Most days in life just drift by without being particularly memorable, the day we did this tour certainly wasn't one of them. I loved every second of it.

We were collected from our hotel right on time and were taken in a nice air conditioned car up to Ubud where we picked our guide, whose name was Moon. Straight away he started sharing insights into Balinese culture and much of the decorations and small temples we'd already noticed around the island started to gain a lot more meaning.

We arrived at a coffee plantation where we did some tea, coffee (and tabacco if you are a smoker) sampling and were given a really tastey breakfast of pancakes filled with sugar and coconut. We got to see the Luwak, small cat like animals who are aparently responsible for processing some of the finest coffee on earth and Moon showed us lots of different plants and herbs, which was fascinating. The views there were amazing. Next was a drive up to the volcano to admire the views and learn more about the history of the place.

The bike part of the tour was fantastic and we were really lucky as we were the only two people on the tour that day so we got to pick the pace and get a decent work out cycling up some quite steep hills. Having said this, if that is the last thing you want to do on holiday, then the ride can be mostly downhill where barely any peddling is required. The whole time we were riding the support crew was near at hand and when it got to the point that I felt the heat was getting to me a car was there to pick us up in minutes. This ride is incredibly well planned and equiped and can be tailored to all levels of fitness and ability. Everything you need is provided even down to bottles of water and tastey fruit to eat.

The route composed of cycling through several small villages, stopping at notable places and events so Moon could explain more about the Balinese way of life. A fair part of the route was through the surrounding farm larm and countryside, including a stop at a rice field where I helped the women harvest some rice. The scenary was amazing and we even got to meet a very special white cow and feed her some leaves.

The tour concluded with an exceptionally good lunch at the owner Bob's compound. This is where Moon told us all about family life and religious beliefs. We also had a couple of Bintangs while we talked and when it was time to leave Bob insisted we take one for the jourmey back.

Considering that bike hire, all meals, refreshments and entrance fees are included in the cost of this tour it is excellent value for money. I feel that we got an intimate look into the Balinese way of life and now have amazing memories to last a lifetime. For that I give my heartfelt thanks to Bob and his team and especially Moon for making the day so special.

Visited April 2013

Durham