Budakeling offers holiday package
Budakeling village in Karangasem regency is ready to welcome tourists by offering eco-friendly community-based holiday packages, where tourists can enjoy the village’s natural and cultural uniqueness.
Villagers had prepared 21 rooms situated inside their family compounds to serve as accommodation facilities for visiting tourists, said Ida Bagus Oka, head of ecotourism development for the village located in the eastern regency of Bali.
“We are ready to welcome tourists to stay overnight in the village and join various interesting activities with the villagers,” he said, emphasizing that they would not look for big investors to revamp the village and build luxurious accommodation, but just wanted to “sell” the village as it is.
Some houses in the village have unoccupied rooms that could be used as boarding facilities for tourists.
Budakeling is one of the seven villages developing the eco-friendly tourism concept. The other six are Pinge in Tabanan, Bedulu in Gianyar, Penglipuran in Bangli, Belimbingsari in Jembrana, Pancasari in Buleleng and Jasri in Karangasem.
These villages have received support from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry and from Bank Indonesia, which provided funds and expertise through several capacity building programs, including hospitality and language training.
The village has received a total of Rp 180 million (US$19,260) from the Ministry for this program, with Rp 80 million disbursed last year and Rp 100 million disbursed this year. It also received Rp 80 million from the Bali Tourism Agency.
“We have also established a tourist information center,” Oka said, adding that the village also had received tools for housekeeping, the kitchens and an office, as well as several mountain bicycles.
He explained that Budakeling was an old Balinese village established since 1700, where most people held Hindu Buddhist beliefs. They kept lontar (palm leaf) manuscripts, which they used as a guide to conduct rituals. This village also had some unique art performances, such as gambuh, rejang dewa and cekepung dances.
Tourists could also enjoy the natural beauty of this village and the surrounding areas by trekking and cycling around the panoramic rice terraces, he added.
“We offer a holiday package for only US$120 per person, including the fee for a local guide. For three days and two nights, tourists can join the daily activities of villagers, such as shopping in the traditional market, cooking and dining with the villagers in their houses.”
Last year, Budakeling, home to 4,000 villagers, was visited by 60 couples from France, who found out about the village through word-of-mouth promotion from other French tourists who had visited the village previously.
Working together with some travel agents on promotion, the village is optimistic it will be able to attract 100 couples this year.
Tjok Bagus Pemayun, head of the promotion division at the Bali Tourism Agency, said that the village managed to attract tourists by collaborating with the surrounding villages, having various interesting attractions and building an eco-tourism network.
“The key to success in this program is the villagers’ commitment to develop the village to be an attractive ecotourism destination. They should also develop themselves by joining the capacity building activities to have the required expertise to serve tourists,” he said.
Bali Tourism Agency data shows that 146 villages across Bali have been developed as village tourism centers. In Buleleng regency, there have been 31 villages developed as tourist sites; 13 villages in Jembrana regency; 20 villages in Gianyar; 12 villages in Klungkung; 16 villages in Bangli; 10 villages in Badung; 9 villages in Karangasem and six villages in Denpasar.