Friday, January 21, 2011

Bali Eco Cycling

Ubud is where we are supposed to find the "cultural" Bali, as opposed to the nightclubs and surfing that goes on in Kuta, the other town in Bali where tourists go.  There are two mains streets here, but it sprawls on from those streets, and on the streets are shop after shop after shop whose owners stand outside hoping you'll come in and buy something.  If you pause, or stop to look, you'll be lured in and if you touch something they start describing it to you, telling you what it is and how much it costs.  I don't love to shop, but I do enjoy looking at all the stuff - it's overwhelming how much stuff there is and how pushy the shopowners are.  That said, when you do buy something (and negotiate down to a price lower than initially stated), the shop keepers are very happy and thankful to you for helping their business.

The constant traffic is so different from peaceful Gili Air!  We saw advertising for Eco Bali Touring - on bicycles! - and thought this would be a great way to see Bali without so much tourism in the way.  Bali's culture is kind of buried in the shops and restaurants.  Here's a link to the tour we took, the description is very accurate.

Our guide was Joe, he did a great job of telling us about Bali and  Bali culture, the Hindu traditions and answered many of our questions about what we'd seen in the town.  There were 10 of us on bikes, mostly Dutch people and us.  First we rode in a van up to the top of the mountain and had breakfast.

Then we stopped at a plantation and learned about growing and processing coffee, especially this special coffee which starts off by having civets (a cat-like creature) eat the coffee beans, which are then "processed" and gathered from the forest floor, cleaned, separated, and roasted.  They say this coffee is $30/cup in Europe?  We had a cup for $3.00.

Roasting the beans

Tasting the coffee.  And sampling more.  We had Ginseng coffee, hot chocolate, "female" coffee (uses the "female" beans), Arabica coffee, ginger tea, lemon grass tea.
We also sampled fruits:  salak, passion fruit, mango, papaya.  Then, after a visit to the gift shop, we were taken to our bikes and we started riding.

First stop.  This mosque is preparing for a celebration, there's a list of events, the decorations are up.
The men are preparing the chicken satay.  Those baskets are full of chicken bits, the men are threading them onto sticks.  

Inside a family compound.  This is their temple.

This is Joe, we're stopping at a rice paddy.


  1. Kim, how much was your coffee? It didn't show up...

  2. Try this company better then other guarantee..


  3. This was such a great activity. We were collected and driven to breakfast with a stunning view of the volcanoes and lake. Then off we went for our ride (wear sunscreen!!!). The locations we rode through and villages we saw were beautiful. I hadn't been on a bike for about 20 years but it was easy enough and the guides were so helpful. We were able to take it at our own pace and the ride finished with a delicious lunch over looking beautiful rice fields. The whole team involved with Bali Hai were so friendly and helpful. Would highly recommend this tour for anybody who is keen for a pleasant ride in a beautiful area of Bali.