Things just get better in Electra’s green list of things to do in Bali. For a start, there is chocolate involved.
6. Eat raw chocolate at Big Tree Farms
The chocolate factory is housed in the world’s biggest commercial bamboo structure of 23,500 square feet, known as the Big Tree Cathedral by its creators. It is, in fact, a bamboo cathedral of chocolate. The madcap story to get here makes Willy Wonka look a bit dull in comparison. Through some serendipitous meetings, this homage to chocolate was built through the vision of Ben Ripple and Federick Schilling, beginning in 2011. Their ethos is “economically viable-ecologically sustainable”.
The farm sells other sustainably farmed products such as traditionally produced Balinese salt, coconut sugar, honey and cashews. It works with 14,000 small farmers throughout Indonesia, maintaining traditional practices and supporting communities through initiatives.
The main allure, however, is the tour of the chocolate factory at 2 p.m. everyday. The tour follows the chocolate from “pod to product”.
Tel: +62 361 8463327
7. Shop at BambooKu
Bamboo is not only as strong as steel for building purposes but it is softer than cotton and - some say - silk, when it is made into material. The certified organic Bambooku on Jl. Mertanadi, Seminyak is the place to buy soft sustainable bedding, towels and products made from this versatile plant.
There is a wide selection of sheets and towels as well as some bright striped pajamas, bathrobes and various colored t-shirts. Another interesting product in the store is the Takesumi charcoal from the bamboo plant that can absorb bad odors, purify the air and keep your clothes fresh in rainy season.
The price for bed linen starts from Rp 450,000, towels from Rp 40,000 and t-shirts from Rp 330,000.
Tel: 0361 7807836
8. Visit the Green School and Village
Founded by John and Cynthia Hardy, the Green School opened in September 2008. The compound is hidden in the jungle, spread over the sacred Ayung River. The school’s majestic bamboo structures mix in perfectly with the natural surroundings.
The Green Village adjacent to the school was developed by their daughter Elora Hardy to create architecturally beautiful and sustainable bamboo housing in Bali.
The aim of the school is not only to provide traditional education to children but to incorporate sustainable and environmental learning as well. It aims to raise a generation of children who are more aware of the environmental issues we face globally. They encourage green entrepreneurial skills from a young age in both the pupils’ and local communities.
The community also has a variety of schemes working with local bamboo farmers, villages and children. The school itself is also sustainable through hydropower, solar power and the growing of fruit and vegetables.
The school also runs a scholarship program whereby 20 percent of its intake is local Balinese or Indonesian children. It’s possible to sponsor a child to attend the school.
The school can be visited by joining in the daily tour, which starts at 2:45 p.m. except on public holidays.
Tel: +62 361 469 875
9. Stay at Saribuana Eco Lodge
Perched on Mount Batakaru in Central Bali, Saribuana is a pioneer of ecotourism on Bali that has set an internationally recognized standard.
Founded by Norm and Linda van Hoff in 2000, it offers accommodation in one of five hand-crafted bungalows, healthy organic and raw locally sourced meals and a plethora of environmentally-based activities for adults and kids. There is also yoga in the new bale or massages for those wanting to unwind.
You can immerse yourself in the scenery by join a rice paddy, temple or rainforest trek. The lodge supports a lot of community-based projects that you can participate in, such as cooking classes, woodcarving, traditional medicine and massages.
Rates start at Rp 1,000,000 per night.
10. Buy a Bag in Paradise
The bag is available at Alila Hotels, Uma & Leopold and other outlets. This is a great way to help support local NGO’s and cut back on using plastic bags. Make sure to buy local to fill up your bag - whether it is fruit, sarongs or housewares, in order to support locally made and grown products.
A plastic bag takes 500 years to disintegrate and Bali is producing 750 tons of plastic waste a day mainly from the tourism industry. Bali does not have the capacity to dispose of all this plastic properly and so the island and the ocean are becoming increasingly polluted.
The simple action of buying this bag not only helps worthy charities such as CNN hero Robin Lim’s Bumi Sehat, but will also help preserve Bali’s fragile ecosystem and enduring beauty.