When I moved to Bali at the end of January, I really wanted to stay in one place and find a quiet daily routine, so I rented a villa in Ubud and spent the first five weeks there. When my mum came over for a week in March, I had the chance to travel outside Ubud and see more of Bali. We stayed at Bloo Lagoon Village in Padangbai for three days and it was the perfect base to discover Bali’s east coast.
Bloo Lagoon Village
Bloo Lagoon Village is an eco-resort designed, built and managed to be sustainable, support the local community and exist in harmony with the land. The location is fantastic: perched on a hilltop overlooking the Balinese coast and the Indian Ocean (you can also see Gili Islands and Lombok in the distance).
If you love being in contact with nature, then Bloo Lagoon Village in Bali is the place for you as you will be surrounded by lush plants and have the chance to see and hear birds, butterflies, frogs and geckos. It is a very different experience from staying in a closed-up air-conditioned luxury resort and I appreciate it may not be the right place for everyone… For me, staying at Bloo Lagoon was a wonderful experience and so I really wanted to share this post to tell you what I loved about it.
I loved being so close to the nature, waking up at sunrise, sitting on the terrace overlooking the ocean and Mount Agung, listening to the sounds of the nature around me. I also loved learning about the ethos of the eco resort, interacting with the Balinese staff, eating fresh and flavourful dishes at the resort’s restaurant.
Bloo Lagoon Village is located in the small port town of Padangbai, about one hour and a half from Bali International Airport. Many tourists pass through Padangbai everyday to hop on a fast boat to Gili Islands and Lombok. However not many tourists choose to stay here, so this area of Bali is not much touched by tourism.
Spending a few days in Padangbai and exploring the surrounding area is a great way to experience authentic Balinese life, food and culture.
The main attraction is the Blue Lagoon, a small white sand beach that is renowned among locals and tourists for snorkelling and diving. There is soft coral and an amazing array of tropical fish.
Pasir Putih, a long stretch of white sand beach is 30 minutes to the north of the resort.
I decided to stay at Bloo Lagoon Village because of a serendipitous encounter. One day I joined a group of foreigners going to visit a high school in Manggis, near Padangbai, in Bali. We were invited by one of the school’s teachers as he wanted to connect youngsters studying at the Hospitality school with English-speaking foreigners. We spent a few hours at the school and there I met Marita, one of the owners of Bloo Lagoon Village. That very same morning, I had googled Bali eco resorts and found Bloo Lagoon’s website. As Marita introduced herself and told me about the resort, I remembered the website page still open on my browser at home!
I knew it wasn’t just a coincidence and so, a few days later, I booked my stay for two nights at Bloo Lagoon Village.
Bloo Lagoon is also much more than just an Eco Resort. It’s a creative environment aimed to enrich the lives of both the local Balinese and guests.
They local village people wherever possible and endorse a mutual skills exchange so that all parties can benefit from co-living and co-working. For example, the villa residents and guests provide language teaching, diving, computer skills, cooking, health techniques, accounting skills, building skills, while the locals teach their local language, ecology, customs, craft ways, culture, religion.
Bloo Lagoon Villas
There are 25 villas perched on the hill top, all different in size, shape and interior design. They are situated around existing trees and built in Balinese style and semi-open air to allow fresh breeze to come in. The resort’s walls were built using local mountain stones.
The villas are rented for short and long term by all kinds of people as homes, retreat spaces, art studios and holiday destinations.
My mum and I stayed in a 3-bedroom villa with dining room and kitchen, large terrace and two bathrooms. One of the rooms had A/C, one had the best view of the ocean and the other was on the mezzanine.
The Bloo Lagoon architects kept the villas consistently simple and small to keep in line with the village ecological ethos.
They continue to incorporate relevant new technologies to make the place more sustainable as time passes. Making the resort 100% sustainable is of course the ultimate aim of Bloo Lagoon and hence they do whatever possible to reduce energy and water waste. For example, they channel rain and water from showers and sinks to artificial lake and ponds, which are planted with aquatic plants and are home to fishes and frogs. The grey water is used for irrigation of the garden.
The ocean off the Bali coast is a designated conservation zone, so the team at Bloo Lagoon work towards teaching the local village how to best preserve this beautiful site, the pristine marine life and coral diversity for future generations.
Helix 64 Restaurant
There is a restaurant inside the resort where guests have buffet breakfast in the morning and à la carte lunch and dinner during the day. Helix 64 is situated above the Spiral Spa and has one of the most extraordinary panoramic views of Mount Agung and the ocean.
The restaurant menu is a mix of Balinese and western dishes. They cook everything in the restaurant’s kitchen using fresh herbs and green vegetables from the resort’s organic garden as well as locally sourced ingredients like palm sugar, cashew nuts, coconut oil, farm eggs and sea salt.
One of my favourite dishes were the Asian Bowl with Shrimps, Rice Noodles, Pickled Carrots, Cucumber, Bean Sprouts, Steamed Moringa, Ginger, Chili, Sesame Oil, Lime, Peanut Sauce, and the Kare Sayur, a traditional Balinese Vegetable Curry, Farm Vegetables and Red Rice.
You cannot visit Bali without getting at least one traditional Balinese massage. The spa at Bloo Lagoon offers many different treatments, I actually tried an Hawaiian style of massage there. I generally do love Balinese massage as it’s a gentle massage done with aromatic oils that helps to relieve tension in the body without being applying too much pressure on the muscles.
Excursions and Activities
Bloo Lagoon Village was built to preserve and enhance the beauty and integrity of the local culture. With the same ethos of skills sharing as I mentioned before, guests are invited to immerse themselves in the local Balinese life by taking day trips and joining activities in the village of Padangbai.
One of the recommended tours is to the traditional village of Tenganan, home of the Bali Aga community with its special double ikat textiles, the Ujung Water Palace, the water palaces at Tirtagangga and the mother temple at Besakih.
One of the things I loved the most about Bloo Lagoon was the complimentary one-hour vinyasa yoga class every morning at 7:30. The yoga shala is high up and open air so you feel completely surrounded by the gorgeous Balinese landscape.
Barong Dance in Padangbai
Finally, if you happen to be visiting Padangbai one of the days when the Barong dance is planned for, don’t miss it. Barong is a dance performed by actors wearing big costumes and masks to portray the battle between good and evil (a lion against an evil witch).
The ceremony is held at the main temple every two weeks on Sundays for three months, on the day of Kajeng Kliwon. You will find the dates on Bloo Lagoon’s website.
Disclaimer: I received a discount to stay at Bloo Lagoon. I paid for meals, spa treatments and excursions. All opinions are my own.