Ever wish you could have enjoyed the wonders of the ancient world? We do. In fact, one of our dreams would be to travel back and experience the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. No such luck, unfortunately, but there is some greenery we can enjoy in 2020: The Hanging Gardens of Bali.
Wait, where is Bali?
One of many islands in the Indonesian island chain, Bali is home to countless acres of lush vegetation that mirror what we imagine King Nebuchadnezzar created in the sixth century BCE. Its most populous city, Denpasar, is located on the southern-most tip of the island; the rest is largely swathed in green. Given its jungle-like makeup, Bali draws in nature-hungry tourists by the thousands every year. In fact, 80% of the island’s economy is driven by tourism.
What are the Hanging Gardens of Bali?
A lush resort tucked away among the dewy palms of the island, the Hanging Gardens of Bali offers modern amenities in a sea of native vegetation. For example, central to the resort is The Hidden Palace, a 21,000-square-foot, multi-room luxury villa originally conceived as a private residence. Inside, opulent rooms await with sheer fabrics draped over four-poster beds; a pool mere steps away; minibars; WiFi; a top-of-the-line sound system; and of course, backdrops of jasmine flowers, poinsettias, bamboo, hibiscus, and hydrangeas. Additional villas (separated from The Hidden Palace) offer similar experiences, dotting the verdant landscape.
What can you do at the resort?
Romance is rich at the Hanging Gardens of Bali, with opportunities for love-strung couples to enjoy each other’s company in quiet isolation, surrounded only by Balinese plants and wildlife. For an added touch of magic, you can reserve a spot in a private pool; the experience includes a luscious dinner, myriad frangipani candles, and the peaceful sounds of nature. Pricing starts at $400/couple.
If you’d prefer something drier, pull up a chair at the Dalem Segara Temple, where a personal chef will prepare you and your loved one a multi-course feast. As you arrive, prepare for a special blessing from a Mangku, a Hindu priest who will complete a purification ritual before your meal. Not surprisingly, perhaps, this meal, too, is surrounded by the low light of candles and the undulating sounds of the Balinese jungle. Prices start at $570.
For more opportunity to commune with nature, take a guided walk through the untamed Balinese wild, learning about plant life and the history of local villages. Be prepared for nourishing drinks and snacks along with way, featuring local fruit and produce. Tours last about 2 hours and start at $15/person.
Alternatively, you can add some speed to your tour with a mountain bike. You can request a guide or head out on your own, but either way, there’s a wonderful web of trails to trek. Prices start at $20/person and go up depending on your guide and their involvement.
Not interested in spending the night in a villa? You can opt for daytime-only experience; these range from Balinese massages, capped with tea and cake to lunch and a swim. Prices run from $45-200/person.
But perhaps the greatest experience of all is soaking in the resort’s crystal-clear pool and looking up at the wild around you; the dwarfing feeling this creates puts life in perspective while simultaneously connecting you with the greater ebb and flow of nature.
What can you do outside the resort?
If you’re keen to go further afield and explore urban life in Bali, head south to Denpasar. You can book tickets to a native Barong Dance Show, visit the Bajri Sandhi Monument (which is a symbol of the island’s struggles through the centuries), or visit a coffee plantation. If you’re interested in shopping U.S.-style, head to Seminyak Village; you can also get more local flavor at the Sindhu Night Market (expect authentic local food and cheap prices).
Or, you can just put your feet up in your villa at The Hanging Gardens of Bali and relish the good life. That’s why you came, isn’t it? Learn more about what the resort offers at hanginggardensofbali.com. You can also read up on Bali’s temples, activities, restaurants, and more at bali.com.