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Desa Cepaka

Sungai provides guests with unrivalled levels of comfort and exceptional access to the region’s geographic, historic and cultural marvels.

A new wave of experiential travelers are seeking more authentic, personal stays that leave lasting impressions. There is a burgeoning desire to stray from that beaten path and understand how the locals live, work and play, and perhaps give something back in exchange for that understanding.

Bali, Indonesia

The island of Bali is part of the Republic of Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world with over 18,000 islands. Bali is surrounded by the Bali Sea and the Indian Ocean. It’s positioned in Southeast Asia, in central Indonesia, and sits just to the east of the island of Java and just west of the island of Lombok.

  • Coordinates – Latitude/Longitude 08° 39′ S, 115° 13′ E
  • Population – 4,225,000
  • Capital City – Denpasar
  • Languages – Bahasa Indonesia (plus regional dialects), English, Dutch
  • Currency – Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
  • Religions – Hindu (95%), others are Muslim, Buddhist, Christian
  • Land Area – 5,632 sq km (2,174 sq miles)


Along the riverfront is where you can find Sungai and Sungai Gold, elegantly perched to provide unimpeded views of the vast palms and tangled jungle all around.

Whilst staying with us in Cepaka you can choose to witness typical traditional life at first hand. Working together towards a common goal, men and women set out at dawn to their fields, ploughing, irrigating, planting, and harvesting. In the village compound they gather to make delicate and colourful offerings for their ancestral forbears and Hindu deities, and carry out other village activities, which involve all members of the community. Balinese call this “gotong royong”, which means helping each other, or community teamwork.

This community spirit, untiring religious devotion, and the fact that the people work closely with nature epitomize their “trihita karana” philosophy of the interconnection between man, nature and the divine. There are no restaurants, cafes or even shops bigger than tiny stores selling the most basic supplies. There are just lanes of typical sprawling Balinese house compounds, several temples including the main one that we are fortunate to sit below, and a handful of workshops producing some of the handcrafts that fill tourist shops in Ubud or Kuta. Mobile phones, motorbikes and televisions are the modern day additions. We are part of this community.

The cultural benefits of staying within a beautiful traditional village are compelling. The packaging of culture is inevitable with mass tourism, and in Bali, visitors typically encounter it through carefully choreographed performances. You won’t find anything staged in this authentic village. But that doesn’t mean you won’t witness a temple ceremony or an even more intimate rite of passage in someone’s home. It really just depends on what’s happening that day.

Our guests delight in the opportunity to be shown around the rice field-cocooned local village by the manager MADE, including a visit for children to the local primary school, and maybe even a visit to his own family temple and compound. MADE’s knowledge of the village is laced with folk wisdom passed down through the generations.

The Balinese take the mundane and elevate it to a celebration, giving thanks for every aspect of their life. The amazing thing about being in Bali is that you feel part of the culture and can’t help but be caught up in the spirit.

We found Cepaka has something very spiritual and magical about it.
Kylie Hayes