What if you could purchase a parcel of land in paradise and build your dream home on it? Surely you would. Of course you would. Anybody would. It’s eternal, universal daydream. Anyone from any country has hoped to do exactly that. So it’s surreal to find a couple who actually did it—and is now offering the place up to travelers.
This week’s #BirthdayBucketList is Hideout, the (properly named) eco-friendly, off-the-grid escape in Bali, where owners Ali and Jarmil checked a gigantic item off their bucket lists. Building their serene fantasy abode beneath a volcano and amid rice fields was a life-changing process for them. They had high hopes and, after several months of construction, their finished bamboo bungalow still managed to blow them away. They expect Hideout will do the same to its spirited guests.
Surrounded by jungle and overlooking a tranquil river, Hideout was made to welcome adventurers in search of total peace. Given that Hideout’s most frequent guest is the gentle breeze, it’s hard not to see how a visitor wouldn’t cure any and every stress. Stunned by such an exotic slice of heaven, our crew at the Venue Report had to ask Ali and Jarmil about the inspiration, the building process, and what they hope others can achieve at their dream home.
Words by Hideout Owners Ali & Jamil
Photos by OWLCTURNAL
How did Hideout come about?
I guess, when you know, you just know. Jarmil travelled a lot before visiting Selat in Karangasem and after few weeks there, he was sure that this is the place to be. We are travellers by heart and we cherish the authentic vibe of Balinese villages much more than the busy streets of Seminyak.
From the beginning, we were playing with the thought of pure off-the-grid living—no wifi, no TV, no fridge, no electricity. That's exactly what we did, while we lived in Hideout the first few months and, trust me, being completely dependent on the river itself is an unforgettable experience. But living in the 21st Century, we decided to move forward with our hydro-energy system, the waterwheel, and provide a basic comfort for us and for our guests.
Tell us a little about the design process.
What might surprise you is that we are not architects, nor developers. I had a proper full-time administration job in a big company and Jarmil was—besides traveling—a tennis instructor. But still, we were so passionate—and yes, stubborn as well—that we wanted to make our dream house come true. We made hundred of sketches and while facing the limitations of natural materials, we had a few very productive consultations with local entrepreneurs and architects. We had so much fun building something just as we wanted, as we pictured it. Can you imagine how hard it was to convince our builders that we wanted triangle windows? They thought we are crazy!
While designing, we wanted our place to be as open to nature as possible. Hideout is a true experience for adventurous travelers. We wanted to push the boundaries of what we see as “living ordinary.” It isn't for everyone. You have to be brave, you have to go a little bit, and see Hideout as a place where you can really reconnect and find the time to explore your inner self. We have nine musical instruments and an amazing stereo system, along with a yoga mat, books about meditation, papers, pencils, fishing gear, and board games. We want people to talk, to be creative, to unwind.
Photos by Valentino Luis
What do you recommend guests do in the surrounding area?
If you are an active person, I would recommend a few great things you can do in Hideout. First of all, get to know the village. Visit a Hindu ceremony and see Gamelan from the first row. Pray. Visit a local shaman and get his blessing. Wake up early to go to a traditional Balinese market. Eat Gado Gado at 6 a.m. while watching a sunrise. Drink avocado juice and coconut water. Hike the volcano and go trekking in the rice fields. Explore Karangasem by scooter. Go snorkelling. Go rafting or visit traditional landmarks like Pura Besakih or Tirta Gangga.
Who is the team behind Hideout?
The team behind Hideout is not just the two of us. It's also a small team of local workers, which we grew to admire and some became our very dear friends. We had so much luck running into the right people at the right time and meeting the best of the field for sustainable building, water wheel, or bamboo structure design. What's more, we found our second family in Bali, who is now taking great care of the house while we are visiting our home in the Czech Republic. This is actually what we see as essential—good relationships. If you want to make your home in Bali, stay there for a while, get to know the culture and the religion, and find ways to appreciate the differences rather than overlook them. And always, above all, have only good intentions.
Photos by Valentino Luis
What makes the experience at Hideout Bali so very bucket-list worthy? Why, in your opinion, should someone visit Hideout Bali in their lifetime?
Well, I hope this answer isn't too tacky, but I believe we are the right place to explore your inner self and your spiritual look on life. For everyone, this experience is different, but from day to day, every one of us will eventually come to the moment when they feel lost, stuck, unbalanced, or disconnected. Hideout for me created a space for personal adventure. For some guests, this is their first experience living completely submerged in local nature, challenging themselves even with their inner fears. Some do yoga all day, some play or compose music, some write or paint! Others explore the local village and visit the shaman and some just look for an adventure like snorkelling or rafting.
And maybe, after all, when you visit Hideout and you can actually see with your own eyes that building an eco-bamboo house is really possible. You will get inspired and push your other projects forward, closer to your dream reality.
If there’s any lesson to take from Hideout, it’s to never give up on your dreams. They’re wonderful and beautiful, and you should pursue them with fervor. However, a secondary lesson here is that, while you’re working on your dreams, maybe take advantage of other dreamers’ hospitality, so you can find yourself swinging barefoot in a hammock while the Balinese jungle breeze glides over you. Oh man, dream on, truly.