Welcome to the Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru,
UNESCO World Heritage Site


Subak of Jatiluwih

Nyoman Sutama

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Subak of Penatahan

Nengah Wedayasa

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Subak of Tengkudak

Nyoman Sutiani

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Subak of Piling

Ketut Suadha

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The Subak Travel Experience
Bali, Indonesia


Troveko partnered with Project Kalpa to design an exciting travel experience that directly invests in the ecological and cultural conservation of Central Bali’s Subak communities.
Introduction

An island rich in history, community, and tradition, Bali has become one of the most loved destinations for travelers and digital workers. Over the past few decades Bali has been shifting from an agriculture-based economy to a tourism-based economy as a result. With beautiful beaches, lush green scenery, and an inexplicable calming energy, there are no shortage of reasons why this is trending. Tourism is an industry like any other, but are tradeoffs to consider when tradition is quickly replaced by western-catered amenities and attractions. The problem is that what’s gone cannot be recreated; no doubts that culture evolves, but we must be mindful that history and tradition cannot be re-manufactured. It isn’t so black and white, but we believe there are ways to leverage this tourism to conserve the cultural heritage and ecological landscape. When we look at conservation, perhaps one of the most important things to recognize and preserve is the Balinese Subak.

History

Around 1st century AD, Bali’s history was strongly shaped by Indian and Chinese culture, and more specifically by Hinduism. This gave the foundation for the philosophies by which people lived by and Tri Hita Karana was one of the most influential. It’s literal translation is “three causes of well-being” or “three sources of happiness.” This philosophy guiding Balinese life recognizes these three sources as harmony with people, harmony with the environment, and harmony with God.

Around the 9th century AD Balinese people developed Subak, an egalitarian, cooperative water management system, to grow rice in wet-field cultivation. This system was a result of Tri Hita Karana and this subak system enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the region.

Present Day

In 2012, the Subak was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can refer to Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy for a comprehensive dossier on its recognition. The Subak was pervasive throughout the island, but is now concentrated in certain parts, including Central Bali’s Tabanan region. In recent years, farmers that are part of the Subak system have been facing more challenges and feeling increasingly squeezed as the island continues to transform. Some of the primary challenges include:

With an increase in imported goods coming onto the island and a steady rise in the cost of living, the return on investment to cultivate rice is lower. Especially considering that most of the work in the Subak communities is done using traditional methods.
The changing climate makes it so that during the summer, sometimes there isn’t enough water for all of the land. Farmers will then keep some of their land dry and unplanted to give enough water for their other rice to grow. Also, with herbicides and chemical fertilizers entering are impacting the quality of the soil.
These traditional methods of cultivating rice have been passed down for generations and generations. However, current farmers are growing older and their children are generally less interested in helping take care of the land and are more interested in going to the south of island for other types of work.
Tourism is having a large impact, as rice fields are being converted into villas, guest houses, and hotels at an accelerating pace. Nature view rooms are a hot item the places popping up are compromising the surrounding land and culture because when investors build facilities it leads to an increase of the land price around it. The farmers are then required to pay higher taxes due to the rising value of their property.
The Pilot Program: Subak Experience in Bali

Troveko partnered with Bali-based NGO ProjectKalpa (english translation: sustain) to explore how we can use community-based tourism as a vehicle to invest in conservation of Subak and its farmers. ProjectKalpa was established in 2014 by a group of university students collaborating with their lecturers and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia. Their mission is to promote the importance and awareness of cultural and natural heritage of Bali, and they work hands on with local communities to preserve the Tri Hita Karana philosophy manifested in Subak.

We designed an immersive, educational travel experience with ProjectKalpa’s beneficiaries, the native guardians of the Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the farmers. Troveko and ProjectKalpa believe that forms of community-based, sustainable tourism will serve the mission of raising awareness and promote the importance of the practices and ways of life that date back more than 1,000 years.

We are working within the Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru, a cluster consisting of 20 subak communities, 5 water temples, and two lakes in the northern region of Bali as the water source. Now you have the chance to adventure, learn, and share these traditions through our pilot that offers 4 unique experiences with 4 of the 20 different Subak communities in the cluster. The host families for this pilot believe that sustainable forms of community-based tourism can bring the awareness and conservation of heritage, and it all begins with you!

Our goal for this pilot is to test the model with an effective NGO partner (ProjectKalpa), promote conservation of Subak, and gather feedback from both you and the hosts while you have an unforgettable experience. We are in the process of building a platform that we can scale in different countries around the world to drive real impact. Therefore, for this pilot, we are working off of a suggested pricing model whereby you name the price you’re willing to pay for your stay. We trust that you’ll be reasonable.

Weekender

2 days, 1 night

Includes:

  • Accomodation

  • Home-cooked Meals & snacks

  • Travel Buddy from ProjectKalpa

Trifecta

3 days, 2 nights

Includes:

  • Accomodation

  • Home-cooked Meals & snacks

  • Travel Buddy from ProjectKalpa

Immersion

4 days, 3 nights

Includes:

  • Accomodation

  • Home-cooked Meals & snacks

  • Travel Buddy from ProjectKalpa

As part of the pilot, you suggest your price when you request a stay.