In and around Dukuh Sibetan
Close to the foot of the majestic and still active Mt Agung, Dukuh Sibetan villagers are only too aware of their precarious existence. When the volcano erupted in 1963, sand and rocks blanketed the village farmlands, making a return to normal agriculture impossible. One of the few crops that were able to survive in these new conditions, however, was salak- the snake fruit, already present in the area for hundreds of years.
Thus, the farmers of Dukuh Sibetan became ‘seed-savers’ and have worked to make their diversity of salak species their specialty. There are now 14 varieties of this strange fruit grown by the Dukuh Sibetan people, ten regarded as rare. The locals have developed a cottage industry making Bali’s only salak wine, sweet and surprisingly tasty!
The village itself is quiet and traditional, blessed with cool, clean air and a feeling of true serenity. A stroll around the village roads offers breathtakingly beautiful vistas of mountains, palm trees, ant-like villages and in the distance, the blue ocean.
Dukuh Sibetan is comprised of and surrounded by, salak gardens and forest, riddled with tiny paths. A beautiful pond, full of stories and mythology, sits at the bottom of a high cliff dripping with vines and spring water. The villagers invite you to try and feel the spirit of the place.
What the Dukuh Sibetan villagers offer visitors
Each trip to Dukuh Sibetan is different, depending on your interests and the activities of the villagers at the time of your booking. A tailor made plan will be made in consultation with you, prior to departure. Activities you may choose from in Dukuh Sibetan include:
- Learning about the cultivation of salak and the making of salak wine. Follow a farmer into their garden, ducking under the salak trees but stay close – the trees are a bit scary looking! Pick a few salak to try and let yourself be immersed in the stories of the life of a salak farmer. The livelihood of the whole village depends on this one fruit, with its brown scaly skin and sweet white flesh.
- Strolling through the village with your guide. This is your opportunity to hear about the unique aspects of Dukuh Sibetan history and culture. You will also learn about the natural resource management issues in the village. Stop to explore the village temple and salak plantation, and enjoy the incredible view afforded by the altitude!
- Forest-garden trekking. Delve into the trees, and let your guide tell you about the variety of plants you see on the way- some of which are medicinal, some ceremonial, and some which have special cultural beliefs attached to them. You'll stop at the idyllic pond, and you can picnic here if you like, and hear the local stories about the place. Photography is permitted, and this is also an ideal spot for meditation or painting. Be aware that the paths are rough and sometimes steep and slippery.
- Special invitation for women travelers only: learn about the lives of women in the village. The activities of the women in Dukuh Sibetan are closely tied to their natural environment. You are invited to spend the day with one of the village 'Ibu' (women), and help her with her daily routine such as cooking, preparing offerings for ceremonies, taking care of the salak garden and children and collecting water. By the end of the day you might understand what the women mean when they say that they work willingly and selflessly in homage to their gods and to nature. Although, they say, help from the men is always welcome!
- Help prepare the village for a ceremony or festival. The village is a flurry of activity before a traditional or religious festival, women preparing the hundreds of traditional decorations and men cooking the special foods. By being involved in the preparation, you will gain a greater appreciation of the ceremony when it begins, and feel rightfully proud of your labour! This option is only available.
- You will be greeted with hot tea or coffee and a light snack on arrival. A tasty Balinese lunch is provided on all day trips to Dukuh Sibetan. Other meals will be provided as appropriate for all visitors who choose to stay in the village longer than a day.
Accommodation in Dukuh Sibetan
If you choose to spend the night in Dukuh Sibetan, you will stay with the family in family home stay. The family dress up the room of the family members who stay out of the village for education. Stay with the family will give you opportunity to chat with the family members and experience how they spend their time in the village.