite Rooms (80 sqm), 22 Arkamara Suite Jungles (53 sqm), five Arkamara Pool Terraces, five One Bedroom Pool Villas (150 sqm), two Two-Bedroom Pool Villas (160 sqm), and one Royal Pool Villa (276 sqm).

Wooden carvings
Wooden carvings
Woven bamboo wallpapers
Woven bamboo wallpapers

I can’t stress enough how I feel one with nature here. Verdure accompanied my walk along the pathway to my jungle-view room passing the Kamalini Spa and Kakau Restaurant. Inside, I was greeted by woven bamboo wallpapers, an intricate wood-carved headboard above the king-sized bed, and browns and creams accentuated by a pop of sage while the mosaic floor wielded the room’s liveliness. The spacious, rectangular bathroom had blinders over a window above the bathtub that boosted glimpses of the jungle – now you understand why I cherished my warm baths. And the superstar? The balcony from the third floor looked straight to Ubud’s famed greens, while Arkamara’s extended swimming pool was below. I immediately lay on the lounge sofa to reel in the freshness and stillness with a book I was struggling to finish.

Pathway to Kakau Restaurant
Pathway to Kakau Restaurant

My stomach was rumbling for lunch. Newly checked-in guests, like myself, are provided with a reviving welcome drink at the all-day dining – including afternoon tea – Kakau Restaurant, open from 7am-10pm. The menu exalted Indonesian cuisine with a mix of Western. Kaukau is inspired by Coco or coconut shell, a staple ingredient for many dishes in Bali, and a tree commonly found around Bali symbolising respect and gratitude to the universe. The presence of coconut expands on the menu, creating elegance in authentic Indonesian dishes with much more complex seasoning.

Kakau Restaurant
Kakau Restaurant

The “Main Course” section is a plethora of Indonesian delicacies. The Nasi Goreng Ulam Sari; stir-fried rice with shrimp, fish, squid, fried egg, grilled prawn, acar (pickles), and sambal is a testament to nasi goreng but localised with Bali’s abundance of seafood. It’s definitely a luxe version of the typical nasi goreng one could order elsewhere.

I also ordered the distinctive tasteful and aromatic Ikan Woku; a North Sulawesi dish comprising a braised fish fillet in ginger, turmeric, chilli spices, spring onion, tomato, and hot basil with a side of steamed white rice. The fragrant aroma and spiciness were well washed down by the tantalising fibre and natural sugar-rich Ubud Green; a smoothie bowl filled with nutritional goodness based on spinach, mango, and strawberry blended and topped off with almonds, granola, and coconut flakes. “May all the smoothie bowls I consume here cure my cold!” I affirmed. 

Ubud Green
Ubud Green

With the medicines working their magic in my system, I dozed off for a two-hour nap. As I arose, the balcony called me. Other guests were seen making their way back to their rooms to prep for dinner. It happened to be the cultural night! 

The Cultural Night dinner is one of the events Arkamara holds once a week to preserve Balinese culture for foreign tourists by showcasing traditional Balinese dances and gamelan performances. Kakau was packed with enthusiastic diners immersed in Bali’s affluent culture as they relished a dedicated set menu. I opted to try more of Kakau’s exquisite menu. A waiter recommended the spicy and flavourful Bebek Taliwang; a Lombok-style grilled spring duck paired with water spinach, sambal, and steamed rice. Thank goodness this cold didn’t snatch my taste sense because this Bebek Taliwang was tender and rich in spices that Indonesian cuisine is celebrated for. 

Cultural Night dance performance
Cultural Night dance performance
Bebek Taliwang
Bebek Taliwang

Kakau also provides Western food gathered from other markets. A juxtaposition delight was the perfectly Seared Barramundi Fillet with roasted herbs baby potatoes, sauteed vegetables, and chimichurri. To keep up with my health kick, I ordered a freshly-squeezed orange juice and treated myself to the wholesome Dadar Gulung (caramelised grated coconut formed into Balinese pandanus rolled crepes complemented with strawberry ice cream) and revitalising Coconut Parfait (strawberry coulis, fruit chutney, and vanilla ice cream) as someone announced: “Please join our dancers.” A few guests stood up and gushed as they learned a Balinese dance.

Coconut Parfait
Coconut Parfait

The hot water filled up the bathtub. I dipped inside with eyes closed as another dose of medicine was enacted and momentarily stopped the horrendous coughing – don’t worry, I didn’t snooze here!

Ubud was showered all night long. My eyes gently blinked open. Alas, the universe got me up to my feet with a soft earthquake shaking the furniture around me. “Okay, let’s have breakfast.” I doubted an earthquake happened for a second until a California- native guest asked the same waiter whom I’d asked about this morning’s occurrence. That’s Indonesia for you – a country prone to earthquakes across the archipelago, except for Southeast Kalimantan. 

Breakfast at Kakau is unique. Choose four from among proteins, sweets, carbs, fruits, etc. to make your ideal breakfast. I had a balanced, satisfying meal of sauteed mushrooms, salmon, poached eggs, and a berry-infused pancake with chamomile tea and tropical fruit juice. 

sauteed mushrooms, salmon, poached eggs, and a berry-infused pancake with chamomile tea and tropical fruit juice
Sauteed mushrooms, salmon, poached eggs, and a berry-infused pancake with chamomile tea and tropical fruit juice
Pool day - Arkamara Dijiwa
Pool day

Everyone, including myself, took advantage of the clear day at the pool succumbing to a good read, laps around the pool, or making memories with their little ones. A diverse curation of undeniably exclusive experiences combines seamlessly with all the luxury conveniences and comforts across four themes: cultural experiences, mindful living, culinary arts, and couples’ celebrations. Think morning rice paddies trekking, yoga classes, making Canang Sari offerings, getting to know Balinese secret recipes, gamelan rindik classes, Balinese dance classes, cocktail mixology classes, cooking classes, floating breakfasts, making Balinese boreh, candlelight dinners at the rooftop chapel, and traditional Balinese massages. For explorers with some initiative, Ubud’s tourism destinations are accessible by local transportation apps!

Arkamara Dijiwa Ubud, managed by Dijiwa Sanctuaries is the perfect place for those hailing from Europe, the USA, Australia, and Asia – including Indonesians – who appreciate the culture and uniqueness of design and thirst for exciting travel opportunities and personalised experiences in the name of leisure, honeymoons, wellness, gatherings, and business meetings. This resort is an idyllic getaway in Ubud offering various facilities, including restaurants, spas, conference rooms, the biggest rooftop wedding chapel in the area that caters to 200 pax, shuttles to the city centre, airport transfers, and more. 

“Tonight is BBQ night, please do join us,” a waitress informed me, serving the eclectic Tropical Treat smoothie bowl. “Shame, I have to return to Seminyak today,” I frowned. Someday, I’ll return and savour in the BBQ night, along with joining other activities. Or my wedding.

Jungle-view bathtub
Jungle-view bathtub
Arkamara Dijiwa Ubud, managed by Dijiwa Sanctuaries

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