Bali is known for its natural beauty and relaxed energy. With sacred rivers, awe-inspiring volcanoes, lush jungles, stunning rice paddies, and postcard-perfect beaches, this tropical island has been drawing paradise seekers from around the world for decades. The warmth and openness of its people, the powerful spiritual energy and the delicious food keep those same travellers coming back year after year. Among all the towns and cities on the island, the town of Ubud stands out as Bali’s peaceful and spiritually-rich, cultural and artistic mecca. It has become a must-visit attraction that draws in more and more tourists every year.
This tourist boom is a double-edged sword. While the increased revenue from tourism has elevated the standard of living of local residents, the increased number of visitors places massive strains on existing tourist infrastructure. While some of the challenges, like increased road traffic, are inconveniences, issues like water usage, electricity demands, and waste management pose grave risks to the future well-being of the town and island. In Bali, an average tourist uses 2,500 litres of water per day while the locals use only 180 litres. The island’s garbage dumps are reportedly overflowing. In addition to that, 60% of Bali’s water-catchment areas are drying up, threatening freshwater resources. In order to preserve Ubud and Bali as the paradises they are, strong, environmentally-sustainable measures must be taken by the local tourism industry and by the guests who visit.
Mana Earthly Paradise is an eco-resort founded to model an environmentally and socially responsible way of hosting tourists in Bali. Located in Ubud, Mana provides a beautiful vacation experience for the eco-conscious traveller. The eco-experience is amplified by the connection that the property offers with the surrounding farmland, the local environment, and the host community. The ancient Balinese worldview of Tri Hita Karana holds that all lives should be lived in “harmony with all people, harmony with the Gods and harmony with the environment”. This philosophy is at the heart of everything that happens at Mana and inspired its founders to build the property in the way that they did.
Mana uses the latest eco-technologies to minimize its environmental footprint. All guest accommodation villas have been built with earthbag walls and bamboo roofing, using only readily-available local materials. Combining elements of traditional architecture with natural modernity, Mana offers the experience of low impact living while still providing a luxurious experience. The six earth-bag buildings are the epitome of eco-architecture. Not only are they durable and beautiful, but they are also ecological and have slow heat transfer to keep ensure guest comfort.
The environmentally-friendly solutions at Mana continue inside the villas. All lighting and most electrical needs on the property are provided by solar power. The technology used in the toilets and showerheads minimizes water usage without any noticeable difference to the guests. The soaps, conditioners, and shampoos provided contain only natural products. Even the mattresses that guests sleep on will eventually be returned to a company so that 90% of their components will be recycled.
Mana also aims to be self-sufficient in its water usage. Rainwater is captured from the roofs of the resort’s buildings and is naturally filtered before it is distributed throughout the hotel. The water that flows out of every tap on the property is of drinkable quality. When this water is used by guests, the wastewater is treated, filtered and reused around the resort to fertilize and nourish the property’s permaculture gardens.
Mana Kitchen, the property’s restaurant, serves organic, probiotic, GMO-free, life-nourishing food that fuses Japanese and Indonesian culinary traditions. The restaurant’s menu was designed by a renowned Japanese chef and each dish is freshly cooked by carefully trained Balinese cooks. Using vegetables grown in its permaculture garden and food products from other ethical sources, Mana Kitchen strives to provide the best possible gastronomic experience for every customer. The environmentally friendly approach extends to other elements of the restaurant as well. Plates and glasses used at the restaurant have been upcycled. The restaurant has made the ethical decision to not serve red meat because of the resource-intensive methods used to produce it. Finally, all food waste from the restaurant is composted and all recyclable materials are picked up for processing by a local Balinese company.
The environmentally and socially sustainable tourist model that is being pioneered at Mana Earthly Paradise is a response to the harmful environmental side effects of the tourism boom in Ubud and in Bali. By offering accommodations and delicious food that fuses environmental stewardship with guest comfort, Mana is demonstrating the path forward for sustainable tourism that maximizes the tourist experience while taking care of the future of the island and its residents. This property is a real paradise for eco-conscious travellers from around the world who want to experience life in Bali.