HARS GARDEN TREE HOUSE: Romantic, Unique and Environmentally Friendly Lodging in Ubud, Bali

Beautiful Tree House in Hars Garden

"Every house is poetry. 
And you are my home.
Later, you and I 
are the most beautiful poems 
in the universe."

Tree house. What is on your mind when you hear about a tree house? Hm, it could be look like a kind of tiny house that hanging out at a height like in the movie "Heart" starred Irwansyah, Acha Septriasa and Nirina Zubir years ago. Or maybe it is similar to a tribal house in Papua that was built on tallest trees in the heart of rain forest, which when we saw it we were afraid that the house would slide to the ground when the wind blew so hard.

Wooden tree house is not new style of houses in the world of architecture. It has existed since the ancient times. The function is not only a poetic place to live full of aesthetics, because in this day and age, tree house can even be residential solutions to environmentally friendly lodging. Well, when I went to Bali last September my goal was to see what kind of a tree houses that belong to an eccentric farmer named Hartono Lokodjoyo. I called him "Mas" that means older brother, or male who older than me in Javanese language. 

So, Mas Hartono once managed a villa with his Japanese wife in the area of Ubud. But because there are already too many residential places like that in Bali, they sell that villa and build some tree houses. Initially they built a tree house for their residence, and another unit of tree houses. Two units are for rent as lodging, and one other unit functions as a kitchen and dining room. At the same time it can also function as a meeting room and living room.

"I built a tree house in Hars Garden in 2017. I previously lived in a villa belong to my wife. This is my first attempt. One of them was to answer the challenges of the Bali Not For Sale campaign. Because in my opinion, the campaign was not good because it did not provide a solution for the land in Bali that continues to be sold which ultimately damages the environment in Bali itself," said Mas Har.

For Mas Har, as a junior high school graduate he understands that it is very unlikely that a campaign like Bali Not For Sale will succeed if the main problems in the life of the Balinese are not overcome with example for their campaign. For instance, why do Balinese choose to sell their land instead of renting out? or why do Balinese squander money to chock fighting then have to sell land to pay debts instead of slamming themselves with a new awareness that the land should not be sold? 
Happy Me in Hars Garden. Foto by: Puput Dyah

He believe that the entry of foreign investors into Bali then build hotels, cafes, restaurants and so on is not only their fault. The loss of Balinese rice fields is not by those stranger, but Balinese themselves.

"I have felt the success of this Hars Garden. I have an organic garden that produces some vegetables and herbs so well. I also have a tree house that make my life goes well that before. My life is sufficient for a farmer who rents a land. I rent this land, not mine. So I want landowners in around me to study with me and try to build a tree house in the middle of the rice fields, it will be in demand, no need to build a hotel using cement, just use wood, we have to be friends with nature, that's the solution for "Bali not for Sale" movement," he said and looked around, where rice fields in the Ubud area began to function as cement-based buildings.

When I heard Mas Har's story, I felt awakened from a dream. It's not a dream to be praised by the prince of heart, but from the fact that the tourism sector that is not in harmony with nature has changed Bali a lot. Not only because many rice fields in Bali have convert into cement-based buildings, but also because of the poor impact to the environment. During this trip to Bali, I met a lot of garbage around the river and on the side of the road. It feels strange if the Balinese people who are known to be friendly with nature have lost their sense of treating nature with love and respect as Hindu's value.

"The foreigners are visiting to Bali because they want to see the green fields, which they see in the photos. But, when they are here, right here, that dream turns out that the rice fields have stayed a little. Like in Ubud, many rice fields are starting to be replaced cement-based buildings," He pointed out at several rice fields around the Hars Garden which had turned into hotels, bungalows and restaurants cements-based buildings. He look so sad and losing hope for this beautiful Land of Gods. 

Ya, I could not agree more with this unique and idealist man. Things have been happening in Bali and the green paddy field slowly faded away, like something so far from the old memory. 

Hars Garden's Tree Houses was built at minimal cost, which is IDR 60 million per unit, made from hundreds of years old coconut wood from Sulawesi. The additional cost is IDR 10 million for furniture. So, the total cost for build a tree house in Hars Garden is IDR 70 million. With rent per night for IDR. 580,000 (which of course rises during peek season) you can imagine that this business can return its capital in a short period of time. Especially if coupled with its popularity in the eyes of clients. Just look at the picture below, the Tree House of Hars Garden has been fully booked until the end of the year!
It's so nice when full booked

Well, with an income of IDR 40 million per month only from the Tree Houses, is it natural that the owner can celebrate his birthday with a month-long tour around Asia, isn't it? His income also came from the sale of garden products, gardening classes, cooking classes and others. So, being  smart farmers are really good, and His income far surpasses Jakarta's young executives whose jobs are running head-to-toe, and their feet being heads, while working at this garden has a flexible time.

"From the outside, Hars Garden's appearance is ordinary. Some people who see my garden are always think that it is just ordinary land like another garden around Bali. But my income is far better. But, I improve the quality of our products to be loved by consumers, so they comeback or extend the rent of tree houses. Most of them are looking for eco-friendly lodging to calm down their mind and heart. We also have to serve them kindly and well, and I never forget to accompany them while breakfast, like to tell them what my goal is to build this Hars Garden, for example to educate people about doing business without destroying the environment," said Har again when He take me around the garden.

Mas Har's activities as a farmer and businessman are very ordinary. Early in the morning at around 7:30 am he prepared breakfast for his guests. The menu he made for breakfast was unique and simple, which we never seem to find even if staying in a five-star hotel. First, Mas Har splits a young coconut and puts the water in a glass. Then He prepare some fruits such as pineapple, orange, watermelon and dragon fruit, then served on a white ceramic plate.
Food serving in Hars Garden. Source: Hars Garden

Next, he prepared spices to make crunchy fried tempeh and prepared a vegetable salad. Well, the Hars Garden-style vegetable salad is unique because it consists of dozens of different types of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and tubers. It is so healthy and feels like sticking on the tongue.

"I give every guest at Hars Garden breakfast with young coconut water, because this is the best water. Then I serve them with plate of fruits and vegetable salad. I change the carbohydrates everyday to make it different and more vitamins. For example, fried tempeh for today, so it must be fried cassava tomorrow, etc," He smile

I could help Mas Har in the kitchen while preparing breakfast for guests. There was a guest from Japan who, when he came to Bali, immediately stayed at Hars Garden. Because usually guests from Japan or China don't speak English fluently, then Mbak Ryoko aka Mas Har's wife come to chat with the guest. 
Healthy breakfast in Hars Garden

Then the funny thing is, if the guest is a couple, Mas Har serves a breakfast of fruit for them on one plate, he said to make it more romantic. I hope to find my soulmate soon to enjoy this kind of happiness. He believe that when guests are happy, the fortune to come home. After chatting and taking care of the guests, usually Mas Har began to take care of the garden. Either hoe, water, embroider dead plants, plant seeds, or serve buyers who usually come directly to the garden. When guests check out at 12.00 pm at the noon, Mas Har also drives them to the gate of Hars Garden while thanking them for staying at his Tree Houses. After guests check out, the Tree House is cleaned by Hars Garden staff. Even so, if there are guests staying more than 3 days given a special welcome, in the form of beautiful flowers on the floor of the room. Especially if it's a honeymoon, ah surely the service is far more romantic to make the guest more happy in their happy moment.

"I was so happy that the guests come here, they often gave me tips. If they buy the vegetables, they usually give tips like IDR 50.000, if they stay, they give me tips IDR 200.000.  Fo me it's funny because usually the tips are given to the employees, but here they give the tips to the boss," Mas Har chuckled in remembrance of the humor of his own guest.

Then at 2-4 in the afternoon besides taking care of the garden, Mas Har also welcomed guests. Usually Mas Har immediately took a female guest backpack and carried him, while leading the guests to the tree house. The guests were happy because their arrival was immediately welcomed by the owner.

Even though this is a Tree House, the facilities and services must be equal to the hotel. It all starts with utilities and services. The first time I entered the Hars Garden Tree House, what I felt was comfort. The room is clean and unique because there are trees that pass in the middle of the room, beds are clean and soft, the bathroom is a standard hotel plus hot and cold water, the room is full of light because of many glass walls, the view from the room and balcony is comfortable and calming the air is cool, and the atmosphere is comfortable. So, it's very natural that most of the people who stay here are couples because the atmosphere is right for love and creates happy memories together. Love it!
I sat on the bed with such wonderful view of the jungle. Foto by: Puput Dyah

As lodging for IDR. 580,000 per night in the Ubud area, Hars Garden Tree Houses facilities can be spoiling. When the feet step into the mini forest area, our mouths will suddenly start to be amazed because it is rather difficult to find an atmosphere like a forest. When the door to the house is opened, our eyes will immediately feel spoiled by love. See a clean soft bed with a romantic atmosphere, natural cold mineral water, especially if there are flower decorations on the floor, not to mention the flowers in the vase and in the bathroom. 
The facilities in Hars Garden Tree House

If you are tired of being able to indulge yourself by taking a bath with warm water, want to pee or pup, it is also comfortable as in a hotel, the sink is good, there is a hair dryer, clean towels, and of course all the worldly pleasures are added to the beautiful surrounding scenery. It really makes it feel like living in the middle of a forest.
Mas Har is preparing beautiful mandala flower in the floor to welcome the special guest
I help Mas Har to make flowery floor. Foto by: Puput Dyah

I think yes, the most fun and magical treat is the twinkling of fireflies at night, and the singing of night animals that are muttering, whether they are any animal. Oh, it's beautiful and romantic, like anesthetized by the beauty of nirvana. Staying alone feels so fun like flying to the veranda of heaven. Especially for those who live with a partner, surely the beauty is sticking to the head. If it's a couple that makes a baby, it looks like it's straight away.
A human's fortune has indeed been established. The only thing left is that the man trying as hard as possible to pick up his sustenance, so as not to be struck by people. After hearing the life story of Mas Har, who was bitterly bitter from childhood, it is only natural that God gave him this gift. Because hard work will bear sweet fruit. There may also be those who say that Mas Har's business is smooth because he built it in Bali, and because of his Japanese wife.

"I am just a junior high school graduate. I go to Bali, because there is a lure for 50 cattle. Because of failing to get rich from herding cattle, I became a gardener in Jogja Kafe, then rented land to build my own garden. At 2012, when I already had this Hars Garden, Ryoko who became my wife was shopping here, then became a customer, and we often discussed about organic gardens. If we finally got married it was God's destiny. And yeah anyone said I was successful because my wife was Japanese. This is all my business, my wife has her own business, and I manage it myself, it's just that. Because my wife is more educated than me, she helped me create a website, then we registered our business on airbnb and she also takes care of the finances in great detail," Mas Har said, dismissing the notion that his success compelled his wife who was a great career woman. Because every day his wife has her own activities and never goes to the garden except to harvest the vegetables she wants to cook.

TIPS: because there are only 2 tree house units that are rented out, it's best to book a long day. For example 6-3 months before, because Hars Garden Tree Houses are always full booked. Especially during the holiday season aka peek season.

Then, how to transport to Hars Garden? Really easy. From the International Airport I Gusti Ngurah Rai, only use Grabcar to the address and will arrive in 2 hours. For example, from Ubud, what do you do? If you use Grab Bike, just drive directly to the address. For example, if you bring your own vehicle, don't forget to use the Google Maps device. The point is that it's already entered Jl. Sri Wedari, just follow the road. The location is not far from the Anand Ashram spiritual home.
Hartono Lokodjoyo and aplate of beautiful breakfast menu

Seeing how well-known the Tree House is in Hars Garden, then I asked Mas Har why not build a few more units, for example, to become 5 units, definitely a year can get IDR 1 billion. Asked, Mas Har smiled, then chuckled and peeled the sugar cane with his teeth (btw, Mas Har really likes snacking sugar cane and his teeth are so strong, peeling sugar cane using kriuk kriuk kriuk sound, and sugar cane is his favorite snack since childhood).

"I definitelly able to build as much as Tree House like this or better than this as much as I want. I can also be rich in short time, right? But the problem is that my time to enjoy life is reduced because I have to take care of business. I want to take a walk on Sunday, not I can't, but I don't do it. Let other people do it, so that more and more tree houses like this everywhere. Because in my opinion the most difficult thing in life is controlling desire. this is abundant and feels enough," he said.

Ah, I am very happy to hear the concept of this unique person. He does not take everything he can to become the richest. Rather, it shares that abundance with others who want to make it a business opportunity that is friendly to nature. And yes, actually this eccentric man is challenging all of us who often talk about saving the environment but not actually being able to show how to preserve the environment in the right way except just talking until foamy. 

Here are some reviews of those who have stayed at Hars Garden Tree Houses:
In front of Hars Garden Three House
A beautiful way to enjoy morning 
Beautiful breakfast
Hartono Lokodjoyo and his customer in the garden
Hartono and his customer are smiling in front of his tree house. Source: Hars Garden

Hm, finally my writing arrived at the end. Very long, but hm hm immediately wanted to fly to Bali to stay at Hars Garden, right? As cool as the facilities that pamper tourists throughout Bali, Hars Garden Tree House is unique, eccentric, authentic, different, and friendly with nature in a simple way plus cheap. Abundant in serving but not destroying the earth.

Depok, December 2, 2018


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