Bali has become one of my favorite destinations. The best way to explore Bali is through a 25 kilometer Bicycle Tour of Ubud. They take you to a gorgeous view of the Rice Fields, the Coffee plantation, and a 25 kilometer bicycle ride through the villages of Ubud. Don’t worry folks, it’s mainly downhill!
Bali’s weather is usually warm and tropical. People are hospitable, lovely and happy. Indonesian food is full of flavors and simply amazing. It’s one of those places where everyone who’s gone, has boasted how much they absolutely love it. I had always thought of Bali as a beach destination, but what I fell in love more with was Ubud. A spiritual, cozy, jungly, hippie-destination, yoga-friendly, relaxing destination with local untouched villages. Although Bali has become an incredibly popular tourist destination with prices of hotels, food & drinks higher than the rest of SouthEast Asia, the authenticity of the place remains. You can certainly still find some hidden gems not fully explored yet.
25 Kilometer Bicycle Tour of Ubud
Bali Eco Cycling is a company that offers a half-day Cultural & Eco day Tour of Ubud on bicycle. They offer several other tours including Volcano treks, Island tours and Walking tours. I would trust all of them to be just as fun! Bali Eco Cycling were incredibly responsive when I emailed, and picked us up at 7 am the next morning in a mini-bus of 8 other youthful travelers ready to explore. Our first stop was the picture-perfect photo-op of the traditional Balinese Rice Field. Bali, as well as the rest of Southeast Asia is filled with rice patties as a good amount of their economy comes from rice exports.
On the bus, we had a witty, informative tour guide who grew up in Ubud and absolutely loves his country and family. He shared with us many stories of his upbringing, and as much as he loves meeting travelers and bettering his english, he doesn’t ever plan to leave. As the youngest boy of his family, he plans to continue on the Balinese tradition of getting married soon. He’s 28 now, lives at home and will carry on the legacy of their family name as “head of household”. (The women usually move out to their husband’s family home
He does have aspirations of working on a cruise ship, a common gig for Balinese men in their 20’s, before marriage. The job not only is a way to explore outside of their country but also to better their English. An interesting thing I observed is that the young Balinese individuals speak English that resembles Western Aussies!
We officially start the day at Penelokan (Kintamani) where we enjoyed a buffet breakfast overlooking an active volcano, Mt. Batur and its crater lake.
Visiting a Coffee Plantation in Ubud
Next stop, we visit a Tea/Coffee/Spice Plantation Farm of cloves, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, tapioca, taro, local vegetables and exotic tropical fruits. There we strolled and tasted our way through the plants, picking them fresh off the trees. We ended the short hike to rest in a little hut overlooking a magnificent view of more plantations, as we tasted traditional Balinese Tea & Coffee, including the infamous “Luwak Coffee” aka coffee beans fed to Cats to poop out for a “special taste” (it doesn’t taste like poop at least). For the fortune it costs to buy cat-poop coffee, I really did not find it all that special nor would I spend the money.
The Bicycle Ride of Ubud Begins
Finally we stopped by a dirt lot filled with bicycles and each of us picked our bikes and helmet. From there, we rode down a 25 kilometer ride through Ubud (mainly downhill!) in an absolutely memorable ride. We rode in a somewhat line through roads less traveled, beautiful villages with smiling locals waiving at us. Many houses in Ubud can be confused with temples as many have their own Hindu family temple upon entering their “compound”. What I mean by “compound” is that instead of a traditional ‘house’, the property is not enclosed like we are use to in the states. Instead, it looks like an outdoor temple complex, with small huts as bedrooms, kitchen gathered throughout the land. And many generations and extended families live together.
Visiting a Smiley Great-Grandmother in Ubud
Our tour guide friend took us to a large home of a loving, bubbly great grandmother. She welcomes us with a large smile on face although there was a communication barrier. We learned that there are 2 kitchens next to each other, open to any family to eat in all day long. In the middle of the compound is a resting area for family members who have pass away. There is a bed where the recently deceased will lay for a day before the cremation funeral.
They had a mini-farm in the back as well with a cow and some chickens.
The Rice Fields of Ubud
Last stop was to a massive rice field where elderly women worked 12 hours a day planting and harvesting rice. They do not always get paid for the rice they collect as it is sometimes a trade. For example, they collect 7 bags of rice, and take 1 bag of rice home for the family.
They invited us to try their daily work. I tried pounding straws of rice for just 2 minutes, and was quickly exhausted. After the rice is collected, they take the bags of rice on their head and walk miles to deliver them. I commend the women, even at their age to bare so much hard work on their back and bodies just to feed their family. And always with a great smile on their face and gratitude for life.
We ended the day around 2pm at a beautiful outdoor restaurant that served us the best meal in Bali. Delicious smoked duck/shredded chicken, fresh veggie salad, spicy sambal side sauce, and mi goreng noodles.
When we got home, all we wanted was a warm shower and a cold beer! Such a memorable experience and highly recommended on your trip to Ubud.
Contact: Bali Eco Cycling in Ubud
420,000 Indonesian RP = approximately 36$