Zen Hideaway: The Best Place to Stay in Ubud for an Authentic Jungle Adventure
Abiansemal, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia.
Zen Hideaway is a secluded AirBnB immersed in its natural surroundings. Nestled in the thick canopy of Bali’s tropical jungle, it’s not like you’ll need much convincing to disconnect from the modern world – in fact, I’ve never found it so easy.
Perched in a prime location to view the sacred Ayung River, you’ll also be able to see the Ubud valleys, waterfalls and rice fields from your villa. With Mount Agung in the distance, the viewing potential feels limitless.
£126 a night, with a simple breakfast included, a fresh coconut on arrival and jungle as far as the eyes can see. Views like these don’t come cheap!
Me, myself and I.
Zen Hideaway’s ethos centres around getting back to basics in the best possible way. You might notice that many of the amenities we city-dwellers take for granted aren’t to hand here – but neither are the pressures of daily urban life. Worthwhile swap if you ask me.
Where You’ll Stay
They say 3 is the magic number – and Zen Hideaway’s trilogy of villas certainly doesn’t buck that trend. The 2-level teak houses date back 150 years, and have been redesigned with a Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic – try saying that ten times really quickly. All are available for booking on Airbnb, and if the decor doesn’t twist your arm (or tongue) then I don’t know what will.
Inside The Villa
I stayed in Zen Hideaway 1, the first of the 3 villas on site (you’d never guess from the name, would you?). Fall asleep to the sounds of nature on the king bed in the master bedroom. Third wheeling your more romantically successful friends? No worries, there’s a single bed tucked away in the villa’s study with your name on it.
After cooking up a feast in the villa’s fully equipped kitchen, take your meal out onto the front deck, or lounge around on the living room’s ridiculously comfortable hammock. When you finish, wash away the day’s humidity in the open air shower. In heat like this, you’ll be glad of it.
The hosts are hospitable and attentive in equal measure. They organise transportation, order and deliver food from the local restaurant and assist guests with directions and advice.
The huge garden surrounding the house means you get your very own little plot of jungle in which you can do as you please.
Yoga mats are available on request, and I strongly suggest a sunrise session to start the day. If that sounds like too much effort you can just pretend – it’s mostly lying down anyway right? Stretch occasionally to save face.
There’s an AC unit in the single-bed study – which, in this heat, is actually much more useful than a sticky, sweaty significant other. The breeze wins every time.
There’s also a washing machine, dryer, shampoo and a hair dryer provided, so you can feel clean and pristine amongst the green. A dream.
Things I Loved
The original Bali Swing. It’s Zen Hideaway’s claim to fame, so if you want the real deal for the gram, this is the place to stay. Remember to mention this to your friends who will have pictures on inferior swings. Serves them right for not coming with you.
The jaw-dropping scenery. Entirely open air, the house is complimented by a 360 degree panorama of awe-inspiring views. Yoga mat or not, don’t miss that sunrise.
Things to Know
There are no windows or doors – or many walls for that matter. If bugs and wild animals regularly feature in your nightmares, this might not be the place for you. And if you struggle with surrounding noise whilst you snooze, I’d also consider looking elsewhere.
Can you handle a lack of locks? Brilliant, you won’t be bothered by Zen Hideaway’s decision to ditch them. Situated in a safe area, there’s very little risk of issues, but some may find this unnerving. As a solo traveler I must admit I did.
Bali swing copycats have taken up residency around the villa’s vicinity. This does mean a lot of tourists will be popping up in and around your immersive jungle experience. Totally not Zen, unless you find the sound of instagrammers screaming in the treetops unusually relaxing.
The breakfast is limited. Being 5’2 with a 6’5 appetite might mean I’m a little bit biased, but it was simple and small in size.
Wifi is available but the connection isn’t very strong. But contact with other human beings won’t be your priority.
Things To Do In the Area
The surrounding area isn’t home to much activity – probably why they built a Zen Hideaway here. But if you take a walk around the local village you may find coconut pickers, farmers and loads of monkeys. If you’re lucky, you might even bump into some locals performing a traditional ceremony distinct to the area.
If you’re really missing some of the staples of modern life, Ubud has a selection of yoga studios, cooking classes, restaurants and cafes. Don’t miss out on visiting the impressive Tegalalang Rice Terraces and practice your bartering skills at Ubud Market.
Adventurers, nature lovers, yogis and experience junkies would all be well at home here. Great for couples too.
Staying at Zen Hideaway was an unforgettable experience. How often can you say that you stayed in an open air house in the middle of the jungle!? Was it worth paying £126 per night though? Bit pricey given the limited amenities. If you’re an adventurous traveller however, then I still recommend that you stay purely for the experience.
about the author
Hi! I’m Maz, born and raised in London. After working in finance for 5 years, I was left craving a life with more meaning and less monotony - so I decided to set up my hotel reviewing business, something I'd always dreamt of doing. Now I am always in search of beautiful spaces which inspire people and create memorable experiences.