Want to stay at countryside? Simply come to Nyuh Kuning, one of the villages in the Ubud subdistrict remaining to offer a real Balinese life. Its location is very strategic as standing directly behind the Monkey Forest tourist attraction. Precisely, it is located at Nyuh Kuning customary village, Mas, or about 25 km from Denpasar and 15 km from the town of Gianyar.
When compared to other villages, the village of Nyuh Kuning is superior. Other than offering clean and beautiful environment, open and friendly community, sustainable culture, it is also supported by tourism facilities such as hotels and restaurants. Existing hotels have been designed in such a way so as not to disrupt the uniqueness of the village. Even, they seem to perfectly blend into the surrounding environment.
Community of Nyuh Kuning understands very well in maintaining the sustainable environment, so it has special team engaged in environmental matters. With the encouragement of this team, the community is aware of maintaining the plants and always does re-greening. For instance, they make a movement by planting 5,000 frangipani trees at roadside or house courtyard.
Aside from being the typical plant of Bali, frangipani can also be used for ritual parephernalia and even has economic value. Dried flowers can be sold at a good price. People can purchase rice from selling the frangipani. “At first, there is a movement of planting 5,000 frangipani trees. After that, people get the benefits and now it has exceeded the number,” said a local community leader, Wayan Sugiartha.
Interestingly, in the attempt to create a shady environment they do with a ‘smiling’ meditation. In other words, each resident doing activities both planting trees and cleaning up the environment must smile. “Even all the activities are carried out with pleasure or smile,” said the originator of the Nyuh Kuning tourism village.
Frangipani trees indeed make the village leafy. People’s house-front space is very clean and every angkul-angkul (entrance) to house compound is embellished with a pair of statues on the right and left side. Uniquely, every sculpture set on each angkul-angkul is not the same. The design and appearance resemble the residents both in terms of the face and profession.
For example, the sculpture will be in the form of pecalang if the resident serves as the security guard of the village, a tiger describes a king that means the home of kelian and bendesa (chief of village) as well as elephant sculpture means the house of kelian. Village road also looks clean and comfortable because people sweep it simultaneously in the morning.
When entering the village, people will perceive a positive aura. So, do not make a mistake if this village becomes the center of spiritual activities. At least, there are about 5 locations for meditation applying different methods such as laughing meditation, silent meditation throughout the day and there is also smiling meditation from heart to heart. All kinds of these meditations are in great demand by foreign travelers.
According to Sugiartha, the smiling meditation had been well known overseas. Even, one of the existing members was foreign traveler from the USA. Aside from foreigners, local communities were also eager to get involved in the spiritual activity. “On that account, a lot of travelers are fond of staying for long time at Nyuh Kuning,” said Sugiartha while smiling.
Although there had been hotels, many guests from various countries preferred to stay at people’s house (home stay). It happened because they could live together with village community and could enjoy the famous Balinese culture. Nearly 90 percent of the Nyuh Kuning residents operated the home stays. “On average, the home stay is occupied every day. American and European travelers like to stay at home stay,” he added.
Their length of stay varied. Some travelers stayed for a week, a month and even for years. In the event of village meeting, the number of travelers attending the meeting sometimes exceeded the total population of Nyuh Kuning. “We often hold a meeting to discuss about security, environmental sustainability, culture and others,” said the former hamlet head and chief of customary village.
Formerly, many residents of Nyuh Kuning worked as frog sculptor, but today most of them got involved in tourism by managing a home stay, restaurant, art shop and even hotel. Many other residents of the village inhabited by 9,080 people or 276 households ran the business of transportation for travelers. “It is made with a good cooperation with hotel management, so that people are given the opportunity to take their hotel guests to travel around,” he concluded. (BTN/015)