The Jungle Oasis in Selat
Length of Stay: 2 Nights
As I sit down to write this, I am half typing and half eating some Salak (a.k.a. Snake Fruit) that the owner, Made, gave to us from his garden. Let us just start by saying that Camaya Bali is far more than any AirBnB experience we've ever had. It’s so more than just a bed and a breakfast. It's hideaway in the jungles of Selat, Bali where there are no sounds of motorbikes or busy city streets.
The property has two different lodging options: a Private Bungalow, and an open style Bamboo House overlooking lush green rice fields lined with palm trees and gardens. They also have a booklet of activities like tours, massages, yoga class, and cooking classes available at additional costs. The Camaya Bali property also has their own small restaurant that serves delicious western and typical Balinese dishes.
Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted by the staff and they took our belongings while we sat down for a complimentary welcome drink. Everyone was so incredibly kind, it was so unusual and foreign to us to have that much attention. We’d just finished traveling in South America a few weeks prior, so this level of hospitality was unexpected.
Amenities: Private Bed, Ensuite, Hammock, Outdoor Shower, Free Breakfast
Activities (not included in price): Rice Field Trekking, Motorbike Rental, Half/Full Day Tours, Balinese Massages, etc
Cost: $64 USD/Night - Sleeps 2
Out of the two Airbnbs in Camaya Bali, we stayed in this one. To be honest, it was quite pricey but we decided to splurge for a couple nights in order to be secluded in the heart of Bali. The property around the lodging really is extrodinarily beautiful. You can walk around to explore the lush green nature, or kick back in a hammock to enjoy the colorful sunsets. If you wake up early enough, you'll can even see Mt. Agung in the near distance.
Amenities: Two Beds, 1.5 Bath, Hammock, Balcony, Outdoor Shower/Hot tub, Kitchen, Free Breakfast, Free Scooter Rental
Activities (not included in price): Rice Field Trekking, Half/Full Day Tours, Priavte Driver, Balinese Massages, etc
Cost: $286 USD/Night - Sleeps 4
This Bamboo House has gained quite a bit of popularity on instagram. So much that it's booked out nearly a year in advance! We didn't actually stay in this house because it's out of our budget and isn't available anytime soon. But we made friends with the couple that was staying there during our time at Camaya Bali.
They checked out early and said we were more than welcome to take a look inside the famous bamboo house. We got to take some cool pictures while we had the place to ourselves for about an hour. It turns out we were very lucky since normally it costs about $70 USD to do an hour photoshoot at the Bamboo House!
See the Selat Rice Fields
Selat is roughly 45 km (28 miles) north east of Ubud. The drive takes just under an hour and a half, but you will drive through an amazing landscape of rice fields and farms. The climate of this side of the island feels much different than the hot beaches in the south. The rice fields in Selat are high above sea level resulting in cool and moderate temperatures throughout the day/night.
The first picture below is actually at Mahagiri Panoramic Resort & Restaurant. This open style restaurant offers a stunning view overlooking working rice fields while you eat your meal. The food is decent enough but one review summed it up perfectly, 'you don't go for the food - you go for the view.'
Each of the Airbnb listings at Camaya Bali come with a free breakfast with your choice of an omelette, a banana pancake, or scrambled eggs and toast. The first course of breakfast comes with your choice of tea or coffee and fresh fruit.
Lunch and dinner are also delicious and fairly reasonably priced, but the portions are moderate (as with most Balinese dishes). Nonetheless, the restaurant is an intimate experience with only 4 tables that overlooks the working rice fields. At dinner you will experience a beautiful sunset painting the sky a blend of fiery orange colors. If you ask Made he will even play softly relaxing music on his handmade Gambang, a balinese style xylophone made out of bamboo.
Made, the owner of Camaya Bali, built both of the Airbnb residences on the property. In his presence you can feel the energy of someone that is a figure head in the community. Made says that everything he does is for his family, and wants his guests to feel as though they are kin.
Opening only a few years ago, he has employed his family and friends to help with the upkeep and intended expansion. In March 2019, he hopes to open up two more bungalows on the property thus doubling his business and opening up more opportunities to improve the lives in the members of his community.
Our overall experience with Camaya Bali was much more than we had expected. The hospitality was a bit overwhelming at points since we really weren't used to that level of attention. However, the staff are more than willing to give your private space if you ask them. On the flip side, they are always eager to help you plan your day or give you advice about what to do in Selat.
Their list of activities to do is quite expansive:
- Motorbike Rental: 60,000 IDR per day (~$4.28 USD)
- Balinese Massage: 125,000 IDR per person (~$8.91 USD)
- Tours and Treks: 150,000-1,000,000 IDR (~$11-$71 USD)
- Tours vary from trekking in the rice fields around the property to half and full day tours around local landmarks that include a private driver.
- Private Driver: 250,000 IDR (~$17.82 USD)
If you're planning on coming to Camaya Bali, they let you know that it is a pretty remote location (roughly 80 minutes to Ubud) so you will be paying extra for the seclusion. There are no ATMs or shops within walking distance, but they are just a short motorbike ride away. Make sure you bring plenty of cash because credit cards are not accepted.
We wanted to give it a shot to experience a couple days in luxury but it was definitely not what we were used to. If you're a backpacker in a budget, then it might be worth picking a more budget friendly lodging like a hostel closer into town. Nonetheless, the couple we met staying in the bamboo house was celebrating their anniversary and had an absolute blast making the most of everything Camaya Bali had to offer. This property certainly caters to a more 'luxury' experience so be prepared for the price tag if you want to soak it up here 🙂