Hidden by the mist of the lush jungle, for more than a century, coffee and nature breathed together in the highlands of Central Bali, Indonesia. The production of coffee in the villages of Munduk and Gobleg might not be as lucrative as before other cash crops took over. Nevertheless, some farmers persisted! The island’s past with the Dutch was not always bright, but when Irene Roozen and her family invested in the abandoned five hectares in 2007, the coffee plantation resurrected and thrived. For a decade now, this place is also home to Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa. The fans of this beverage can now enjoy their Bali holidays in a nature resort inspired by coffee.
Munduk Moding Plantation offers infinity pools and infinity coffee cups
If you’re looking for a 4-star hotel in Bali, consider plantation villas in Gobleg village as your choice! They will stun you with natural surroundings and infinity pools, fill your days with loads of possible activities and your cup with fine organic coffee! Read Munduk Moding Plantation review and learn all the pros and cons of this unique mountain accommodation in Bali, Indonesia!
History of battlefields and coffee fields
The first Dutch explorer stepped on the island in 1597. Cornelis de Houtman called Bali “the young Holland”. He began the Dutch spice trade with Indonesia. In the following centuries, the trade focus moved to opium and slaves.
Dutch military expedition against Buleleng in Northern Bali in 1849 made the local king and his followers undertake a mass ritual suicide (puputan). Such expression of revolt against the humiliation of surrender in front of the Dutch invasion was not the last one! Events became quite bloody at the beginning of the 20th century!
Stationed in Singaraja, the colonial center of Bali, the Dutch colonists were looking to escape the tropical heat. In Munduk mountains, about 1.100 meters above the sea level, they did not find just a perfect climate for themselves. They also discovered that the volcanic soil provided the ideal conditions to develop coffee production there. They brought the trees from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
From the 1880s until 1980s, Munduk hill stations were prospering as Bali’s most productive coffee plant growing area. But in the 1990s, the prices fell dramatically. Many farmers switched to oranges, cloves, flowers, and other cash crops that were bringing higher revenues. This caused soil erosion and falling water tables.
Roozen family found this Munduk plantation as one of such failure sites in 2007. They mortgaged their house in Europe, bought the land, cleared the old growth, and planted the shadow trees. The wildlife returned, and the coffee plantation was back as well!
From calm nature resort to an Instagram sensation
In two years, they built the resort from scratch. Munduk Moding Plantation owner employed the prominent Bali architect Popo Danes (the creative mind behind the Lelewatu Resort and Ubud Hanging Gardens). Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort and Spa opened in 2009.
The idea was to build a very low-density resort. That way, the guests could enjoy the natural environment, but also have unobstructed privacy. Today, this Bali plantation hotel has only 21 rooms!
The buildings blended into the surrounding nature. Bali nature also blended into some of the buildings! The use of bamboo in constructing the unique elliptical activity hall, the spa, and the front office, paid respect towards the ancient traditions in a modern context.
Many villas in Munduk Moding Plantation got their private rim-flow swimming pools. But the main infinity pool quickly became the perfect backdrop for Instagram storylines that couldn’t go unnoticed.
The infinity pool at Munduk Moding Plantation
Munduk Moding Plantation infinity pool turned into the resort’s most excellent ambassador in social media! With some clouds in the background, the iconic pool looked surreal. As if it would be floating between the skies and the earth.
The panoramic view of the green hills and mountains, distant brown volcanoes of Java and the blue Java Sea, got magical, especially when orange and pink colors of sunset and sunrise would join the palette.
Golden hours were the most popular for shooting the reflective infinity pool, so be prepared for queuing! Instagram influencers and influencer wannabes would be waiting for that “perfect” picture since the youngest minutes of the dawn. Stylists would be running around, yelling instructions. Cameras would be on the stands. It would all look like a professional shooting set! Here, people checked-in prepared!
During the daytime, the pressure on the pool was much lesser. Most of the early risers were probably sleeping or editing photos (as if they truly needed any filter). So if you just wanted to enjoy the pool’s 18 meters in length, you could take a swim when you’d not intrude anyone’s shot, and nobody would impose on your swimming joy either! With often floating clouds in the mountains, the views could get equally enchanting as in the first minutes of the day!
Just several steps downhill, Jacuzzi-deck offered another point to enjoy the spectacular landscape. Alternatively, you could consume your luxury hotel escape while resting in the sun lounger and reading one of the many available magazines and books.
While we could still claim that breathtaking views from the photogenic Munduk Moding Plantation infinity pool were unique, soon this would not be the case! Just a dozen meters downhill, the resort was building ANOTHER infinity pool that would blend the sky and the water!
If you are a swimming pool addict, check the unique silver pool at Jaya House RiverPark in Siem Reap, Cambodia!
Munduk Moding Plantation rooms
Only nine villas (1-4 bedrooms) and three suites were available to guests. With similar decoration, they mainly differed in size. The more luxurious ones could come with a private infinity pool, Jacuzzi and always available butler, or even free minibar and laundry.
We stayed in one of the Garden Suites (precisely, Garden Suite number 5), which was the smallest available option. I could imagine that the oversized furniture looked very imposing in the more spacious villas. But in these 35 square meters, the organization of space felt a bit strange.
The room came with a vast bathroom made of Sulawesi cream marble, with large terrazzo bathtub in one corner, partially walled toilet in the other corner, and central open shower that could be curtained off. Above the shower, there was a skylight providing natural light.
Next to the small stone sink, there were luxurious bathroom amenities. They included the mosquito spray, which I thought one wouldn’t need in the mountains, but surprisingly, it came in handy.
The poster bed came with a canopy, which was also not just decorative. The fantastic views from the balcony were inviting you to keep colossal glass panel doors open all day long, and mosquitos felt invited.
The king-size bed seemed gigantic in this room! While a small family could certainly snuggle up in it, that family wouldn’t have much space out of bed. An additional massive couch made of tropical hardwood, facing the landscape views, looked lovely. But it was clear proof that one size did not fit all.
Equally, the balcony was unusually narrow. There was no much more space than to sit straight in the chair. Luckily, those sliding glass doors extended the balcony visually and functionally, so one could enjoy the view while eating welcome fruit on the couch.
Munduk Moding Plantation activities
There were plenty of available activities at Munduk Moding Plantation hotel that your room hours could stay reserved just for the nighttime. Many of these were a part of the complimentary Munduk Moding Plantation Experience program.
I’d suggest you start your visit with a guided coffee plantation tour! A member of the resort staff would lead you through the property, show you the garden with fruit and vegetables, and teach you the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee that grew on the plantation. Traditional coffee processing demonstration gave a great insight into how it was all done before the advanced machinery era. It ended with the coffee tasting!
If you wanted to learn more about Bali culture, MMP Experience program would teach you how to wear Balinese attire, how to make and fly a kite, how to make an offering or how to play the traditional music with bamboo gamelan. There were also kids’ activities on the plantation; they could watch the movies, join the dance class, or learn how to play the spinning top game (gangsing). From bird watching to massage demonstration, daily activities at Munduk Moding Plantation were numerous.
There were many exciting things to do in Munduk and North Bali too! The resort provided free daily shuttle service to Bedugul, where you could visit the famous “floating” Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Candikuning Market and Botanical Garden. Another complimentary shuttle brought you to Tamblingan Lake and magnificent Munduk Waterfall, where I’d recommend taking a dip! MMP also secured a car that would bring you to Brahmavihara-Arama Buddhist temple (with scenic gates), Banjar Hot Spring (the water with supposedly healing minerals) and Lovina Beach (the black sand beach I personally didn’t find that attractive, but it was a departure point for dolphin-watching if you’re into that).
What to do in Munduk for active Bali holidays
Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort & Spa could organize other tours for your active holidays in Northern Bali. Various treks would make you explore the rainforest. Waterfalls are always a good excuse for hiking with a refreshing mountain swim waiting for you at the end. Besides Munduk, the trek could lead you to Golden Valley Waterfalls, Melanting, Empelan, Banyumala or Sekumpul mystery waterfall.
One could discover the area on foot, but also by riding a bicycle or a horse, canoeing on the lakes, diving in the sea, or even playing golf in the crater of an extinct volcano!
You could also hop on the tours that included trekking through the rice paddies, orchid or orange plantations. You could visit the remote villages whose inhabitants still practiced animism! Or join the tours that would bring you to the iconic selfie spots for that perfect holiday Instagram flow!
If you preferred to sweat ‘at home’, MMP had its own tennis/badminton court (one-hour use was free for all guests). There was also a small gym with weights, treadmill, stationary bicycle, and similar basic exercise equipment. For the playful and competitive guests, there were darts, billiard, table football, and table tennis.
If you are looking for more ideas on where to stay in Bali, check these resorts that will recharge your batteries!
Regain strength in the plantation spa
Munduk Moding Plantation resort spa had a modernist interior but was built mostly from bamboo, with alang alang (palm frond) roof.
In one of the two spacious massage rooms, various treatments with Indonesian herbs and spices as key ingredients were available. The home-made coffee body scrub sounded unmissable when visiting the coffee plantation resort! The scrub’s antioxidant supposedly softened the skin and removed its impurities. I wanted to try this two-hour treatment, but sadly, the spa was busy! There was no any chunk of two hours available during my stay.
Instead, I opted for MMP Signature Massage, a one-hour combo of aromatherapy, hot stone, and traditional Balinese massage. The treatment cost me 30 USD (28 Euros), with tax and service charge excluded.
No aromatherapy could have covered the pungent smell invading my nose
My Munduk massage sadly didn’t start right. After laying on the massage table, I buried my head into a sweat-soaked headrest. I couldn’t blame anyone, as the towels were clean. But it seemed nobody was checking the equipment which over time took over the whole sensation. No aromatherapy could have covered the pungent smell invading my nose. I had to stop the treatment at the very beginning, as I couldn’t ignore the unpleasant odor. The masseuse was very professional and offered me to move to the other table. The situation there was causing a bit less discomfort. This thing just didn’t fit the excellence of service MMP was aiming for! Luckily, it was fixable! I was sure they would pay more attention to these elements of the experience in the future.
The massage itself was very good and relaxing. So relaxing that I even fell asleep, which is always a good sign!
If you’re up for something different, MMP could provide the healing massage by a local healer who used traditional medicines and holy water with “mantra”.
Mountain resort blending ecology and luxury
Munduk Moding Plantation implemented the idea of an eco-lodge in Bali, the island that banned the single-use plastic in 2019. The resort led the way in replacing the plastic straws with bamboo ones. Guests could even learn how to make them! It provided glass bottles of water in the rooms, used natural water sources for bathing and recycled waste. They also promoted nature topics through movie screenings for kids and adults. The hotel practiced sustainable agriculture on the plantation. Munduk plantation restaurant offered the organic Bali meal experience as much as it could.
If you want to check another mountain eco-luxury resort, read about the Limalimo Lodge in Ethiopia!
The responsibility towards the surroundings did not stop at maintaining the lush gardens in an environment-friendly way. The owners have also set up the Munduk Foundation, to support local schools, provide dance and English classes for Munduk children, as well as scholarships to talented but poor students.
At the same time, Munduk Moding Plantation was not just an idyllic hideaway behind the sights of the plant tunnels and sounds of the birdsongs deprived of modern traveler needs. The rooms had a CD, iPod and DVD player (a large selection of DVDs was available). All guests received a mobile phone for communication with the reception. The Internet connection was not always stable in my experience, but it did cover all areas of this award-winning eco-luxury resort.
Munduk Moding Plantation menu
MiMPi Restaurant was set just in front of the iconic infinity pool. It delivered beautiful views, both from the first-floor dining room and second-floor verandah. One could also enjoy the meal under the frangipani trees on the terrace. Private bale bengong (gazebo) was most popular among couples, where the heart-form-displayed candles lightened up their romantic dinner.
Coffee plantation menu offered Balinese, Indonesian, Asian, and some Western Fusion food. However, I felt that there was a discrepancy between Asian and non-Asian dish quality. Chocolate brownie so hard that one couldn’t cut it with a knife, or truly oversized portion of spaghetti, gave an impression that someone was tapping into unknown territory, even if with best intentions. On the other side, local dishes, and especially vegetarian and vegan selection were surprisingly excellent!
I liked their Mimpi breakfast in particular! Try it if you want to have an overview of various local breakfast options, including the tropical fresh fruits, Jaffle with strawberry, tomato, banana or cheese, Nasi Goreng or Bakmie Goreng with fried egg, toasted bread with onion, avocado and tomato, Lak Lak, Biu Mekukus, and a pot of tea or coffee, of course!
Coffee – the resort’s darkest pleasure
Being the only Bali resort set on a working coffee plantation, Munduk Moding Plantation was an ideal destination for those who couldn’t start a day without a good cup of the dark booster.
If you wanted to immerse yourself in Bali coffee culture completely, you should visit this Indonesian hill station in July or August, when you could participate in the coffee harvest! For all other visitors, rooms came with Munduk coffee packs, so you could still enjoy drinking coffee in nature at your leisure.
For those who loved afternoon rituals, every day, the hotel served complimentary ginger tea or Bali coffee with home-made cookies by the pool.
If you were willing to experiment, you could try the pricy kopi luwak. The famous luxury coffee beverage comes from beans eaten and digested by Luwak fox (civet). Unlike in other facilities which caged and often force-fed this nocturnal animal, Luwak here was free and wild. The resort could barely harvest 2 kilos a year, in comparison to 1,5 ton of other processed beans!
Munduk Moding Plantation review – conclusion
From the flower leis with a welcome drink (coffee with lemongrass) to the evening chocolates with a bedtime story (well, one that ended with the king running around the palace and killing everyone, was an unusual way to wish a sweet night), Munduk Moding Plantation overflowed with attention. The pampering started with a golf-cart-type vehicle for the short ride between the entrance and the reception. It did not end with any of the experience programs generously offered to the in-house guests. Sometimes, six employees would stand behind the small reception desk, all eager to help, which might make the communication confusing. The intention here was excellent; it just needed some polishing to make the resort staff equally relaxed as the guests they were taking care of.
The most rewarding part of staying at this remote Bali mountain resort was its design for privacy. Even if one building could house several suites, they would still have the preserved feeling of seclusion, all the way from the entrance to the balcony views. This made Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort and Spa the perfect honeymoon or wedding place in Bali, away from the crowds. Private dinner or just a warm hug by the bonfire under the night skies of the Southern hemisphere could indeed be romantic.
Finally, this Munduk hotel offered impressive panoramic views, but also hidden photogenic treasures at the plantation, with its infinity pool reaching the greatest Instagram stardom. It could be cloudy above you, and it could be cloudy below you. The visual setting would instantly catapult you into the dreamlike atmosphere that would fill your social media and your own memory feed with countless moments to cherish.
MMP essential info
Munduk Moding Plantation location
Munduk Moding Plantation Nature Resort and Spa is located in the hilly countryside of the Northern Bali. It is the authentic corner of one of the most popular islands in Indonesia (and there is 18.000 of them!).
The resort site is just on the edge of the plateau at more than 1.000 meters above the sea level, and close to the three central lakes of the island (Beratan, and twin lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan).
Even if administratively belonging to Gobleg, the resort got its name from the neighboring Munduk village which offers excellent trekking, if you ever get bored with 5 kilometers of walking path through the plantation.
Lovina Beach is half an hour drive away, and going from Ubud to Munduk can take up to two hours by car.
How to get to Munduk Moding Plantation from the airport
Most of the tourists arrive in Bali through Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, in Southern Bali. The ride from Bali airport to Munduk Moding Plantation should not take more than two and a half hours.
Taking public transport between the two locations is not easy, so your best options are renting a vehicle, or asking the resort to organize the pick-up/drop-off. The airport transport fee will be 50 USD (45 Euros).
The best time to visit Munduk, Bali
The proximity to the equator makes Bali’s year-round temperatures high. Munduk has its own microclimate. Even if you can expect warm weather during the day (22-26 degrees Celsius), prepare for the fact that nights can be chilly here (14-19 degrees). Bring an extra sweater!
Munduk weather is characterized by more rain than the rest of the island, especially in the wet season between November and March. August is the driest month, but October is the warmest one.
Munduk Moding Plantation day pass
If you are not staying in Munduk Moding Plantation, but would still like to visit it, the resort provides non-staying guests with day passes. Their availability depends on the occupancy. The priority to enjoy the resort and the spa is given to the overnight guests.
In case a day pass is available, an external guest will have to pay 500.000 Indonesian Rupiah (32 Euros) for the Blue Voucher. It will entitle you to a welcome drink, two-course lunch, and the access to all facilities and activities, except the infinity pool and Jacuzzi. Those two are often the main reason for a day visit, so if you want to include them, you will need to purchase a Green Voucher for 900.000 Rupiah (57 Euros). Children younger than 11 have a 50 % discount on these prices.
Munduk Moding Plantation contact: [email protected] or +62 (0)81 138 5059 (Whatsapp)
Munduk Moding Plantation booking: for the best prices, check Munduk Moding Plantation on booking.com
Did you like this article?
Pin it for later!
Disclosure: My stay at the Munduk Moding Plantation was complimentary, but all opinions are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, Pipeaway might make a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our work!