An educational tourist destination in Bedugul that will keep you and your family entertained all day...
It was a lovely morning when my family took off from Denpasar to Bedugul to visit one of the latest talked about interests of the island, The Secret Garden Village. After 50 minutes of driving, we finally arrived at 9 a.m. sharp. The cool weather of the mountainous area in Bedugul welcomed us, and the ticket counter just opened – we were right on time. There were three of us, so we bought tickets at Rp. 50,000/adult, while our one-year-old son entered for free as kids under six years old are not charged. With our tickets in our hands, we were so excited to see what is behind the front office.
As we stepped into the space, the astonishing asymmetrical building instantly stole our attention. Surrounded by the greenery in Bedugul, the building has fishponds near the entrance that adds a soothing atmosphere. A man in a uniform approached us with his friendly smile, and later we found out that he was our guide for a whole-day tour around the garden.
To be honest, prior to our visit I’ve been wondering how we should explore the 35,000 square meters of land and all of its activities in one day. The Secret Garden Village offers a tour around the Beauty Heritage Museum, and a visit to a mini factory of beauty products and the beauty store. There are also fun classes for children such as the Soap Baking Class and Coffee Class, which includes a Roasting Process Showcase and Cupping Session. We finally came up with a plan: we would tour the Beauty Heritage Museum and the Mini Factory, join the Soap Baking Class, and have lunch at The Luwus and an afternoon tea in the middle of the rice fields.
All About Beauty
First, our guide took us to the Beauty Museum on the second floor. Families who come with toddlers or babies can use baby strollers, like we did, because this building provides a bridge ramp, which makes it really family friendly. At the Beauty Museum, guests will learn all about Herborist, a beauty brand from Semarang in Central Java. Walking into the museum, I could see that this is why the owner established The Secret Garden Village.
It was Hartono Salim, the owner of both Herborist and the Secret Garden Village, who initiated the building of the museum to expose ancient beauty items, beauty products and Indonesian natural plants used as ingredients for the products. One of the iconic items found in the museum is the Bokor Kuningan, a traditional beauty tool that has been used for nyirih (chewing betel leaves to strengthen the teeth) by Indonesian women for centuries. Years ago, women used Bokor to pound the betel leaves and then chew them for hours.
The museum also has a number of books about beauty to enrich our knowledge about natural products.
Make a Shop
Once the tour was done, we continued on to a laboratory. This was the most eagerly awaited part of the tour; the soap class, where we watched how every single soap was made in the form of cakes, including adorable cupcakes with many variants of ‘flavor’ and scents.
Before entering the laboratory, everyone must be perfectly clean; they must wash their hands, wrap their shoes with special bags, and wear masks and white laboratory coats. The lab staff then showed us the compositions of ‘cupcake’ soaps, which are well-tested, just like cosmetics and medicine.
What I love most about this tour is that we could make our own soap – my family chose the ‘rainbow cake’ fragrant. The method is very similar to baking a cake. First, we blended all the ingredients using a blender for 15 minutes until the mixture reached the desired consistency. Then, we made a pink ‘frosting cream’ to decorate the ‘cake’, and sprinkled some ‘candies’ and put a ‘cherry’ on the top of the ‘cream’. And then we left the soap in the freezer for 40 minutes.
While waiting for our soap to be ready, we continued on the tour – the guide then took us to a theatre where we watched a video of the Herborist’s history and all natural sources that are used for the products.
Dine and Unwind
After watching the video, it was time to visit the shop. The Oemah Herborist shop was truly a haven where beauty products are arranged like cakes in a bakery. As I strolled around the shop, I could smell the ‘aroma’ of the cupcakes, puddings, fruity cakes, and even ice cream. I kept on reminding my son that these were actually soaps and perfumes, not real cakes. Aside from beauty products, the shop also offers herbal drinks and attractive souvenirs of Secret Garden Village.
It was almost lunchtime when we became hungry. We decided to rest at The Luwus, the Secret Garden Village’s traditional restaurant that is set in a modern chic interior. Among the menu items that the restaurant offered, we opted for the famous Bebek Batimung, a grilled duck dish that is served on a bamboo stick, that comes with traditional sambal matah and steamed rice. And with a view of the rice fields to please our eyes, our lunch tasted delicious and calming at the same time.
The atmosphere of The Secret Garden Village was so peaceful that we just didn’t want to leave. So we decided to explore more of the area after lunch. We went to the back area which is lower than the main building. We kept on strolling until we reached an open space in the middle of the rice fields and were tempted to indulge in an afternoon tea right then and there. Sipping a cup of tea and savoring some light bites, I felt this afternoon tea is special because we could blend in with the surrounding nature.
Once our tea was done, it was time to head home. We were just about to walk out of the exit door when one of the staff approached us and handed the ‘cupcake’ soap that we made at the soap-baking class. Looking at the result, I was pretty amazed to see that we could actually make our own soap – and it wasn’t really a difficult process. The ‘cupcake’ soap surely made a memorable souvenir to our splendid visit to The Secret Garden Village.
Secret Garden Village
Jalan Raya Denpasar Bedugul, KM 36, Tabanan
The Secret Garden Village is opened every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
By Wiwin Wirwidya
Magazine issue > Little Loves