Bali's pricey villas, with rice fields attached

Bali's pricey villas, with rice fields attached

Not long ago, the developers of villas in Bali would pressure rice farmers living nearby to accept long-term land leases so that tourists could have undisturbed peace.

These days, though, more farmers are staying put - at the developers' request.

Today's tourists prefer to pay high prices for rustic charm.

Indeed, a two-bedroom villa with rice paddy fields on one side and a lawn where buffaloes graze on the other now goes for at least 15 million rupiah (S$1,950) a month, or at least one million rupiah a night, compared to only 500,000 rupiah a month in the past.

Such prices are increasingly common in Bali as other popular spots on the resort island, like the beaches at Kuta and Legian, fill up quickly and tourists search for quieter alternatives.

Areas such as Seminyak, Kerobokan and Canggu, which have beautiful beachfront areas mixed with lush farmland, are increasingly popular.

"Foreign tourists love the village feel here," said Mr Anak Agung Kris, 43, an architect. "It is near the beaches and not too far from the crowd centres. It's like everything in one basket."

The surge in construction in these areas is testament to their growing popularity.

Developers are not only building stand-alone villas, but also townhouse-like complexes consisting of 10 to 25 units of villas with price tags of at least four billion rupiah each.

For instance, a barely finished, 7,200 sq m villa townhouse called the Premium Club Residence in Canggu has 18 units with prices ranging from four billion rupiah to 5.5 billion rupiah.

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