New Earth Haven, Bali
That time I stayed in an Eco-Dome in the middle of the rice fields in Ubud, Bali.
Admittedly, when I booked this place originally I thought in my mind that it would be a great “experience” but did not necessarily expect luxury or comfort. I thought to myself, “Yes, this is definitely going to be different” and “it is sure to be an experience” but definitely had some concerns about two blonde-haired Southern California girls showing up to a very spiritual, bohemian property with a vegan restaurant. I guess you could say I was even a little nervous about this experience going into it because: a) I did not necessarily expect to feel welcome; and b) certainly did not think we would enjoy all the comforts of home while staying in a bamboo eco hut, surrounded by all the elements (translation: bugs and critters) in the middle of the rice fields. Boy was I pleasantly proven wrong.
I’ll start with the property itself. It’s a bit far outside of Ubud—about 15 minutes or so by car—in the Tegallalang area (this actually proved to be a positive). We intentionally chose something further away from town because we also had booked a villa in town for part of our stay, so I wasn’t worried about necessarily being right in the middle of the action. This was a huge plus because it meant our surroundings were super unique, very quiet, and offered us an example of what the locals in the area live like.
We pulled up to the property and were greeted by people at an outdoor reception desk on the left side of the road, which serves as the entrance to the main property and the restaurant, with the main house and one of the villas actress the road on the left side. There are actually only three places for guests to stay here: the Akasha Eco Luxury Dome Villa, the Villa Akasha Guest Suite, Moonstone Crystal Eco Dome and Amethyst Eco Dome.
The Villa Akasha Guest suite is situated in the main house and is exactly that—a guest suite inside the main house. There you have a beautiful pool inside a gated area. The Akasha Eco Luxury Dome Villa is located just outside the main house, but is a stand alone hut with its own entrance and private en-suite bath. The two eco domes—Moonstone and Amethyst—are located on the opposite side of the road, just south of the restaurant in the rice fields. You actually have to walk about 2 mins down the road and then on a narrow pathway through the rice fields to get to the eco domes, but the seclusion makes it truly magical. You are close enough to the rest of the property to feel safe in an emergency, yet far enough away to have privacy and feel like you’re really out in the elements and experiencing nature.
The restaurant and main area has a lot of great lounging spots where you can either catch some sun, swim in the pool, or even get some work done. We ended up spending quite a lot of time at the restaurant, not only because the food was really phenomenal but also because the vibe was just so laid back and comfortable. We would hole up in one of the cushioned areas, drinking kombucha or local beer, smoking hookah, taking advantage of the WiFi and ordering plates of food when we were hungry. Neither of us are vegan but were both completely blown away by how good the food was. Really—top notch and as good as any trendy restaurant in LA. I could have eaten there every day we were in Bali (and I did eat there every day we stayed at NewEarth).
Though the property and the restaurant were awesome, the villas/eco domes really stole the show. My girlfriend stayed in the Villa Akasha eco dome, while I stayed in the Moonstone Eco Dome (Amethyst was unfortunately booked). The eco domes were super unique—constructed entirely out of bamboo, the eco dome I stayed in had a lounging area on the bottom with seating where a group of people could gather and hang out (perfect for eating dinner or something although we didn’t do that), and had the living space raised up on the second level (which, I assume, is so that there is a smaller likelihood of getting all the critters in your sleeping area, though I really have no idea). You walk up a set of stairs to a bamboo door that opens up to a queen sized bed that is covered by a mosquito net, with a sitting area to the left and a small table to the right. There is a place to hang your clothes and a floor-to-ceiling mirror propped up against the wall. Then there is an opening to a small outdoor “bridge” to your bathroom, where you have a sink and a compostable toilet. Down below, around the corner from the sitting area and just adjacent to the bathroom is another sink area and outdoor shower.
Here is a tour:
I have to say, although I really truly loved the uniqueness of this eco dome and sleeping out in the rice fields, I should warn that the bathroom and shower situation are not for the faint of heart. Having done plenty of camping in my life, the compostable toilet really did not bother me—it was the fear of whatever critters or bugs (specifically spiders) lurking inside the toilet or under the seat that freaked me out. I had an encounter with a 4 inch spider hiding in my toilet in Fiji that has probably left me permanently scarred for life, so perhaps this not a rational phobia. But it was probably also compounded by the fact that a fairly good size spider had taken up residency in my shower area, which meant no showering at night because I was terrified of putting my face right through its web in the dark. However, if you’re used to camping or being out in the elements, I would imagine none of this would bother you. And for me, after a few rounds on the google machine about whether or not Bali has poisonous spiders (and coming to a conclusion that it does not), I was convinced enough that it wasn’t going to eat me and the existence of the large spider as my roommate bothered me less and less each day.
What I actually loved most about staying in the Eco Dome was the peacefulness at night. I wouldn’t necessarily say it was quiet—the constant humming of crickets and croaking of frogs were actually rather loud—but together they created a symphony of sounds that I found to be rather relaxing. You could definitely hear the scuttering of geckos and what were probably small rodents, but—whether it was a rational feeling or not—I felt protected by the cocoon of my mosquito net. The two nights I stayed at the Eco Dome were two of the best night’s sleep I got in Bali. I slept like a baby.
The mornings there were pretty incredible too. In the early morning hours, the hum of the crickets has gone away and there is an eerie silence. The heat against the cooled temperature of the rice field water creates a fog-like mist that hovers a few inches from the fields, creating an ominous, yet peaceful atmosphere. I found it perfect for a quiet morning walk by myself.
Note: one of the only drawbacks about this property is that the rooms really can be accessed by anyone and are not locked, so just keep that in mind. They do provide a safe for your valuables, so that’s good. Ultimately we had no issues with safety or theft, but I would image this could possibly pose a problem.
With all that said, I would stay here a hundred times over. Our stay at NewEarth easily ranks as one of the best experiences in my life and I would highly recommend staying here at least a night or two to anyone planning to stay in Bali.