Tarun Melwani is director of Bisma Eight, a hot new boutique hotel in Ubud, a hilly, lush oasis on the tropical island of Bali, Indonesia.
“Bisma Eight is a part of the unique Ubud experience,” Tarun says. “We help people discover and define what Ubud means to them and we strive to create singular moments that surprise and delight… Ubud means something different to everyone, and Bisma Eight is what Ubud means to us. We want to share it with you.”
Bisma Eight is just the first project of Bali-based hospitality company BIJA, which Tarun and Creative Director Suraj Melwani are helping to oversee.
Below are Tarun and Bisma Eight’s recommendations for living like a local and having a great time in Ubud. Enjoy!
Photo: Hashimoto Tadayoshi / Shutterstock.com
Tegalalang Ceking Rice Terraces (Jalan Raya Tegalalang, Gianyar District)
Often dubbed the icon of tourism of Bali, these three rice terrace landscapes are barely a 25-minute drive from Ubud and offer stunning views of lush, winding panoramas of rice with a respect towards subak, a traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system. Sit at the bottom most bale at the Teras Padi restaurant for a 270-degree view of the entire postcard-perfect valley, and try some of the Indonesian favorites, like soto ayam (a refreshing clear broth soup) and the sate ayam (skewered chicken tenders with sweet soy sauce and local herbs, chilies, and spices).
This is one of Ubud’s most buzzworthy sites and a great place to begin experiencing the exoticism of the town. It is home to the famous Balinese long-tailed macaques. Keep your belongings in your bags, as many of the macaques get a little feisty over coke bottles and especially all things sparkly.
Tegenungan Waterfall (Banjar Kemenuh, Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali)
For a quick nature getaway, this beautiful waterfall sits on scattered rock formations and you can listen to the constant roar of plunging water, and admire the fresh breeze of vapor from the nearby springs. Oh, and it’s only 30 minutes away from town!
Photo: Copper Kitchen & Bar
Copper Kitchen & Bar (Jalan Bisma no 53, Ubud, Bali, +62361 4792 888)
The food is a non-fussed, contemporary approach to dining with modern cooking techniques, styles, and recipes from both western and Asian influences. The space is supported by an organic farm located just down the road and is their commitment to the agricultural traditions of central Bali and belief in sustainable living. You can even pick your own vegetables and have the chefs prepare them in front of you, either for a private cooking session or at dinner. After all, there’s never a better meal than the one grown just steps away from your table. Try the miso beef short rib with potato puree and garlic, arak clams risotto, and bocconcini pumpkin with garden fresh purslane.
Seniman Coffee Studio (Jalan Sriwedari, Ubud, Bali)
Any avid coffee lover must experience a tasting session at Seniman Coffee, a local institution that embraces in-house craft roasted beans, upcycled furniture, and contemporary menu pairings. Their mission in creating the best coffee has been proven through the validation of a dynamic cult following. Owner Rodney Glick is always there to ensure the perfect cuppage to match even the most discerning of palates. Try their crafted espressos and jajanan pasar (Indonesian tea snacks) from their roasting partner, Tetap Happy Coffee Roasters.
FOLK Ubud (Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali; Before Taruna Medica)
This brand new all-day dining concept resembles a Mexican pueblo and a minimalist Balinese craft museum. The menu features Melbourne-inspired favorites with a localized twist, such as smashed balinese avocado on sourdough with bedugul lemons and a wicked soft shell crab burger that you will crave the minute you let yourself out the swivel and saloon-inspired reclaimed-wood doors.
Photo: Dypt Emporium
Ubdy Natural Goods (Jalan Hanoman no 29, Ubud, Bali)
For hand carved teak products, ranging from trinkets to cutlery and plateware, Ubdy offers both quality, smooth-finish souvenirs that will act as crowdpleasers at your next dinner party.
Dypt Emporium (Jalan Gootama no 15, Ubud, Bali)
Features some of Lou Zeldi’s batik and beautiful wood block prints and natural dye fabrics sourced from his heavy scouring tours of Indonesia’s hidden archipelagos.
Threads of Life (Jalan Kajeng no 24, Ubud, Bali)
This is not a typical textile tourist shop, but more of a gallery for authentic Balinese and the broader Indonesian textiles woven from a carefully curated range of materials that make not just great gifts, but also tasteful home decorative items. Oh, and they also support women’s empowerment, fair trade, and have a long slew of textile conservation initiatives!
WHERE TO STAY:
Bisma Eight (Jalan Bisma, Ubud, Bali,+62 361 4792888)
A 10-minute walk to the center of town, Bisma Eight is a boutique hotel experience set within the natural and cultural heart of Ubud. Rooted in the artisan heritage of central Bali, Bisma Eight invokes not only a sense of place, but a feeling of home.
Bisma Eight was designed in collaboration with Arte Architect & Associates of Bali and Fuur Associates of Singapore. Other notable collaborators include Zohra Boukhari of Zohra Boukhari Interiors; Carlo Forzinetti of DE Lighting; and Reynaldo ‘Zapp’ Maldonado of Zapp Design.
From their team to their amenities to their suites, Bisma Eight has been mindfully crafted to encourage an atmosphere of relaxation and immersion. All of the Bisma Eight moments blend seamlessly into one another to form an Ubud experience unlike any other.
Bambu Indah (Banjar Baung, Desa Sayan, Ubud, +62 (0) 361 977 922 / 361 974 357) –
Another recommended option is Bambu Indah, a hotel inspired by local craft traditions, offering thematic villas inspired from both the architectural and agrarian traditions of the Indonesian archipelago and flanked by meandering pathways, rolling hills, and stunning views of the Ubud landscape.
Fivelements (Banjar Baturning, Mambal, Bali, +62 361 469 260) –
Located near Ubud, Fivelements is an integrated wellness company offering nutritional cuisines, spiritual retreat packages, and traditional bamboo architecture to highlight eco-friendly practices and sustainability that is core to the company ethos.
Lead-In Image and Hotel Photographs Courtesy of Bisma Eight