Published: March 9, 2023
Without a doubt, Bali’s most famous village is Penglipuran Village in Bangli Regency. The traditional Balinese village has won titles like Cleanest Village in the World and is amongst the top tourism villages in all of Indonesia.
Tourists from all around the world visit Penglipuran Village to see for themselves the traditional architecture and observe the peaceful way of life. But what few people know about is the hidden Garden Cafe of Penglipuran Village, and what a hidden gem it is!
The cafe is called Cafe Kebun Penglipuran, and as you’ve probably guessed, Kebun means garden in Indonesian, and wow, wow, wow, this place is adorable! Garden Cafe is tucked away a few hundred meters north of the main tourist attractions of Penglipuran Village and the famous bamboo forest. Adorned with tropical plants and quaint ornaments, and plenty of umbrellas for shade, Garden Cafe is a must-visit when in Penglipuran Village.
The menu offers the perfect introduction to traditional Balinese cuisine. Never too spicy but never lacking in flavor, Garden Cafe offers a classic Nasi Goring (Indonesian fried rice), tempeh and tofu curry, and fried noodles. The cafe may be a village base enterprise, but the team behind the concept understands the needs and wants of both international and domestic tourists.
Main dishes start at IDR 20,000 (USD 1.30) and are hearty portions, sufficient to fill you up for the rest of a long day exploring Bangli Regency. Garden Cafe is owned and managed by local resident Made Sukur. She told reporters, “This cafe was established four months ago, but for the garden that contains this ornamental plant, it has been from three years ago.”
Penglipuran Village is committed to preserving and celebrating its cultural heritage, and native plants play a huge role in this. Sukur told reporters how the garden not only serves as a showpiece but also as an essential seed bank. She explained, “Sometimes there are those who immediately buy ornamental plant seeds here, sometimes visitors also enjoy eating and walking while enjoying the atmosphere of this Garden Café. It makes me happy to see it.”
Garden Cafe is open from 9 am until 9 pm every day of the week. The cafe is quiet and quaint, and Sukur and her teams are not planning on advertising their hidden gem to the masses. Like a true traveler’s hidden gem, Cafe Garden is gaining attention through word of mouth and visitors tagging them on social media.
One diner, a domestic tourist, told reporters, “I know this place from social media, that’s why now try to come here, and it’s really very good this Garden Café. Also, the price of the food is also very affordable. I recommend this place.”
Tourism villages across Bali will receive a considerable funding and resource boost this year. This is because tourism leaders on the island want to see tourism more evenly distributed across the island. Tourism villages and community-based tourism initiatives are an incredible way to dive deeper into the treasures of Bali.
Since the pandemic, dozens of villages across Bali have come together to launch tourism village programs of their own. From waterfall hopping to rice field tours, from coffee plantation experiences to artisan crafts, Bali’s mass tourism sector may dominate the field, but it is the family and community-run tourism initiatives that visitors remember the most fondly.
A visit to Penglipuran Village in Bali is an absolute must during a visit to the island. Located a one-hour very scenic drive from central Ubud, a visit to Penglipuran Village can be one-stop off on a day tour of Bangli Regency. Other stunning locations in Bangli include the Mahapraja Bangli Viewpoint, Tukad Barong Waterfall, and Krisik Waterfall.