Nandini Bali Jungle Resort & Spa Ubud


Located in a quaint Balinese village in the Payangan area, a 35-minute drive from Ubud

Nandini Jungle Resort is located in remote Buahan village in the Payangan area, which is in the hills above Ubud. The elevation is twice that of Ubud, and the air here is crisp and cool especially in the mornings and nights. Roads leading to the hotel are fairly well maintained, though quite hilly and winding. The quiet village setting is great for long walks and taking in the scenery, but the nearest restaurants and shops are located in downtown Ubud, a 35-minute drive away. Mount Batur is less than a 40-minute drive from the hotel and offers spectacular views, great hiking, and hot springs. The hotel is also less than a 40-minute drive to Taro village, where the Elephant Safari Park is located. Other popular activities in the nearby area include whitewater rafting, bicycle tours, and off-road ATV excursions. Kuta and the airport take around 90 minutes to reach from the hotel.


  • Stunning views of the jungle gorge and Ayung river
  • Located in remote, tranquil, and picturesque Payangan area village
  • Villas feature roomy balconies and elegant interiors with hardwood floors
  • Standard in-room features include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and minibars
  • The main pool and pool bar are surrounded by jungle greenery
  • Sungai Spa features open-air treatment bungalows and a whirlpool
  • Massages treatments are offered outdoors along the riverbank
  • Ginger Restaurant serves both Western and Asian favorites
  • Candlelit dinners along the riverbank or pool deck
  • Additional facilities include a lounge area, a boutique, and meeting rooms
  • Free return shuttle service to Ubud and bicycles to borrow
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


Romantic, but aging, boutique resort with panoramic views of the jungle and Ayung River

The resort is perched along a tropical rainforest gorge overlooking the Ayung river, with a tiered layout carved into a steep jungle cliffside. Thatched roofs are featured on the villas and other facilities, which allow the buildings to seamlessly blend in with the tropical setting. Villas are oriented to take full advantage of the panoramic views and feature large balconies that sit suspended over the ridge, guaranteeing that the vibe is romantic. In fact, all facilities are open-air, so guests are constantly immersed in the natural surroundings. The spa is a highlight, particularly for couples, and one of its treatment packages is offered along the riverbank, the natural setting is stunning and the soundtrack is that of the wildlife, rapids, and flowing natural springs. While the vibe is quiet and away-from-it-all, the resort is showing its age a bit, and we spotted a bit of wear. The rickety funicular system used to navigate the terraces has also seen better days. In any case, it remains a popular choice for those looking to unwind and feel off-the-grid without sacrificing convenience. The lion’s share of guests are couples, though some families and small groups of friends pass through as well.

Bottom Line

Nandini Jungle Resort is a three-and-a-half-pearl, all-villa property located a 35-minute drive from downtown Ubud in picturesque Payangan area village. The boutique resort features 18 one-bedroom villas perched along a ravine, with great views of the jungle and the Ayung River. Villas feature thatched roofs and are handsome, if slightly worn, with hardwood floors and furniture, roomy balconies, and bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and rainfall showers. Features include a pool and pool bar surrounded by tropical greenery, a small lounge, Ginger Restaurant, and the gorgeous riverside Sungai Spa. The nearby Hanging Gardens of Bali hotel is under the same management as Nandini and features more luxurious facilities and villas, but the upgrades come with a steep price increase.


A pool and pool bar with expansive views, Ginger Restaurant, and a stunning riverside spa

Of all the hotel’s features, the pool and spa facilities stand out the most. Both are surrounded by forest and have stunning views of the jungle gorge and the Ayung River. The pool is tiled in natural aquamarine stones and is surrounded a large wooden deck that juts out suspended over the cliffside. Plenty of lounge chairs are set up along the deck, as well as a daybed and a few dining tables. A poolside bar makes it easy for guests to order both food and cocktails without having to leave the area.

Sungai Spa offers massages and beauty treatments that can be performed in private treatment bungalows or outside along the riverbank. The Spa on the River treatment package is extremely popular, though availability is limited. However, the steep steps leading to the river coupled with the omnipresent mosquitos may deter some guests

Ginger Restaurant serves a mix of Western and Asian cuisines and uses mostly locally sourced ingredients, much of which come from the hotel’s own gardens. The food is a little pricy and the nearest alternatives are a 35-minute drive away in downtown Ubud. Cooking classes as well as candlelit dinners along the riverbank or pool deck can be arranged. 

Other facilities include a lounge area, a designer boutique, and a small meeting room. Breakfast is included in most room rates and bicycles are available for guests to borrow. A free return shuttle service runs to Ubud three times a day and Wi-Fi is free throughout.


Handsome, if worn, villas with hardwood details and roomy balconies overlooking the jungle

The boutique property features 18 identical one-bedroom villas all perched along the jungle gorge and overlooking the Ayung River. Facilities and villas are built along a steep cliff and connected via a funicular system and steep steps. The rooms are covered by thatched roofs and have handsome, traditional interiors with rich colored hardwood floors and solid teak furniture. Neutral tones are punctuated by a few paintings, and four-poster beds add some romance, though the best part of the villas are the roomy balconies which are suspended over the ridge. They’re a great place to relax with a good book or to take in the jaw-dropping jungle view. We did spot a bit of wear in the villas, and some of the decor isn’t exactly cutting edge (like the art work). Villas are spacious and outfitted with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, wardrobes, minibars, and  coffee- and tea-making facilities. Bathrooms have large glass windows opening out onto the view and feature white terrazzo vanities, glassed-off rainfall showers, and deep soaking tubs. We did spot some grime in the showers, which was a little disappointing. 

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