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2 Bali Tourism Villages Win Big At UNWTO Awards

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Bali’s world-famous Penglipuran Village has been named a winner at the United National World Tourism Organization Awards 2023 again!

The village has consistently been named amongst the world’s leading tourism destinations, but as leaders fear over-tourism is on the horizon, can this year’s win help reset the balance?

Penglipuran Village.jpgv

The UNWTO Best Tourism Villages initiative has been designed to ‘highlight those villages where tourism preserves cultures and traditions, celebrates diversity, provides opportunities and safeguards biodiversity.”

This is something that Penglipuran Village has done extremely successfully for the last ten years. 

The village is preserving culture and traditions by ensuring the negative impacts of modernity are held at bay.

The village remains free from vehicles, and tourists are invited to learn about the unique way in which the village was built in orientation with the Balinese Hindu faith. 

Speaking last week, the Manager of Penglipuran Village said that the attraction risks becoming a victim of its own success. He’s calling on his teams to begin mitigating the risks of over-tourism before they arrive. 

The village also protects biodiversity and has heavily invested in protecting and redeveloping the bamboo forest that surrounds the village center.

Speaking at the time of the announcement of the 2023 winners, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “ Tourism can be a powerful force for inclusivity, empowering local communities and distributing benefits across regions. ” 

He added, “This initiative acknowledges villages that have harnessed tourism as a catalyst for their development and well-being.”

This year, Indonesia is featuring prominently on the list of best village winners. In addition to Penglipuran Village, winners include Bilebante Village in Nusa Tenggara Barat and Pela Village in East Kalimantan.

Desa Taro in Gianyar Regency, close to Ubud, has also been named amongst the international cohort of winners.

For tourists who want to experience a traditional Balinese Village but are eager to support an emerging tourism village, Taro Village is a great starting point.

Home to gorgeous, unspoiled rice terraces and stunning jungle landscapes, Taro Village is a real hidden gem right now. 

The community describes a trip to the village as an ‘eco-spiritual’ journey, and the area is still managed in alignment with the deepest traditional values.

Over 90% of all waste produced by the village is recycled, composted, or repurposed responsibly.

Taro Village, as it is known today, was heavily influenced by the arrival of Maya Rai Markandeya in the 7th Century. He had traveled from India through the jungles of East Java with the mission of bringing Hinduism to the Balinese people.

Shortly after his arrival, villagers said he taught “local tribes to live as a community and learn agriculture so they could live off the land sustainably without moving.”

“His legacy lives on today and is known as Subak, the complex water management system for rice fields based upon supporting our natural ecosystem.”

There is a wealth of cultural wonders to learn about in Taro Village, from the grandeur of the Gunung Ruang Temple to the sacred Alas Jaka forest that surrounds the village to the beautiful Holy White Cows who contentedly graze in the communal village green. 

While Penglipuran Village is a highly photogenic and culturally significant village with plenty to do, those looking to experience culture and adventure during a village tour would be best suited to a trip to Taro Village.

Activities on offer in the village include jungle trekking, waterfall hikes, bicycle tours, and farm immersion tours, where guests learn all about traditional farming techniques.


Taro Village is an ideal day trip for tourists staying in Ubud or even the southern beaches around Legian, Canggu, or Kuta. For those wanting a real immersive experience, be sure to book a night or two at the locally managed homestays. 

Jero Mangku Gede House, Komang Petak Homestay, and Made Bidel Homestay each offer guests the chance to stay in a traditional Balinese home with comfort and royal treatment!

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J West

Tuesday 31st of October 2023

These same 'villagers' are the ones throwing the garbage into rivers and ravines. Disneyland collects it's doesn't throw it it into the streets outside the business for others to deal with. Using all the right 'woke' terminology has had no effect on training Bali's villages not to pollute.